As Congress considers the next steps to rebuild the U.S. economy, student debt cancellation must remain a priority. Speaker Pelosi said that the third pillar of the Heroes Act is “putting much-needed money into the pockets of the American people.” Narrowing the student debt cancellation provisions in the HEROES Act surrenders a crucial tool to address this economic crisis that would do exactly that.
The HEROES Act provides needed relief to the 45 million student loan borrowers in the U.S., tackling the ongoing economic fallout caused by the coronavirus with an approach that research shows would boost the economy overall. HEROES includes $10,000 in federal student debt cancellation, which would leave as estimated 16 million borrowers completely debt-free. It also extends the CARES Act suspension of student loan payments to September 2021, giving borrowers a chance to recover on the same timeline the economy is projected to need to return to pre-coronavirus productivity.
Americans for Financial Reform released a set of financial policy recommendations for Congress to fix the problems and loopholes in the CARES Act, to further protect and support individuals, families and communities in the face of this crisis, and to lay the groundwork for an equitable and sustainable economic recovery.
AFR Education Fund released the following policy memo analyzing the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented move to provide direct credit to states and localities. A pdf copy of the memo is available here. Review of New Federal Reserve Facilities On April 9th the Federal Reserve announced six
Today, 69 community, civil rights, consumer, and student advocacy organizations sent a letter to House and Senate leadership, urging them to include student debt cancellation in the next coronavirus package. The letter also calls on leadership to extend the suspension of payments on federal student loans through March 2021, as current estimates indicate that the economy will not recover to pre-virus levels until the third quarter of 2021.
The proposed CRA rules would substantially undermine the very purpose of the statute by weakening the requirements that banks meet the credit needs of the communities where they operate, including low- and moderate-income (LMI) areas.
According to the Washington Post, Navient will suspend any new lawsuits against private student loan borrowers, and National Collegiate has said no new lawsuits will be filed for at least two months. This is the bare minimum of what should happen in the midst of a pandemic, but it is step in the right direction which we welcome and urge all other private student loan servicers to take as well.
Today the Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC) and Americans for Financial Reform (AFR) sent letters to one dozen large private student lenders urging the companies to take steps to mitigate borrower harm caused by the economic fallout of the coronavirus. Private student loan borrowers were not provided any relief by Washington’s emergency economic stimulus legislation. In light of this critical omission, and given the widespread financial impact of COVID-19, advocates are urging the largest student lenders to act quickly to protect borrowers.
The 43 million federal student loan borrowers are not getting meaningful relief from the CARES Act. It leaves an estimated 9 millions of federal student loan borrowers without any relief at all, does not guarantee that borrowers won’t face large principals when they return to repayment, and doesn’t include cancelling student debt, a move that both provides crucial relief to distressed borrowers and stimulates a fast-contracting economy.