Author: Andrew Gillen

Andrew Gillen is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Biden’s New Student Loan Repayment Plan Would Ruin Student Lending

While President Biden’s proposed student loan forgiveness plan is justifiably getting most of the attention in the higher education policy world, he also proposed a new student loan repayment program that fundamentally undermines a definitional aspect of loans—repayment. Under this new plan, the median bachelor’s degree recipient will only owe $68 a month, regardless of […]

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Debunking the State Disinvestment Myth

The notion that states have been cutting funding for higher education, commonly referred to as state disinvestment, is widespread within academia and the media. These cuts are alleged to be responsible for much of what ails higher education, especially the rise in tuition. Consider, for example, some recent statements from education leaders: • James Kvaal, […]

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Five Problems with Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan (And What To Do About Them)

The Biden administration just announced its long-anticipated student loan forgiveness plan. The plan would forgive $10,000 for borrowers making less than $125,000 per year ($250,000 if married) and $20,000 for Pell grant recipients. On the bright side, the Biden plan could have been worse, such as wiping out all debt with no income restrictions. But […]

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A Skeleton Key for Higher Education

In a recent interview, Richard Hanania and Gail Heriot note how the legal concept of disparate impact—that any difference in group outcomes is evidence of discrimination—essentially makes everything illegal. This, in turn, gives the government the authority to do whatever it wants by selectively choosing which cases to bring: Literally any practice you can think […]

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GI Bill Benefits are Compensation, Not a Loophole

For years progressives have been trying to close an imaginary loophole regarding the 90-10 rule and the GI Bill. Colleges are subject to the 90-10 rule, which requires that no more than 90% of their revenue can come from federal financial aid. Meanwhile, Congress has consistently passed GI Bills, which provide funding for servicemembers and […]

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Student Loans Cost Taxpayers $645 Billion More Than We Were Told

Among the debates over federal student loans, two of the most important are: 1) should student loans be used to subsidize college? and 2) are student loans subsidizing college? Should Student Loans be Used to Subsidize College? Regarding the first debate, scholars have long pointed out that there is a role for government facilitation of […]

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The Biden Administration’s Attack on Florida Over College Accreditation

If you’re not familiar with higher education accreditation, you may want to get up to speed. Accreditation is rapidly shaping up to be one of the most important front lines in the never-ending battle between reformers and the establishment. The latest confrontation concerns the Biden administration’s effort to subvert recent reforms in Florida. But first, […]

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Republicans are Pushing for the Wrong Student Loan Reform

As student loan debt has grown (currently more than $1.6 trillion in federal loans), it has gotten more attention from the public and Washington. Progressives are pushing for free college and loan forgiveness. While conservatives have rightly criticized the Biden administration’s proposals, they haven’t put forward many alternatives. Unfortunately, one of the few ideas that […]

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Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan Would Be a Huge Mistake

President Joe Biden is considering a student loan forgiveness plan which would forgive $10,000 per borrower for individuals making less than $150,000 per year ($300,000 for a family). Without the income cap, this would cost $380.2 billion. It would wipe out the entire debt of those with a balance of $10,000 or less (15.2 million […]

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The Legal Problems With Student Loan Forgiveness

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from The Problems with Student Loan Forgiveness, a new report from the Texas Public Policy Foundation that argues against universal and complete student loan forgiveness. This is the sixth in a series of six excerpts from the report. Part 6: Legal Problems With Student Loan Forgiveness The Executive […]

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The Political Problems With Student Loan Forgiveness

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from The Problems with Student Loan Forgiveness, a new report from the Texas Public Policy Foundation that argues against universal and complete student loan forgiveness. This is the fifth in a series of six excerpts from the report. Part 5: Political Problems With Student Loan Forgiveness There are […]

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The Moral Problems with Student Loan Forgiveness

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from The Problems with Student Loan Forgiveness, a new report from the Texas Public Policy Foundation that argues against universal and complete student loan forgiveness. This is the fourth in a series of six excerpts from the report. Part 4: Moral Problems With Student Loan Forgiveness Student loan […]

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The Economic Problems with Student Loan Forgiveness

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from The Problems with Student Loan Forgiveness, a new report from the Texas Public Policy Foundation that argues against universal and complete student loan forgiveness. This is the third in a series of six excerpts from the report. Part 3: Economic Problems With Student Loan Forgiveness Student loan […]

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The Educational Problems With Student Loan Forgiveness

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from The Problems with Student Loan Forgiveness, a new report from the Texas Public Policy Foundation that argues against universal and complete student loan forgiveness. This is the second in a series of six excerpts from the report. Part 2: Educational Problems With Student Loan Forgiveness The next […]

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The Logical and Rhetorical Problems With Student Loan Forgiveness

