ORLANDO, FLORIDA — One day after President Biden announced his plan to forgive $10,000 in student loan debt for individuals making less than $125,000, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis proffered his thoughts on the controversial move. The governor criticized the plan and suggested that high education itself needs reform.
“It’s very unfair to have a truck driver have to pay back a loan from somebody that got a PhD in Gender Studies,” DeSantis said. “They’re doing that with zero reform to the universities.”
Under Biden’s plan, Pell Grant recipients are eligible for $20,000 in debt forgiveness. It also states that undergraduate loans repayment can be capped at 5% of the individual’s monthly income. The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania estimates the move will cost $300 billion and that wealthier individuals and families will benefit most from the plan.
UNIVERSITIES GET A “FREE RIDE”
The governor criticized universities for poor management, suggesting they have “gotten a free ride” for excessively increasing the cost of tuition.
“If you’re going to talk about debt, then you should look at who has benefitted the most from all this exorbitant debt that’s been taken out over the last generation – it’s the universities,” he said, suggesting that colleges should be held more accountable. “They’ve had an incentive to get more and more loans taken out, and then put it in their pocket.”
DeSantis championed his administration’s commitment to limiting tuition increases at public universities in Florida, but went after university administrations for high tuition costs and low-quality degrees.
“It has no real impact on the quality of the education when they’re raising the tuition. It just creates more administrative bloat,” DeSantis said, taking a shot at Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programs. “They will expand the DEI office, or something else like that.”
In the past, DeSantis has advocated for balance in vocational pathways, pointing out that many people would be better served by technical colleges than the “four-year brick and ivy” route. In essence, debt forgiveness transfers the financial burden of repaying student debt from the individual borrower to all taxpayers, even those who have already paid for their tuition debt or never took on any debt from college.
UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND INFLATIONARY
Additionally, DeSantis pointed out how Larry Summers, an economist in the Obama administration, took to task loan forgiveness, pointing out that it increases inflation.
The governor went on to say that the President of the United States lacks constitutional authority to unilaterally transfer debt responsibility from millions of individuals to the American public.
“I think this is still important – some people may not care as much – he does not have the constitutional authority to do this,” DeSantis said, “Having an executive act with fiat, with no legislative sanction, and to just say you’re dumping this debt on the taxpayers, that is not something that is consistent with the rule of law.”