A Message from Federal Student Aid COO Mark Brown


Hello. I’m Mark Brown, chief operating officer of
Federal Student Aid. One of the many things Education Secretary
Betsy DeVos has charged me with is delivering exceptional customer service to our more than
42 million federal student loan borrowers. I’m here today to discuss an instance in which
we did not meet our own standard. And, I want to share with you what we’ve done
to remedy this situation. As many of you know, 17 months ago, a District
Court judge ordered Federal Student Aid to direct our loan servicers to stop collecting
payments on loans associated with some pending borrower defense applications. Unfortunately, loan servicers mistakenly billed
approximately 16,000 students and parents. Although these actions were not done with
ill-intent, students and parents were affected and we take full responsibility for that. We have taken swift action to correct the
mistake. At the same time, we’re holding our federal
loan servicers accountable and are taking steps internally to ensure we deliver our
best going forward. Let me describe the actions we’ve taken so
far to undo the harm students and parents have suffered: All customer accounts have been properly updated
to reflect that they’re not expected to make a payment while their borrower defense application
is pending. 99% of customers who made payments on their
federal student loans when they didn’t need to have been refunded. And we expect the final few to be refunded
by the end of this week. 99% of customers whose wages were improperly
garnished or tax refunds seized … have been refunded. We’re working quickly to complete the remaining
refunds. Additionally, we’ve worked with federal loan
servicers to update incorrect entries on credit records for 100% of affected students and
parents. Furthermore, federal loan servicers who failed
to properly follow Federal Student Aid’s direction have been formally reprimanded. They were reminded of our expectations to
deliver world-class service to our customers, and they have responded with urgency to correct
all issues. Finally, we also initiated personnel actions
for government employees who failed in their compliance and oversight responsibilities. Federal Student Aid has more than 42 million
customers. We have a responsibility-an obligation and
honor-to protect each one of them. We know we must do better. That’s why we’re working diligently to implement
the next generation of federal student aid. This initiative will bring the entire financial
aid process-including how we provide service to our customers regarding their federal student
loans-into the 21st century. As Secretary DeVos has directed, we are putting
students and parents at the heart of everything we do. To implement the next generation of Federal
Student Aid, We’re creating a culture of collaboration with a focus on accountability and the pursuit
of excellence in all that we do. As we make great strides in our journey to
realize Federal Student Aid’s future, we remain steadfast in our commitment to the work before
us today. We’re all accountable for the quality of our
work and the impact of our actions. We can do better … and we will do better. That is our commitment to you today and in
the future.

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