Representative Dean Introduced ATIXA-Inspired Loan Deferment for Victims of Sexual Violence

Representative Madeleine Dean introduced the Loan Deferment Bill to the House of Representatives today to create a federal financial aid repayment exception for victims of sexual violence. The Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA) partnered with Rep. Dean to provide subject matter expertise and consult with her to support her introduction of the bill.

This bill targets the pervasive issue of sexual violence on campus by supporting victims who are forced to temporarily withdraw from college for more than six months in order to seek treatment and focus on mental and physical rehabilitation from the impact of the sexual assault. The proposed legislation mitigates the discriminatory effect of financial punishment caused by the accrual of interest and loss of the 6-month grace period on student loans.

Together with 21 supportive organizations, including the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), ATIXA’s sister organization, the National Association for Behavioral Intervention and Threat Assessment (NABITA), the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), and the Young Women’s Christian Association of the United States of America (YWCA), ATIXA is pleased to offer subject matter expertise and practitioner perspectives from the field of Title IX to consult with Rep. Dean and support her introduction of this bill to Congress.

“Students who are victims of sexual violence – and who must temporarily withdraw from college for their mental and physical health – should not be forced to confront student loans,” Rep. Dean said. “This legislation will give them the opportunity to defer their loan payments so that they can focus on what really matters: healing.”

13% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation (among all graduate and undergraduate students). Eligibility for a loan deferment allows these victims of sexual violence to focus solely on their recovery for up to one year without compounding their trauma with the additional stress of student loan repayment, and could be the difference between life and death. Rep. Dean’s introduction of this bill opens a path to safer, more equitable communities in colleges across the country.

“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.” – The Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA)

Contact your House representative to support the Loan Deferment Bill.

The Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA) provides a professional association for school and college Title IX coordinators, investigators, and administrators who are interested in serving their districts and campuses more effectively. ATIXA brings these campus and district professionals together to collaborate and explore best practices, establish industry standards, share resources, empower the profession, and advance the worthy goal of gender equity in education. With more than 8,600 active members from colleges, universities, schools, and organizations, ATIXA is a clearinghouse for Title IX model policies, training, and other resources. For more information, visit www.atixa.orgor follow our press and media relations account on Twitter at @presstng.

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