By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Senior Staff Reporter
In an executive order announced on Monday, the White House is taking steps to improve government interactions with student loan borrowers and the financing of their higher education goals.
In total, the administration is directing 17 federal agencies to implement 36 customer experience changes, including modernizing programs, reducing administrative burdens, and piloting new online tools and technologies to streamline processes for recipients of government services.
“The President is taking decisive action to promote fiscal stewardship by improving the Government’s service delivery to its customers, the American people,” the executive order read.
Among those changes are several impacting the nearly 45 million borrowers managing their student loans.
“We are attuned to the needs of those we serve — including students, educators, parents and families, and communities,” said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. “Today’s actions build on the President's Management Agenda, which outlines a bold vision for ensuring an effective, equitable, accountable Government that delivers results for all Americans.”
The improvements will seek to assist Direct Loan borrowers by creating a single repayment portal on StudentAid.gov — an end goal of the agency’s Next Gen initiative — and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) candidates by reducing paperwork burdens for civil servants and active-duty service members. The executive order also seeks to ensure all students and borrowers receive relevant recommendations for benefits — including health care access, broadband support and nutritional assistance — to help reduce economic barriers to postsecondary education completion.
“We are encouraged to see the White House lend its support to these improvements to reduce the burden on student loan borrowers,” said Karen McCarthy, NASFAA vice president of public policy and federal relations. “We look forward to a timely implementation and robust outreach to borrowers to make them aware of the changes.”
Main question will be — how fast can this get done? These changes are urgent and long overdue.— Bryce McKibben (@bmckib) December 13, 2021
Stay tuned to Today’s News for more coverage of this order and how it will impact higher education. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below.
Publication Date: 12/14/2021
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