For Immediate Release:
October 3, 2017
Matthew Nocella, 202.724.8105 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Grosso introduces legislation to aid residents’ student loan repayments
Washington, D.C. – Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) today continued his push to address the looming student debt crisis by introducing legislation to assist borrowers in repaying their federal student loans.
“While we have taken a preliminary step to tackle student debt with the creation of a student loan ombudsman, we need to do more to invest in our workforce and ensure that attending college is not a financial drain on individuals and families who call D.C. home,” said Councilmember Grosso.
The Student Loan Debt Forgiveness Act of 2017 establishes a student loan forgiveness program for D.C. residents who are currently enrolled in a federal income-driven repayment plan. Qualified applicants would be eligible to receive an award equal to 100% of their monthly payment for up to 60 months if they were enrolled in a post-secondary institution after January 1, 2016.
“Growing student debt presents a serious challenge for our residents and local economy, creating a burden that follows them and stifles every aspect of their lives: buying a house, starting a business, saving for retirement, and furthering their education,” Grosso said. “What is worse is that our communities of color are being hardest hit by student debt.”
The District of Columbia maintains the highest concentration of student debtors in the country, according the U.S. Department of Education. Over 112,000 D.C. residents collectively owe $5.6 billion in federal student loans. Residents in the East End of D.C. carry twice as much debt and are three times more likely to be at least nine months behind on their loan payments as their neighbors in other parts of the city.
“This legislation, along with the work of the city’s new student loan ombudsman, could mean the difference between success and default for our residents,” said Councilmember Grosso.
Last year, the Council passed Grosso’s Student Loan Ombudsman Establishment and Servicing Regulation Act of 2016. It established a student loan ombudsman in the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking empowered to establish licensing requirements for student loan servicers in the city. The office is also charged with informing D.C. residents about their options when seeking student loans and when working to repay them.