Time to Separate: Joint Consolidation Loan Separation Act Goes to House Vote
The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on the Joint Consolidation Loan Separation Act of 2021.
The bill passed the Senate in June. Written by Virginia Senator Mark Warner in 2017 after a constituent contacted him about his difficulty paying a joint consolidation loan on a teacher’s salary, the legislation will provide much-needed relief to people who have consolidated their student loan debt with a spouse.
The program was eliminated by Congress on July 1, 2006, but did not provide a way to break existing loans, even in cases of domestic violence, economic abuse, or an unresponsive spouse. The bill would ensure that the debt is shared between the two parties.
Warner voter Sara McLean was living in Northern Virginia and raising two children in 2017 when she contacted him. She had divorced her husband and moved thousands of miles to make a fresh start with her children, but he had refused to pay his share of the joint loan. McLean risked having her public school teacher’s salary garnished if she did not pay both parts of the debt.
“The Senate’s passage of this common-sense legislation is a huge step for survivors of domestic violence and financial abuse who have spent decades fighting for their financial freedom,” Warner said in a press release. in June. “By finally allowing individuals to break their joint consolidation loans, this bill will provide much-needed respite to vulnerable people who are unfairly held responsible for a former partner’s debt.” I urge my colleagues in the House to act urgently and send this bill to the Speaker’s office as soon as possible.
The Joint Consolidation Loan Separation Act would also allow borrowers to access student loan relief programs, including the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) and income-driven repayment programs. which they were previously ineligible due to their joint consolidation loans.