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Maine in the News

How the student debt crisis and the need for state oversight is making local news

Associated Press

June 10, 2019 | Maine Legislature passes ‘Student Loan Bill of Rights’

Maine lawmakers have passed a “Student Loan Bill of Rights” aiming to protect borrowers. The Senate unanimously enacted the legislation Monday. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has 10 days to act on the bill or let it go into law without her signature.

Maine Public Radio

March 26, 2019 | Former Federal Official on Why Maine Needs More Protections for Student Loan Borrowers

A bill has been introduced in the Legislature that would establish a system for the state to oversee student loan servicers who do business in Maine.

Former federal official Seth Frotman testified in favor of the bill Tuesday in Augusta. Until 2018, he was the student loan ombudsman for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He stepped down from the Trump administration at that time, saying the bureau had “abandoned the very consumers it is tasked by Congress with protecting.”


March 26, 2019 | Lawmaker Proposes Maine “Student Loan Bill of Rights”

A former federal Student Loan Ombudsman Seth Frotman spoke in support of the bill.

“What we see is that an entire generation has been forced to take on a historic amount of debt, but on top of that, to add insult to injury, they face predatory players from the day they get their first bill until the day they pay off their last loan,” said Frotman. “And what this bill would do is empower the state to standup on behalf of those individuals.”

Student loan debt is not only a problem for younger folks.

The latest study shows about 21,000 Maine seniors are still paying off student loan debt.


March 26, 2019 | Push Underway to Establish Student Loan Bill of Rights in Maine

Seth Frotman who led the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau in Washington Says Student Loan servicing companies are being deceitful by not telling the whole truth to borrowers who are in trouble, not telling them about a whole host of re-payment option plans that are available. “Unfortunately, what we’ve seen is that student loan companies responsible for helping borrowers get in that plan, get enrolled in that plan and ultimately be successful are asleep at the switch. They’re giving borrowers bad information, conflicting information or no information at all.”

Portland Press Herald

March 26, 2019 | Bill Would Create Office to Aid Mainers With Student Debt, Rein in Loan Servicers

Nationally, 44 million Americans owe $1.5 trillion in student debt, said Seth Frotman, the former student loan ombudsman at the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the administration of President Trump.

“That is more than all credit cards combined; more than all auto loans combined,” Frotman said in testimony before the committee.

Journal Tribune

November 1, 2018Eloise Vitelli: State Must Do More to Protect Mainers from Predatory Student Loan Companies 

“Maine people deserve basic consumer protection against shady student loan companies. As lawmakers, it’s our responsibility to make sure these large, unregulated financial institutions cannot get away with unethical business practices that trap Mainers into cycles of debt.”

Maine Center for Economic Policy

June 23, 2017 | Maine Lawmakers Need to protect Student Loan Borrowers

“Lawmakers need to put the needs of students and graduates ahead of servicing companies rife with abuse and deception.”

Portland Press Herald

October 3, 2018Teachers’ Group Sues Student Loan Servicer Navient

“For too long, the student loan industry has not been held to account for its failures…”

Portland Press Herald

April 26, 2018State Sen. Vitelli: Student Loan Borrowers are in Dire Need of Consumer Protections

“Mainers should not have to jump through hoops just to pay their bills from student loan servicers, which intentionally make it difficult.”

Bangor Daily News

May 13, 2017A Student Loan Should Not Mean a Lifetime of Debt. Maine Lawmakers Can Help.

“Federal student loan borrowers can exercise an array of options from income-driven repayment plans to discharges for disability. Unfortunately, the worst student loan servicers purposely fail to advise borrowers of these options instead keeping their customers in high-cost payment plans on which they are doomed to default.”

Portland Press Herald

June 21, 2017Student Loan Servicer Lobbying Against Maine Lawmaker’s Bill to Boost State Oversight

“The nation’s largest servicer of federal student loans has lobbied against states’ efforts to license student loan servicers in Maine and elsewhere this year as it seeks to become the nation’s single servicer of student loans under a plan backed by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.”

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