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.
A little justice is served
For anyone who thinks some of the bad players in the student loan world get off too easily, there was a bit of good news late last week.
First, former federal student loan servicer Conduent Education Services — aka ACS Education Services, aka Xerox Education Services — settled a suit with the New York attorney general to pay $9 million over claims of misleading borrowers, as well as to stop servicing all student loans except for Perkins loans for five years, an ABC affiliate reported.
Eligible New York borrowers are likely to each receive $100 to $450 from the settlement, the report said. While this isn’t a huge sum, at least it may discourage some of the practices of which Conduent/ACS was accused.
Meanwhile, over on the for-profit college side of things, Career Education Corp. has agreed to wipe away $493 million in students’ debt to “resolve allegations that it lied about job placement rates and misled potential students to get them to enroll,” the Associated Press reported.
CEC — owner of Colorado Technical University and American InterContinental University — made the deal with a group of states’ attorneys general who had investigated the school, though California (which is negotiating its own deal) and New York (which has already settled with the company) didn’t take part, the report said.
How it affects YOU: If you have a connection to either of these cases — or any student-loan-related settlement you might see in the news — one good first move is to contact the office of your state’s attorney general. Even if they aren’t involved in the lawsuit you’re inquiring about, they might be able to point you in the right direction. (And if there’s no lawsuit but you feel your rights are being trampled, check out LawHelp.org’s pro bono legal advice listings.)
Hunger on campus, part 2
As we reported last month, New Jersey has been among the states trying to help struggling college students get enough to eat. But, clearly, this is a national problem. On Wednesday, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report looking at the scope of the issue.
Among the findings: 3.3 million college students were potentially eligible for food assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), but less than half accessed the program.
While the GAO report notes that some colleges are actively helping needy students understand how to apply for SNAP, it also called on the Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, which administers SNAP, to offer more assistance in navigating the process.
How it affects YOU: If you’re in college and having trouble putting food on the table, reach out to your school’s student services office, or check out this list of resources for students in need.
Also in the news …
- The IRS’ system for electronically verifying tax records when applying for student aid has broken down, causing issues for some students’ grants and loans. The IRS hopes to have it fixed by the middle of the month.
- A professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law writes that not enough student loan borrowers exercise their legal rights when they have issues with their debt. Often, there are legal remedies to common student loan issues, she says.
- Students at the University of California, Santa Barbara who suffered loss in the region’s recent wildfires may be offered forbearance on their student loans, the Santa Maria Sun reports.
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|
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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 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.54% 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 March 18, 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 0318/2019. 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 email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent 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.
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 2.5% effective February 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.54% – 7.12%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.54% – 7.27%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.67% – 8.96%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.23% – 6.65%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.69% – 7.43%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.98% – 9.72%6||Undergrad & Graduate|