Congressman Vela Reintroduces Legislation to Ensure Fair and Equitable Financing for Higher Education


Date: Dec. 2, 2021
Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Filemon Vela (D-TX) reintroduced the Protect Minority Student Borrowers Act. The bill amends the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to prohibit private education lenders from discriminating against applicants based on the institution of higher education they attend or previously attended. The bill also directs the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study to better understand the extent to which private education lenders discriminate against applicants who attend minority-serving institutions of higher education.

This legislation follows a report by the Student Borrower Protection Center, which found that borrowers who refinance their student loans through a company using education data may pay a penalty of up to $3,499 for being linked to a Minority Serving Institution, all other variables constant.

"I am reintroducing the Protect Minority Student Borrowers Act to ensure no student is unfairly burdened by student loan providers simply for their decision to attend a Minority Serving Institution (MSI)," said Congressman Vela. "The Student Borrower Protection Center showed that students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), or community colleges are often subject to higher interest rates on student loans than students attending other institutions. These institutions have traditionally helped people of color, rural, first generation, and low-income students. This bill will stop this discriminatory behavior and ensure students attending MSIs have equal and fair access to higher education."