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.  

Coronavirus, COVID-19, student loan debt, Student Loans

How Student Loan Borrowers Will Benefit from the Stimulus Bill

The recently passed $2.2 trillion stimulus bill provides several different forms of financial assistance for American consumers during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. The new bill also provides options for student loan borrowers who are struggling to keep up on their loan payments, which comes as good news for the over 44 million borrowers holding more than $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loan debt.

Borrowers who have federally owned student loans will not have to pay on their loans through at least September 30, including Parent PLUS Loans. This payment suspension will occur automatically and does not need to be requested by the borrower.

student loan debt

What Borrowers Should Know About Refinancing Student Loan Debt

If you are facing reduced income as the coronavirus spreads, keeping up with your bills may become increasingly challenging—especially if you are among the more than 43 million people in the US who have student loan debt.

Student loan borrowers regularly receive email advertisements regarding the possibility of saving money on their loans by refinancing their student loan debt. The possibility of saving thousands in student loan interest paid on the debt is tempting, but not every refinancing option is legitimate. However, for borrowers who are paying on loans with rather high interest rates, refinancing through a reputable source can be an excellent way to lower how much interest they pay in the end.

Debt Relief, student loan debt, Student Loans

Recent Court Decision Sheds Light on the Deceptive Practices of Student Loan Service Providers

A recent Seventh Circuit court ruling is providing hope to many student loan borrowers who are finding themselves in a difficult financial situation due to the heavy burden of their debt. The Seventh Circuit has ruled that a student loan servicer may be liable for damages caused as a result of their promises to advise student loan borrowers on how to handle their financial situations, directing them into plans that only benefit the lenders and hurt borrowers in the long run.

The case at the center of it all is Nelson v. Great Lakes Higher Education,  which was a case brought by student borrower, Nicole Nelson. Nelson paid for her college education through federal student loans, which she began repaying in 2009. However, she soon found herself in a tough situation when her income dropped due to a job change two years later.

Debt Relief, student loan debt

Seniors Carrying as Much Student Loan Debt as Borrowers in Their 30s

The student loan debt crisis is at an all-time high, but it appears that when it comes to the age of the borrower, this type of debt does not discriminate. According to Experian, a review of student loan balances across different age categories showed that borrowers who were in their 30s and borrowers who were in their 60s carried around the same amount of student loan debt.

According to Experian, the average 30-year-old borrower owes $36,406 in student loan debt while the average 60-year-old borrower owes $35,637.

Bankruptcy Law, Debt Relief, student loan debt, Student Loans

How to Discharge Student Loan Debt in Bankruptcy

When it comes to discharging debts in a bankruptcy case, student loan debt has traditionally been one of the most difficult debts to discharge. The fact that this debt can be so difficult to get rid of in a bankruptcy case has kept some consumers from filing for bankruptcy. The problem is it can be very difficult for a person who is in a financially tight situation to keep paying on this debt outside of bankruptcy.  Student loan debt is oftentimes the largest debt a consumer carries, outside of their mortgage.  If someone goes through bankruptcy only to continue being stuck with his or her student loan debt, that person may end up in the same financial situation, again.

Here is how to  discharge student loan debt in bankruptcy.

Undue Hardship

Student loan debt can be discharged if the borrower can demonstrate that he or she would suffer an undue hardship if forced to pay back his or her student loans. However, bankruptcy courts do not have one set standard to guide them in determining what exactly qualifies as an undue hardship. The U.S. Bankruptcy Code does not give a clear definition for what undue hardship is, which could be why so many inconsistencies exist among bankruptcy courts. Some courts will only use the undue hardship test to grant full discharge of the loans while others will allow for partial discharge. Others view the test as an extremely difficult standard to meet while others may be more lenient. At the end of the day, if the borrower has a very low income or took the student loan out to attend a for-profit trade school, he or she may have a better chance to get the obligation discharged, although other factors will be considered, as well.

Debt Relief, student loan debt

Loan Forgiveness Applications Stall at the U.S. Department of Education

Student Loan Forgiveness

More than 180,000 applications remain pending in the hands of the U.S. Dept of Education, leaving borrowers with little to no answers when it comes to their student loan forgiveness. This lack of progress has many borrowers feel that their chances of receiving any type of relief for their student loan debt is slipping away.

