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Consumer Bureau Open for Private Student-Loan Complaints

The newly established federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau this week began accepting complaints from college students who had bad experiences borrowing with private student loans.

Consumers can go here to submit an online student-loan complaint. Filers are asked to describe what happened, either in getting the loan, repaying the loan, or problems when they were unable to pay. Issues with private lenders could involve confusing terms, sales pressure, discrimination, or fraud.

Research has shown that students often unnecessarily take out private loans for college when better terms are available through federal-aid programs. Private student loans are typically uncapped, have variable interest rates, and cost the most for those who can least afford them.

Those with complaints about federal student loans are directed to the federal student-aid ombudsman at the U.S. Department of Education website.

The bureau is also collecting stories—good or bad—about consumer experience with financial products.

This summer, the bureau is expected to deliver a report to Congress on the private lending market based on information gathered from consumers and college officials.

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