News Column

DSCC: Joni Ernst Took Government Student Loans to Pay for College, But Doesn't Want Iowa Students to Have the Same Opportunity

August 25, 2014



WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 -- The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee issued the following news release:

Joni Ernst believes government student loans are good enough for her, but Iowa students don't deserve the same opportunity she had. Ernst told the Mason City Globe Gazette (http://globegazette.com/news/local/ernst-states-should-set-their-own-minimum-wage/article_71cc6cd7-6667-5f42-93c0-a6a0bc3f4fd4.html) today that she "knows the value of student loans because she received them when she was in school." But Ernst is a longtime advocate of eliminating the Department of Education and privatizing all student loan programs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wwaj8SRlIGg) even though it could mean dramatically higher costs for students and their families.

"Not only is Joni Ernst a Tea Partier, she's also a hypocrite. Iowa students and families deserve to hear from Joni Ernst why she believes they don't deserve the same opportunities to help make college more affordable that she enjoyed," said Regan Page, a spokeswoman at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. "Hardworking Iowa students need leaders in Washington who are standing up for them, not a Tea Party-partisan like Joni Ernst who took government student loans to pay for college but then wants to deny that same opportunity to everyone else. Joni Ernst's far-right positions Tea Party positions are wrong for Iowa."

BACKGROUND:

ERNST CALLED FOR AN END TO FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS

Ernst: "The Federal Government Has To Get Out Of The Student Loan Business." During a Republican Senate candidate forum sponsored by the Iowa State College Republicans, forum moderator Kevin Kimle asked: "What are your thoughts on the affordability of college education and role of the federal government related to that?" Joni Ernst responded: "Great question because right now in the United States there is about $1.2 trillion of student loan debt and so it is a very serious issue. And I agree; the federal government has to get out of the student loan business. Every time the federal government comes into situations like this, we see what happens. But what we need to ensure is that our students, as they're going off to whether it's a two-year institution, a community college, whether it's a four-year institution and beyond, we need to ensure that they're able to find student loans at reasonable rates within private banking entities. So let's get the federal government out of the business of student loans." [Iowa State College Republicans Senate Forum, Ames, IA, 4/2/14] (Video)

ERNST SAID WE CAN'T HELP STUDENTS WHO ALREADY HAVE LOANS WITH THEIR RATES

Ernst: "We Can't Help" Students Who Already Have Loans With Their Rates. Hoefert: "As a United States senator I would like you to address how you would tackle skyrocketing student loan debt which prevents many students from the financial flexibility to purchase homes and start businesses."Ernst: "That is a huge question and I think if we knew that answer we would already be hopefully implementing that, but it is a huge concern out there. I do have a daughter that's a freshman in high school. She is thinking ahead about what she wants to do in college so we do have to have reasonable rates for those students that are going off to college. We can't help that with those students that have already been there. They already have debt, but helping them perhaps extending the length of their loans, working with those interests rates we can perhaps ease them out into the market where they can purchase homes on their own." [Crawford County GOP Senate Forum, Westside, IA, 9/5/13] (Video)

ERNST CALLED FOR ABOLISHING THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

Ernst Said She Would Abolish The Department Of Education. Conway: "Would you abolish the Department of Education?" Ernst: "At the federal level, yes." [Simon Conway Show, 7/23/13] (Audio)

Ernst Said She Would Eliminate The Federal Department Of Education. Ernst: "I don't believe in an education department at the federal level. I think that is something that we could eliminate, and that would save." [Des Moines Conservative Club Breakfast, 8/20/13] (Audio)

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