WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), and Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced the 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.
“Our federal higher education financing system contributes more to the problem than the solution. Colleges and universities using the availability of federal loans to increase their tuitions have left too many students drowning in debt without a path for success,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Unlike President Biden’s student loan schemes, this plan addresses the root causes of the student debt crisis. It puts downward pressure on tuition and empowers students to make the educational decisions that put them on track to academically and financially succeed.”
“Iowans understand that when you take out a loan, you have a responsibility to pay it back. The Biden administration’s plan to forgive student debt would only transfer the burden of repayment onto American taxpayers, costing them billions of dollars. That’s an outrageous approach to the student debt crisis. It’s as effective as closing the barn door after the horses have already gotten out,” said Senator Grassley. “Our legislative package takes a proactive approach by informing students and their families of their best options, and I’m proud to see my legislation included in the package.”
“Student loan repayment should not fall on the backs of hardworking American taxpayers, and students should not be getting federal loans for degrees that don’t result in better-paying jobs,” said Senator Cornyn. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in supporting this legislation to streamline this confusing system, save students money, and ensure higher education is accessible to Americans without an out-of-touch loan cancellation scheme.”
“More and more of our students are paying more to get less,” said Senator Tuberville. “Over my four decades as a Coach, I watched prices go up and academic achievement go down all across our nation, and that was one of the reasons I ran for Senate. Today, Senate Republicans are putting forward a plan that would ease the burden on the taxpayer, and especially ease the burden on young people starting out. This legislation would be the first step to ensuring that America’s future generations get a better deal.”
“Education is the closest thing to magic in America. Ensuring access to an affordable, high-quality education – from grade school to post-secondary – is the key to a brighter future,” said Senator Scott. “President Biden continues to push his illegal and unconstitutional student loan scheme, which forces hard working Americans to shoulder debt they never signed up for. In stark contrast, this groundbreaking, conservative package attacks the root cause of skyrocketing student loan debt, seeks to drive down the cost of education, and sets all students up to succeed.”
Specifically, the legislation:
- 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 package.
“With student debt repayments finally slated to resume, higher education reforms are long overdue. The Lowering Education Costs and Debt Act includes a thoughtful package of reforms to increase transparency, improve the student loan program, and strengthen accountability measures in a fiscally responsible way. The President should withdraw his costly unilateral student debt cancellation schemes and instead work with Congress on a plan to truly improve college affordability and outcomes,” said Maya MacGuineas, President, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
“The federal student loan system is in desperate need of reform, and we commend Senate republicans for taking seriously the issues of college affordability and transparency for borrowers. While there is a lot of work to be done to fix the broken postsecondary financial aid system so that it works better for every student, this package of bills is a step in the right direction. Taxpayers and borrowers alike will benefit from policies that help future students make informed financial decisions. Innovative ideas like these, not inflationary and expensive mass loan forgiveness schemes, are key to improving higher education opportunity, affordability, and access in the long run,” said Jim Blew, Co-Founder, Defense of Freedom Institute.
“This legislation caps federal student lending at commonsense levels, streamlines a confusing array of loan repayment options, defunds low-quality degree programs that are leaving students unable to repay their debts, and imposes much-needed transparency on the colleges and universities that collectively receive more than $100 billion from taxpayers every year. Rather than kicking the can down the road by cancelling debt, the provisions of this legislation will put the student loan system on a sounder footing in the long run,” said Preston Cooper, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity.
“With this package, Republican lawmakers have really stepped up to the plate in a big way with reforms that would meaningfully improve our broken system of higher education finance. The passage of this legislation would make college a safer bet for students and would protect taxpayers from picking up the bill when colleges and universities fail to deliver. These sensible reforms would be great for American higher education,” said Beth Akers, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute.