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Republican, Libertarian Candidates Oppose Federal College Loans

Eric Knowles and Paul Drgos, both running in Maryland's 3rd District, say the federal government shouldn't be in the business of education.

The Republican and Libertarian candidates for Maryland's 3rd Congressional District both came out in opposition to federal college loans—including Pell Grants—at a candidates' forum Monday night.

"The federal government is not in place to handle your college education," Libertarian candidate Paul Drgos (L-Pasadena) said. "Get the Department of Education out of here; we don’t need them." 

About one-third of the students at Anne Arundel Community College receive federal grants and 20 percent use federal loans to pay for at least part of their education, according to data supplied by the college.

Nationwide, two-thirds of American students use financial aid to help pay for college, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. And 47 percent of all undergraduates receive federal funds.

"Making that sort of investment in education is absolutely fundamental," countered Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Towson).

The incumbent Democrat admitted his opponents' opinions on education funding surprised him. He said Dawn Lindsay, the new president of AACC, recently thanked him for his support of federal student loans.

"The worst trick you can play on somebody is to say they worked hard, they played by the rules, and they can’t take that next step in education because of means," Sarbanes said.

Republican candidate Eric Knowles (R-Annapolis) said he believes federal education funding falls outside the bounds of the powers enumerated to Congress by the U.S. Constitution.

He said he believes federal loans actually contribute to the skyrocketing cost of education because colleges know, "They are going to get their money," even though graduates are left holding larger and larger bills.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimates national student loan debt at $1 trillion, and Knowles said he thinks that places an undue burden on many young Americans.

"There are two ways to crush a nation: One is with an army, and the other is with debt," Knowles said.

Sarbanes countered by saying that education drives the American economy forward.

"If those people can move forward and get their education and get a career, they become tax paying citizens and keep the economy strong," Sarbanes said. "I was a little surprised that they were so quick to disavow the role of government."

Knowles also took a swipe at a law authored by Sarbanes called the Education for Public Service Act, which forgives a portion of a person's federal student loans for a 10-year commitment to work in the public sector or nonprofit jobs.

The law passed as part of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act in 2007, and Sarbanes called his part an excellent way to reward Americans who invest in their communities. He said he sees it as one tool that helps to address the crisis of mounting student debt.

Knowles didn't offer specific alternatives to the Public Service Act, but he said, "The answer is definitely not being able to work for the government to work down your loan."

Broadneck Patch editor D. Frank Smith contributed to this story.

