August 15, 2022

Wyden, Colleagues Support Proposed Rules on Student Debt Relief Programs, Encourage Biden Administration to Further Strengthen Proposal

Senators applaud critical forward progress, outline further steps to strengthen proposed regulations

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has joined U.S. Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash., and colleagues in commenting on the Department of Education’s proposed rules to expand and improve student debt relief programs. 


In a letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, the senators applauded the Department’s efforts to provide and expand relief to borrowers whose schools closed or defrauded them, borrowers working in public service, and borrowers who are totally and permanently disabled. The senators encouraged additional steps to improve the Department’s student debt relief programs and ensure borrowers can access the relief they are owed.


“The Department’s proposed rules will help to provide additional relief to struggling borrowers, protect students and taxpayers from fraud and abuse committed by institutions, and ensure our federal student loan program fulfills its promise to put higher education within reach for more students without subjecting them to complex, burdensome, or punitive requirements that make it harder to get the relief they are owed,” wrote the senators. “This proposal represents an enormous step forward for students and borrowers, and, when finalized, it will help ensure government benefits and programs function as Congress intended.”


In their letter, the senators commended the Biden administration’s proposals to deliver and expand relief for these borrowers—steps Wyden, Murray and their Democratic colleagues urged the Department to take in a letter last year.


They also detailed additional steps the Department should take to strengthen its proposal. In particular, the senators recommended steps to further strengthen its borrower protection rule, further expand relief for borrowers seeking a closed school discharge and eligibility for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, eliminate interest capitalization on all loan types, and further protect students’ right to seek relief in court. The senators also urged the Department to continue working to fix the income-driven repayment system, crack down on bad actors, and provide as much relief as possible to borrowers.


“As the Department works to finalize these regulations, we urge you to build on this progress by strengthening rules in other vital areas, including income-driven repayment and gainful employment,” added the senators. “We also urge the Department to continue efforts to protect borrowers outside the rulemaking process, including by immediately and efficiently using its current oversight and enforcement authorities to rein in bad actors and provide as much relief as possible to borrowers.”


In addition to Wyden, the letter --  which was led by Murray -- was also signed by U.S. Senators Schumer, D-N.Y., Baldwin, D-Wisc., Markey, D-Mass., Reed, D-R.I., Coons, D-Del., Hirono, D-Hawaii, Cardin, D-Md., Warnock, D-Ga., Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Warren, D-Mass., Lujan, D-N.M., Casey, D-Penn., Whitehouse, D-R.I., Blumenthal, D-Conn., Smith, D-Minn., Cortez Masto, D-Nev., Padilla, D-Calif., Brown, D-Ohio, Durbin, D-Ill., Van Hollen, D-Md., and Rosen, D-N.V.


The Senators’ full letter is here