Holding Industry Accountable

Amicus Curiae Briefs, Legal Opinions, and Comments to Federal and State Agencies

  • Supporting the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Right to Sue Navient for Cheating Borrowers. The SBPC led a coalition of national and local consumer, veterans, and civil rights organizations in briefing the Third Circuit Court of appeals in Pennsylvania v. Navient. This amicus brief emphasized the importance of state consumer protection remedies when servicer misconduct falls disproportionately on marginalized populations. This case is ongoing.
  • Supporting Public Service Workers’ Right to Hold PHEAA Accountable for Mishandling PSLF. The SBPC briefed the Montana Supreme Court in Reavis v. PHEAA, arguing that public servants have the right to use state laws prohibiting unfair and deceptive practices to demand justice from abusive student loan companies. This case focused on allegations by a Montana public service worker that the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) unlawfully denied access to loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. This case is ongoing.
  • Supporting the Kentucky Attorney General’s Right to Investigate PHEAA. In December 2018, the SBPC briefed the Kentucky Supreme Court in partnership with Kentucky Equal Justice, outlining PHEAA’s sordid history of borrower abuses.  The amicus brief filed in PHEAA v. Kentucky rebutted an assertion by PHEAA that its legal status as a state-backed student loan company prevented the Kentucky Attorney General from enforcing a civil subpoena.  PHEAA ultimately withdrew its appeal and agreed to comply with Kentucky’s subpoena.
  • Warning the Financial Services Industry that Empty Promises of Debt Relief Violate State and Federal Consumer Laws. During the global coronavirus pandemic, the SBPC called on consumer finance companies to automatically implement consumer protections to their entire loan portfolios in order to avoid legal liability when poor customer service denied borrowers’ access to promises of debt relief.
  • Calling on the CFPB to Oversee the Companies that Collect and Sell Enrollment Data about Tens of Millions of Students. In April 2019, our partners at Justice Catalyst Law and the National Consumer Law Center sued National Student Clearinghouse, a student data firm that compiles and sells data on the college enrollment status of tens of millions of current and former college students.  This lawsuit alleges that the company violated federal and state consumer laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act because it is, in fact, a consumer reporting agency and broke the rules that apply to these firms.  The company agreed to a proposed settlement in January 2020, returning millions of dollars to former students it allegedly overcharged. Following this settlement, the SBPC wrote a letter to CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger, warning the Bureau about risks to consumers presented by this unregulated “enrollment status reporting agency” and calling on the federal watchdog to subject it to routine oversight.

If you are interested in partnering with the SBPC’s Student Borrower Justice Project, please contact justice@protectborrowers.org.

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