Posts tagged ‘student loan bailout’

March 19, 2015

New ‘Student Aid Bill of Rights’ makes it easier to pay back student loans

by Grace

The Obama administration’s new “Student Aid Bill of Rights” will “simplify the process to apply for income-based repayment”, a move likely to shift more of the burden for paying back student loans from borrowers to taxpayers.  That is just one of the new benefits for the 40 million borrowers holding $1.3 trillion in student debt.

President Barack Obama announced a new “Student Aid Bill of Rights” Tuesday, directing the Department of Education and other federal agencies to undertake initiatives in three areas to help improve affordability for the estimated 40 million borrowers with federal loans. “We’re going to require that the businesses that service your loans provide clear information about how much you owe, what your options are for repaying it, and if you’re falling behind, help you get back in good standing with reasonable fees on a reasonable timeline,” Obama said during his speech at the Georgia Institute of Technology Tuesday afternoon.

This is the government’s rather magnanimous promise:

A Student Aid Bill of Rights

  1. Every student deserves access to a quality, affordable education at a college that’s cutting costs and increasing learning.
  2. Every student should be able to access the resources needed to pay for college.
  3. Every borrower has the right to an affordable repayment plan.
  4. And every borrower has the right to quality customer service, reliable information, and fair treatment, even if they struggle to repay their loans.

Summary of changes:

1. Create a centralized website that makes it easy to file complaints and to see all your student loans in one place….

2. Try having federal employees collecting debts instead of private contractors…

3. Make it easier for borrowers who become disabled to get their student loans discharged….

4. Ensure that the private debt collectors hired by the Department of Education apply prepayments first to loans with the highest interest rates, unless the borrower requests a different allocation.

5. Make it easier for students to get IRS information to qualify for income-based student loan repayment.

6. Clarify the rules under which students who declare bankruptcy can get their student loans reduced or eliminated….

While I disagree with some of the federal student loan program’s fundamental policies, it’s nice to see the government take the initiative for more clarity and transparency.

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Kelli B. Grant, “Student loan initiatives could benefit 40M borrowers”, CNBC, March 10, 2015.

Kim Clark, “6 Ways the New ‘Student Aid Bill Of Rights’ Will Help Borrowers”, Money, March 10, 2015.

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February 25, 2015

Are we seeing a ‘big quasi-bailout’ for student loan borrowers?

by Grace

The Obama administration projects that the increased use of student loan forgiveness programs will cost taxpayers $22 billion next year.

… Primarily because of the recent growth in enrollment in the program, projected long-term revenues from the federal direct student loan portfolio were reduced by almost $22 billion compared with the best guess from the previous year….

This looks like ‘a big quasi-bailout’

That’s a big quasi-bailout, increasing the deficit nearly 5 percent. The White House budget office was unaware of any larger re-estimates since the current scoring rules for credit programs went into effect in 1992. As a January Politico Magazine feature on the government’s unusual credit portfolio reported, the Federal Housing Administration has stuck more than $75 billion worth of similar re-estimates onto Uncle Sam’s tab over the last two decades, most of them after the recent housing bust led to a cascade of FHA-backed mortgage defaults. But it’s never had a one-year shortfall quite as drastic as this.

Borrowers are made out to be innocent victims of “circumstances beyond their control”.

Regardless of which accounting method is used, the federal government is expecting to write off billions of dollars in future student loan balances under the program in order to reward public service employment and protect borrowers from economic circumstances beyond their control.

It’s not as if a student loan bailout should come as a surprise.  Here’s a question from 2011.

Is a student loan bailout inevitable?

20110913.COCCollegeLoanGrowth

Seeing the trend lines, Mark Gimein wrote this four years ago.

Eventually both private lenders and the government will be on the hook. The government has already moved to ease some loan terms. It will need to find more, especially for those snookered into paying for degrees worthless in the job market. The private loans, meanwhile, will simply blow up. We may as well start figuring now how graduates, taxpayers, lenders, and schools will split the bill.

Taxpayers just took on $22 billion, and there’s probably more to come.

