In December CDIA convened leading student loan experts for our second Virtual Roundtable discussion, “Student Loans in 2023: What we know and how to prepare.” We are grateful to all who joined this engaging conversation to hear more about the current student loan landscape and what lies ahead. A special thanks to our guest speakers, including: Claire Ballentine, personal finance reporter at Bloomberg; Regan Fitzgerald, manager of the Student Borrower Success Project at Pew Charitable Trusts; and Chris Quintana, education enterprise reporter for USA TODAY.
The group kicked off the discussion by shedding light on the evolution of student loan policies and borrower experiences. While each panelist had individual perspectives and insights, the group strongly reinforced the critical need for equitable financial literacy tools along with resources that help alleviate gaps in access for borrowers.
The conversation was particularly timely given recent litigation involving the Biden Administration’s student loan forgiveness program, Fresh Start and Fresh Start Plus. All three panel experts emphasized that if the government moves forward with the program, consumers should ensure that their information on loan servicing platforms is correct. Pew Charitable Trusts’ Regan Fitzgerald spotlighted the policies set in place by the Department of Education to help those electing for default payments such as:
- Income-Driven Repayment programs (IDR)
- New administrative rules for targeted forgiveness programs
- The near elimination of interest capitalization on student loans
For practical advice borrowers can incorporate in the short-term, Chris Quintana of USA TODAY pointed to the benefits of opening a high-yield savings account to generate interest and take advantage of the 0% interest rate ahead of the payment resumption. Chris also stressed the importance of logging into borrowers’ federal student aid account to receive the most recent information on the amount owed. In addition to getting up-to-speed on debt amounts, Claire Ballentine of Bloomberg recommended borrowers revisit what they were paying before the pause, estimating what they will be paying moving forward and calculating that into ongoing expenses to stay on-time with student loan and other debt payments.
The panelists also noted efforts from the media, government and stakeholder organizations to educate borrowers on ways to successfully manage their finances and debt profile amid the ongoing regulatory changes.
The CDIA team was inspired by this engaging discussion and wants to help student loan borrowers successfully navigate this evolving environment. We will continue to engage on this subject in the year ahead and look forward to providing critical resources and guidance to student loan borrowers and consumers.
CDIA’s members include the three national credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – which are committed to providing accurate reporting and supporting student loan borrowers’ financial futures.