Bipartisan Effort to Combat Student Debt Relief Scams Advances Through Congress

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Staff Reporter

 The House on Monday unanimously cleared a measure that would aim to increase protections for student loan borrowers by offering additional punishments for scammers and bad actors seeking to take advantage of consumers’ private information. The bill now heads to President Donald Trump’s desk where it could be signed into law in the coming days.

 Specifically the legislation, S. 1153 (116), would make it a federal crime to knowingly use a person’s online login credentials to access student loan information held by the Department of Education (ED) and impose a fine of up to $20,000, up to five years in prison, or both, on any individuals who fraudulently seek financial gain off the backs of a student loan borrower.

 The bipartisan legislation, which NASFAA supports, was spearheaded by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Mike Braun (R-N.D.) and garnered broad support from both chambers of Congress. The bill passed the Senate on December 1 by unanimous consent.

The bill would also direct ED to require exit counseling to warn federal student loan borrowers about these scams, and maintain “common-sense reporting, detection, and prevention activities to stop potential or known debt relief scams,” among other requirements.


Publication Date: 12/8/2020

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