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 impact your own student loan situation.
A little justice is served
For anyone who thinks some of the bad players in the student loan world get off too easily, there was a bit of good news late last week.
First, former federal student loan servicer Conduent Education Services — aka ACS Education Services, aka Xerox Education Services — settled a suit with the New York attorney general to pay $9 million over claims of misleading borrowers, as well as to stop servicing all student loans except for Perkins loans for five years, an ABC affiliate reported.
Eligible New York borrowers are likely to each receive $100 to $450 from the settlement, the report said. While this isn’t a huge sum, at least it may discourage some of the practices of which Conduent/ACS was accused.
Meanwhile, over on the for-profit college side of things, Career Education Corp. has agreed to wipe away $493 million in students’ debt to “resolve allegations that it lied about job placement rates and misled potential students to get them to enroll,” the Associated Press reported.
CEC — owner of Colorado Technical University and American InterContinental University — made the deal with a group of states’ attorneys general who had investigated the school, though California (which is negotiating its own deal) and New York (which has already settled with the company) didn’t take part, the report said.
How it affects YOU: If you have a connection to either of these cases — or any student-loan-related settlement you might see in the news — one good first move is to contact the office of your state’s attorney general. Even if they aren’t involved in the lawsuit you’re inquiring about, they might be able to point you in the right direction. (And if there’s no lawsuit but you feel your rights are being trampled, check out LawHelp.org’s pro bono legal advice listings.)
Hunger on campus, part 2
As we reported last month, New Jersey has been among the states trying to help struggling college students get enough to eat. But, clearly, this is a national problem. On Wednesday, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report looking at the scope of the issue.
Among the findings: 3.3 million college students were potentially eligible for food assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), but less than half accessed the program.
While the GAO report notes that some colleges are actively helping needy students understand how to apply for SNAP, it also called on the Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, which administers SNAP, to offer more assistance in navigating the process.
How it affects YOU: If you’re in college and having trouble putting food on the table, reach out to your school’s student services office, or check out this list of resources for students in need.
Also in the news …
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