U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, wants universities to pay for student loans in default and the Congress to make other changes to the Higher Education Act of 1965 as part of a new bill introduced Wednesday.
Under the Make the Universities Pay Act, a university would have to pay 50 percent of its students’ loan balances in default. The colleges and universities also would be barred from raising tuition to cover this expense, “unless there is an equivalent percentage decrease in administrative expenses at the institution.”
The six-page bill also would allow student loan debt to be discharged in bankruptcy and require higher education institutions to report mean and median earnings of graduates and loan default rates, disaggregated by degree or program. The U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard already has much of that information.
The bill’s introduction comes nearly a month after President Biden announced a plan to forgive up to $10,000 in student loans for borrowers currently making less than $125,000. Hawley’s office in a news release said the plan usurps Congress’s authority and lacks what the senator says are “much-needed reforms.”
“For decades, universities have amassed billion-dollar endowments while teaching nonsense like men can get pregnant. All while charging extortionary tuition,” Hawley said in the release. “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.”