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Student Loan Ombudsmen Caucus
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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 society.

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. 

Meetings and Communications 
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.

Committees/Working Groups 
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.

  • Communicate 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.

  • Actively 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. 
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