A Call to Cancel Student Debt

By The New England Council

DC Shuttle …

Democrats Push for Biden to Release Memo on Student Loan Debt Cancellation. Eighty-five members of Congress sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to release the internal memo on his legal authority to cancel student loan debt. The letter was spearheaded by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), alongside Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Katie Porter (D-CA). Biden requested this memo from the U.S. Education Department in January 2021, with drafts being created as early as April of last year. The authors of the letter requested that the memo be made public. Biden has paused loan repayment until May 2022, but some lawmakers have spoken out about their disapproval of this action. In a roundtable discussion on Jan. 20, Education and Labor Committee Republican Leader Virginia Foxx (R-NC) shared her thoughts on this further delay of loan repayments, stating that this action shows that the Biden administration is “neglecting its fiduciary responsibility to the American people to satisfy the progressive wing of the Democrat party.” Though many Democrats and Biden himself have shown to be skeptical of his administration’s legal authority to cancel this debt, those who call on him to release these memos wrote that this action would be “a commonsense step,” allowing for “millions of borrowers [to] have more breathing room in their family budgets and our national economy [to not be] further held back.” More on this call to action can be found on Politico.

Lawmakers Call for Review of Nonprofit Status of Everglades College. House Education and Labor Committee Chair Bobby Scott (D-VA) urged the Education Department to investigate whether Everglades College is in violation of its nonprofit status. In a letter addressed to U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, Scott called on the department to reconsider the college’s nonprofit status when the current program participation agreement expires in 2023. Scott claims that the college’s founders, Arthur Keiser (chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity) and the Keiser family use their nonprofit status as a means to “benefit[t] an individual, his family members, and their related businesses.” Scott continues to assert that the founders earn considerable income and profits from Everglades College, and that they should therefore not be considered nonprofit status. Keiser University, a university sold to Everglades College and also owned by the Keiser family, has responded to these allegations, stating that resurfacing these past transactions “does nothing to advance the interests of students today.” Read more in The Washington Post.

We publish the DC Shuttle each week Congress is in session featuring higher ed news from Washington collected by the New England Council, of which NEBHE is a member. This edition is drawn from the Higher Education Update in the Council’s Weekly Washington Report of Feb. 7, 2022. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.


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