The purpose of the NCHER
Student Loan Ombudsmen Caucus is to provide a forum for its members to create
and support highly effective student loan problem prevention and resolution;
foster training and mentoring in an effort to influence and support positive
change through industry best practices; and serve as a voice of fair process
through the student loan life cycle. The Caucuses’ mission is aligned with NCHER’s
mission to enhance member organizations’ abilities to help families and
students develop, pay for, and attain their educational goals so they can
pursue meaningful and rewarding work and become contributing members of
The Caucus’ membership is
open to student loan ombudsman liaisons designated by NCHER members to work
with the U.S. Department of Education and interested parties, including
guaranty agencies, lenders, servicers, secondary markets, and other student
loan industry participants, working in the student loan industry. The Caucus’
membership also includes representatives from the Department of Education’s
Federal Student Aid Office of the Ombudsman and the Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau (CFPB).
The Caucus is led by a
chair who should, when present, preside at all meetings of the membership. The
Caucus may designate a co-chair to assist in carrying out the duties specified
in this document. The chair or co-chairs are recruited by NCHER based on the individual’s
subject matter expertise and the approval of the individual’s employer, as the
chair or co-chairs often devote significant time to committee business. The
chair/co-chairs serve two-year terms – staggered when possible to promote
continuity – and are not limited in tenure.
The Caucus holds regular
meetings via conference calls and has an active email listserv for the exchange
of information among its membership. The Caucus holds an annual in-person
meeting in Washington, DC or an alternative site chosen by the chair or
co-chairs. The Caucus may hold other meetings at a time and place to be
designated by the chair. A portion of the content of the NCHER Knowledge
Symposium is dedicated to topics of interest to the Caucus.
The Caucus may, with the
concurrence of the membership, create committees or working groups: 1) to
assist it in carrying out the duties specified in this document; or 2) that are
deemed to be in the best interest of the membership.
The Caucus shall:
- Provide problem
prevention and resolution, training, and mentoring to student loan ombudsmen
and others to enable timely assistance to students and borrowers.
recommended ombudsman procedures, including generally accepted Ombudsman
Standards of Practice that include the basic principles of informality,
impartiality, independence, and confidentiality.
- Compile, analyze,
and report on information and quarterly trends in the student loan industry on
issues identified by the Caucus membership.
- Serve as the
voice of fair process and coordinates with the student loan stakeholders and
the federal government to effect positive change in the student loan industry.
- Learn from
complaints and problems that impact the beneficiaries of student loans and
prevents them when possible.
- Advise the U.S. Department
of Education and the CFPB on areas of mutual interest, including working
closely with its federal partners on student loan issues and problems, to
provide feedback on student loan legislation, policy, regulations, and process,
and on ombudsman best practices as they relate to the student loan industry.
- Identify and
strengthen relationships with organizations with whom the Caucus may wish to
form alliances and partnerships regarding issues of mutual interest.
- Encourage the
development and implementation of student loan ombudsman offices and functions
used by guaranty agencies, lenders, servicers, secondary markets, and other
student loan participants.
participate in Caucus meetings and conference calls and support the goals and
objectives of the Caucus.
- Assist the NCHER staff
in developing the agenda for Caucus meetings and delivering sessions relevant
to the Caucus at the NCHER Knowledge Symposium.
- Assist NCHER’s
advocacy efforts in identifying items of interest to its membership at the
federal level and building consensus on policy positions that can be promoted
with Members of Congress and the Administration.
- Assist NCHER’s
research efforts undertaken to influence the development of federal policy
based on trends and other information.
- Work with other
NCHER Committees and Caucuses to advocate for priorities that are in the
interests of the membership.