Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says the government should pause collection on student loans.

Here’s what you need to know.

Student Loan Debt

Today, against the backdrop of the Coronavirus and a large stock market sell-off, Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tweeted: “The Federal government should consider pausing collection on student loan debt.” The first-term congresswoman also tweeted: “We should also consider measures on mortgage relief.”

The tweets came on a day in which the stock market dropped nearly 2,000 points and the second time this week that trading on the New York Stock Exchange was halted for 15 minutes due to severe price declines. In response to the Coronavirus, more than 100 colleges and universities from Harvard to the City University of New York have cancelled in-person classes for college students. Italy has temporarily suspended collection of mortgage debt.

The tweets come a day after the U.S. Senate rejected a new student loan forgiveness rule from U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. DeVos defended the student loan forgiveness rule as, among other things, a more efficient way to save taxpayers money and create a fairer process.

Ocasio-Cortez, who supports Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the 2020 presidential race, has advocated for student loan forgiveness. Sanders, for example, has proposed forgiving all $1.6 trillion of student loan debt, including both federal and private student loans. Ocasio-Cortez, like Sanders, also supports the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Last month, President Trump called for the end of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program in his annual budget in favor of a simplified income-driven repayment plan that would offer the same student loan forgiveness plan for undergraduate borrowers, for example. DeVos has explained why she believes it’s a good idea to end this student loan forgiveness program.

With the advent of the Coronoavirus, some have argued that the economic uncertainty could adversely impact Americans’ paychecks – particularly part-time and contract workers – and even lead to layoffs. Any pause in collection of federal student loans or mortgage debt is intended to provide temporary economic relief to those impacted by Coronavirus.

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