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College financial aid applications can be filed earlier than previous years
Applications for financial aid for college-bound students will be available earlier than before.
A statement from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency released Monday was aimed at alerting students and their families of the change in the application cycle for the Free Application for Federal Students Aid.
Beginning with the 2017-18 school year, the cycle has been moved up three months. That means students applying for the 2017-18 school year can begin applying for financial aid starting Oct. 1. of this year. Previously, the FAFSA application process began Jan. 1.
The U.S. Department of Education has also modified its rules to allow applicants to complete the 2017-18 FAFSA using more readily available financial information from the 2015 tax year.
Previously, the FAFSA was available Jan. 1 and required income data from the tax year that had recently ended. However, since most people are not able to access the necessary tax information, such as wage statements, to file their tax returns in early January, they had to complete the FAFSA using estimated data, which often needed to be amended after they filed their tax returns later in the year.
Allowing the use of 2015 tax return data for completing the 2017-18 FAFSA means more people will be able to use the IRS's data retrieval tool, which automatically fills in the online FAFSA form.
The online FAFSA has an embedded link that will allow applicants to use the tool easily and automatically.
Student loan debt soars in New York over last decade
In the last ten years, student loan debt has increased 112 percent, jumping to $82 billion from $39 billion.
“New Yorkers from all walks of life have found higher education the path to a more satisfying and secure life. But many who take out student loans face real difficulties in paying back their debts,” DiNapoli said. “New Yorkers saddled with college debt have less disposable income and often have to push off buying a home or saving for the future. Such struggles have implications not only for those individuals and families with such debt, but also for the state’s economy.”
According to DiNapoli's report, the number of students taking out loans also rose sharply over the past decade, increasing 41 percent to 2.8 million. Nationwide, borrowing for school during this same period rose 60 percent to 43.7 million.
Nearly One Third Of Parents Paying Back Student Loans
A recent survey finds a large percentage of parents are paying back student loans—either their own loans, or those of their children.
The T-Rowe Price survey found 28-percent of parents are paying back student loans either for their own or their children’s education.
In Berkeley, Cal students appear quite aware of the dangers of too much debt.
“Some jobs are more financially viable in terms of what’s in demand, and what’s not. So, an engineer is going to have a higher paying job than someone who say has something more like a liberal arts degree,” one Cal student told KCBS.
After corporates now banks are helping borrowers in student loan debt.
The Bank of North Dakota is partnering with real estate brokers to help potential buyers refinance their student loan debt.
Bank President Eric Hardmeyer tells the Bismarck Tribune that national reports show that students are graduating with an average of $27,000 to $30,000 in student loan debt. And housing lenders are seeing the student loans as a barrier to housing loan approval.
Hardmeyer says people are delaying major life decisions because of student debt. The realization helped lead to the bank's DEAL One loan program.
A graduate paying 14 percent interest student loan can refinance the loan to less than 2 percent interest with a variable rate. Hardmeyer says that's a huge savings, and in some cases, it's a life changer.
Student Debt Keeps Millennials' Retirement Savings Grounded, Study Says
While the grip of lower investment returns and insufficient savings pulls baby boomer retirement expectations down to earth, student debt is preventing millennials' retirement plans from even lifting off.
Twenty-seven percent of retirement plan sponsors said they hear a moderate number of millennial employees citing student loan debt as a barrier to saving, while another 9 percent reported hearing a high degree of student loan complaints, according to a new study from The Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA), a Chicago-based not-for-profit representing employer sponsors of retirement plans.
The PSCA cited a Pew Research Center study finding that almost 70 percent of recent college graduates say they borrowed money to finance their education, compared to less than 50 percent of college students in the early 1990s, and other research that places the average student loan debt burden for the class of 2015 at more than $35,000.
The PSCA estimates that, assuming an average starting salary of around $48,000 per year, taxes and debt reduce a college graduate’s net take-home pay to just over $32,000 a year, or $2,699 a month, to cover expenses and savings. Student loan debt accounts for $4,840 of that reduction.
Only 16 percent of the survey’s respondents said they address student loans with their employees in some way. Among the larger companies in the survey, that number rises to 25 percent.
Despite their employees' struggles, companies have been slow to adopt student loan repayment programs, according to the PSCA. Only 1.4 percent of the plan sponsors in the study offered student loan repayment plans, while another 12 percent are considering them.
Tuition reimbursement plans, on the other hand, have been widely adopted by the study’s participants, with 70 percent offering the benefit.
The PSCA found some indicators that educational debt continues to grow as a problem for retirement plan participants. Almost two-thirds of the plan sponsor participants, 62 percent, said that more than half of their employees had a four-year college degree or higher, while another 30 percent said that between 10 percent and 50 percent of their employees were at that educational level.
69% of college grads have loans, averaging $29,000, and most have no knowledge of how to manage debt
About 69 percent of college graduates have loans, averaging $29,000, according to the Institute for College Access and Success. And they leave with little understanding of managing that debt.
The same percentage of students graduating this year who responded to a survey by Experian said they will have debt and they are unprepared to handle it.
The average grade students gave their colleges for credit and debt education was a C, and one in five respondents gave their colleges an F in preparing them to understand how credit scores work.
More than half of the respondents (55 percent) said they feel like they are "going it alone" when it comes to their finances.
Student Loan Borrowers Are Getting the Best Deal in 10 Years
Here’s something you don’t hear every day: It’s a good time to be taking out student loans.
That’s because the interest rate on the most common student loans — undergraduate Federal Direct Loans — just dropped to 3.76% for loans disbursed between July 1 and June 30 of next year. Last year, the interest rate was 4.29%, and before that, it was 4.66%. Interest rates on federal student loans taken out by parents and graduate students also dropped, to 6.31% from 6.84%.
Student Debt Crisis 2016: New Graduates Owe A Record-Breaking Average $37,000 In Loans.
College students graduating this month across the United States can expect to feel nostalgic, field questions about their futures, and owe a lot for the education they just received. Student financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz recently calculated that student borrowers in the class of 2016 are set to have the highest level of debt yet, at $37,172, the Wall Street Journal reported this week. This is up from about $35,000 last year.
“It’s unfortunate that college costs are going up and the student aid, the grants, are not going up at the same rate on a per-student basis,” Kantrowitz, publisher and vice president of strategy at scholarship site Cappex, told the Journal last year. “College is becoming less and less affordable, though it’s still just as necessary.”
In 2013, a new student loan law tied federal student loan interest rates to the 10-year treasury note. President Barack Obama signed the law right before interest rates were set to jump to 6.8%, and now, every year, new student loan rates are set by the last 10-year treasury note auction before June 1. The rate is calculated by adding 2.05 percentage points to the high yield of the 10-year note at the time of the auction — 1.71% on May 11. (In writing the 2013 law, Congress added the 2.05 percentage points to cover the administrative costs of issuing these government-backed loans.)
For the 2015-16 school year, the College Board estimated the average tuition and fees to be about $9,410 at four-year, in-state public institutions. Room and board was about $10,140 annually. To afford this, millennials have taken out loans that often leave them delaying buying houses or getting married.
But if you’re getting ready to get your diploma, don’t despair. The White House announced in an April blog post the rates of recent graduates defaulting on their loan payments or becoming delinquent for not paying regularly have fallen in recent years. Meanwhile, CBS News noted the average starting salary for recent graduates recently has increased to $43,000, according to data released in January by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
In any event, the class of 2016’s activism on the topic has already begun. Raleigh resident Maigan Kennedy went viral last month when she posted graduation photos where she posed with her student loan bills. She told Mashable that “the shoot was three parts comedy, two parts commentary on the difficulty of paying for education in the states.”
Department of Education Launches Website for Student Loan Borrowers
Student debt is a crippling problem for some Americans. But now there is a new website to help.
The Department of Education launched the site, which helps students find re-payment options that help them. Like the pay as you earn program, for example, which doesn't allow student loan payments to be more than 10% of what you make each month.
The move comes as the Obama Administration attempts to get more graduates enrolled in these types of programs.
Federal student loan debt is now more than $1.3 trillion.
2015 med school grads averaged $183,000 in loan debt
According to medscape's survey findings, female physicians earn 24% less than male physicians, and correspondingly, their net worth is lower. While almost half (49%) of male physicians reported a worth of $1 million or more, just a third of female physicians do.
At the same time, there was little difference between male and female physicians when it came to debt and expenses, with the top three sources being mortgages, car loans, and children's tuition.
The report noted the median medical school debt for the class of 2015 was $183,000 and that those paying long term interest may pay more than $400,000.
Medscape noted differences in student loan debt among specialties, and says it is not known why some specialists erase that debt more quickly, as there is no relationship with earnings. A third of emergency medicine and family physicians reported they are still paying off student loans, while at the lower end, just 16% of gastroenterologists and rheumatologists report they are still doing so.
College ROI Report: Highest Student Loan Payments Made By Those Who Can Least Afford Them
College may be more expensive than ever before, but the cost of not going to college is pretty steep, as well. For the most part, college graduates earn more, have lower unemployment rates, and are less likely to live in poverty than their less-educated peers. But that doesn't mean that it's easy to pay student loans with a recent graduate's salary (or potential lack thereof, depending on the job market upon graduation). In fact, PayScale'sCollege ROI Report shows that the highest college loans are likely to be held by the borrowers with the lowest income.
Why are lower-paid borrowers likely to have higher loans? Partly, it's because recent graduates with less job experience are likely to earn less.
But, age isn't the whole picture. PayScale's data also show that household income during college affects loan amounts and earnings after graduation.
Students with lower household incomes during college were more likely to have student loan payments in excess of $250 per month: 39 percent of those in the bottom 25 percent of household income owed that much, while only 27 percent of students in the top 25 percent during school had the same steep loans.
Furthermore, students who were in the bottom 25 percent of income distribution during college were more likely to stay there: 33 percent were in the bottom quarter at mid-career, compared to 15 percent of those students with the highest household incomes during school.
Millennial College Graduates with Student Loans Now Spending Nearly One-Fifth of Their Annual Salaries on Student Loan Repayments.
Research released today by Citizens Bank shows that college graduates aged 35 and under with student loans now are spending nearly one-fifth (18 percent) of their current salaries on student loan payments and that 60 percent now expect to be paying off student loans into their 40s.
At the same time, fewer than 50 percent have looked into refinancing options to lower their monthly payments, consolidate their private and federal loans or otherwise improve the terms of their loans, according to the Millennial Graduates in Debt survey released today by Citizens.
