June 14, 2023

Ranking Member Cassidy, Colleagues Hold Press Conference on Landmark Package to Lower Education Costs and Student Debt

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, along with U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) held a press conference to discuss their groundbreaking Lowering Education Costs and Debt Act, a package of five bills aimed at directly addressing the issues driving the skyrocketing cost of higher education and the increasing amounts of debt students take on to attend school. The senators, along with U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), introduced the legislation earlier today. 

“Anyone with a college-aged child knows that college costs are soaring,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Some colleges and universities have used the availability of federal loans to increase tuitions, and this has left many students drowning in debt with no pathway for success.”

“President Biden’s answer [is] to enact his $400 billion student debt scheme, which doesn’t forgive debt. It merely transfers the responsibility to pay it back away from the person who willingly took on the debt onto taxpayers who maybe never went to college [or] paid back their student loans, in some cases sacrificing lifestyle in order to pay back those student loans,” continued Dr. Cassidy. “This is not a fix, this is merely a band-aid, and the band-aid saddles taxpayers with a burden.”

“Our legislation puts downward pressure on tuition and empowers students to make the educational decisions that put them on track to academically and financially succeed,” continued Dr. Cassidy. “And unlike President Biden’s plan, this actually addresses the root causes of the student debt crisis.”

Click here to watch the full press conference.  

The Lowering Education Costs and Debt Act:  

  • Creates downward pressure on the cost of colleges and universities that have used the availability of federal loans to artificially increase their prices, leading students to take out rising amounts of debt.   
  • Provides students and families with better information to choose the right school and program of study to achieve the best return on investment for them.  
  • Simplifies the student loan borrowing process to prevent students from unintentionally taking out more loans than they can afford or need.  
  • Ensures borrowers can navigate student loan repayment options without unnecessary confusion.  
  • Guides students against taking on debt to attend programs that do not translate to higher-paying job opportunities.  

This comes as President Biden attempts to enact his student debt cancelation scheme, which would transfer up to $20,000 in student loan debt per borrower onto taxpayers, totaling an estimated $400 billion. Biden’s scheme does nothing to address the underlying cause of the debt crisis, which would lead to Americans with student loans returning to the same level of debt in 5 years, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.  

Earlier this year, Cassidy introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to overturn this student loan scheme. After Congress passed the CRA with bipartisan support, President Biden vetoed the resolution last week.  

The bills in this package include:   

  • The College Transparency Act (CTA) – Reforms the college data reporting system to ensure students and families have better information on student success and outcomes as they consider higher education institutions. Cassidy previously introduced this bill.    
  • The Understanding the True Cost of College Act – Requires institutions of higher education to use a uniform financial aid letter with clear indications of the types and breakdown of aid included (scholarships, loans, work study, etc.) so students and their families can understand and compare their financial aid options. U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) previously introduced this bill.     
  • The Informed Student Borrowing Act – Supports students in meeting their academic needs and budget when deciding to take out loans by offering clear information about the duration of their loan, their expected monthly payment, how much money they will likely make in the future after attending their school and program of choice, etc. It requires borrowers to annually receive this information through loan counseling to understand the value of their student loan. U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced this bill today.    
  • The Streamlining Accountability and Value in Education (SAVE) for Students Act – Streamlines confusing repayment options for borrowers from nine options to two to give students and families clarity as to which repayment plan best fits their needs. Additionally, the bill limits new loans to undergraduate and graduate programs where former students cannot earn more than a high school graduate or a bachelor’s degree recipient, respectively. U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced this bill today.    
  • The Graduate Opportunity and Affordable Loans (GOAL) Act – Ends inflationary Graduate PLUS loans and puts downward pressure on rising tuition costs by limiting graduate school borrowing. Additionally, it allows institutions to set lower loan limits by program to protect students from over-borrowing. U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) introduced this bill today. 

Click here for a one-pager on the entire package.