Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe explained his stance against student loan debt forgiveness in a Facebook post on Monday. The TV personality expressed many reasons for opposing the debt forgiveness, including his beliefs that it’s unfair to those who have paid back their debt and that it would only cause tuition to skyrocket.
In his Facebook post, Rowe said he was speaking out on the matter after people have asked for his opinion due to his documented feelings on the price of college.
“Many it seems, suspect that I’ll be supportive of these efforts [to forgive student debt], since I’ve written at length about the outrageous rise of college tuition, and the scandalous ways in which hundreds of thousands of students have been conned into borrowing ridiculous sums of money to purchase degrees that never lead to an actual job. Well, for the record, I do not support student loan forgiveness,” he wrote.
Besides calling loan forgiveness “unfair” to “millions of Americans who have paid their college debts, and sacrificed much to do so,” Rowe added that he doesn’t think that tuition prices would drop as a result of forgiveness. He also wrote that it would send a “terrible message to the very same universities that already gouge their customers with sky-high tuition.”
Sharing an article from The National Review by Kevin D. Williamson, Rowe highlighted a paragraph wherein Williamson quoted a New York Times piece saying that forgiving student debt would “disproportionately benefit middle- to upper-class college graduates,” especially people who “attended elite and expensive institutions, and people with lucrative professional credentials like law and medical degrees.”
The New York Times article that Williamson references in the National Review is titled, “Student Loan Cancellation Sets Up Clash Between Biden and the Left.” In the sentence he quotes, Williamson leaves out the clause: “While many Black students would benefit greatly from even modest loan forgiveness…”
In his Facebook post, Rowe also pointed toward his organization The Mike Rowe Works Foundation, which his bio on his website calls, “a PR campaign designed to reinvigorate the skilled trades.” The organization also offers scholarships to those seeking careers in skilled trades. On Facebook, he emphasized awarding scholarships to “plumbers, electricians, pipefitters, welders, HVAC, mechanics” and people in similar professions.
The Dirty Jobs host also expressed his sympathy for those struggling with student debt after attending a college due to societal pressure. “I pity every young man and woman who is struggling today under the yoke of a crushing student loan,” he wrote on Facebook. “You were quite possibly sold a bill of goods. You were very likely pressured by your friends, your parents, or your guidance counselor, to attend the ‘right’ school.”
Despite expressing sympathy, Rowe reiterated that he doesn’t believe that students should be relieved of their debt. “The fault belongs to you, and so does the debt,” he wrote.
At the end of his post, Rowe said he “push[es] back against the insane notion that a four-year degree is the best path for the most people,” before again encouraging people to apply for “work-ethic” scholarships.
In an emailed statement to Newsweek, Rowe further expressed his frustration with the rising price of college, and again said that he doesn’t believe that forgiving loans would help fix the issue. His statement is below:
“Nothing over the last forty years has become more expensive more quickly than a four-year degree. Not food, not real-estate, not energy…not even healthcare. Somehow, we have convinced ourselves that the best path for the most people is the most expensive path, and we’ve likewise convinced an entire generation that they’re basically screwed without a diploma. We then made vast sums of money available, much of it backed by the federal government, and put enormous pressure on hundreds of thousands of people to borrow whatever was necessary in order to “pursue their passion.” Is it any wonder tuition is so expensive? Moving forward, we have to debunk the myths and misperceptions that keep people from pursuing other forms of education. But we also have to do whatever is necessary to compel universities to lower the cost of a four-year degree. That’s imperative, and I don’t see how debt forgiveness will accomplish that.”