As Courtney Minor began a master's program in vocal performance, she made sure to heed some well-known advice: Stick to federal government student loans.
In completing the two-year program at Longy School of Music of Bard College in Boston in 2009, Minor racked up $60,000 in debt using six different loans, which required her to pay a total of $800 a month for 10 years following her graduation.
Her decision to avoid private companies’ loans turned out to be a smart move. Federal loans come with a variety of benefits — such as the ability to defer payment or adjust monthly bills based on income — that are rarely available with private loans. And having gone through periods of unemployment and part-time jobs, Minor, now a mother of two, has used the benefits to lower her monthly payments to $500.
Her loans — and those of millions of other students — could be in for a big shakeup in the coming months as President Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress set out to remake the complex business, potentially eliminating benefits and protections that borrowers like Minor depend on.
Lobbyists for private lenders and loan servicing companies are emboldened by the Trump administration, which reflexively disdains regulations and favors market-based solutions. Alarmed by Trump’s agenda, consumer advocates and student groups also are gearing up to fight any efforts to change the government’s role and student debtors’ rights