Home Education Video: Sen. Warner Applauds President Biden Signing Warner-Authored Legislation to Provide Relief...

Video: Sen. Warner Applauds President Biden Signing Warner-Authored Legislation to Provide Relief to Americans Trapped in Joint Student Loans

“Passing this law means freedom for thousands of borrowers – freedom from financial and domestic abuse..."

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From Sen. Mark Warner’s office:

BIDEN SIGNS WARNER-AUTHORED LEGISLATION TO PROVIDE RELIEF TO AMERICANS TRAPPED IN JOINT STUDENT LOANS

~ First inspired by struggling single mom in Virginia, the Joint Consolidation Loan Separation Act now law ~

WASHINGTON – President Biden has signed legislation from U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) to provide much-needed relief for individuals who previously consolidated their student loan debt with a spouse. Now law, the Joint Consolidation Loan Separation Act will provide a much-needed fix for borrowers who previously consolidated their student debt with a spouse.

Although Congress eliminated the consolidation program on July 1, 2006, it did not provide a means of severing existing loans, even in the event of domestic violence, economic abuse, or an unresponsive partner. As a result, there are borrowers across the country who remain liable for their abusive or uncommunicative spouse’s portion of their consolidated debts. Borrowers trapped in these loans are also unable to access federal relief, including the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. This legislation provides relief to these individuals by allowing borrowers to split this debt and apply for forgiveness benefits. 

“I’m thrilled that borrowers who have been ensnared in these exploitative loans for decades will finally get relief,” said Sen. Warner. “Passing this law means freedom for thousands of borrowers – freedom from financial and domestic abuse, freedom to control their own financial future, and freedom to enjoy the same benefits as other borrowers across the country.” 

The Joint Consolidation Loan Separation Act will allow borrowers to submit an application to the Department of Education to split the joint consolidation loan into two separate federal direct loans. The joint consolidation loan remainder – the unpaid loan and accrued unpaid interest – would be split proportionally based on the percentages that each borrower originally brought into the loan. The two new federal direct loans will have the same interest rates as the joint consolidation loan. Additionally, the bill will enable many borrowers to access student loan relief programs, such as the PSLF Program, for which they were previously ineligible due to their joint consolidation loans.  

Sen. Warner introduced the original version of the Joint Consolidation Loan Separation Act in 2017 after a constituent, Sara from Northern Virginia, contacted him to communicate her struggles with a joint consolidation loan. Sara was raising two children on a public school teacher’s salary and trying to keep up with payments on her student loans. Unfortunately, her ex-spouse, whom she had divorced and moved thousands of miles away from, refused to pay his share of their joint loan. 

Because joint consolidation loans create joint and several liability for borrowers, Sara faced the threat of having her wages as a public school teacher garnished if she did not pay both her and her ex-husband’s portions of their debt. Sen. Warner did not think this was fair and sought to create a solution so that constituents like Sara could control their own financial futures. Video and audio of Sen. Warner reconnecting with Sara is available here.

A full media package, including broadcast-quality audio and video of Sen. Warner speaking with Virginians who will benefit from the new law and the testimonials of other impacted borrowers is available here. Broadcast-quality audio and video of Sen. Warner explaining the issue, making a statement on passage, and speaking about this issue on the floor of the Senate is available here.

…The Joint Consolidation Loan Separation Act has been supported by a number of organizations, including the National Network to End Domestic Violence, National Consumer Law Center, North Carolina Coalition against Domestic Violence, and the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance.

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