Congress Should Investigate Whether DeVos Hid Navient Audit from Law Enforcement, Public

Did DeVos and Other Education Officials Bury an Audit Showing Navient Steered Tens of Thousands of Struggling Student Loan Borrowers into Higher Cost Repayment Plans?

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Associated Press published an explosive report detailing how the Department of Education under Sec. Betsy DeVos may have withheld from the public an audit that showed Navient, “one of the nation’s largest student loan servicing companies, may have driven tens of thousands of borrowers struggling with their debts into higher-cost repayment plans.” Citing the shocking story, consumer advocacy organization Allied Progress called on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and House Education and Workforce Committee to open immediate oversight investigations into the apparent negligence and complicity of Sec. DeVos and other Department of Education officials.

Betsy DeVos and her allies in the Department of Education have systematically sabotaged efforts by state attorneys general and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to hold Navient accountable for harming student loan borrowers by steering them into higher-cost repayment plans when there are far better options available,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress.

He continued, “Sec. DeVos has been asleep at the wheel. Whether it is incompetence or complicity, her actions have put millions of students in financial danger and it is time for Congress to step up and investigate this troubling report.”

According to the report, the Department of Education has withheld the audit from the public while arguing that “state and other federal authorities do not have jurisdiction over Navient’s business practices.”

What You Need To Know:

  • A Newly Revealed Department of Education Audit Shows That Navient May Have “Driven Tens Of Thousands Of Borrowers… Into Higher Cost Repayment Plans,” And The Department May Have Hidden The Evidence. “One of the nation’s largest student loan servicing companies may have driven tens of thousands of borrowers struggling with their debts into higher-cost repayment plans. That’s the finding of a Department of Education audit of practices at Navient Corp., the nation’s third-largest student loan servicing company. The conclusions of the 2017 audit, which until now have been kept from the public and were obtained by The Associated Press, appear to support federal and state lawsuits that accuse Navient of boosting its profits by steering some borrowers into the high-cost plans without discussing options that would have been less costly in the long run.” [Ken Sweet, “AP Exclusive: Audit points to deceptive practices by Navient,” Associated Press, 11/20/18]

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