According to The College Board, the cost of college has increased 13 percent for public four-year colleges, and 11 percent for private nonprofit four year college in the last five years. To help pay for college, more than three quarters of respondents to the new Citizens survey (77 percent) indicated they had received federal loans. One third of respondents said they had received private student loans, which typically are smaller and in most cases require a credit-qualified co-signer.
Department Of Education Sued For Failure To Disclose Student Loan Debt Collection Information
Three advocacy groups are suing the U.S. Department of Education for having failed to disclose data on student loan debt collection practices. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) and the ACLU of Massachusetts want information on how agencies implement debt collection to see if their practices negatively impact borrowers of color.
According to Chronicle, the three advocacy groups that initiated the suit filed it last month under the Freedom of Information Act. They filed the suit out of fear that student loan debt collection practices implemented by the government may be discriminatory and put colored people at the losing end, particularly Blacks and Latinos.
Rachel Goodman, one of ACLU's attorneys said, "The public has a right to know how a taxpayer-funded agency handles debt collection to ensure it is done in a fair and nondiscriminatory way."
Common Dreams reported a similar statement issued by the director of NCLC's student Loan Borrower Assistance Project Persis Yu, "Given the draconian nature of the government's tools for collecting defaulted student loans, it is vital that those tools are not wielded in a racially discriminatory way."
DOE rehires 'misleading' student loan debt collectors
Two Department of Education private collection agencies once blacklisted from collecting student loans are back on the department's payroll, documents show.
Coast Professional and National Recoveries were among the five private collection agencies terminated in February 2015 after they made "materially inaccurate representations" to borrowers in default, the Education Department said. But in the final few months of 2015, Coast Professional was given an additional $863.5 million worth of student loans, and National Recoveries added $679.8 million for collections.
So far in 2016, Coast Professional has received $15.3 million and National Recoveries has received $9.3 million for debt collection services.
The department told Inside Higher Ed that Coast Professional and National Recoveries engaged in "corrective action," allowing them to restart student loan collections.
"Of the five [private collection agencies] that were found to violate federal consumer protection laws, Coast Professional and National Recoveries addressed those problems and took corrective action to ensure borrowers received accurate information," the department told Inside Higher Ed. "As a result, pursuant to federal procurement law, those companies became eligible to continue competing for department contracts."
The other three companies have not received new accounts but continue to do multi-billion dollar business with the department since the beginning of 2016. The department has paid Enterprise Recovery $15.1 million and Pioneer Credit Recovery $10.3 million so far this year. There is no data for West Asset Management. The department said it has kept borrowers with the agencies for consistency while they progress through loan rehabilitation programs.
Department of Education: Student Loan Repayment Improves.
Student loan defaults and delinquencies on federal student loan debt are declining, especially as more borrowers enroll in different income-driven repayment plan options, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Education.
The default rate for borrowers has declined from 2.5 percent in the first quarter of 2015 to 2.3 percent in the first quarter of this year, according to Ed. Deferments by borrowers experiencing unemployment or financial hardship also declined from 2014 to 2015.
As of the end of December 2015, 370,000 direct loan borrowers deferred their payments due to unemployment or economic hardship, a 31.5 percent decline from 2014, according to Ed.
Delinquency balances and percentages of borrowers behind on their loans also declined recently.
“The proportion of direct loan borrowers who are more than 31 days late in their repayments dropped to 19.7 percent on Dec. 31, 2015, compared to 22.2 percent a year earlier,” according to Ed. “Likewise, the total dollar balance of direct loans delinquent for more than 31 days fell to 14.9 percent from 16.6 percent during the same period.”
Alert your customers about student loan relief scams.
In recognition of National Consumer Protection Week, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling is alerting student borrowers about the warning signs associated with student loan debt relief scams.
Looks can be deceiving. Official-looking emails or websites are intended to lead people into thinking they are legit. One way to verify that correspondence is from reputable organizations is by checking their Web addresses looking for reviews or complaints online. It's also worth noting that the Department of Education's Web pages end in ".gov" not ".com." Also, the government doesn't send out email or use advertising to encourage students to take out loans or borrowers to consolidate debt.
Always verify before trusting. The same rules for protecting personal information in all other aspects of life also apply here. Don't provide information, especially a Federal Student Aid PIN, to someone who calls or writes. Instead, ask for a case number, then call the creditor, bank, credit union, credit card company or lender using their published number. This allows verification that they are actually trying to reach out regarding a problem with an account.
Urgency is a red flag. Whenever pressed to make a quick decision involving a "special offer," step away and take a hard look at the deal and who is presenting it. Scammers use urgency the same way magicians use colorful distractions—to focus attention away from what they don't want others to see.
There is no instant solution. While there are many programs that offer forgiveness or cancellation, borrowers need to apply to them directly. There aren't any middlemen who can negotiate special deals. However, there are certified counselors, like those who work with nonprofit NFCC member agencies, who can help identify opportunities for debt relief and provide guidance toward the right option based on an individual's unique financial situation.
New York State Assembly introduces legislation to reduce student debt
The Minority Republican Caucus in the New York State Assembly has introduced a legislative agenda aimed at reducing student debt.
The bill, which would affect both public and private institutions in New York state — including SU — would increase transparency by requiring institutions to disclose certain financial statistics to current and potential students, according to New York state Assemblyman Brian Kolb’s website. For example, institutions would be required to disclose information about the school’s student loan default rate.
Institutions would also have to provide a financial breakdown by student type and program of study, Lupinacci said. The bill would also make schools include the percentage of students who receive the degree level they initially sought.
Another bill would provide an income tax deduction for both interest and principal amounts of student loans, according to Kolb’s website. In other words, single filers could receive up to $4,000 in tax deduction, head-of-household filers could receive up to $6,000 and married filers could receive up to $8,000, according to the website.
The third bill would increase the household threshold income cap on the New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for the first time since 2000, from $80,000 to $100,000, according to Kolb’s website. In other words, more students would be eligible for financial assistance, according to the website.
31% of U.S. Govt Assets Are Student Loans
Late last week, the U.S. Treasury Department released its annual financial report for the U.S. Government. The document calculates the government’s total number of assets and liabilities. Unsurprisingly, the report offered another grim picture of the nation’s fiscal health.
Tucked away in the report, however, was a surprising fact. Student loans now make up 37 percent of the total assets of the U.S. government. In some ways, a major business of the U.S. government now is getting students to take out loans to pay for college.
The total value of assets held by the federal government is $3.2 trillion. The government’s assets include its cash, gold reserves, property, and the value of land, equipment, and inventories. The lion’s share of the government’s assets, though, is the value of loans it has issued. The total value of government-issued loans is over $1.2 trillion, almost 40 percent of its total assets.
By far the largest loan program run by the feds is the student loan program. Last year, the federal government held as assets almost $1.1 trillion in student loans. This is up almost 10 percent from 2014. The federal government earned almost $1 billion on these loans last year.
Without the student loan portfolio, the government’s financial statements would be even more grim. As it stands now, the government’s “net worth,” i.e. assets minus liabilities, is -$18 trillion. The government’s overall net position has dropped by 12 percent in just the last two years. Without the student loan portfolio, though, the government’s net position would be closer to -$20 trillion.
This is important because the federal take-over of student loans only happened in 2010. Until that year, student loans were issued by commercial banks to students, with the federal government providing a number of loan-guarantees and direct aid through a variety of programs.
Class of 2015 has the most student debt in U.S. history
As college graduates begin to enter the real world this month, they can take cold comfort in the fact that just like the last several classes before them, they’ll have the most student debt in history.
The class of 2015 will each graduate with $35,051 in student debt on average, according to an analysis from Mark Kantrowitz, the publisher of Edvisors.com, a website that provides information to parents and students about college costs and financial aid. That’s about $2,000 more than their peers who graduated in 2014, though the share of students graduating with debt remained roughly the same as last year at about 70%.
A combination of stagnant wages, declining federal and state funding to schools on a per-student basis, and rising tuition has meant that families “have only two real choices” when it comes to paying for college: borrow more or try to send their kids to a cheaper school, said Kantrowitz.
“More of the burden of paying for school is shifting from the government to the students,” he said. As a result, students’ average debt at graduation is going up year after year, even accounting for inflation. “It’s like clockwork,” Kantrowitz said.
Percentage of past due student loans remains stubbornly high.
Americans are doing a good job of paying off credit card balances, mortgages and car loans on time. Student loans? Not so much.
A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows the percentage of student loans in severe delinquency, as in more than 90 days past due, remains stubbornly high compared with other forms of consumer credit. In fact, more people are behind on student loans than any another kind of debt.
About 11.5 percent of the $1.23 trillion in outstanding student loans was classified as severely delinquent at the end of 2015. By comparison, 7.7 percent of the $733 billion in total credit card debt is severely past due.
Young Americans know next to nothing about their student loans
In January, loan refinancing information company LendEDU asked 477 undergraduate and graduate students from three Bay Area campuses ran a study that shows that shows that most American students don’t know basic facts about the money they owe and how it can be collected from them.
Only 8 percent of those interviewed surveyed know the current interest rates of their loans, and just 6 percent know how long it will take them to repay their debt.
Additionally, 98 percent of the respondents did not know which type of loans accumulate interest during school and which types did so during deferment. Seventy-three percent of students think Sallie Mae, a government-sponsored student loan corporation, is an actual person instead of a company, and 25 percent were clueless as to how interest rates work.
Perhaps most shocking is that 59 percent of students believed that Americans in total only hold “millions” of dollars in student debt, when the actual figure is actually $1.3 trillion. However, more than 37 percent of students “disagree” or“strongly disagree” that they will ever be able to fully pay off their loans.
Other polls similar to the one LendEDU conducted confirm the conclusions about inadequate financial literacy of young people who have college debt.
Cap on tax-deductible student loan interest will soon be no more.
Assembly Republicans moved closer to passing Gov. Scott Walker's college affordability bills Thursday, pushing the legislation out of committee and setting up a floor vote despite Democrats' complaints that the package is essentially a campaign talking point.
The bills include plans to lift the cap on tax-deductible student loan interest, boost grants for students and create internship coordinators. The Assembly's universities committee passed the package on party-line votes, with all five Democrats on the panel voting against each measure. They argued the bills do little to help students and are really designed to give Republicans cover in their re-election bids.
