Statement from Barmak Nassirian
Vice President for Higher Education Policy, Veterans Education Success
on President Biden’s Executive Order Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government
December 13, 2021
“We appreciate and applaud today’s Executive Order, which we believe will help all student loan borrowers by simplifying the process for managing their accounts. For too long, borrowers have had to navigate multiple web sites and different systems to get the information they need. Streamlining the servicing of loans and the creation of a single portal will go a long way toward modernizing the student loan program and helping borrowers with the information they need.
In addition, the President’s order today will prove enormously helpful for active-duty servicemembers and all federal civil servants participating in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program by eliminating unnecessary paperwork and automating the process by which their outstanding debt would be forgiven. This is particularly helpful for active-duty servicemembers, who tend to move on short notice and who may be stationed in locations where providing documentation and filling out forms for their student loans may not be possible.”
At Veterans Education Success, we have worked for years to improve veterans’ access to Public Service Loan Forgiveness, including:
- Our letter from Veterans and Military Organizations to the Education Department requesting changes to Public Service Loan Forgiveness (here) (2021);
- Our letter from Veterans and Military Organizations requesting the Education Department and Defense Department collaborate to ensure Public Service Loan Forgiveness for active duty military (here) (2021);
- Our letter from Veterans and Military Organizations urging Congress to preserve Public Service Loan Forgiveness and expand it to cover nonprofit veterans organizations that are recognized under different 501(c) categories, other than 501(c)(3) (here) (2017);
- Our amicus brief opposing loan servicers’ active misrepresentations to students about Public Service Loan Forgiveness in Lawson-Ross v. Great Lakes Higher Education Corp. (11th Cir.) (here) (2018); and
- Our amicus brief opposing loan servicers’ active misrepresentations to students about Public Service Loan Forgiveness in Reavis v. Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (Montana SCt.) (here) (2019).
While we applaud today’s announcement, we also renew our call for President Biden to issue a broader Executive Order to protect student veterans and their hard-earned benefits from predatory colleges using some of the ideas we proposed earlier this year, including our recommendations to:
- Deny GI Bill and military-connected tuition assistance to predatory schools – and ban them from military bases.
- Arm students with the information they need to make an informed college choice.
- Counter the highly aggressive and deceptive advertising and marketing by predatory colleges with consumer protection warnings.
- Encourage and act on student complaints because they serve as an important early warning alert.
- Publicly report the schools getting the most VA and Defense Department (DoD) funds and order the Education Department to crack down on 90/10 noncompliance.
- Require higher ethics by government employees with a clear ban on financial conflicts of interest with for-profit colleges.
- Forgive student loans of defrauded students (many of whom are veterans), restore their GI Bill, and automatically reinstate GI Bill for veterans whose school unexpectedly closed.
- Stop VA’s aggressive debt collection, especially for college tuition where the fault was VA administrative error.
- Restart the interagency task force on predatory colleges.
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