student loans

It has been more than two years since the nation's most powerful financial watchdog examined the companies that manage about $1.5 trillion of federal student loans owed by 43 million borrowers.

On Thursday, two members of the Senate Banking Committee said they're exasperated with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's continuing failure to pursue mounting problems with the way student loans are handled.

Florida Prepaid College Prices Drop; Thousands To Get Rebates

Jan 14, 2020
Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel

The Florida Prepaid College Board has lowered plan prices by $1.3 billion, benefiting 224,000 families and resulting in refunds of more than $500 million.

The price reductions apply to plans purchased since 2008, according to a news release from the Florida Prepaid College Board, which said Monday it was lowering plan prices.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos endured a withering barrage of questions on Thursday about her handling of a program meant to provide debt relief to federal student loan borrowers who say they were defrauded by for-profit colleges.

"Madame Secretary, your refusal to process claims is inflicting serious harm on students," Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., said in his opening statement. "These defrauded borrowers have been left with piles of debt, worthless degrees and none of the jobs that were promised."

Documents obtained by NPR shed new light on a bitter fight between defrauded student borrowers and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

These borrowers — more than 200,000 of them — say some for-profit colleges lied to them about their job prospects and the transferability of credits. They argue they were defrauded and that the Education Department should erase their federal student loan debt under a rule called "borrower defense."

Mike Calhoun is a man on a mission. He's flying around the country, warning state lawmakers and prosecutors, sounding the alarm at conferences and with members of Congress.

Updated Friday at 11:04 a.m. ET.

Lawmakers have called for an investigation into a troubled student loan discharge program one day after an NPR report revealed that the program — meant to erase the student debts of borrowers with significant, permanent disabilities — wasn't helping the vast majority of those who are eligible.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

Twenty-three U.S. senators are calling on the nation's top consumer protection agency to investigate a loan servicer for its role in a troubled student loan forgiveness program. The program is designed to help public service workers like teachers and police officers.

The loan servicer, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, better known as FedLoan and PHEAA, is one of the entities that handles the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

"If you're a full time student, about $2,400 a year."

"Roughly, $3,400 a semester."

"All in, it's about $50,000."

That’s just the range of tuition across three schools in South Florida — Broward College, Florida International University and the University of Miami — as described by their leaders.

 

A new report from a government watchdog, first obtained by NPR, says an expanded effort by Congress to forgive the student loans of public servants is remarkably unforgiving.

Congress created the expansion program last year in response to a growing outcry. Thousands of borrowers — nurses, teachers and other public servants — complained that the requirements for the original program were so rigid and poorly communicated that lawmakers needed to step in. But, documents show, even this expansion of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program isn't working.

Most days, 25-year-old Chavonne can push her student loan debt to the back of her mind.

Between short-term office jobs in the Washington, D.C., area, she drives for Uber. But once in awhile, a debt collector will get hold of her cellphone number — the one she keeps changing to avoid them — and it all comes back fresh. "I'll be like, 'Oh no!' " she says. "It's a sad reminder that I owe somebody money!"

In April, she got another reminder when the government seized her tax refund.

All this for a degree she never finished.

Americans owe about $1.6 trillion in student loan debt. That's about twice the current budget for the Defense Department and around 22 times the budget for the Education Department.

Robert Smith encouraged graduates to "pay it forward"

The director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says the Trump administration's Education Department is getting in the way of efforts to police the student loan industry. The revelation, in a letter obtained by NPR, comes at the same time that lawsuits allege that widespread wrongdoing by student loan companies is costing some borrowers thousands of dollars.

Kaylee Rodriguez / WLRN

College graduation is here. And you've probably been seeing a lot of photos of recent graduates from the class of 2019 with their caps, gowns and smiles. But what happens to South Florida graduates after they receive their diploma?

Some will continue their education into graduate school. Others are heading into the job market. Some will be staying in South Florida to build their lives and careers. And others will leave to try and find their dreams in another place. And many will be leaving with student loan debt.

Nearly 2,300 teachers have just had a mountain of student loan debt lifted off their backs, according to previously unreleased figures from the U.S. Department of Education. The move follows reporting by NPR that exposed a nightmare for public school teachers across the country.

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