Bill to lower student debt passes in state senate

Kali Persall,
Managing Editor

A bill titled SB16 that would lower the amount of money private loan collectors can garnish from student wages passed in the state senate on Monday, according to a news release from the office of California Sen. Bob Wieckowski, a democrat from Fremont.

The bill will lower the private loan garnishment cap from its current 25 percent to 15 percent of a student’s wages to match the federal cap, according to the office of the senator. It will also achieve parity between several other aspects of the federal and private student loan processes.

Federal loan lenders offer students several repayment options that make it easier to make payments on time, including the right to receive a 30-day notice before wages are garnished, the ability to request and inspect copies of loan documents, request a hearing, argue against garnishment and negotiate a repayment plan with the loan creditor, according to Wieckowski.

Private student loans do not offer any of these options and lenders aren’t required to offer different repayment options, according to Wieckowski. The bill will change these aspects of the private student loan process to mirror the federal one.

Wieckowski spoke to students, faculty and staff about the bill at Cal State East Bay’s Hayward campus on Jan. 25.

According to Wieckowski, student loan debt numbers $1.3 trillion nationwide, beating out auto loan debt at $1.1 trillion and credit card debt at $750 billion.

The bill was first introduced on Dec. 5, 2016. It will now head to the state Assembly and lawmakers will have until Sept. 15 to present the bill to Gov. Jerry Brown for final approval. Brown will have until Oct. 15 to approve the bill which, if passed, will go into effect on Jan. 1 2018.