RI Senate calls for more protections for student loan borrowers

PROVIDENCE, RI – Rhode Island Senate lawmakers on Tuesday approved a resolution calling on the state’s Post-Secondary Education Commissioner to take action to help student loan borrowers. The resolution calls for the creation of a working group to identify protections for borrowers.

“Higher education or vocational training is a necessity for a successful career, but it has become increasingly common that its high cost results in crushing personal debt,” said Senator Hanna Gallo, sponsor of the resolution. “Student debt is a huge burden on individuals and families, and can multiply the effects of personal crises if the borrower cannot stay up to date on their loans. turning temporary problems into permanent problems. “

Gallo’s resolution points out that the federal government removed protections for student borrowers before the coronavirus pandemic, which included those that prevented debt collectors from charging high fees on overdue loans, up to 16%.

After the pandemic, the Ministry of Education put in place short-term protections, including stopping the collection of overdue loans and the absence of accrued interest. These protections will expire on September 30.

“Ultimately we need the federal government, which is involved in most student loans, to make some major changes, but in the meantime Rhode Island needs to identify all the tools at our disposal to protect student loan borrowers. in our state, ”Gallo continued.

Gallo’s resolution calls on the post-secondary education commissioner to form a task force to examine how the state can protect student borrowers. The group is invited to present its findings by January 14, 2022, including the agencies that can best provide these protections, as well as any necessary laws or regulatory changes.

According to General Assembly data, this average amount of student loans exceeds $ 31,000. In 2020, the country’s total student loan debt was around $ 1.67 trillion.

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