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Representative Donna Shalala Leads Colleagues in Introducing The Student Loan Disclosure Transparency Act of 2019 to Help Student Loan Borrowers

Bipartisan legislation, introduced by Reps. Shalala, Gaetz, Stewart, McAdams, Herrera Beutler, and Spanberger would increase transparency in student loan disclosures

Washington, August 15, 2019 | Carlos Condarco (2022253931)
Tags: Education

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Reps. Donna Shalala (FL-27), Matt Gaetz (FL-01), Chris Stewart (UT-02), Ben McAdams (UT-04), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) and Abigail Spanberger (VA-07),   introduced the Student Loan Disclosure Transparency Act of 2019, bipartisan legislation requiring that student borrowers who apply for and accept federal student loans receive a separate monthly loan disclosure statement with information on projected payments, accrued interest, total cost of attendance, and other personalized details in easy and understandable terms.

“The standards of disclosure that apply to other consumer loans should also apply to the very first consumer loan most people take—the student loan,” said Rep. Shalala. “Americans now owe over $1.6 trillion in student debt with the average borrower owing more than $38,000. We ought to encourage financially responsible practices among young people early on as they embark on their lives. Our current student loan disclosures are unnecessarily long, difficult to read, and fail to inform borrowers payoff their payment obligations upon graduation. The goal is to give student borrowers the necessary tools and information they need to manage financial aid and personal finances while in school.”

“Excessive student loan debt has harmed generations of young Americans. More transparency in the student loan process is crucial: it will improve financial literacy and will also help borrowers understand the financial commitments they are making. I am proud to work with my colleague, friend, and fellow Floridian Congresswoman Shalala on the Student Loan Disclosure Transparency Act, legislation that will help students across America,” said Rep. Gaetz.

“This commonsense legislation requires transparency and empowers students and perspective students to better understand the full cost of college. I am proud to work with Congresswoman Shalala on this important legislation to help those pursuing further education,” said Rep. Stewart.

“We need to do more to ensure that students have all the information they need to be responsible consumers and borrowers.  I am proud to join this bipartisan effort to empower students to take control of their education and financial future,” said Rep. McAdams.

“I remember heading to college and weighing my options, stressing over expenses, and trying to navigate the best path for my future. The challenges I hear from college students today are even harder as our nation struggles with a student loan debt crisis. We owe it to our students to increase transparency when they sign for a loan; the process should be simple and understandable, with the goal of setting up every young person for success. I’m proud to lead this bipartisan effort with Congresswoman Donna Shalala to empower students in Southwest Washington and across the country to make the best, informed decision regarding the borrowing plan for their college career,” said Rep. Herrera Beutler.

“Young people who attend college are making an enormous investment in their futures and the long-term strength of their communities. Unfortunately, too many Central Virginia students and graduates are crippled by the weight of their student loan debt. This financial burden can stunt their ability to buy a home, start a business, and pursue their career goals,” said Rep. Spanberger. “I’m proud to help introduce this bill alongside House colleagues from both sides of the aisle. This bill is an important first step toward delivering the transparency that borrowers need to take control of their financial future and make informed, responsible decisions. We can and should do more to equip our young people with the tools they need to work, invest, and thrive across our Central Virginia communities — and I’d like to thank Congresswoman Shalala for her continued leadership on this critical issue.”

The Higher Education Act (HEA) currently requires disclosures at three points: disbursement, at or prior to repayment, and during repayment. The Student Loan Disclosure Transparency Act would improve transparency across the entire life of the loan while a borrower attends college and during any period of repayment, deferment, forbearance, or delinquency. The bill also encourages borrowers to pay interest fees and other costs before graduation.