RELEASE: Americans Need Access to More and Better Information About Student Loans

Washington, D.C. — High-quality, publicly available data on student loans have historically been hard to come by, leaving Americans largely uninformed about the near $1.5 trillion of student loan debt that affects 1 in 5 adults in the United States. In a new column, the Center for American Progress outlines how policymakers could benefit from the information housed in the National Student Loan Data System and how those data could benefit those repaying their student loans.

“With such poor publicly available student loan data, policymakers are more likely to base their proposals off anecdotal observations or conventional wisdom as opposed to research. There are significant problems with student loan repayment that currently available data do allow us to investigate more deeply,” said Colleen Campbell, associate director for Postsecondary Education at the Center and author of the column. “Ultimately, it may take congressional action to force the regular publication of student-level data that can help everyone understand the state of federal loan repayment and what’s at stake if things don’t change.”

More accessible and thorough data could help policymakers:

  • Reduce the number of income-driven repayment plans.
  • Improve the repayment and postponement options to ensure they address the needs of all borrowers.
  • Create more measures for accountability that ensure the federal student loan system is centered around borrower well-being.

Congress and the Department of Education should work to ensure that the public has the information needed to best navigate the student loan repayment system. Without action, they risk perpetuating the status quo, a system that isn’t working for anyone.

For more information or to speak with an expert please contact Chris Ford at cford@americanprogress.org or 202.741.6277.