Biden Says 22 Million Americans Have Applied for Student Loan Debt Relief
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday announced that the Department of Education will begin sending out letters this week to students who received at least one loan payment late or in arrears.
Biden announced the new program, called the National College Student Loan Data System (NCSLDS), which seeks to collect data from all student loan servicer programs and make those data available to the public so people can see what they are owed.
Biden said the department has to figure out how to handle the information, but he said it “is an issue that needs to be addressed.”
“In the past, we’ve just been trying to collect the numbers,” Biden said in a news conference in Washington, D.C. “But it’s no longer possible to collect the numbers when you don’t know anything about who owes what. So we need to know who owes what. And we need to know who owes what because those student debts are a huge drag on the country.”
The vice president said his agency is going to make the numbers public in a way that will allow people and businesses to make better choices “and not put every student at risk.”
Biden said his department has to find a way to “break down the silos” between federal agencies.
“We also have to find a way to be transparent about this,” he said, but said the department will publish all loan data on its “My Debt” Web site, so people know how much they are owed and can apply for student debt relief.
The NCSLDS launched in summer 2010 and will be operational by March 2013.
“Some of the biggest obstacles to student loan information being made public has been the fact the private student loan industry is not interested in letting us have this information,” Biden said.
He said the department will provide the data and “it will go to our partner credit bureaus” because of their agreements with the debt collectors on the collection end.
Biden said the department will ask