Warren to Chair Her First Economic Policy Subcommittee Hearing; Will Focus on Student Debt Burden
Invites CEOs of Giant Student Loan Servicers Navient, PHEAA
MA Attorney General Maura Healey & U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) Will Join Hearing
Washington, D.C. - On Tuesday, April 13, 2021, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) will host her first hearing as chair of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on Economic Policy. The hearing will examine the student loan debt crisis and its impact on racial justice, borrowers, and the economy. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) will join the hearing and speak to their experiences working with borrowers cheated by for-profit colleges and people struggling to pay off their debt. Senator Warren has also invited John Remondi, CEO of one of the nation's largest student loan servicers, Navient, and James Steeley, CEO of loan servicer Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), to participate in the hearing. PHEAA has indicated Mr. Steeley will attend.
Since 2014, Navient has obtained contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars from the Department of Education to provide student loan servicing and has a long record of cheating student borrowers, including servicemembers. Senator Warren has fought to hold Navient accountable for misleading practices and has invited their CEO to testify to the impact of servicing practices on borrowers:
"Your testimony will provide you with an opportunity to offer context on the burden of student loans on borrowers and the economy, and on the problems created for borrowers due to the long record of abusive and misleading behavior by student loan servicers like Navient," Senator Warren wrote in her invitation letter to Navient CEO John Remondi.
In her invitation to PHEAA CEO James Steeley, Senator Warren wrote, "Investigations by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Education Inspector General revealed that PHEAA's "flawed payment processing, botched paperwork and inaccurate information" prevented hundreds of public service workers from receiving their earned loan forgiveness." Warren invited Mr. Steeley to speak to PHEAA's role informing borrowers of their options and administering the poorly-executed Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.
Senator Warren has also invited Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) to testify at the hearing.
Attorney General Healey has brought numerous lawsuits against for-profit colleges that have cheated students and left them in crippling debt, often without degrees. Her office recently resolved a lawsuit against PHEAA concerning its handling of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, TEACH Grant program and Income Driven Repayment plans with a first-in-the nation settlement, which provides significant relief to public servants, teachers and borrowers. She brought about the "discharge of thousands of loans for students defrauded by Corinthian Colleges in Massachusetts and created one of the first Student Loan Assistance Units in the nation to help borrowers understand their repayment options.
"Your work on behalf of Massachusetts borrowers gives you a unique perspective on this crisis," Senator Warren wrote in her invitation letter to AG Healey.
In her invitation letter to Representative Pressley, Senator Warren wrote, "You have been a leader in the fight for student loan forgiveness, and have first-hand experience to offer the Committee on the burdens of student loan debt and its disproportionate impact on students of color." In February 2021, Senator Warren, Representative Pressley, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and led their colleagues in reintroducing their bicameral resolution outlining a bold plan for President Biden to tackle the student loan debt crisis by canceling up to $50,000 in student loan debt for federal student loan borrowers.
Senator Warren has also invited a borrower struggling with student loan debt to participate in the subcommittee hearing.
Senator Warren is one of the nation's leading voices calling for student debt cancellation in order to boost our economy and help close the racial wealth gap for borrowers, and an end to predatory practices that hurt borrowers and trap people in years and years of debt. Earlier today, Senator Warren, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, and Attorney General Maura Healey held a press conference calling for President Biden to tackle the student loan debt crisis by using existing authority under the Higher Education Act to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt for Federal student loan borrowers. In March 2021, Senators Warren and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) applauded the passage of their Student Loan Tax Relief Act as part of the American Rescue Plan. The provision makes any student loan forgiveness tax-free, ensuring borrowers whose debt is fully or partially forgiven are not saddled with thousands of dollars in surprise taxes. During her time in the Senate, she has helped return tens of millions of dollars tax free to students cheated by for-profit colleges.
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