An audit released by the Education Department on Thursday described its slipshod oversight of federal student loan servicers that were regularly let off the hook for mistakes, driving up costs for taxpayers and for borrowers already owing more than trillion in debt.
The department failed to track many mistakes by servicers, the contractors hired to send out monthly bills, keep track of what borrowers owe and help them navigate repayment options. And when serious problems were discovered, the department rarely invoked its contractual right to dock servicers’ pay, the department’s inspector general said in its report.
The result was a group of contractors that effectively regulated themselves, with no incentive to fix their repeated failures, the report concluded.
Student loan servicers and Education Department officials pushed back against the audit’s findings. In a written response included in the report, James F. Manning, the acting chief operating officer of the agency’s Federal Student Aid office, said his department was dedicated to giving borrowers “world-class service” and strongly disagreed with the report’s conclusion.
“Neither your report nor any of these other extensive oversight efforts have identified material instances of noncompliance by our vendors,” Mr. Manning wrote.
The audit said that more than 60 percent of the agency’s oversight reports from 2015 to late 2017 contained examples of servicers acting improperly. But when the agency’s monitors found an error, they typically only required the servicer to fix it on that borrower’s account, rather than checking to see if the problem affected others.
And if servicers promised to fix errors, they were generally left out of a database the Education Department used to track mistakes, the audit found. The agency “relied on the memories of the employees responsible for the oversight activities to recognize recurring instances of noncompliance,” the report said.
The Education Department can reduce servicers’ pay because of mistakes, but it rarely did so. The million the department fined its servicers in the last 17 months represented “less than 0.12 percent of .7 billion that F.S.A. budgeted for its loan servicing contracts in 2018 and 2019,” the report said.
Among other problems, the audit found contractors made mistakes when informing borrowers about their payment options and in how they calculated payments for borrowers on income-based repayment plans.
While the report covered a relatively recent period, it pointed out that many of the problems had lingered for years, echoing complaints of borrowers and other government auditors. A Government Accountability Office investigation last year revealed that a loan forgiveness program for public servants had rejected more than 99 percent of those who applied, largely because of mistakes and confusion in its implementation.
That program’s operator, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency — also called FedLoan — is the department’s largest servicer, handling more than 0 billion owed by eight million borrowers. It was singled out for particular criticism in the inspector general’s report.
On calls with borrowers that Education Department employees monitored in April 2017, FedLoan received a “fail” rating on nearly 11 percent, far more than any other large servicer. The average among all servicers that month was just over 4 percent.
Keith New, a spokesman for FedLoan, said the inspector general’s report had a “statistical imbalance,” with a “disproportionately large” number of FedLoan calls analyzed. Even so, he said, the company welcomes such analysis because it “ provides an opportunity to explore the root cause of possible issues, which leads to better outcomes for all borrowers.”
The audit called out another large servicer, Navient. In May 2017 — four months after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued Navient for what it called widespread servicing mistakes — the Education Department conducted a special review to investigate allegations that Navient had improperly steered borrowers toward forbearance to extend their repayment terms when they might have been better off with a different option.
According to the audit, Navient offered the borrower no option other than forbearance on more than 9 percent of the reviewed calls. Instead of following up on that finding, the Education Department kept its report private and said publicly that Navient had done nothing improper.
Navient said in its own public statement on the 2017 investigation that it had acted correctly and had “exceptional” results in most reviews. It echoed that on Thursday in response to the inspector general’s report, which it said “repeats the mistakes” made in the 2017 review.
Paul Hartwick, a company spokesman, said Navient would contact the inspector general’s office “to help them understand the facts.”
Despite his disagreement with the report’s conclusions, Mr. Manning said the department had already implemented some of its recommendations. For example, it is working to fix problems in how some servicers handle forbearance requests and in how payments toward public service loan forgiveness are counted.
The fieldwork in the audit report “was conducted nearly two years ago and does not accurately reflect the current state of our business operations,” Liz Hill, an agency spokeswoman, said after the report was released.
The report is likely to fuel efforts by some states to crack down on federal student loan servicers. Five state attorneys general have sued Navient. And Massachusetts is pursuing FedLoan over what officials there say are violations of state consumer protection laws. The Education Department is seeking to have some of those lawsuits dismissed, saying that it alone has the authority to oversee its contractors.
“This report confirms what millions of families already know: student loan servicers are falling down on the job, and the U.S. Department of Education looks the other way,” Maura Healey, the Massachusetts attorney general, said in a statement.
The report infuriated some consumer advocates like Seth Frotman, a former student loan ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau who quit last year after complaining that the Trump administration was protecting lenders at borrowers’ expense.
