WASHINGTON, D.C. – United States Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), ranking Member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Development Committee, Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a member of the Senate Banking Committee and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, sent a series of letters to student loan companies asking how they are taking steps to aid private student loan borrowers affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
In their letters to Wells Fargo, Sallie Mae, Navient, Citizens Financial Group, Discover Financial Services, PNC, Truist, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, the Higher Education Loan Authority of the State of Missouri, Sofi, LendKey, Reunion Student Loan Finance Corporation and College Avenue Student Loans, the senators urge the companies to provide immediate relief to private student loan borrowers, similar to the steps the government has taken to allow federal borrowers to pause and avoid penalties on their federal student loans.
The senators’ letters can be read HERE.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 has resulted in an unprecedented and widespread public health and economic crisis, significantly upending life for every American,” the lawmakers wrote. “For private student loan borrowers, these economic disruptions will be uniquely devastating due to private student loan borrowers’ lack of critical protections, forgiveness programs, and repayment options available to federal student loan borrowers.”
The lawmakers asked student loan companies to take the following steps to significantly mitigate harm:
“Congress has a critical role to play here, and we will continue to fight for legislation that includes aggressive policies such as broad debt cancellation to provide all student loan borrowers with relief that both responds to the scale of this emergency and stimulates our economy,” wrote the lawmakers. “We, however, believe that your company also has a responsibility to do more during the COVID-19 crisis.”
Along with Senators Brown and Warren, Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Cory A. Booker (D-NJ), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) also signed onto the letters.
The lawmakers have requested responses to their letters no later than April 20, 2020.