Biden’s Battle Against Junk Fees Turns to Colleges, Student Loans

President Joe Biden is taking action against hidden fees in various industries, including event ticketing, airlines, financial services, rental housing, and now colleges and student loans. The Biden administration recently announced plans to eliminate origination fees for federal student loans, pending approval from Congress.

Neera Tanden, a domestic policy advisor to Biden, expressed concern about consumers being taken advantage of with hidden fees. Junk fees, such as credit card late fees, overdraft fees, amenity fees at hotels, and seat selection fees on airlines, are additional charges that consumers often face.

Biden’s proposal to eliminate student loan origination fees is part of his 2025 budget proposal. These fees, which are a percentage of the loan amount and added to loan balances, currently range from 1% for undergraduate loans to 4% for graduate and parent PLUS loans. The administration believes that origination fees are outdated and no longer necessary in federal student lending.

In addition to targeting student loan fees, Biden’s administration is also addressing high and unusual fees associated with student financial products offered by colleges and universities. These fees include maintenance fees, insufficient funds fees, and closure fees. The administration aims to prevent financial companies from charging fees to students, especially since banks have largely stopped imposing similar fees.

Another initiative proposed by Biden involves empowering students to authorize charges for textbooks and required course materials separately from tuition bills. This change would allow students to compare costs and seek out more affordable options, including free open-source textbooks.

Furthermore, Biden is advocating for colleges to return unused funds from meal plans and “flex dollars” to students, rather than rescinding them at the end of each semester. This policy would prevent students from losing money they have already paid for, often using student loans, due to unspent meal plan funds.

Overall, the Biden administration is committed to eliminating hidden fees and improving transparency for consumers in various sectors, including education and student lending.

President Joe Biden continues his fight against hidden junk fees, expanding his crackdown to colleges and student lending. Taking aim at origination fees for federal student loans, Biden’s administration seeks to eliminate these fees, considering them outdated relics of the past. Neera Tanden, domestic policy advisor to Biden, emphasizes the need to protect consumers from being taken advantage of by companies leveraging their market power to levy unnecessary fees.

In addition to tackling student loan fees, Biden’s efforts extend to college-related junk fees, such as those associated with student banking products. By targeting high and unusual fees tied to financial products offered by colleges, Biden aims to empower students by blocking these charges enforced by financial institutions partnering with educational institutions.

Furthermore, Biden proposes empowering students to authorize textbook charges separately from tuition bills, enabling them to explore cheaper alternatives or even access free open-source materials. This approach seeks to give students more control over their expenses and prevent colleges from lumping unnecessary costs into tuition fees.

Additionally, Biden’s administration intends to require colleges to refund unused “flex dollars” and meal plans to students, eliminating the practice of schools rescinding remaining funds at the end of each semester. This move aligns with Biden’s commitment to relieving students of unnecessary financial burdens, especially considering the debt many students take on to cover various expenses during their college years. Through these initiatives, Biden aims to enhance transparency, protect consumers from hidden fees, and promote financial empowerment for students in higher education.

The issue of junk fees in the world of higher education and student loans has been a longstanding concern for many Americans. These hidden charges can add significant costs to already expensive tuition bills, making it even harder for students to afford a college education. President Joe Biden has made it a priority to address these fees and ensure that students are not taken advantage of by colleges and lenders. In his ongoing battle against junk fees, Biden has turned his attention to colleges and student loans, implementing new policies and initiatives aimed at increasing transparency and reducing the financial burden on students.

The Impact of Junk Fees on Students

Junk fees are additional charges that colleges and universities tack on to student bills for services that may not be necessary or are already covered by tuition. These fees can include charges for things like parking permits, technology fees, and even fees for graduation ceremonies. While some fees may be legitimate, many students feel that they are being taken advantage of by colleges looking to squeeze more money out of them.

For students already struggling to pay for their education, these junk fees can make a significant difference in their ability to afford college. In some cases, these fees can add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to a student’s bill, making it even harder for them to stay enrolled and successfully complete their degree. The impact of junk fees is especially acute for low-income students, who may already be facing financial hardship and are less able to absorb these additional costs.

Biden’s Efforts to Address Junk Fees

Recognizing the burden that junk fees place on students, President Biden has taken steps to address this issue and hold colleges and lenders accountable. One of the key initiatives of his administration has been the implementation of new regulations aimed at increasing transparency in college pricing and reducing the reliance on junk fees to generate revenue.

One of the first actions taken by the Biden administration was the release of a set of guidelines for colleges and universities on how they should disclose their fees to students. These guidelines require schools to provide clear and detailed information on all fees charged to students, including a breakdown of what each fee covers and how much it costs. By increasing transparency around fees, the administration hopes to empower students to make more informed decisions about where to attend college and how to pay for their education.

In addition to increasing transparency, the Biden administration has also taken steps to reduce the financial burden on students by limiting the use of junk fees in federal student loan programs. Under the new regulations, colleges and lenders are prohibited from charging fees on federal student loans for services that are not directly related to the cost of administering the loan program. This will help to ensure that students are not hit with unnecessary charges that can drive up the overall cost of their education.

The Impact on Students

The measures implemented by the Biden administration to address junk fees in colleges and student loans have the potential to have a significant impact on students across the country. By increasing transparency and limiting the use of junk fees, the administration is working to make college more affordable and accessible for all students, regardless of their financial background.

For many students, these changes could mean the difference between being able to afford college and being priced out of higher education altogether. By reducing the financial burden on students, the administration is helping to ensure that all students have the opportunity to pursue a college degree and achieve their educational goals.

In addition to benefiting individual students, these measures also have broader implications for the economy as a whole. By making college more affordable and accessible, the administration is investing in the future workforce and helping to ensure that America remains competitive in the global economy. A well-educated workforce is essential for driving innovation and economic growth, and by addressing junk fees in colleges and student loans, the Biden administration is taking steps to strengthen the foundation of the American economy.

The Road Ahead

While the Biden administration has made significant strides in its battle against junk fees in colleges and student loans, there is still work to be done. As the administration continues to implement new regulations and policies, it will be important for students and advocates to stay informed and engaged in the process. By working together, we can ensure that all students have access to an affordable and high-quality education, free from the burden of unnecessary fees.

In conclusion, junk fees in colleges and student loans have long been a source of frustration and financial strain for students. President Biden’s efforts to address this issue represent an important step towards making college more affordable and accessible for all students. By increasing transparency and limiting the use of junk fees, the administration is working to level the playing field and ensure that every student has the opportunity to pursue their educational goals. As we look to the future, it will be important for students, advocates, and policymakers to continue working together to build a more equitable and accessible higher education system for all.

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