Gov. Pete Ricketts of Nebraska joined 21 other Republican governors Monday in a letter bashing President Joe Biden's plan for college loan forgiveness.
In the letter, the governors called the plan a costly and unfair scheme to shift responsibility from students onto American taxpayers. They argued that people who paid their way through college or did not attend college should not have to pay for others who owe on student loans.
"Only 16-17 percent of Americans have federal student loan debt, and yet, your plan will require their debts be redistributed and paid by the vast majority of taxpayers," the governors said, adding: "Simply put, your plan rewards the rich and punishes the poor."
The governors estimated the plan would cost taxpayers more than $2,000 each, or $600 billion total, while driving up already "sky-high inflation" and incentivizing colleges to charge higher tuition.
Republicans generally have criticized Biden's late August announcement that he was taking action to cancel student loan debt for millions of borrowers. The plan would cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt for Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 for other borrowers.
The Biden administration estimated the move would reduce loan repayments collected by the government by an average of $24 billion annually for 10 years, making the cost over that period about $240 billion. Others have put the cost much higher.
The Penn Wharton Budget Model pegged the cost of loan forgiveness between $469 billion and $519 billion over 10 years, depending on whether existing and new students are included. The model estimated that about 75% of the benefit would go to households making $88,000 or less per year.
In announcing the plan, Biden argued that skyrocketing cumulative federal student loan debt — $1.6 trillion and rising for more than 45 million borrowers — is a significant burden on America’s middle class.
He said the cost of college has nearly tripled since 1980 and federal student aid has not kept up, leaving many students with little choice but to take out loans. The resulting debts hamper many Americans' chances of buying a house, starting a business or saving for retirement.
Top Journal Star Photos for September
Sam Simpson on Friday walks through a field of U.S. flags set up in memory of those who died on 9/11, Friday, Sept. 9. Volunteers placed 2,977 flags at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's East Campus and wrote thank you cards for local firefighters, law enforcement and residents at the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Healthcare System.
A Nebraska fan reacts to a missed field goal as time expired in the Huskers' 45-42 loss to Georgia Southern on Saturday, Sept. 10, at Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska wide receiver Trey Palmer (3) can't pull in a pass against Georgia Southern on Saturday, Sept. 10, at Memorial Stadium.
Lincoln Southwest's Jack Baptista (3) dives for the pylon against Lincoln East on Friday, Sept. 9, at Seacrest Field.
Lincoln North Star's Dylan Hallett (3) tackles Kearney's Kole Throckmorton (91) on Thursday, Sept. 8, at Seacrest Field.
Aurora's Carlos Collazo (left) is tackled by Ashland-Greenwood's Logan Sobota (center) and Thomas Spears (right) during a run in the second quarter Friday, Sept. 9, in Ashland.
Ashland-Greenwood's Dane Jacobsen practices throws during warmups before the Bluejays' game against Aurora on Friday, Sept. 9, in Ashland.
A look at Nebraska's light show after the third quarter of the Georgia Southern game Saturday, Sept. 10, at Memorial Stadium.
Scott Frost enters a truck to exit Memorial Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 11, after he was fired as Nebraska's head football coach.
Eli Soell of Lincoln (right) celebrates a Nebraska touchdown against Georgia Southern on Saturday, Sept. 10, at Memorial Stadium.
Georgia Southern's Kyle Vantrease leaps over Nebraska's Ernest Hausmann (bottom left) and Luke Reimer (bottom center) to score the game-winning touchdown on Saturday, Sept. 10, at Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska's Kaitlyn Hord celebrates after scoring a point against Long Beach State on Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Devaney Sports Center.
Nebraska volleyball head coach John Cook (left) talks with Tyler Hildebrand, Long Beach State's head coach and a former assistant at Nebraska under Cook, on Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Devaney Sports Center.
S-E-M's Creyton Line (left) grabs the helmet of Parkview Christian's Alex Rohrbaugh on Friday, Sept. 9, at Larry and Carol Frost Field.
Nebraska head coach Scott Frost walks off the field after the Huskers lost to Georgia Southern on Saturday, Sept. 10, at Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska's bench reacts to a play during the match against Creighton
on Wednesday at CHI Health Center Omaha.
Nebraska's Lindsay Krause (22) hits a ball past Creighton defenders on Wednesday at CHI Health Center Omaha.
A airman walks along the wing of now retired WC-135C/W, during a retirement ceremony for the final "nuke sniffer" aircraft used by The Fightin’ Fifty-Fifth at the Lincoln Airport on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, in Lincoln, NE. The WC-135 Constant Phoenix is a special-purpose aircraft derived from the Boeing C-135 Stratolifter and used by the United States Air Force. Its mission is to collect samples from the atmosphere for the purpose of detecting and identifying nuclear explosions. It is also informally referred to as the "weather bird" or "the sniffer" by workers on the program and international media respectively. The 55th Wing will retired one of it jets and welcomed its latest during a 1 p.m. ceremony at the Lincoln Airport. The Fightin’ Fifty-Fifth officially retired the WC-135C/W and officially welcomed WC-135R tail number 4836 to its fleet. Tail 4836 is the first of three WC-135R deliveries to the wing, while tail 2667 is the last of the old WC-135C/W fleet to be retired.
