Provenzano Holds Study on Student Debt, Borrowers Bill of Rights


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Provenzano Holds Study on Student Debt, Borrowers Bill of Rights

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Melissa Provenzano (D-Tulsa) held an interim study last week focusing on rising student loan debt and its cost to Oklahoma.

 

Crushing student loan debt is a part of our national conversation.  Here in Oklahoma, the effects are all too real.  The average debt load carried by students is $31,678.00, totaling over $14.5 billion in outstanding debt with 2.26 billion of that in delinquency.

“Student loan debt affects more than the debtor and the lender,” Provenzano said. “The magnitude of student loan debt in Oklahoma and across the country negatively impacts large and small economies by making it harder on the average worker to have economic flexibility.”

The issue of having high student debt is compounded when you realize that many lenders use predatory tactics to receive higher payoffs from debtors who are just trying to better themselves and get an education.

“The way we finance higher education in this country is broken,” Provenzano said. “and that brokenness has led to bad lending practices that take advantage of our students desire to pursue a degree, and ultimately impacts our workforce.”

 

To combat these bad practices, Provenzano has introduced the “Borrowers Bill of Rights” and hopes to see the legislation signed into law this spring.

 

“The Borrower’s Bill of Rights would create a fair, common-sense approach to lending that protects potential, current and former students that have had to borrow money to pay for their education,” Provenzano said.

 

According to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, no student loan lender shall:

  1. Directly or indirectly employ any scheme, device or artifice to defraud or mislead student loan borrowers.
  2. Engage in any unfair or deceptive practice toward any person or misrepresent or omit any material information in connection with the servicing of a student education loan, including, but not limited to, misrepresenting the amount, nature or terms of any fee or payment due or claimed to be due on a student education loan, the terms and conditions of the loan agreement of the borrower’s obligations under the loan.
  3. Obtain property by fraud or misrepresentation.
  4. Misapply student education loan payments to the outstanding balance of a student education loan.
  5. Provide inaccurate information to a credit bureau, thereby harming a student loan borrower’s creditworthiness.
  6. Fail to report both the favorable and unfavorable payment history of the student loan borrower to a nationally recognized consumer credit bureau at least annually if the student loan servicer regularly reports information to a credit bureau.
  7. Refuse to communicate with an authorized representative of the student loan borrower who provides a written authorization signed by the student loan borrower, provided the student loan servicer may adopt procedures reasonably related to verifying that the representative is in fact authorized to act on behalf of the student loan borrower.
  8. Make any false statement or make any omission of a material fact in connection with any information or reports filed with a governmental agency or in connection with any investigation conducted by the Oklahoma Banking Commissioner or another governmental agency.
  9. Fail to inform borrowers of the federal income repayment options before offering forbearance as an option. 

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