Walker announced the bills earlier this month after Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said he wants to wrap up the legislative session by the end of February so lawmakers can start campaigning. The bills will enable Republicans to rebut opponents' claims that they've largely ignored student debt issue
Dept. Of Education Working On Rules For Defense Of Repayment Law After Influx Of Claims
Under federal law, student loan borrowers may be eligible to have their debts discharged if they prove the school they attended deceived them with false promises related to their future careers. However, the measure has been used only sparingly in the past and few clear rules outline the forgiveness process. Now, after nearly two decades on the books, federal officials are finally getting around to crafting rules that could remove one roadblock for students seeking relief.
The Wall Street Journal reports that more than 7,500 borrowers, most who attended for-profit schools, have applied to have more than $164 million in student loans discharged through the Defense to Repayment law in the past six months.
Education Department officials and advocates say the influx in applications for discharge are likely the result of a string of investigations into for-profit college recruitment tactics.
To streamline the process, and ensure that students are receiving the help they need, the Department of Education recently embarked on a months-long negotiation with representatives of students, schools, and lenders to set clearer stipulations for discharges, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Rohit Chopra Moves to a Bigger Student Loan Stage, at the Department of Education
Early in the summer of 2015 Rohit Chopra announced he would be stepping down from his role as Student Loan Ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). In an email to the Washington Post, CFPB Director Cordray credited Chopra with shining a spotlight on the problems facing millions of student loan borrowers as well as the broader impact of their struggle on our economy. His work is respected among policymakers, advocates, and industry.”
At the time, he declined to say where he was going. While he has since been working at liberal think tank, the Center for American Progress, it seems Chopra has now landed on a much bigger student loan stage; on Monday he started a new job at the Department of Education.
During his tenure at the CFPB Chopra was critical of schools, banks, and servicers in their handling of loans and lack of transparency with borrowers.
US government profits as college student debt exceeds $1.3 trillion
Student debt in the United States has grown many times faster than inflation and family incomes.
The total national college loan debt exceeds $1.3 trillion, doubling since 2007 due to consistently rising tuition costs, with students having difficulty getting low interest loans due to their normally low-paying jobs. In 2015, the average undergraduate paid
5.72 percent to borrow from the federal government, according to the Congressional Budget Office.This increases to 7.27 percent for graduate students.
According to the Department of Education, the average University of Cincinnati undergraduate left school with $28,228 of debt in 2015, which is roughly average compared to other schools in the country. Massive student debt is a relatively new issue
in America’s economy, starting in the 1980s when the government made massive cuts to education investment and shifted the burden onto students. Over the next decade, the government is expected to make $127 billion in profit off of interest rates on federal student loans according to the Congressional Budget Office.
New Student Loan Forgiveness Programm Unveiled In
New York State.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state will begin accepting applications for its new student loan forgiveness program.
The "Get On Your Feet" program offers up to two years of federal student loan debt relief to recent college graduates living in the state.
Applications began being accepted on December 31.
Cuomo pointed to studies that show helping students pay for college is critical to ensuring their success after graduation. Students who graduate with debt are less likely to start a small business or to purchase a home, and the consequences of defaulting on student loans can prevent a person from ever realizing their goals.
The program offers that help by supplementing the federal Pay As You Earn loan repayment program and allowing eligible college graduates living in New York State to pay nothing on their student loans for the first two years out of school.
To qualify, applicants must have earned an undergraduate degree from a college or university located in New York State in or after December 2014, have an adjusted gross income of less than $50,000, and be enrolled in the federal Income Based Repayment plan or Pay as You Earn plan.
Student loan subsidies blamed for nearly all college tuition increases.
A new study from the prestigious and scrupulously non-political National Bureau of Economic Research (which designates the beginning and end of recessions) blames student loan subsidies for nearly all of the tuition increases that have caused college education to become so expensive as to financially cripple families and indebted students.
The higher education industry has become rich and fat off its ability to raise prices at a rate roughly triple inflation over the last five decades. Because intelligence tests are forbidden to be used by employers (as supposedly discriminatory), the only way to sort through job applicants by intelligence is through the rough proxy of a college degree.
As gatekeepers to careers, colleges have been able to exploit the vulnerability of students (and parents) seeking to be hired by employers offering good prospects.
It should be noted that higher education is one of the major sources of donations to the Democratic Party and Democrat presidential candidates. So some of the subsidy money for higher education ends up being laundered, indirectly, through higher education, into the coffers of the Democrats.
Congress gives a boost to Perkins Loan, Pell Grant programs
Congress threw a lifeline Friday to two popular higher-education funding options -- the Perkins Loan and the Pell Grant -- after months of speculation about their fates.
Under the bipartisan spending legislation, the Perkins Loan Program was renewed with a two-year extension, giving a reprieve to hundreds of colleges that were at risk of having to return federal funding and thousands of students who may have been shut out of classrooms. At the same time, the maximum Pell Grant was boosted by $140, to $5,915. President Obama signed both into law Friday. Lawmakers said the measures are small steps to a bigger resolution.
Passage of both programs is good news for students, albeit temporary. The crippling $1.2 trillion of outstanding student loan debt is looming large over the country as lawmakers continue to grapple with overhauling the Higher Education Act, sweeping legislation that oversees the federal student loan system and Pell Grants, among other things. Some lawmakers, headed by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, believe the student loan system, including Perkins, is too far-reaching and should be rolled into a single unsubsidized loan program.
Bill would stop feds taking SS benefits to pay off student loans
Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, ranking member of the Finance Committee Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy Subcommittee, along with five Senate Democrats introduced a bill Thursday to protect Americans who receive Social Security from having benefits taken away to pay outstanding federal debts, such as student loans.
Students and families already face substantial barriers to middle-class opportunities, with the cost of college skyrocketing more than 500 percent since 1985, the lawmakers said.
"Losing hard-earned Social Security benefits on top of increased college costs has created an unmanageable hardship for many seniors and Americans with disabilities who count on Social Security to maintain a basic standard of living," their announcement said..
“Americans are getting hit by a wrecking ball of increasing college costs, and the last thing they can afford is to have their Social Security benefits reduced to pay off student loans,” Wyden said.
“Students and their families in Oregon and across the country who have worked to earn their benefits should not be penalized for trying to improve their lives and keep up with the climbing price of higher education.”
“Social Security is the bedrock of retirement security and a lifeline for Americans with disabilities,” Brown said. “These modest benefits put food on the table, pay for prescriptions, and help with monthly bills. When Americans are crushed by student loan payments, they should be able to count on Social Security benefits. This bill would correct the law to ensure that these earned benefits remain a lifeline instead of a direct deposit on federal debts.”
1 in 10 members of Congress has student loan debt
While more than half of federal lawmakers are millionaires and their combined median net worth shot up 6.7 percent between 2013 and 2014, there’s at least one way in which many members of Congress can understand the plight of millions of Americans: They owe tens of thousands of dollars in student loans.
With the astronomical cost of a college education taking an increasingly prominent role in the 2016 presidential campaign, 53 lawmakers – about 10 percent of Congress, including non voting members of the House – know firsthand about the lingering debts that can follow a few years of study: That’s how many either owed student loans themselves or had family members who did at the start of this year, according to the latest data available. Only three were senators, who are usually wealthier than House members. More than half, 31, were Republicans. Together, their student loan debt totaled between $1.6 million and $4.1 million, which contributed to a record national student loan debt of $1.2 trillion in 2014.
On average, individual members with lingering student debt owed between $30,567 and $77,925 (lawmakers report their assets, liabilities and transactions in ranges). That’s more than the $29,000 average owed by the 40 million Americans who had at least one student loan left to pay.
Nine members had more than one loan to pay off, which brought Congress’ total loan count to 67. The average American still in hock for educational expenses had about four such outstanding loans in 2014.
It was the second year in a row that the number of lawmakers with student loan debt increased, though the combined amount they owed fell a bit. In 2013, a total of 47 members collectively owed between $1.8 million and $4.6 million. The previous year, 41 members reported having student loan debt.
Student fees for college athletic departments, adding up to student loans
At Texas A&M University, the president’s proposal to charge all 50,000 students $72 a year to help pay for a $450 million football stadium renovation brought protests.
At Clemson University, the athletic director’s idea to charge all 17,000 students $350 a year to help him keep up with competition brought pushback from student government.
And at many of America’s largest public universities, athletic departments making millions more every year from surging television contracts, luxury suite sales and endorsements continue to take money from tens of thousands of students who will never set foot in stadiums or arenas.
Mandatory student fees for college athletic departments are common across the country. In 2014, students at 32 schools paid a combined $125.5 million in athletic fees, according to a Washington Post examination of financial records at 52 public universities.
To rich athletic departments, these fees represent guaranteed revenue streams that, unlike ticket sales or booster donations, are unaffected by on-field success. To less flush departments, increasing student fees is one way to keep up. Athletic departments that continue to charge mandatory student fees as their income rises are making America’s student debt problem worse.
“These students are being forced to pay for something that they may or may not take advantage of, and then they have to bundle this into student loans they’ll be re-paying for 10 or 20 years,” said Natalia Abrams, executive director of the nonprofit Student Debt Crisis.
Despite options, student-loan defaults grow
Despite an increase in the number of people enrolling in the government’s generous student-loan-repayment plans, more people are defaulting on their federal loans.
The government has expanded options for repaying loans by expanding programs that cap monthly payments to a percentage of earnings. Marketing campaigns and direct outreach by the Department of Education led to higher enrollment in the last year, yet the amount of people severely behind on their debt remains stubbornly high.
As of the end of September, 7.6 million people had not made a payment on their student debt in at least nine months, a 7 percent increase over the same period a year earlier, according to data released on Thursday by the Department of Education.
Defaults in the federal loan portfolio have been climbing for several quarters.
With student debt approaching $1.3 trillion, the government’s flexible repayment plans have become critical.
Defaulting on a student loan can severely damage credit ratings, making it much harder to buy a house or car. It also could result in wage garnishment or the loss of tax refunds.
Student Loans Can Endanger Retirement Savings
Like we need more evidence that young Americans should be rethinking the traditional career route that leads past the ivory tower. “According to a new study, the average student loan debt of $35,000 can cost graduates nearly $700,000 in lost retirement savings over a 50-year period,” reports CBS News, adding that if college debt continues to increase, it will affect retirement savings on a greater scale.It makes sense: The hundreds of dollars that go to the loan companies every month are hundreds of dollars that could have been going into a graduate’s retirement account.
Instead of collecting interest, graduates are paying thousands in interest. Saving favors the young, but the cost of college rose and choked out young people’s ability to save. Meanwhile, there is another way. As Sen. Marco Rubio said, “I don’t know why we have stigmatized vocational education. Welders make more money than philosophers.” Less debt, too.
