SEARCH TODAY'S NEWS ARCHIVES

Top House Republicans Request Hearing Over Biden’s Student Loan Relief Plan

By Maria Carrasco, NASFAA Staff Reporter

House Republicans are demanding an oversight hearing on President Joe Biden’s student loan relief plan, which would cancel $10,000 to $20,000 of student loan debt for millions of borrowers, claiming the plan is illegal, unfair, and chaotic. 

Republicans of the House Education and Labor Committee, led by ranking member Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), signed onto a letter to Chair Bobby Scott (D-Va.), urging him to convene a hearing to discuss Biden’s legal authority for the debt relief, how the Department of Education (ED) will implement the relief, and any plans ED has to end the student loan repayment pause. 

“This is not a harmless policy; this is a deliberate decision to appease a small but loud special interest group at the expense of the people who work hard to keep this nation strong,” the GOP lawmakers wrote. “It is time to shed the party loyalty and stand up for all the citizens in this nation. This must begin with Congressional oversight over dubious executive actions.”

The lawmakers are requesting Federal Student Aid (FSA) Chief Operating Officer Richard Cordray, General Counsel Lisa Brown, and ED Under Secretary James Kvaal testify during the hearing. They also state that they’ve sent letters to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona but have received “paltry responses.” 

Additionally, the lawmakers want student loan servicers to testify before the committee to understand what information ED is giving federal contractors, what ED has instructed servicers to tell borrowers, and how much ED is listening to servicers’ feedback.

The lawmakers also criticized the rollout of Biden’s announcement, stating “there was no information on how or when the process for forgiveness or the new income repayment plan will happen.” NASFAA also this week sent a letter to ED and FSA, calling on the department to meet with NASFAA’s leadership to better coordinate on partnership initiatives, and also criticized the department for the lack of information available at the time of the announcement.

“Again, with proper advance notice and adequate guidance, financial aid administrators could have found a way to ‘do it all’ during this busy time, as they always do,” NASFAA’s letter said. “Instead, they are forced to passively react, fielding questions they can’t answer and leaving students frustrated and confused.”

Earlier this week, ED released more guidance on eligible loans and other frequently asked questions regarding the relief. 

“This student loan debt scheme is not a legal or responsible policy, and the chaos the administration has created is unacceptable,” the lawmakers wrote. 

GOP lawmakers, attorneys general, and conservative groups have criticized Biden’s announcement, with some, such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), even pursuing lawsuits, alleging that Biden’s move to cancel student debt is illegal. 

When the Biden administration announced the student loan debt relief last month, the administration also released a memo that outlines the administration’s authority to offer broad student loan forgiveness. The memo states that the Higher Education Relief Opportunities For Students (HEROES) Act of 2003 provides the secretary of education “broad authority to grant relief from student loan requirements during specific periods (a war, other military operation, or national emergency, such as the present COVID-19 pandemic).” The memo also rescinds a non-binding memo from the Trump administration that claimed the education secretary “does not have statutory authority to provide blanket or mass cancellation.”

Scott has yet to publicly address the GOP letter, but praised Biden’s announcement last month, saying it was “providing unprecedented relief for America’s student loan borrowers.” While Republicans don’t currently control either chamber of Congress, should they win back the majority in this fall’s midterm elections, an oversight hearing could happen when the 118th Congress comes into session. 

 

Publication Date: 9/9/2022


David S | 9/9/2022 9:38:22 AM

"[T]his is a deliberate decision to appease a small but loud special interest group at the expense of the people who work hard to keep this nation strong..." is a good indicator on what one side of the aisle thinks of publicly funded financial aid and education in general. Rep Foxx is not only writing off the tens of millions of Americans who attend and/or send their kids to college as a small "special interest group," she is also saying that those who attend college a) do not work as hard as those who do not, and b) that they do less to help our country.

People get angry at me sometimes for bringing politics into discussions about financial aid. So be it (spoiler alert, I'm not going to stop). This is one party openly demonstrating hostility towards higher education and those students we serve. Countries whose economies have grown in recent years have done so because they have made education a national priority. And our students and alumni should understand which party has their backs and which party hates student loan forgiveness but loves tax cuts for billionaires and corporations; do they want to compare which of those comes at a higher cost to the people who work hard to keep this nation strong?

Darren C | 9/9/2022 9:34:05 AM

Anyone being honest knows that this loan forgiveness doesn't solve any of the problems tied to the education system in this country. It's been irresponsibly thrown out there to grab headlines. Someone has to pay for the debt that the administration and dept. of ED just want to make disappear into thin air. The long term ramifications if this forgiveness is allowed to go through can be severe. There needs to be real long term accountability tied to decisions like these in our high ranking Government agencies.

These comments help sum up how these entire 2.5 years have been handled.
“Again, with proper advance notice and adequate guidance, financial aid administrators could have found a way to ‘do it all’ during this busy time, as they always do,” NASFAA’s letter said. “Instead, they are forced to passively react, fielding questions they can’t answer and leaving students frustrated and confused.” Sounds like its created more problems than solutions. Another forced mess where everyday working people are expected to clean it up the best they can.

You must be logged in to comment on this page.

Comments Disclaimer: NASFAA welcomes and encourages readers to comment and engage in respectful conversation about the content posted here. We value thoughtful, polite, and concise comments that reflect a variety of views. Comments are not moderated by NASFAA but are reviewed periodically by staff. Users should not expect real-time responses from NASFAA. To learn more, please view NASFAA’s complete Comments Policy.

Related Content

Education Secretary Cardona Warns Against Complacency in FSA Conference Keynote

MORE | ADD TO FAVORITES

Today's News for December 1, 2022

MORE | ADD TO FAVORITES

VIEW ALL
View Desktop Version