Arkansans, lawmakers react to Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan

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Published: Aug. 24, 2022 at 11:04 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) -President Biden announced his plan for student loan forgiveness on Wednesday, evoking mixed responses in the state of Arkansas.

The Census Bureau reports about 24% of Arkansans have college degrees.

Biden’s plan will give those who make less than $125,000 a year up to $10,000 dollars in forgiveness, and those who paid for college with Pell Grants can get up to $20,000.

According to a Penn Wharton budget model, the plan will cost taxpayers around $300 billion.

Arkansans and lawmakers have shared their opinions, some lawmakers even quickly taking their voices to social media.

Tom Cotton posted many strongly opinionated tweets on the forgiveness plan, even naming “bloated, self-serving colleges” as the “true culprit.”

“I’ll be introducing a bill to hold these colleges accountable for debt, lower tuition, support non-college career paths, and save the taxpayers billions,” said Cotton.

In another tweet, Cotton said, “President Biden wants Arkansans who never went to college to pay off the loans of Ivy League kids working on Wall Street or Stanford graduates working in Silicon Valley.”

A news release from Rick Crawford reveals another Arkansas official strongly against the plan.

“Just as Biden’s open borders policy makes suckers out of the law-abiding scientists and engineers waiting patiently for years to come to America legally, Biden’s amnesty on student loan debt makes suckers out of the millions of working and middle class Americans who paid their student loans debts as they pledged to do. This election season give-away is also a stick in the eye to the two-thirds of American adults without a bachelor’s degree,” said Crawford. “Fast food workers, truck drivers, and firefighters struggling to make ends meet will be subsidizing affluent white collar professionals while the government refuses to hold universities accountable for their skyrocketing tuition rates.”

A couple of hours after the announcement Gov. Asa Hutchinson came out against Biden’s plan as well.

“Broad student loan ‘forgiveness’ is a misuse of executive authority. Shifting the burden from those who willingly took out a loan to all taxpayers is inconsistent with the American ideal of personal responsibility and will further discourage those who took a different path, including work or lower-cost schools,” said Gov. Asa Hutchinson. “If President Biden wanted to provide relief to Americans with student loan debts, he could work to permanently lower interest rates instead of across-the-board forgiveness. ‘Forgiving’ student loan debts will reward high-cost schools and add to the inflated cost of higher education.”

Content partner KARK asked Arkansans about their opinions on the forgiveness plan, they said some are in support, but others are questioning what this is going to cost.

Ian Redford supports the plan and says he’s always thought it was immoral to put a paywall behind education.

“I fully endorse what he is doing, and I hope there is more like it in the future,” said Redford. “It would free me up to spend my money in ways that are more productive to society.”

On the other side of the fence is Richard Douglas who said he will certainly benefit from the plan because of his own student loan debt, but he is worried it will come at a price for Americans.

“The question is where is the money coming from?” Douglas asked. “It’s got to come from somewhere.”

Despite the worries of some citizens and opposing opinions of some government officials, President Biden says his plan is his plan “responsible and fair.”

Biden also added that he is wanting to extend the student loan pause one last time through December 31, 2022.