Published: July 2020

Proposed Senate bill fails to Protect Student Borrowers during pandemic

Consumer Action joined 55 other organizations in submitting a letter to Senate leadership in opposition to the Safely Back to School and Back to Work Act. This proposed legislation falls far short of what young Americans need and should expect from their elected leaders. Rather than extend vital support during a dual public health and economic crisis, this bill would leave millions of student loan borrowers without protections while failing to extend and expand a repayment suspension put in place by the CARES Act. Doing so would only make the burden of student debt heavier, leaving many young Americans financially insecure.

Although simplifying the FAFSA and establishing clear repayment options are worthy goals, the Safely Back to School and Back to Work Act would actually penalize many borrowers and remove important protections, while ignoring the urgent needs for both student loan debt cancellation and, at the very least, extension and expansion of the automatic forbearance period put in place by the CARES Act.

Instead, advocates urge Congress to pass legislation that: 

  • extends the repayment pause for at least one year;
  • expands eligibility for this repayment suspension to include 2020 graduates and the 9 million borrowers left out by the CARES Act; and 
  • includes more meaningful relief for borrowers during the pandemic through student debt cancellation.

Lead Organization

Americans for Financial Reform (AFR)

Other Organizations

Americans for Financial Reform | Center for Responsible Lending | National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients) Student Borrower Protection Center | Young Invincibles | Action Center on Race & the Economy (ACRE) American Association of University Women (AAUW) American Federation of Teachers | Augustus F. Hawkins Foundation | Center for Economic Integrity | Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) Clearinghouse on Women's Issues | Consumer Action | Consumer Federation of America Consumer Federation of California Consumer Reports | Education Reform Now | The Education Trust } Feminist Majority Foundation | Friends of the Earth U.S. | Friendship of Women, Inc. | Generation Progress | Heather Jarvis, Student Loan Expert LLC | Hildreth Institute | Housing and Economic Rights Advocates | National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) | National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) | National Association of Social Workers | National Education Association | National Urban League | New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) | PHENOM (Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts) Project on Predatory Student Lending | Public Citizen | Public Justice Center | Public Law Center | SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center | Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) | Student Debt Crisis | Tax March | THE ONE LESS FOUNDATION | U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) | UnKoch My Campus | VOICE-OKC

More Information

Click here to read the coalition letter.

For more information, please visit AFR.


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