WASHINGTON — While President Biden's student loan forgiveness plan came as welcome news to millions of Americans last month, it wasn't so well received by most Republican governors — including Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Florida's governor signed his name along with 21 other GOP governors on a joint letter on Sept. 12 calling on President Biden to "withdraw your student loan plan immediately."
The Republican governors argued that the plan will shift "the burden of debt from the wealthy to working Americans" and ultimately harm lower-income families. The letter claims it is unfair for those who already paid off their loans and those who chose not to go to college to cover the debt of the "16-17 percent of Americans" who have unpaid federal student loans.
"At a time when inflation is sky high due to your unprecedented tax-and-spend agenda, your plan will encourage more student borrowing, incentivize higher tuition rates, and drive-up inflation even further, negatively impacting every American," the letter reads, in part.
"Rather than addressing the rising cost of tuition for higher education or working to lower interest rates for student loans, your plan kicks the can down the road and makes today’s problems worse for tomorrow’s students."
The GOP leaders mentioned the plan is "estimated to cost the American taxpayer more than $2,000" on average — a number that came from the Penn Wharton Budget Model, which estimated the total cost of federal student loan forgiveness to be more than $300 billion.
It's important to note that this cost estimate was based on a hypothetical scenario that divides the cost of the program by the number of taxpayers, which is not how income taxes are determined. And, policymakers still haven't decided how they will pay for the loan forgiveness plan.
Last month, Biden pledged to wipe away at least $10,000 of college debt for people making less than $125,000 annually. For Pell Grant recipients, up to $20,000 will be canceled.
DeSantis has been an outspoken critic of the president's student loan plan since it was announced.
“The announcement yesterday that they are going to require the American taxpayer to basically be responsible for some of these student loans, first of all, is very unfair to people that took out loans, worked hard and paid off their loans," he said at a news conference in August.
“It’s very unfair to have a truck driver have to pay back a loan for somebody that got, like, a Ph.D. in gender studies."
It's unclear whether this joint letter will have any impact on the plan going forward, but the formal application for loan forgiveness is already underway.