Student loans (1 - 10 of 210 items)
Social Security Offsets: Improvements to Program Design Could Better Assist Older Student Loan Borrowers with Obtaining Permitted Relief
GAO-17-45: Published: Dec 19, 2016. Publicly Released: Dec 20, 2016.
Older borrowers (age 50 and older) who default on federal student loans and must repay that debt with a portion of their Social Security benefits often have held their loans for decades and had about 15 percent of their benefit payment withheld. This withholding is called an offset. GAO's analysis of characteristics of student loan debt using data from the Departments of Education (Education), Tre...
Federal Student Loans: Education Needs to Improve Its Income-Driven Repayment Plan Budget Estimates
GAO-17-22: Published: Nov 15, 2016. Publicly Released: Nov 30, 2016.
For the fiscal year 2017 budget, the U.S. Department of Education (Education) estimates that all federally issued Direct Loans in Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans will have government costs of $74 billion, higher than previous budget estimates. IDR plans are designed to help ease student debt burden by setting loan payments as a percentage of borrower income, extending repayment periods from th...
Student Loans: Oversight of Servicemembers' Interest Rate Cap Could Be Strengthened
GAO-17-4: Published: Nov 15, 2016. Publicly Released: Nov 18, 2016.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides servicemembers with an interest rate cap of 6 percent on student loans while they are on active duty. The number of servicemembers with federal student loans who received this rate cap increased as a result of the Department of Education (Education) requiring federal loan servicers to regularly use the Department of Defense's (DOD) SCRA website t...
Federal Student Loans: Education Could Improve Direct Loan Program Customer Service and Oversight
GAO-16-523: Published: May 16, 2016. Publicly Released: Jun 15, 2016.
The Department of Education (Education) and its contracted loan servicers provide a range of information to borrowers about their federal Direct Loans for higher education, such as repayment plans and procedures, but some borrowers GAO interviewed reported difficulties with contacting servicers through their call centers. Borrowers noted similar concerns in Education's 2014 and 2015 customer satis...
Federal Student Loans: Key Weaknesses Limit Education's Management of Contractors
GAO-16-196T: Published: Nov 18, 2015. Publicly Released: Nov 18, 2015.
The Department of Education's Office of Federal Student Aid's (FSA) instructions and guidance to loan servicers are sometimes lacking, resulting in inconsistent and inefficient services to borrowers. While FSA has taken some steps to improve program instructions and guidance, six of the seven servicers GAO interviewed reported various issues resulting from absent, unclear and inconsistent guidance...
Federal Student Loans: Education Could Do More to Help Ensure Borrowers Are Aware of Repayment and Forgiveness Options
GAO-15-663: Published: Aug 25, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 17, 2015.
Many eligible borrowers do not participate in the Department of Education's (Education) Income-Based Repayment and Pay As You Earn repayment plans for Direct Loans, and Education has not provided information about the plans to all borrowers in repayment. These plans provide eligible borrowers with lower payments based on income and set timelines for forgiveness of any remaining loan balances. Whil...
Higher Education: Better Management of Federal Grant and Loan Forgiveness Programs for Teachers Needed to Improve Participant Outcomes
GAO-15-314: Published: Feb 24, 2015. Publicly Released: Mar 26, 2015.
More than 410,000 students and teachers have participated in financial aid programs for teachers over the past decade, though GAO estimates 0.8 and 19 percent of the potentially eligible population participates in the Stafford Teacher Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant programs, respectively. GAO did not develop an estimate for Perkins...
Managing for Results: Selected Agencies Need to Take Additional Efforts to Improve Customer Service
GAO-15-84: Published: Oct 24, 2014. Publicly Released: Oct 24, 2014.
GAO reviewed the customer service standards at Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Forest Service, Federal Student Aid (FSA), the National Park Service (NPS), and two services in the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)—disability compensation and Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI). GAO found that none of the agencies' standards included all of the key elements of customer service standard...
Older Americans: Inability to Repay Student Loans May Affect Financial Security of a Small Percentage of Retirees
GAO-14-866T: Published: Sep 10, 2014. Publicly Released: Sep 10, 2014.
Comparatively few households headed by older Americans carry student debt compared to other types of debt, such as for mortgages and credit cards. GAO's analysis of the data from the Survey of Consumer Finances reveals that about 3 percent of households headed by those aged 65 or older—about 706,000 households—carry student loan debt. This compares to about 24 percent of households headed by t...
Federal Student Loans: Better Oversight Could Improve Defaulted Loan Rehabilitation
GAO-14-256: Published: Mar 6, 2014. Publicly Released: Mar 12, 2014.
The Department of Education (Education) relies on collection agencies to assist borrowers in rehabilitating defaulted student loans, which allows borrowers who make nine on-time monthly payments within 10 months to have the default removed from their credit reports. Education works with 22 collection agencies to locate borrowers and explain repayment options, including rehabilitation. From fiscal...