Nearly half of the country’s governors signed a letter to President Joe Biden asking him to withdraw his student loan forgiveness plan that would pay up to $20,000 for federal aid borrowers.
“As governors, we support making higher education more affordable and accessible to students in our states, but we fundamentally oppose your plan to force America’s taxpayers to pay off the student loan debt of a select few…” the governors said in a letter dated Monday.
The governors, all Republicans, argue that lower-income Americans will pay off the debts of doctors, lawyers and teachers “with the most debt, like $50,000 or more…”
However, Biden’s plan limits the relief to $20,000 for those who received Pell Grants, awarded to low-income students, and $10,000 for students who did not receive Pell Grants in college. Also, people who earn more than $125,000 are not eligible for the one-time relief.
“College may not be the right choice for all Americans, but for student loans, it was their choice: capable adults and willing borrowers who knowingly agreed to the terms of the loan and agreed to take on debt in exchange for take classes,” the letter says. “A high-cost degree is not the key to unlocking the American Dream, hard work and personal responsibility are.”
In addition, he argues that it is unfair to those who have previously paid off their student loans.
The governors also expressed concern that the forgiveness plan could encourage higher education institutions to increase their costs and thus worsen inflation.
“Instead of addressing the rising cost of higher education tuition or working to lower student loan interest rates, his plan makes today’s problems worse for tomorrow’s students.”
United States Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona he told NPR in August The forgiveness plan was largely born out of a way to undo the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and will boost the economy as a result.
“Everyone knows someone who is struggling after the pandemic,” he said. “And, you know, if we help people in communities reduce the chances of them defaulting, everybody wins. It helps the economy.”
The letter is signed by 22 Republican governors, including:
- Kim Reynolds, Iowa
- Doug Ducey, Arizona
- Brian Kemp, Ga.
- Mike Parson, Missouri
- Chris Sununu, New Hampshire
- Kevin Stitt, Okla.
- Bill Lee, Tennessee
- Mark Gordon, Wyoming
- kay ivey, alabama
- Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas
- Little Brad, Idaho
- Greg Gianforte, Montana
- Douglas Burgum, North Dakota
- Henry McMaster, South Carolina
- Greg Abbot, Texas
- Mike Dunleavy, Alaska
- Ron DeSantis, Florida
- Larry Hogan, MD
- Pete Ricketts, Nebraska
- Mike DeWine, Ohio
- Kristi Noem, South Dakota
- Spencer Cox, Utah
The governors are also challenging Biden’s power to carry out the plan, saying “as president, you lack the authority to take unilateral action to usher in a sweeping student loan cancellation plan.”
In seven states, forgiveness payments could be taxed as income.