//Student Loan News: ECA Probe and Loan Repayment Giveaway

Student Loan News: ECA Probe and Loan Repayment Giveaway

Welcome to Student Loan News, a weekly summary of developments and events affecting college debt in the U.S. Join us each Friday for a look at goings-on that could affect your own student loan situation.

The plot thickens for ECA

A trio of Democratic U.S. lawmakers is launching a probe into the closure of for-profit school operator Education Corporation of America (ECA) and whether the government could have done more to protect its students.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Elijah Cummings and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici signaled the coming investigation in a series of open letters to various stakeholders last month. Writing to the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, they called for “information on due diligence measures the [council] took, or should have taken, to protect the approximately 18,000 students affected by the recent collapse.”

In another missive, the legislators called out the Department of Education, saying that for “nearly two months before ECA’s announcement that it was closing its doors, the Department knew that ECA was not only continuing to struggle financially, but was on the very brink of failure.”

How it affects YOU: If you suffered from the ECA closure, Congress’ interest may help you receive some sort of compensation … eventually. The lawmakers (Warren, Cummings and Bonamici) are calling on the Education Department to take action to help former ECA students, but their offices are unlikely to offer direct assistance to you unless you’re a constituent. So if you live elsewhere, check in with your own representative as a first step.

Paid-off-ish

“Grown-ish,” the cable spin-off of ABC’s blockbuster comedy “Black-ish,” is celebrating the kickoff of its second season by offering up to $125,000 to repay your student loans. The contest is a partnership between Freeform (the network airing “Grown-ish”) and Scholly (a scholarship app) and is available to both graduates and current students.

Repayment aid seems to have become something of a mini-trend in the entertainment industry — consider truTV’s “Paid Off,” for example. Let’s hope other television shows jump on the bandwagon.

How it affects YOU: If you have student loans, go to Scholly’s site and fill out the online application to put yourself in the running. Binge-watching the first season of “Grown-ish” is apparently optional.

Also in the news …

  • The IRS has published some details surrounding a new 21% excise tax on schools and other nonprofits that pay million-dollar salaries to their top executives. Whether this will do anything to the cost of college has yet to be seen, but it’s at least worth noting.
  • Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi tells CNBC that the best way to curb the rising cost of higher education is to make student loans harder to get. You can hear the details of his argument here.
  • If you’re in college and worried about the financial side of adulting, check out our seven pro financial tips for the new year. Try a few of them of them out to save yourself some money.

News can be useful, but if you want some deeper advice, take a moment to sign up for the Student Loan Hero weekly digest email and get valuable financial knowledge sent straight to your inbox … for free!

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