No one considers the unthinkable. Neither did the Bryski family, until June 2004 when their son Christopher sustained a severe traumatic brain injury in a recreational accident. Due to the extent of his injuries, Christopher remained in a persistent vegetative state unable to see, speak, or move for approximately two years before passing away in July 2006. Christopher’s father, his cosigner, dutifully assumed responsibility for the unconditional repayment of his deceased son’s private student loans. However, this responsibility was assumed in the unfortunate absence of tremendously significant consumer protections for catastrophic disability and death. The Bryski family continues to experience tremendous emotional and financial hardships from this experience.
Following nearly two (2) years of resilient devotion and dedication, the Christopher Bryski Student Loan Protection Act (H.R.5458) was introduced by Representative John Adler (NJ) to improve transparency and disclosure of Private education lending institutions with a distinct focus on the catastrophic disability and death of borrowers and cosigners. H.R.5458 passed within in the House of Representatives on September 28, 2010. Unfortunately, H.R. 5458 DID NOT make it through the Senate prior to the end of the 111th Congressional session. Regrettably, Rep. Adler was not re-elected for another congressional term.
In an effort to preserve the momentum of honoring Christopher, and other suffering American families, and to help generate crucially essential private student loan consumer protections, Senator Frank Lautenberg introduced a Senate version of the Christopher Bryski Student Loan Protection Act (S.3996) on November 29, 2010. Organizations in support of the Christopher Bryski Student Loan Protection Act (S.3996) include the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), Brain Injury Association of NJ (BIANJ), Rutgers University, and the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA).
The Christopher Bryski Student Loan Protection Act (S.3996) amends the Truth and Lending Act and Higher Education Opportunity Act to:
- Ensure private education lenders clearly and concisely define borrower and cosigner obligations;
- Provide information about power of attorney;
- Require the Federal Reserve Board of Governors (the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau beginning July 2011) to publish model forms including information about power of attorney, and describing a cosigner’s obligation;
- Define the term “Death, disability, or inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity”;
- Define the term “cosigner”;
- Provide information on the conditions required to discharge the loan due to the death, disability, or inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity;
- Provide information with respect to the same for private education loans.