Related:  “Politicized federal student loan program bails out ‘deadbeats’”

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Kevin Carey, “Flip Side of Reducing Student Debt Is Increasing the Federal Deficit”, New York Times, February 10, 2015.

Michael Grunwald, “The College Loan Bombshell Hidden in the Budget”, Politico,  February 05, 2015.

November 25, 2014

Student debt is top political issue

by Grace

Student debt relief is the top issue that Americans want Congress to address.

Student debt seems on its way to becoming a significant political issue, for better or worse. When a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll asked people about a long list of domestic and foreign policy proposals, none received more support – 82 percent – than reducing the cost of student loans. When the 2016 campaign gets underway, candidates will most likely come forth with various plans to address the issue.

Americans want politicians to solve this problem, an attitude that probably favors the Democratic agenda.

The midterms may have produced a Republican wave, but Americans tend to favor Democratic policy proposals. The three most popular agenda items in the latest Journal poll were: providing greater access to low-cost student loans and giving borrowers more time to pay off that debt; increasing spending on road and highway projects; and raising the minimum wage. And 52% of those polled said they wanted the government to do more to solve problems and meet the needs of people, compared with the 46% who want the government to do less. That’s a dramatic shift from October 2010, on the cusp of the last midterm.

I question the choice of issues offered by the survey, but clearly student debt is an important issue of concern for the American public.  It seems inevitable that taxpayers will continue to fund some type of student loan bailout schemes.

Related:  Is a student loan bailout inevitable?

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David Leonhardt, “Student Debt: A Calculator Focused on College Majors”, New York Times, Nov. 20, 2014.

Patrick O’Connor, “5 Takeaways From The WSJ/NBC Post-midterms Poll”, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 19, 2014.

NBC News/Wall Street Journal Survey, Date: November 14-17, 2014

July 23, 2012

Easing the rules on paying back student loans

by Grace

An indication of an upcoming taxpayer bailout of student loans?

Education Dept. Proposes New Rules on Student Loans
July 17, 2012 – 4:35am

The U.S. Education Department today proposed new rules governing federal student loans, which would, among other things, ease the process by which disabled borrowers could have their loans discharged, establish a new income-contingent repayment plan for direct student loans, and expand the government’s income-based repayment program. The changes regarding borrowers with disabilities were prompted by concerns (many contained in a 2011 series by ProPublica) that they were being required to jump through far too many hoops to have their loans forgiven. The rules emerged from a round of negotiations that the agency held last winter, and public comments on the proposed changes are due by Aug. 16.

Last year Mark Gimein wrote about a possible student loan bailout. 

Eventually both private lenders and the government will be on the hook. The government has already moved to ease some loan terms. It will need to find more, especially for those snookered into paying for degrees worthless in the job market. The private loans, meanwhile, will simply blow up. We may as well start figuring now how graduates, taxpayers, lenders, and schools will split the bill.

November 4, 2011

Is a student loan bailout inevitable?

by Grace

Mark Gimein writing in Bloomberg Businessweek thinks so.

We know the problems of increasing loan amounts and rising defaults.

NOTE: In 1998, Congress eliminated the ability to discharge student loans in bankruptcy.


Gimein makes the case for many of us eventually having to share the pain of some type of bailout.

A common take on student loans is that there’s little risk for lenders. Federally guaranteed loans are backed by the government, and even privately backed loans can’t be discharged in bankruptcy (in this education loans differ from other debts). The part about the government guarantee is true: yes, eventually the federal government will have to take over those loans. The other part is just nonsense. You can’t get money where there’s none to be got. That student debtors can’t discharge their loans in bankruptcy won’t help them find the money to pay.

Eventually both private lenders and the government will be on the hook. The government has already moved to ease some loan terms. It will need to find more, especially for those snookered into paying for degrees worthless in the job market. The private loans, meanwhile, will simply blow up. We may as well start figuring now how graduates, taxpayers, lenders, and schools will split the bill.

I can see it.

Related:  Freddie Mac seeks further $6bn from taxpayers

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