(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Today Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) joined Representatives Chris Pappas (NH-01), Katherine Clark (MA-05), and Ruben Gallego (AZ-07) and a group of 72 bipartisan lawmakers in calling on Secretary DeVos to take steps to ensure that the financial burden of university closures and migration to remote learning do not result in financial burdens for students.
In recent weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced institutions of higher education across the country to implement remote learning, end study abroad programs, and close on campus housing. These difficult but necessary public precautions will result in unpredictable financial hardship for students from the implications on student loans to additional travel and housing costs.
“While I applaud administrators across the country for taking swift action to protect our students and campus communities, it is critical that students are not faced with the financial burden of this unprecedented situation,” said Congressman Pappas. “The cost of education is already extremely burdensome for students across New Hampshire, and the protective measures needed to limit the pandemic could make completing their education nearly impossible. I urge the Department of Education to work with Congress to ensure that our students are able to navigate the challenging months ahead.”
“In the wake of the coronavirus, our college and university students across the nation have been left without answers and outstanding bills. Students must have immediate access to loan debt relief as well as guaranteed reimbursement for classes, study abroad programs, and housing. It is critical that we protect our students’ health as well as their economic security during this uncertain time,” said Congresswoman Clark.
“Low-income students should not be forced to bear the financial brunt of school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Congressman Gallego. “Some students have taken out loans for a semester that is now cancelled, and others have been forced to make other housing arrangements as a result of this crisis. Secretary DeVos must immediately make clear how our most vulnerable college students can seek debt and other financial relief from the federal government.”
“As many students have already taken out loans to pay for their educational expenses, we encourage you to provide further clarification on the details of the student loan debt interest relief that was announced by President Trump and work with lenders, education institutions, and the students to ensure students are not left paying for educational benefits that they did not receive,” the lawmakers wrote. “We ask that you join us in safeguarding our students’ health while also protecting their access to an affordable education.”
A copy of the letter is available here.