Langevin, Portman Lead Joint Letter Urging Relief for Families with Disabled Students

Mar 27, 2018 Issues: Disabilities, Education

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos requesting the discharge of Parent PLUS Loans taken out on behalf of students who become totally and permanently disabled. They were joined by Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and Congressmen Peter Roskam (R-IL), Ron Kind (D-WI), and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL).

“Federal law already recognizes that the difficulties that befall someone who sustains a total and permanent disability necessitate a pathway to student loan forgiveness. Parents also deserve access to this debt relief,” the lawmakers wrote. “When a child becomes totally and permanently disabled, parents should not be forced to continue bearing the burden of student loan debt.”

When a student borrower becomes totally and permanently disabled, they are discharged from having to repay most federal loans. Parents who borrow funds on their child’s behalf, however, remain liable for the debt even when their child sustains a total and permanent disability. The average Parent PLUS loan in 2016-2017 was $15,880, an immense cost for parents to bear while also caring for their disabled child.

In May 2017, Langevin introduced the bipartisan PLUS Loan Disability Forgiveness Act (H.R. 2270), which would require the Department of Education to provide relief for parent borrowers whose children become totally and permanently disabled. In December, Senator Portman introduced, Domenic’s Law (S. 2258), a similar bill in the Senate.

The full text of the letter can be found here.