A student advocacy group is urging state and local leaders to enact laws protecting student loan borrowers and holding the loan servicing industry accountable for mistakes, sidestepping long congressional inactivity.
Generation Progress, an arm of The Center for American Progress, said: While long-term solutions are necessary, states and municipalities have a number of tools at their disposal that can provide significant and swift relief to borrowers. Many of these solutions have already been implemented successfully in states and municipalities across the country. These policies, explored in depth below, include: increasing awareness around and enrolling borrowers in existing programs to lower their debt, allowing for the refinancing of student loans, ending counterproductive penalties for borrowers who default, and ending credit checks for employment. Enroll Borrowers in Loan Forgiveness and Income-Driven Repayment Programs.
The vast majority of borrowers with student loan debt have federal loans—either loans made through the Department of Education’s Direct Loan program or, for borrowers with older loans, loans made through the Family Federal Education Loan (FFEL) program. Federal student loan borrowers are entitled to several programs that may allow them to lower their monthly payments or have their loans forgiven after a set period of time. Public Service Loan Forgiveness, for instance, is one of the most generous programs available
to borrowers with federal loans. It allows any individual employed in the public sector with certain types of federal loans to have their loans forgiven after 10 years of repayment.