News & Politics

Will Students Who Did the Right Thing and Paid Off Their Loans Be Reimbursed?

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That question was asked of Elizabeth Warren by The View’s token guest conservative host, Lindsey Granger.

It’s not the first time Warren has been confronted with this question. During a 2020 campaign stop in Iowa, Warren tried to engage a voter in debate on that question, only to give up when she realized she had no good answers.

 

Ed Morrissey knows where all this is headed.

It won’t take Warren long to come up with a plan to expand her debt-forgiveness plan into a broader reimbursement for anyone who took out student loans, even those who paid them off. Warren will call it “educational justice,” or maybe “predatory loan reparations,” even though (a) they’re hardly predatory in either terms or enforcement, and (b) politicians like Warren have been pushing these programs for decades.

It won’t take long before Warren and her pals will shift from student-loan forgiveness to full and retroactive reimbursement for college educations, followed by zero-tuition access paid for by everyone else. Never underestimate the breadth of progressives’ wealth-redistribution ambitions, my friends. You heard it here first.

The progressive’s argument is that students have all this debt in the first place because the government has refused to subsidize a college degree. In fact, there’s no evidence that college costs would ever come down with more government money going to colleges. Indeed, costs of tuition, room and board, books, supplies, and activity fees — all have gone up astronomically even after large subsidies to schools and students by the government, including government-subsidized student loans.

Related: The Cost of Student Loan Cancelation Would Be Higher Inflation, Say Experts

Colleges have zero incentive to cut costs, especially the salaries of professors and teachers. But it’s not just teachers who have seen salaries explode. Administrative costs at four-year colleges have become unmanageable.

Hechinger Report:

At the largest public research universities, it said, 17 cents were spent on administration for every 83 cents spent on instruction.

There have been many reports about growth in the number of administrators — which continued even after the recession — and the salaries and benefits they get. Because of complexities of accounting, however, there’s been limited empirical research connecting these conclusively to rising college costs.

What is not in dispute is that the number of administrators at colleges and universities grew twice as fast in the 25 years ending in 2012 as the number of students, according to federal data analyzed by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting.

Before we start to seriously consider “forgiving” student loans (someone has to pay that $1.6 trillion), perhaps we should have a serious conversation about getting the rampaging costs of college under control. Maybe we should look at the entire massively confusing student loan system, which cries out for reform.

Perhaps we should also look at taking ideology out of education altogether before we ask America’s kids to pony up another $1.6 trillion.