DFS statewide student loan town hall tour outlines ‘Borrower Bill of Rights’

NYDFS-Logo-300x300Linda Lacewell, super intendent of the state Department of Financial Services, is in the midst of a statewide town hall tour to advise student borrowers of their rights and discuss directly with parents and students about their experiences with paying their educational loans.

At the events, Lacewell is outlining the DFS’ new “Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights.”

The first two events were held yesterday and Monday in Hempstead and Nanuet, respectively. Additional events include:

  • Nov. 21: University at Buffalo, South Campus, 105 Harriman Hall Ballroom, 11 a.m.;
  • Nov. 22: SUNY Empire State College, Room 159 T, Rochester, 10:30 a.m.; and
  • Nov. 22: SUNY ESF, Gateway Center, Syracuse, 2 p.m.

As previously reported, the New York Credit Union Association submitted comments to the DFS on its student loan servicing proposal in October.

Here are the complete details from the DFS:

FINANCIAL SERVICES SUPERINTENDENT LINDA A. LACEWELL ANNOUNCES STATEWIDE STUDENT TOWN HALL TOUR, INTRODUCES STUDENT LOAN BORROWER BILL OF RIGHTS TO PROTECT NEW YORKERS

Beginning Nov. 18, DFS Representatives, Including New Student Advocate, Will Meet with Student Borrowers, Parents, Legislators, College Officials and the Public

Bill of Rights Outlines Protections Provided by DFS’s Student Loan Regulation

NEW YORK — Building on Governor Cuomo’s sweeping protections for student loan borrowers that became a law this year, Financial Services Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell today announced that the Department of Financial Services (DFS) is launching a statewide tour to advise student borrowers of their rights and hear directly from parents and students about their experiences with paying their educational loans. As part of DFS’s “Step Up for Students” initiative, the town hall style events will bring together DFS representatives, including the Department’s newly announced Student Loan Advocate, with student borrowers, their families, college financial aid officers, legislators and the general public to hear and address concerns about the growing issue of student debt. At the events, Superintendent Lacewell will unveil a new Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights outlining protections for New York student loan borrowers.

“The 2.8 million New Yorkers saddled with student debt deserve to know their rights after making a significant financial investment towards their futures,” said Superintendent Lacewell. “As the federal government steps down from protecting student borrowers, DFS will step up for students by enforcing our state’s consumer protection laws and making sure borrowers know where to turn when faced with predatory or unfair lending practices.”

The Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights highlights significant protections that DFS’s regulation of student loan servicers provides to student loan borrowers. They include borrowers’ entitlement to:

  1. Detailed financial aid award letters from schools in New York;
  2. Clear, accurate and complete information about the borrower’s loan terms;
  3. Information about any available loan repayment plans and options;
  4. Information about any available discharge, forgiveness, and cancellation options;
  5. Loan payments applied to the borrower’s account in best interest of the borrower;
  6. Knowledgeable customer service representatives who treat you respectfully and fairly;
  7. Detailed loan account histories that are easily and securely accessible online;
  8. Seamless transfers if your loan is serviced by a new company
  9. Accurate payment history reporting to credit agencies; and
  10. Responses to complaints you make to your servicer.

This fall, Superintendent Lacewell appointed a new Student Advocate and Director of Consumer Advocacy, strengthening the Department’s mission to protect and empower New York consumers and student borrowers amid federal rollbacks. DFS also created a new Student Debt Advisory Board to advise on consumer protection, student financial products and services, and communities that have been significantly impacted by student debt.

The first dates are scheduled as follows:

  • Monday, November 18: Nanuet Senior High School Auditorium with Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, 103 Church Street, Nanuet, 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 19: Hofstra University Student Center with Assemblywoman Taylor Darling, Hempstead, 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, November 21: University at Buffalo, South Campus, 105 Harriman Hall Ballroom, 11 a.m.
  • Friday, November 22: SUNY Empire State College, Room 159 T, 680 Westfall Road, Rochester, 10:30 a.m.
  • Friday, November 22: SUNY ESF, Gateway Center, 1 Forestry Drive, Syracuse, 2 p.m.

    Additional events will be announced in the near future.

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