Who's The Attorney General Of United States – The letter opinion, issued by the Texas Attorney General’s Office in Austin, Texas, provides an interpretation of Texas law. Provides the opinion of the Texas Attorney General, Dan Morales, on a legal issue submitted for clarification; Can Legislature Hire Local Public Officials (RQ-1078)
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The advocate’s opinion is a written interpretation of the existing legislation. The Texas Constitution and Texas Government Code Section 402.042 grant the attorney general the authority to issue attorney general opinions.
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Texas. State Attorney’s Office. Texas Attorney General Opinion: LO98-039, text, May 8, 1998; (https:///ark:/67531/metapth277335/: accessed 23 Sep 2022), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://; crediting the Government Documents Department of the UNT Libraries. The deal will also provide $95 million in relief to federal student borrowers who are expected to be directed into costly repayment programs
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is one of several state law enforcement officials who have sued Navient since 2017. Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images
About 66,000 borrowers will have their private student loans canceled — totaling more than $1.7 billion in aid — thanks to a deal between 39 state attorneys general and student loan giant Navient NAVI, -2.63% .
In addition, the agreement will provide about $95 million in payments to 350,000 federal student loan borrowers who Navient allegedly steered into unnecessarily expensive repayment programs.
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The settlement ends years of legal battles between state attorneys general and Navient over the company’s treatment of student borrowers. The lawsuits, filed in various states, detail allegations of the company’s conduct in many aspects of its student loan business, including private student loan origination and federal student loan servicing — a business the company exited last year. The settlement does not resolve a lawsuit filed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau against Navient in 2017.
“The bottom line is this: Navient knew people were relying on their loans to provide a better life for themselves and their children, and instead of helping them, they ran a multibillion-dollar scam,” Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s attorney general, told reporters.
In a statement, Mark Heleen, Navient’s chief legal officer, called the claims handled by the deal “without merit,” adding that the settlement allows the company to “avoid the additional burden, cost, time and disruption that would prevail in court.”
“Navient is and has always been focused on helping student borrowers understand and choose the right payment options that fit their needs,” added Heleen.
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Navient has denied wrongdoing as part of the deal. Still, state prosecutors said they would win in court if the lawsuits went ahead.
“It doesn’t matter what they admit or don’t admit,” said Shapiro, who is also running for governor of Pennsylvania, “actions speak louder than words.” In Pennsylvania, a judge in 2020 denied Navient’s motion to dismiss the case. In Washington, a court found last year that Navient violated the Consumer Protection Act. The ruling surrounded one of the allegations that were part of a lawsuit filed in 2017 by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office. That lawsuit was settled as part of a settlement announced Thursday.
“I have no doubt what the outcome would have been if we had gone through the time and expense of litigation, but it was important to balance that with immediate relief for borrowers,” Ferguson told reporters. “Whether they want to take responsibility for what they did or not is up to them, but I know the judge here ruled that they broke the law.”
The bulk of the relief — $1.7 billion in canceled private debt — relates to charges brought by several state prosecutors related to the conduct of Navient’s predecessor, Sallie Mae, in issuing some private student loans after 2002.
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A lawsuit filed by Shapiro in 2017, which is one of the lawsuits the settlement headlines, alleged that in the early and mid-2000s, Sallie Mae used loans to borrowers it knew had a high probability of defaulting as a way to create more federal student loans. Back then, colleges could provide students and families with a “priority list” of lenders. For lenders, a high spot on the list of college’s most eligible lenders meant a near-guaranteed flow of business.
To lure the schools, Navient’s predecessor allegedly offered them loan packages that included prime private student loans, subprime private student loans and Family Federal Education Loans (or FEELP loans) — federal student loans issued by lenders, but they were supported by the federal government. government.
The packages were attractive to schools because they offered borrowers who wouldn’t normally qualify for a private loan a way to close the gap between what federal loans would cover and the cost of tuition, allowing them to enroll. The lawsuit alleged that for Navient, the subprime private loans — with interest rates as high as 15.75% — represented a “leadership loss” that allowed them to access the lucrative FFELP loan volume.
Between 2000 and 2006, the company saw significant growth in its origination business, particularly for students who attended colleges, including for-profit schools, with graduation rates of less than 50 percent, Shapiro’s office claimed. Between 2000 and 2007, 68 to 87% of those loans defaulted, the suit alleged.
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“These loans were doomed from the start and Navient knew it,” Maura Healey, the Massachusetts attorney general, told reporters.
The settlement also addresses federal student loan servicing practices that have been criticized for years by borrower advocates and regulators. Federal student loan borrowers have access to repayment plans that allow them to pay off their debt as a percentage of income, but advocates and borrowers say servicers are steering distressed borrowers into forbearance — a status in which payments are suspended but interest accrues — to would save time and money.
Forgiveness intended to solve short-term financial problems can be expensive for borrowers because of the excess interest that accrues when the borrower ends the forgiveness. For example, in a 2017 lawsuit in Pennsylvania, Shapiro’s office alleged that a Navient borrower who had been in and out of forbearance for 11 years saw $27,000 in interest added to his loan balance.
When borrowers in financial distress “came to Navient looking for help, Navient misled them,” Ferguson said. Because of the bad advice, those borrowers were “paying interest on that interest and going into more debt,” he said. They also missed qualifying payments for their loan forgiveness under certain programs, such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
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The settlement will provide some relief to borrowers who were allegedly targeted for forbearance when they were eligible for a cheaper repayment program. But it’s unclear whether the Department of Education, which owns the loans at issue in that part of the settlement, will take separate steps to address any of the allegations.
The pressure is on Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to address the issue, said Mike Pierce, executive director of the Student Borrower Protection Center, a borrower advocacy group. Now that a bipartisan coalition of 39 state attorneys general has said that “targeting tolerance is a huge problem and that Navient broke the law,” Pierce said, it’s up to the agency to “figure out what to do with it now.”
“It’s a huge problem and it needs a big solution and only the Ministry of Education can provide that,” he said.
Rob Bonta, California’s attorney general, said that while the settlement is an important step, “we also expect the Department of Education to intervene.” He praised the agency’s work in addressing other challenges facing borrowers in the student loan servicing system, including the expansion of the public service loan forgiveness program, adding that he hopes “we can achieve broader relief for borrowers here as well.”
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Fabiola Rodriguez, deputy press secretary at the Department of Education, said in a statement that the agency is “satisfied with the outcome of this case.”
“From day one, the Biden-Harris administration has worked to protect borrowers and is holding student loan servicers accountable, including renewing partnerships with attorneys general to create a more comprehensive approach to oversight,” Rodriguez said. The agency looks forward to “continuing our collaboration with state and federal regulators in creating
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