Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic Senator from Massachusetts, has reportedly made claims that the Department of Education student loan servicer is spending irresponsibly by focusing on lobbying instead of the debt owed to the federal government.
Spending irresponsibly is one thing, but when it involves millions of dollars in overcharged loan subsidies, some issues cannot escape attention. Senator Warren, one of the leading voices in student loan refinance reform, called to attention the Department of Education’s spending towards lobbying Congress which, according to Sen. Warren, may be not be in the best interest of borrowers.
One major company involved is Navient, a branch company from Sallie Mae, who services federal student loans for the Department of Education. One of the main points from the Massachusetts Senator involved the spending track record of Navient for the last six years. She claims that Navient has been spending money to receive additional perks in the loan industry.
Since the year 2010, Navient has spent $24 million towards lobby Congress; the point of lobbying is basically to influence congressional decisions by pushing your agenda in any way (it’s called lobbying because lobbyists would literally wait in the lobby for Congress). Many companies or bodies of interest have spent much more than this, but there is another aspect of this dollar amount that calls for attention.
Since that same year, there has been $22 million in overcharged student loan subsidies. The point of the criticism claims the money spent on lobbying could have been put to better use by assisting those with student debt as well as tax payers.
These recent news are part of a trend following by Senator Warren that increasingly and continuously calls to attention the student loan issue. Warren’s refinancing bill recently failed to pass in Congress since it lacked enough support. This bill was one of the most recent attempts to alter the student loan policies in place by the Federal government, but it is part of a string of failed attempts.
In light of these recent failures, the amount being borrowed is only increasing. With challenges in the labor market for new graduates, the amount of borrowed money not paid back to the government increases along with it. Questions are constantly being raised on how to combat this question. Should the universities lower education tuition? Should the government lower interest rates? What other options are there?
Despite these questions, one thing remains certain: something needs to happen or else the debt is only going to increase, so it will be interesting to see what types of solutions are proposed in the future.