College Guide

April 17, 2012 05:41 PM

Virginia Foxx Has “Little Tolerance” for Student Debt Problems

by Daniel Luzer

Virginia Foxx, the Republican Representative from North Carolina’s fifth district, is a source of much entertainment and horror to pundits. Foxx, a former community college dean, is the chair of the House Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness.

Recently, however, Foxx indicated a rather interesting opinion about student debt. She pointed out that she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1968 without assuming any debt at all. And so, she explains:

I have very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt because there’s no reason for that. We live in an opportunity society and people are forgetting that. I remind folks all the time that the Declaration of Independence says “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” You don’t sit on your butt and have it dumped in your lap.

Well how about those who graduate with $33,050 worth of debt? That’s the average debt load of students who attended for-profit colleges.

Foxx, despite her committee position and her official focus on reducing government waste, has consistently refused to regulate for-profit colleges. She recently pushed a bill designed to repeal actions taken by the Obama administration to regulate for-profit colleges. Foxx has also said that for-profit colleges, which graduate about 19 percent of their students are doing “a better job of being mindful about efficiency and effectiveness than their nonprofit peers.”

Between 70 and 80 percent of all for-profit college revenues come from federal student aid. Proprietary colleges were among the top 20 contributors to Rep. Foxx’s last campaign.

Incidentally, in 1968 in-state tuition at UNC was about $223 (the equivalent of around $1400 in today’s money). It’s now $7,008 a year.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer

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