VIDEO: Bustos Fights for Students, Holds DeVos and Department of Education Accountable for Lack of Oversight on Student Loan Servicers

BUSTOS: “At the end of every single one of those violations is a human being”

WASHINGTON – Today in a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) held Secretary Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education accountable for their lack of oversight regarding servicers who are contracted to oversee federal student loan payments.

Recently, the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Education (Department) found that the Department has failed to ensure that student loan servicers were acting in the best interest of borrowers – too often leading students into inappropriate repayment plans; failing to offer students all of their options for repayment; pushing student borrowers into forbearance, where payments halt but interest continues to accrue; and incorrectly calculating the amount that borrowers owed each month.

Additionally, Secretary DeVos has taken steps to block state efforts, like those in the State of Illinois, to protect consumers and student borrowers – arguing that states are pre-empted by federal law and may not regulate student loan servicers. Congresswoman Bustos will continue to fight these efforts and stand up for consumers as a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which oversees funding for the Department of Education.

“As the mother of a son with student debt, I know how intimately this issue impacts Illinoisans and their financial security,” said Congresswoman Bustos, a member of the Appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. “It’s unacceptable for Secretary DeVos to allow student loan servicers like Navient to take advantage of and prey on borrowers – Illinoisans deserve better than that. Secretary DeVos has clearly been asleep at the wheel and there are real human consequences due to the Department of Education’s stunning lack of oversight.”

Excerpts from Congresswoman Bustos’ remarks and questions are below:

“I don’t think it’s our job up here to protect the Secretary of Education.”

“I just got on the phone – before I came here – with one of my sons. […] And one of my sons […] still has a six-figure debt after graduating in 2010.”

“At the end of every single one of those violations is a human being… is one of our kids or grandkids who went to college, and now are having to delay their lives. Maybe they can’t invest in a home, maybe they put off getting married.”

Watch Congresswoman Bustos by clicking HERE or below: