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“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”   -Haile Selassie

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Congress Re-Introduces Bankruptcy Protection Legislation to help Students Drowning in Debt

by Getachew Kassa, USSA Legislative Director

Last week, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) in re-introducing the Struggling Students Act of 2011and Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Fairness Act, respectively. The  legislation would allow private student loans to be dischargeable in bankruptcy by reversing a provision of a 2005 bankruptcy law which gives special protections for private student lenders.


“Relief for the millions of students averaging $25,000 of debt couldn’t arrive any sooner as unemployment rates for young people remain in the double digits,” said United States Student Association (USSA) President Lindsay McCluskey. “For the first time in history, student debt surpassed credit card debt in 2010. History will be made again as student loan debt is projected to reach $1 trillion in 201l. Congress must act to alleviate this extreme debt burden for young people”


Reforming private student loan laws is critical. Borrowers of private student loans, which are a risky and expensive way to pay for college, do not enjoy the privileges of deferment, income-based repayment, or loan forgiveness options that accompany federal student loans. Unlike most other private debt, private student loan debt is nearly impossible to discharge in bankruptcy.


USSA applauds Senator Durbin and Representative Cohen and urges Congress to act swiftly to restore fairness to private student loan debt in bankruptcy. Student will be organizing throughout the summer to advance these critical pieces of legislation through Congress.



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The United States Student Association, the country’s oldest and largest student-led organization, represents over 4 million students at over 400 campuses across the nation.  We work to develop current and future leaders and amplify the student voice at the local, state, and national levels by mobilizing grassroots power to win concrete victories on student issues.  Contact USSA Communications Director Jake Stillwell with any questions, comments, or concerns about the Communications Department at