Biparty bill would cancel student loans in bankruptcy


WASHINGTON – As the first-year Badgers prepare to occupy their dormitories in the coming weeks, lawmakers are considering options to reduce an aspect of post-graduate stress that many of them will face.

What would you like to know

  • 43 million Americans owe an estimated $ 1.7 trillion in student loans, according to the Department of Education
  • Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah) sponsors bipartisan bill that allows people declaring bankruptcy to pay off their student loans after a ten-year waiting period
  • President Joe Biden extended the pandemic moratorium on student loan repayments until Jan.31 and is pushing for free first two years of community colleges

The US Department of Education estimates that nearly 700,000 Wisconsin residents owe about $ 21 billion in student loans. A crisis, as some lawmakers call it, which is only getting worse.

“How long have we been talking about this student debt? Decades, ”said Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) during a Senate committee hearing this month. “And we haven’t done anything about it for a long time. We can do something now.

This month, Senators Durbin and John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced the FRESH START Through Bankruptcy Act of 2021, legislation that would allow people declaring bankruptcy to pay off their student loans in addition to their other debts. Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah), who pushed a version of the bill in the House, said it was a solution to a long-standing problem with the country’s bankruptcy system.

“I think it would have worked out differently if the student loan debt had originally gone bankrupt, because then people would not have given our loans for such large amounts, because they would have knew they couldn’t be refunded. ,” he said.

Student advocacy group Rise, Inc. said the legislation is a good start but not a solution at all.

“It’s exciting,” said Max Lubin, CEO of Rise. “There has been over $ 3 billion in student loan debt that has already been canceled by the president [Joe] Biden. And the calls we get from members of Congress, student advocates and borrowers are paying off. And now that you know this campaign is really gaining momentum and gaining traction, it’s time for us to see more direct action from the Biden administration.

Lubin said the non-profit organization supports demands by Progressive Democrats to write off student loan debt, citing the $ 1.7 trillion tab that approximately 43 million Americans owe today. But they want more than just more federal money put into grants and loans. They are looking for comprehensive reform.

“We need to build momentum and really advocate at all levels, local, federal to state, to make sure this is a conversation we have year after year about what more we can do to invest in students and reduce some of those costs, ”said Lubin.

Biden extended the pandemic moratorium on student loan repayments until Jan.31 and is pushing for the first two years of community colleges to be free.


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