Student loan provider gets sued for misleading clients

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Mikala Lugen

A consumer watchdog group filed a lawsuit against a common student loan service on Jan. 18 regarding allegations of failing to disclose borrowers of accumulating interest.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau took legal action against Navient and accused employees of encouraging borrowers to postpone payments through forbearance, which led to increasing interest, according to The Washington Post.

“Forbearance is oftentimes required to help borrowers enroll in our income-driven repayment plans,” said Chrystiane Dubley, a Navient customer correspondence agent. “It gives the borrowers more time to gather required documentation and complete the federal IDR application without their account becoming past due.”

Kate Jovanovic, a sophomore nursing major at Kent State, started taking out loans through Navient her first semester.

“This really is so troublesome, especially at the beginning of this semester,” Jovanovic said. “I’ve been taking out multiple loans through Navient and hearing all these allegations about deceiving their borrowers and possible credit score mishaps is very stressful.”

Navient collects private and federal student loan payments from over 12 million people, including more than six million accounts under contract with the Department of Education, according to Navient’s website.

Navient is also accused of misleading borrowers about the terms of renewing enrollment in income-driven repayment plans, along with misreporting loan discharges of disabled borrowers to credit bureaus, according to The Washington Post.

In a statement, Navient regarded these allegations to be false and politically motivated, The Washington Post reported.

“Students’ credit scores will not be affected,” Dubley said. “Student loan reporting delinquency usually gets reported to credit agencies up to 90 days of a missed payment. The terms of all of our loans remain the same.”

Although these allegations are the most recent targeted at Navient, the Justice Department fined the company for unlawfully charging military service members high interest rates and late fees on student loans in 2014, according to The New York Times.

Alicia Falorio, a sophomore photo illustration major, also feels the effects of Navient’s lawsuit.

“I really hope a lot of these allegations aren’t true,” Falorio said. “My older sister and I both have student borrower accounts through Navient. Our parents will be very upset if our accounts got messed up any way through Navient’s shortcuts.”

Mikala Lugen is the student finance reporter, contact her at [email protected]