Paul Drgos, Jr October 16, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Patrick Callan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, said colleges and universities need to get tuition under control. He likened the trends in costs and federal aid to a treadmill, where prices rise, federal money gets pumped in, and costs increase again. (Wall Street Journal)
Paul Drgos, Jr October 16, 2012 at 09:23 PM
According to economist Richard Vedder, college tuition costs increased by 295 percent between 1982 and 2003, a growth rate higher than health care costs (195 percent), housing (84 percent), and all items (83 percent). In his book, Going Broke By Degree: Why College Costs Too Much, Dr. Vedder argues that increased federal spending on higher education has contributed to rising tuition costs. In other words, federal subsidies are not making higher education more affordable because colleges and universities simply consume this additional source of revenue. (The Heritage Foundation - http://www.heritage.org/research/education-notebook/the-facts-on-federal-education-spending)
Paul Drgos, Jr October 16, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Expenditures per pupil 1970 - $842 (Adjusted - $4,552), Graduation Rate 78% Expenditures per pupil 2008 - $10,441, Graduation Rate 74.4% (National Center for Education Statistics) http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d07/tables/dt07_100.asp http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=66
Anna Staver (Editor) October 16, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Thanks for adding the additional information for readers looking to explore the issue of federal funding for higher education further.
W. L. October 17, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Do you think colleges are going to lower their tuition because federal funding is stopped? Think again. Common sense, this only hurts the student, not the colleges who will continue to raise fees anyway. Not the way to resolve this problem.
Paul Drgos, Jr October 17, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Of course colleges are going to lower their tuitions. If a service costs too much for people to afford, demand decreases. If demand decreases the colleges will adjust the prices to bring the students back. Basic economics of supply and demand.
Kathy Harrison October 17, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Wow! What a one sided article. Guess you can tell who is paying you guys! Eric Knowles was totally misrepresented in his views. He is for Pell grants, but feels these types of things should be taken out of the Federal Government and given to the State Government. Loan forgiveness? Who is going to pay that money back?? Is the Federal Reserve just going to print more? Not in this case...the cost will be put on the taxpayer. You interviewed a couple of the Knowles volunteers(and we are volunteers, unlike most of Mr. Sarbanes people), but you didn't write about how Congressman Sarbanes who has just written a "Grassroots campaign bill" why he lied about how much he spent on his campaign to date. He stated between $150.000 to $200.00 to date when the actual number is $540.000. You were shown proof of this, yet you chose to leave that important fact out of the article. Again I say...I guess we know who is paying you for good press. I thought journalist were supposed to be out to get the real story..you just write stories based on what side is paying you. This comment will probably be taken down. Don't forget about the 1st Amendment to the Constitution!! If you have forgotton, that gives me Freedom of Speech. That is what Eric Knowles is all about. Returning our country to what it once was..a country that upholds the Constitution and doesn't try to dictate everything we say and do. Maybe you should read it! You might decided Mr. Knowles is the RIGHT man for the job
christian October 17, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Not bad AnnStaver but very misleading title that def. slants to sarbanes. There were alot of great quotes from all that were there in attendance.. Not just eric, sarbanes and drgos. Faith louden shined brightly against her dems opponent and the respect that her dems opponent had for faith running would of been a excellent addition to this article. Would of shown how party lines can wk together and have respect for one another. Eric even said to audience that he invited sarbanes for a drink after the forum and that we all should be friends. Plus being a grassroots supporter i was surprised you left out the 16 Trillion in debt we are facing and eric proposed incremental cuts and of course his opponent sarbanes said "We have a fiscal responsibility but wouldn't cut anything out." Currently we have 200 million i believe in entitlements that r coming due that we have no way to pay for. Something must be done about the debt in the room and the inflation rearing its head at the gas pump,food and services only inching now but after election time after QE 3 still failing goes through the system we will c what will possibly happen to this great nation. Sarbanes is the wrong choice. My daughter knows how to spell Trillions but i don't want to burden her with that debt. Eric Knowles doesn't want to burden the guberments debt on his daughter or mine or anyone elses. Real change by showing Sarbanes the door. Principle, Prosperity, Peace http://www.knowlesforcongress.com
Anna Staver (Editor) October 17, 2012 at 04:51 PM
You are more than welcome to your opinion about my article, and we at Patch encourage you to express yourself as long as it doesn't include profanity or threats. We have a very clear terms of service, which anyone is welcome to read regarding why comments are sometimes removed. I will absolutely leave this comment up, but I would like to make a few points. First, the question about whether Rep. Sarbanes was truthful about how much he is spending on his re-election campaign is beyond the scope of an article about funding for higher education. I'm not quite sure why you think it would be relevant to this specific story? Second, I never said that Mr. Knowles opposes all funding for higher education. The article clearly states that he thinks the federal government should not provide college loans. Third, the implication that I am being paid by Sarbanes' campaign is completely ludicrous and personally offensive. I can assure you: the only people paying me to write are from Patch. And Finally, If Mr. Knowles believes this article does not accurately represent his views, I would be more than happy to discuss it with him personally. He knows how to reach me.
