Student loan companies under strict regulations for generated money

ULM Hawkeye

Student loan servicing companies are coming under fire by regulators for the second time in two months.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a report in early October criticizing student loan servicing companies, which are contracted to handle details like collecting monthly payments, for not helping borrowers get into plans that make it easier to repay loans.

Danera Brown is a sophomore who said she doesn’t like the way loaning companies are dealing with people’s payment plans, including her own.

“All the loans I’m taking out now are with interest and they are due as soon as they graduate,” said Brown, a gerneral studies major.

Brown said she is concerned about life after school because she is required to start making payments directly after school.

“You should be given enought ime to establish a job because then you know you’ll be financially stable and you’re not struggling,” Brown said.

More than 25 percent of all student loan borrowers were behind or defaulting on their loans, according to the September report.

Both reports point to problems like paperwork processing delays, inconsistent instructions from loan servicers and difficulty enrolling in income-driven repayment plans as contributing to struggling borrowers’ challenges.

Although graduated students are not typically referred back to their schools for help with loans, said Anna Griswold, executive director for student aid at Pennsylvania State University, she has heard of problems with servicers from both struggling borrowers and those just trying to pay down their principles early.

Griswold said students receive guidance from their school on loans when they graduate, but servicers have direct access to the borrowers for the rest of their repayment.

“Students are given packets of information when they leave school about their options in loan repayments. Some study these carefully and others may not,” she said in an email. “However, when a servicer first sees that a borrower is struggling (misses a payment), they are not always proactive in helping the borrower or moving them to a different payment plan.”

Brown said she believes there are other alternatives that could be made available to people who need to pay back loans.

“There’s always help needed,” said Brown. “It doesn’t matter where it’s at. Instead of hiring people they could hire people to pay back their loans,” Brown said.