New student loan deferral plan aims to help sexual assault survivors

A new bill from six Democratic lawmakers would give some survivors of sexual assault more time to pay back their student loan debt.

The legislation was introduced on Wednesday by Senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, four of his Senate colleagues and U.S. Representative Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania. It would establish an option to defer loan payments by three years for survivors of sexual violence who took time away from their education to seek treatment.

The plan was announced shortly before a years-long pause on student loan payments is set to expire in October. If the bill successfully passes through Congress and is signed into law by President Joe Biden, it could provide a new option for limited debt relief months after Biden’s plan to more broadly cancel up to $20,000 of debt per borrower was scuttled by the Supreme Court.

Fetterman recalled his experience of successfully undergoing in-patient treatment for severe depression earlier this year while suggesting that the new bill would allow students who are survivors of sexual violence to take time out and focus on their own well-being.

Protesters are pictured holding signs reading “Cancel student debt now!” at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on June 30, 2023. Six



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