WASHINGTON – Student debt relief is now included in round the clock stimulus package negotiations on Capitol Hill. On Thursday, President Trump indicated that student debt relief measures passed in the Spring could be extended in the final Congressional package.
“During a crisis that rivals the Great Depression, the government can help 45 million Americans holding student debt,” stated Eric LeCompte who directs the religious debt relief group Jubilee USA. “At minimum, Congress must extend debt payment relief through the end of the year. We’ll need more relief, but this stimulus package should extend the debt payment moratorium.”
On September 30th, the student debt payment suspension that Congress passed as part of the CARES Act stimulus package in the Spring, expires. The Act put in place 0% interest rates and stopped federal collection of student loans. More than 92% of all student loans are federal loans and top 1.5 trillion dollars of debt.
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“We really need to start working on extending student debt relief through 2021, create debt cancellation processes for those struggling most and make sure the class of 2020 can also be included in debt relief measures,” noted LeCompte whose organization leads campaigns to keep interest rates low on certain types of federal student loans. “While it’s less than 8% of total student debt, it’s critical that Congress also brings private sector student loans to the debt relief table too.”
Private student debt amounts to $124.65 billion. The House of Representatives passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act stimulus package in May that included $10,000 of debt forgiveness for either federal or private student debt for borrowers deeply impacted by the crisis. The initial $1 trillion HEALS Act introduced by Senate Republicans this week did not include student debt relief measures.
“Currently, student loans are not addressed in a bankruptcy proceeding. Congress should extend bankruptcy protection to include student debt,” said LeCompte.