INFORMATION SOURCE📡 : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_student_loan_(United_States)
A private student loan is a financing option for higher education in the United States that can supplement,
but should not replace, federal loans, such as Stafford loans,
Perkins loans and PLUS loans. Private loans, which are heavily advertised,
do not have the forbearance and deferral options available with federal loans (which are never advertised). In contrast with federal subsidized loans,
interest accrues while the student is in college, although repayment may not begin until after graduation. While unsubsidized federal loans do have interest charges while the student is studying, private student loan rates are often higher, sometimes much higher. Fees vary greatly, and legal cases have reported collection charges reaching 50% of amount of the loan. Since 2011, most private student loans are offered with zero fees,
effectively rolling the fees into the interest rates.
The increase in use of private student loans came about around 2001 once the increase in the cost of education began to exceed the increase in the amount of federal student aid available.
The recent history of student loans has been compared to the history of the mortgage industry. Similar to the way in which mortgages were securitized and sold off by lenders to investors, student loans were also sold off to investors, thereby eliminating the risk of loss for the actual lender.
Another parallel between the student loan industry and the mortgage industry is the fact that subprime lending has run rampant over the past few years. Just as little documentation was needed to take out a subprime mortgage loan,
even less was needed to take out a subprime or “non-traditional” student loan.
After the passage of the bankruptcy reform bill of 2005, even private student loans are not discharged during bankruptcy. This provided a credit-risk-free loan for the lender, averaging 7 percent a year.
In 2007, the then-Attorney General of New York State, Andrew Cuomo, led an investigation into lending practices and anti-competitive relationships between student lenders and universities. Specifically, many universities steered student borrowers to “preferred lenders” which resulted in those borrowers incurring higher interest rates. Some of these “preferred lenders” allegedly rewarded university financial aid staff with “kickbacks.” This has led to changes in lending policy at many major American universities.
Many universities have also rebated millions of dollars in fees back to affected borrowers.
The biggest lenders, Sallie Mae and Nelnet are criticized by borrowers. They frequently find themselves embroiled in lawsuits, the most serious of which was filed in 2007. The False Claims Suit was filed on behalf of the federal government by former Department of Education researcher, Dr. Jon Oberg, against Sallie Mae, Nelnet, and other lenders. Oberg argued that the lenders overcharged the U.S. Government and defrauded taxpayers of millions of dollars. In August 2010, Nelnet settled the lawsuit and paid $55 million.
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