USA Today joined the Chicago Tribune and the Washington Post in bashing Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D., Mass.) proposal to forgive some $1.5 trillion in student loan debt in an editorial on Thursday.
"Throwing more money at universities is not the solution," the editorial board wrote. "In fact, a good case can be made that it is a part of the problem."
The editorial cited a study from The New York Federal Reserve, showing that "for every dollar in new subsidized student loans the government offers, schools jack up the price of tuition by 60 cents."
"Any honest higher education plan would focus on getting universities to bring their tuition costs under control. The federal government provides about $30 billion a year in grants and more than $100 billion in loans so that millions of young men and women can attend college," the board wrote. "This money provides more than enough leverage for the federal government to demand action."
But Warren's plan, which proposes eliminating college tuition and forgive much student over the next 10 years, does not do that, the board argues. It could even deepen divisions between the rich and poor and "raise fundamental questions of fairness."
"Parents, for instance, might save less for college if they thought they could borrow money and not have to pay it back," the board wrote. "Those who financed college through work study or taking time off to earn money would justifiably be outraged, as would those who scrimped and saved to pay off loans not eligible for forgiveness. The concept of debts as personal obligations would be undermined."
The board concludes that Warren's plan will only continue to make college more unaffordable: "Any higher education plan should start with halting the cost increases so that any additional money spent by taxpayers actually goes to making college more affordable. Warren's approach would do the opposite."