March 31, 2023

Loans are loans, even student loans

By Mariannette Miller-Meeks

As Iowans know, a loan taken out is a loan that must be repaid — no matter the specific type. Democrats and the Biden administration, however, are pushing to “forgive” or “absolve” student loans, which results in the remaining cost of those loans being transferred to hardworking taxpayers. This transfer of debt is unfair and seemingly unconstitutional. Our own Attorney General Brenna Bird was at the Supreme Court just this week to challenge the legality of President Biden’s forgiveness plan.

Instead of allowing students to rack up tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to go to school, we should be working to ensure they have a complete understanding of the loan process. This week, I joined Senator Grassley in leading the Iowa delegation in introducing the Know Before You Owe Federal Student Loans Act, legislation that would require Institutes of Higher Education (IHEs) to counsel students before any federal loans are disbursed. Student loans are a serious financial commitment and should be treated as such. It’s crucial we ensure our students are equipped with the guidance needed to make an informed decision and that they understand the process to pay these loans back.

Another way we can work to alleviate financial stress from our students is by ensuring they have a clear understanding of different kinds of post-secondary education. Trade schools, for instance, provide a full education for students prior to entering the workforce but don’t always carry the same financial burden as a four-year university program. Many students enroll in traditional four-year colleges and institutions without knowing these alternative programs exist and end up unnecessarily carrying the burden of tuition for decades.

I’m encouraged by the work of my colleagues, particularly Senator Grassley, to improve resources available to our students as they consider taking out loans. If we can help our students understand the process by which they receive and the ultimate of cost (with interest) of federal student loans, we will be one step closer to helping to relieve them of their debt through hard work. I look forward to continuing our work—I will always fight to support our students in Iowa.

Mariannette Miller-Meeks currently represents Iowa’s First District in the United States House of Representatives.