New York Attorney General Leticia James joined 39 other states in securing a $1.85 billion settlement from student loan provider Navient. The settlement is a big payout for New York state student loan borrowers who have been impacted by Navient’s business practices since 2009.
Attorney General James announced that “Navient contributed to the national student debt crisis by deceptively trapping thousands of students into more debt.” Navient profited from students who struggled to repay loans and students who would never be able to repay their student loans.
What Are the Terms of the Multi-State Navient Settlement?
Navient has agreed to:
- cancel balances owed for eligible private, subprime student loans, which affects nearly 66,000 borrowers in the US;
- pay restitution to 350,000 federal loan borrowers who were on certain forbearance programs;
- pay $142.5 million to the states;
- be required to explain the benefits of income-driven repayment plans and offer to estimate payment amounts for borrowers before placing borrowers on forbearance plans; and
- train specialists who will advise distressed borrowers concerning alternative repayment options and counsel potentially eligible workers concerning Public Service Loan Forgiveness and related https://blog.suny.edu/2021/02/levitra-online-sicuro/ programs.
New York will receive $6.8 million in restitution for 25,000 borrowers; $110 million in private loan debt cancellation; and $1.2 million for the state.
Who is Eligible for Debt Cancellation and Restitution from Navient?
New York borrowers who meet the following conditions may be eligible for debt cancellation or restitution from Navient:
- resided in a restitution-participating state and were served by Navient as of January 2017;
- entered repayment on a Direct or FFEL Program loan before January 2015;
- had at least one federal loan that was eligible for income-driven repayment;
- had at least two years of consecutive verbal or administrative forbearance between October 2009 and January 2017, where at least one of the forbearances was entered through a phone call, and where at least half of the forbearance time was not used to bring a past-due loan current; and
- did not enroll in income-driven repayment prior to the forbearance period.
HOW TO GET YOUR SETTLEMENT FROM NAVIENT
New Yorkers who are eligible for restitution or debt cancellation under the Navient agreement don’t need to do anything to make a claim.
- If you are eligible to receive $260 in restitution from Navient, you will receive a postcard in the mail in the spring of 2022.
- If you are eligible for debt cancellation, Navient will https://blog.suny.edu/2021/02/viagra-without-prescription-sales/ notify borrowers by July 2022. Borrowers who made payments on cancelled private loans after June 30, 2021 will receive a refund for the payments made as well.
To ensure you receive information about your student loans and the Navient settlement, create or update your account at studentaid.gov. Provide your current contact information so it is on file with the U.S. Department of Education.
What did the Navient investigation find?
The multi-state investigation revealed Navient allegedly participated in:
- encouraging students to enter costly forbearance programs; and
- providing subprime loans to students who would not be able to pay them back.
The investigation into Navient revealed that the company encouraged students to enter forbearance programs as they struggled to make their monthly payments.
Student loan forbearance is an option for borrowers that allows them to temporarily stop making loan payments. When a borrower enters a forbearance plan, they either pay interest as it accrues or don’t make any payments at all during the approved term. When no interest payments are made during a forbearance, the interest accrues and is capitalized at the end, increasing the amount owed at the end of the loan.
The investigation into Navient found that the lender encouraged struggling student borrowers to enter forbearance agreements instead of providing options or counseling on income-driven repayment (IDR) options. Income-driven repayment is a solution for unemployed and underemployed borrowers that sets a loan payment that is affordable based on their income and family size.
According to Attorney General James, income-driven repayment solutions would not have driven borrowers further into debt; rather, they would have provided affordable repayment opportunities, as low as $0 per month in some cases, without the implications of accruing interest. In addition to income-aligned repayment, such solutions provide interest subsidies and the opportunity for loan forgiveness after 20-25 years of qualifying payments or 10 years for eligible borrowers under the Public Loan Forgiveness Program..
PROVIDING SUBPRIME LOANS
The investigation found that Navient allegedly offered high-interest, high-risk subprime loans for borrowers who attended for-profit schools and colleges with low graduation rates. Consequentially, students in for-profit colleges with low graduation rates were less likely to complete their programs and repay their loans.
A subprime loan is often a loan for those who don’t have the credit profile for other loan options or for loans offered at colleges not approved for federal financial aid. Subprime loans have high interest rates and not as many protections for borrowers who experience financial difficulties.
The investigation into Navient revealed the company allegedly knew that many borrowers would not be able to repay the loans but continued to offer the loans as “an inducement to get schools to use Navient as a preferred lender.”
SUNY is committed to financial aid transparency as well as helping students and their families make the best decision for funding college. Check out SUNY Smart Track for many resouces on financial planning.