Jordan Candler / November 2, 2016

The Great Student Loan Heist

The DOE’s latest power play will inevitably lead to even broader centralization.

Another week, another instance of the Obama administration — more specifically the Department of Education — circumventing Congress to enact an agenda. The latest example pertains to higher education and the rules surrounding the repaying of student loans. National Review’s Preston Cooper summarizes the problem:

> This week, the Obama administration issued a finalized regulation that will allow the Department of Education (DOE) to cancel the debt of students who claim that their colleges have made a “substantial misrepresentation,” such as false or misleading statistics on promotional materials. The DOE can then recover any forgiven balance from the colleges themselves — a major, possibly fatal, financial burden for institutions.

Cooper calls this “another installment in a long saga of government officials using student-aid programs to wield influence over American higher education. Whoever writes the checks makes the rule, and the DOE uses its power to advance an agenda far beyond merely ensuring that taxpayers’ money is put to good use.” An example of how things could go haywire:

> For instance, Arizona Law School advertises that its graduates’ unemployment rate is 2.8 percent. As my Manhattan Institute colleague Max Eden pointed out in US News & World Report in August, the share of Arizona Law graduates without jobs — when you include those not looking for work — is actually 9.7 percent. Reasonable people would conclude that Arizona Law is nonetheless well within its rights to advertise the 2.8 percent figure, since by definition unemployed people must be looking for work. But the Department of Education could easily cite this “misrepresentation” as an excuse to punish Arizona Law and cancel the debt of students. Further, in deciding which “misrepresentation” claims pass muster, the DOE opens the door to selective enforcement and raises the specter of witch hunts against colleges that fall out of political favor.

As we’ve previously written, the larger problem is guaranteed access to federal money for education, which puts taxpayers on the hook. Guaranteed access means every education entity public or private is going to do whatever’s necessary to get a slice of the pie. Nowhere does the Constitution enumerate such a federal power or individual right to the fruits of someone else’s labor. Americans now owe $1.3 trillion in student debt, of which $1 trillion is held by the federal government. The DOE’s latest power play will inevitably lead to even broader centralization.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2022 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.