Moving America Forward

This Congresswoman Has a Plan to Protect Students from Crippling Debt

February 17, 2014
This Congresswoman Has a Plan to Protect Students from Crippling Debt
Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) walks through Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty Images
Rep. Frederica Wilson wants to make a student borrower's 'bill of rights.'

With skyrocketing tuition and a still-recovering job market, more than 7 million Americans are in default on their student loans. But here’s the crazy thing —  as Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson writes in an op-ed for Huffington Post, these people are often worse off than if they had borrowed money for something less worthwhile than higher learning.

“What’s a more useful investment to make with borrowed money: a college education or a binge at the casino?” she writes. “While the answer — a college education — should be evident to everybody, our legal system continues to penalize students and graduates by denying them basic consumer protections available for almost every other type of debt — including gambling debt.”

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That’s why Wilson has proposed a new bill, the Student Borrowers Bill of Rights Act, H.R. 3892, that would help those defaulting on their loans. The bill would provide bankruptcy protection, a six-year limit on collections, and prohibit garnishing wages, Social Security and tax refunds, she writes.

The country’s total student loan debt has soared past a whopping $1 trillion, and Wilson’s bill aims to level the playing field for those seeking a college education.  She tells TakePart, “I’m introducing student loan reform now because I think it can improve lives, boost Americans’ purchasing power, and help promote job creation.” That sounds like a winning bet.