Kathy Harrison October 17, 2012 at 04:52 PM
I would also like to say that I actually worked for the Sarbanes campaign in the beginning when "Daddy" left office and I walked around the Annapolis Fair with him for about 2 hours. He is no longer the person he was then. He is now a career politician that votes party lines and no longer with his conscience. He is one reason I started looking for someone with NEW ideas and some common sense ways on how to achieve these goals. That person is Eric Knowles. I invite anyone who is interested in returning to constitutional government please go to http://www.knowlesforcongress.com and check out what Eric Knowles really stands for. This article is so biased due to the fact that Mr. Sarbanes pays to have this coverage and Mr. Knowles refused to do that any longer. If you have to pay for good coverage what would true unbiased coverage look like I ask you??
Anna Staver (Editor) October 17, 2012 at 04:56 PM
If you would like to read about Loudon and Edwards, you are more than welcome to check out the article written by my colleague Kaitlyn Carr. We both attended the forum. We split the coverage because some Patches are only in one of the two districts. http://annapolis.patch.com/articles/loudon-edwards-clash-on-issues
christian October 17, 2012 at 05:06 PM
There are no profanity or threats ?
christian October 17, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Thanks Ann Staver for the linkage to the other patch that has more coverage. I spoke to 2 reporters there. I remember speaking with a women reporter on the way out and eric said to you how our daughter was a blessing every time he went to a forum and always likes how she gives him a hug before going on and before we leave. If that was you then i guess you felt to leave that out of your reporting also. I myself like i stated before am a grassroots supporter of eric and not camp staff.
Thomas October 17, 2012 at 05:20 PM
I want to express that the above comments do not reflect our campaigns views on this article. Although we are dishearten by the title of the article as its misleading. We In no way condone personal attacks on anybody. Thomas Coleman Campaign Manager EKFC
Kathy Harrison October 17, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Ms. Staver, I would sincerly like to apologize for them comments made above. I made those comments as a concerned citizens who attended the forum. I did not make them as a person on volunteer staff of the campaign. You reported as you saw it and I am sorry if it seemed like a personal attack on you. I met you at the forum and found you to be very personable. Please accept my apology, the comments above were not meant to be a personal attack on you! Again these were my personal views and not that of the campaign itself.
christian October 17, 2012 at 05:31 PM
" I will absolutely leave this comment up, but I would like to make a few points. " I understand why you would leave it up , there are no profanity or threats.. just facts about events in the past and how people have voted on things. and suggested reading for you in your own future endeavors ann.
Judith Moylan-Forman October 17, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Is Mr. Knowles associated with the IOTC?
Judith Moylan-Forman October 17, 2012 at 05:49 PM
What does he think about the GI Bill? The FAA?
christian October 17, 2012 at 05:54 PM
from your own beliefs page " I will say that I’m always open to the idea that my beliefs are wrong, and I love engaging in political discussion and debate. I think an important part of listening is being open to the ideas of others. Are you registered with a certain party? I’m registered as an independent. " I was a independent for many years myself and only became a republican recently in 08 to vote for RP but alas when he stepped down i voted for chuck baldwin of constitution party & became aware of eric knowles later when he ran for governor. I'm glad that kathy and thomas said what they said but as far as rational debate i still am not sure where " profanity or threats " came into the wording anywhere. Maybe i am just not seeing it or have not had enough caffeine in my system. Noticed your running ambitions. Maybe eric can give you some running areas that ya may want to try or run with him in the future. That is one of his interests , running also.
christian October 17, 2012 at 06:08 PM
IOTC? Institute on the constitution theamericanview.com is that what you are asking judith ? I have not asked him personally about his belief structure on this particular .com if that is what you are asking
christian October 17, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Maybe if you make the next forum event you can ask him directly Judith.
Paul Drgos, Jr October 18, 2012 at 03:59 PM
As a candidate, I thoroughly believe in the GI Bill. It is part of the compensation package provided to our soldiers. Perhaps if we did not fund other things our soldier's compensation could be even more. We owe it as a nation to compensate these individuals properly. Personally I feel as though there should be less soldiers and that they should be defending our borders and shores, but that does not mean they should not be compensated for what they do.
Sharpie November 05, 2012 at 06:52 AM
On the ballot for the Presidency, Gov. Gary Johnson (Libertarian) and Dr. Jill Stein (Green). Make a special note to remember to watch the Free and Equal Election Debate between third party candidates, Gov. Gary Johnson and Dr. Jill Stein to be aired tonight on Monday evening, Nov. 5th from 9:00 - 10:30 pm Eastern Time. Perform a worthwhile civic duty, and be certain to listen in on this historic debate so that you can make an informed decision on voting day. Third party candidates who will be on the ballot in most states deserve to be heard. http://freeandequal.org/?v=1

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