Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) introduced a bill to forgive student debt.
The Earn to Learn Act establishes a matched savings program for “low-income” college students. “The funds can be used to pay for tuition, books, and other education-related expenses that might otherwise prevent them from attending,” according to the Arizona Republic.
“Education was my key to opportunity, and I’m committed to ensuring all Arizona students have the same access to higher education that I did,” Sinema said of the initiative. “Creating a college-matched savings program helps Arizona students save for school while teaching the importance of money management.”
Modeled off Arizona’s Earn to Learn program, which has a 90 percent retention rate and maintains a partnership with community colleges and state universities, eligible students must qualify for a Pell Grant, deposit $500 in six consecutive payments into a bank account, and finish a personal finance course.
In exchange, the students will receive matching eight-to-one grants from participating states or nonprofits which can be designated for tuition.
“We must do better to ensure American students have the skills and training necessary to pursue good-paying jobs that keep up with our changing economy,” Romney reiterated. “Our legislation will help students pursue their education by equipping them with the financial resources and knowledge they need to attend college, career, and technical schools without the burden of being saddled with debt when they graduate.”
This comes at a time when the Biden administration has come under stress from leftist members of Congress to cancel up to $50,000 in student debt per individual. “The president has set his sights lower, saying he might target $10,000 in debt,” according to the Hill.
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said of Biden’s initiative:
He asked his secretary of Education, who’s just been on the job a few weeks, once he got on the job to have his department prepare a memo on the president’s legal authority, and hopefully we’ll see that in the next few weeks. And then he’ll look at that legal authority, he’ll look at the policy issues around that, and he’ll make a decision.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki in February also said the administration would request the Justice Department to “conduct a legal review of [Biden’s] authority to act by executive action.”