DEB FISCHER: Protecting students from scammers | Representatives
America is blessed with an excellent higher education system and is home to many of the most prestigious universities in the world. In any given year, nearly 20 million Americans are enrolled in public and private colleges to study subjects ranging from engineering to business to science. Nebraska, in particular, is proudly home to many world-class universities that educate thousands of our young people. It’s no wonder Nebraska consistently ranks among the top states for higher education according to US News and World Report.
Many students, both in Nebraska and across the country, rely on loans to advance their education, and nearly two-thirds of them graduate with student loan debt. This is especially true for students who are pursuing higher education, whether it is medical school, law school, or business school.
Unfortunately, scammers sometimes try to take advantage of these student borrowers. Fake companies contact borrowers via phone calls, emails or text messages offering them student loan relief. These scams often involve demands for payment of large up-front fees with false promises of low interest rates, debt refinancing, and debt forgiveness. In some cases, these fake companies are very good at impersonating their legitimate counterparts.
People also read…
Students who have gone into debt for their studies and careers need to be protected from these predatory scam artists. That’s why I was proud to work across the aisle and help introduce the bipartisan Stop Student Debt Relief Scams Act with Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Mike Braun (R -Ind.) and Jeanne Shaheen (DN.H.). The legislation will strengthen law enforcement and administrative capacity to stop student relief scams. It will protect borrowers by making it easier to identify fraudsters while ensuring students are aware of potential risks and know how to avoid them.
Specifically, the legislation will make it a federal crime to access U.S. Department of Education computer systems for the purposes of fraud, business advantage, or private financial gain, and impose fines on crooks for violations. of the law. The bill directs the U.S. Department of Education to create a new form of third-party access, similar to the current “preparer” feature on the Free Student Aid Application (FAFSA), to protect legitimate organizations. It also requires the U.S. Department of Education to maintain common-sense reporting, detection, and prevention activities to stop potential or known debt relief scams and requires student loan exit counseling to warn federal borrowers from debt relief scams.
After passing the House and Senate earlier this month, the Stop Student Debt Relief Scams Act is now heading to the President’s desk for signing, where I expect it to become law. In order for America to maintain its reputation for excellence in higher education, and for these institutions to remain accessible to our country’s young people, we must protect students from predatory scam artists. I can’t wait for this bill to become law.
Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to seeing you again next week.