As of March 31, 2023, more than 1.3 million North Carolinians had student loan debt, totaling more than $51 billion. One of Attorney General Josh Stein’s top priorities is protecting people’s hard-earned money and fighting for people who are investing in their education and their futures. This means cracking down on fraudulent student loan relief groups; investigating for-profit colleges that scam families, target veterans, and cheat consumers; and making sure that students are treated fairly in how they choose and pay for higher education.
Learn more below about how the Department of Justice is advocating for student loan borrowers.
Recent Student Loan Developments
To make sure North Carolinians have important information regarding recent student loan developments, please review the information below. To determine your next steps, consult the resources below and contact your loan servicer or Federal Student Aid.
- Make sure your contact information is up to date with the office of Federal Student Aid and your loan servicer. Note that your servicer may have changed during the payment pause.
- Learn more about return to repayment. More information from the Department of Education is available here and a recording of the webinar Repayment 101: Get Help with your Federal Student Loans, is available here.
- Learn about changes to Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans, including the new SAVE Plan. More information from Federal Student Aid is available here and here.
- Review your eligibility for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Learn more from Federal Student Aid.
- Stay up to date on the Department of Education’s payment count adjustments toward IDR and PSLF programs. More information from Federal Student Aid is available here.
- See if you are eligible for Fresh Start, a federal program designed to help eligible borrowers in default. More information from Federal Student Aid is available here.
- Learn more from Federal Student Aid about one-time student loan debt cancellation here.
And, as always, beware of scams and alert our office! There have been many developments on the student loan front, and these changes may bring confusion and uncertainty. Scammers thrive in those conditions, so borrowers should be alert. Learn more scam tips here.
Finally, if you have a complaint regarding your student loan servicer, please contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at https://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/ or (855) 411-2372.
Guidance for Student Loan Borrowers
Attorney General Stein wants North Carolinians to have the information needed to make good decisions about student loans, including the resources below.
· Review our Student Loan Tips, including information for those considering loans and for current student loan borrowers.
· Make sure your contact information is up to date with your loan servicer and at StudentAid.gov.
· Use the federal government’s loan simulator tool to calculate your student loan payments, ensure you are on the best repayment plan and consider if loan consolidation is right for you.
· Be on the lookout for student loan scams, and contact our office if you believe you may have been a victim of a scam.
· If you have questions or concerns about your loans, contact your student loan servicer for free help.
Work to Protect Student Loan Borrowers
Attorney General Stein is committed to protecting North Carolina students and families, including the examples below.
Student Loan Servicers
Attorney General Stein held national student loan servicer Navient accountable for its unfair and deceptive servicing and predatory lending, securing $37 million in student loan relief for more than 13,000 NC borrowers. More information is available here.
The U.S. Department of Education recently announced it would discharge all remaining federal student loans for students who attended any college run by Corinthian Colleges. Students who attended a college run by Corinthian do not need to take any action to receive the benefit of this discharge. State attorneys general helped uncover widespread misconduct at the schools, which closed in 2015, and Attorney General Stein has been fighting for loan relief for Corinthian’s students.
Attorney General Stein advocated for students who attended national for-profit college chain ITT Educational Services, Inc. If you attended ITT, you have several options depending on when you attended and what types of loans you took out. More information is available here.
Student Loan Debt Relief Scams
Attorney General Stein stopped scammer Consumer Advocacy Center a/k/a Premier Student Loan Center from providing bogus student loan debt relief services, including making misrepresentations to borrowers, charging illegal advance fees for debt relief services, and providing false information to borrowers’ student loan servicers. Attorney General Stein obtained $4,072,589 in refunds of illegal fees charged to 3,649 North Carolina student loan borrowers.
How to Contact the Department of Justice
If you believe you have been a victim of a predatory loan, scam or unfair and deceptive trade practice concerning a student loan, contact the Department of Justice:
- Online at ncdoj.gov/complaint or by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM
- Online at ncdoj.gov/file-a-complaint/queja-del-consumidor/ or by calling 919-716-0058 (for Spanish-language options)
Scams can also be reported to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
For more information on managing student loan debt:
- Federal Student Aid Office, US Department of Education
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Your college’s Financial Aid Office