Ron Paul defends eventual end to federal student loans
October 30th, 2011
12:44 PM ET
2 years ago

Ron Paul defends eventual end to federal student loans

(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul said Sunday his proposed plan to phase out federal student loans would lower the costs of a college education, making it more affordable for those wanting to attend.

“Anybody who’s ambitious enough will get to go to college,” Paul said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The Texas congressman, who is making his third presidential bid, said federally funded education assistance raises the price of education while not improving the caliber, a cycle that will “backfire.”

Paul’s plan would eliminate the Department of Education but keep the features that handle student loans for the time being, ensuring there are no cuts to those currently receiving assistance or who will in the near future.

In a USA Today editorial Friday, Paul said eventually transitioning away from government-backed student aid would “give us better educational opportunities at a better price.”

“Why should people who are laborers who never get to go to college, why should they be taxed to send some of us through college?” Paul said Sunday on CNN. “So it’s not even a fair system when it works. But obviously it doesn’t work and that’s why it’s coming to an end.”

Paul has long advocated for cuts in spending and the national debt while calling for numerous government agencies to shut their doors and a renewed emphasis on individual responsibility. His responsibility platform also extends to education, he said.

“The responsibility is on the individual and the family to take care of their needs, not the federal bureaucracy. It just doesn’t work,” Paul said.

When asked if he would agree that some people in the United States “need federal help,” Paul told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that there are “always some needs, the market isn’t perfect.”

“It will not be perfect, but what we have now is this catastrophic mistake where people have a pseudo education and no jobs,” Paul said. “We’ve indentured them.”

Also see:

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Santorum: 'They're trying to Huckabee me'

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.


Filed under: 2012 • Ron Paul • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. Jim Donnally

    Ron Paul is right on. If we had a loan program for riding lawn mowers or big screen TV's or whatever, prices would obviously sky rocket. The price would come down drastically unless every University wanted to go bankrupt. I know what having tons of debt is like, and it is not something I would wish on anyone, let alone the next generation.

    October 30, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  2. Bessy

    As usual, Paul is way off the deep end. What he is proposing means that only kids of rich framilies will get an education. But then again, this is what the Republicans want and plan to achieve.

    October 30, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  3. Chris53186

    He is 100% right. The schools continue to raise the price of tuition because they know they can rely on getting endless amounts of money coming in from the government. If the government gets out of the way prices will go down. The problem is that the American society has grown to rely on the government, and has backed away from the notion of taking care of themselves and their families. It is absurd to think without government loans people will all of a sudden not be able to go to college. The people that refuse to go to school because they cannot get student loans are throwing in the towel. I know countless people who have worked their way through college, and within two years of graduation have paid off any private loans they received. The people need to stop relying on the government to take care of them from cradle to grave. Start out in community college if you must. You are NOT entitled to anything. College loan debt has no surpassed the nations credit card debt. This is a failed program. Open you eyes...this is what a trillion dollars looks like: 1,000,000,000,000.00. Student loan amounts have doubled in the past decade, and is completely unsustainable. We need to cut spending now, or we will be worrying about much more serious things.

    October 30, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  4. Brad

    He never said end student loans; he just does not think the people of the US should foot the bill. Student loans can still be sought through schools or other institutions and will be better for everyone involved, but the government system fails here as well. This is not that difficult to understand if you just stop watching so much TV...

    October 30, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. bill

    If ron paul becomes president. With in 4 years, milk will cost $1.50 a gallon again, Gas for your car for under a dollar! More American made products. the people will get wealthy again!

    October 30, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  6. George

    Why should Universities lower tuition if they know the government will just pick up the slack by offering students loans to cover the cost? It is not the governments job to give loans to everyone wanting to attend college, especially when their degree offers no means of paying it off.

    October 30, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  7. Chris53186

    Regulate the cost of education? So you want to live in a communist state? Ron Paul is right. Federal student loan debt has now surpassed the nations credit card debt. This is unsustainable. this is what 1 trillion dollars looks like $1,000,000,000,000.00. How will we ever pay off our federal debt if we do not cut any spending...and in a major way.

