(The Center Square) – An estimated 6,940 Arkansans are eligible for student loan forgiveness under a new plan from the Biden Administration, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
It will wipe out approximately $342.6 million for borrowers in Arkansas alone, the Department of Education said. In total, over 800,000 borrowers across the U.S. will be forgiven their student loans, costing taxpayers $39 billion.
The plan to forgive billions in Federal student loans through a change in how monthly payments are calculated under Income Driven Repayment plans was revealed weeks after the Supreme Court rejected President Joe Biden’s original plan to forgive hundreds of billions of dollars through the HEROES Act.
Sen. Tom Cotton, who has remained critical of Biden’s student loan forgiveness attempts, criticized passing student loan debt onto other taxpayers.
“President Biden is not Santa Claus. He can’t gift anyone with loan’ forgiveness,'” Cotton said. “He can only pass the debt to those who never went to college or paid back their debts.”
Previously, Cotton praised the Supreme Court for rejecting the Biden Administration’s first student loan forgiveness plan, which would have forgiven $10,000 per qualifying borrower and up to $20,000 for those who had received Pell Grants.
“Biden’s student loan transfer scheme required millions of Arkansans to pay off the loans of rich doctors and lawyers. The Supreme Court was right to strike this scam down,” Cotton said at the time.
Other critics said there were better ways to support those facing student loan debt.
“We should continue chopping down our state income tax and our grocery tax,” Opportunity Arkansas CEO Nicholas Horton told The Center Square. “That’s the best way to provide real relief to those who are having trouble making ends meet. Stop taxing the heck out of them and taking money out of their pockets, instead of spending us into oblivion which will only mean more taxes later on.”
Horton said he sympathized with people feeling the weight of student loan debt as he came out of college with about $140,000 of debt himself, but he didn’t agree with making other Arkansans pick up the bill.
“This isn’t free money; there’s no such thing. This is money that will be taken out of working Arkansans’ pockets, now and later, and redistributed. It’s wrong. We’ve got to change our thinking and our mindset around this issue. It should be a motivator to make work more accessible and eliminate silly government rules that are increasing costs for all Arkansans,” Horton said.