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ERIC Number: ED558547
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Feb
Pages: 22
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Servicing Issues. NASFAA Task Force Report
National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators
Over the last several years the financial aid community has voiced concern about disruptions, inconsistencies, and lack of quality servicing on federal student loans. It has been difficult to fully grasp the extent to which servicing issues exist and to understand the disparate servicing practices between various servicers. The joint Servicing Issues Task Force, consisting of financial aid administrators from the National Direct Student Loan Coalition (the Coalition) and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) was convened to provide a formal structure for addressing servicing issues. The goal of the Servicing Issues Task Force was to: (1) Understand current servicing practices; (2) Identify current issues or areas of deficiency in servicing processes; (3) Determine the pervasiveness of those issues; and (4) Make recommendations for improving servicing to the U.S. Department of Education's (ED) Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) and servicing contractors. The guiding principles of the Servicing Issues Task Force included a review of the current servicing landscape with special attention given to: (1) Promoting fairness and equity for students across all sectors of postsecondary education; (2) Promoting accountability; (3) Encouraging simplicity; (4) Promoting the use of technology wherever possible; and (5) Supporting recommendations with research and (6) data analysis wherever possible. The task force comprised a geographically diverse group of ten financial aid administrators from the Coalition and NASFAA. They conducted their work between September 2014 and December 2014 and their discussions involved external constituents in the higher education community, including representatives from the servicing industry, and consumer and student advocates. Based on the research and discussions, the task force developed six recommendations: (1) Develop a central loan portal where students can manage all of their loans; (2) Remove servicer branding from communication with borrowers; (3) The Department of Education should provide standard consumer protections for student borrowers that are in line with other consumer financial products; (4) The Department of Education should permit the use of innovative technologies in order to allow servicers to more efficiently and effectively communicate with borrowers; (5) The regulatory requirements of entrance and exit counseling should be incorporated into ED's Financial Awareness Counseling Tool (FACT); and (6) The Department of Education should develop a policies and procedures manual for servicing. While modifications were made to the contract in August of 2014 (see Appendix B for a summary of major changes), the task force urges that the recommendations offered in this report, particularly around standardization and borrower rights, be heavily considered in future contract negotiations and modifications. Appended are: (1) Servicing Issues Task Force Survey; and (2) Summary of Servicer Contracts with the Department of Education. [Members of the NASFAA Servicing Issues Task Force include: Tami Sato (co-chair); Peg Julius (co-chair), Jodi Gerber, Anna Griswold, Roberta Johnson, Elena Olivier, Margaret Rodriguez, Tom Sakos, Linda Shewack, and Brent Shock.]
National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. 1101 Connecticut Avenue NW Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-785-0453; Fax: 202-785-1487; e-mail: membership@NASFAA.org; Web site: http://www.nasfaa.org
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA)