The Higher Education Act (HEA) was signed into law on November 8, 1965 under the administration of Lyndon B. Johnson. The HEA made it possible for students to further their education by receiving scholarships, low-interest loans, and by attending post-secondary institutions that received government funding.
Over the years, the act has undergone many changes and additions to its initiatives. This includes the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program under which students who wish to receive funding will fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The U.S. Department of Education managed this program for many years.
The loans available under the Federal Direct Loan Program include subsidized direct, unsubsidized direct, Direct Consolidation Loans, and Direct PLUS loans. These and many other types of loans including Stafford loans, are sometimes managed by Navient. Navient started out as Sallie Mae and separated in order to launch the new company back in 2014.
Navient is one of the many groups of companies chosen to service student loans through the U.S. Department of Education. However, Navient is currently being sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) “for systematically and illegally failing borrowers at every stage of repayment.”
The CFPB states the company used illegal practices to gain more money out of already struggling borrowers. Navient is responsible for servicing $300 billion in federal and student loans. Student loans make up the nation’s second largest consumer debt. The CFPB is seeking to remedy the situation on behalf of all students affected by these illegal practices as well as to keep new students from being harmed.
In the meantime, it is wise to be mindful of ways to keep tabs on the loans you take out in order to mind your education investment. It is important to:
- Know which loans you have by name.
- Find out if you are eligible for an income-driven payment plan.
- Stay enrolled in school and sign up to re-qualify each year for your loans.
- Avoid forbearance, if at all possible, as the loan’s interest continues to accumulate.
- Take your co-signer’s name off the loan after making payments timely.
- Check your credit annually.
Following these tips and being knowledgeable of where you stand as a borrower will help you stay on track while paying back your loans. The CFPB provides students and young consumers with more educational resources needed to help them get on the path to completing their education without becoming strapped by student loan debt.
Do you see higher education as worth the risk of paying back student loan debt? Let’s discuss here or on Twitter: @lcarterwriter.