Image of the Department of Education building in Denver, Colorado.
The student loan debt problem in the U.S. continues to grow. New data from the New York Federal Reserve shows that the number of borrowers owing more than $100,000 has more than quadrupled in the last 10 years. Additionally, the number of default and delinquency cases among these high debt borrowers has risen dramatically despite an overall stagnation in the default rate.
In the past, it was believed that borrowers with six-figure debt were at a lower risk of default. Those with more student debt often attained higher levels of education and consequently landed better jobs. This leads to the focus on helping those with $10,000 in student debt or less who are typically more in danger of default because they were more likely to have dropped out of college.
But times have changed, and it’s becoming more common to borrow $100,000 or more without getting a professional degree that guarantees a good paycheck. And those with that kind of debt that graduated in 2006 have paid less than 30 percent of their debt compared with more than 70 percent for borrowers with $5,000 or less according to the New York Fed.
While many borrowers are struggling to pay their student debt and get a move on with life such as buying a home, they shouldn’t expect much from the companies who service their loans. In fact, in the midst of a federal lawsuit, Navient says its main job isn’t to help debtors at all—it’s getting them to pay up for creditors such as its biggest client, the U.S. Department of Education.
More on this story: the CFPB laid claimed that Navient was misleading its borrowers and withholding information that could save borrowers money. In counterargument, Navient claimed that it has no obligation to ensure its borrowers success in a way by providing ample information. As mentioned earlier, Navient contended that the consumer watchdog "invents new rules from whole cloth" and requested the lawsuit be dropped wholesale.
So if the largest student loan servicing company in the nation isn’t concerned with helping those with student loan debt, then who can these borrowers rely on? Many lawmakers have been trying to find ways to ease the burden of student loan debt such as bills pushing federal student loan refinancing, something already offered on the private market. Other efforts revolve around implementing tax incentives to aid borrowers come tax season; some of these tax efforts aim to improve the benefits of employer contributions as a employment benefit.
Image Copyright © Robert Cutts