Student loan repayment gets even more complicated and confusing
Repaying student loans has never been easy, but now, according to a nationally known expert Mark Kantrowitz on the subject, it is getting harder.
The U.S. Department of Education just released yet another student loan repayment plan based on the borrower’s income, the Revised Pay-As-You-Earn Repayment Plan (REPAYER). The details of the new repayment plan are so complicated that it will be difficult for borrowers to calculate the monthly payment and compare it with the other three income-driven repayment plans.
When Congress added the Pay-As-You-Earn Repayment (PAYER) plan as an improved version of Income-Based Repayment (IBR), effective for new borrowers as of July 1, 2014, President Obama used his regulatory authority to make the PAYER plan available sooner by modifying the Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) into PAYER. But, since only Congress can appropriate funding, the Obama administration was forced to limit eligibility to new borrowers since October 1, 2007 who have at least one loan first disbursed on or after October 1, 2011, based on savings elsewhere in the federal student loan program.
The goal of the REPAYER plan is to make the PAYER plan available to all borrowers, not just recent borrowers. But, rather than eliminate the eligibility restrictions on the PAYER plan, the Obama administration decided to create a brand new plan, again by using its regulatory authority to modify the ICR plan. Also, somehow the funding restrictions that forced limits on eligibility for the PAYER plan got discarded, as the new REPAYER plan will cost $15 billion over 10 years, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Department of Education Grows Student Loan Repayment Plan with New Regulations
The U.S. Department of Education released two new regulatory packages Tuesday addressing products and payment plans directed at student borrowers.
New rules for the Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) Plan will allow direct loan borrowers to cap their monthly student loan payments at 10 percent of their annual income allocated per month, regardless of when the borrower first obtained the loan. Borrowers still paying off bank-based federal loans that were phased out in 2010 can also consolidate their debt into a direct loan to be eligible for the plan.
In addition to the monthly payment cap, REPAYE will forgive remaining debt after 20 years for those who only borrowed for undergraduate study and 25 years for those who borrowed for graduate study.
Ed said in a press release that the revised REPAYE plan will be available to borrowers in December and could help an estimated five million more borrowers pay off their student loans. The Washington Post estimates that these changes to REPAYE will cost approximately $15.4 billion and expand the cost of the program by 8 percent.
Study finds, student debt delaying retirement
Mountains of student loan debt aren’t just crippling the under-30 crowd.
As reported by CBS News, a new study found that more often, younger Baby Boomers are delaying retirement to help their college-aged children pay for school in hopes their kids don’t have to take out loans they may not be able to repay.
What’s more, today’s college students may have to push back their own retirement. Because students graduate with an average of $35,000 in student loan debt, today’s college graduates may not be able to retire until they’re 75, the study found.
“The student loan crisis is not only affecting new graduates’ immediate financial situation, it’s making their retirement prospects dwindle,” Kyle Ramsay, investing manager at NerdWallet, which conducted the study, told CBS News. “Based on our findings, higher loan payments have the potential to reduce nest eggs by 32 percent.”
If the study’s results are accurate and more Americans are forced to delay retirement in order to pay for college, that’s a big deal.
The longer older generations wait to retire — for whatever reason — the fewer steady, well-paying jobs are available for younger adults. That could have detrimental effects on the economy, especially as those younger Americans must also put off buying a house or car, marriage and saving up for their own children’s college education.
Student Debt Impacting All Sectors of Economy
The crushing weight of student loan debt is preventing recent graduates from finding employment. A recent survey from We Are Hope Inc. of Door County shows nearly half of more than 300individual respondents said they face more than 30 thousand dollars in student loans. 20 percent say their debt is negatively impacting their credit scores, which is increasingly becoming a red flag for potential employers.
Hope Inc. CEO Sandy Duckett says student debt is negatively impacting all sectors of the economy, including banking, real estate, manufacturing, healthcare and home building. She says it’s not uncommon to hear of students carrying debts of six figures.
Duckett says student debt is also impacting families with more and more parents drawing on retirement accounts to help children pay off their loans. She says the first solution to the debt crisis is for lawmakers to help lower student loan interest rates below the current six percent and begin a national dialogue on the issue. That conversation will start October 29th, when Hope Inc. holds a town hall summit on the student debt crisis at St. Norbert’s College in DePere.
New Data From Education Department Suggests That Student Debt Is Worse Than Expected
After a series of blockbuster hearings held 25 years ago on abuses in the higher education industry, Congress created a system to protect undergraduates from risky student loans.
But two weeks ago, the Education Department released a trove of new data suggesting that the system is failing and that, at some colleges, the saddling of students with loans they cannot afford to pay down is far more dire than anyone knew.
Cohort default rate system which was designed to protect borrowers from frauds done by for profit colleges, has some limitations. Only colleges with a default rate above 30 percent for three consecutive years, or above 40 percent in any single year, are expelled from the financial aid system. And students who default more than two to three years after leaving college don’t count as defaulters. Nor do students who manage to avoid default, but struggle to repay their loans.
In September, the department made a different calculation. Instead of default rates, the department calculated nonrepayment rates, which include both defaulters and borrowers who have never paid a single dollar of principal on their loans.
The non repayment category includes people who are only paying interest, have delayed making payments by enrolling in graduate school or are getting loan extensions. The nonrepayment rates were calculated over a longer time period: at one, three, five and seven years after students leave college.
Some of the numbers are startling. American National University — a for-profit chain offering degrees in business, health care and information technology, both online and at 30 campuses in six Midwestern states — has an official default rate of 8.5 percent, well below the national average of 11.8 percent. But its five-year nonrepayment rate is 71 percent. Even after seven years, most of the university’s students, the large majority of whom borrow, have failed to pay back a penny of their loans.
Phone Scam Calls To Student Loan Borrowers
The FBI is warning college students to be on the lookout for a phone scam which specifically targets them for bogus student loan debt.
Students from Georgia have called the FBI to complain about phone scammers posing as members of the federal government or FBI agents demanding payment for allegedly delinquent student loans, taxes, or parking tickets, the bureau says.
Some callers threatened their victims with arrest and inability to graduate on time unless the victims wired money to the scammers via MoneyGram, according to the FBI.
The scammers have obtained specific information on their marks and are using it to sound more convincing, and have even ”spoofed” the Atlanta FBI Field Office’s phone number in the caller ID to give the scam caller even more credibility, agents say.
Treasury’s second in command wants more accountability in student loan market
Treasury Deputy Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin said it is time for student loan servicers, the middlemen that collect and apply payments, to take responsibility for people falling behind or defaulting on their loans.
In a speech Monday at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling conference, the second in command at Treasury, pressed the need for market-wide servicing standards to help borrowers navigate the student loan system. Too many people, she said, are unaware of repayment options or fight to get consistent information and help.
“Student loan servicers may not be acting as the beacons we need them to be,” Raskin said. “We need to see increased enrollment in income-driven repayment plans, high touch servicing, and counseling that helps borrowers understand their options and sets them on a more secure financial path.”
Raskin’s comments arrive as Treasury and other federal agencies carry out President Obama’s plan to overhaul the way Americans repay their student loans. This week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is scheduled to release a report detailing problems in the servicing of student loans.
Ahead of the release, Raskin identified shortcomings in the way servicers are managing the nearly $1.3 trillion in outstanding student loans. She noted that 8 percent of federal student loans are in default and 10 percent are past due, despite the availability of plans that cap monthly loan payments to a percentage of earnings.
Student loan borrowers may be repaying too much
Paying back student loans is more difficult than it needs to be. And the government isn’t doing enough to help, a new report suggests.
Millions of borrowers may be needlessly struggling to pay back their student loans because the Department of Education and student loan servicers aren’t doing enough to make sure they have information about programs that would make payments more manageable, a new report suggests.
As of September 2012, about half of borrowers with federal student loans were eligible for to participate in an income-based repayment plan — which caps borrowers’ payments at a certain percentage of their income. But according to areport released by the Government Accountability Office Thursday, just 13% of borrowers actively repaying their loans were taking advantage of the plans as of September 2014. These plans go a long way in keeping borrowers current on their loans, the report found. Less than 1% of borrowers in income-based repayment plans default on their loans compared with 14% of borrowers in standard repayment programs.
White House to announce steps to ease access to student aid
President Barack Obama will announce steps to bolster access to financial aid for students as part of efforts to make college more affordable, the White House said on Sunday.
Among the measures Obama will announce in Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday will be allowing aspiring college students and their families to apply earlier under the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The FAFSA application helps determine eligibility for federally supported student loans as well as Pell Grants, a federal need-based student aid program.
Under the initiative to be announced by Obama, students will be able to file FAFSA applications in October, the start of the college application process, rather than having to wait until January.
Students also will be able to electronically retrieve tax information filed for a previous year rather than waiting until tax season to finish their applications.
"Learning about aid eligibility options much earlier in the college application and decision process will allow students and families to determine the true cost of attending college – taking available financial aid into account – and make more informed decisions," the White House said in a statement.
Young Workers Seek A New Company Perk: Help With Student Loan.
Companies looking to attract recent graduates should consider student loan management as part of their benefit package, as many student loan borrowers would prefer to work for a company that offers them some relief from their payments, according to survey results released Sept. 1 by Iontuition.
Iontuition found that nearly 80 percent of the 1,000 individuals surveyed in July 2015 who said they had student loan debt indicated they would like to work for a company that offers repayment assistance, such as employers matching a portion of the employee's loan contributions.
“With record amounts of student debt attached to the incoming workforce, the majority of those surveyed viewed employee benefits that address education loans as a breakthrough and welcomed solution,” the debt management service company said in a Sept. 1 press release.
New York Fed: Student Loan Delinquency Rates Double with Loans in Deferment and Forbearance
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s latest quarterly Household Debt and Credit
Report, and other recent findings on student loan debt, show there may be more than meets the eye with student loan delinquency rates.
Rates for student loans in serious delinquency (90 or more days past due) increased from 11.1 percent to 11.5 percent in the second quarter, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s latest Household Debt and Credit Report; but that may not reflect the whole picture of the state of borrowers’ loan repayments.
Another recent Fed report on student loans explains that delinquency rates for student loans are likely to understate actual delinquency rates because about half of these loans are currently in deferment, in grace periods or in forbearance, and therefore temporarily not in the repayment cycle, according to the Fed.
