The Student Loan Scandal in a Nutshell

by : Evelyn Saunders

Many student alumni associations have been held up to the flame. Accusations and findings of guilt affecting student alumni associations have been all over the news in the last year. Some student loan lenders have been caught paying off university student alumni associations' key players in order to get information about graduates. They have used the information and data about students and student alumni to market certain financial products directly to them. Student alumni associations have been steering students and alumni towards these lenders for years. In a scheme like this, both student loan lenders and student alumni associations stand to benefit. The problem is, students and alumni are the ones that get caught up in the trouble that it causes. They end up with student loans and financial products that ultimately punish them with high interest rates and terms that are over the top.

The confusion comes in when you consider that many student alumni associations are separate entities from the university, although many of the people working at the student alumni associations are university employees. Universities are required by law to be transparent in their dealings with students. This basically means that they can't push you, as a student, in a direction that may not be best for you. The story deepens when you consider that most of the people affected by the misdealings of the student alumni associations are alumni. They are no longer students, so they get caught in a loop-hole that the student alumni association could get away with.

Since then, student alumni associations have been pressed to make sure that any contracts that they hold with lenders are ethical. The New York legislature passed a bill that keeps universities from conducting student loan business that results in payments or perks from a lender. The following investigations led down a long trail of conflicts of interest. The New York legislature bill was just the start of the repercussions that were about to rain down on student alumni associations and student loan lenders.

President Bush signed the bill that overhauled student aid policies. The bill was meant to restore a balance in the student loan system by benefiting students, not lenders and banks. Although many lenders and financial institutions saw parts of the bill as unfair, the decision stood and we were on our way to a better student loan system.

When you are getting ready to apply for financial aid and student loans, make sure that you do your own research. There are companies out there that offer products from many lenders, expanding your resources for student loans. You can also take comfort in the fact that there are now laws in place limiting the amount of corruption in the student loan system. Universities found to be involved in any sort of kickback scheme will be punished by having less access to federal loan programs, along with other ramifications. Many of the investigations and enforcements of policies have not happened yet, but soon they will. Universities and lenders will be held will be held accountable for dealings that resulted in students and alumni not having their choice of lender as a result of the kickback scheme.