As a mother, grandmother, and former professor at LaSalle University, Rep. Dean supports high-quality, equitable, affordable education for all.

Debt and Student Loans

Since 2006, student debt in America has nearly tripled; almost 45 million borrowers owe $1.6 trillion. The average borrower owes close to $33,000 and pays nearly $400 per month in debt service. Rep. Dean knows first-hand how these costs constrain opportunities for young people and their families.

Rep. Dean also recognizes that confronting the student debt crisis means addressing fundamental questions about how much an education should cost, who can attend college, and how students will pay their debts over time.

Rep. Dean has tackled repayment challenges by introducing the Private Loan Disability Discharge Act. This legislation was developed in response to outreach from a constituent. A woman in Pennsylvania’s Fourth District was struggling: her daughter had become totally disabled and was therefore discharged from her debt obligations. As a cosigner of the loan, however, this mother was held responsible. Through the Private Loan Disability Discharge Act, cosigners will see their debt obligations discharged if a borrower becomes totally disabled. This bill was included in the  National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022, which passed the House  in September 2021. 

The COVID-19 pandemic was not only a health emergency, but a severe economic downturn that hurt people in uneven ways. Rep. Dean led efforts reflected in the CARES Act and subsequent legislation to provide a moratorium on payments for federal student loan borrowers. She sought additional relief for young people saddled with debt.

Rep. Dean introduced legislation to eliminate $10,000 of student loan debt for all borrowers federal and private loan holders. She has also signed on to efforts urging the Biden Administration to forgive up to $50,000 in student loan debt for all borrowers.  

Free Community College Through the America’s College Promise Act

Rep. Dean understands the powerful role of community colleges in expanding opportunity and preparing students for fulfilling careers. Alongside Rep. Andy Levin (MI-09), Vice-Chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, she reintroduced H.R. 4212, the America’s College Promise Act of 2019, in the 116th Congress. This bill will create new partnerships with state governments and provide two years of tuition-free access to community college programs that lead to a degree or industry-recognized credential. This legislation will also expand pathways to minority-serving institutions.