A few days ago, Republicans introduced their bill for revising the Higher Education Act. Some provisions in the GOP proposal are astonishing in their cruelty and contempt for student debtors.
- Abolishing income-driven repayment plans. For starters, the Republicans want to end all student-loan forgiveness. Goodbye PAYE. Goodbye, REPAY. Students who can’t pay off their loans under the standard 10-year repayment plan will be forced into income-driven repayment plans that continue until their loans are paid off–which for many of them will be never.
- Abolishing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. The GOP wants to abolish the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which Congress created in 2007. Hundreds of thousands of students have entered into public-service jobs expecting to have their college loans forgiven after 10 years. If the Republican proposal becomes law, some of these people may be grandfathered into the PSLF program, but the program will be shut down.
- Forbidding states from enforcing consumer protection laws against student loan servicers. Buried on page 464 of the GOP’s bill is a provision that forbids states from regulating the student-loan serving companies. Some state AGs have vigorously pursued wrongdoers in the loan servicing business, and Republicans apparently want to shield the debt collectors from state consumer protection laws.
Where are these pernicious Republican ideas coming from? Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC) is Chair of the House Education Committee, and she supports all these nasty proposals. But Foxx is not pulling the strings. These toxic proposals are coming from the heart of the Trump administration–and undoubtedly from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
I don’t know if these punitive GOP proposals will make it into federal law. But if they do, Republicans will push millions of college borrowers into a lifetime of indebtedness. It’s almost as if the GOP wants to create an underclass of sharecroppers.
President Trump and his fiendish Secretary of Education (who has financial ties to the debt collection business) may think their scheme to punish student borrowers will play to the Republican base. But if these proposals get through Congress, there will be hell to pay in coming elections.
The Democrats are missing a golden opportunity if they don’t take up the banner of student-debt relief. In my view, they should forget Russia and turn their venom toward Betsy DeVos, who may be Trump’s Achilles heel. The Dems need to educate college borrowers about the nation’s venal Secretary of Education and rouse them to righteous fury. – Source