NEW YORK TIMES: Obama Signs ‘Student Aid Bill of Rights’ to Help Protect Borrowers

Career College Central Summary:

  • President Obama on Tuesday signed what he called a “Student Aid Bill of Rights” that he said would help students deal with the growing burden of college loans.
  • With the memorandum, Mr. Obama directed federal agencies to take steps to make it easier for college students to finance their education, pay back their loans and avoid being taken advantage of by unscrupulous lenders.
  • “We can and should do much more to give students affordable ways to meet their responsibilities and repay their loans,” Mr. Obama wrote in the executive order. “Now is the time for stronger protections.”
  • In an appearance at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Mr. Obama told a crowd of almost 10,000 students that the United States needs to make sure that they are not burdened by tens of thousands of dollars in debt after they leave college.
  • “Higher education has never been more important, but it’s also never been more expensive,” Mr. Obama said.
  • Mr. Obama said the new bill of rights was “not a fancy new program.”
  • “It doesn’t have a complicated acronym. It doesn’t involve new spending,” he said. But he added that as a declaration of values, it can help guide policy makers to make college more affordable.
  • The order directs the secretary of education to develop a “state of the art complaint and feedback system” that would allow students to easily file grievances about the federal financial aid process.
  • Mr. Obama’s directive would also require federal agencies involved in the distribution of student aid to enhance consumer protections and information disclosure during the financial aid process. And it would create a new task force to monitor student loan performance and trends in borrowing.
  • Mr. Obama urged members of Congress to invest more money in making college affordable.
  • “We’re going to be reaching out to them, trying to get them to see that this is a good investment,” Mr. Obama said.
  • In Washington, aides to House Speaker John A. Boehner praised the president for focusing on the rising costs of college, but criticized Mr. Obama for initially proposing — then backing off — a plan to tax 529 college savings plans.

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