May 11, 2016

Warren: Navient Should Fix Abysmal Student Loan Servicing, Not Spend Millions on Lobbying for Sweetheart Deals

Student Loan Servicer Increased Lobbying Spending Amid Controversy

Text of the letter available here (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote to the U.S. Department of Education's (ED's) Office of Federal Student Aid to raise concerns about the recent dramatic increase in lobbying expenditures by student loan servicer Navient. Navient's significant lobbying expenditures - which total almost $24 million since 2010 - come while the servicer has faced a number of federal and state investigations into problems with its servicing practices.  Warren raised particular concerns that Navient almost doubled its lobbying spending - to over $710,000 -- in the first three months of 2016, and that Navient was "the biggest spender among education organizations and companies" for this time period.

"I am mystified by the scope of these expenditures. Navient should be focused on and investing in improving its abysmal student loan servicing operations, not lobbying Congress and the Administration in search of sweetheart deals," Warren wrote. Despite repeated investigations revealing unlawful activity by Navient, ED recently extended Navient's contract through 2019. Meanwhile, Navient has not yet repaid the $22.3 million it still owes the federal government for overcharging it for student loan subsidies.

In her letter, Warren noted that "The $24 million that Navient has spent on lobbying in the last six years is enough to repay the full $22 million in overpayments - with almost $2 million left over to provide additional relief to borrowers.  But this has not happened.  Instead, Navient has been allowed to spend these funds lobbying Congress and the Administration in search of additional perks."  

She continued, "I am writing this letter to remind you to keep the interests of students and their families - not Navient and its lobbyists - first and foremost as you make important contracting decisions regarding Navient and other student loan servicers."

Read a PDF copy of Senator Warren's letter to ED here.