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Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Vermont Joins Fight for COVID-19 Emergency Relief for Federal Student Loan Borrowers

March 26, 2020

Contact: Charity R. Clark, Chief of Staff, 802-828-3171

Attorney General T.J. Donovan today joined a coalition of 27 attorneys general in calling on the U.S. Department of Education to provide federal student loan borrowers with emergency measures to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the coalition asks the U.S. Department of Education to take specific steps to protect borrowers from further financial burden and debt collection due to job losses and lost wages.

“In this time of crisis, Vermonters should not have to worry about collection actions from the federal government,” said Attorney General Donovan. “We need to ensure that Vermonters have the financial resources they need to meet their basic needs, like keeping food on their tables and roofs over their heads.”

Today’s letter urges the U.S. Department of Education to immediately implement emergency measures to protect federal student loan borrowers. The letter notes that while the federal government has already taken a series of initial steps to help student loan borrowers — including ceasing some collection actions — the U.S. Department of Education must do more, including:

  • Halting all new and continuing involuntary collection activities, and refunding 2019 tax refund offsets for all federal student loan borrowers for the duration of the crisis.
  • Automatically enrolling all federal student loan borrowers who are in or enter into forbearance, who are or become delinquent on their loans, or who request enrollment in an Income Driven Repayment Plan with a $0-per-month payment, without requiring submission of an application for the duration of the crisis.
  • Extending eligibility for all additional relief available pursuant to previously announced modifications for those affected by national emergencies to all federal loan borrowers for the duration of the crisis.

The coalition’s letter urges the U.S. Department of Education to extend this emergency relief to all federal student loan borrowers, including borrowers whose Federal Family Education Loans or Federal Perkins loans are not held by the U.S. Department of Education.

Joining Attorney General Donovan in signing today’s letter to the U.S. Department of Education are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico.

A copy of today’s letter can be found here.

Last modified: March 26, 2020