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Voters Concerned Over Rescinding of Student Loan Protections

Many Americans are concerned over the rollback of student loan protections and other recent decisions taken by the Department of Education.

According to a recent survey by the Americans for Financial Reform (AFR) and the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), nearly 60 percent voters cutting across party lines expressed concern over Education Department permitting higher penalty fees to be charged from borrowers struggling to repay their loan and blocking debt relief to thousands of student borrowers.

The Education Department is currently battling a class-action lawsuit filed by nearly 160,000 former for-profit college students for not processing the claims of loan forgiveness under the Obama-era Borrower Defense Regulations, aimed at providing relief to debt-ridden students defrauded by higher education programs.

Those surveyed, especially the borrowers of color earning below $50,000 per year also expressed concern over reduced efforts of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in protecting student borrowers from abusive loan servicers. It includes shutting down its division focused on protecting borrowers from abuses by predatory student loan servicers.

“It is no surprise that Black and Latinx student borrowers are very concerned about the recent CFPB rollback in efforts to protect them,” said CRL Executive Vice President Debbie Goldstein.

“These borrowers are disproportionally affected by student loan debt and both the Department of Education and the CFPB under the current Administration are doing little to nothing to protect them in their pursuit of postsecondary education.”

Overall majority of Democrats, Republican and independent voters agree that the amount of student loan debt represents a crisis in the country.

As of 2019, 45 million people hold $1.6 trillion in student debt out of which $929 billion is owed by women. During the 2015–16 academic year, 41 percent of female undergraduates took loans to pay tuition and fees, while those with bachelor’s degrees had an average of $21,619 in outstanding debt, surpassing the men who owed $18,880.

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