WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswomen Nikema Williams (GA-05), Deborah Ross (NC-02), Alma Adams (NC-12), and Haley Stevens (MI-11), introduced The Clean Slate through Repayment Act. This critical legislation will remove records of default from student borrowers’ credit histories once they repay their loans. Original cosponsors of The Clean Slate through Repayment Act include Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Jim Costa (CA016), Dianna DeGette (CO-01), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Kathy Manning (NC-06), Lucy McBath (GA-06), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), and Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05).
Congresswoman Williams said:
“I understand the struggle to live with massive student debt because I’m living it. When you pay off your student loans after default, you should have a clean slate. The Clean Slate Through Repayment Act helps borrowers truly get a second chance. As I continue to push for student debt cancellation, I’m proud to stand with Congresswoman Ross to bring the promise of America within reach again for everyone who is burdened by student debt.”
Congresswoman Ross said:
“Our nation is facing an unprecedented student debt crisis, and many young Americans are burdened with an adverse credit history as a result. Students should not be punished for seeking an education, but the high cost of learning has prevented many young people from pursuing their dreams. I’m proud to join with my colleagues to introduce the Clean Slate through Repayment Act to ensure that Americans who repay their loans and get out of default do not feel the negative impacts of student debt for years to come.”
Congresswoman Adams said:
“I am proud to be joining my colleagues in introducing this bill. Student debt continues to remain a serious consideration for those aspiring to pursue higher education. It shouldn’t have to be that way. Education is empowerment, and we should continue to pursue policies which empower students.”
Congresswoman Stevens said:
“I am proud to be a part of this comprehensive effort to deliver lifechanging relief for our federal student loan borrowers. Americans who pursue an education and make a good faith effort to pay off their loans deserve a fair chance to reestablish their credit and participate in our economy. This legislation empowers borrowers to get back on the right track and escape the lasting shadow of their student loan debt once and for all.”
The Clean Slate through Repayment Act is endorsed by the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association, National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, Institute for College Access and Success, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities, and the American Council on Education.
American Federation of Teachers President, Randi Weingarten said:
“Student loan borrowers can be weighed down by a long-term ‘debt sentence. And for anyone who falls behind in their loan payments, that payment history can have a negative ripple effect on their financial lives. The Clean Slate Through Repayment Act recognizes that borrowers deserve just that—the chance to wipe the slate clean on student loan default once they repay the loan, so that borrowers can get back on the right track, preventing student loan debt from being a lifelong burden.”
47.9 million Americans are impacted by student debt totaling $1.7 trillion. Student borrowers deserve a second chance to move forward after a defaulted loan, particularly when they have made earnest efforts to get back on track financially through loan repayment. Successfully repaying a defaulted loan does not currently remove adverse credit history related to the previously defaulted loan. The Clean Slate through Repayment Act addresses this issue by requiring the Department of Education to request that a consumer reporting agency remove any record of default after loan repayment, giving borrowers a clean slate and the chance to move forward.
Last month, Congresswomen Williams, Ross, Adams, and Stevens introduced the Student Loan Rehabilitation and Credit Score Improvement Act, which would require the Department of Education to request that all negative credit reporting related to a previously defaulted student loan is removed from a borrower’s credit history once the borrower has completed student loan rehabilitation.
Congresswoman Nikema Williams proudly serves Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District. Congresswoman Williams serves on the exclusive Financial Services Committee where she is Vice Chair of the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the Select Committee for the Modernization of Congress. She is Freshman Class President and Co-Chairs the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus. Congresswoman Williams builds on the Fifth District’s legacy as the cradle of the civil rights movement as a champion of voting rights, closing the racial wealth gap, and ensuring the promise of America for all–regardless of their ZIP code or bank account.