Originally on CBS 17

May 15, 2020

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein asked the United States Department of Education to stop garnishing wages for people who defaulted on federal student loans — something he said was supposed to be halted for six months during the coronavirus pandemic.

Stein’s message was in response to a Washington Post report that the Department of Education is continuing to garnish wages despite a six-month moratorium under the CARES Act.

“This pandemic has left people with student loans facing serious uncertainty about their financial futures. The CARES Act provides that workers with defaulted student loans owned by the federal government will not have their wages garnished or their benefits withheld for six months – and yet, the U.S. Department of Education is continuing to take these actions.

“I’m calling on Secretary DeVos and the Department of Education to immediately stop all collections activities and ensure that all student loan borrowers get the relief they are entitled to under the law as soon as possible. Borrowers across North Carolina are struggling financially because of this pandemic. They need this relief to shield them from further economic hardship and allow them to keep themselves and their loved ones safe and healthy during this pandemic. I will continue fighting to protect student loan borrowers – when this pandemic is over, I want every person to have the ability to continue toward building stable, successful futures.”

Stein had called on the department to stop involuntary collections in a March letter to Secretary Betsy DeVos. He has also suspended in-state debt collections, which includes debts held by University of North Carolina System schools.