Supporting the Goals and Ideals of National Consumer Protection Week
This resolution is important because it calls on governmental officials, industry leaders, schools, nonprofit organizations, and consumer advocates to provide citizens with valuable information and because it encourages the American people to utilize consumer protection information that is made available to them.
I hope that this message resonates in my home State of California because our students are in the midst of a consumer crisis. Unless the State acts expeditiously, the consumer protection statute and the agency responsible for protecting postsecondary students from fraudulent institutions whose misrepresentations cause them to default on tens of thousands of dollars in Federal student loans will expire on June 30, 2007. The statute set to expire is called the Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education Act and it authorizes a regulatory and enforcement bureau to scrutinize institutions that receive Federal higher education funds.
In the 1980s and 1990s, numerous abuses by unlawful institutions cost taxpayers billions of dollars in defaulted student loan debt--in fact, there was $3.2 billion in defaulted student loans in 1992 alone. More recently, in August and October 2006, two San Diego trade schools closed without notice to its students, setting 400 to 800 of them on the path to default on Federal and private student loans--many totaling $20,000 or more per student--with no education to justify it.
I hope that the State of California sees passage of this important resolution as Congress' call to take whatever measures necessary to uphold the consumer rights of the American people and works quickly to reauthorize the Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education Act. I urge my colleagues to support this resolution.
Click here to see a video clip of the speech.