Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro will team up with Seth Frotman, executive director of the Student Borrower Protection Center, next Monday, Oct. 7, at a town hall meeting in Philadelphia to discuss the student loan crisis in the state.
The free event will include a discussion with Shapiro, Frotman, and other experts, as well as a forum for parents, students, and others affected by college debt to discuss their experiences, including problems with student lenders, loan servicers, for-profit colleges, and student loan relief scams.
The meeting will be at the Community College of Philadelphia Pavilion Building, Klein Cube (P2-03), 1700 Spring Garden St. An RSVP is required via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The town hall will also be live on a webcast at: : https://facebook.com/PaAttorneyGen/.
Pennsylvania ranks second in the nation in college-graduate debt, and the Philadelphia area represents ground zero for college loans. Nationally, student loans total $1.6 trillion and affect 45 million Americans, according to LendEDU.
The state-related Pennsylvania State University ranks among the most expensive public colleges in the nation, and has a trail of indebted graduates, especially from its satellite campuses.
Two of the country’s largest loan servicers, Navient and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, are based near Philadelphia, Navient in Wilmington and PHEAA in Harrisburg. Both are routinely criticized for customer service, and are facing lawsuits alleging that they steer borrowers into costly loans and fail to give them the financial relief to which they are legally entitled.
Nationally, the Class of 2018 four-year graduates’ average student debt totals $29,200, according to the Institute for College Access and Success, which issued a report last month.
About two in three students who graduated from public and private nonprofit colleges in 2018 had student loan debt. The 2018 debt level was 2% higher than the 2017 average of $28,650, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.
Between 2008 and 2012, during the budget crises caused by the Great Recession, state and local appropriations to colleges fell by $2,000 per student. At the same time, student borrowing rose by nearly $1,100 per student. More recently, as state spending has partially rebounded, the student debt situation has improved. With state funding increasing by $1,150 between 2012 and 2016, average student borrowing fell by $500.
Separately on Capitol Hill last week, top executives from CommonBond, SoFi, Fidelity Investments, Empower Retirement, and other student loan repayment corporations are demanding closure of an IRS rule that prevents employers from matching their workers’ student loan payments. Through bipartisan cosponsors in the House and Senate, the companies are advocating for tax-incentivized student loan benefits.