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Abuses, Improvements in Student Lending Take Center Stage in Harkin Bill

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

On Tuesday, Senator Tom Harkin (D – IA) introduced a bill reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, the Higher Education Affordability Act, aimed in part at reducing the burden of student loans on borrowers and addressing abuses in student lending.

In response to the bill, Center for Responsible Lending Senior Policy Counsel Maura Dundon said:

The Center for Responsible Lending applauds Senator Harkin for his commitment to higher education and making substantive reforms protecting students as consumers of financial products and services. The proposed Higher Education Affordability Act makes important strides in protecting students from abusive for-profit colleges, private student loans and unfair partnerships between banks and colleges. It also significantly reforms the student loan servicing system and takes other steps to help students pay back their loans.

The current higher education system has increasingly shifted its costs onto students in the form of debt. While the promise of higher education looms large in the minds of most students, they often neglect to recognize all the financial landmines that college can bring with it. The soaring cost of college education often results in large amounts of debt, which can weigh down a student's financial future from the moment she steps onto campus.

The government must be more than a lender and debt collector. It must become an agent for fair, responsible lending, so that students' entry into the workforce and economy is not hindered by unmanageable debt.

We look forward to working with Senator Harkin and other members of the HELP Committee to continue improving the bill to ensure that student borrowers are not subject to unfair and abusive lending practices by financial service providers or institutions as they seek the opportunities awarded by higher education.

The Center for Responsible Lending sent a letter of support to Senator Harkin about student lending; you can find that letter here.

Contact: Catherine An, 202-349-1878,