that tracks total student loan debt.
Those who have government student loans can
avail themselves of various payment plans.
Well, like many a well intentioned government project, this one is hard to use.
Well, a former Department of Education official could not figure it out. Libby Nelson writes in vox.com:
He recounts a baffling series of steps to enroll in income-based repayment, the federal plan with the lowest monthly payments. It’s not listed as an option early on in the email from a loan servicer. He had to scroll down in order to find it, and then pick from four PDF forms for four different income-based plans.
This was a totally unnecessary hurdle, because all of the forms were the same. Shireman’s niece never found out how much her payments would be under an income-based plan, even though an Education Department calculator makes that information accessible. Nor was she told that a government website, studentloans.gov, offers a much simpler process for enrolling in income-based repayment plans.
Shireman’s struggle to help his niece is significant because he isn’t just any former official — he’s arguably had more influence than anyone else over federal student aid policy. An early higher education policy adviser for President Obama, he led a successful effort to change the federal loan program in 2010, when the Education Department began making student loans itself rather than relying on banks to lend federal money. As the head of an advocacy group, the Institute for College Access and Success, he laid the groundwork for the adoption of income-based student loan repayment.
It seems the lower the income of the intended beneficiary, the more complicated it is to fill out the forms to qualify.
And the government hires servicers to handle these. And the servicers mess up all the time.
There is no incentive for the servicers to get it right.
Could it be made easier? Of course!!!
But don’t expect the government to fix it any time soon.