Sending Office: Honorable Donna E. Shalala
Sent By:
Jordan.Richardson@mail.house.gov

        Request for Cosponsor(s)

Cosponsor H.R. 4193, the Student Loan Disclosure Transparency Act

Co-sponsors:
Shalala, GaetzStewart, McAdams, Herrera Beutler, Spanberger, Brooks (IN), Brownley, Cooper, Craig,
Diaz-Balart, Engel, Fitzpatrick,
Harder,
Horn, Jackson Lee, Kind, King (NY), Kuster, McGovern, Holmes Norton, Quigley,
Raskin, Rouda,
Rutherford, Sewell, Slotkin, Stanton,
Waltz

Endorsed By: Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), Financial Services Innovation Coalition (FSIC), HBCU Collective, American
Association of Community Colleges (AACC), Higher Learning Advocates (HLA), Florida Higher Education Arts Network (FHEAN), The Student Loan Help Group (TSLHG), AdvancED, Black Women’s Health Initiative (BWHI), Partnership for Innovation and Empowerment (PI&E),
Faithworks, Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SLCL), International Business Kids (IBK)

Dear Colleague,

The burden of student loans has unquestionably taken a toll on millions of American families. As outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. continues to climb—in June of 2019, borrowers owed around $1.6 trillion—various proposals have been
introduced to offer free college, refinance student loans, or cancel student debt altogether.
 Protecting programs like PSLF and Federal Work-Study, along with increasing Pell Grant funding, would certainly reduce the amount of debt students accumulate,
but these actions alone will not fix the larger problem. Addressing the root of the student loan crisis must center on sharp transparency with borrowers and a loan disclosure that is simple, accessible, and easy to understand.  

Encouraging financially responsible practices as young people start their independent lives and apply for their first loans will help ensure students play an active role in their finances and promote lifetime financial literacy. The Department of Education,
as the originator of most student loans in the country, has an obligation to inform borrowers of the financial responsibilities that arise from accepting thousands of dollars in student loans. Although federal loan programs reach millions of students, they
are not customized for borrowers’ needs or ability to repay. The standards of disclosure that apply to other consumer loans should also apply to the very first consumer loan most people take—the student loan. A crucial component of limiting
the price students pay for college is simply providing them with better information.

The Student Loan Disclosure Transparency Act seeks to correct this by giving borrowers the opportunity to participate in their finances and understand the financial commitment of taking out student loans. Specifically, the bill
would require:

  • Simplified disclosures in easy and understandable terms. Two-thirds of borrowers express some misunderstanding or surprise about their student loan disclosures. Our bill would prioritize important personalized information, including origination
    fees, interest rates, and early payment plans – information which could contribute to combatting the student loan debt crisis.
  • Regular monthly disclosures during the life of a loan. Under current law, a borrower is only required to receive a written or electronic disclosure at three points: disbursement, at or prior to repayment, and during repayment status.
    The bill would amend the definition of when a borrower is scheduled to receive disclosures from “During Repayment” to “For the Life of the Loan,” thereby increasing transparency while borrowers attend college AND during any period of active repayment
    deferment, forbearance, or delinquency.
  • Projected payments based on amount borrowed. Included in the monthly disclosures, would be projected monthly payments based on how much a student has borrowed with an option to pay any interest that accrues while a borrower is still in
    school. In order to improve borrower understanding, the bill estimates the total amount owed, expected monthly payments after graduation, and a description of fees and other costs.

While we do need bold action to help those who are struggling with student loan debt, increased transparency and engagement in the student loan disclosure process will help current borrowers and future students alike.

For more information or to be added as a cosponsor, please contact Christofer Horta with Rep. Shalala at Christofer.Horta@mail.house.gov or Devin Murphy with Rep. Gaetz at Devin.Murphy@mail.house.gov.

Sincerely,

Donna E. Shalala                                      Matt Gaetz                                              Chris Stewart                
Member of Congress                                 Member of Congress                              Member of Congress     

Jaime Herrera Beutler                               Ben McAdams                                        Abigail Spanberger             
Member of Congress                                 Member of Congress                              Member of Congress 

 

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Selected legislative information: Consumer Affairs, Economy, Education

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