Mary Lyn Hammer is an expert resource for journalists who need reliable answers to tough questions about how the federal government handles student loans, cohort default rates, financial literacy, and higher education loan regulations and legislation.
For more information, to obtain a review copy of Injustice for All, schedule an interview, and/or to book Ms. Hammer to speak to your group, please call John White at 480.222.4314 or click here to email.
ED Admitting Misreporting and Errors In College Scorecard Data Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg
After the U.S. Department of Education (ED) admitted in January 2017, it published inaccurate information about repayment rates on its College Scorecard website…
For-Profit Colleges: Awful or Abused (A Response from Industry Veteran Mary Lyn Hammer)
Ms. Hammer has released her response to Cato Institute’s event titled “For-Profit Colleges: Awful or Abused?” (read more)
Profit in Education Is Bad—Unless You Are the Department of Education
How far will the DOE go to remain one of the top five most profitable organizations in the United States?
When Student Loan Default Is Not Your Fault
403,000 student borrowers were MISTAKENLY placed in default status during loan transfer and the Department of Education has taken not corrective action.
The Catalysts for Investigating DOE Data and Reporting
What gives the DOE the right to adjust rate calculations that are defined by law?
Consistent and Possibly Intentional Data Deception by the DOE
Detailed evidence on the corruption in higher education reporting that has misled Americans.
Interviewer Questions and Talking Points
Shock-ED represents the taxpayer’s queasy reaction upon realizing the deception from the U.S. Department of Education (ED or DOE) data and reporting with sometimes blatant and sometimes subtle disregard of facts; databases that mysteriously disappear; and underreporting, misreporting, or just not reporting at all.
Shock-ED is also the realization that student loans are now a significant source of income to the federal government and represents close to 9% of all U.S. debt.
What does this mean for the future of student loans, higher education, the federal government, and our fragile society? Ask Mary Lyn Hammer. She has spent decades analyzing DOE data and is perhaps the ONLY person who could effectively conduct this detailed analysis of reporting in higher education. Ms. Hammer brings almost 30 years of experience deciphering the complex and often misreported statistics put forth by the DOE and educates Americans about this flagrant executive branch breach of trust, an outrageous injustice to us all!
On Understanding Student Loan Repayment Options
Suggested Talking Points for Interviewers
Ms. Hammer, a pioneer in student loan default management, education advocate and industry expert warns that: “Defaults come with serious repercussions—wage garnishment, not qualifying to buy a home, unending compounded interest and, with student loans, even bankruptcy may not relieve you of the debt. When someone dangles low payments or loan forgiveness in front of you while you are suffering, or if you have little to no financial credit experience, of course you may pursue what appears to be the easiest path. But you need to consider the long-term money trap you may have entered into.”
In addition, to incorrect loan statuses, Hammer wants make sure student borrowers understand the loan repayment options, for example:
- Some options increase payment length from 10 years to 20-25 years.
- How to keep from paying MORE to the government in interest than you took out in loans.
- Student loan forgiveness comes with a 1099 form (a.k.a. tax liability), or, in other words, it is like borrowing the money today and claiming it as income in 20-25 years when you are trying to send your own children to school—and the tax liability is a lump sum payment that doesn’t have all of the payment options that student loans do—it is a debt with the I.R.S.
Ms. Hammer can also answer questions on:
- What do I do if I’m in default and I don’t think it is my fault?
- How do I know how much to borrow for education?
- What if I am in danger of defaulting?
- Should I pay a company to help lower or consolidate your student loans?
- Should I do interest only payments?
- How can I lower my total interest paid which is the cost of the loan?
- What are the pros and cons of the repayment options?
- What do I do if I’ve been making additional payments to pay my loan off early and find out that the servicer has been applying the money to future payments?
Ms. Hammer is an expert resource for those who need reliable answers to complex questions about how the U.S. Government handles student loans, higher education loan regulations, what teaching accountability and financial literacy means and on education legislation.
On the Department of Education, Government Profit on Student Loans, Report Analysis and Historic Events
Suggested Questions for Interviewers
Mary Lyn Hammer is exceptionally prepared to answer tough questions. Suggestions include:
- Does the DOE have a monopoly on student loans? Are student loans becoming long-term servitude to the government?
- Who is the largest consumer financial (money-lending) institution in the country?
- How much will the government actually earn off of the interest on student loans? Do the profits from student loan earnings go back into education?
- Were the DOE’s Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) and REPAYE programs purposely designed to calculate the majority of initial payments to be interest payments—which is profits to the government?
- Have the minimal payment requirements for PAYE and REPAY been used to adversely affect “repayment rates” for GE programs attended by low-income students primarily attending for-profit schools?
- Why do you compare the government’s management of loan programs to the tactics used by loan sharks?
- The IRS granted nonprofit status to the Center for Excellence in Higher Education prior to any GE or other anti-proprietary-sector regulations, right? How can the DOE choose to deny this IRS-approved tax status filing 44 months later? What does the DOE gain by denying this status?
- What do you believe will happen if students are given free education only at community colleges? What impact will occur if proprietary schools are eliminated?
- I understand you and many others suspect that the University of Phoenix/Apollo Education Group was intentionally targeted to devalue its stock prices for the eventual purchase by people with close ties to the Obama Administration. Please explain your suspicions.
- You have reported that the DOE damaged the financial standing of several hundred thousand student borrowers. What evidence do you have? Whom have you shared the evidence with? Why hasn’t the DOE corrected its mistake for students hurt by the defaults included in the CDR adjustments?
- Why did the DOE only adjust CDRs for certain schools in jeopardy of losing federal funding and not all schools?
- How has the DOE covered up its own poor performance and mismanagement of student loans? Why wouldn’t DOE reports match its own data?
- What could the motivation be to only adjust the default rate information for nonprofit schools?
- What does the DOE manipulation of CDR rates mean for higher education? How does it appear that the DOE is manipulating gainful employment rates?
- What problems existed with the original College Scorecard hosted on Whitehouse.gov? How does the College Navigator, hosted by the DOE, lack transparency?
- Why did you feel it was important to have your own report audited for accuracy?
- You write about accountability for students, the government, and schools. What suggestions do you have for a system overhaul or for corrections?
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