A program to help students with federal student loans avoid default is a key part of President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget proposal, and some lawmakers say it could help borrowers who are struggling financially.
House Democrats on Tuesday sent a letter to Trump calling on him to roll back the loan forgiveness that many students have received under the federal student loan repayment plan.
The Obama-era program allows students to refinance federal loans at lower interest rates than traditional mortgages.
The program, which has been under review for months by the Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, would be one of the main drivers of the budget bill’s cuts to the federal loan forgiveness and student loan administration programs, according to the letter from Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., and Sen. Ed Markey, D.
The House Democrats’ letter calls for a proposal that would expand the program to include loans that are not considered income-based and would allow borrowers to refinances loans with a higher interest rate.
The new proposal would expand it to loans with no income-driven requirements, but would limit the program’s scope to borrowers who have been in the workforce for two years.
The federal government provides some federal student aid for low-income students.
Under the current plan, students who owe less than $5,000 are eligible for forgiveness and other assistance through a separate federal loan repayment program, called the Direct Loan Program.
The program has been in effect since 2011, and has paid out nearly $2 trillion.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Congress last year pushed for the Direct Loans program to be scaled back.
The proposal they put forward last year would have ended the program and eliminated the program entirely, the letter said.
The Direct Loan program has become a lightning rod for lawmakers and the White House in recent years, because of the billions of dollars that are paid out by the program each year.
The programs interest rate on Direct Loans is higher than the rate on traditional mortgages, but borrowers with Direct Loans have lower debt levels and can refinance at lower rates, according, to the Congressional Budget Office.
Dingell and Markey are also asking Trump to eliminate the federal program known as the Higher Education Opportunity Grant, which provides funding to students who are in school for less than 12 weeks and have not yet completed their degree.
That money, as well as other programs that were eliminated under the previous administration, will help borrowers refinance their loans at a lower rate than traditional loans, Dingell said in a statement.
The House Republicans’ letter also requests the Trump administration to phase out the program known commonly as the Consolidated PLUS loan, which pays off loans in the first year of repayment, instead of the current Direct Loan and HOPE scholarship programs.
It is unclear whether the Direct loan program would be cut under the House Republicans plan, or whether other loan programs would be expanded.
Dentist and optometrist Dr. Raghunandan Ramachandran, who works with students who have federal loans and has seen the impact of the Direct loans program, said she is concerned about the impact on borrowers who may be struggling financially as the budget plan comes into effect.
I think it’s very unfair, especially with the interest rates and the debt that they’re paying, that students who need loans in order to do the work they’re doing have to put up with this,” she said.
Raghunanda said that if the Trump Administration follows through on the House Democrats request, borrowers would not only face higher loan payments, but also would face higher interest rates as they struggle to reflate their loans.”
The letter also asks the Trump government to delay implementation of the loan refinancing plan, which would be phased in over the next two years, as the administration seeks to ensure that borrowers are not being penalized for having the loan forgiven.”
The Direct Loans Program is going to be cut.”
The letter also asks the Trump government to delay implementation of the loan refinancing plan, which would be phased in over the next two years, as the administration seeks to ensure that borrowers are not being penalized for having the loan forgiven.
The plan is one of two key provisions in the budget proposed by House Republicans that will likely have a major impact on the budget.
The other, which is part of a broader tax package, is likely to be the most controversial, with Republicans calling it the “biggest tax cut in the history of this country.”
House Democrats also sent a similar letter last year to the White Court House requesting that Trump cancel a tax overhaul measure called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which could boost the federal budget by $1.4 trillion over 10 years.
The measure is set to be debated at the Budget Committee Wednesday.
The Republican-led House and Senate have both passed bills to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Trump and Democrats are expected to vote on whether to pass the GOP tax overhaul before Congress leaves for the Memorial Day recess.