HOUSE DEMOCRATS NEWS
A bill empowering and protecting over 200,000 New Mexican student loan borrowers passed the House Consumer and Public Affair Committee Wednesday.
Sponsored by Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero (D-Albuquerque) and Sen. Katy Duhigg (D-Albuquerque), House Bill 218: the Student Loan Bill of Rights regulates student loan servicers so they are responsible for educating borrowers and ensuring that any mistakes in servicing loans do not result in painful loan defaults.
House Bill 218 creates the same level of state regulations already in existence for other loan-based industries like cars, credit cards and homes. It also brings transparency to the student loan industry to identify and prevent any predatory loan servicing practices, and ensures that borrowers get substantive responses and immediate remediation from companies when loan issues do arise.
“College should lead to opportunity, not financial ruin. This bill is about leveling the playing field with powerful out-of-state student loan servicers, and ensuring that New Mexicans have the same level of protection they do home mortgage loans or credit cards,” said Rep. Roybal Caballero. “We need transparency and clarity in student loans, particularly for our historically marginalized communities of color who are disproportionately subjected to the predatory practices this industry uses to make tremendous profits off the backs of vulnerable students. This bill does that.”
Over 200,000 New Mexicans currently hold student loan debt worth roughly $7 billion. Nationwide, 45 million Americans owe $1.7 trillion in student loan debt, second only to home mortgage loan debt. Thirteen states currently have student loan borrower protection laws on the books and two dozen more may soon pass similar protections.
The Student Loan Bill of Rights passed the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee in a 7-2 vote and goes next to the House Judiciary Committee.
Members of the public can track legislation on the New Mexico Legislature website, access committee meetings and House floor sessions via the Webcasts tab, or participate by Zoom to provide public comment on committee hearings. During the 2021 Legislative Session, the House of Representatives is focused on passing critical legislation while protecting the health and safety of the public, the staff, and the legislators.