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Monday, May 9, 2016  
Posted by: Barbara Reichart
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Advocates: Aspects of FCC Proposal on Student Loan Robocalls are 'Restrictive,' 'Arbitrary'

BY POLITICO Pro Staff | 05/09/2016 03:38 PM EDT

The FCC's proposed rulemaking about robocalls doesn't give student loan servicers the flexibility they need to reach some struggling borrowers who need help navigating the loan repayment process, the Education Finance Council, the National Council of Higher Education Resources and the Student Loan Servicing Alliance said today.

The FCC on Friday released its proposal to limit the calls on government-backed debt to three per month and request comment about whether it should impose other restrictions, such as limiting the calls to certain times of day as it does with telemarketing.

The groups say "the FCC's restriction that prevents servicers from calling borrowers until they become delinquent ensures that borrowers in distress will not be provided with sufficient notice and information on how to manage their payments, including on how to enroll in income-driven repayment plans, until the negative consequences of delinquency have already set in." But the FCC also proposes allowing debt servicing calls, and seeks comment on whether they should be allowed after a borrower goes into delinquency or if there should be another triggering event.

And the groups call the FCC's proposal to limit the number of calls to three per month "arbitrary" and "far too restrictive."

"In general," they said, "it takes several call attempts simply to establish live contact with a borrower, and multiple live contacts to help the borrower enroll in an appropriate repayment plan or rehabilitation program to resolve their delinquency or default."

The groups said they will provide more specific recommendations to the FCC, and they believe a special case should be made to help federal student loan borrowers.