Tens of millions of Americans are carrying some $1.3 trillion in student debt as the cost of higher education has soared and needs and non-loan financial aid has dried up over the past quarter of a century. In addition, more than 7 million students and former students are in default on their college loans, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
When that happens, many student loan borrowers find themselves on the receiving end of a call from a debt collector and have a tough time understanding their options when trying to find a way out of default. We all know, some from personal experience, that sometimes collection agencies can use threatening, intimidating and even unethical or illegal tactics.
Rohit Chopra, CFPB’s student loan ombudsman, says the agency wants to “better understand how collectors try to recover debt, including student loans, as we consider what rules are needed.”
We want to make sure that all players in this industry are working with correct information, consumers are fully informed and consumers are treated fairly and with dignity.
The CFPB is asking people who have dealt with debt collectors over their student loans or other types of loans to tell the agency about those experiences—both good and bad, said Chopra. Click here to find out more and share your experiences. The deadline to submit your comments is Feb. 28.
If you have fallen behind on your student debt, visit CFPB’s Repay Student Debt website to learn about your options and make a plan to get out of debt. If you’ve had a problem with a student loan debt collector, you can click here to submit a complaint to the CFPB.
In related news about the cost of higher education, earlier this week the AFL-CIO Executive Council called on state and federal policymakers to restore higher education funding levels and increase funding and access to needs-based aid.
Financial aid should increase access and make it easier for students to focus on their studies and climb the ladder of financial success, not burden them with debt or increase and prolong their financial obligations as Pay-It-Forward schemes may do.