Project Calls on Congress, Department of Ed to Relieve Student Loan Debt in Light of COVID-19 | Press Release

March 12, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 crisis and its severe economic impact on American families across the nation, the Project on Predatory Student Lending calls on Congress and the Department of Education to use their authority to cancel all student loan debt, and to act immediately to stop tax refund offset and wage garnishment, and to put loans in interest-free forbearance.

Statement from Toby Merrill, Director of the Project on Predatory Student Lending:

“COVID-19 is causing economic devastation across the country, with even greater job and income losses to come. Americans need to dedicate their incomes to their health and family instead of trying to scrape together the money to pay the government for student debt. As the federal government considers aid to small and large businesses, it must also help individuals and families by cancelling student loan debt. At this time of extreme economic uncertainty, eliminating student loan debt will stimulate the economy, and it will allow borrowers to spend their time and money on necessities, instead of worrying about sending their last paycheck to the government. It will prevent people from entering forbearances, only to face a pile of new interest down the line, in a weakened economy. And it will prevent draconian measures like tax refund offset and wage garnishment from toppling already-precarious households.

“As this public health crisis becomes a financial crisis for too many families, both Congress and the Department of Education have the obligation and the authority to protect people by cancelling student loan debt, and acting immediately to stop collections.”

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Established in 2012, the Project on Predatory Student Lending is the first legal services practice in the country focused solely on representing former students of for-profit colleges. Its mission is to litigate to make it legally and financially impossible for the predatory for-profit college industry to cheat students, and to relieve borrowers from fraudulent student loan debt.

The Project has brought a wide variety of cases on behalf of former students of for-profit colleges. It has sued the federal Department of Education for its failures to meet its legal obligation to police this industry and stop the perpetration and collection of fraudulent student loan debt. It has also brought its clients’ experiences to bear on federal and state policymaking.

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