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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Arnold Ventures Director of Higher Education Kelly McManus released the following statement in response to President Biden’s decision to cancel $20,000 of student loan debt for Pell borrowers and $10,000 of student loan debt for non-Pell borrowers making under $125,000.

The president’s decision — absent any additional reform — fixes a leaky faucet in a burning building. 

While this announcement will certainly provide relief to some students, the fundamental challenges with our higher education system — including rising prices, low completion, and low-quality, unaccountable institutions — remain. This was a missed opportunity to focus on the root causes of the unsustainable debt burden of the higher education system, and we urge Congress to use this misstep as an opportunity to promote meaningful reforms already being advanced by policymakers and advocates, including:

  • Raise the bar for accountability in higher education by cutting off predatory schools from federal financial aid and ensuring all schools are providing value to their students
  • Invest in evidence-based efforts to improve completion, so students are more likely to have a positive ROI from higher education
  • Make real, lasting, improvements to student loan servicing and income-driven repayment

The administration has left Congressional leaders no choice but to do the hard work of fixing our higher education system and ensuring it is a key to economic mobility and stability for all students.”

For the last six years, Arnold Ventures has invested in evidence-based policy research to uncover and end predatory behavior in higher education. Through this work, our philanthropy has learned that simply ending predatory behavior is not enough to ensure the higher education system works for all American students. With investments in research and evaluation, policy development, advocacy, and strategic litigation, our goal is to increase the return on investment in higher education for students — particularly those who have been historically underserved — and taxpayers.

Read more here.