January 29, 2020

Warren Calls on Education Secretary DeVos to Recoup $22.3 Million Owed by Student Loan Giant Navient

Sec. DeVos Hounds Student Loan Borrowers, But May Let Navient Off the Hook for Millions in Improper Charges

Navient Has Evaded Financial Accountability for Over A Decade

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington, D.C. - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos urging her to collect the $22.3 million that student loan servicer Navient Corporation owes the U.S. Department of Education. After massively overcharging the federal government in a years-long scandal, and despite adverse findings from the Department's Office of the Inspector General (OIG), its Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA), and the ruling of an administrative law judge, Navient has yet to repay this money and continues to escape accountability for fleecing taxpayers.

Navient is one of the country's largest servicers of federal and private student loans, managing over $287 billion in federal student loan debt for approximately 6 million federal student loan borrowers. In August 2009, an audit by the OIG found that Navient had overcharged the Department by approximately $22.3 million after the servicer improperly claimed special allowance payments for ineligible student loans. OIG found that Navient's billing practices "did not comply" with requirements for the payments and recommended that FSA direct Navient to return the funds to the Education Department.

Since this initial audit, Navient has been found on multiple occasions to be responsible for the repayment of these funds, including by a March 2019 ruling of an administrative law judge, but has continued to deny responsibility and delay repayment.  The company has most recently appealed directly to Secretary DeVos, who has so far failed to collect these funds and hold Navient accountable.

"Further delays or excuses are unacceptable: it is time for you to hold Navient accountable and finally collect the $22.3 million the company owes to American taxpayers," the senator wrote in her letter. "Letting Navient off the hook for its debts, particularly as you relentlessly hound defrauded student borrowers, would be a blatant demonstration of your willingness to side with loan companies that fail students and taxpayers over students and taxpayers."

In October 2019, Senator Warren and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wrote to Secretary DeVos and FSA Chief Operating Officer Major General Mark Brown outlining Navient's ongoing predatory, improper and illegal behavior since this scandal was revealed, and urging them to hold Navient accountable and terminate their lucrative contract with the Department.