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New Bill Simplifies and Strengthens America’s Student Loan Repayment System

Earlier today, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced the Affordable Loans for Any Student Act of 2019, a comprehensive reform package that would simplify and strengthen the student loan repayment system. The bill takes several steps to make navigating the system for the average loan borrower much easier and mitigates the burden of student loan debt for millions of borrowers. Specifically, the bill would:

  • Offer two loan repayment plans — one plan where payments are a fixed amount over a 10-year period, and an income-based repayment (IBR) plan where a borrower would pay 10 percent of their disposable income for 20 years to earn forgiveness of their remaining balance;
  • End interest capitalization and origination fees, saving borrowers money;
  • Allow for annual automatic renewal of participation in the IBR plan, so the borrower will no longer have to manually reapply;
  • Streamline confusing deferment and forbearance options into one simpler “pause payment” option that does not capitalize interest;
  • Automatically enroll severely delinquent borrowers into an IBR plan to help ward off unnecessary and damaging student loan defaults; and
  • Increase the amount of income exempted from repayment to a higher percentage above the poverty line, instantly lowering monthly payments for millions of borrowers.

In response to today’s bill introduction, Reid Setzer, Director of Public Policy for Young Invincibles, issued the following statement:

“The Affordable Loans for Any Student Act of 2019 is a bold, comprehensive proposal to address several aspects of the student loan crisis. It combines straightforward fixes to a confusing and burdensome system with more generous repayment terms that will help millions of borrowers maintain their financial security while working toward being debt-free. Young Invincibles supports the bill because it will immediately make the lives of current and future student borrowers easier and more financially secure. As discussions around a bipartisan HEA reauthorization continue, and we hope to see many of these provisions included in a final bill.”