“This implies that among loans in the repayment cycle, delinquency rates are roughly twice as high,” the Fed reports.
The Fed’s data from its 2013 Household Debt and Credit: Student Debt report shows how student loan delinquency rates are higher when considering loan deferments and forbearance.
Key findings from the report (with data from the fourth quarter of 2012) include:
About 44 percent of borrowers were not yet in repayment due to deferments and forbearances. Excluding those, the effective 90+ delinquency rate rises to more than 30 percent.
About 17 percent of borrowers were past due on their student debt more than 90 days in 2012, a large increase from under 10 percent in 2004.
The transition rate of borrowers in repayment from current to delinquent has been rising since 2008 from around 6 percent to nearly 9 percent.
School-Loan Reckoning: 7 Million Are in Default
Nearly 7 million Americans have gone at least a year without making a payment on their federal student loans, a high level of default that suggests a widening swath of households are unable or unwilling to pay back their school debt.
As of July, 6.9 million Americans with student loans hadn’t sent a payment to the government in at least 360 days, quarterly data from the Education Department showed this past week. That was up 6%, or 400,000 borrowers, from a year earlier.
That translates into about 17% of all borrowers with federal loans being severely delinquent, a share that would be even higher if borrowers currently in school who aren’t yet required to repay were excluded. Millions of other borrowers are months behind but haven’t hit the 360-day threshold that the government defines as a default.
Severe delinquencies are rising despite the sharp drop in unemployment over the past year and a big push by the Obama administration to enroll borrowers in programs that lower their monthly payments. Delinquencies on other types of debt such as credit cards and mortgages have fallen. And shorter-term defaults on student loans have declined over the past year.
Student loan debt, grows $3,055 every second
The higher ed bubble continues to inflate, with student loan debt now coming in at $1.27 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve, an amount that tops the $994 billion owed in auto loans and $901 billion in credit card debt.
To make matters worse, every second, the amount of student loan debt in America increases by $3,055.19, MarketWatch estimates. And the class of 2015 graduated with the largest amount of student loan debt ever at an estimated average of $35,051 per person, MarketWatch reports.
With decreased job prospects during the past decade, former students are having a hard time paying off their loans and inability to pay off loans is starting to have longterm impacts on life after graduation.
A survey of 1,000 adults conducted by Bankrate.com found that crushing student loan debt has caused many to put off major life milestones.
“45% of Americans with student loans, and 56% of those between 18 and 29, have put off a major life event because of the burden of that debt,” the survey’s findings report. A breakdown of the results reveal that 30 percent of the 18 to 29-year-old demographic reported they had put off buying a home, 18 percent had postponed saving for retirement, 29 percent had yet to buy a car, 19 percent had not gotten married, and 14 percent had decided to wait to have children. Only 44 percent indicated that they had not postponed anything in their adult life because of loans.
Further, student loan debt is starting to impact other areas of the economy.
John Burns Real Estate Consulting estimates that student loan debt cost the industry the sale of 414,000 homes at a total of $83 billion dollars in 2014 because of potential buyers who put off buying a home. The company projected that every month, $250 paid back toward a student loan “reduces household purchasing power by $44,000,” and “most households paying 750+ per month in student loans are priced out of the market.”
Study: Yes, Student Loans Are Making College More Expensive
Long have liberals vowed to make higher education more affordable by offering ever more generous loan subsidies, and long have conservatives and libertarians argued that federal aid merely gives colleges license to drive up the price. A study by the New York Federal Reserve offers some new evidence that the latter group is correct. According to the study’s authors:
We find that institutions more exposed to changes in the subsidized federal loan program increased their tuition disproportionately around these policy changes, with a sizable pass-through effect on tuition of about 65 percent. We also find that Pell Grant aid and the unsubsidized federal loan program have pass-through effects on tuition, although these are economically and statistically not as strong.
The argument goes like this: Since government aid programs make it easier for students to pay the sticker price of admission, no matter how high that price rises, universities have every incentive to respond by charging more. The universities have little to worry about—they get paid up front, regardless of how difficult it is for the students to repay the government (or the government’s actual creditors: the U.S. taxpayer).
The new study does indeed find evidence of this connection between loans and price gouging. The Wall Street Journal’s write-up portrays the issue as analogous to the housing bubble:
Imagine a scenario in which the federal government helps households pursue the American dream with ultra-loose credit, only to see prices skyrocket and families take on loads of debt they can’t repay. Yes, it sounds like the housing market of a decade ago, but some say it is also the challenge of today’s higher-education system.
700,000 U.S. Seniors Owe $18 Billion in Student Debt; Fed Taps Retirees’ Social Security Checks
Hundreds of thousands of seniors are having their already-small Social Security checks reduced because they owe money on student loans.
Among the 41 million people making student loan payments, there are 706,000 households headed by someone 65 or older still paying off student debts. Those senior debtors collectively owed a whopping $18.2 billion in 2013.
Ninety-one thousand seniors with student loan balances are in default, putting their Social Security payments at risk of being garnished.
The government can garnish up to 15% of a Social Security check to repay a student loan, as long as the check amount does not drop below $750 a month. The federal government sucked a total of $150 million out of seniors’ checks in 2013 to satisfy student loan debt, according to the Government Accountability Office, which also made it clear that 82% of senior still owe money for their own student loans rather than those of their children or other dependents.
Social Security checks used to be entirely protected from any kind of garnishment. But that changed in 1996, when Congress carved out an exception for student loan debt.
Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) would like that practice reviewed. “Social Security is the sole means of retirement income for tens of millions of Americans, and allowing those benefits to be garnished to collect student loan debt cuts a dangerous hole in our safety net,” she said.
CFPB Crackdown on Loan Servicers
Discover Bank has agreed to pay $18.5 million to resolve allegations that its student loan servicing and debt collection practices were illegal, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced Wednesday.
The settlement, $16 million of which will be paid out in refunds to borrowers, marks the first time the CFPB has publicly taken an enforcement action against a student loan servicer since it began overseeing much of the industry in 2013.
It also comes as the consumer bureau signals that it may crack down on student loan servicers even further by issuing its own set of rules governing how those companies operate.
The CFPB said Discover overstated the minimum amount due on borrowers' billing statements, misrepresented information that could have allowed borrowers to receive tax benefits and called borrowers early in the morning and late at night, “often excessively.” The company also, according to the CFPB, failed to provide defaulted borrowers with legally required notices about their rights.
“Discover created student debt stress for borrowers by inflating their bills and misleading them about important benefits,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a statement. He called the action “an important step in the bureau’s work to clean up the student loan servicing market.”
The CFPB last week ended a “public inquiry” into student loan servicing and received more than 30,000 comments in response to its request for information that may be used to inform new regulations.
Authorities issued a joint statement last week on Education department's failure to respond on debt relief in Bankruptcy cases.
The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) and National Consumer Law Center, Inc. (NCLC) issued the following joint statement on 13th July 2015:
"In March, President Obama directed the Department of Education and other federal agencies to do more to help serve the nation's student loan borrowers, including those in financial distress and those who have been wronged by loan servicers, loan collectors, or schools.
In order to provide clarity with respect to the rights of borrowers in bankruptcy, the Department of Education was directed to provide information to assist parties in determining whether an undue-hardship case in bankruptcy should be accepted or contested.
Last week, the Department of Education responded to the White House in the worst possible way by giving a green light to the loan holders' aggressive strategy of fighting virtually every case in which undue hardship is claimed. Not only is this completely contrary to the intent of President Obama to find a way to help out more student loan borrowers suffering genuine financial distress, it will only serve to encourage loan holders and the Department's contractors to be even more ruthless in systematically using their considerable legal might to crush any such filings under a mountain of appeals, delays, and other tactics.
Obama Administration Expands Efforts to Help Americans Manage Student Loan Debt
Continuing its work to make student loan debt more manageable, the U.S. Department of Education announced its plans to provide an additional six million federal loan borrowers access to student loan payments capped at 10 percent of income.
Last year, as part of his year of action to expand opportunity for all Americans, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandumdirecting the Department to propose regulations to ease the burden of student loan debt by expanding repayment options available to borrowers and building awareness of income-driven repayment plans.
"A college education is one of the most important investments that Americans can make in their futures. Unfortunately, for too many hardworking families, it feels like a higher education is simply slipping out of reach," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "This proposal is an investment in our economy's future that provides targeted benefits to even more borrowers, so they can stay current on their loans and furthers our commitment to lifting the burden of crushing student loan debt."
Education Department To Miss Obama Deadlines On Helping Student Borrowers
The U.S. Department of Education is about to miss its July 1 deadline on three key directives from President Barack Obama regarding fair treatment of borrowers struggling with federal student loans. The deadline was set in a March presidential memorandum on the implementation of a "student aid bill of rights."
"My administration has already put in place significant protections that ensure borrowers with credit cards and mortgages are treated fairly. We can and should do much more to give students affordable ways to meet their responsibilities and repay their loans," Obama said in March, referencing past rules implemented by federal financial regulators. "Now is the time for stronger protections for the more than 40 million Americans with student loan debt."
By Wednesday, the Education Department was supposed to set higher standards for its oft-criticized debt collectors and clarify borrowers' rights when they attempt to discharge federal student loans in bankruptcy. Along with the White House Office of Management and Budget, the department was also supposed to have a plan for handling certain borrowers who receive federal disability benefits: Though many are eligible for complete debt forgiveness, some may still be making payments on federal student loans.
In response to queries, Education Department spokeswoman Dorie Nolt said Wednesday, "We have completed the work on these items. We will announce the results and next steps next week."
Analyst: Student Debt an Issue for 2016 Presidential Candidates
In order to win the White House in 2016, the successful candidate will have to develop a higher education agenda that deals with student debt, a political analyst told a group of higher education accreditors Wednesday.
“You can’t go into a discussion — especially with anyone under the age of 30 — and not have the issue of student debt raised,” said Amy Walter, national editor of The Cook Political Report and a frequent news commentator.
Indeed, 7 in 10 seniors who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2013 had student loan debt, with an average of $28,400 per borrower, according to The Institute for College Access & Success’s Project on Student Debt.
Study: 15 percent of retirees have student loan debt
Student loan debt isn’t just a problem for young people, it’s also a growing concern for retirement savings, a new study shows.
LIMRA has found that retirees aged 65 to 74 are carrying what the insurance and financial services trade association calls “unprecedented” amounts of student loan debt.
“Among retirees, education loans made up less than 1 percent in 1989 but grew to 15 percent by 2013,” according to the recently released LIMRA study.
