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Department of Education acts on student loan issues

We have previously written about the unique challenges that people tend to face when they are overwhelmed by student loan debt. Unlike credit card debt, auto loan debt and even medical debt, student loan debt is not generally dischargeable in bankruptcy. This practically means that when an individual is overwhelmed by student loans, he or she is compelled to pay them, whether he or she has the means to do so or not.

Thankfully, the federal government has been taking action in recent years to make the repayment of student loans a little easier for borrowers. Although not every action that the government has taken has positively affected every former student still in debt, these steps represent legislative movement in a favorable direction.

Most recently, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it is committed to renewing contracts with student loan servicers who are “borrow-focused.” Essentially, the agency will insist that servicers behave in more consumer-friendly ways, or they will risk having their contractual relationship with the agency severed.

According to Findlaw, over half of former students are still paying off their educational loans. The New York Federal Reserve reports that of these former students in repayment, approximately 25 percent are 90 days or more past due in paying off their loans. By insisting that federal loan servicers behave in more consumer-friendly ways, the Department of Education is essentially mandating that these former students be treated with the respect they are due. This reform will not solve the most significant underlying financial issues that these borrowers face. But again, it is a step in the right direction.

Source: Findlaw Law & Daily Life, “Ed. Dept. Wants 'Borrower-Focused' Student Loan Servicers,” Brett Snider, Sep. 2, 2014

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