President Calls for “Student Aid Bill of Rights”
By Consumers Union on Wednesday, March 11th, 2015
If you’ve got student loans, you know how complex and overwhelming the financial aid system can be – and how tough it is to navigate your way to the best options for paying for college. Luckily, the President appears to be stepping up efforts to stop the madness.
Yesterday, the Obama Administration announced a sweeping new initiative to ease burdens on student loan borrowers and work toward a more affordable education system.
The plan includes the creation of an online complaint system for borrowers with federal student loans in order to promote quality service and accountability at the Department of Education, its contractors, and colleges. The Department of Education is also charged with improving the student-loan servicing system by simplifying disclosures, creating a single portal for all borrower inquiries, and making it easier for eligible borrowers to enroll and take advantage of income-based repayment plans.
We’ve been calling for many of these reforms over the past few years. As we detailed in our 2013 report on student loans, Degrees of Debt, the most common complaints we hear from borrowers are about problems with student loan repayment and servicing.
Looking forward, the Administration is also renewing its call for free community college, a college ratings system, and other initiatives aimed at lowering the cost of college. The cost of college, of course, is what’s driving all this borrowing in the first place – so cost reduction is a key piece of student loan reform.
Are you having trouble navigating the student loan system? If so, please share your story!