Experts and Enforcement Officials Weigh in on Rocky Start to Loan Repayment, Advocates Warn Loan Companies: Deliver Debt Relief or Face Litigation
October 5, 2023 | WASHINGTON, D.C. — Borrower advocates release a series of papers at an event today warning of unjust and unlawful collection efforts by the nation’s largest student loan companies. This new roadmap for legal action features a foreword by D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb and follows the 2020 and 2021 paper series by many of the same authors, making an urgent case to deliver wide-scale debt relief as quickly as possible. Read the full paper series here: https://protectborrowers.org/delivering-distress-report-series
The event, hosted by the Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC) and the University of California Student Loan Law Initiative (SLLI), convenes experts and law enforcement officials to discuss ways borrowers can seek justice through the courts when a student loan company attempts to collect a loan that should be cancelled. A recording of today’s 1:00 PM ET event will be available on SBPC’s YouTube channel here: https://bit.ly/SBPC-youtube-videos
This month, tens of millions of borrowers will receive a student loan bill for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. These bills will be sent by companies called student loan servicers—private-sector financial firms hired by the U.S. Department of Education to send borrowers bills and manage their student loan accounts. Recent regulatory changes in the student loan system, hard-fought debt relief won in court, and executive action now entitle millions of borrowers to student loan cancellation—yet these borrowers have received student loan bills due in the weeks ahead.
Today’s papers also detail how the ideas, plans, and actions first outlined three years ago have delivered the promise of total debt cancellation for nearly 3.6 million people—debt relief that remains a binding commitment from the government, untouched by the Supreme Court.
From the series foreword, written by DC Attorney General Brian Schwalb:
“As the District of Columbia’s Attorney General, I am acutely aware of how the current divisive and hyper-partisan national political climate has impacted student borrowers. Addressing the student loan crisis should not be about pitting those who have outstanding loans versus those who have paid their loans off. Rather, we need to candidly and in good faith address the adverse impacts that escalating costs of higher education and debilitating levels of debt have on individuals, families, and communities.”
From paper author Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers:
“Millions of public service workers and other borrowers have spent too long being preyed upon by student loan companies that put their own profits over peoples’ rights. Borrowers go to college to pursue their dreams, but instead find themselves entangled in a Gordian Knot of debt and distress made worse by exploitative servicers. This moment should be a siren song for consumer protection officials and advocates across the country—if the student loan industry will not honor the law and institute the debt relief the law requires, we will see these companies in court.”
Reports featured in the series:
- Delivering Distress to Low-Income, Low-Balance Borrowers by Persis Yu, SBPC
- Delivering Distress to Public Service Workers by Mike Pierce, SBPC & Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers
- Delivering Distress to Borrowers Approved for Student Debt Relief by Josh Rovenger, The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
- Delivering Distress to Borrowers Defrauded by Predatory Schools by Eileen Connor, Project on Predatory Student Lending
- Delivering Distress to Borrowers in Default by Abby Shafroth & Kyra Taylor, National Consumer Law Center
- Delivering Distress to Borrowers with Joint Consolidation Loans by Chris Hicks, SBPC & Jeff Burritt, National Education Association
- Delivering Distress and Breaking the Law: How Sending Bills Violates Consumer Protection Laws by Winston Berkman-Breen, SBPC
About Student Borrower Protection Center
Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC) is a nonprofit organization focused on eliminating the burden of student debt for millions of Americans. We engage in advocacy, policymaking, and litigation strategy to rein in industry abuses, protect borrowers’ rights, and advance racial and economic justice.
About the Student Loan Law Initiative
The Student Loan Law Initiative is a partnership between the Student Borrower Protection Center, the University of California, Irvine School of Law and the University of California, Berkeley School of Law to develop a body of rigorous research around how to address the student loan crisis.
Learn more at slli.org.