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Another Republican Blames Students For Rising College Costs

Roy Blunt Joins Ron Johnson In Bizarre Crusade Against Students

Two recent comments from vulnerable Senate Republicans have opened a troubling window into their attitudes towards students working to earn a college degree with the help of student loans. Last month it was Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson implying that students are racking up more loan debt because they spend too much time partying. Now it’s Roy Blunt blaming rising student loan debt on students’ lavish “living standards.”

Here’s The Hill reporting on Johnson talking about why so many students are taking longer than four years to graduate. Note that he completely glosses over the many students who are forced to take reduced class loads as they work one or more jobs to put themselves through school:

“It’s pretty easy to get a federal loan, college is fun,” he said with a laugh…I’d argue, well, loans are actually pretty easy to get and college is a lot of fun. All three of my kids went to Madison and I guarantee you, they had a really good time, particularly that first year of college,” he said…Johnson continued on to argue that students think that “It’s kind of free money, young people don’t necessarily understand finance.”

And last week, at a hearing on for-profit colleges, Roy Blunt also took aim at students when discussing the rising cost of college. Huffington Post reports:

We ought to be talking about … the debt problem when you get out of school. How much of that related to the actual cost of going to school and how much it related to what you thought your living standards should be while you went to school, and I’m pretty confident over the years that the student expectations for their personal living standards in school have often increased where they would have been a few just years ago.

Johnson and Blunt both voted against letting borrowers refinance their student loans at lower interest rates even though 515,000 people in Wisconsin and 523,000 people in Missouri would have benefited.

“It’s as if Ron Johnson and Roy Blunt got together and decided they would actively try to dissuade young people from voting for them, but far worse than the bad politics is their genuine belief that students are somehow to blame for the rising cost of college,” said Sadie Weiner, DSCC National Press Secretary. “If they’re so concerned about the rising cost of college, maybe Ron Johnson and Roy Blunt should do something about it rather than casting fault on students and voting down proposals to help borrowers refinance their student loan debt.”

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