WASHINGTON — President Reagan acknowledged today that his proposals to slash college student loans may force some families to make "difficult adjustments" but defended his plan as "reasonable, prudent and just."
He also promised that every qualified student who wants to go to college will be able to do so, but he did not explain how.
Reagan, in remarks to the Conference of the National Assn. of Independent Schools, said the U.S. government is providing aid to some students from families with incomes exceeding $100,000.
"This defies common sense, insults simple justice and must stop," Reagan told the organization of private, non-religious schools. "Government has no right to force the least affluent to subsidize the sons and daughters of the wealthy. Under our proposal, this will stop."
Reagan said that under his proposal, aid to students will be limited to a level the nation can afford. Those whose family incomes are too high to qualify for guaranteed loans will still have access to guaranteed but unsubsidized loans of up to $4,000, the President said.
"And every qualified student who wants to go to college will still be able to do so," Reagan said.
"Yes, our proposal may cause some families to make difficult adjustments. But by bringing the budget under control, we will avoid the far more painful adjustment of living in a wrecked economy. . . . Our budget proposal is reasonable, prudent and fair."
Under his new budget, Reagan has proposed to deny guaranteed student loans to all students from families with adjusted gross income above $32,500, to eliminate grants, work-study jobs and other aid to those with income above $25,000 and to limit to $4,000 a year the maximum federal help any student can draw.
Deputy Press Secretary Marlin M. Fitzwater said the White House does not have any figures on the number of students receiving aid whose family income exceeds $100,000.
Reagan asserted that the strengthening of the economy and bringing inflation under control has allowed overall spending on education to rise under his Administration by $18 billion.
"Economic growth is giving education throughout America a powerful lift," Reagan said.
Reagan said his Administration "had to clean up the mess we inherited" and is "moving America toward that first shining vision--a land of golden opportunity."