Anytime a discussion about financial difficulties comes up, you can bet one of the causes is related to student loan debt. A culprit causing millions trouble, it amounts to about $1.3 trillion in the United States. An ugly figure which programs and repayment options are scrambling to fix.
One could very well be on the way. As of April 28th this year, the Department of Education in cooperation with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have released their prototype known as the Financial Playbook, a web portal that hopes to simplify the process of borrowing and paying back loans.
Covered in a recent article, the specifics weren’t yet released, which changed today as more information became available. The key is to keep people in the know about their options, to avoid costly issues or needless defaults.
As it stands, the Playbook already has a host of helpful options, including the Department’s new approach to regulating how loans are handled. For instance, servicers offering loans would have to explain how much would be paid back based on what type of repayment plan was chosen. Borrowers would know what each monthly payment would be and whether or not that amount could change.
The Department of Education also wants clear language used when discussing loan repayment plans. According to them, there will be a ban on fine print or documents using purposefully hard to understand nomenclature.
Clarity is essential to the Playbook, expected to also maintain an up to date system which consistently informs borrowers about the state of their repayment. The messages are straightforward and give borrowers enough time to understand their situation.
At this point, the requirements above are only the beginning. The DE will be taking feedback over the next two months, expected to make alterations on June 12 based on said feedback.
Those who support the current model know that it can only do so much. The playbook is ultimately a financial planner to help borrowers understand the weight of what they ask for, and how to effectively deal with it post-graduation. But, supporters still remark it’s only one piece to a big problem, in that college education is becoming harder to afford.
It’s ultimately hoped many will utilize this new program to better help them in the future. Misinformation has caused a series of problems, such as borrowers being in default when they had options. While the portal can’t exactly lower tuition costs, its demand for clarity may cut excess costs down the road.