Following Letter from Murray and Democrats, Dept. of Education Lays Out Steps to Improve Accountability, Customer Service for Student Borrowers
Murray “pleased” that Dept. of Education reforms will do more to protect students and servicemembers from red tape, predatory practices
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, issued the following statement on improvements to student loan servicing announced today in a Department of Education policy memo.
“I’m pleased that today’s announcement will help ensure students and members of the military are protected from poor customer service, red tape, and predatory practices on the part of student loan servicers. At a time when more than 40 million people nationwide owe over a trillion dollars in federal student loan debt, we should be doing everything we can to reduce this crushing burden, and that includes making sure borrowers aren’t struggling unnecessarily with managing their debt. We have much more work ahead of us and I’m going to continue efforts with the Department and all my colleagues to confront the student debt crisis and push student loan servicers to put students and families first.”
Last week, Senator Murray and other Senate Democrats sent a letter to the Department requesting reforms to the student loan servicing process with the goal of better assisting borrowers in managing their loans, holding servicers accountable, and setting financial incentives that will best support the interest of students. The policy memo that the Department released today includes new reforms and standards intended to ensure the following improvements to student loan servicing are realized:
· Borrowers will be put first with the Department’s effort to be specific about the nature and quality of the services that borrowers can expect to receive from their student loan servicer;
· Borrowers will be protected through the use of strong customer service standards and oversight tools that will hold student loan servicers accountable for consistent, accurate, and complete, information about repayment or debt relief;
· Borrowers will receive improved customer service through increased competition and specialization between multiple customer service providers;
· Student loan servicers will be provided with better financial incentives to ensure that all borrowers, but particularly at-risk borrowers, are placed into the program that best meets their unique needs; and
· Military servicemembers will receive dedicated support through specialized servicer training and proactive servicer outreach—two improvements that were proposed in Senator Murray’s SCRA Enhancement and Improvement Act.
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