    October 30, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  8. Dante

    Dr. Paul worked his way through college – as did my grandparents and most others of that generation. If you wanted to go to college back then you got a job at the same time and worked your way through. Four years later you had a college degree, AND, no debt.

    Fast forward to today.

    Econ 101 – if I am a college / university I no longer have to worry about my students having enough money to pay for tuition. I have no incentive or reason to keep costs low – my students will always be able to receive government loans to cover my exorbitant tuition costs. Thus I will keep raising tuition because I can, and because there is no incentive to lower my costs.

    Tuition costs have skyrocket 500% since student loans became so readily available. It is no longer possible to work one's way through college. If we took away the federally subsidized student loans – colleges and universities would be forced to get more efficient, and lower costs.

    October 30, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  9. NVa Native

    How much more out of touch can these Repub candidates be?
    They want to end student loans – do they have any idea of how many people who go to college use these loans and wouldn't be able to if the loans weren't available?
    No and the GOP doesn't care.
    Same question for SS, Medicaid, Medicare – except do they know how many paid into these programs and are entitled to have them to be there when they need them?
    No – and the GOP doesn't care.
    The GOP politicians have no clue of what they are doing and who or how many their actions will effect.
    GOP – No, and we don’t care!!

    October 30, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  10. WF

    Yeah right. College costs will go down like I will grow hair back on my bald head. How in the hell does he figures the cost of college will go down if the student loans are dropped. That is like saying the price of gas will go down when people cut back on driving. He forgot to tell that to the oil companys. Colleges are laughing on this one.

    October 30, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  11. Kara

    The price of higher education far, far, far has outpaced inflation and no one seems to question why. It is because it is in a bubble. As always, government money floods the system and pumps up the prices. The result? A college degree in now equivalent to a high school degree and in order to obtain one you need to place yourself into indentured servitude. Barely half of all students even graduate...in 6 years (not even 4). But they all wind up with a nice chunk of nonchargeable debt. There was time when someone could pay for college by working a summer job, those days are long gone. Take the government loans out of the system, allow people to discharge them in bankruptcy, and presto! The prices will drop back down to sane rates. Kids who want to go to college will work hard to get there, those that don't want to or are not mature enough yet to go will not be cajoled into going because they are offered easy access loans.

    October 30, 2011 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  12. mike

    He worked to get through collage and paid his kids way because he didn't think that the rest of us should have to subsidize their education. He's right, I go to school online and get all kinds of grants and loans but the education that I get is not very good. Not comparable to a university in any way except for cost. Of course these schools will charge more when they know they will get a guaranteed check from the government.

    October 30, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. plantingfeet

    If he is slowly fazing it out, and college becomes cheaper, then college is available to MORE individuals. Why should my hard earned money go to taxes that provide a college education for someone who is on welfare, while I can't afford the cost of college for my own kids (because I make enough to live).That's wrong.

    October 30, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  14. Michael

    Not to put too fine a point on it,

    But the price of education will drop like a stone without student loans. Banks won't lend regular loans to students because students will just declare bankruptcy rather than repay(government student loans survive bankruptcy, regular loans do not. This was done for this very reason).

    Colleges are businesses, if no one can afford their prices they will either drop them or go out of business (and they will choose to drop them) . Having an empty college because no one can afford the prices won't happen.

    What WILL happen also though is that better colleges will be unattainable by the average american (Ivy league will once again be unattainable for most).

    So pick your poison: Everyone gets whatever education they want and spends their life as indentured servants if they don't have rich parents OR People can afford education, but only those with rich parents get the best education.

    There is no magic Utopian solution, its a choice of which evil do you prefer.

    October 30, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  15. iamthetable

    I think it should be a "we match your academic contribution" sort of thing. If my grades are 4.0 then they loan me 100%. If I am 3.5 to 3.99 then they pay 75%. Anything below 3.5 they will loan me half. I know so many people who are in school and could really care less about the whole thing, they are just doing it for "something to do". I don't mind my tax dollars paying for Doctors, Engineers and Scientists who are earning straight A's but to know I am paying for a C student majoring in liberal arts and drinking beer every other day pisses me off.

