WILKES-BARRE — State Rep. Tarah Toohil Tuesday said Pennsylvania has more student loan debt per resident — $36,000 — than any other state in the nation.
To address that, Toohil, R-Butler Township, has co-sponsored legislation that would establish a Student Borrowers’ Bill of Rights in Pennsylvania to help protect young people from being overburdened financially, especially during the current COVID-19 public health crisis.
“If we can establish qualifications for a moratorium on payments, that would be really positive for student borrowers in Pennsylvania,” Toohil said. “Especially since it is likely not their fault they are suffering economically during a pandemic.”
Toohil said House Bill 2360 would help student borrowers avoid problems resulting from a loan process that can be complex and confusing. The proposal would:
• Ensure student loan borrowers have access to accurate information about the loan and all repayment options.
• Provide stronger state oversight of lenders from the Pennsylvania Department of Banking.
• Appoint an ombudsman whose sole responsibility is to assist borrowers.
Toohil, who is a member of the House Student Debt Caucus, believes the legislation would protect student borrowers from making bad decisions that could impact their credit rating.
House Bill 2360 is currently under consideration in the House Education Committee.