We’re commemorating an anniversary this week—but it’s not one we’re happy to be celebrating. This Tuesday marks the fifth anniversary of the day Americans’ student debt hit $1 trillion, or $1T Day.
We’re not doing much better five years later. In fact, there are many indicators that suggest we are backsliding on helping and protecting students and borrowers afford and pay for higher education.
If things were going as planned…
- The Department of Education would be updating servicer contracts requiring companies to meet standards for responding and assisting borrowers with repayment. Instead, under Secretary Betsy DeVos the Department has rescinded this requirement.
- The Department would be rolling out a single servicing platform for all borrowers with federal loans as an easy one-stop shop for making payments, providing resources on repayment to borrowers, and listing any changes made to payment plans and balances owed. Instead, the Department is placing the funding for this project in limbo.
- Colleges that graduate students with more debt than their degree could ever reasonably allow them to repay back would be under supervision by the Department and potentially have their federal funding stripped if they continued to saddle students with more debt than they could justly repay. Instead, DeVos’ Department of Education “delayed” implementation of this rule.
- The Secretary of Education would fight for a budget that protects Pell grants, work study, and other important federal supports to keep higher-education within reach for all communities. Instead, DeVos has made no mention of how the budget would adversely affect college access for tens of thousands of students.
This $1T Day we’re asking the Department to do one good thing for borrowers: Fire Navient.
Navient, which two states and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently sued, holds loans for one in four student loan borrowers while maintaining a notorious record for cheating students at every stage of repayment. In response to the lawsuits, Navient said that “there is no expectation that the servicer will act in the interest of the consumer.”
We have a bright idea for Betsy DeVos’ Department of Education: act in the interest of borrowers and fire Navient. Their multi-million dollar contract deserves to go to servicers that believe they have an obligation to work in the best interest of borrowers.
Last time we rallied against a predatory servicer, borrowers forced their sale and rebranding. We can really do this.