Aug 18 -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau or CFPB) invites comments to OMB by September 21, 2023 regarding the proposed Student Loan Survey. [Comments due 30 days after submission to OMB on August 22.]
Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the CFPB is charged with researching, analyzing, and reporting on topics relating to the Bureau's mission, including consumer behavior, consumer awareness, and developments in markets for consumer financial products and services. To improve its understanding of how consumers engage with financial markets, the CFPB has successfully used credit record data as a sampling frame to survey people about their experiences in consumer credit markets.
The CFPB now seeks to obtain approval for a new one-time survey of student loan borrowers to understand their borrowing decisions, their experience managing their loans, and their expectations for the future. The survey will be sent to a random sample selected from individuals in the CFPB's new Consumer Credit Information Panel (CCIP) which is itself a sample of de-identified credit records from one of the nationwide consumer reporting agencies. The survey responses will be matched to the CFPB's CCIP data to provide a more complete picture of borrowers' financial standing. The survey will follow similar methods to the CFPB's prior Making Ends Meet and Survey of Consumer Views on Debt surveys but sample a different population of borrowers and focus primarily on student loans.
The CFPB will not receive personally identifiable information. Any such information will be removed by the contractor prior to delivering final products. We will collect demographics, measures of financial well-being, consumers' feelings about their financial well-being, and experience with the student loan system, as well as behavioral measures related to seeking out financial information or willingness to take financial-related actions.
The main research questions for this information collection relate to consumers’ use of and experience with student loans. Little is known, for example, about how various student loan discharge and forgiveness programs have affected borrowers’ use of other credit or how borrowers’ experiences with servicers affect their use of income-driven repayment plans and how that varies by their total debt burden. Likewise, there is no information from a representative sample of borrowers about how they get help from or provide help to others in repaying student loans. This information collection will also provide a first look at how borrowers are managing with the end of the federal student loan payment suspension.
The information will also serve as the basis for a CFPB report on student loan borrowers experiences and behaviors overall and during the federal student loan payment pause. The data collected will also provide information on topics of interest to researchers who study student loans, especially areas where existing data cannot answer key research questions.
Where appropriate, the Office of Research plans to disseminate the results of this research and make versions of the data and analysis available publicly. Therefore, the data to be collected under this proposed clearance will not only improve the CFPB’s understanding of the student loan market, but it will also increase the knowledge available to other policymakers and researchers. Publication of our research will increase the public transparency about the work that we are doing.
To the best of our knowledge, the Student Loan Borrower survey program is one of the only surveys of American Consumers that uses a panel dataset of consumer credit information as a sampling frame. The information that this design provides is unique among data available on consumer finances. Other surveys that employ similar methods focus specifically on mortgage borrowing (American Survey of Mortgage Borrowers, National Survey of Mortgage Originations) or broadly survey consumers on all consumer finances (Making Ends Meet survey). The Student Loan Borrower survey, on the other hand, will provide more detailed information on both federal and private student loan borrowers’ experience with their student loans, which are the first major credit product for many consumers.
CFPB Student Loans: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/data-research/consumer-credit-trends/student-loans/
CFPB submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202308-3170-001
Click IC List for information collection instrument, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this webpage.
For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806