Biden Paying College Students To Gather Votes With Taxpayer Money…Illegally!

Written by Edward Thompson.

The Biden administration has introduced a controversial program that repurposes federal work-study funds to pay college students for voter registration activities, sparking a heated debate over the legality and ethics of such a move. According to reports from the College Fix, this program coerces colleges and universities to engage students in “get-out-the-vote” efforts, utilizing taxpayer money traditionally allocated for helping students offset tuition costs through part-time campus jobs. This shift in policy was announced by the U.S. Department of Education in February 2024, raising immediate concerns among legal experts and education officials.

Critics argue that this interpretation of the Higher Education Act is unprecedented and likely illegal. The Act has long required institutions to make “good faith efforts” to distribute voter registration forms, but the recent directive expands this mandate to include financially compensating students for broader electoral participation efforts. This development has been perceived by some as a partisan move, given the demographic tendencies of college campuses, which predominantly lean towards more liberal political views.

The Department of Education intensified the pressure on universities in April 2022 with a memo warning that failure to actively promote voter registration could jeopardize their federal funding. This aggressive stance has alarmed many in the academic and legal communities, who view it as an undue overreach into the autonomy of educational institutions and a misapplication of federal resources.

Legal and Political Repercussions

The legal implications of the Biden administration’s actions have drawn scrutiny from several high-profile legal scholars. Hans von Spakovsky, of the Heritage Foundation, criticized the administration for what he sees as an illegal use of federal funds. According to von Spakovsky, the Higher Education Act does not authorize paying students to engage in voter registration activities, especially outside their immediate college community. This expansion of scope to include voter mobilization has never been done before and represents a significant departure from standard educational funding practices.

Robert Eitel, former senior counselor to the Secretary of Education under the Trump administration, echoed these concerns. He highlighted the longstanding requirement for colleges to facilitate voter registration but condemned the Biden administration for politicizing this obligation. Eitel suggests that combining this directive with other controversial policies, like attempts to cancel student loan debt, indicates a broader strategy to leverage federal resources for political gain, particularly aimed at boosting voter turnout among demographics that might favor the current administration.

The reaction from the academic sector has been one of cautious compliance, with institutions wary of losing federal funding but concerned about the ethical and legal ramifications of the program. This delicate balance poses a challenge for universities trying to navigate the increasingly politicized landscape of federal educational funding.

Our Take

The Biden administration’s decision to fund voter registration activities through federal work-study programs represents a troubling blend of politics and education policy. While encouraging civic participation is a noble goal, the method chosen by the administration raises significant legal and ethical questions. It appears to be an attempt to harness the power of the purse to influence electoral outcomes, leveraging institutions of higher learning in a manner that could undermine their neutrality and independence.

Such actions not only blur the lines between education and political campaigning but also set a concerning precedent for future administrations. It is crucial for the integrity of both educational funding and electoral processes that clear boundaries be maintained. As we move forward, a thorough examination and possible reevaluation of these policies will be essential to ensure they align with legal standards and uphold the nonpartisan integrity of educational institutions.

It is incumbent upon all stakeholders in the education and legal sectors to hold the administration accountable and demand transparency and legality in the use of federal funds. Only through diligent oversight and a commitment to ethical practices can we hope to preserve the trust and efficacy of our educational and electoral systems.

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