“The data suggests that parents and grandparents have acquired more student loan debt to help their children and grandchildren,” the association notes.
The association added that “with college costs increasing every year, adults under-35 have seen their education debt more than triple since 1989 when it averaged $3,000. Since then the average education debt has increased to over $19,000.”
Clinton to debut student loans plan
On Wednesday (10 june 2015), Warren outlined her debt-free college plan to an audience of educators at the American Federation of Teachers in Washington, D.C. The plan—co-sponsored by fellow Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii)—would reinstate students’ ability to discharge student loans by declaring bankruptcy, regulate public universities’ spending on administrators and other departments, and implement a program that would benefit colleges withstellar four-year graduation rates.
Clinton’s plan would mirror the debt-free college initiative while also attempting to reduce the overall costs to attend college.
“The total cost of attendance is a more expansive view of the actual cost of higher education,” Huelsman told Politico, adding that “[w]e and other groups have encouraged Clinton to include the cost of attendance as the definition of debt-free college. That would be a big deal.”
Politico says that it has yet to be determined “how Clinton plans to pay for any of the proposals currently being discussed.”
“It’s not clear yet exactly what form Clinton’s debt-free college proposal will take—whether students will pay based on a percentage of their income or carry some obligation based on their ability to pay,” wrote Annie Karni, who authored the report.
Student Debt Slowing Economic Recovery, according to a survey
After surveying hundreds of people about student debt, local group We Are Hope Inc. says student loans are to blame for a slow recovery from the 2008 recession.
We Are Hope is a non-profit organization that oversees local employment and assistance programs. They gave a presentation on the survey’s findings Monday.
The group surveyed college graduates, finding many live with their parents, have no savings, work two or more jobs, live paycheck-to-paycheck and carry anxiety about their student loan debt.
“All of the data is out there, but we wanted to get the stories and how it actually impacted the decisions of individuals and what student debt was doing to hinder their ability to start their lives,” said Sandy Duckett, We Are Hope, Inc.
One of the main points this group is trying to drive home: As Americans got smarter about budgeting — spending less on groceries and cars–they didn’t do the same with educational costs.
Veterans To Receive $60 Million Refund On Student Loan Interest: DOJ
Normally student loan borrowers send their loan servicer payments to keep up with their debt. Coming next month, it'll be the other way around for nearly 78,000 military veterans who will start receiving refund checks from Navient, the student loan servicing company that used to belong to Sallie Mae.
The Department of Justice announced Thursday that the $60 million in settlement funds that it secured from Navient last year will be mailed to veterans on June 12. Federal prosecutors alleged that the company cheated troops, and overcharged them interest during their military service, in violation of the Service members Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The law sets a 6 percent cap on interest rates for debt that troops took on before their active duty begins.
The compensation checks will average about $771, but the individual payment amounts will range from $10 to over $100,000, the Justice Department said.
The announcement comes the same week the Department of Education cleared Navient, and three other major student loan servicers, in its own investigation of possible SCRA violations. The Education Department said that the companies complied with the law "in the vast majority of cases" between 2009 and 2014, and incorrectly denied troops the interest rate cap in only 1 percent of cases.
A little relief for student loan borrowers
There's a good news, and maybe better news, for student loan borrowers. A student taking out a loan for the 2015-2016 academic year, will pay a lower lifetime rate on that loan.
Student loan rates are set every year, based on the 10-year Treasury note auction. And this year the rates on government securities have been near record lows. Starting July 1, the interest rate on new Stafford loans for undergraduates drops from 4.66 percent to 4.29 percent.
The rate on new direct loans for graduate students drops from 6.21 percent to 5.84 percent, and the rate on PLUS loans to grad students and cosigning parents will fall from 7.21 percent to 6.84 percent over the life of the loan.
Of course, if the Fed starts raising interest rates in the coming months, next year's loans could come at a much higher rate.
CFPB launches public inquiry into student loan servicing problems: Plain Dealing
CFPB Director Richard Cordray announced the commencement of a CFPB “public inquiry” into the hurdles that make repayment of student loans a “stressful process and even at times a harmful one.” Speaking in Milwaukee, Wisconsin today at a field hearing on student loan servicing, Cordray noted that the purpose of the Request for Information (RFI) is to “find ways to put the ‘service’ back into the student loan servicing market and help people avoid unnecessary defaults.”
In its press release, the CFPB further explained the focus of the RFI: “The issues that the Bureau is seeking information on include: industry practices that create repayment challenges, hurdles for distressed borrowers, and the economic incentives that may affect the quality of service.” While much of the CFPB’s focus on loan servicing has been in the residential lending space, the announcement signals that the CFPB is leveraging its residential lending rulemaking, supervision, and enforcement expertise to evaluate practices in the student loan servicing market.
The CFPB says it wants to hear from borrowers about servicer-related problems including:
Payment processing delays that result in extra interest charges for borrowers.
Barriers to early repayment, including failure to apply extra payments to the borrower's highest-interest loans or divvying up less than full payments across loans to maximize late fees or other penalties.
Failure to resolve billing or other disputes.
Hurdles for distressed borrowers, including getting accurate information about repayment programs that could help them get current.
Disconnects that keep borrowers from getting help lenders advertised to sell the loan, such as interest-rate reductions for auto-debit programs.
Demands for payment in full upon the death of a co-signer.
Student Loan Refinancing Legislation Resurfaces
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has reintroduced legislation to help student loan borrowers, and additional legislators are working to ensure struggling student loan borrowers are treated fairly and understand the full range of repayment options and resources available to them.
Legislation to allow borrowers with outstanding student loan debt to refinance their loans at rates set for new borrowers is back for consideration in the 114th Congress.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) have re-introduced the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act in the Senate and House this year. The legislation would allow those with outstanding student loan debt to refinance at the interest rates that were approved last year for new borrowers, according to a news release on Warren’s website.
A previous version of the bill was voted on in the 113th Congress, and every Senate Democrat and three Senate Republicans voted to move the bill forward, falling just short of breaking a Republican filibuster, according to the news release.
The Student Loan Default Rate Could Be Even Worse Than Expected
The student loan problem is even worse than commonly cited government statistics show, a pair of researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis argued in a recently published essay.While 17% of all student loan borrowers are more than 30 days behind on their repayments, that figure includes the 45% of student borrowers who are not obliged to make payments.
Once you narrow it down to those actually required to make regular payments, the number of 30-day delinquent borrowers rises to 31%.
That’s a much higher number than commonly cited for delinquent student loans, and is was ahead of other forms of debt. Only 6.8% of mortgages in a large sample examined by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency were 30-plus days delinquent or more seriously impaired. For credit cards, the delinquency rate is just over 2%, according to the Federal Reserve. About 6% of all consumer debt is in some stage of delinquency, according to New York Fed data.
The St. Louis Fed researchers, whose work was noted by the Wall Street Journalyesterday, said that the new way of looking at student loan repayment shows that while the level of delinquency is higher than usually thought, it is not necessarily getting worse. “The share of student loan borrowers whose loans are not in repayment has decreased from 53 percent to 45 percent over the past 10 years,” they said.
The US government holds more than $875 billion in student loan debt.
Americans are taking on new debt at a strong pace—7% more than last year, according to the Federal Reserve. But one statistic that sticks out, particularly in chart form, is the student debt held by the US government. In February it clocked in at $876.1 billion, the most ever recorded by the Fed.
The huge spike over the last five years or so can be explained by all the people who went back to school during the recession. Around the same time, the government decided to play a biger role in the student loan business, lending to students directly instead of guaranteeing loans made by private lenders. Another record? The portion of all nonrevolving consumer credit (think auto loans and personal loans), made up by those federal student loans, which stands at 35.5%.
The default rate on federal student loans stands at about 14%, a figure that’s skewed by for-profit schools, where higher-than-average percentages of students take out higher-than-average loan amounts to fund their education. But as the job market improves and the economy continues to grow slowly but surely, that number should fall—and these charts should look a lot less scary.
SMS Integration by logics
Dear Logics Users,
Logics is now integrated with a Short Message Service (SMS) system, which can be activated for you upon your request. Sending a quick SMS sometimes seems to be the most convenient way of getting in touch with your customer.
If you have a Standard or a Premium account, open a ticket telling us how many of your users need SMS access, and what area code you want your SMS numbers to be from. Once the service is activated, users will be able to send text messages (upto 160 characters) to your clients directly from the cases in Logics. There will also be a SMS log displaying for all SMS transactions, both outgoing and incoming.
New Federal Data Show Student Loan Borrowers Suffering More Than Previously Believed
About one-third of borrowers with federal student loans owned by the U.S. Department of Education are late on their payments, according to new federal data.
The figures, released by the Education Department on Thursday, are the first comprehensive look at the delinquency plaguing those who hold federal student loans. By the new metric, which the department has never used before, roughly 33 percent of borrowers were more than five days late on one of their federal student loans as of Dec. 31. (Since the department only released individual figures for its four largest contractors, rather than a total percentage, however, the actual figure may be a few percentage points higher or lower.)
Previous measures had put the delinquency rate much lower, masking the true amount of distress among borrowers trying to make good on their taxpayer-backed debts.
Some 41 million Americans collectively carry more than $1.1 trillion in education loans owned or guaranteed by the Education Department, a total that surpasses every form of consumer credit in the U.S. except home mortgages. Thursday's figure reflects more than two-thirds of the $1.1 trillion total. The remainder is owned by the private sector as part of a bank-based federal loan program that has since been discontinued.
The new measure of borrower distress comes as the White House urges the Education Department to improve its management of the growing federal student loan program and to give borrowers more protections against unmanageable debt loads.
Courtney, Warren Introduce Bill To Aid student Loan Borrowers.
Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-2) introduced the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, a bill that would allow undergraduate borrowers repaying private or public student loans to refinance those loans to an interest rate of 3.86 percent. The bill would also allow graduate and parent borrowers to refinance to competitive rates, reducing monthly payments and helping borrowers repay loans sooner. The bill, co-introduced in the Senate by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), is a continuation of Congressman Courtney’s efforts to help families afford the costs of higher education.
“A college education is one of the most valuable investments a family can make, but rising costs have made it difficult to afford—and student loans often come with higher interest rates than mortgages, car loans, and other forms of consumer lending,” Courtney said. “This bill will help ease the burden of student debt by allowing undergraduate borrowers to refinance their loans to 3.86 percent—the previous rate for Stafford loans.
