ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Senator Chuck Schumer is parterning up with a father from Colonie that is being forced to pay back his daughters student loans even though she died two years ago.
Lauren Tanski, a Colonie native, was killed two years ago by her roommate’s ex-boyfriend while living in New Orleans. When Lauren died, she had $30,000 in outstanding federal student loan debt an $60,000 in private student loan debt. Her federal loans were immediately forgiven, but private loans were not. Schumer worked with the family to get her private loans forgiven, but a law to protect grieving families is needed.
For Leonard Tanski, worrying about his murdered daughter’s SUNY Cobleskill student loans was not his top priority. He asked not to be interviewed on camera, but told NEWS10 he’s still waiting for justice for Lauren.
On Monday in Albany, Schumer announced a major effort for Congress to pass legislation that would require private student loans to be discharged if the borrower dies, ensuring parents aren’t held liable for debt. Schumer’s legislation would help ensure that the unnecessary financial and emotional strain experienced by the Tanski family – who had to fight with Sallie Mae, the loan company, in the wake of their daughter’s death – is not repeated.
“When they are having to deal with the grief daily, and saying pay your loan, pay your loan, pay your loan, it’s inhumane,” said Sen. Schumer. “We wish we could rely on the private lenders and services to do the right thing on their own, but unfortunately history has shown we can’t.”
Currently proof of a death certificate will allow federal loans to be forgiven, and if the senator has anything to say, soon prospective private student loans will follow the same policy.
But although the senator says he was able to help the Tanski’s, he says there are others that he cannot. Which is exactly why he says new legislation, called Andrew’s Law after another family who faced the same struggle as the Tanski’s, needs to be instated to let families grieve in peace, and not spend the next 20 years paying off loans for a future that was taken too soon.