Friday, February 4, 2011

You've got to be kidding me! Nelnet offering Financial Literacy?

Even though they are one of the reasons why we're in this student lending mess, Nelnet is now offering financial literacy. Whoopee!

Why in the hell do they have the privilege of dishing out advice about financial aid, when they are a part of what caused the student lending crisis in the first place? They don't give a damned about students or parents or family. They don't give a damned at all, and yet they are partnering with Financial Aid Offices?

Here's a laughable quote from the link above:

"Join Nelnet in creating a culture of financial literacy.  Make Money Mondays your students’ opportunity to get smart about money."

I'm not sure if I want to laugh, cry, or puke. I think we should organize something on Mondays, beginning on February 14th. Call into these webinars and blast Nelnet.

Or we could embrace this b--s--t. This post has to be short, otherwise I'm really going to start cursing.

Related Links:

- Good News! Jon Oberg Settles Case: Nelnet and Other Lenders Must Pay Government $57.8  Million

- Nelnet Reports a Loss in the Third Quarter

- Taking Action Against Nelnet for Refusing VRS Calls





23 comments:

Liz said...

You probably already know this, but it's a propaganda opportunity for NelNet, and a chance to preempt real regulation forcing financial disclosures.

They get access to the debtors to plant things like, "It would be IRRESPONSIBLE and IMMORAL not to repay your DEBTS (even though there's no moral obligation to pay usurious fees and penalties that double or triple the amount borrowed)" And they get to tell anyone who complains in Congress or at the DOE, "We're complying voluntarily, no need for federal intrusion (even though the banks rely on the power of the government to keep the loans from being discharged and so soak the hell out of grads)."

C. Cryn Johannsen said...

Liz, good points. I say we call into this webinar and raise holy hell about Nelnet being involved with financial literacy. What do you think?

Lyndsey said...

I'm all for subversive action in webinars - can we develop a few scripted "questions" and recruit some people to call in? For example - "What if I have a parent PLUS loan which I pay and I am killed in a terrible accident - does my mother still have to pay my student loans back, even though the brain the education was "invested" in is gone?" or "What if I graduate and I cannot find work for 2 years?" or "Do you make more money from defaulted loans than you do from ones in good standing, over the life of the loan?"or "I majored in Social Work and the most I will ever make in a year is 20k. My loans require $500/month payments and my rent is $600. How am I going to afford food? I would make sure to also have someone on the inside with screen capture to record the responses ( I actually could probably do that...)

Nando said...

This is akin to Heidi Fleiss offering minors courses in sex education.

Liz said...

I like it =)

C. Cryn Johannsen said...

Nando, he's here to make us laugh.

Anonymous said...

I don't know. If people can't figure out that taking out $150,000 or more in non dischargeable debt in the current economy is a bad idea, perhaps they do need a course in financial literacy.

C. Cryn Johannsen said...

@Anonymous 5:09 PM - that's not the point. Of course it's a good thing to educate young people who plan on taking on debt to go to school. But these are the scumbags who've loaded students down with the debt. Why the hell are they the ones educating potential borrowers?

Serulean said...

Yes, they are likely to offer advice slanted not to harm their corporate profits, and to make it seem like it's your fault if you wanted to go to college. 18 year olds didn't design this system, and most have not been educated about how badly college education has been co-opted; and even if they were, the pressure stream goes in the other direction anyway.

Advice is BS; and another way to blame the victim for making "bad choices." We need to restore consumer protections, and try to make sure that students can have a valuable intellectual experience and graduate with little-no debt, like American students did once upon a time.

Anonymous said...

But they don't even make loans. The federal government sets the limits and is the actual lender and the financial aid offices at colleges determine the amount the student can take out. They don't even offer private loans. The government is the only Stafford loan originator...the only lender in the nation now. These loans are owned by the government, not Nelnet. As far as the question about deaths in the family, loan discharges etc., these regs are made by the federal government...it is their program and their rules. Companies like this one are charged with adhering to the rules the government has set forth to collect on the government loans. Cryn, surely you know all of this, right?

C. Cryn Johannsen said...

@Anonymous Feb 4 (9:19) - how can you claim that the government is the only entity involved with loans now? What about the servicing of outstanding loans (i.e., prior to the change in legislation)? What about Nelnet's sordid past in lending? And what sort of rules are they really adhering to? You've lost me.

Anonymous said...

Because most lenders have sold their loan portfolios to the government in the past few years. So the government is now the actual owner of the loans and they set the regulations. There have always been loan limits set by the government and, as you know, the financial aid offices tell the student how much money they can take out. I am a financial aid director at a college so I know. Students often take out the max even when they don't need it. We try to counsel them to take only what they need..but it is the students decision. Trying to get students to learn about credit card debt, FICO scores, etc is not a bad thing. As your blog says...all education matters.I just tihink you don't fully understand what you are writing about as there have been so many changes in the last few years

Anonymous said...

