Veterinary Schools and Education Issues

Issue Summaries for the 113th Congress

H.R. 1716, Earnings Contingent Education Loans (ExCEL) Act of 2013
This bill establishes the Income Dependent Education Assistance (IDEA) Loan Program. Under the legislation, a borrower would pay a percentage of his or her discretionary income toward his or her student loan balance until the obligation is re-paid. The IDEA loans would require income-contingent repayment for all borrowers through a system of withholdings from earnings by the Internal Revenue Service, similar to federal tax withholdings. The repayment obligation would be 15 percent of income above 150 percent of the poverty line for the borrower’s household size, as reported in exemptions on the tax return. This legislation would combine the Subsidized Stafford, Unsubsidized Stafford and GradPLUS loans with a single, simple, income-contingent student loan.
Status: U.S. Rep. Thomas Petri (R-Wis.-6) introduced H.R. 1716 on April 24, 2013, and it was referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and the House Ways and Means Committee.
AVMA Position: Support
Primary Contact: Gina Luke

S. 113, Know Before You Owe Private Student Loan Act of 2013
This bill amends both the Higher Education Act (HEA) and the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) to strengthen the requirements surrounding private student loans. The legislation would ensure that students understand the full range of their loan options they qualify for before they actually borrow.
Status: U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced S. 113 on Jan. 23, 2013, and it was referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.
AVMA Position: Support
Primary Contact: Gina Luke

H.R. 532 Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Act / S. 114, Fairness to Struggling Students Act
This legislation will make it possible for private student loan debt to be discharged in bankruptcy cases, just like any other private debt. AVMA has refrained from supporting this legislation and instead will support legislation that promotes responsible borrowing and/or that limits the cost of student loans.
Background: Federal loans have been ineligible for discharge in bankruptcy since 1978 to safeguard taxpayer money. Private student loans were eligible for bankruptcy discharge from 1978-2005 when Congress created special protections for private student loan lenders. In 2005, Congress changed the bankruptcy rules. Private student loans are different from federal loans in that federal student loans carry mostly favorable terms, lower interest rates, income-based repayment plans and more deferment and forbearance options. Private student loans often have double-digit interest rates and have no income-based repayment options.
Status: U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.-9) introduced H.R. 532 on Feb. 6, 2013, and it was referred to the House Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced S. 114 on Jan. 23, 2013, and it has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
AVMA Position: No Action
Primary Contact: Gina Luke