34 CFR 674.45 - Collection procedures.
(a) The term “collection procedures,” as used in this subpart, includes that series of more intensive efforts, including litigation as described in § 674.46, to recover amounts owed from defaulted borrowers who do not respond satisfactorily to the demands routinely made as part of the institution's billing procedures. If a borrower does not satisfactorily respond to the final demand letter or the following telephone contact made in accordance with § 674.43(f), the institution shall -
(1) Report the account as being in default to any one national credit bureau; and
(i) Use its own personnel to collect the amount due; or
(ii) Engage a collection firm to collect the account.
(1) An institution must report to any national credit bureau to which it reported the default, according to the reporting procedures of the national credit bureau, any changes to the account status of the loan.
(2) The institution must resolve, within 30 days of its receipt, any inquiry from any credit bureau that disputes the completeness or accuracy of information reported on the loan.
(1) If the institution, or the firm it engages, pursues collection activity for up to 12 months and does not succeed in converting the account to regular repayment status, or the borrower does not qualify for deferment, postponement, or cancellation on the loan, the institution shall -
(i) Litigate in accordance with the procedures in § 674.46;
(ii) Make a second effort to collect the account as follows:
(A) If the institution first attempted to collect the account using its own personnel, it shall refer the account to a collection firm.
(B) If the institution first attempted to collect the account by using a collection firm, it shall either attempt to collect the account using institutional personnel, or place the account with a different collection firm; or
(iii) Submit the account for assignment to the Secretary in accordance with the procedures set forth in § 674.50.
(2) If the collection firm retained by the institution does not succeed in placing an account into a repayment status described in paragraph (c)(1) of this section after 12 months of collection activity, the institution shall require the collection firm to return the account to the institution.
(d) If the institution is unable to place the loan in repayment as described in paragraph (c)(1) of this section after following the procedures in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section, the institution shall continue to make annual attempts to collect from the borrower until -
(1) The loan is recovered through litigation;
(2) The account is assigned to the United States; or
(3) The account is written off under § 674.47(g).
(1) Subject to § 674.47(d), the institution shall assess against the borrower all reasonable costs incurred by the institution with regard to a loan obligation.
(2) The institution shall determine the amount of collection costs that shall be charged to the borrower for actions required under this section, and §§ 674.44, 674.46, 674. 48, and 674.49, based on either -
(i) Actual costs incurred for these actions with regard to the individual borrower's loan; or
(ii) Average costs incurred for similar actions taken to collect loans in similar stages of delinquency.
(3) For loans placed with a collection firm on or after July 1, 2008, reasonable collection costs charged to the borrower may not exceed -
(i) For first collection efforts, 30 percent of the amount of principal, interest, and late charges collected;
(ii) For second and subsequent collection efforts, 40 percent of the amount of principal, interest, and late charges collected; and
(iii) For collection efforts resulting from litigation, 40 percent of the amount of principal, interest, and late charges collected plus court costs.
(4) The Fund must be reimbursed for collection costs initially charged to the Fund and subsequently paid by the borrower.
(1) An institution shall ensure that any funds collected from the borrower are -
(i) Deposited in interest-bearing bank accounts that are -
(A) Insured by an agency of the Federal Government; or
(B) Secured by collateral of reasonably equivalent value; or
(ii) Invested in low-risk income-producing securities, such as obligations issued or guaranteed by the United States.
(2) An institution shall exercise the level of care required of a fiduciary with regard to these deposits and investments.
(g) Preemption of State law. The provisions of this section preempt any State law, including State statutes, regulations, or rules, that would conflict with or hinder satisfaction of the requirements or frustrate the purposes of this section.
(h) As part of the collection activities provided for in this section, the institution must provide the borrower with information on the availability of the Student Loan Ombudsman's office.