Student loan complaints up a record 325 percent over last year, says CFPB

Charlene Crowell | NNPA News Wire Columnist | 9/20/2017, 3:15 p.m.

It would be wise to resolve this recent surge in student loan complaints before next month when the Department of Education begins accepting applications for PSLF. To forge progress in this specific area, CFPB has recommendations to ensure that borrowers and servicers alike are treated fairly and in accordance with federal protections. In 2010, the Education Department made an effort to mitigate harms caused to borrowers based on incorrect information that servicers provided. In some of those cases, borrowers were enrolled when they were ineligible for the chosen payment plan.

Information that is easy for borrowers to understand would be an important first step in improving borrower-servicer relations. Secondly, for families already enrolled in IDR, reductions or changes in family incomes should be promptly reported and recertified. Both the size of the family and income(s) are both factors that determine what is affordable under IDR.

“Servicer breakdowns should never stand between a borrower and the relief they are entitled to under the law,” said Whitney Barkley-Denney, senior policy counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending. “We must ensure that borrowers and their families are getting the information and help they need from servicers to make their payments affordable and to qualify for any relief programs they are eligible for.”

Charlene Crowell is the communications deputy director with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at Charlene.crowell@responsiblelending.org.

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