Before leaving office, acting education secretary Mitchell Zais ordered Navient, one of the nation’s largest student loan companies, to refund $22.3 million that it allegedly overcharged the Education Department more than a decade ago.
In the early 2000s, the department’s inspector general found several private lenders, including Navient’s former sister company Sallie Mae, overcharged the federal government by tens of millions of dollars.
Investigators recommended in 2013 that the department have Sallie Mae return the estimated $22.3 million owed, but the company denied any wrongdoing. Navient, which assumed Sallie Mae’s liabilities when the companies parted ways, continued to fight the audit and appealed to the Trump administration.
Zais, who took over when Education Secretary Betsy DeVos resigned last month, has held the company liable to repay the money.