    October 30, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  16. Eric

    Ron Paul's got it 100% right. Get the government out of the student loan business and allow the private loan firms to compete thus lowering the intrest rates. Makes sense to me.

    October 30, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  17. Kimmie72

    If you want a college education, why don't you go to work, live frugally, save the money that you earn. When you have enough, then go to college. Why do you need anyone to subsidize your education? If you want something bad enough, nothing would stand in your way. By paying your own way, your education means a lot more because you would fight to get the maximum worth of education for your money.

    October 30, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  18. amazingfunksta

    "That's it- if you are a bright young person from a poor family you will get into the best colleges because you want it and the tuition will be lower! What planet does this man live on? How did he get through school? Wealthy parents or student loans? It certainly wasn't because he "wanted it"" – Lack of Logic in LA

    Dude, loans wouldn't fail to exist. People would be able to get private loans for cheaper college tuition and actually be able to pay them back. They wouldn't be able to get loans for theater or philosophy where you can't find a job out of college though... But that's the way it SHOULD be. College used to be reserved for the hard sciences.

    October 30, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  19. Michael

    I agree with Ron Paul 100%, the national college loan debt is about $1 trillion. Those kids have a mortgage and no house to show for it!! Then they default and who gets to pay? Hard working people who chose to skip college and work their ass off with dignity

    October 30, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  20. Boisepoet

    Why is someone who never called the fire department taxed for it?!?!?!

    Ignorant libertarian reasoning. People form societies and governments for the mutual benefits it offers to all. If you want to be an island unto yourself, go live on an island by yourself...we'll wait for the epiphany and the following call for rescue.

    October 30, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  21. Evan

    To "Sensible", educational institutions can only profit by charging what people are able to pay (or in this case borrow). When the government isn't the one paying, the amount people are able to pay for education is much lower, so prices must go down to remain competitive. Under the current system, high prices reflect the education industry taking advantage of easily accessible student loans and government subsidization. To "Logic in La", Ron Paul's father was a dairy farmer with an eighth-grade education, and there were no federal student loans back then. He worked his way through college and medical school with part-time jobs.

    October 30, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  22. Bluesc

    Regulating the cost of university education in the UK didn't end so well. They raised the allowed prices 200%, and riots ensued.

    @logic in LA: He worked his way through college, no funding.

    You guys don't get that the price of education is so high because the colleges can afford to raise the prices to ridiculous levels. Why? They wont lose customers, because there are federal guaranteed loans, so they raise prices and the government loans the students the money on the backs of the tax payer.

    If there were no federal loans, the colleges wouldn't be able to afford having the prices this high, because people wouldn't be able to pay it. The market would dictate that they lower their prices.

    October 30, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  23. David Hillman

    Prices for education don't come down because we've created a massive bubble funded (in part) by Federal Student Aid. Bubbles are not good, healthy, or sustainable as we should've learned from the recent housing crisis.

    Ron Paul is again, dead right. If you take away the artificial incentive to the bubble, prices will come down. Colleges will not, in fact they cannot, simple continue to charge their outrage rates and suffer a huge decline in enrollment...

    October 30, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  24. Richard Stands

    "(when have ANY prices come down)"

    Prices fall in many market segments – consumer electronics for example. Providers compete to capture consumer dollars. For the consumer market demanding college educations, providers will continue to step up in order to capture that demand.

    Not all stores are Wal-Mart or Tiffany's. These firms arise to fill different needs based on the market. Universities, community colleges, and trade schools can do the same if left without federal distortion.

    When the feds enter the market, consumers are led to believe that all stores should be Tiffany's, all shoppers should go into deep debt for every product, and even those who are not part of the transaction should add to the funding.

    October 30, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  25. Dave

    If Ron is serious about ending the ridiculous inflation in higher education, he would also propose a law that links public school tuition to the CPI. As it is now, we're seeing 6%, 8%, even 10% or 12% increases annually from state schools. Just as with health insurance and healthcare in general, the inflation of these services is absurd and completely unnecessary.

    October 30, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
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