Welcome to Student Loan News, a weekly summary of developments and events affecting college debt in the U.S. Join us each Friday for a look at goings-on that could impact your own student loan situation.
States moving forward with aid for student loan borrowers
While some have accused the federal government of dithering when it comes to helping student loan borrowers, many individual states have been proactive in finding solutions. (For example, this recent rush of legislation and this collection of laws in 2018.)
And the effort continues: Among some of the recent state-level measures that have recently passed or are poised for passage:
- New Jersey has enacted two new laws that add federal loan-like options to its state student loan — the NJCLASS loan. Specifically, it creates an income-driven repayment option, as well as a rehabilitation program for those who default on their state loans.
- Starting June 30, Mississippi will no longer revoke professional licenses for defaulting on student loans. Some states, however, still pull licenses in such cases.
- Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development is funding a new low-cost loan via PHEAA (which is also the parent of FedLoan Servicing.) The new option, known as the PA Forward loan, can cover up to the entire cost of attendance and comes with a 0.5 percentage-point discount for graduating.
- Florida has good news for dentists: Lawmakers have passed a new student loan repayment assistance program for dentists working in underserved communities. It would cover up to $50,000 a year in repayments.
How it affects YOU: States can be a great source of aid, when you go to college or trade school and also later when you repay the debt for that education. If you owe student loans, check to see what sort of loan repayment assistance your state offers — our own database is a good starting place, but also do some investigating on your own, as these programs can come and go over the years. Meanwhile, if you’re headed to school, look into scholarships and grants specific to your home state.
Conduent (ACS Student Loans) pays $3.9 billion settlement
Conduent Education Services, also known as CES and formerly known as ACS Student Loans, has paid a $3.9 billion fine as part of its settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The action was due to “unfair practices,” such as not updating balances, “in some cases, for years,” the CFPB said. “As a result, some borrowers paid off loans with inaccurate balances, and some borrowers were unable to consolidate their loans while they waited, sometimes for months, for CES to adjust their principal balances,” the agency said.
How it affects YOU: In its statement, the CFPB said the settlement “requires that CES, if it has not already done so, make proper adjustments to the principal balances of the relevant loans or otherwise make restitution to borrowers or any third parties who paid off such loans.” So if you have or had loans with CES/ACS, make sure you payments are all accounted for — instead of you owing student loans, they might owe you.
Also in the news …
- The Department of Education has released the latest numbers on how many borrowers managed to have their loan balances wiped away under Public Service Loan Forgiveness. As seen with the previous data, only the lucky few have so far received loan forgiveness, at only 518 out of the 73,554 unique borrowers who applied.
- A small majority of voters oppose the idea of making public college free, Inside Higher Ed reports, citing a new Quinnipiac University survey. The margin was 54% against the idea, with 45% in favor.
- House lawmakers have introduced their appropriations bill for the Department of Education, seeking $75.9 billion versus $64 billion requested by the Trump administration. The budget includes significant boosts in work-study funds and aid to Minority-Serving Institutions, Politico reported.
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