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Domino: A Blog About Student Debt 2020: A Year of New Challenges and Victories in the Fight to Protect Student Loan Borrowers

2020: A Year of New Challenges and Victories in the Fight to Protect Student Loan Borrowers

By Seth Frotman | December 31, 2020

In 2020, Americans were pushed to the brink by a global pandemic and economic turmoil that further exacerbated pervasive inequalities. The circumstances of tens of millions of student loan borrowers who were already struggling have become even more dire.

Together with our partners and allies, we have worked to ensure that the plight of student loan borrowers remains front and center as policymakers take action to tackle the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic. Although there is more work to do, we have been inspired by the borrowers and advocates willing to stand up in this fight to help spur stronger protections, crack down on abuses by the student loan industry, and deliver critical relief. In a year of real struggle, together we have made important progress in driving systemic change to protect borrowers and to end the student debt crisis.  

Today, we are sharing our 2020 Highlights Report to recap some of the critical work we have been able to accomplish alongside dedicated advocates and borrowers throughout the country. These efforts have included litigation against student loan companies cheating the most vulnerable borrowers during the COVID-19 crisis, targeted state and federal advocacy to expand emergency protections for those hit hardest by the pandemic, and partnerships with dozens of organizations to provide actionable advice and resources to over 10,000 borrowers trying to stay afloat.

Read the SBPC’s 2020 Highlights Report

As we reflect on important progress made, below are some highlights of our work on behalf of borrowers. 

Looking Ahead

The stakes for student loan borrowers, their communities, and the American economy have never been higher. The new year will usher in a new administration in Washington and offer a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reshape the higher education system and the student loan market. As America begins to recover from the pandemic, we are eager to continue working with our community of partners in this fight—a movement of students and student loan borrowers, state and federal lawmakers, attorneys general, consumer advocates, civil rights organizations, advocates for military families, legal aid attorneys, and many others. Together, we look forward to serving as a force for change in 2021 and beyond.

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Seth Frotman is Executive Director of the SBPC and previously served as Assistant Director and Student Loan Ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where he led a government-wide effort to crack down on abuses by the student loan industry and protect borrowers. Prior to this work, Seth served in the CFPB’s Office of Servicemember Affairs as senior advisor to Holly Petraeus. 

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