“The rampant breakdowns and lack of accountability this shows should be Exhibit A as state legislators and state law enforcement officials demand justice for student loan borrowers,” he said.B:
【陶】【罐】【爆】【裂】【的】【震】【慑】，【首】【领】【死】【亡】【的】【打】【击】，【直】【接】【让】【黑】【衣】【刺】【客】【们】【乱】【了】【方】【寸】。 【护】【卫】【们】【倒】【是】【士】【气】【大】【增】！【听】【到】【赵】【清】【山】【的】【话】【以】【后】，【一】【个】【个】【嗷】【嗷】【叫】【着】【扑】【向】【刺】【客】！ 【局】【面】【顿】【时】【逆】【转】！ “【啊】！”【惨】【叫】【声】【突】【然】【传】【来】，【是】【一】【个】【刺】【客】【在】【慌】【乱】【的】【抵】【抗】【中】【被】【护】【卫】【卸】【下】【了】【手】【臂】！ “【我】【的】【手】！【我】【的】【手】！”【刺】【客】【痛】【苦】【的】【嚎】【叫】，【头】【不】【停】【地】【转】【动】，【寻】【找】【着】
【周】【永】【宗】【眼】【里】【充】【满】【了】【杀】【意】，【他】【恨】【不】【得】【马】【上】【冲】【上】【来】，【狠】【狠】【地】【杀】【了】【李】【凌】【天】，【但】【是】【想】【现】【在】【他】【现】【在】【根】【本】【无】【法】【办】【法】【抵】【挡】【得】【了】【至】【尊】【境】【的】【攻】【击】。【如】【果】【一】【不】【小】【心】【被】【攻】【击】【中】，【自】【己】【也】【许】【会】【元】【神】【俱】【灭】。 【因】【此】，【周】【永】【宗】【只】【能】【站】【立】【在】【外】【面】，【观】【看】【李】【凌】【天】【和】【周】【雄】【赢】【的】【战】【斗】。 【和】【周】【永】【宗】【一】【样】，【鲁】【远】【玉】【也】【不】【敢】【靠】【近】【李】【凌】【天】【和】【周】【雄】【赢】，【生】【怕】【被】【两】【人】【的】【斗】
【夏】【贵】【妃】【见】【状】【也】【开】【口】【说】【话】：“【这】【肯】【定】【是】【传】【言】【了】，【诚】【王】【殿】【下】【是】【前】【皇】【后】【嫡】【子】，【身】【份】【尊】【贵】，【是】【储】【君】【的】【第】【一】【人】【选】，【未】【来】【是】【要】【继】【承】【大】【统】【的】，【诚】【王】【妃】【这】【马】【上】【就】【要】【当】【太】【子】【妃】【了】，【怎】【么】【可】【能】【耍】【小】【孩】【子】【脾】【气】？【这】【大】【好】【的】【前】【程】【怎】【么】【可】【能】【傻】【傻】【的】【拱】【手】【让】【人】？” 【谁】【都】【听】【得】【出】【来】【夏】【贵】【妃】【话】【里】【有】【话】，【各】【位】【娘】【娘】【们】【纷】【纷】【点】【头】【称】【是】。 【珏】【仑】【的】【嫡】【皇】【子】【的】【身】赤地千里三尾中特【贾】【亦】【尘】【觉】【得】【自】【己】【的】【想】【法】【可】【能】【成】【功】【了】！ 【此】【时】【玄】【武】【还】【在】【憧】【憬】【着】【碾】【碎】【贾】【亦】【尘】【命】【格】【的】【幻】【想】【中】，【一】【旁】【的】【青】【龙】【不】【耐】【烦】【的】【问】：“【玄】【武】，【你】【能】【不】【能】【快】【点】？【这】【都】【多】【久】【了】？【还】【没】【好】！” “【就】【好】，【就】【好】！” 【玄】【武】【嬉】【笑】【着】，【加】【大】【神】【识】【碾】【压】【的】【程】【度】，【加】【大】【程】【度】【后】，【他】【才】【发】【现】【不】【对】！ “【咦】，【不】【对】【啊】！【这】【小】【子】【的】【命】【格】【竟】【然】【变】【得】【如】【此】【坚】【硬】？
【唐】【琦】【紧】【攥】【着】【拳】【头】，【记】【得】【咬】【牙】【切】【齿】，【可】【是】【在】【他】【面】【前】【的】【慕】【雪】【好】【像】【是】【与】【他】【的】【母】【亲】【李】【氏】【沆】【瀣】【一】【气】【故】【意】【为】【难】【他】【的】【一】【路】【人】。 “【你】，【你】【不】【过】【是】【一】【个】【女】【人】，【你】【懂】【什】【么】？【你】【懂】【什】【么】！” 【唐】【琦】【压】【低】【了】【嗓】【音】，【冲】【着】【慕】【雪】【低】【声】【地】【怒】【吼】【着】，【心】【里】【还】【是】【在】【琢】【磨】【着】【到】【底】【是】【不】【想】【跟】【这】【个】【女】【人】【见】【识】，【反】【正】【是】【在】【耍】【聪】【明】【的】【方】【面】，【唐】【琦】【根】【本】【不】【是】【慕】【雪】【的】【对】【手】
【此】【时】【古】【灵】【儿】【下】【了】【客】【栈】【的】【楼】，【便】【朝】【小】【二】【道】，“【来】【一】【份】【红】【烧】【肉】【和】【红】【烧】【猪】【蹄】，【还】【有】【大】【份】【大】【米】【饭】！” “【好】【嘞】，【你】【先】【请】，【稍】【等】【一】【会】【儿】【便】【给】【你】【拿】【上】【来】。”【小】【二】【招】【呼】【她】【坐】【下】，【此】【时】【客】【栈】【里】【没】【有】【多】【少】【人】【用】【膳】。 【她】【坐】【在】【木】【凳】【之】【上】，【双】【手】【撑】【着】【脑】【袋】，【有】【些】【无】【聊】【的】【发】【着】【呆】。 【这】【时】【有】【几】【个】【身】【着】【黄】【衣】【的】【男】【人】，【手】【持】【佩】【剑】【进】【到】【了】【客】【栈】【内】。