Kenneth Kocer, director of student financial assistance at Mount Marty College and president of the South Dakota Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (SDASFAA), provided U.S. senators with several recommendations for federal and private student loans during a hearing Thursday.
At the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs’ “Financial Products For Students: Issues And Challenges” hearing, Kocer advocated for several NASFAA-backed policy changes, including a universal student loan portal where borrowers could track federal and private loans, and the ability for financial aid administrators to limit federal loan borrowing for broad categories of students.
Kocer, who also serves as director of student financial assistance at Mount Marty College, was joined on the panel by:
The diverse panel debated the roles of consumer banks on campus and private student loans in financial aid.
“Private student loans with proper consumer protections do fill an important need for some students,” Kocer said, adding that additional requirements could make private loans a safer bet for students.
For instance, if school certification was required for all private education loans, financial aid administrators could ensure students do not borrow over the cost of attendance, he said. A universal loan portal could serve as a “one-stop shop” for students to locate all of their loans, he added.
Kocer also explained how financial aid administrators calculate cost of attendance and subsequent federal student loan eligibility.
“I think [the federal government] should give financial aid administrators more control,” he added. “Students may not need [the full loan amount] even though they can qualify under the cost of attendance.”
Several senators also pitched ideas for student loan legislation, including Sen. Mark Warner (R-VA), who advocated to make income-based repayment the default option for borrowers, as NASFAA has suggested.
“I absolutely agree we should have that as the default option,” Bergeron of the Center for American Progress affirmed.
Publication Date: 8/1/2014