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February 21, 2023

“Biden’s Plan to Cancel Student Debt Hurts Colleges like Mine”

A Message from Our President

"Biden's plan to cancel student debt hurts colleges that opt out of the federal loan program," said Dr. Benjamin Merkle, president of New Saint Andrews College. The Idaho-based Christian liberal arts college declines to take federal student loan money. 

"Our principled decision allows us to stay true to our mission by not being encumbered by the strings attached to federal money," Dr. Merkle said. "And it keeps our tuition setting tuned to the actual price signals of the free market. When the Federal government subsidizes the rest of American colleges and universities, it penalizes colleges that prefer to carry their own weight." 

"I've been referring to this as our 'Big Ed' problem," Dr. Merkle said. "I believe more and more parents and students have added higher ed to a growing list of other 'big' businesses that abuse power to get easy money."

Concerning the upcoming Supreme Court hearing where Biden's plan is being challenged, Dr. Merkle said Biden's plan deserves to fail because it unfairly favors higher education institutions while damaging the nation. 

Dr. Merkle gave three ways that Biden's plan does damage:

-First, Biden's plan doesn't really cancel student loan debt. It just redistributes it to other taxpayers–many of whom did not attend college or have already paid back their debt. This is not equitable, fair, or right. -Second, moving the debt from the students who signed up for the student loan payments in the first place to the taxpayers who didn't will create a series of ripple effects that will be hard to reign in. Our nation's young people will learn that loans don't need to be paid back and taxpayers will grow more skeptical and bitter toward higher ed. -Third, the more that higher education participates in these federal loan programs the more it becomes dependent on federal handouts. Essentially, we are fostering yet another industrial-complex where American industry and the government are embroiled in a "too big to fail" mindset that fosters highly irresponsible financial behaviors. 

Dr. Merkle called the higher ed business model broken. 

"Biden's plan will not help the situation but will rather make it worse," Dr. Merkle said. "The real solution is for schools to take a hard look at what they are doing and to start weaning themselves off of taxpayer dollars. Getting out of the Big Ed mentality is very difficult, but if we can do that, it means more freedom to operate in intelligent ways."