June 11, 2024

Whitehouse Encourages Rhode Islanders to Utilize Temporary Federal Student Loan Consolidation Option to Secure Debt Relief

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse today encouraged Rhode Islanders with privately held student loans through the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program to consolidate their loans to the Direct Student Loan Program to become eligible for student loan forgiveness.  Borrowers have until June 30, 2024 to convert their loans from commercial to federal loans to qualify for the President Biden’s recently announced payment-count adjustment plan.

Currently, individuals with student loans through the FFEL program, a program that worked with private lenders to provide education loans guaranteed by the federal government, are ineligible for current federal student loan forgiveness programs.  This consolidation opportunity makes over 15,000 Rhode Islanders newly eligible for student loan forgiveness under the Biden administration’s latest round of student loan debt relief.

“The Biden administration has taken an aggressive approach to reducing the student loan burden that has held many Rhode Islanders back from starting families and buying homes,” said Whitehouse.  “I encourage every Rhode Islander currently enrolled in the FFEL program to explore this temporary consolidation option.  My office stands ready to help maximize every available avenue for student loan relief.”

Whitehouse has long championed legislation to help Americans pay off their student loans.  Since hearing from early applicants caught in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program bureaucracy several years ago, Whitehouse has doggedly pursued fixes to the program and worked to help constituents navigate the application process.

Whitehouse introduced the Simplifying and Strengthening PSLF Act to streamline and improve the program.  In addition to making the Biden administration’s waiver permanent, the Simplifying and Strengthening PSLF Act would reduce the number of payments needed to qualify for PSLF loan forgiveness from 120 payments over 10 years to 60 payments over 5 years while working for an eligible employer.  Whitehouse has also introduced the Zero-Percent Student Loan Refinancing Act, which would allow Americans to refinance their federal student loans at a zero percent interest rate.

Rhode Islanders navigating the FFEL consolidation process should contact Senator Whitehouse’s office at 401-453-5294 for assistance.

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921