Outgoing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday took a veiled swing at President-elect Joe Biden’s education plans, calling his proposals for student debt cancellation and tuition-free college a “socialist takeover” of higher education in America that could damage the nation’s economy.
“Make no mistake: It is a socialist takeover of higher education,” DeVos said at an online conference hosted by the Education Department’s Federal Student Aid office.
“Now, depending on your personal politics, some of you might not find that notion as scary as I do. But mark my words: None of you would like the way it will work.”
Part of Biden’s Campaign
Biden campaigned on the issue, promising to make public colleges and universities free for families earning less than $125,000 annually and make community colleges free for up to two years.
He had also proposed to expand the existing loan forgiveness program, calling for the cancellation of $10,000 in federal student debt for all borrowers as part of a COVID-19 relief effort.
Meanwhile, other Democratic leaders including Senators Charles Schumer, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren are calling for the cancellation of up to $50,000 in student debt.
Hmm. What do you call a billionaire who registered a $40 million, 164-foot yacht in the Cayman Islands to avoid $2.4 million in U.S. taxes, while undermining public schools? The worst Education Secretary in the history of America. Bye-bye, Betsy DeVos. You won't be missed. https://t.co/KCbsTs4aCY
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) December 2, 2020
“We’ve heard shrill calls to cancel, to forgive, to make it all free,” DeVos said in her speech. “Any innocuous label out there can’t obfuscate what it really is: wrong.”
Free College to Erode Quality of Education
She then warned that tuition-free college will erode the quality of education and termed the plan “unfair” for those who have paid their debts.
“If the politicians proposing ‘free college’ today get their way, just watch our colleges and universities begin to resemble a failing K-12 school, with the customer service of the DMV to boot.”
She continued that it would be “fundamentally unfair to ask two-thirds of Americans who don’t go to college to pay the bills for the mere one-third who do. And it’s even more unfair to those who have held up their end of the bargain and paid back their student loans themselves to subsidize those who don’t save, plan, and pay.”
DeVos has been accused of tightening Obama era-rules for student borrowers who say their schools defrauded them.
In 2019, a federal judge held her in contempt of court after finding she violated an order to halt the collection of loan payments from borrowers applying for forgiveness.