On December 7th, 2020, both the House and the Senate have approved new legislation intended to establish criminal penalties for those who knowingly access student loan information from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) information technology systems for “commercial advantage” or their own financial gain. Violators can be subject to fines, a prison stay of up to five years, or both.
The bill, which has been dubbed the Stop Student Debt Relief Scams Act, would also expand requirements for loan exit counseling for colleges and universities that participate in federal student aid programs.
This exit counseling intends to curb fraud even more by warning students about so-called student debt relief companies. The law would also require the Department of Education to prevent hackers and thieves from accessing their database for student aid, and to warn students if anything fishy is noticed with their accounts.
With the Covid-19 student loan