March 23, 2021

Sen. Hanna M. Gallo at (401) 276-5583

 

Senate OKs Gallo resolution seeking
protections for student loan borrowers

 

STATE HOUSE – The Senate today approved a resolution sponsored by Sen. Hanna M. Gallo asking Rhode Island’s Postsecondary Education Commissioner to form a work group to identify ways Rhode Island can protect student loan borrowers.

“Higher education or job training is a necessity for a successful career, but it’s become increasingly common that its high cost results in crushing personal debt. Student debt is an enormous burden on individuals and families, and can multiply the effects of personal crises if the borrower cannot stay current on their loans. Onerous late fees and collections practices from lenders can make it impossible for borrowers to get back on track, turning temporary problems into permanent ones,” said Senator Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick). “Ultimately, we need the federal government, which is involved in most student loans, to make major changes, but in the meantime, Rhode Island needs to identify all the tools that are available to us to protect student loan borrowers in our state.”

The resolution notes that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Department of Education had removed protections for student loan borrowers, including barring debt collectors from charging high fees — up to 16 percent of the principal and accrued interest — on past-due loans.

While the Department of Education later instituted protections related to the pandemic, including suspension of loan payments, halting collections on defaulted loans, and a 0% interest rate, those protections are temporary, and currently authorized only through Sept. 30.

Outstanding education debt in the United States has tripled over the last decade. As of 2020, student loan debt in the United States totals approximately $1.67 trillion. In Rhode Island, the average student loan debt is $31,781.

The resolution (2021-S 0281) asks the Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner to form a work group to conduct a thorough review into how Rhode Island can protect student loan borrowers and to make recommendations by Jan. 14, 2022, to the General Assembly regarding student loan protections. The resolution asks that the recommendations consider the best agency to provide those protections, and necessary statutory and regulatory amendments. The work group should include the Treasurer’s Office, the Office of the Attorney General, Rhode Island Student Loan Authority, private student loan providers, members of the Rhode Island General Assembly, current and former students with student loan debt, and other key stakeholders, the resolution states.

 

-30-

For an electronic version of this and all press releases published by the Legislative Press and Public Information Bureau, please visit our website at www.rilegislature.gov/pressrelease. 

 

 Follow us on social media! 
The Hennepin County medical examiner in Minnesota is ruling Daunte Wright's death a homicide after being shot in the chest. The Black man was shot by a Brooklyn Center police officer Sunday during a traffic stop. Police Chief Tim Gannon showed body camera video of the shooting and believes the officer mistakenly pulled out her gun instead of a taser.       George Floyd's brother is taking the stand in the murder trial of ex-Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin [[ SHO-vin]]. Philonise Floyd talked about growing up with his brother and broke down when he was shown early childhood photos of the Floyd family. Philonise said everyone in the neighborhood loved George.        The Capitol Police officer who was killed in the line of duty on April 2nd will lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda tomorrow. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin paid tribute to Officer William "Billy" Evans during the opening of the Senate today following a two-week recess. The 41-year-old Evans was killed when a man rammed him and another officer with his car at a Capitol security checkpoint.       Uber says ride-share bookings increased by nine-percent last month, the highest level since the pandemic began a year ago. Uber Eats recorded 52-billion-dollars in sales for March, more than double from the previous year. Uber says consumer demand for rides continues to increase as more Americans get vaccinated for COVID-19.       The classic quiz show "College Bowl" is getting a reboot. On the show, college students from universities across the U.S. battle it out, answering questions spanning a variety of subjects. Football great Peyton Manning will host with assistance from his brother Cooper Manning.