Do New Proposals Help Cancer Survivors Manage Student Loans?

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, allowed taxpayers to continue to claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit on their taxes, which allows up to $2,500 per student each year for the first four years of a college education. However, Congress didn't renew the ability to deduct tuition and fees on itemized tax returns.

In February 2019, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, announced plans to overhaul the student loan law system. One of the most significant changes would be to require employers to deduct student loan payments directly from their employee’s paychecks.

Many individuals have concerns about those with a tight budget, or one that changes month-to-month, as well as employers being able to see how much debt an employee is in.

In addition, individuals with student laws currently have 14 different loan repayment options.

Under Senator Alexander's proposal, borrowers would have two options: their monthly bills are tapped at 10% of their discretionary income, OR their payments would be spread out over a decade.

Do you think this reform will help or hurt our current student loan debt problem? Leave us a comment below with your thoughts.

New Law for Cancer Patients

Congress passed a new protection for people with cancer who are in active treatment, in section 309 of the Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, 2019 and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2019 (P.L. 115-245).

Student loan borrowers who have Federal Direct loans and are in active cancer treatment, may defer repaying their Federal Direct student loans for the duration of treatment and for 6 months afterward. Interest does not accrue on any Federal Direct student loans during the deferment. This also applies to unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford loans. And, similar rules apply to Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL).

While the Department of Education’s website still has an alert saying they are working on implementation of this protection, the protection is available.

Here is a great article about how this law is actually working out for people with cancer.  It is crucial that you understand your rights and advocate for yourself!


If you’re looking for more information about managing your student loans, or getting help with financial assistance for education, visit our Education Module on

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