Tackling the Student Debt Crisis with a Comprehensive and Long-Term Solution

As the CBF continues to support efforts to protect the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program and to enact meaningful COVID-19 student debt relief measures, we also have ramped up our advocacy for a more comprehensive solution to the student debt crisis.

In the last few months, we’ve been fortunate to work with an incredible team of pro bono attorneys—led by Erin Turley and Allison Wilkerson at McDermott Will & Emery and David Whaley at Thompson Hine LLP—who have done great work turning the CBF’s proposals and ideas into actual legislative language. 

The proposed “Equality in Higher Education Financing and Repayment Act” (EHEFRA) is a comprehensive effort to fairly and equitably tackle the unsustainable levels of student loan debt that are exacerbating existing inequalities in education access and opportunity as well as inhibiting entrepreneurship. The proposed new Act would create a more rational, fair, and accountable system for financing higher education, freeing many Americans from the weight of debt-based decision-making and simultaneously giving the economy a much-needed stimulus during the current financial crisis.

The linchpin of the proposed new Act is the chance to take advantage of today’s near zero interest rates to provide all borrowers with a one-time opportunity to refinance both public and private student loan debt at lower and more sustainable rates.

Moving forward, the Act would create one multi-tiered, income-based repayment program to streamline and simplify the options for borrowers, along with a number of other reforms to encourage employer assistance with student loan repayment, improve borrower education, and increase accountability for all. While the temporary fixes implemented in the CARES Act will help many borrowers in the short term, unleashing the full economic potential of all graduates will require permanent and comprehensive fixes to address the long-term economic consequences of the existing student loan system.

A one-pager that outlines the goals can be found here and the full legislative proposal package can be found here.

We will continue to keep you up to date as we discuss these proposals with our legislative champions in Congress. In the meantime, if you have any thoughts or feedback on this proposal, or a story about how PSLF or these proposals would positively impact your family and career choices, please let us know!