CFPB expands efforts to educate students about loans

The new federal agency tasked with protecting consumers from predatory lending practices is now making college students aware of their loan options one of its primary goals.

Richard Cordray, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's new executive, recently said that he would like the agency to begin focusing on the effects student loans have on borrowers, according to a report from the Northwestern University student newspaper the Daily Northwestern. As such, the agency is now trying to educate Americans about the various loan options available to those looking to finance their education.

"The agency is going to be working to make sure that there's a transparent, clear marketplace, so that students taking out loans, looking at credit cards and debit cards, know what fees they're looking at and so there's no hidden fees," Rich Williams, a higher education advocate at the U.S. Public Interest Research Groups, told the newspaper.

Consumers should also be aware of their current credit standing and how that may affect their loan options. For example, ordering a copy of a credit reports may help them spot score-lowering markings that weren't reported in a legally compliant way, something that could deny them access to the best available interest rates.