New York, NY — U.S. Senate nominee Wendy Long today made the following
statement: “News that New Yorkers’ total student debt jumped from $39 billion in 2006
to $82 billion in 2015 is disturbing, but not surprising. It is the fruit
of the business-as-usual Establishment in Washington, of which my opponent,
Chuck Schumer, is king.
“The underlying problem, of course, is the huge federal subsidies being
shoveled at higher education. They are like shoveling coals onto a fire,
fueling higher tuition rates into what has now become a raging bonfire.
“But elected officials and college administrators have no incentive to stop
this: they’re not the ones stuck with the bills. It is the hardworking
families trying to help their kids through college and the graduates whose
hard work is rewarded with a mountain of debt and paltry job prospects.
This is a national crisis, and as I travel across the state I hear people
who are angry and fed up with the gross mismanagement in Washington that has created it.
“Short-term, we need to pass a law requiring colleges and universities to
rebate to current students and recent graduates that portion of their
tuition fees that would exceed tuition rates in 1996, adjusted for
inflation. Many universities have huge endowments that have mushroomed with the stock market, and even those with smaller endowments can find ways to trim their own budgets. Maybe they can close down a few ‘safe spaces’ or lose some of the overpaid administrators who add nothing to their
“Medium-term, we need to pass a law cutting all federal benefits, including
tax-exempt charitable status, to colleges and universities that do not
reduce tuition rates back to 1996 rates, adjusted for inflation.
“Long-term, we need to get the federal government out of the business of
college loans. Markets for anything do not operate when they are
artificially skewed and subsidized. The cost of a college degree has to
reflect its real value in the marketplace. When that happens, we will see
prices come down, debt that is manageable given the job market, and we will
see a blossoming of higher education alternatives that are far less costly
and more suited to preparing students for gainful employment, and the
self-sufficiency and dignity that comes with it.”