Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Advisory Group on Student Loan Debt Collection issued a report of its findings, and Shawnee State University says it is on board.
The report focused on various issues and made recommendations that will impact secondary education across Ohio including the recommendation that late fees and penalties added by colleges and universities should not be assessed interest during debt collection proceedings.
The advisory group was created in September 2016 and met five times over the past six months in order to examine issues regarding student loan debt and debt collection.
The advisory group considered issues regarding debt collection practices for unpaid student loans at Ohio public colleges and universities, including:
- The uniformity of university policies, fees, and penalties regarding unpaid accounts
- Whether students are being adequately educated regarding all responsibilities when taking student loans
- The university certification process for student debt accounts
- Student debt collection and litigation processes within the Ohio Attorney General’s Office (AGO)
The report then makes recommendations regarding collections practices. Highlights of the recommendations include:
- Institutions should adopt uniform certification practices
- Institutions should notify students that past-due debts would be transferred to the Attorney General’s Office for collection
- Institutions should notify the Attorney General’s Office of any atypical debts
- Institutional late fees and penalties should not be included in the calculation of interest and collection costs
- Debtors should receive appropriate notice of collections costs
The report also makes recommendations regarding student education both before and during the process of acquiring student loans, including that all Ohio high school students should receive one semester of financial literacy education.
SSU was among colleges and universities across the state that participated in and provided input for the advisory group.
“We participated in the process of developing these guidelines and support the Attorney General’s office in these efforts,” Lee Blanton, SSU Bursar, said. “Improving financial literacy of our students has been a focus at Shawnee State and we have a number of initiatives underway to help improve financial counseling and communication to students about the student loan and repayment process.”
A copy of the advisory group’s report can be found on the AGO’s website at www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.