Statement of Chris Mattei on PHEAA’s Lawsuit Against the State of Connecticut
HARTFORD – Chris Mattei, Democratic candidate for Attorney General and former Assistant United States Attorney, issued the following statement regarding the lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against the State of Connecticut by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.
“Last week, it was announced that a student loan servicer, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, or PHEAA, is suing Connecticut over our state’s attempts to regulate student loan servicers. This is an attempt by Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education, and the financial interests she is aligned with to undermine state-level regulations on the highly profitable and often exploitative student loan industry.
I’m very proud of the Student Loan Bill of Rights that our state passed — with strong bipartisan support — in 2015. We were the first state in the country to regulate student loan servicers, and since then a dozen other states have considered similar bills. Our law requires student loan servicers to get a CT license, the same as a mortgage servicer or a debt collector must. It is not an onerous regulation. But now all of that progress is at risk.
It is the responsibility of the Attorney General to defend us in federal court against the worse abuses of the Trump Administration and the corporate agenda it advances. According to a 2016 study by the Project on Student Debt, the average Connecticut student graduates with $35,494 in student loans, the third highest average debt load in the nation. The outcome of this case may well determine whether we have the ability to stand up for the hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents who are working to pay back those student loans.
This case shows the importance of having an Attorney General who has led lawyers into federal court against some of the powerful interests in our society and won, including Wall Street. That’s what I did as a federal prosecutor, and that’s what I’ll do as Attorney General.”