Sen. Brown Pushes Bill To Reform Student Loans

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WOSU Archive
WOSU Archive

Student loan debt in the U.S. now surpasses $1 trillion. Ohio’s senior U.S. senator Sherrod Brown blames the private loan industry for intentionally making loan terms difficult to understand. He’s pushing legislation that would make loan terms more clear. The bill is called the Know Before You Owe Private Student Loan Act.

Sen. Brown says the language of a student loan contract can often be so complicated you’d have to be an attorney to figure it out.

“This isn’t an accident that they write in this language that’s so dense that no human being unless you’ve gone to law school and passed the bar can understand it,” Brown says.

Kelly McVicker was 17 when he began borrowing student loan money. Over the course of his college career he says he took out 22 loans.

“I originally borrowed about $45,000. With fees, penalties and interest it’s up to about $70,000,” McVicker says.

McVicker never graduated. He earns a living managing a convenience store.

Brown says that along with simplified language, he wants lenders to provide borrowers with regular updates on how much money they have to pay back and the cost of borrowing that money.

“All of this is about disclosure and transparency and getting people into knowing their options,” Brown says.