Welcome to Student Loan News, a weekly summary of developments and events affecting college debt in the U.S. Join us each Friday for a look at goings-on that could impact your own student loan situation.
States moving forward with aid for student loan borrowers
While some have accused the federal government of dithering when it comes to helping student loan borrowers, many individual states have been proactive in finding solutions. (For example, this recent rush of legislation and this collection of laws in 2018.)
And the effort continues: Among some of the recent state-level measures that have recently passed or are poised for passage:
- New Jersey has enacted two new laws that add federal loan-like options to its state student loan — the NJCLASS loan. Specifically, it creates an income-driven repayment option, as well as a rehabilitation program for those who default on their state loans.
- Starting June 30, Mississippi will no longer revoke professional licenses for defaulting on student loans. Some states, however, still pull licenses in such cases.
- Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development is funding a new low-cost loan via PHEAA (which is also the parent of FedLoan Servicing.) The new option, known as the PA Forward loan, can cover up to the entire cost of attendance and comes with a 0.5 percentage-point discount for graduating.
- Florida has good news for dentists: Lawmakers have passed a new student loan repayment assistance program for dentists working in underserved communities. It would cover up to $50,000 a year in repayments.
How it affects YOU: States can be a great source of aid, when you go to college or trade school and also later when you repay the debt for that education. If you owe student loans, check to see what sort of loan repayment assistance your state offers — our own database is a good starting place, but also do some investigating on your own, as these programs can come and go over the years. Meanwhile, if you’re headed to school, look into scholarships and grants specific to your home state.
Conduent (ACS Student Loans) pays $3.9 billion settlement
Conduent Education Services, also known as CES and formerly known as ACS Student Loans, has paid a $3.9 billion fine as part of its settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The action was due to “unfair practices,” such as not updating balances, “in some cases, for years,” the CFPB said. “As a result, some borrowers paid off loans with inaccurate balances, and some borrowers were unable to consolidate their loans while they waited, sometimes for months, for CES to adjust their principal balances,” the agency said.
How it affects YOU: In its statement, the CFPB said the settlement “requires that CES, if it has not already done so, make proper adjustments to the principal balances of the relevant loans or otherwise make restitution to borrowers or any third parties who paid off such loans.” So if you have or had loans with CES/ACS, make sure you payments are all accounted for — instead of you owing student loans, they might owe you.
Also in the news …
- The Department of Education has released the latest numbers on how many borrowers managed to have their loan balances wiped away under Public Service Loan Forgiveness. As seen with the previous data, only the lucky few have so far received loan forgiveness, at only 518 out of the 73,554 unique borrowers who applied.
- A small majority of voters oppose the idea of making public college free, Inside Higher Ed reports, citing a new Quinnipiac University survey. The margin was 54% against the idea, with 45% in favor.
- House lawmakers have introduced their appropriations bill for the Department of Education, seeking $75.9 billion versus $64 billion requested by the Trump administration. The budget includes significant boosts in work-study funds and aid to Minority-Serving Institutions, Politico reported.
News can be useful, but if you want some deeper advice, take a moment to sign up for the Student Loan Hero weekly digest email and get valuable financial knowledge sent straight to your inbox … for free!
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2019!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.50% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.49% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.27% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 17, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 04/17/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
3 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.48% effective April 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.49% – 7.27%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 6.65%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.41%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.65%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.11%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.98% – 9.72%6||Undergrad & Graduate|