By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Staff Reporter
The top Republican lawmakers on the House and Senate education committees are once again calling on Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to detail how the Department of Education (ED) plans to address a number of logistical challenges to restarting student loan payments once the federal student loan moratorium is lifted in the beginning of 2022.
The letter, a follow up to a pair of recent requests from Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), ranking member of the House Education and Labor committee, and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee, expresses lawmakers' deep concern over ED’s ability to smoothly transition borrowers back into repayment.
“If this transition is going to be successful, it is critical the Department immediately begins to work collaboratively with its partners and Congress,” Burr and Foxx wrote. “There has been ample time to plan. It is now your responsibility to execute on the return to repayment, beginning with clear and continuous communication with stakeholders detailing expectations, the communication protocol, and the timeline under which they will begin their process.”
The lawmakers also expressed concern over how ED would handle recent servicer exits that will require 8.5 million borrowers to be assigned to new servicers ahead of the repayment period.
Burr and Foxx have been urging for a return to student loan repayments for the bulk of 2021 and had previously called on ED to provide borrowers with clarity on the status of their loans.
Democrats have backed ED’s decision to extend the moratorium through early 2022 with some calling for further extensions in tandem with some form of debt cancellation ahead of the resumption of repayments.
ED has not yet responded to GOP lawmakers’ letters directly but in recent months has continually stated that the benefit will expire at the end of January and ahead of the repayment period plans to “ramp up” communications with borrowers.
Publication Date: 9/29/2021
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