Last year, a federal judge ruled that the Department of Education’s delays in processing student loan forgiveness applications from borrowers who were defrauded through for-profit school lending schemes was illegal and in direct violation of federal law. The ruling supported claims that the Department was purposely ignoring borrowers seeking promised relief from their debt.

student loan debt, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Teachers Sue U.S. Over Student Loans that Were Not Forgiven

The American Federation of Teachers has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education on behalf of educators who argue that they have been wrongfully denied loan forgiveness under the federal public service loan forgiveness program.

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program was created more than a decade ago to encourage young graduates to seek employment in a government job or in public service industries. While the pay in these types of jobs tends to be lower, the promise of having their federal student loans forgiven at the end of a ten-year period was created to entice them to apply for these positions.

Under the program, borrowers who work in certain public service professions, including law enforcement, nursing, and teaching, and who make payments consistently for ten years, can have their federal loans forgiven. It is estimated that more than one million borrowers have filed official paperwork to participate in the program. However, many of these borrowers are finding out that they suddenly do not qualify for forgiveness for one reason or another, including not carrying the correct type of loan.

Debt Relief, student loan debt, Student Loans, Uncategorized

$5.3 Million in Student Loan Debt Canceled as Part of the ITT Tech National Lawsuit Settlement

Hundreds of Pennsylvania students who attended the now-bankrupt ITT Technical Institute will receive $5.3 million in student loan debt relief as part of a national settlement. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shaprio said 570 former ITT students will have their student loan debt canceled as part of a multi-state settlement.

“With the private student loan program that ITT and CUSO established, ITT Tech was able to take advantage of thousands of hardworking students who were simply trying to complete their education,” Shapiro said in a statement.

The national settlement provides $168 million for more than 18,000 students harmed by abusive lending practices. ITT Tech targeted “low income” students who could not afford to pay tuition out of pocket and relied on federal loans to pay for school, according the settlement. A coalition of 44 states reached a settlement with Student CU Connect CUSO LLC, which was managing the loans for ITT.

ITT Tech had more than 136 campuses in 38 states when it shut down in September 2016. This $600 million settlement cancels all the student loan debt owed to the school.

The agreement specifically deals with student borrowers who attended ITT Tech between the years 2006 and 2016. The settlement also returns $3 million to students who made payments on their loan to the school after the school’s parent company, ITT Educational declared bankruptcy in 2016.

Click here to read more on this story.

For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available.  Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. There are ways to file for bankruptcy with student loan debt.  It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Bankruptcy Law, Debt Relief, student loan debt, Student Loans

Possible Solutions to the Student Loan Debt Crisis

With more than $1.5 trillion in student loan debt owed nationwide, it can be safe to say that the student loan crisis has reached a breaking point. For lawmakers, one solution to bring change to this problem is allowing student loan debt to be discharged in bankruptcy court.

Another measure that has received a great deal of public support is Senator Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to completely wipe out the majority of America’s student loan debt through a loan forgiveness program. Her proposal has received support from other presidential hopefuls, including Senators Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar, as well as Representative Eric Swallwell, all of whom are co-sponsoring it.

Recently, the American Bankruptcy Institute’s recommendations to allow student loan debt to be discharged in bankruptcy were published.

The average college student graduates with about $30,000 in student loans. This number does not include those students who pursue a master’s or post-graduate degree. Many of those students end up owing six figures in student loan debt.

The burden these loans present to young graduates is intense and can even follow them into retirement. Outstanding student loan debt can affect a person’s job in 13 states. To keep up with loan payments, many borrowers have accumulated credit card debt, just to be able to afford basic living expenses.

Student loans, while not impossible to discharge in bankruptcy, are extremely difficult to eliminate in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. Other obligations may be eliminated at the end of the case, but the student loan ones will stay with the borrower even after other obligations are discharged.

Bankruptcy courts use the “undue hardship” test to determine whether a filer should have his or her student loan debt discharged, but no set standard has ever been made on what qualifies as an undue hardship, making it very difficult to ever receive relief. New bi-partisan legislation has been introduced and proposes regulations that ensure student loan debt is treated like other forms of consumer debt in bankruptcy, meaning it can be easier to discharge.

Without the ability to discharge the largest amount of debt many bankruptcy filers are carrying; these individuals will never be able to receive the fresh start bankruptcy is meant to give them. While this change may not completely solve the student loan crisis, many financial experts are hopeful it can be a catalyst for change.

Click here to read more on this story.

For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available.  Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. There are ways to file for bankruptcy with student loan debt.  It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.