As Trump rolls back student loan protections, an Obama-era watchdog brings the fight to California – CAL Matters
Seth Frotman was traveling from the East Coast to California recently when he had a realization: The amount of new student loan debt that borrowers in the Golden State had racked up over the past year was equal to all the student loan debt in the state of Maine.
Frotman spent years dealing with the fallout of the education debt crisis as the student loan ombudsman for the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau before resigning in protest in the wake of President Donald Trump’s election. Now he’s bringing his borrower-protection crusade to California.
The state’s massive population and reputation for consumer protection, he says, make it the perfect laboratory for testing whether more regulation of loan servicers can help keep student debt from mushrooming.
About a tenth of the nation’s $1.5 trillion in student debt is held by Californians, according to data compiled by Frotman’s non-profit, the Student Borrower Protection Center. The group is sponsoring a bill in the Legislature that would establish a borrower’s bill of rights, hire a state borrower advocate to respond to consumer complaints, and monitor loan servicers’ performance.