Should universities be responsible for student loan debt in default?

Jul 27, 2023, 8:30 PM

College Costs...

Dave & Dujanovic discuss a bill about universities being responsible for any student loan debt that goes into default among their students. (Photo:


SALT LAKE CITY — With efforts ongoing by the Biden administration to forgive student loan debt, who should be responsible for picking up that tab?

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, is introducing a bill in the US House of Representatives that would force colleges to step up and pay any student loan debt that goes into default by their students. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, will introduce a similar bill in the Senate. 

According to Yahoo, under Roy’s bill, universities would be required to pay a yearly fine that is based on the amount of outstanding student loans that are in default among their students. Ultimately, universities would be accountable for 15% minus what the average national unemployment rate is for that year. 

KSL NewsRadio’s Debbie Dujanovic and Dave Noriega debate the topic. They also take thoughts and comments from listeners.


“And I think it’s long overdue,” Noriega said. “I love this idea.”

More to student loan debt than canceling the loans

Noriega says the idea of canceling student loan debt is just one aspect of the conversation.

“What is not being talked about is how these kids are getting into trouble in the first place,” he said. “How much money is being allowed? How much can they borrow? That is a big concern. The cost of college tuition, that is a big concern.”

Dujanovic opposes the idea of universities being responsible for student loan debt that has gone into default.

“I don’t like it,” she said. “I think it’s too vague. For example, I don’t know why somebody’s gone into default.”

She points out an individual may go into default because of mounting medical bills from a loved one who is in the hospital.

“And now the onus to make, to pay this fine is on colleges,” she said.

Dujanovic also points out that any fines universities face from student loans that have gone into default will be passed onto future students.

Thoughts from the listeners

Emily from Vineyard

“I feel like it’s important for students to have to pay for their education. I think it allows them to invest in themselves, and it makes it so that way they’re more motivated in things.”

Nina from South Jordan

“Where is the accountability? And I’m not talking about the accountability of colleges. I’m talking about the accountability of the students. I have taught in higher ed for close to 25 years at local institutions in our state. There are some really affordable options out there … But if you’re putting the choices of individuals on the backs of colleges, you’ve totally lifted the accountability from the person themselves.”

Jason from North Salt Lake

“I also think there’s a lot of money that are going out to students for degrees that will probably never realize the earning potential that is necessary for those students to pay back those loans. So instead of fining the colleges, I think that they should be focusing on limitations on the amount of money that can be loaned out to a particular degree.”

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

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Should universities be responsible for student loan debt in default?