Houston man disheartened Texas is not included in Navient settlement agreement

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- One of the largest student loan servicers agreed to cancel $1.85 billion dollars in student loan debt for 66,000 borrowers.

Navient has agreed to settle claims by 39 states that it deceived thousands of borrowers into long-term and costly forbearance plan, causing college students to pay more than originally borrowed.

David K. attended colleges in Texas and isn't one of those borrowers getting relief.

"It's disheartening," said David in a phone interview with ABC13.

Pennsylvania's Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Navient, formerly known as Sallie Mae, will pay relief to resolve allegations of widespread unfair, deceptive, and abusive student loan servicing practices and abuses in originating predatory student loans that started from 2002 to 2014.

SEE ALSO: Whose student loans are canceled, who qualifies for payments in Navient settlement

The settlement will cancel those loans once approved by a federal court.

David said he attended two Texas colleges from 2003 to 2009 and over time took out loans totaling $35,000.

"I became unemployed and had no means to do anything for payment," he said.

David said his loans went into forbearance, interest accrued, and his wages were later garnished, but the balance didn't go down. Instead, it doubled to more than $73,000.

"I'm all for paying back a loan for what I owe. That's the honest and integrity part to get done and to make it right. Now, I don't have the will or want to even pay it. It's going to have to die with me," he said.

Attorney David Fernandez said he works with dozens of clients who have fallen victim to predatory lending practices.

"What Navient was doing, as I understand, was approving loans for students who really weren't qualified for loans in order to allow the school, the for-profit school to get federal loans," said Fernandez. "Most of my clients that come to me are hardworking people, regular people, and also professional people who have a high income but they're in distress. They need help."

While Texas is not one of the 39 states listed in the landmark settlement, Fernandez said there's still time for state Attorney General Ken Paxton to follow suit.

"My hope is that they do," Fernandez said. "Obviously, there are grounds and they found it in 39 states. I can't imagine that Texas was excluded from being predatory."

Navient issued a statement on the resolution of the legal matters with state attorney generals.

Borrowers will receive notices from Navient, along with refunds of payments made on the private loans after June 30, 2021. Federal loan borrowers eligible for a restitution payment of $260 will get a notice in the mail later this Spring.
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