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Obama Admin Sets New Income-Based Repayment Goal

April 28, 2016

The Obama administration announced Wednesday that it wants to enroll an additional two million federal student loan borrowers in income-based repayment programs in the next year.

Already some 4.8 million federal loan borrowers are using some type of income-based repayment programs, which the Obama administration has expanded. Enrollment in income-based repayment programs has more than doubled over the past several years, yet officials said that far more borrowers could benefit from them.

The White House said that it had partnered with some colleges and businesses to help further spread the word about such programs. And the Education Department said it would boost its efforts to target borrowers who would be most helped by the plans.

Obama administration officials also announced that they plan to revamp and standardize how federal student loan servicers provide information about borrowers to credit reporting agencies. In addition, the Education Department said it would seek to set clearer standards for how it wants loan servicers to collect federal loans.

In the meantime, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said it was working on new disclosure forms that loan servicers would send to borrowers, providing customized information about which loan repayment programs are best for their circumstances.

Much of the changes to loan servicing that the Obama administration is promising depend on how the Education Department develops its new contracts with loan servicers. “We hope to make progress there by the end of the year,” Education Secretary John B. King said of that process.

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Michael Stratford

Michael Stratford, Reporter, covers federal policy for Inside Higher Ed. He joined the publication in August 2013 after a stint covering the Arkansas state legislature for The Associated Press. He previously worked and interned at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine and The Chronicle of Higher Education. At The Chronicle, he wrote about federal policy and covered higher education issues in the 2012 elections. Michael grew up in Belmont, Mass. and graduated from Cornell University, where he was managing editor of The Cornell Daily Sun.

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