The current student loan program offered by the federal government is “a disservice to American students” and must be repealed according to one Republican lawmaker, who is looking to urge Congress to do just that.
Rep. Andrew Fink, a first-term Republican lawmaker from Adams Township, introduced House Resolution 323 at the end of June just before lawmakers went on a summer recess.
The resolution looks to call on the federal government to rescind its William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, which was authorized under the Higher Education Act of 1965. This program provides a number of forms of student loans to eligible borrowers, including both direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans.
Text of the resolution pans the program as being “a burden on the entire economy.” Fink echoed as much in a statement Monday, saying that while the program did initially start as a way to make higher education a potential reality for all Americans “it has instead facilitated a new array of problems.”
Problems, Fink added, which include rising tuition costs, which has made accessing higher education more “expensive and unaffordable” than ever.
“Our elected leaders in Washington must accept that the federal student loan system is a disservice to American students and eliminate it before it does any more financial harm to our nation,” Fink said.
It’s estimated that are about 45 million borrowers holding more than $1.6 trillion in federal student loan debt in the U.S. Additionally, about 40 percent of college students drop out prior to completing their degrees and 84 percent of dropouts with student debt fail to pay back their loans after 12 years.
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Since 1980, American university tuition has more than doubled, affecting all students regardless of whether they take on loans. Fink said he believes the rise in tuition is directly correlated with the growing enrollment rate that has resulted from the federal student aid system.
Currently, student loan repayments are on a pause and borrowers are not expected to recommence payment until Aug. 31, 2022. This comes after several extensions to that pause, which was first put in place to help stifle economic hardships borrowers felt during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The resolution also addresses this in noting that if borrowers “can no longer be expected to pay their student loan debt, the federal government must stop issuing it.”
“The future of higher education would be better off without the existence of the federal student loan program,” he said. “I am urging Congress to consider the future of America and the ramifications that the current system has on the affordability of college and the financial wellness of students after college.”
The resolution does not address what would take the place of this borrowing program, if anything at all, only calling for it to be repealed altogether.
Several other Republicans are co-sponsors of the resolution including Rep. Steve Carra of Three Rivers, Rep. Luke Meerman of Coopersville, Rep. Sue Allor of Wolverine, Rep. Ann Bollin of Brighton and Rep. Bob Bezotte of Howell.
HR 323 has since been referred to the House Education Committee for consideration.
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