(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Advisory Group on Student Loan Debt Collection issued a report of its findings, including the recommendation that late fees and penalties added by colleges and universities should not be assessed interest during debt collection proceedings.
Attorney General DeWine created the external advisory group in September 2016 to examine issues regarding debt collection practices for unpaid student loans at Ohio public colleges and universities, including:
- The uniformity of university policies, fees, and penalties regarding unpaid accounts
- Whether students are being adequately educated regarding all responsibilities when taking student loans
- The university certification process for student debt accounts
- Student debt collection and litigation processes within the Ohio Attorney General’s Office
The report makes recommendations regarding collections practices of student loan debt, including:
- Institutions should adopt uniform certification practices
- Institutions should notify students that past-due debts would be transferred to the Attorney General’s Office for collection
- Institutions should notify the Attorney General’s Office of any atypical debts
- Institutional late fees and penalties should not be included in the calculation of interest and collection costs
- Debtors should receive appropriate notice of collections costs
The report also makes recommendations regarding student education both before and during the process of acquiring student loans, including that all Ohio high school students should receive one semester of financial literacy education.
The advisory group met five times over six months. The advisory group was chaired by Dan Sadlier, Chairman of the Board of Directors (retired) at Fifth Third Bank and member of the Sinclair Community College Board of Trustees. A full listing of advisory group members is available in the report.