Del. Marcus Simon, who represents the 53rd District in the State House of Delegates that includes the City of Falls Church, has joined with State Sen. Janet Howell to sponsor legislation to address what they’ve call a “student debt crisis.”
In a statement this week they said the state needs new laws to regulate student debt and let students refinance their loans under certain circumstances. They said that reviving the Virginia Education Loan Authority, a state body that was liquidated in the late 1990s, would help address the problem. “This is not a program that is going to forgive or erase anybody’s student debts,” said Simon. “But just like any other loan…when interest rates fall, we should have the opportunity as consumers to refinance that debt. I think student loan-holders ought to have that same opportunity.” Howell plans to introduce a similar but separate proposal for a “student loan navigator program.” It would “serve as a one-stop shop for students looking to finance college and borrowers trying to figure out how to pay back their existing loans.” The only people who benefit from a confusing and opaque student loan industry are corporations who make money off of student borrowers,” Howell said. One such borrower is Fairfax resident Meghan Blydenburgh, who owes more than $60,000 because of compounding student debt. Blydenburgh said that it would have been nice to have had such guidance when she was 18 and needed advice about funding her education.
The General Assembly will convene Jan. 13 for a 60-day session.