The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Opinion | Sens. Grassley and Ernst are betraying Iowa students

U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst are in support of blocking the Biden Administration’s efforts to reduce student loan debt and can’t seem to give a good reason why.

Not only are Iowa’s senators harming students, but they are also going out of their way to do so. 

Student loan debt is a crucial issue facing college students and graduates across the country. One may think the government should do whatever it can to erase all $1.75 trillion of debt, however, Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, have decided that their pride is more important than the financial well-being of students. 

On Sept. 5, the Biden administration announced it was providing student debt relief to 39,900 Iowans. This plan will calculate payments based on the borrower’s income and family size and then forgive the balances for a set of years. The Department of Education estimated under this new plan, borrowers may save about $1,000 per year. 

Unfortunately, Republican legislators including Ernst and Grassley are going out of their way to make sure students don’t get that much-needed relief. On Sept. 7, it was announced that Ernst and Grassley had teamed up with 15 other Republican senators to block this previous plan of President Biden.

On Oct. 4, the Biden administration announced they provided over $9 billion in student debt relief, and they approved $5.2 billion in debt relief for 53,300 borrowers under Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs, including $1.2 billion for 22,000 borrowers who have disabilities.

It has been estimated that 57 percent of Iowa College graduates will graduate with student loan debt, averaging almost $25,800 per person. 

If students have to grow up with thousands of dollars in debt, they won’t be able to move on with their lives and buy things like houses and cars because they have to put their lives on hold to pay their debt. 

Why would Ernst and Grassley possibly block this plan? Their actions demonstrate that they care that you don’t get help. They see this relief coming your way and they decide to block it. 

Ernst claimed the plan was a “student loan socialism scheme.” Grassley’s main point of argument has to do with saving money.

“Iowans, especially low-income Iowans, are looking for ways to save at the grocery store and the gas station, so you know how they feel about the SAVE plan,” he said. 

Ernst’s claim that it’s a “socialism” scheme is a fruitless typical excuse Republicans keep using to scare people away from this subject. Grassley’s claim about saving money is seemingly earnest, except reducing debt at all saves money for students, especially for low-income students. 

Grassley and Ernst may be blocking this on the basis of individualism and opposition to “handouts”, but student loan debt makes it extremely hard to get ahead in life no matter your level of effort.

Furthermore, it’s not like these students are carelessly spending money on things they don’t need; a college degree is very important to a steady career in many fields. Making it harder to get a degree in any way makes no sense, and holding someone back after they get a degree makes even less sense.

Blocking this plan is simply cruel because they are going out of their way to ensure students will have debt, which clearly inhibits their success in life.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.


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About the Contributor
Aaron El-Kerdani, Opinions Columnist
Fouad "Aaron" El-Kerdani is a third year student a the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinema. Prior to joining The Daily Iowan, Aaron did some journalism work for his classess involving interviews, photography, video editing, traveling to another country to cover an event, and his experience in film classess helped him develop these skills and gain knowledge on camera work and writing.