Navient Student Loan Borrowers Steered Into Bad Repayment Program

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has accused student loan processor Navient of directing borrowers into costly forbearance programs rather than into alternate, income-based repayment programs, as reported by Reuters. Federal student loan borrowers are entitled to participate in certain income-based repayment programs if they run into difficulty making payment due to economic hardship. Navient, which contracts with the federal government to service federal loans and assist borrowers in applying and participating in such programs, is accused of disregarding its obligations and steering borrowers into forbearance, which suspends payments altogether and can have serious economic consequences. Why does allegedly Navient do this? To save money on customer service costs. Vetting and applying borrowers for income-based repayment programs is a detailed and sometimes lengthy process, whereas the forbearance process takes much less time and effort. Federal student borrowers deserve better.