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US Rep. Nikema Williams, lawmakers propose 'Clean Slate' student debt relief

ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) -- Millions of student loan borrowers will feel the crushing blow of high monthly payments after August 31. This comes after President Joe Biden extended the pause on federal student loan payments on April 5. Lawmakers, including Congresswoman Nikema Williams (D-Ga., Dist. 5), have proposed another way to bring relief to borrowers.

Detriana Kurzeja-Edwards is a fifth-year Georgia Tech student majoring in Biology with a minor in Business Leadership. She joins countless other students and graduates who are concerned about student loan debt.

"I've heard a lot of crazy stories where people will end up paying back way more than their original loan," she said. "Especially as a woman of color, it can be a little harder to offset that generational wealth gap," she added.

"I'm still paying off my student loans well after my undergraduate days," said Williams, who joined other lawmakers in Washington D.C. on April 5 to discuss the crisis. "Millions of Americans will see a hit to their wallets when student loan payments resume after a two-year suspension," she said.

"I can tell you this with certainty. The debt is too damn high," said Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-North Carolina, Dist. 12).

Right after their press conference, Biden extended the pause on federal student loan payments from May 1 to August 31, providing temporary relief, but delaying the inevitable. More than 44 million Americans are burdened by student debt, and a growing number are unable to qualify for mortgage loans, lease agreements or other credit because of low credit scores.

"I join these congresswomen to introduce our Clean Slate Legislative Series," Williams said. Her bill in the series is the Student Loan Rehabilitation and Credit Score Improvement Act. "This bill will remove all negative credit reporting from a defaulted student loan once the borrower has completed the student loan rehabilitation program," she said.

The series also includes the Clean Slate Through Consolidation Act and Clean Slate Through Repayment Act.
Williams says lawmakers are working to find more permanent solutions.

"I'm really looking forward to Biden canceling that student debt," said Kurzeja-Edwards.

As more students call on Biden to cancel student debt, Williams says she'll focus on passing legislation to help relieve the burden.

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