student loan debt, Student Loans

Do Student Loans Have a Statute of Limitations?

When it comes to most debts, any time the individual who owes the debt stops making payments, the debt will then go into collections. At that point, the original creditor can make the decision to sue the person owing the debt for the remaining balance. However, the creditor only has so long to file that lawsuit. Like any other cause of action, a statute of limitations places restrictions on how long the creditor has to pursue collection of what is owed.  

Each state has its own statutes of limitations, but when it comes to federal student loan debt, federal law governs how this debt is collected. Federal student loans are not governed by the same rules as most consumer debts. In fact, federal student loans do not have a statute of limitations at all, no matter how old they may be.  

Bankruptcy Law, student loan debt, Student Loans

Bankruptcy: Finally An Option for Student Loan Debt?

Student loan debt is at an all-time high with 44 million Americans carrying outstanding amounts of the debt. It is currently estimated that $1.5 trillion is owed in student loan debt. With that many people graduating with student loans, it should come as no surprise that many of these borrowers eventually default.

Approximately 11 percent of student loan borrowers have defaulted or were delinquent on their loans by the end of 2018. For the most part, consumer debt, including credit card and medical debt, can be discharged in a bankruptcy case. Only a very select list of debt is not allowed to be discharged at the end of a bankruptcy case, including child support, alimony, criminal fines and certain overdue tax debt.

Debt Relief, Student Loans, Timothy Kingcade Posts

How Student Loan Debt is Different From Other Debt

Debt plagues so many Americans today, but the type of debt varies from person to person. When it comes to debt collections or even bankruptcy, how the debt is treated depends on the type of debt. Student loan debt is one category that is treated differently than other common debt categories involved in bankruptcy.

Student loan debt has doubled since the most recent recession, which presents a major problem for many borrowers who are struggling to repay their loans, so it is extremely important to understand how student loan debt is treated in bankruptcy and collection matters.

Debts normally fall into two different categories: secured and unsecured. Secured debt is “secured” by either another person or an asset purchased, meaning if the consumer defaults on the debt, the lender has recourse to seize the asset.

Unsecured debt is not connected to another person or asset and commonly includes credit cards, personal loans, and medical debt. Student loan debt is also another form of unsecured debt, although it is not treated the same way as other unsecured debt. One major difference is the fact that student loan debt does not go away so easily.

If the borrower fails to pay on a student loan, the lender will likely initiate a collection action, which will result in a judgment against the consumer and likely a garnishment of that person’s wages. The same situation occurs with any other unsecured debt, but the difference is student loan debt is not easily discharged through bankruptcy.

It is possible, but the legal standard that needs to be met for this to be done is quite strict. The borrower will need to prove to the court that a good faith effort has been made to repay the loan, as well as proving undue hardship that is likely to continue if the debt is not discharged. It is not an easy burden of proof, and if the court does not discharge the debt, it will remain with the individual once the bankruptcy is over.

Student loans include both federal and private loans. Those loans that are federal are backed by the federal government and are disbursed by the U.S. Department of Education. On the other hand, private loans are backed by private lending institutions. The difference is critical in that federal student loans are not restricted by a statute of limitation when it comes to collecting on the debt.

In addition, federal loans have certain protections that private loans do not and offer different types of repayment plans in the event the borrower’s life circumstances change. For the most part, federal loan repayment terms are around ten years, but they can be extended or graduated or even income-based in terms of repayment. Additionally, some federal loans offer forgiveness programs.

Private student loans are oftentimes a last resort when it comes to financing education. However, many students max out their federal lending and have no choice but to supplement with private options given the cost of education.

It is currently estimated that somewhere around 40 percent of all student loan borrowers will default at some point on their student loans. Many different mistakes can be made when it comes to student loan repayment. If you believe you qualify for student loan debt relief, speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney about your options.

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 Loans, Timothy Kingcade Posts

The Dangers of Co-Signing a Student Loan

It has become common practice for parents of high school students looking to enter college in the fall to co-sign or take out private loans to help their children afford the costs associated with a higher education. Many times, the scholarships (if available to the student) have already been maximized, and the financial aid offered through federal loans simply is not enough to cover the complete costs of college.  However, according to a recent study taking on a private loan or co-signing on one to help a child go to college can seriously hurt the parent later when it comes to retirement.

Most private student loans require a co-signer since most high school students do not graduate with well-established credit. Parents will often jump to co-sign, not even thinking of the potential consequences.

“It’s portrayed to them as if they’re going to simply be a reference or endorser, when the truth is they‘ll be obligated to pay this loan if something happens and the primary borrower can’t pay,” said Seth Frotman, Student Loan Ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). “We now see more and more cosigners going into retirement facing unprecedented levels of student debt.”

According to a survey released by the website LendEDU, a site that specializes in student loan refinancing and private student loan borrowing, of the 500 parents who co-signed on their children’s loans, one-third of them did not fully understand the consequences of co-signing. Out of that number, 35 percent of them later said they regretted doing it. More than half of them said their credit scores took a hit after co-signing. More than one-third of them said that the lower credit scores later hurt their chances of qualifying for any financing in the future.

The parent’s credit can be negatively affected if the child later misses payments or fails to pay the loan on time. The survey also showed that more than one-third of the parents picked up the loan payments for their children.

