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Congresswoman Karen Bass

Representing the 37th District of California

Resource Guide From "Taco Tuesday: A Legislative Discussion on Student Loan Debt Reform"

Student Loan Resources

Glossary & Definitions

A full glossary of terms that are used in discussing student debt is available here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/glossary.

GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Federal Student Loans: Repaying Your Loans: Produced by the U.S. Dept. of Education, this explains options for repayment plans on “Federal Student Loans.” (Booklet, 16 pages)

REPAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS

Income-Driven Repayment Plans (IDRP)

If your federal student loan payments are high compared to your income, it may be worth applying for an income-driven repayment plan. (Please be aware that some loan servicers may try to steer a borrower toward forbearance rather than walking through the documents and verification required to enter the IDRP.  Forbearance takes less time to enroll and provides some immediate relief, but adds to your debt.  IDRP may also add to your debt if your payments fall below the monthly interest charge.) More here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/understand/plans/income-driven

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

If you are employed by a government or not-for-profit organization, you may be able to receive loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. More here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service

Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness

If your PSLF application was denied because some or all of your payments were not made on a qualifying repayment plan for PSLF, you may be able to receive loan forgiveness under a temporary opportunity. https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service/temporary-expanded-public-service-loan-forgiveness

Student Loan Policy Information

CONGRESSIONAL LEGISLATIVE RESOURCES

  • A Snapshot of Federal Student Loan Debt: Produced by the Congressional Research Service, this helps explain how student debt has been treated over the past few decades. (2 pages) https://www.crs.gov/reports/pdf/IF10158

LAWS GOVERNING STUDENT LOANS

The Higher Education Act (HEA) is the primary law that governs how federal law interacts with colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning.  Title IV of the HEA governs how the federal government contributes support for the institutions and for students, including through federal grants and federal student loans.  The HEA is due for re-authorization, and the Aim Higher Act is likely to form the basis of that effort in the House of Representatives. Members of Congress, including Rep. Karen Bass, are working now to change and improve the language in previous versions of the Aim Higher Act, which House leaders expect to introduce in the coming months. 

RECENT HEARING IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

In March 2019, Education and Labor Committee Chair, Congressmember Bobby Scott, held a hearing entitled The Cost of College: Student Centered Reforms to Bring Higher Education Within Reach. You can read transcripts or watch the hearing at the link below.  https://edlabor.house.gov/hearings/the-cost-of-college-student-centered-reforms-to-bring-higher-education-within-reach_-

UPCOMING LEGISLATIVE ACTION

The specific language of a major HEA reauthorization bill (likely a version of the Aim Higher Act from the last Congress) is still being negotiated in the current Congress.  In addition to that, below are other related bills on specific issues.  You can view the bills and other information about them at Congress.gov.  Rep. Bass can support these bills, with YOUR feedback.:

  • H.R. 655 — Student Loan Repayment Assistance Act 
  • H.R. 885 — Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Fairness Act
  • H.R.1500 — Consumers First Act
  • H.R.1707 — Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act
  • H.R.1794 — Segal AmeriCorps Education Award Tax Relief Act