Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

"Instead of holding Navient accountable, [the DOE's] student loan bank covered for them. Outrageous, but not surprising," Sen. Warren tweeted on Wednesday. (Photo: Senate Democrats/flickr/cc)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Calls for Total Overhaul of Student Loan System

'Five simple principles. Everyone in government who is serious about standing up for the tens of millions of student loan borrowers in this country should embrace them.'

Nika Knight Beauchamp

"It's long past time for the Department of Education's bank to clean up its act and start running the student loan program to benefit students—not private companies," declared Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Wednesday as she announced a plan (pdf) for the Department of Education (DOE) to completely overhaul its student loan servicing system.

"One of the first things that must be done is a total reform of student loan servicing to make sure nothing like the Navient disaster ever, ever happens again."
—Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Earlier this month, the Democrat from Massachusetts roundly condemned the DOE for putting the desires of the student loan industry over the needs of students, referring to a scandal in which the DOE protected one of the country's largest loan companies (Navient, formerly known as Sallie Mae) from repercussions for defrauding U.S. service members.

Warren this week followed up that earlier critique with a detailed, five-point plan for reform.

"When a private company breaks the law and steals from American soldiers who are literally in the field fighting overseas, those companies should be held accountable," Warren argued. "Everyone in government who is serious about standing up for the tens of millions of student loan borrowers in this country should embrace [these reforms]."

Warren's plan recommends introducing debt counseling, clearer communication with borrowers, and an escalating complaint process. She tells the DOE to report bad actors to relevant government agencies, decries propping up "too big to fail" student loan companies, and advocates for introducing competition between the student loan giants such as Navient.

The plan also calls on the DOE to publish more data on the opaque federal loan servicing system to disclose to the public how it actually works, and asks the Department to step up aggressive oversight of the student loan industry.

"We shouldn't be running the student loan program to create profits for private companies. We should run it for students," Warren said.

The senator's latest battle with the DOE over student loans was prompted by a report (pdf) last month that "found that the agency conducted a deeply flawed investigation of its student loan servicers—companies like Navient, which collect borrowers' monthly payments—and knowingly misled the public about the findings," as Common Dreams reported.

"The Department of Education's bank decided it was more important to protect Navient than to watch out for our military students," Warren said. "One of the first things that must be done is a total reform of student loan servicing to make sure nothing like the Navient disaster ever, ever happens again."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

Pointing to 'Recently Obtained Evidence,' Jan. 6 Panel Calls Surprise Tuesday Hearing

The announcement came less than a week after the House panel delayed new hearings until next month, citing a "deluge" of fresh evidence.

Common Dreams staff ·


Looming US Supreme Court Climate Decision Could 'Doom' Hope for Livable Future

"The immediate issue is the limits of the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gases," said one scientist. "The broader issue is the ability of federal agencies to regulate anything at all."

Jessica Corbett ·


Supreme Court Takes 'Wrecking Ball' to Separation of Church and State With Prayer Ruling

After decades of affirming that prayers led by school officials are unconstitutional, said Justice Sonia Sotomayor, "the court now charts a different path."

Julia Conley ·


Louisiana Judge Blocks State's Post-Roe Abortion Ban

"Abortion care will resume in the state and a hearing has been set for July 8th," said the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Jake Johnson ·


Progressives Launch 'Four More' Campaign to Demand Supreme Court Expansion

"In a true democracy, power rests with the people," one campaigner asserted. "And the only way to take our power back is to take back the court."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo