WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (PA-04) introduced the Student Loan Deferment for Sexual Violence Survivors Act to establish a student loan deferment option for victims of sexual violence who temporarily withdraw from college to seek treatment and focus on mental and physical health rehabilitation.

According to RAINN, 13% of all undergraduate and graduate students experience rape or sexual assault leaving them with anxiety, trauma, and in need of healing. Victims are often forced to temporarily withdraw from college for more than 6 months to deal with their mental and emotional health which triggers their loan repayment status. Congresswoman Dean's legislation would establish an exception to ensure victims of sexual violence are not paying back loans as they focus on their mental and physical well-being.

“It is heartbreaking that a student who is a victim of sexual violence, who takes time off from college for their mental and physical health, may then be burdened with student loan payments,” Rep. Dean said. “As a former professor, I care deeply for the well-being of undergraduate and graduate students. This legislation will help students who have experienced horrific trauma by offering them the opportunity to defer these payments so that they can focus on healing.”

“ATIXA’s members reported that victims of sexual violence in college were taking time off from school to heal from their trauma, only to find out that their student loan repayment requirements would kick in while they were on leave. We learned that an exception could be created, but only by Congressional action. We are thankful that Congressional leaders, like Rep. Dean, have seen the merits of this change and hope that Congress will act soon to enact it. This legislation will be a life-altering change for the better for thousands of survivors of campus sexual violence,” Brett Sokolow, President of the Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA) said.   

Rep. Madeleine Dean is a mother, grandmother, attorney, professor, former four-term member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and U.S. Representative for the Fourth District of Pennsylvania.