Debt Relief, student loan debt, Student Loans

White House Considering Executive Action to Cancel Portion of Nation’s Federal Student Loan Debt

The Biden administration is considering issuing an executive order that would effectively cancel some portion of the $1.6 trillion in federal student loan debt held by 43 million Americans. This statement comes as no surprise as student loan forgiveness and student loan reform were consistently topics of discussion during the 2020 Presidential campaign.  

The statement came last Thursday from White House press secretary Jen Psaki. She indicated the administration was looking into whether President Biden had the executive authority to cancel a portion of the nation’s outstanding student loan debt. However, they also indicated that they would welcome any legislation brought forth by Congress to do the same.  

student loan debt, Student Loans

Beware of this Student Loan Debt Relief Scam in 2021

Student loan borrowers look for ways to save on their loan payments, including having their loans forgiven. However, for the 10 million student loan borrowers who were part of the recent Navient settlement, they now find themselves at risk of falling prey to a new scam.  

This recent Navient settlement came as part of a student loan forgiveness lawsuit. Navient is one of the country’s largest student loan providers, and while the settlement does not necessarily affect how much each borrower owes, scammers are targeting borrowers, by offering false claims of debt forgiveness.  

Debt Relief, student loan debt, Student Loans

Student Loan Changes on the Horizon in 2021

Changes are on the horizon for student loans in 2021. Student loan reform has been an issue discussed for years, if not decades, but several events that occurred in 2020 have pushed the issue to the forefront. The presidential election, the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and the current economic climate have all pushed lawmakers to realize that student loan reform is a very real issue, and one that requires immediate action. The following possible changes could be coming in the new year.  

Student Loan Cancellation 

A number of recent legislative proposals have brought up the idea of student loan forgiveness. One proposal was included in the Heroes Act stimulus package proposed by House Democrats. In the legislation, lawmakers proposed to cancel up to $10,000 in student loan debt for borrowers who could demonstrate that they were struggling financially. Unfortunately, even though the legislation moved forward to the Senate, this portion of the original bill was removed. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Chuck Schumer (D-MA) have proposed legislation that would cancel $50,000 in student loan debt for borrowers who earn less than $125,000 in annual income. Lawmakers have pushed on President Elect Joe Biden to make a statement as to whether he supports or does not support student loan cancellation. Biden has stated that he would not likely pursue an executive order to cancel student loans, but rather, he encouraged Congress to consider immediate cancellation of $10,000 of student loans across the board. However, the fate of this proposal hinges on whether Republicans will retain control over the Senate. If they do, it is unlikely that student loan cancellation will move forward. 

student loan debt, Student Loans

Former For-Profit College Operator Settles Bankruptcy Case with Department of Education

A settlement was reached between former for-profit college operator, FCC Holdings Inc., and the U.S. Department of EducationThe $8 million settlement is part of the company’s bankruptcy case and signifies the end of years of legal battles 

FCC Holdings formerly operated 41 for-profit colleges under various names. Before filing for bankruptcy, FCC Holdings sold 14 of their for-profit colleges to another company, International Education Corporation (IEC). IEC still operates 11 of these campuses in Florida and Texas under the name of Florida Career Colleges.

student loan debt, Student Loans

Facing a Broken Student Loan System Borrowers Set Hopes on New Reform Bill

The student loan system has been considered broken for quite some time, and while many reform efforts have been made to help improve the process, nothing has been successful thus far. However, a new student loan reform bill could signal meaningful change is on the way.

This reform bill focuses on how student loan debt is handled in bankruptcy. Traditionally, student loans are non-dischargeable in a personal bankruptcy case, unless a specific set of criteria are met. The “Consumer Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2020,” proposed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) proposes a way to make this process easier, allowing more student loans to be discharged through personal bankruptcy. The bill addresses both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases and proposes changing the current systems under each chapter by one system, entitled Chapter 10.  

student loan debt, Student Loans

Baby Boomers and Higher-Income Earners Carry Largest Amount of Student Loan Debt

Student loan debt affects more than 44 million Americans, a collective $1.67 trillion in outstanding student loans.  Members of the Baby Boomer generation owe the largest portion of student loan debt, as well as borrowers who earn higher incomes. 

According to a recent study by Fidelity, that surveyed 250,000 outstanding student loans, Baby Boomers owed 33 percent (33%) more debt in 2020 than they did in 2019. The biggest reason for this increase has to do with the number of Baby Boomers who took out Parent Plus loans to help their children and grandchildren attend college.  

student loan debt, Student Loans

A New Loophole for Certain Kinds of Private Student Loans

Student loan debt has traditionally been extremely difficult to discharge in consumer bankruptcy cases. For those consumers struggling with insurmountable student loan debt, the ability to seek a fresh start through a bankruptcy case has been impossible for this reason. Even if they are able to successfully discharge most of their debts, they still walk away with a significant amount of  student loan debt, including both federal and private student loans. A new loophole could change this fact for borrowers who are struggling to pay their private student loan debts.  

A staggering 45 million American consumers owe a collective $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. Over one million borrowers defaulted on their student loan debt annually. The only method available to these borrowers to discharge their loans in bankruptcy is to meet the “undue hardship” test. Unfortunately, courts view this exception very narrowly and not all courts apply the test uniformly.

student loan debt, Student Loans

ITT Tech Student Loan Lender Must Pay $330 Million in Debt Relief to Former Students

An agreement has been reached between the attorneys general from 43 states and the now-closed ITT Technical Institute (ITT Tech). This agreement was part of a lawsuit brought by former ITT Tech students, requesting approximately $330 million in student loan forgiveness for 43,000 loans.

This lawsuit was a joint legal effort brought on by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and 43 different states. The settlement was made with PEAKS Trust, a private lending institution that is run by ITT and is also affiliated with several Deutsche Bank entities.

student loan debt, Student Loans

Half a Million Borrowers Petition President Trump to Have Their Student Loan Debt Cancelled

More than half a million student loan borrowers have signed a petition posted on Change.org, asking that President Trump sign an executive order that would effectively cancel all federally held student loans. This request makes up around 85 percent of all outstanding student loan debt.

The creator of the petition and founder of student loan advocacy group, StudentLoanJustice.org, Alan Collinge, stated he created this petition as he believes this would be the least expensive way, as well as the most effective way, to bring in trillions of dollars into the national economy. During a time of global pandemic, where the economy has taken a hit, he believes this would be the best way to give the economy a boost.

student loan debt, Student Loans

Bankruptcy Court Discharges $200,000 in Private Student Loan Debt for Colorado Couple

A major victory was scored for student loan borrowers after a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit issued a ruling stating that a Colorado couple’s private student loan debt could be discharged in their personal bankruptcy case. The ruling allowed $200,000 of private student loan debt to be wiped out, breaking the long-standing stigma that student loan debt, particularly private student loan debt, is near impossible to discharge in a bankruptcy case.

The Colorado couple had taken out $200,000 in private student loans from Navient, one of the nation’s largest student loan issuers. The ruling comes after a similar bankruptcy case, where the borrower also had their student loan debt discharged. In that case, the loan servicer appealed the ruling.