Tomorrow marks one hundred fifty days since Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Kathy Kraninger committed to quickly filling the nation’s top student loan watchdog position—a role that has been vacant for almost a year. As student debt nears $1.6 trillion and predatory practices plague the market, the Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC) and Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund (AFREF) are releasing a roundup of failures by the current CFPB Director to stand up for student loan borrowers.
“Income-share agreements are nothing more than student debt with a fancy name,” said Alexis Goldstein, Senior Policy Analyst at Americans for Financial Reform. “Financial investors hungry for yield are using ISAs to put student debt in an elaborate and confusing package, while forcing students to waive key rights and seeking to withhold the already too limited consumer protections federal student loans provide.”
Majorities of American voters across parties believe that the student debt burden – now at $1.5 trillion – represents a crisis for the country, according to a new poll. The survey also found widespread concern with efforts by Mick Mulvaney, the Trump official installed at the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to gut the agency’s student lending office.
A new polling memo from Americans for Financial Reform and the Center for Responsible Lending documents the widespread agreement among American voters that the student debt burden, now at $1.5 trillion, is a crisis.
“The New York Times obtained draft memos showing that officials initially discussed using budgetary impact as the justification. In other words, they looked for whatever pretense could get them to stop the rule on behalf of for-profit operators. Alexis Goldstein, senior policy analyst at Americans for Financial Reform, called the action ‘a slap in the face to defrauded Americans,’ and accused DeVos’s agency of placing ‘the interests of wealthy for-profit college executives ahead of students striving for a better life.’”
“We believe protections for student and taxpayers should be strengthened, not scaled back. …Veterans, low-income students and students of color have been disproportionately harmed by predatory colleges. Last month, 16 organizations representing millions of military servicemembers, veterans, survivors, and military families voiced their strong support for these protections and urged Congress to fully uphold them.”
“[C]onsumer advocates worry that people already contending with the existing process still face an uphill battle. ‘If you do the math, there are well over 80 percent of folks who are eligible that either don’t know to apply or have applied and the Education Department hasn’t done anything with their application,’ said Alexis Goldstein, senior policy analyst at the progressive Americans for Financial Reform. ‘I don’t understand why the department is insisting on doing this person by person, instead of just approving students automatically.’”