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from The Problems with Student Loan Forgiveness, a new report from the Texas Public Policy Foundation that argues against universal and complete student loan forgiveness. This is the first in a series of six excerpts from the report. Part 1: Logical and Rhetorical Problems With Student Loan Forgiveness […]

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Further Evidence That Higher Education Accreditation Is a Cartel

Accreditors serve as key gatekeepers in higher education. Without accreditation, a college’s students are not eligible to receive federal financial aid such as Pell grants and federal student loans. This gives accreditors a fairly unique role in allocating federal spending—these private entities decide whether taxpayer dollars will flow to a college. Given that the public […]

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The Latest Batch of Forgiven Loans Shows Why Student Loan Forgiveness Is Such a Bad Idea

The Department of Education is going to forgive an additional $6.2 billion in student loans for 100,000 students through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. This adds to the $1 billion in previously forgiven loans for 11,000 students. This shows one of the reasons why student loan forgiveness is such a bad idea. Under the […]

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I Just Made My Last Student Loan Payment—Here’s How to Improve the System

I borrowed over $30,000 for college, and after many years of repayment, I am now officially (student loan) debt-free. By a bizarre twist of fate, much of my professional life has been devoted to studying financial aid programs like student loans. In this essay, I reflect back on how my student loan experience compares to […]

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PSLF Was Already Bad. The Biden Administration Just Made It Worse.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education announced new changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. The changes make a bad program worse. PSLF was launched in 2007 and provides accelerated loan forgiveness for politically favored workers.  Other college graduates with student loan debt need to make payments for at least 20 years […]

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Six Thoughts on Biden’s Free Community College Plan

Details are starting to emerge about the Biden administration’s plans for free community college. According to a story in Inside Higher Ed by Alexis Gravely, the key details include: States that opt-in must set community college tuition and fees to $0 and must maintain current spending on community colleges. To offset the loss of tuition, […]

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The Four Schools of Conservative Thought on Education

Editor’s Note: This excerpt is part of a longer essay published by The Heritage Foundation on the conservative policy response to COVID for higher education. The full essay can be found at The Heritage Foundation website. The key to finding policies that can garner widespread conservative support lies in understanding the four schools of thought through […]

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Data-Driven Accountability is Coming to Higher Ed

Most people and institutions are held accountable, however imperfectly. We all know of a charlatan who has yet to be exposed, or a shady institution that is coasting on its reputation, but eventually, the truth wins out. With any luck, that moment has arrived for higher education. Last fall’s publication of the most comprehensive college […]

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Don’t Bail Out Colleges. Help Students Instead.

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing devastating financial damage throughout the economy, and higher education is no exception. Colleges worry about a decline in enrollments from students newly wary of gathering in close quarters, cuts in state funding that historically accompany recessions, and declines in the value of endowments. These dangers are real, but they don’t […]

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State-Funded Colleges Are Still Well Funded

I have a confession to make. My recent study on state funding of higher education was about the simplest piece of research I’ve done in a dozen years. So was the finding; there’s been no trend of state disinvestment in higher education. But what a ruckus it caused. The key finding entailed simply downloading and […]

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How to Lower Skyrocketing College Tuition Costs

Conservatives have long worried about the Bennett Hypothesis. Named for former Education Secretary William Bennett, it argues that the availability of federal financial aid programs leads colleges to increase tuition faster than they otherwise would. Conservatives have been right to worry. But there’s a way to break that link—by changing how we determine aid eligibility. […]

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A Better Way to Solve the Student Loan Crisis

Skin in the game for student loans, the idea that colleges should face financial consequence when their students default, is gaining momentum in policy discussions. After all, when students take out loans, the colleges get all their money upfront, leaving taxpayers holding the bag when students default on the loan payments years later. It seems […]

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Student loan debt

Here’s Why Tuition Keeps Rising

Ice cream cake has a disturbingly short lifespan in my home. When one is nearby, I ruthlessly hunt it down and devour it. Some days, when I have biked to work or gone for a run, I easily convince myself that I deserve cake as a reward. But exercise does not cause my cake-eating. It […]

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Default on Student Loans? Bad Idea

Writing in The New York Times, Lee Siegel encourages students to follow his example and default on their student loans. The four biggest problems with his piece are: Siegel is the wrong case study Even if you are of the opinion that college should be free and student debt is immoral, Siegel is the wrong […]

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Defending Income-Contingent Student Loans

Last week George Leef argued that my recent case for income contingent lending (ICL), a type of student loan where the monthly payment is a function of the student’s income, was off base. One of his main points was that if ICL is such a good idea, “Why do we not find “income-contingent” lending in […]

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Let’s Tie Our Hands on Student Loans

Odysseus, in Homer’s Odyssey, orders himself tied to the mast of his ship so he can hear the beautiful song of the Sirens without risking the usual gruesome fate of those who sail too close to the singers. This lesson – if you know you are going to make a bad decision you should tie […]

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