The president announced on Tuesday a new “declaration of values” for higher education students and asked for online signatures from anyone who agrees.
“In order to spur more of a conversation, we’re going to try something new. It’s not a fancy new program; it doesn’t have a complicated acronym. It’s just a simple organizing principle, “ Obama said during a speech at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “The Student Aid Bill of Rights says every student deserves access to a quality education.”
The Student Aid Bill of Rights has four tenets to ensure that students have the information and resources necessary to afford college and repay loans if they borrow. The president is asking anyone who agrees students should have access to the principles to sign on online.
“We want everybody who agrees with these principles to sit down and work with us and figure out how they can make these student rights real,” Obama added.
The Bill of Rights and accompanying Presidential Memorandum have similar recommendations to NASFAA’s recent Servicing Issues Task Force report. Like NASFAA, the president is calling on the Department of Education (ED) to create a centralized portal in which borrowers could get information on, and pay down, their student loans. The president has also asked ED to develop an online student aid complaint system, which would allow borrowers to monitor their tickets and would double as a way to aggregate better data on issues and trends.
The presidential memorandum also moves to improve student loan servicing for borrowers, including the notification to borrowers of transfer between servicers, a change NASFAA supports. In addition, the memorandum encourages important consumer testing, asking for reports on two current behavioral pilot studies on how borrowers receive information about servicing and how they choose repayment plans, and for future pilot studies thereafter.
Publication Date: 3/11/2015