Student Borrowers and Advocates Protest Navient and Trump Tax Scam

Borrowers and advocates protested student loan company expected to gain $204 million from Trump tax bill

This Tax Day, student loan borrowers, advocates from Progress Virginia and Generation Progress, and Virginia Delegate Marcus Simon (D-53), protested outside of Navient’s offices in Reston, VA, to speak against the student loan company’s $204 million windfall from Trump’s tax plan passed into law last year, and their efforts that killed a full Borrower’s Bill of Rights from passing in Virginia earlier this year.

Instead of investing their savings into making loan repayment easier for borrowers, Navient, the student loan company with a history of predatory practices, is expected to pass the vast majority of the money onto their wealthy shareholders. Navient is the subject of numerous consumer protection lawsuits, including a 2016 lawsuit from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In 2018,  Navient is now on the record for having shutdown progress for borrowers seeking basic consumer protections on their student loans in Virginia and Maryland.

Alexandria Wheeler, a Virginia borrower whose loans are serviced by Navient, shared her story. “When I started making loan payments 4 years ago, my total bill was roughly $45,000,” said Wheeler. “Only a few short months into my repayment, my monthly total owed shot up to right under $1200 per month and of course I had questions. I went to Navient because as a consumer, if you have questions, you should be able to get an answer from the people who are providing the service.  Little did I know that 4 years later and $30,000 later, I would still have questions as to where this loan came from and when it was dispersed because after countless phone calls, written letters and emails, the company who I owe almost $80,000 to, doesn’t deem me respectable enough to warrant a response to me requesting my loan origination paperwork.”

Progress Virginia Executive Director Anna Scholl added: “Virginia borrowers deserve better than predatory companies like Navient pocketing hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks from Donald Trump while spending big on high-priced lobbyists to kill common sense consumer protections in Richmond. The student debt crisis is spiraling out of control and borrowers have every right to expect that when they call Navient to ask questions about their student loans, they get a truthful answer. Instead of using their $204 million TrumpTax break to further enrich their wealthy shareholders, Navient should be investing in real programs to help keep their borrowers in repayment so they can build a secure financial future.”

Today’s rally was in solidarity with the dozens of Tax Day events happening across the country where taxpayers protested Trump’s tax plan and the millions of dollars of giveaways to corporations and the mega-rich. A video of the speaking program is available online here:

To learn more about how the Trump tax plan is impacting young people and student loan borrowers read Generation Progress’s issue brief here.