Special Coronavirus Bulletin # 4: Call Your U.S. Senators Right Away About Federal Student Debt Relief

Today U.S. Senators are negotiating the contents of the next coronavirus-related economic stimulus bill. Those negotiations are focused on numerous issues — including relief for the millions of Americans with federal student loan debts.

As reported in Special Coronavirus Bulletin #3, the President and U.S. Education Department (ED) have already announced two student loan relief measures:

  • Allow all Federal Direct Loan Program (FDLP) borrowers who ask to get their payments suspended for at least 60 days beginning March 13; and
  • Automatically waive interest accumulation on student loans held by the government (mostly FDLP Loans).

However, competing plans in the U.S. Senate would go beyond these actions. If you like one or the other of these plans, call your Senators’ offices immediately and let them know. Look here for their phone numbers.

Senate Republicans

They want to:

  • Require payment suspensions and interest waivers for 3 months instead of 60 days; and
  • Allow the Education Secretary to extend these suspensions and waivers for another 3 months if she considers it necessary.

Senate Democrats

They’d go far beyond anything described above. For the duration of the coronavirus national emergency declared on March 13, they’d:

  • Require ED to make all monthly FDLP and Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) payments borrowers owe — payments that’d be tax-free and count just like borrower-made payments for forgiveness and default rehabilitation purposes;
  • Require ED to ensure that it’s paid no less than $10,000 for each borrower; and
  • Forbid FDLP and FFELP interest capitalization and the garnishment of social security benefits, tax refunds, and wages.

Make your voice heard to your Senators so they can take it into account as they decide which of these plans to support!

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