Private student loans are risky, marketed aggressively, and largely unregulated by the federal government. Unlike federal loans, they have high, variable interest rates and few protections for borrowers. Send a message to your representatives urging them to strengthen consumer protections and information regarding private loans.
After the House of Representatives passed their version of the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007, our supporters focused their messages on the Senate, which eventually passed the bill by a margin of 78 to 18 on July 20, 2007. President Bush signed the bill into law on September 27, 2007.
The education committees of houses of Congress passed bills to ensure that student loan borrowers have fair and realistic repayment options; to increase the value of the Pell grant; and to simplify the financial aid application process, making it easier for families to get the help they need to pay for college. Our supporters sent messages of support to their representatives, and the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007 was passed on the floor of both houses by wide margins. President Bush signed the bill on September 27, 2007
A proposal modeled on our plan for fair loan payments was included in U.S. Senate bill 359. Many of the provisions in this bill were later incorporated into the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007, which was signed into law by President Bush on September 27, 2007
After the Department of Education agreed to consider elements of our plan for fair loan payments in the negotiated rulemaking, we kept the pressure on Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, urging her to follow through once the process was completed. The Department eventually decided not to issue regulations on loan repayment, but Congress passed legislation to accomplish virtually the same thing. Income Based Repayment was signed into law in September 2007.
The Commission on the Future of Higher Education included strong language about student debt in their final report released in August 2006. This is what the Department of Education told us they were waiting for after we submitted our administrative petition that May. Hundreds of supporters sent in messages through our web site during the public comment period, and appeared at public hearings across the country to ensure that student debt was addressed in the next regulatory process.
Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings created the Commission on the Future of Higher Education “charged with developing a comprehensive national strategy for postsecondary education.” After submitting an administrative petition to the Department of Education in May, the coalition led by the Project on Student Debt sought to ensure that the Commission addressed the problem of rising student debt. They did include “decreased debt burden” in their final report as one of the four fundamental principles that should guide our financial aid system.
In May 2006, the Project on Student Debt and groups representing students, parents, educators, and the loan industry submitted an administrative petition to the Department of Education. The petition proposed changing loan repayment regulations to set more affordable limits on loan payments, and forgive certain debts after 20 years. The Department eventually included our suggestions in a negotiated rulemaking process, but it took until Fall 2007 for a similar proposal to be signed into law.