Celebrity Mike Rowe is not a fan of student loan forgiveness, but he is a fan of doing something to help people obtain in-demand job skills.
While the "Dirty Jobs" host has been critical of the rise in college tuition over the years and laments the number of students who have financed expensive degrees that don't lead the borrowers anywhere near an actual job, Rowe sees student loan forgiveness as a fundamentally unfair idea.
Rowe laid out his reasons for opposing such forgiveness in a recent Facebook post that Rowe shared with his 5.7 million followers.
"I've written at length on this page about the fundamental unfairness of doing such a thing - especially to the millions of Americans who have paid their college debts, and sacrificed much to do so," writes Rowe. "I've also said that forgiving student debt would send a terrible message to the very same universities that already gouge their customers with sky-high tuition. Tuition will never come back to earth, if we bail out those who borrowed more than they could repay."
Joe Biden supports student loan forgiveness up to $10,000 per borrower, and Democrats like Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are pressuring Biden to bypass Congress and cancel billions of dollars in student loan debt via executive action.
In his post, Rowe quotes National Review correspondent Kevin Williamson who points out that student loan forgiveness would largely benefit middle- and high-income earners who attend elite institutions.
"The majority of student debt is held by relatively high-income people, poor people mostly are not college graduates, and those who attended college but did not graduate hold relatively little college-loan debt, etc," writes Williamson. "As the New York Times puts it, 'Debt relief overall would disproportionately benefit middle- to upper-class college graduates.' Which ones? 'Especially those who attended elite and expensive institutions, and people with lucrative professional credentials like law and medical degrees.'"
Through his foundation, mikeroweWORKS, the TV star has awarded scholarships to individuals pursuing a trade in lieu of a four-year degree.
"At mikeroweWORKS, we have no objection to a broad-based, liberal arts education," Rowe writes. "We simply object to the cost, and therefore focus our efforts on assisting students who wish to pursue a trade that doesn't require a four-year degree."
While Rowe acknowledges that many young people are struggling under crushing student loan debt and sympathizes with students who were "sold a bill of goods" and pressured by those around them to attend the "right" schools, Rowe notes the fault does not lie with the American people.
"This is why I've spent the last twelve years discouraging people from slipping into hock at the outset of their careers," writes Rowe. "This is why I push back against the insane notion that a four-year degree is the best path for the most people. I don't want to see more people borrow money they can't afford to pay back. But nor do I wish to pay it back for you. I will, however, encourage you to apply for a work-ethic scholarship, and wish you every success in the future."
Rowe's foundation is looking to award scholarships to qualified applicants pursuing training to become plumbers, electricians, pipefitters, welders, HVAC, mechanics, and similar occupations. More information about the foundation, the work-ethic scholarship program, and how to contribute can be found here.