Sending Office: Honorable Emanuel Cleaver
Cosponsor the Student Loan Disclosure Modernization Act
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO) & Rep Jim Banks (R-IN)
Please join us as a cosponsor of H.R.1161, The Student Loan Disclosure Modernization Act.
This bill modernizes the Department of Education’s (ED) Plain Language Disclosure Form, making the form simpler for student loan borrowers to understand before signing a loan agreement.
The bill would:
- require the Plain Language Disclosure Form to be simplified, consumer tested and friendly
- place extra emphasis on material terms of the loan like the finance charge, annual percentage rate (APR), and estimated monthly repayment.
- require students to sign the form every time they take out a new loan, acknowledging that they have read the form and understand the terms of the loan.
Under current law, the Department of Education (ED) is required to disclose to students a long list of terms and conditions of federal student loans to help educate them about the obligations they are incurring. Unfortunately, the volume and complexity of
this form make comprehension challenging as they are 6 pages longs, written in 8-point font and laced with legal jargon. This should be improved.
Every year millions of students take out thousands of dollars in student loans to pay for college. In 2018 69% of college students took out loans, graduating with an average debt of $29,800, both private and federal debt. Furthermore 14% of parents took
out Federal Parent PLUS loans. As of 2018 the national student loan debt stands at over $1.5 trillion. Unfortunately, many college students are unprepared for the reality of student loan debt. According to a 2016 Consumer Report Survey, 62% of Americans with
student loan debt did not attend any financial aid information sessions prior to enrolling in college. Improving student financial literacy could help empower students to make better decisions about their financial future and could prevent over-borrowing.
Private loan disclosure forms have a long history of being consumer tested to help borrowers understand the terms of a loan. Although consumer testing does not solve all financial literacy issues, it can go a long way in helping individuals better understand
the consequences of taking out a loan. For many Americans, a student loan is the first introduction to taking out loans. Let’s do our best to make it more consumer friendly and informative.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0