Congresswomen Williams, Ross, Stevens, and Adams Lead Legislation to Help Borrowers with Student Loan Debt Burden ​​​​​​

WASHINGTON – On Thursday, Congresswomen Nikema Williams (GA-05), Deborah Ross (NC-02), Haley Stevens (MI-11), and Alma Adams (NC-12) introduced the Student Loan Rehabilitation and Credit Score Improvement Act. The Congresswomen were joined by eight additional original cosponsors in introducing the bill. 

One way for student loan borrowers to get out of default is through loan rehabilitation. and continue to impact borrowers’ ability to get a job, buy a car, and rent an apartment or house. This bill would ensure 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.

“I’m one of the 44.7 million Americans who are still paying off student loans and, like me, too many Georgians remain burdened by student loan debt well after graduation day,” said Congresswoman Williams. “I am determined to find steps to relieve significantly burdened borrowers as I continue to push for student debt cancellation. My common sense bill will help borrowers who have worked hard to rehabilitate their defaulted loans and ensure they truly get a second chance. The American people were told that college would be a path to the American dream, but student debt has created a uniquely American nightmare. In Congress, I will do all I can to provide comprehensive relief and make the American dream a reality for debt-burdened borrowers.” 

The Student Loan Rehabilitation and Credit Score Improvement Act is endorsed by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, American Federation of Teachers, Center for Responsible Lending, National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients), National Education Association, Partnership for Southern Equity, Student Government Association of the Georgia Institute of Technology, and The Institute for College Access and Success. 

“The Student Government Association of the Georgia Institute of Technology supports the Student Loan Rehabilitation and Credit Score Improvement Act introduced by Congresswoman Nikema Williams,” said Samuel Ellis, Georgia Institute of Technology Undergraduate Student Body President. “As representatives of students of the University System of Georgia, we keep issues pertaining to higher education at the forefront of our advocacy. 24% of undergraduate students at the Georgia Institute of Technology utilize federal student loans to cover the cost of their education, and in 2016, around 1.3% of this population defaulted on their loan. With economic insecurity resulting from the pandemic and rising tuition, this act would take steps to improve student financial wellbeing and mitigate student loan debt.”

“Partnership for Southern Equity is proud to support the Student Loan Rehabilitation and Credit Score Improvement Act being introduced by Congresswoman Nikema Williams,” said Nathaniel Smith, Founder and Chief Equity Officer, Partnership for Southern Equity. “Obtaining a college education should not require graduates to suffer from crippling personal debt. We commend the Congresswoman for thinking innovatively about how to move the equity agenda forward.”

“All too often, student loan debt becomes a long-term ‘debt sentence’ for borrowers,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers. “This is particularly true for anyone who falls behind in their loan payments: Even after getting their loan back in good standing, student loan payment history can negatively affect their ability to buy a home, make it more expensive for them to purchase a car, and otherwise have a negative ripple effect on their financial lives. The Student Loan Rehabilitation and Credit Score Improvement Act would ensure that negative credit reporting on loan defaults doesn’t live on borrowers’ credit history forever. It would mean that once a loan is paid, borrowers can get back on the right track, preventing student loan debt from being a lifelong burden.”

“I am excited to co-lead this important bill with Representatives Williams, Stevens, and Adams,” said Congresswoman Ross. “In order to truly give borrowers a second chance, it is essential that we create a pathway to total forgiveness of defaulted loans. Student borrowers in North Carolina and across the country sacrifice so much for the benefit of gaining an education, only to be hindered by crippling student loan payments and adverse credit history. This bill takes essential steps to address the student loan crisis and uplift severely impacted borrowers in their efforts to plan for their future.”

“Federal student loan borrowers deserve a fair chance to reestablish their credit after making a good faith effort to get out of default,” said Congresswoman Stevens. “Now more than ever, we must ensure that Americans who choose to pursue an education and work to pay off their loans can plan for their futures and contribute to our economy. I am proud to team up with my colleagues in this effort to tackle the student loan crisis and get folks back on their feet.”

“As a first-generation college student, I know how hard it is to make ends meet and pay for college,” said Congresswoman Alma Adams, founder and co-chair of the HBCU Caucus. “That’s why the Student Loan Rehabilitation and Credit Score Improvement Act is so necessary. Burdensome student loan debt is dragging down millions of America’s best and brightest, preventing borrowers across generations from qualifying for the credit they need to buy a house, lease a car, or start a business. This bill helps borrowers hit the reset button and unlock a brighter future for themselves and their families. Democrats promised action on student loan debt, and with this bill Congresswoman Williams and I intend to deliver.”

CONTACT: PressGA05@mail.house.gov 

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