Shawna Fosket holds a Super Punch, a punch needle tool she's worked to develop. A
Kickstarter campaign has raised almost $6,000.
Lincoln High's Faith Van Eck (left) attempts to block Lincoln Northeast's Genna LeMay in the second set at Lincoln Northeast on Tuesday.
Nebraska's Nicklin Hames (center) reacts after a serve by Lexi Rodriguez (right) won the second set for the Huskers at the Devaney Sports Center on Saturday.
Nebraska's Bekka Allick (left) and Nicklin Hames celebrate after a Husker kill against Mississippi in the second set at the Devaney Sports Center on Saturday.
Nebraska linebacker Ernest Hausmann takes the field before the game against North Dakota on Saturday. Hausmann, a true freshman, played 40 snaps in the game.
Nebraska edge rusher Garrett Nelson walks off the field after the Huskers' win against North Dakota on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska running back Ajay Allen celebrates his fourth-quarter touchdown against North Dakota on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
A first-quarter moon rises over Memorial Stadium toward the end of the Nebraska-North Dakota game on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska's Anthony Grant (left) tries to break loose from North Dakota's Marcus Vaughn-Jones (9) on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska coach Scott Frost talks with North Dakota coach Bubba Schweigert before Saturday's game at Memorial Stadium.
Fans arrive at Memorial Stadium before the North Dakota game on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska head coach Scott Frost high-fives a young fan before the North Dakota game on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Lincoln High players Adonis Hutchinson (2), Javon Leuty (22) and Beni Ngoyi (8) walk out of the tunnel before taking on Omaha Northwest on Friday at Beechner Complex.
Lincoln Southeast's Henry Woods (top) is brought down by Lincoln East's Carter Tempelmeyer
on Friday at Seacrest Field.
Mario Garcia of Lincoln, a passenger on the first flight to Houston early Friday, picks up souvenirs at Lincoln Airport's first flight ceremony.
Lincoln North Star's Jace Coleman (14) is tackled by Lincoln Northeast on Thursday at Seacrest Field.
Lincoln North Star players celebrate after winning a softball game against Lincoln Pius X Thursday at Doris Bair Softball Complex.
Nebraska's Lexi Rodriguez (center left) and Madi Kubik (top right) celebrate with their team Kubik's match-ending kill against Loyola Marymount on Thursday at the Devaney Sports Center.
Nebraska's Madi Kubik (top left) reacts after a kill by teammate Lindsay Krause (center) against Loyola Marymount on Thursday at the Devaney Sports Center.
Danish artist Julie Sass works Wednesday to assemble her show, “IMAGE: temporary constellation,” at Fiendish Plots at 2130 Magnum Circle.
Construction of the new football training complex has progressed to the point that fans will be able to access the northeast corner of Memorial Stadium this season.
State Sen. Suzanne Geist of Lincoln (left) is cheered on by her husband Mark Geist as she announces her bid to be Lincoln's next mayor on Wednesday at MoMo Pizzeria & Ristorante.
Supporters of Earnest Jackson, including cousin Millie Rush (from left), mother Brenda Jackson-Williams and cousin Sabrina McGraw, all of Omaha, gather in a circle for 22 minutes in support of him after the Nebraska Board of Pardons denied his request for a sentence commutation Monday at the Capitol.
Nebraska interim head coach Mickey Joseph takes the field with the Huskers before the game against Oklahoma on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Oklahoma wide receiver Jalil Farooq (3) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against Nebraska in the first quarter Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska's Anthony Grant (10) hurdles Oklahoma's Kani Walker (26) and Damond Harmon (17) on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Lincoln High's Liam Thew (33) warms up before Friday's game between Lincoln High and Grand Island at the Beechner Athletic Complex.
Lincoln East's Hudson Davy races toward the finish line in the boys varsity race
during the Harold Scott Invite on Thursday at Pioneers Park.
Lincoln Southeast's Max Buettenback (25) reels in an interception over Lincoln North Star's Braeden Sunken (7) and his teammate Nate McCashland (3) during the first quarter Friday at Seacrest Field.
Cross country runners compete in the Harold Scott Invite on Thursday at Pioneers Park.
Nebraska's Bekka Allick (5) reacts after dropping a point in the first set against Stanford on Tuesday at the Devaney Sports Center.
Workers assemble a set for Fox Big Noon Kickoff show, Friday, Sept. 16, 2022 at University of Nebraska Union, in Lincoln.
Mickey Joseph speaks at his first news conference as Nebraska's interim football coach Tuesday. “For right now, my No. 1 focus and the staff’s focus is the players, that we make sure that they’re OK," he said.
Lincoln East's Kamdyn Roebke catches a pass against Lincoln Northeast
on Thursday at Seacrest Field.