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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

White House targets “junk fees” in higher education with several new initiatives

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Issues Junk Fees White House

Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

On March 15, the White House issued a fact sheet on proposed measures aimed at curbing or eliminating alleged “junk fees” in higher education, citing that it found college students incurred “billions in fees” when having to pay for services they may not want. The first action the Biden Administration highlighted was a FY 2025 budget proposal that would eliminate student loan origination fees. The White House found that seven million student loan borrowers pay origination fees somewhere between one and four percent of their student loans. The second item the Biden Administration sought to end was college banking “junk fees,” citing a recent report by the CFPB on this issue (covered by InfoBytes here). To address this issue, the Dept. of Education has proposed a rule on college banking products that cannot include harmful fees. Third, the White House supports another proposed rulemaking from the Dept. of Education that would end automatic billing on tuition for textbooks, allowing students to shop around for better prices. Last, the Dept. of Education is considering a rulemaking that would stop colleges from pocketing leftover meal plan “dollars,” and instead will return the balance to students. The Biden Administration noted these were just a few items meant to help student initiatives, including increasing the transparency of college costs and preventing schools from withholding transcripts. These rules will go into effect on July 1.