One last thing..you are an excellent writer. I bet you could get quite a following by offering financial literacy and tips to college students. You have been through it and your voice might resonate with them more than someone my age. You are very passionate about this..i csnt think of anyone filling this niche. Even if it is just a tip a week. Good luck

C. Cryn Johannsen said...

Anonymous 9:43 so, when you say "we," what does that mean? Who are you? For whom do you work?

So you are aware, not that you even deserve this type of response (because your last remark is condescending), I've been following multiple conversations about the student loan industry for several years now. I have inside sources and am in communication with top aides on the Hill - we talk on a pretty regular basis about how things are unfolding. They are constantly changing. Obviously. It doesn't take a writer and researcher on the subject to know that. Moreover, I do research on a regular basis about these issues and have collected thousands and thousands of stories from debtors. So . . . uh . . . yeah, I might have SOME idea of what's going on.

C. Cryn Johannsen said...

Oh, one last thing . . . if I didn't know what I was talking about to some degree, you wouldn't even be responding to me.

Anonymous said...

I apologize. It is good that you care so much. We "financial aid professionals" that work at schools, want what is best as you do. Please consider the literacy idea. Have a good night.

C. Cryn Johannsen said...

I appreciate it. It's certainly something I've thought of, and if you'd like to discuss options/avenuse with me further, I can be reached privately (ccrynjohannsen@gmail.com). As you are probably aware, I am most concerned about students and the burden of debt that they must carry. Access to higher education is important to me, but I take issue with how the overall student lending industry is run and who ultimately suffers. It's not absolutely black and white, but there are people to blame. More than anything, I argue that it's a SYSTEMIC problem, however. That's why we must - all of US - come up with viable solutions. Education, as I have made clear, matters. It matters enormously. I wouldn't have spent half my life in academia if I didn't think that.

Anonymous said...

My previous comment didn't post. I think you are a very good writer. I try to tell my students about being careful with debt and credit cards, etc. Your voice might really resonate with them. You should consider posting a few tips. You have been through it.

Liz said...

"I am a financial aid officer..."

I'd be interested in hearing about the benefits you received from choosing certain lenders over others, and how these loans turned out for the students at your school. You sat by and benefitted from the system, and now you show up to make condescending remarks about the people you helped lead down the primrose path to debt hell.

But you tell your students to "be careful" with debt? How are they going to do that when the school tuition alone is WELL ABOVE what can realistically be repaid on any salary available to a graduate of your school?

Do you tell them to play the lottery? Because you might consider adding that to your "useful tips."

Wow.

C. Cryn Johannsen said...

Great questions, Liz. I hope this respondent, who is a financial aid officer, responds to them. They are fair.

JDpainterguy said...

The financial aid officer is correct in that the Federal Gov't has become more involved in buying up some student loan debt, and they do set the regs.

In my case, it was after my law school debt was about 12 years old, and I defaulted, and a collection agency placed me with the William D. Ford Program.

The whole transaction added 40K to the loan balance in "collection costs", and another 10K in interest and fees etc. So the loan jumped, in one year, from 210K to 260K.

So again, a private collector made 40K in tax dollars instantly, just for placing my loan with the federal gov't.

I know I keep repeating my story, but I'm sure that I am not the first one this has happened to.

I had the sense that the Private collection agency was "Hot for the Deal" like I was a fast 40K stepping into the door. And I could hear a muffled voice in the background looking up my address, references, etc.

I have a tape recorded conversation of the whole transaction, obtained with consent. If anyone would like to hear it I can e-mail it.

I am trying to post it on my blog or on youtube, if I can figure out how to load the audio file.

I'm going to keep trying.

I think hearing this conversation is very helpful in showing how it all works, and I tried to ask the collector all the pertinent questions.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry if I was condescending. I did not benefit at all from any lenders, of the many that were available to students to choose from. They could choose any lender that they wanted...or not choose one at all. I have dedicated my life to helping students get scholarships first, work-study, grants and to take out loans as a last resort. I have also visited Capitol Hill to try to get more funding for students and to make sure the funding they had was not taken away. To assume that I, any of my peers, were somehow benefitting from this is insulting and rude. You don't know me or what I have done. Furthermore, I do not set the tuition rates at our institution. Actually, it depends greatly on how much the state government and federal supports students...so as Cryn said the problem is SYSTEMIC. We are a low tuition community college. The lottery comment was condescending. I have done 100's and 100's of scholarship nights to try to encourage students to get as much free money as they can. Cryn...good luck with your blog.

C. Cryn Johannsen said...

@Anonymous 6:50 PM - I think it's important to always keep exchanges AEM open, fair, and productive. I certainly hope you return to this page and contribute to the ongoing conversation. I certainly appreciate your comments, and am glad you took the time to speak up. It's important to me.