What a difference a year makes. Since appointees of President Donald Trump took control of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, it hasn’t taken “a single substantive action to stand up for student loan borrowers.”
Those are the opening lines of a new report, A Year Without Action, from the Student Borrower Protection Center, cataloguing what happened to student loan borrowers in the meantime.
The center was founded by Seth Frotman, the CFPB’s former assistant director and student loan ombudsman, who resigned from the agency very publicly in August, writing in a letter that the agency was “sacrificing the financial futures of millions of Americans.”
Over the past year, more than 8.5 million borrowers took out student loans for the first time and 5 million fell behind at least two payments.
In addition, there were 1.13 million defaults, adding to the more than 1 million defaults every year for the past four, and 13,283 complaints filed by borrowers concerning loan servicing and collection practices.
As of summer 2018, 99% of nearly 29,000 student loan borrowers who had filed applications for Public Service Loan Forgiveness were denied.
The report highlights a “broken student loan system,” which includes loan servicing abuses suffered by military service members and veterans, older parents and grandparents who have co-signed student loans for their children and grandchildren, and borrowers pushed into higher interest repayment plans with little warning.
It contains multiple examples of the these problems, quoting student loan borrowers recounting their experiences anonymously.
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