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S. 1354 (116th): Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jan 27, 2021.

Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights

This bill places additional requirements on postsecondary educational lenders and servicers and provides certain consumer protections to borrowers.

Specifically, postsecondary educational lenders and servicers must provide borrowers with additional disclosures (1) before their first fully amortized payment is due, (2) when the borrower is identified as at risk of default, (3) when the borrower is delinquent on payments or has difficulty making payments, and (4) when a loan is transferred or sold.

Further, servicers and lenders must (1) respond to borrower inquiries, (2) establish repayment specialists to assist borrowers who are at risk of default, (3) designate a service member and veterans liaison, and (4) make borrower loan information available in a secure electronic form. Servicers and lenders are prohibited from using mandatory arbitration clauses or class action restrictions.

The bill also (1) standardizes the application and allocation of payments among multiple loans, and (2) limits when borrowers may be subject to late fees.

Additionally, institutions of higher education must certify private education loans prior to a lender consummating a loan with a borrower.

The bill directs the Department of Education to (1) establish a student loan servicing interagency working group, which must make recommendations and develop policy direction related to servicing contracts; and (2) establish a centralized point of access for all borrowers, which must include account information and payment processing.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau must develop and issue model forms to allow borrowers to compare alternative repayment options, forbearance, and deferment options.