Councilmember Grosso sent a letter to the Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking (DISB) raising concerns over the dual-expertise qualification needed for the District of Columbia's Student Loan Ombudsman that could delay hiring of the vital position.
Legislation introduced by Councilmember Grosso and passed by the Council last year created an ombudsman in DISB empowered to establish licensing requirements for student loan servicers in the city. They are also charged with informing D.C. residents about their options when seeking student loans and when working to repay them.
DISB advertised the position as a "Student Loan and Foreclosure Ombudsman", requiring applicants to have qualifications in both fields, a move that Councilmember Grosso feels will yield no qualified candidates and thus delay the hiring of a student loan ombudsman.
"The District of Columbia, one of the most educated cities in the U.S., is the most indebted jurisdiction when it comes to average federal student loan debt," wrote Grosso. "The 140,000 student loan borrowers residing in D.C. owe an average of $40,885, about 40 percent higher than the national average."
Recent actions by the Trump Administration to halt a planned overhaul to student loan management initiated under President Barack Obama have cast the system into doubt and made the need fir a dedicated student loan ombudsman in D.C. even more important.
"Now more than ever, a dedicated Student Loan Ombudsman is necessary to ensure that our residents will be able to lodge complaints and receive vital educational information as it relates to their student loans. Further, this role will enable the District of Columbia to take a critical step in protecting student loan borrowers by creating servicer accountability and providing stringent oversight of this industry," Grosso wrote.
Read the councilmember's full letter below.