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Chime in on private student loans

For the last month, student loans have kept us pretty busy. We released our Student Debt Repayment Assistant to help borrowers understand their options when repaying their loans. We launched Know Before You Owe: student loans with the Department of Education to get your feedback on a draft Financial Aid Shopping Sheet. And we’re not done yet.

Today, we’re launching another student loan initiative with the Department of Education, and we want your input. The CFPB has published a Notice and Request for Information Regarding Private Education Loans and Private Educational Lenders in the Federal Register. The title may be a mouthful, but the reality is simple: we need public input on important questions about private student loans. It doesn’t matter whether you have two sentences or two pages of input – we want to hear from you.

Please help us by telling us about your experiences with private student loans.

The private student loan market is one of the least understood credit markets. We know there are all sorts of private student loans: some from banks and credit unions, some from schools, and some from other types of lenders. We know that lots of students use these loans every year. But to make sure the market works for students, lenders, and schools, we need a lot more information. Your stories can tell us more about how the private student loan market functions (or doesn’t), how and why you got a private loan, and how it is (or is not) working for you.

We’d love to hear from students, families, school counselors, lenders, servicers, and anyone who has anything to do with private student loans. When we talk about the private student loan market, we’re really talking about all of your experiences. Hearing your stories will help us understand how people make decisions. The goal is to have all the facts as we prioritize what we do to make sure that the market works for students, lenders, and schools.

Our team on this initiative includes my colleagues from all corners of the CFPB: research economists, fair lending experts, financial analysts, and the Private Education Loan Ombudsman. We’ll be preparing a report based on data gathered by us and the Department of Education. We’ll also submit our report to Congress, as required by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act . We plan to submit this report this summer, and we want your input reflected in it.

Click here to get started. Read through the notice and submit whatever information you think might be helpful. The notice will be published in the Register on Friday. To comment today, send comments in any of the methods identified under “Addresses” on page one of the notice. We’re accepting comments for 60 days.

And please help us get the word out on this initiative by sharing it with Facebook, Twitter, or email below. You can also sign up here to get updates on our student loan initiatives [list no longer available].

Thanks for your participation, and we’ll post further information on this blog as we make progress on this report.

Rick Hackett serves as the CFPB’s Assistant Director for Installment Lending Markets.

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