New York officials call for ways to fix student debt

New York State elected officials support efforts to reduce and resolve student debt by expanding access to tuition assistance and supporting relief programs.

At the same time, New York Attorney General Letitia James is supporting a national effort to cancel student debt.

The proposals, including bills approved in the state Senate on Wednesday, come after New York lawmakers and Governor Kathy Hochul agreed to more than $100 million in new funding for the State University of New York and the City University of New York to close tuition gaps. aid coverage.

In the state Senate, lawmakers passed bills intended to address student debt, including increasing income eligibility for the Tuition Assistance Program from $80,000 to $110,000.

House lawmakers also approved moves to require the Higher Education Services Corp. determine a student’s financial eligibility for financial aid within two months.

And lawmakers want lenders to be required to provide information to co-signers with loan applicants about their rights. The bill package also includes providing student borrowers with more information about their loan and repayment schedule, as well as new protections for private education loans.

“The importance of higher education to the personal mobility of our students and the economic health of our state could not be clearer. As legislators, we have a responsibility to help students make informed decisions about their borrowing and to provide assistance to ensure the cost of higher education is accessible to all who wish to pursue it,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “Student debt is a crushing burden for many New Yorkers who already struggle to pay their bills in times of inflation. While we await student debt relief from Washington, these bills are substantial steps to provide financial assistance and prepare our students for success now and in the future.

At the federal level, New York Attorney General Letitia James in a letter to President Joe Biden urged him to completely cancel student loan debt in the country.

Right now, there’s about $1.7 trillion borrowers owe the federal government. The letter comes as the Biden administration assesses the scope of a debt write-off and ties it to income.

James’ letter was signed by the attorneys general of Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Puerto Rico and Washington.

“While I commend President Biden for seriously considering forgiving $10,000 per borrower, we need to take bolder and more decisive action to end this crisis and provide Americans with the tools they need to thrive.” , she said. “Student debt prevents millions of struggling borrowers from achieving financial stability and leads to a cycle of financial burdens that follows them throughout their lives. I join my colleagues in urging President Biden to lead one of the most impactful racial and economic justice initiatives in history by canceling this debt, in its entirety, for all.

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John A. Bogar