Sen. Grassley. (file photo)

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments today over President Biden’s plan to forgive student loans, a plan Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley calls “reckless” and which would cost the federal government nearly one-trillion dollars.

Grassley, a Republican, says the student loan system is deeply flawed and students and families need help in making better informed decisions about borrowing for college. “I often hear from Iowa families who are dissatisfied and confused by the complex student loan borrowing program, however, the federal student loan forgiveness doesn’t fix this problem,” Grassley says. “It would only shift the responsibility for repaying loans away from the original borrower and force it upon the American taxpayers.”

Grassley is introducing three bipartisan bills with Senator Tina Smith, a Democrat from Minnesota, which he says would offer more counseling, resources, and clarity to the student loan process. Grassley says Biden’s plan would erase ten to 20,000 dollars in debt for each student who qualifies, and millions may qualify.

“It’s not fair to force the cost of this plan on taxpayers who didn’t seek an advanced degree or who already paid off their loans,” Grassley says. “My bill empowers students with the tools that they need to make informed decisions about borrowing for school.” Grassley says the trio of bills would ensure that students get the full picture when choosing a college and taking out a loan. From the initial college search, to the acceptance of financial aid, to counseling once in college, Grassley says the bills would help students avoid sticker shock, find the best college for their budget and avoid taking out ill-advised, oversized loans.

He says a societal change is forcing a shift in how we think about college.  “You go back 25 years and the attitude was in American society if you didn’t have a B.A. degree or a graduate degree, you weren’t going to amount anything,” Grassley says, “and you’re finding people that get a four-year degree, they go back to a community college to get some skill so they can pay off their loans.”

Grassley says much of the student debt conversation is focused on repayment of that debt, while he says we need to fix the process on the front-end before students get in over their heads.

A news release from Grassley’s office says the three bills are:
The Understanding the True Cost of College Act would create a universal financial aid offer form and standardize terms used to describe financial aid to allow students to more easily compare financial aid packages between schools.
The Know Before You Owe Federal Student Loan Act would strengthen the Higher Education Act to enhance the current loan counseling requirements for institutions of higher education.
The Net Price Calculator Improvement Act would improve the effectiveness of and access to net price calculators.

Radio Iowa