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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Ohio borrowers navigate student-loan payment restart riddled with errors

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Wednesday, December 6, 2023   

A new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finds the repayment process for federal student loans has been filled with errors.

Repayments began in October following a three-year pandemic-related pause. Since then, complaints of inaccurate bills, late notices and poor customer service have increased. Officials with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said they are working to protect borrowers from incompetent or predatory student loan servicers.

Rohit Chopra, director of the bureau, said borrowers should be cautious, especially when talking to third parties contracted by loan servicers for bill payments.

"If you're having trouble, please file a complaint," Chopra urged. "We're often able to get those individuals across the country fixes - and sometimes, clear answers on what really needs to happen."

The Supreme Court struck down President Joe Biden's student loan forgiveness plan earlier this year, affecting almost 1.8 million Ohioans carrying student debt. Average student loan debt in Ohio is more than $34,000, according to the website educationdata.org.

Judy Dollison, president of the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio, said now is the time for borrowers to carefully read and understand the terms of their loan and become familiar with legitimate student loan repayment assistance programs.

"It's important to know what services those lenders provide," Dollison noted. "And what are the legitimate companies that are part of the program."

This week, the U.S. Department of Education released draft rules for expanding federal debt relief. Hearings on the plans will be held Dec. 11-12.


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