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Senator Enzi Calls For Student Loan Data Audit

Senator Mike Enzi (R)

U.S. Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming is calling for the Department of Education to audit the data it maintains on all student loan-related programs. Enzi, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, wrote a letter on February 23rd to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, drawing her attention to a coding error in the College Scorecard, a tool the feds created to help students explore college options.

But as Enzi explained to DeVos, during the Obama administration it was discovered that the scorecard had presented inflated repayment rates, creating a false impression about how quickly students were likely to pay down loans.

At the end of Obama’s term, the Department of Education issued a statement that the coding error had been fixed, but according to Enzi’s press secretary Max D’Onofrio, Enzi’s concerns remain. 

“If the education department were a bank it would be among the largest in the nation based on its $1.3 trillion student loan portfolio,” D’Onofrio said. “If congress is going to continue to entrust the $100 billion annual student lending operations to this agency it must show that it can maintain accurate records of loan transitions, cost and performance as any financial institution would have to.”

D’Onofrio said this isn’t a partisan issue.

“This is just a lot of information, and it’s a lot of numbers and it’s a lot of money,” said D’Onofrio. “We just have to make sure we have the right information so that we can do our job right.”

The Department of Education declined to comment but acknowledged that Enzi’s letter had been received.

Tennessee -- despite what the name might make you think -- was born and raised in the Northeast. She most recently called Vermont home. For the last 15 years she's been making radio -- as a youth radio educator, documentary producer, and now reporter. Her work has aired on Reveal, The Heart, LatinoUSA, Across Women's Lives from PRI, and American RadioWorks. One of her ongoing creative projects is co-producing Wage/Working (a jukebox-based oral history project about workers and income inequality). When she's not reporting, Tennessee likes to go on exploratory running adventures with her mutt Murray.
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