Students Reimbursed From National Student Loan Scandal
Congressional investigators and state attorneys general nationwide are continuing to discover kickbacks paid by lenders to school heads of financial id in return for student borrowers being given their name on a “Preferred Lender” list. An email was issued today by Barry Burgdorf, general Students Reimbursed from National Student Loan Scandal counsel for The University of Texas (UT)System, instructing all UT System campuses “to immediately cease and desist use of all preferred lender lists, including, but not limited to, the removal of such lists from Web sites and ceasing further dissemination of such lists to students.” This action was directed as a result of the school’s investigation of Lawrence Burt, director of financial aid at UT, Austin. Burgdorf must examine Burt’s past ownership of stock in a parent company of a student loan company that is listed as one of the school’s 20 preferred lenders. Burt is on paid leave pending the results of the investigation.
A national investigation by New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has uncovered other improprieties by Timothy Lehmann, the director of financial aid at Capella University, an online school based in Minneapolis. Cuomo says Lehmann was paid more than $13,000 in consulting fees by Student Loan Xpress. Cuomo’s office said a consulting company run by Walter Cathie, the dean of financial aid at Widener University in Pennsylvania, was paid $80,000 by Student Loan Xpress since 2005.
Investigators believed Cathie had an agreement with the company to market its services to graduate schools and received fees based on loan volume. Ellen Frishberg, financial services director at Johns Hopkins and member of a U.S. Department of Education advisory committee was asked by Education Secretary, Margaret Spellings, to resign her committee position. The request cam after it was discovered Frishberg received about $65,000 from Student Loan XPress, a unit of CIT Group, Inc.
Cuomo found that Education Finance Partners and 60 unnamed colleges and universities had entered into revenue-sharing agreements. These kinds of arrangements can cost students more money in higher Students Reimbursed from National Student Loan Scandal interest rates because it eliminates competition.
The national investigation involves more than 100 schools and companies who have issued approximately 80% of all the student loans in the United States. Education Finance Partners has agreed to pay $2.5 million and adopt Cuomo’s code of conduct as part of a settlement to end the investigations of its company. The money from the settlement will go to a fund that helps college-bound students understand their loan options.
Sallie Mae and Citibank have each agreed to pay $2 million into the fund and also agreed to change business practices being reviewed by Congress. Cuomo added that students have been reimbursed as much as $500 each under the settlements.
On Friday, Cuomo’s office sent five subpoenas and eight letters asking for lending data.
Companies sent letters were: National City of West Palm Beach, Florida Citizens Bank PNC of Pittsburgh US Bank Bank of America Wells Fargo J.P. Morgan Chase Wachovia Corporation
Lenders that received subpoenas were: College Loan Corporation Access Group Sun Trust Edfinancial Regions Bank