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Wayne Johnson for U.S. Senate
Federal Student Loan Expert, Senate Candidate Wayne Johnson Offers New Steps
To Support Student Loan Borrowers During Coronavirus Response
Macon, Ga. March 17, 2020 – Georgia Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Wayne Johnson, who spent two years inside Federal Student Aid as part of the Trump administration, said today the President should consider three additional specific actions to help the 44 million Americans struggling with student loans, including 1.8 million Georgians who owe more than $60 billion.
Johnson said there’s more the President can do in addition to suspending interest accumulation, as he did last week in announcing the national emergency.
Johnson said the response should include:
- An immediate suspension of all monthly student loan payments
- Stop all default collections and wage garnishment of borrowers
- Stop the IRS from taking tax refunds to pay student loans
- Additionally, Johnson recommends the President and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos support allowing for the dischargability of Federal Student Loans under bankruptcy, as well as purging all negative student loan information from people’s credit bureau files.
“Those steps will put real, short-term money into the pockets of American who talk around the kitchen table about how to make the monthly student loan payment,” said Johnson, who worked for more than three decades in the private sector and holds a PhD in higher education finance. “these straightforward actions would make a huge and immediate difference for a lot of regular citizens.”
Johnson said millions of borrowers in Georgia and across the nation are hourly workers, the kind of workers who are in danger of having their jobs interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Getting real money into the pockets of hourly workers is consistent with the motivations of the administration and doing what I have outlined would achieve that for hourly workers with student debt payments due each month,” said Johnson.
The infrastructure at FSA, Johnson said, would make it difficult and timely to begin to parse interest rate accumulations for the many different types of loan repayment plans in place with nine loan service providers.
“It can be done, but it will take months to put something in place, and without a doubt its implementation will have hiccups and be confusing to customers and service providers” said Johnson, “when the interest rate suspension does get done, the amount of real cash citizens get back will be minimal and much delayed. “
Johnson applauded Trump for his actions, saying it is a powerful message to 1.8 million Georgians and their families that the President recognizes the magnitude of the burden carried by student loan debtors in Georgia and across the nation.
“It is the first time I can recall President Trump elevating the student loan crisis to this level,” said Johnson. “His actions should hearten people. It should encourage people who are receiving a Social Security check and a student loan payment notice at the same time each month that help could be on the way, no matter what their ideology is.”
Johnson qualified as a Republican for the Nov. 3 special election to fill the remaining two years of retiring Sen. Johnny Isakson’s term. He will join 20 other Democrats and Republicans on the open primary ballot. Unless a single candidate gets 50% plus one, there will be a January runoff between the two top finishers in the open primary.
He said his campaign would unfold at a grassroots level, rally voters around his Opportunity Plus – Higher Education platform.
“The digital world is full of an army of people who want to see the student loan crisis fixed, and many of them have different agendas,” said Johnson. “I only have one agenda, and that is to restructure how we deliver secondary education finance to prepare the workforce for the next decade. It will take sacrifice, bipartisanship and common sense, but it can be done.
“You can look at what is being said today around what the President did last Friday and see confusion because colleges and the federal government have created an overwhelming bureaucracy over the past two decades that has left millions of Americans shackled by debt from a broken system.”
About Dr. A. Wayne Johnson
Dr. A. Wayne Johnson is recognized as the preeminent expert on student loan debt in the country and he spent two years inside the Trump administration trying to fix a system he eventually realized was broken beyond repair. Johnson spent more than three decades as an entrepreneur, senior executive and CEO of multiple businesses, both domestic and international, in the consumer finance and customer service support industries. He is a U.S. Army veteran, an Eagle Scout and a product of Georgia’s education system. He holds a PhD in Higher Education Leadership from Mercer University, a Master of Business Administration from Emory University and Bachelor of Arts from Mercer University. He makes his home in Macon, Georgia.