(The Center Square) — More than three in four military veterans oppose President Joe Biden’s proposal to forgive student loan debt, according to a new poll.
The poll by Mission Roll Call, a veterans advocacy group, shows that 76.6% of US veterans are against the idea. That would take away the sacrifice veterans made to earn financial aid for higher education in the first place, according to the group.
“There are other ways to do it…forgiving them outright is kind of a slap in the face to veterans who served and counted on that to get ahead and really sacrificed a lot to get the same thing. To have, all of a sudden, you know, the same thing being offered, for zero sacrifice and burden, is basically spending four years of school instead of four years in the military, that’s a big difference,” said Darrell Owens, an America’s Warrior veteran. Partnership organization.
President Biden has yet to publicly announce his student debt cancellation plan, but the Biden administration would have plans to write off $10,000 per borrower, per The Washington Post.
Veterans have received help paying for their education since the introduction of the GI Bill in 1944, which provides educational assistance to veterans after their military service ends. More recently, in 2008, the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act came into effect, allowing veterans who had already been to school to use that money for their children’s education instead.
The additional aid acts as a recruiting tool for the Army, which is struggling to meet its recruiting goals this year.
Many men and women join the military to help pay for their education or that of their children, Owens said. When that incentive disappears, fewer people will apply to join the armed forces, he added.
“You’re going to add additional recruiting challenges, saying, you know, why should I join the military and get the GI bill to pay for college when you could just go to college on your own even take out student loans and have them forgiven later when politically convenient,” Owens said.
Forgiveness of student loan debt could lead to such a drop in the number of recruits that it poses problems for the national security of the United States, Owens said.
“I think that by far poses significant national security challenges because we have to be able to recruit, we have to be able to maintain those numbers, and we need volunteers,” he said. “We need strong, smart, capable people to come and serve.”