Fairness for Struggling Students Act

Posted by NCBRC - January 28, 2013

Illinois Senator Richard Durbin  began the 113th Congress by reintroducing the Fairness for Struggling Students Act of 2013, S. 114, proposing to make private student loans, like other consumer debts, dischargeable in bankruptcy. In presenting the legislation, Senator Durbin said:

The first two pieces of legislation I will introduce this Congress deal with what I think is one of the biggest threats to millions of working families – the growing student loan debt crisis.  Too many Americans are carrying around mortgage-sized student loan debt that forces them to put off major life decisions like buying a home or starting a family.  It’s not only young people facing this crisis, it is parents, siblings and even grandparents who co-signed private loans long ago and are still making payments decades later.  It’s time for action.  We can no longer sit by while this student debt bomb keeps ticking.”

Federal student loans have been essentially non-dischargeable since 1978 but it was not until the Bankruptcy Code underwent upheaval in 2005 that private student loans were accorded the same favored treatment. Although private student loans comprise only about 20% of the total student loan debt, private loans tend to be substantially more onerous for borrowers. They typically have higher interest rates, limited or no availability of deferment or forbearance, and no income-based repayment plans. In addition, they are not subject to the consumer protections in place for federal student loans.

Senators Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Al Franken (D. MN), Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), are co-sponsors of the bill. Other organizations that have publically called on Congress to amend student loan treatment in bankruptcy are the American Association of University Women, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the U.S. Department of Education, The Institute for College Access and Success, and Sallie Mae.

NACBA has actively fought for a return to pre-2005 treatment of private student loans and NACBA members have an opportunity to make their voices heard at the 2013 Capitol Hill Meeting in Washington on February 26-27. You can register for this event through the NACBA website, www.NACBA.org.




One Comment

  • Posted January 30, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Thank you!!! So important!!

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