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Student debt can balloon with little notice

The former Ohio State student paid down her student loan to just $23.

By last year, when the Ohio attorney general’s office sued to recoup that 21-year-old debt, she owed $968.

Across Ohio every year, lawyers working for the attorney general sue thousands of college students with unpaid loans from one of the state’s public universities.

A Dispatch investigation of 114 cases filed in Franklin County found that some former Ohio State students have been wrongfully sued. Others, because of Ohio’s lax laws on notification of lawsuits, didn’t know they had been sued. For some, their debts date to President Richard Nixon’s first term. With compounding interest and fees assessed on top of other fees, some of these borrowers now owe as much as five times the original principal.

Attorney General Mike DeWine said Friday that, because of the newspaper’s findings, he will convene a citizens’ group within 10 days to examine how universities and his office handle student loans. The group will be asked to recommend any needed changes.

Read more at The Columbus Dispatch

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