Sen. Josh Hawley introduced a bill to hold colleges accountable for student debt borrowers take on.
It would require colleges to pay for defaulted loans and allow debt to be discharged in bankruptcy.
Hawley said the schools have gotten endowments while "teaching nonsense like men can get pregnant."
A Republican lawmaker just introduced some new ideas to address surging student debt loads.
On Wednesday, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley introduced the Make the Universities Pay Act, which would "put universities on the hook for the creditworthiness of future student loans and the debt of students who default," per the press release.
Leading up to President Joe Biden's August announcement of up to $20,000 in student-loan forgiveness for federal borrowers making under $125,000 a year, Hawley was critical of the policy and called it costly and unfair — and this legislation is his latest action addressing the $1.7 trillion student debt crisis.
"For decades, universities have amassed billion-dollar endowments while teaching nonsense like men can get pregnant. All while charging extortionary tuition," Hawley said in a statement. "Now Joe Biden wants to give away another $1 trillion to prop up the system. That's wrong. Instead, it's time to put universities on the hook and give students the information they need to make informed decisions."
According to the press release, the bill would:
Require colleges receiving federal aid to pay 50% of any student loan that is in default;
Expand bankruptcy protections by allowing undergraduate debt to be discharged five years after the first payment is due and graduate debt to be discharged 15 years after the first payment is due;
And require each college receiving federal aid to publish post-graduate outcomes, including wages and default rates.
The proposals in Hawley's bill are some Democratic lawmakers have supported. For example, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin has been pushing to make it easier for borrowers to get rid of their debt for bankruptcy and ease the currently stringent standards to do so. Biden's administration has expressed the importance of making students aware of post-graduate earnings to help manage the debt they accrue.
Opinions differ when it comes to Biden's blanket student-debt relief. On the same day that Biden announced his relief, Hawley bashed the policy while once again expressing his concern that "wacky professors" are teaching that "men can get pregnant."
—Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) August 24, 2022
Many of his Republican colleagues have joined the pushback, as well, with lawmakers like Sen. Ted Cruz looking for ways to pursue legal action that could block student-loan forgiveness in court. Meanwhile, Democrats are lauding the policy and the significant relief it will deliver to borrowers in all 50 states, and they recently introduced legislation that Bobby Scott, the chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor, said would "improve the lives" of borrowers by lowering interest rates and streamlining targeted loan forgiveness programs.
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