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WASHINGTON -- As the number of those afflicted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to rise in the United States, federal and state officials are calling on Americans to engage in social distancing. Millions of Americans are now working from home, but many jobs -- such as those in hospitality, service and retail -- will have greatly reduced hours or be eliminated entirely. In this time of crisis, U.S. PIRG is calling on federal elected officials to provide relief to America’s 45 million student loan borrowers.
Kaitlyn Vitez, U.S. PIRG’s Higher Education Campaign Director, issued the following statement:
“In order to stop this public health crisis from getting worse, every single American must stay home and follow social distancing guidance from experts and elected officials. But it’s clear that following that advice is going to have a severe economic impact on many, including leaving millions of student loan borrowers without income for months. We shouldn’t force student loan borrowers to choose between their family’s health, putting food on the table, or paying the bills.
“Therefore, Congress must act immediately to provide serious relief from student debt by freezing student loan payments for the duration of this crisis. We applaud proposals by Sens. Chuck Schumer, Parry Murray, Sherrod Brown, and Elizabeth Warren that would cancel payments and offer relief to the borrowers that will struggle most. Senate and House leaders should quickly pass legislation to deliver this relief as soon as possible.
“Freezing student loan payments for the duration of the pandemic will allow Americans to keep food on the table and stay safe. Congress needs to act swiftly to make it financially possible for people to do the right thing and stay home.”
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