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Student Loan Provider Navient Pushed Borrowers Into Costlier Repayment Plans: Audit

A 2017 Department of Education audit found that a student loan service company was steering those struggling with debt to more costlier repayment plans, the Associated Press reports. The audit concluded that Navient Corp., the third-largest student loan servicing company, pushed struggling borrowers into “forbearance”—which delays loan payments for a time but accumulates interest. The audit also found Navient’s customer service representatives failed to mention more affordable repayment options—like income-driven repayment plans—to those who were struggling. The Associated Press reports 76,200 of Navient’s borrowers were pushed into forbearance, with each of them likely having to pay thousands of dollars more in interest. The audit reportedly does not mention how Navient could fix its practices or any “sanctions” against the loan provider. In response to the department’s report, the company claimed it was not “aware of any requirement that borrowers receive all of their repayment options... on each and every call.” Five states and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are all suing Navient, alleging its practices are “unfair, deceptive and abusive and break federal consumer protection laws.”