“Student debt—which surpassed $1 trillion last Congress—hinders our economy because it delays borrowers from major investments, including buying a home, starting a business, and saving for retirement. As higher education becomes more crucial than ever to secure a good-paying job, keeping college affordable must be a top priority in Washington. I will continue to work to keep the dream of college within reach for Connecticut families.”
“Since last year, nearly a million more borrowers have fallen behind on their student loan payments,”said Senator Warren. “Young people who are working hard to build a future deserve a real opportunity to succeed, and that means letting struggling borrowers refinance their student loans to take advantage of lower interest rates – the same way people refinance a mortgage, a car loan, or business debt. The Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act would give much-needed relief to millions of borrowers, help boost our economy, and strengthen America’s middle class.”
The bill would allow borrowers with existing undergraduate student loans issued prior to July 1st, 2015 to refinance those loans to a 3.86 percent annual interest rate. Graduate school loans could be refinanced to 5.41 percent, and parent loans for a child’s education to 6.41 percent. According to estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, half of the outstanding loan volume for federal student loans—about $460 billion—would be refinanced under this bill.
Obama launches Student Aid Bill of Rights, reaches out to students.
After signing an executive order Tuesday for a Student Aid Bill of Rights intended to help students better finance their education, U.S. President Barack Obama has reached out to college students across the United States to further delineate his administration’s plans.
The Student Aid Bill of Rights, according to a fact sheet sent by the White House Office of the Press Secretary, highlights four overarching goals: a student’s right to “quality, affordable education,” a student’s right to resources to pay for college, a borrower’s right to an affordable repayment plan and a borrower’s right to “quality customer service, reliable information and fair treatment.”
“Higher education remains one of the best investments you can make in your future, but also one of the best investments you can make in your country’s future,” Obama told The Daily Free Press in a Wednesday conference call with college student reporters. “It’s never been more important, and we have to prioritize it.”
Included in the Student Aid Bill of Rights is the creation of a “responsive student feedback system,” a website Obama plans to have created by July 1, 2016 to field questions and complaints about the federal system for loan servicers and institutions of higher education.
Members of Congress owe up to $4.6 million on student loans
More members of Congress than ever have student loan debt — 47, or 8 percent of Congress,according to OpenSecrets. That's six more than in 2013. Together, these members owe between $1.8 million and $4.6 million in loans taken out to pay either for their own education or for that of their children and spouses.
Student loan debtors skew Republican. According to OpenSecrets, 28 Republicans and 19 Democrats list student loans on their financial disclosure statements. But there are also more Republicans in Congress, period, so that doesn't necessarily mean that student debt divides neatly by party.
And the members of Congress with debt have a lot of it. On average, they owe nearly $70,000 per person. The typical four-year college graduate in 2013 who graduated with loans had $28,400 in debt.
Senators: Stop Profiting Off Student Loans
Several United States Senators, including Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), have sent a letter asking the U.S. Department of Education to implement the directive it has been given by Congress to ensure that young people struggling with federal student debt have the opportunity to build a strong future for themselves.
"It is striking that the Department still intends to generate such significant revenue from federal loan programs designed to help young people get an affordable education," the Senators wrote in the letter.
In the letter, the Senators note that recent estimates show that the federal government will produce $110 billion in profits from it's student loan program over the next decade. The letter also explains that the profits will be collected because the Department of Education has failed to use its existing legal authority to help struggling borrowers.
Departments of Education, Treasury Work with Tax Preparers to Teach About Student Loan Repayment Options.
Many college students and recent graduates may get more than a refund from preparing their taxes this year.
The U.S. Treasury Department and the U.S. Department of Education are working with H&R Block and Intuit, Inc.'s Turbo Tax to inform students about flexible income-based student loan repayment options, according to a press release.
Intuit and H&R Block are telling customers about these programs by providing information during tax returns, the release explains. This isn't the first year that Intuit and H&R Block have partnered with these departments to publicize loan options, but certain features are new, such as TurboTax including information about loan repayment in its customer newsletter.
Maine lawmakers offer relief to students trapped by college debt.
A group of Maine lawmakers and educators has been working for the past year on the student debt problem, which nationally has overtaken credit cards and auto loans as the second-leading source of debt behind home mortgages. The 13-member commission, which presented its final report to the Legislature’s Education Committee on Wednesday, sought ways to decrease the cost of higher education for Mainers and eliminate barriers that force too many students out of college.
The commission found what most people know: college is expensive. Even students from families who earn $120,000 per year are typically forced to work part time and secure loans of some $20,000 per year to pay the cost of earning a four-year degree from the University of Maine system. Families earning $60,000 or less per year, and who assume the same amount of student loans, face an affordability gap of tens of thousands of dollars. “Let’s suppose for a moment that you have accrued some level of student loan debt, you are out of school, and you’ve not even completed your degree,” said Rep. Matt Pouliot, R-Augusta, a member of the Legislature’s Education Committee and the bipartisan College Affordability Task Force. “This is the reality for many Maine people. In fact, it is a reality for nearly a quarter million Maine people who’ve started some form of postsecondary education but haven’t completed that training. They are stranded learners.”
Rep. Mathea Daughtry, D-Brunswick, also an Education Committee and task force member, is one of the younger members of the Legislature. She and Pouliot both belong to the Legislature’s youth caucus.
“College debt is strangling my generation, and it’s setting our state back,” she said. “Mainers, and young Mainers in particular, are facing a quandary: more and more fields of employment require a college degree, and yet many Mainers are unable to go into the careers they would like to due to the price of college. This is creating a chain reaction that, for the first time, could leave the next generation worse off than those who came before them.”
Obama’s Student Loan Forgiveness Program Has $21.8 Billion Shortfall
The Obama administration’s student loan program came up $21.8 billion short last year because of unpaid and forgiven loans. According to Politico, which found the number buried in President Obama’s 2016 budget proposal this week, the shortfall is “the largest ever recorded for any government credit program.”
The president’s student loan initiative limits student loan payments to 10 percent of the borrower’s income, and forgives outstanding debt after 20 years—or 10 years if the borrower works in public service.
According to WhiteHouse.gov, the initiative is “part of the Obama-Biden administration’s ambitious agenda to make higher education more affordable and to help more Americans earn college degrees.”
Politico reports that 40 million Americans currently hold $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loan debt.
“According to the Congressional Budget Office, using a fair-value approach to account for student loans shows them to drain federal coffers by $88 billion over the decade—a figure that can be expected to grow even higher given Obama’s new repayment program, which would forgive many of the loans,” she added.According to Politico, because of a “quirk” in how credit programs are budgeted, the $21.8 billion difference can be added to the deficit without “appropriations or even approval from Congress.”
Scott Walker's budget would explode student loan debt
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s recently unveiled higher education budget plans would only exacerbate the burgeoning student loan debt crisis.
There’s a simple equation behind the explosion of student loan debt — public funding for higher education has plummeted, financial aid for eligible students has remained stagnant, and tuition has skyrocketed. Walker hits the student loan debt trifecta with his budget and it’s Wisconsin students and our economy that will lose.
Last week Walker announced his 2015 budget plan includes a $300 million cut to state funding for the University of Wisconsin System, and beginning after 2016 he would allow the UW System to saddle students with unlimited tuition increases.
According to calculations by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released last week by a state legislator, if the unlimited tuition hike authority were used to make up for the $300 million in state funding cuts, tuition would skyrocket by 40 percent.
Wisconsin has the fourth highest percentage of college graduates with student loan debt in the nation and over 40 million Americans have found themselves with over $1.2 trillion in student loan debt. Research shows that debt held nationally is a significant economic drag not only on borrowers, but the entire economy. Over their lifetime, borrowers accumulate significantly less wealth due to their student loan debt, do not save as well for their retirement, and delay or defer major consumer purchases like homes and automobiles. The ripple effect means significant losses for businesses that are key drivers of the economy, including the auto and home industries.
Congressman Introduces Bill to Forgive Student Loan Debts during Bankruptcy.
A lawmaker has filed legislation in Congress to allow student loan debt to be treated like other forms of debt that can be discharged in bankruptcy proceedings.
Rep. John K. Delaney, D-Md., introduced the Discharge Student Loans in Bankruptcy Act (H.R. 449).
“Student loan debt is dragging down economic growth, keeping the American Dream out of reach for many and is a monthly strain for millions,” Delaney said in a statement.
He said, “While student loan debt is a complex problem that will require many solutions—increased support for grant programs, efforts to increase affordability, improved consumer education—we also need to reform our laws to help those with the absolute greatest need. Right now, there is effectively a huge student loan loophole in bankruptcy law that’s hurting real people."
Congressional Dems won't stop trying to alleviate student loan debt
Democrats in Congress say they won't give up trying to help adults with heavy student loan debts.It's been a major cause of Wisconsin Senate Democrat Tammy Baldwin.
La Crosse House Democrat Ron Kind says he, too, will reintroduce a bill he has tried to pass before. He said it would prohibit the federal government from snatching up money off the interest collected from student loans, and tie repayment rates to the borrowers' income levels.He said it would allow students to consolidate loans and refinance at lower rates -- just like homeowners can do.
Kind also said President Obama's announcement from Friday on free tuition for community college sounds good at first glance. He said he likes the idea of students saving around $3,800 in tuition for two years of schooling -- but he'll reserve final judgment until he sees the details.Kind said he'd like to see such a program funded by reigning in health costs and cutting what he calls unnecessary defense projects.
Marco Rubio Continues the Fight to Reform Federal Student Loan Repayment
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., continued his fight for student loan reform this week, even as he folded his bill on the matter into another piece of legislation.
Rubio announced on Wednesday that he was backing a bill from U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, and U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., which would streamline federal student loan repayment. The bill also has the support of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who served as education secretary under President George H.W. Bush and led the University of Tennessee; U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine; and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, R-Va.
Rubio and Warner teamed up last year in pushing a bill reforming student loan repayments based on income, but the King-Burr proposal would also include set repayment rates as well. King’s and Burr’s “Repay Act,” which was introduced last year but went nowhere, would fix repayments over a 10-year period.
Federal Student Loan Debt Tops $800 Billion.
From November 2013 through November 2014, the aggregate balance in the federal direct student loan program--as reported by the Monthly Treasury Statement--rose from $687,149,000,000 to $806,561,000,000, a one-year jump of $119,412,000,000.
The balance on all student loans, including those from private sources, exceeded a trillion dollars as of the end of the third quarter, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
"Outstanding student loan balances reported on credit reports increased to $1.13 trillion (an increase of $8 billion) as of September 30, 2014, representing about $100 billion increase from one year ago," the bank said in its latest report on household debt and credit.
