President Joe Biden's controversial decision to cancel nearly $600 billion in student loan debt is "just one strategy out of many" and much more needs to be done to not "be in the same situation five years from now," Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona told Newsmax.
Cardona, who spoke at a press breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor in Washington on Wednesday, was responding to a just-released study by the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimating the overall student debt portfolio will return to $1.6 trillion by 2028.
Adjusted for inflation, the report noted, this means that student debt would return to its current level by 2031.
"This decision [to cancel some of the debt] is just one strategy out of many," said Cardona. "The worst thing that could happen is for us to provide debt relief and be in the same situation five years from now. So if we don't stop the bleeding, we'll be in the same situation we're now in."
To "stop the bleeding," Cardona cited "public service loan forgiveness, income-driven repayment, and ensuring a better return on investment in colleges."
"College costs have ballooned," he said. "We have to make sure we're working with higher education institutions to hold them accountable for a good return on investment. We'll increase the college scorecard attributes, meaning parents will know more about graduation rates and gainful employment rates of students who go to those schools."
Rather than dispute the Responsible Federal Budget's findings, the education chief said they were "absolutely right."
"If we think that the loan forgiveness alone will help fix the root cause of the issue, that's short-sided," he said. "We're working really hard on those processes that got us where we are. [This is] fixing the broken system."
Cardona also pointed to Biden's pursuit of reducing the deficit, such as with the recently-passed Inflation Reduction Act.
"We do believe that debt relief is what Americans need right now," he told Newsmax, recalling a recent conversation with a teacher saying that the efforts of the Biden administration to alleviate debt allowed him to use the funds that he was going to use to pay off his student loans to instead help his daughter go to college.
"[The Inflation Reduction Act] is helping everyday Americans," said Cardona. "So, the focus is not only on debt relief. So, it's not just flashy, I believe, but fixing a broken system."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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