In a bipartisan move this week, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced the Terrorism Survivors Student Loan Deferment Act. This piece of legislation would allow the survivors of terrorist attacks to receive automatic deferments of their student loan payments. This bill comes at a strategic time following the weekend attacks in New York and New Jersey. Rubio’s bill would grant the U.S. Department of Education the authority to provide automatic federal student loan deferments to any survivor of a terrorist attack.
“In the aftermath of the June 12th terrorist attack at Pulse nightclub, my office assisted one young man whose injuries may prevent him from pursuing his career and made it difficult for him to make his student loan payments on time,” Rubio said in a press release on Monday. “Initially, he worried he might never be able to get his career on track, and thought about requesting full loan forgiveness. But as a testament to his resilience and determination, he has reconsidered and set out to continue on his path. Instead of loan forgiveness, he simply asked for a delay of when his payments become due, and my office stepped in to help with the process.”
Rubio’s Terrorism Survivors Student Loan Deferment Act would:
- Not count against the typical three-year maximum deferment allowance, but would provide a one-year pause for victims so they can either get back on their feet or pursue further deferment or forbearance.
- Direct the U.S. Secretary of Education to establish anti-fraud protections.
- Apply to borrowers of Federal Direct Loans under part D, older part B loans, and Perkins Loans.
- Designate the federal agency in charge of investigating the terrorist attack as responsible for identifying those affected as victims.
“Unfortunately, existing law does not automatically recognize an extraordinary situation like this, where giving survivors some time to regroup and delay their payments should be commonsense,” Rubio continued. “My bill would change that, and I hope we can get it passed this year because the last thing anyone who survives a terrorist attack needs is to have to jump through a bunch of hoops in order to get their life back on track.”
The bill is S.3352 and was referred to the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. As of yet, the bill has no cosponsors.