Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced two bills on Tuesday to target the “monopolies” higher education institutions have created to make earning degrees involve accumulating massive student debt.
The Hill reported:
The first provides federal student aid dollars to students pursuing vocational training or education by targeting the Pell Grant system. The proposed law first opens up Pell Grants to institutions that provide job training or other alternative certifications and instructs the Department of Education to create a certification pathway for such institutions.
The second measure dramatically takes aim at student loan debt by requiring higher education institutions to pay off 50 percent of the balance of student loans for those who attended their institution and end up in default. The bill also prohibits them from increasing the cost of attendance.
“There’s no reason we should only be privileging those students who want to go to traditional 4 year institutions,” Hawley told Hill.TV in a phone interview. “We need to allow these opportunities in the form of these tax dollars to follow these students into other opportunities, other outlets that will help them get the skills they need to get the career path that’s right for them.”
Hawley said in the Hill.TV interview that the bill was “meant to address the concentration of power that has accumulated in the higher education space” and added that “many of them have built massive endowments that has been enabled by federal tax dollars” and that the institutions “have gobbled those up and raised tuition so students have not benefited at all.”
“It’s time we address that concentration of power by creating a completely alternative pathway that students could choose that would give them options that are right for them,” Hawley said.
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