Katherine Sydor – Department of Treasury


Good morning everybody and I know that Nick
said at the beginning that he was really fired up to be here but I feel I got the benefit of seeing all
the presentations and now I’m I’m really pumped. So thank you all
for being here. My name is Katherine Sydor and I’m from the
Office of Consumer Policy at the US Department of the Treasury. I just wanna thank you all very much
for taking the time in the interest am in improving outcomes by leveraging
technology and a host a different issues related to higher education. As all of you in this room know
better than most one of the clearest ways to grow and
strengthen the middle class is to expand access to higher education. The American economy needs is steady
stream of college educated and skilled workers. As you heard from the speakers
before me and you’ll continue to hear from the speakers yet to come, the Department of Treasury is working
together with our partners across the administration to recognize that higher education is
one of the most important steps in the economic ladder. We are very committed to helping more students
take that critical step and this is really important, we just we
absolutely have to get it right. At Treasury we are approaching this
challenge in several different ways. Students must be better prepared to make
smart financial decisions before, during and after college. They’ve got to
be informed consumers in the higher education market place. To that and the Department of Education
and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have already created a number of tools
and resources to help students and their families
understand their decisions relating to various financial products and services before going to college as
well as understanding the repayment options after they’ve separated. But we can do more to improve these
tools and get them into the hands of those who really need them and that’s where all of you come in by
linking and connecting to federal resources at moments when students are actually
making these decisions. We can also improve the effectiveness of
these tools through personalization, another way your work is really
important in making a big difference. The federal government for our part is working to increase access in
enrollment in income based repayment or IBR for federal student loan borrowers.
Starting this tax season the Department of Education and the
Department of Treasury will be working to help borrowers learn about and enroll in pay as you earn
IBR when they file their taxes. We’re also really excited about our work on freeing
up government data. The administration has launched their
finance data initiative which is led by Treasury which releases
open data that will be the raw material for your next big idea. I’d like to challenge you all to look at
the data sets released. As a part of this new initiative, I’ve no
doubt that you could all come up with dozens add new uses for these underutilized
data assets and probably in a relatively short
period of time. In fact we’ve already seen a number of examples entrepreneurs and creative
thinkers using financial data to do really great things. Just this last year
CFPB began publishing anonymized complaints on financial
products including student loans through a free API. One startup has figured
out a way to use the credit card complaints to detect patterns emerging
fraud and then alert customers to suspicious
charges. At Treasury we’re actively working to
explore opportunities to expand ways government can empower consumer through easier online access to
financial data about him or her held by the federal
government. For example, federal student loan borrowers need
access to government-held record like tax returns to help apply for financial aid
scholarships as well as enroll in programs to help repay loans. As part
of this overall effort I’m very excited to announce that
the IRS has just launched this week the get- transcript application which will
give taxpayers the ability to view, print, and download tax transcripts making it easier for student borrowers
to access tax records he or she might need in order to submit
loan applications or grant applications. Thanks. By now I’ve hopefully
convinced you to continue using our many talents to innovate with free, increasingly machine
readable and readily available government data. I’ll leave you with one final request-
please tell us what you’re doing and tell us what new datasets are needed. Please reach out to us at [email protected] I really look forward to working with
all of you and continuing to work with you and to spur the creation of data-driven
innovations that really help students and their
families make informed and sound financial decisions about
higher education. Thank you.

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