Senator Elizabeth Warren has written a blistering letter to the Department of Education’s acting Education Secretary John King regarding how the department handles student loan fraud.
In the letter, Warren accuses the department of not having a proper handle on student loan contractors, and specifically cites its relationship with Navient, formerly known as Sallie Mae.
In 2014, the Department of Education and Navient reached a settlementy of $100 million due to Navient’s role in violating a federal law that pinches interest rates at 6% for servicemembers.
Warren’s issue isn’t necessarily with the settlement but more so that the department has failed to oversee its relationship with Navient.
As the company holds millions of student loans, the department’s relationship with Navient hasn’t been impacted even as the company was found to have broken the law.
Moving forward, Warren not only wants the department to reassess its position with Navient, but wants to know why the company hasn’t been penalized further.
To put some fears to rest, the department launched an internal investigation into Navient’s loan practices and found that a small percentage of those who borrowed were not receiving the federally mandated rate.
Warren notes the Department of Education’s Inspector General revealed that the department’s internal investigation into Navient was flawed and erroneous.
Towards the end of the letter, Warren writes that the findings of an independent review of the department’s handling of student aid are that companies that are responsible for supervising student loan debt receive protection from the Department of Education when they break the law.
As students and former students grapple with how to pay back student loans and are harassed by the likes of companies like Navient, the information presented in Warren’s letter is damaging and sad.
If the Department of Education is indeed offering protection to companies that break the law, and are failing to properly shelter students from these organizations, it proves why so many students have little faith in college affordability and the government’s role in helping them.
The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.