Senate Banking Committee Chair Requests More Oversight, Reform in Student Loan Market.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) is calling for coordinated action between the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Treasury and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to address issues in the student loan market, including student loan servicing and debt collection. Johnson recently sent letters to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, U.S. Department of the Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray requesting the agencies to work together on the issues.
The Senate Banking Committee has jurisdiction over financial institutions in the student loan market, and Johnson has held several hearings on ways to address existing and future student financial products.The CFPB estimates that there is $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. and more than seven million people in default on their loans.In his letter to Cordray, as the CFPB is working on rules to further regulate the debt collection industry expected to be issued in 2015, Johnson asked the bureau to, “implement a strong rule on debt collection that covers all debt collectors, including the private collection agencies that may collect on federal student loans.”
Student debts, expected to double : Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.
Student debts are expected to double to over $50 billion in four years if the federal government achieves its goal of deregulating university fees and expanding federal funding.
The Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), formerly known as HECS, will rise from $25 billion to $52 billion in 2018 according to the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), released on Monday.
The government attributes the dramatic growth to students paying a greater share of their education costs and expanded access to student loans.
y earn $50,000.
Under the reforms, which are expected to see fees for most university degrees increase, students will still not have to pay back the government until they earn $50,000.
A study by Brookings finds that students lack College debt information.
College students overwhelmingly don't understand how much debt they'll take on from student loans, new research shows. Less than a quarter of first-year students who have federal student loans could come within 10 percent of the loan's actual value, the Brookings Institution found Wednesday.More than half – 51 percent – underestimated it, while a quarter overestimated loan value.
"College students do not have a firm grasp on their financial positions, including both the price they are paying for matriculation and the debt they are accruing," the report says.
As might be expected, older students tend to be more educated about how much debt they have than younger students. Some college students don't even know they have debt. The study found that "more than one-quarter of students do not understand that they have a loan from the federal government, and about half of these students appear to be genuinely unaware of the fact that they have borrowed for their education at all."
New Research by Center For American progress reveals, since the Great Recession, annual borrowing has increased by a median of nearly $1,300 per public college student.
State disinvestment in public institutions of higher education has coincided with an increase of higher-education loan debt for America’s students, with estimated annual borrowing increased by $17 billion in the five years since the beginning of the Great Recession. Annual borrowing per student increased by a median of $1,285 during that same time span, as the nation’s post secondary education system grows increasingly reliant on student loan debt.
CAP's brief examines the increased dependence of student going to public institutions on student loans and gives a state-by-state data on the spike in federal student-loan borrowing since the onset Great Recession. In Hawaii and Utah, for example, total borrowing by students at public institutions spiked by more than 100 percent since the start of the Great Recession; borrowing grew by more than 80 percent in some states, including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Oregon.
CAP unveiled new research on the great retreat of state support for public higher education, finding that the reduction of state funding coincided with an increased reliance on tuition revenue; low- and middle-income families in states with the highest disinvestment pay the highest net price relative to students in the same income groups in other states; and the cuts disproportionately affected two-year community colleges. CAP also launched a new state-by-state interactive map that measures the direct state investment in and enrollment at public universities and community colleges since the Great Recession.
Phone scam calls for Student Loans
Residents in Texas, Colorado and Tennessee have been receiving phone calls from a person with a foreign accent, who claims that their child’s college tuition is past due or that they have an outstanding student loan. The person threatens that their child will be sent to jail, because of the outstanding debt and then asks for banking account information or credit and/or debit card numbers in order to fulfill that outstanding debt. The caller ID from the con artists displays as originating from the West Police Department in West, Texas. According to West Police Chief Chris Hudson, many of the calls are targeting students associated with West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas, just outside of Amarillo.
What is particularly disturbing about this scam is that the con artists appear to have detailed information about the students for whom they are calling about, making the scam seem legitimate. Since early 25th of november 2014, police has received almost 100 complaints of such phone calls. So far, the West, Texas Police Department believes that no one has become a victim, but the people calling the police department are fearful they will be sent to jail.
Solo 401k Loan Can Offer a Relief from Student Loan for US Senior Citizens
Senior citizens owe approximately $18.2bn in federal student loan debt currently, which is adding on to the financial burden of financial planning, increasing medical expenses, and no or much lower income during retirement age. COnsidering the growing problem Sence Financial suggested that for plan holders of a Solo 401k, the loan feature can help alleviate the problem. Senior citizens who were self employed business owners or independent contractors can rely on Solo 401k loan to help pay for their debt. With a Solo 401k loan, plan holders can borrow up to $50,000 or 50% of the account's total value, whichever is less.
The loan is tax free and penalty free, as long as the principal and interest is paid back within 5 years and at least on a quarterly basis. By using Solo 401k loan, the plan holders can switch to a low interest of Prime plus 1%. This can potentially be lower than the current interest of the student loan. The best thing is that all principal and interest will be paid back into the Solo 401k plan. So instead of paying interest to a lender, the plan holder can keep growing their retirement fund.
More number of students, borrowing more.
Student debt reports by CNBC says more than 2/3rd of students are still coming out of college with debt. There are 6 states with average student loan amount of over 30,000 $. These states are: New Hampshire, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Minnesota and Connecticut, which clearly shows that not only borrowing becoming more common but more people are borrowing more.
US Treasury department praises DoE’s step to raise the amount paid to student loan servicer.
Treasury department commended the move to increase the amount of money the federal government pays its student loan contractors. Deputy Treasury Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin disclosed that DoE has increased the amounts paid to student loan servicers including Nelnet Inc. and Navient Corp., to improve their services, regardless of any improvement they bring in their system or not. Because of mounting student loan amount, Federal agencies including Federal Reserve and Treasury Department are taking more interest in the potential fallout from educational loans.
According to federal officials lack of proper loan servicing may elevate the student loan problem. A survey by Federal reserve shows that almost 50 % of Americans restricted their expenses, to make their student loan payments, and had to avoid medical treatments. Hence it is more sensible to invest in loan servicers and drive better borrower outcomes, according to Raskin.
Student Loan companies get clean chit from Education Department.
DoE was reviewing few Student Loan companies for cheating active duty troops, by overcharging them on their Federal student loans. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau had raised an issue against student loan companies that they had denied customers to invoke their right for low interest rates. Which made justice department to launch an investigation against Sallie Mae, and found the Sallie Mae and Nelnet guilty of cheating some 60,000 active duty troops out of $60 million over several years. The companies settled the law suit without admitting the charge.
To determine if any of its servicer is involved in wrongdoing, DoE started the investigation on 4 other companies, which are Nelnet, Inc., Great Lakes Higher Education Corp. & Affiliates, and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. The investigation by education department says, few troops had been improperly denied their benefits under federal law, which raised a question on FSA’s findings.
If DoE did not find any violation of law, it may be because how it defines wrongdoing. According to federal Law troops have to request for the loan benefits in writing and provide the student loan companies, copies of their military orders calling them to active duty. After the review by FSA investigators they found few lapses in cases where troops had requested benefits and were denied by their loan companies. According to an enquiry done by consumer bureau the troops didn’t request interest rate benefit because their companies had turned them away on the phone itself.
US Department of Education improves regulations for Federal Direct Plus Loans.
US DoE Published final regulations for Federal Direct Plus Loans on 10/23/2014. The new rule will mostly influence parents who go for federal student loans to help cover their children’s undergraduate costs, including tuition and living expenses, and help students cover rising tuition fee without causing trouble to the families with poor credit history, and hence will expand student' access to post secondary education. The final result came out after an extensive outreach by the DOE which includes four public hearings across the country to get feedback suggestions from students, families, higher education leaders, and community organization.
Following provisions are made in the final regulation, which will be effective from 07/01/ 2015:
Revise the student PLUS loan borrower eligibility criteria to state more clearly that the PLUS loan adverse credit history requirements apply to student, as well as parent, PLUS loan borrowers.
Add to the definition of "charged of" and "in collection" and hence specify adverse credit history.
Provide that the combined outstanding balance threshold of $2,085 will be increased over time based on the rate of inflation, as measured by the CPI-U.
Revise the documents to be submitted by the PLUS loan applicant having adverse credit history, justifying the circumstances.
Specify that the applicant must complete PLUS loan counseling offered by the Secretary before receiving a PLUS loan.
These regulations have received a strong support from the commentators, and a few requests to launch an aggressive awareness and outreach campaign so that parents and students are made aware of the changes to the PLUS loan eligibility requirements.
An expert finds it difficult to solve Student Loan Repayment puzzle.
The reason why borrowers find themselves in a muddle and seek a third party help, is the intricate repayment plans, which are so difficult to understand that sometimes even an expert may get confused. Robert Shireman the Former Deputy Under Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education shared his experience, about the difficulties he faced while figuring out the repayment plans for his niece. According to him the system which was actually designed to "help" the users, seemed to confuse them more, rather than inform. It was almost like solving a puzzle, in which even after reaching the end you can not be sure of the result.
Though it can be very easy with the help of websites available to find out the best suited repayment plan, but still they are designed in such a way that they would make you confound with all the complex terminologies, which are almost impossible for an average person to comprehend. Right from understanding the mail from loan servicer, finding out the right repayment plan and filling up the form, every step consisted of so many unorganized stuffs, making the whole process totally exhausting. If the system can trouble the person who had an important role in shaping it, how a naive borrowers who have just graduated and stepped into the professional world would figure it out without any expert help?
AFSLR Conference 2014
Dear Student Loan Professionals,
We are happy to announce that Student Logics will be participating in AFSLR annual conference at Bellagio, Las Vegas, on 9-10 October 2014.
We will have software demos during the conference and will be scheduling one on one onboarding trainings for new sign ups.
We will be very happy to meet up with our current clients as well as all Student Loan Professionals.
Visit AFSLR website for more information
PIN Request Secure Link
Dear Student Logics Clients,
We have recently added a new permission setting which allows admins to grant the permission to view SSN and PIN to any role in their organization.
The permission setting is located under User Management/Roles/Edit Role/Case/Others/Has permission to see SSN and Student Loan PIN.
We also have added a button to Interview/Introduction page which allows you to send a PIN and SSN request email directly from Logics to your client. Your client will be able to open the link in the email and enter PIN and SSN and send to the respective case in Logics.
The PIN and SSN will be masked for all the roles, unless you give them the permission mentioned above, to view.