Bill allowing the separation of consolidated joint student loans

A new bill would give federal borrowers a way to separate their consolidated loans from those of a former partner.

The Joint Consolidation Separation Act was passed Wednesday in the Senate. The bill would allow borrowers to request the separation of a joint consolidation through the Department of Education. After approval, the remaining debt, including the outstanding loan and unpaid interest, would be divided according to the percentage of the loan each borrower owed at the time of consolidation.

Spousal consolidation was offered to married federal student loan borrowers to consolidate their student loans into one monthly payment with a lower interest rate.

The program ended in 2006, but it never offered couples who ended their marriage the option of separate consolidation, create an awkward situation for many.

People working in the public service who have consolidated loans, both with a current or former spouse, are not eligible for forgiveness under the public service loan forgiveness program.

The bill has won support from many groups that advocate for survivors of domestic violence, including the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

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