Universities should be at least partly “on the hook” for unpaid student loans, says Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, who’s filed a bill to do that and more.
Meanwhile, the senator has choice words for the Biden administration’s decision to stop going after suspected Chinese moles on U.S. campuses for apparent fear of racial profiling of foreign spies.
Hawley’s “Make the Universities Pay Act,” filed Wednesday, would require higher-ed institutions participating in the Federal Direct Student Loan Program to pay 50% of student loans that are defaulted on – and would limit colleges’ ability to simply increase tuition to offset the cost.
In addition, the bill would require release of statistics on graduates’ average salaries and loan default rates in each degree category.
“I think it is vital to actually hold these universities accountable for the nonsense they teach, for the outrageous prices that they charge, and for the fact that they take federal tax money,” Hawley told The Heartlander in an interview Thursday. “They gobble it up like pigs at the trough, and then they turn around and charge students and parents more and more and more every year. I mean, it’s just ridiculous.
“The only people who benefit, really, from this current system are the universities who teach stuff like men can get pregnant. This is the quality of instruction that we have today at supposably the nation’s finest schools. So, what my bill says is pretty simple: Universities need to have skin in the game. If you take federal student loans and you benefit from that as a university, you’re on the hook. If your graduates can’t pay back their student loans, the university has to pay back at least 50%.”
Information on the efficacy of certain degrees such as gender studies, Hawley argues, might help students avoid taking on $100,000 in debt “to get a degree that’s worthless. That’s the kind of accountability that we need.”
Indeed, argues a Hawley press release:
“College tuition increases consistently outpace the rise of inflation, the nation’s student loan debt balance has skyrocketed to almost $2 trillion, and lackluster student performance calls into serious question whether ballooning costs and indebtedness are worth the investment: only about half of college enrollees complete a degree within six years.”
The current student loan system, Hawley says, is “a gravy train to the universities,” a liberal scheme of taking money from taxpayers and “getting it to the woke universities” – which, Hawley notes, already are multibillion-dollar operations, many of which have other billions stashed away in endowments.
“These universities are rich, rich, rich,” he says, adding that taxpayers are nonetheless currently on the hook under President Biden’s student loan bailout. “The top 10% of American taxpayers get the biggest gains. Who’s paying for it? Working people. It’s just an outrageous transfer of money.”
Hawley also blistered the Biden administration for ending the Department of Justice’s China Initiative, which targeted Chinese spying – particularly through so-called “Confucius Institutes” on U.S. campuses. On Tuesday, a federal judge threw out three of four jury convictions against University of Kansas researcher Feng “Franklin” Tao, who’d been accused of illegally concealing his work for a Chinese university.
Biden ended the program due to complaints of alleged racial bias against Asians.
“No, it’s national security. It’s protecting America,” Hawley countered Thursday. “It’s just more of their woke nonsense that they won’t prosecute criminals. They won’t stop spying on our college campuses because they’re afraid that they might violate some [politically correct] label. We’ve got a real problem with China trying to infiltrate all different levels of government [and] academia. They’re trying to collect information, conduct espionage wherever they can.”
Hawley described Confucius Institutes as China paying to “set up shop” on American campuses as frequent “backdoors for Chinese espionage.”
“It’s a fact. We’ve issued reports on it in the Senate. We’ve had reports on it from our intelligence agencies. The FBI director has warned repeatedly in public that Confucius Institutes, you’ve got to be very careful – that’s the Chinese Communist Party paying for a foothold at your university.
“So, I think that the Biden administration is turning a blind eye to this because, just like everything else, they don’t want to enforce laws against criminals. They don’t want to get tough on crime. They don’t want to get tough on China.”
It’s also because the Biden administration thinks America is systemically racist, Hawley says.
“Well, they’re systemically crazy. And America’s paying the price for it.’