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Bonamici, Costello Commend Administrative Steps to Improve Income-Driven Repayment Plans

January 19, 2017
Press Release

Bonamici, Costello’s SIMPLE Act Aims to Reduce Student Loan Defaults

WASHINGTON, DC [01/19/17] — Today Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Congressman Ryan Costello (R-PA) issued the following statement after the Departments of Education and Treasury announced steps to keep student loan payments affordable by automatically certifying the income of borrowers enrolled in income-driven repayment plans.

“We commend the Departments of Education and Treasury for announcing action to help struggling student loan borrowers make affordable payments and avoid default,” said Bonamici and Costello. “In 2015, we asked the Departments to establish a system that uses tax information to automatically certify borrowers’ incomes and calculate their income-driven loan payments. We are pleased that the Departments have taken the first step toward developing such a system. Millions of borrowers rely on income-driven repayment plans to manage their student loans. Unfortunately, the enrollment and income certification processes for these plans are unnecessarily complicated and prevent too many borrowers who are at risk of default from accessing the affordable payments they are entitled to under the law. We look forward to working with our colleagues in Congress and the incoming administration to implement the automatic income certification system and further simplify participation in income-driven repayment plans.”

In 2015, Bonamici and Costello asked the Treasury Department and Department of Education to take the steps announced Tuesday to make it easier for student loan borrowers in income-driven repayment plans to keep their payments affordable.

Bonamici and Costello introduced bipartisan legislation to help struggling student loan borrowers enroll in affordable repayment plans. The SIMPLE (Streamlining Income-driven, Manageable Payments on Loans for Education) Act allows at-risk borrowers to make more informed decisions about which repayment plans are right for them, and it automatically connects these borrowers with income-driven repayment plans before they default. Additionally, the SIMPLE Act automates the annual process of updating borrowers’ income information while enrolled in income-driven repayment plans, which will prevent unexpected increases in loan payments and help keep payments affordable. You can read a summary of the SIMPLE Act here and the full text of the bill here.