It is almost the end of yet another year, a very important year in the student loan world. During this December time of reflection, we include below noteworthy articles and blogs from 2010. This is not an exhaustive list by any means and we will include some additional selections in Part 2, but it is a good start!
Student Loan Collection
Despite the positive developments in some areas of the student loan world, unfortunately, there is nothing very positive to report with respect to student loan collections. Student loan borrowers are still singled out for unprecedented and unfair collection treatment. We wrote for the New America blog earlier this year about problems with collection agencies and student loan collections. This is a horrible system that has to end.
We also wrote a number of articles on this blog and on New America’s blog about the Department of Education’s continued failure to allow borrowers in “forced consolidation” to get into IBR. We continue to notify the Department every time one of our clients experiences this problem or if we hear about it from others. It is unacceptable that the Department has yet to fix this program. They agree that borrowers in these circumstances are entitled to IBR, but apparently this issue has not risen high enough on their agenda or maybe they think it is “too small” to fix.
We also recommend reading Ben Miller’s article about important “default rate truths” and the costs of collection.
Debt Levels and Borrowing
The College Board issued its 2010 series of reports about student debt and college tuition. This is very worthwhile reading. Kelly Field of the Chronicle of Higher Education also wrote an excellent article this summer on student loan defaults. As noted in an earlier blog, we also recommend reading American Student Assistance’s report on student loan default and delinquency practices.
There were positive signs for bankruptcy relief in 2010, but unfortunately the door seems to be closing. NCLC testified at an April hearing on this topic, advocating for the restoration of bankruptcy rights for student borrowers. We have written previously (and also on this blog) about the holes in the logic of those who oppose this relief for students.
So much was written this year about for-profit schools that we cannot possibly reference everything here. We started out the year with this issue brief on for-profit schools. Since then, the Department of Education concluded negotiated rulemaking on “program integrity” topics and eventually issued final regulations on most issues. A key change is the elimination of the safe harbors in the incentive compensation rule. However, the Department has delayed issuing regulations on gainful employment.
The U.S. Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held hearings and issued a number of critical reports about for-profit education.