Press Release

AFT's Weingarten on Student Loan Defaults

For Release: 

Thursday, September 28, 2017


Michael Heenan
202/585-4371; Cell:202/577-3941

WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten released the following statement after the Education Department reported Wednesday that the share of people not making payments on their federal student loans is on the rise:

“Affording college was already difficult for millions of Americans before the Trump administration. Secretary Betsy DeVos has made it harder, and this new study reflects that. DeVos has weakened protections for borrowers and empowered lenders to take advantage of students. She is filling the department with people who care more about corporations’ profits than they do about providing access to affordable higher education for all students. 

“It’s no surprise that many Americans are unable to pay their tuition bills: Years of state divestment from higher education have placed more of the financial burden on families. For-profit colleges have been preying on vulnerable students like veterans and single mothers. DeVos has rolled back Obama administration safeguards that made avoiding default easier. And now, consumer protections and repayment options have been stripped to the bone.

“Billionaire Betsy may not have had an issue paying her way through college, but the millions of Americans who don’t have her wealth still deserve the opportunity to pursue a college degree without being burdened by debt for the rest of their lives.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.