However, what happens if the parent is unaware their child is keeping up on the loan payments? Many cosigners are not informed of the status of their co-signed loans until it is too late- many times to the point where interest had accumulated and fees had been assessed.  The survey also showed that more than half of the parents worried that their child’s student loan debt would jeopardize their retirement plans.

Every student is different, and while some may naturally be responsible, get a job straight out of college and make payments on the loans without any issue, many students fail to understand the responsibility of paying back these loans and are not so fortunate with their job prospects upon graduation.

One option available is a Tuition Installment Plan (TIP). Through a TIP program, the college may divide tuition into equal monthly payments with no interest added. If the parent or child can afford it, this avoids making one lump sum payment and avoids taking out the additional private loan to cover costs. However, look into whether the student’s specific college offers this option.

We have written previous blog postings on the dangers of co-signing a loan – which puts more than your name on the line.  If you have any questions on this topic, feel free to contact our firm.

There are ways to file for bankruptcy with student loan debt.  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. 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.

Related Resources: https://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/cosigning-loan-your-credit-score-will-drop-you-ll-retire-n739366

 

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Student Loans, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Thousands of Student Loan Debts Could Be Wiped Out Due to Missing Paperwork

Tens of thousands of borrowers will likely see their private student loan debt erased due to a technicality- missing paperwork and incomplete ownership records.  One of the largest owners of private student loans in the U.S., The National Collegiate Student Loan Trusts is at the center of a legal dispute involving at least $5 billion in student loans, the New York Times reports.

Judges have dismissed dozens of lawsuits filed by the lender against student borrowers due to the lack of documentation proving the loans are even owed.  The National Collegiate Student Loan Trusts, which includes 15 trusts that hold 800,000 private student loans, has brought tens of thousands of lawsuits in the past five years against borrowers who have fallen behind on their payments.  The trusts hold loans totaling $12 billion and more than $5 billion of those loans are in default.  The mix up occurred when the loans, which were originally made by banks, were sold to lenders and the ownership records were lost in the process.

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. 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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Student Loans, Timothy Kingcade Posts

SEC Settles Fraud Charges against ITT Technical Institute

The fraud case has been settled against ITT Technical Institute, but the Securities Exchange Commission continues to pursue top executives from the college for deceiving investors about the high rates of late payments and the number of defaults on student loans backed by the company.

ITT executives assured investors in conference calls that the programs were performing well when in fact the company was making secret payments on the delinquent accounts to delay defaults, according to the complaint.

ITT Technical Institute ended its operations in September, shutting down 137 campuses after the U.S. Department of Education cut off access to federal loans and grants and threatened to pull the school’s accreditation amid mounting lawsuits and investigations.  The company filed for bankruptcy protection, leaving 35,000 students with worthless degrees and many with high interest student loan debt.

The student loan programs are what is at the heart of the SEC lawsuit.  ITT created two in-house student loan programs.  To get investors to finance the programs, the company offered a guarantee to limit the risk of students not repaying the debt.  According to the complaint, if a certain percentage of loans defaulted, the company agreed to cover the principal, interest and fees.

The SEC said investors did not have accurate information about the performance of the debt because ITT kept the loan programs off its balance sheets.  Regulators said executives failed to tell investors that the company was facing $30 million in guarantee obligation payments at the end of 2012 and used accounting tricks to cover up the numbers.

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. 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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Bankruptcy Law, Debt Relief, Student Loans, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Banks Revise Student Loan Contracts to Help Borrowers Avoid Automatic Default

Private lenders are revising student loan contracts to ensure borrowers are not placed in default when the co-signer of their loan dies or declares bankruptcy. In a letter obtained by The Washington Post, Consumer Bankers Association President Richard Hunt informed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) director Richard Cordray that the 10 member banks who offer student loans, including Wells Fargo, PNC Bank, Discover and Sallie Mae, have changed their policy on these type auto defaults.

The banks will no longer trigger a default when a co-signer dies, while most will do the same in the event of a bankruptcy. The same policy will apply with existing loans.

Earlier this year, the CFPB warned bankers that they were at risk of breaking the law by automatically placing people who were current on their loans in default. The practice occurs in the private student loan market, where banks and other financial firms provide education financing with loan contracts that give them the right to trigger a default, even if the loan is being paid on time. Auto defaults leave borrowers with no choice but to repay the entire balance of the loan or ruin their credit, making it difficult to purchase a home or car.

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. 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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Bankruptcy Law, Debt Relief, Student Loans, Timothy Kingcade Posts

CFPB Stops Illegal Practices by Student Loan Servicers & U.S. Dept. of Education Debt Collectors

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has taken action against debt collectors and servicers who took advantage of student loan borrowers by making illegal garnishment threats and using illegal auto default provisions in loan contracts.

The violations include:

1. CFPB examiners found that one or more debt collectors threatened wage garnishment against federal student loan borrowers who were not eligible for garnishment. The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) documented abuses by private collection agencies that the U.S. Dept. of Education hires to collect federal student loans in its 2014 report.

2. CFPB examiners found that one or more servicers of private student loans were unfairly invoking “auto-default” clauses to treat both the borrower and the co-signer in default if either of them died or filed bankruptcy. Auto-default clauses allow the servicer to demand payment of the entire loan balance even if all payments on the loan are up to date.

The Department of Education terminated the contracts of five private collection agencies after finding abuses in February 2015, but more needs to be done through enhanced monitoring and guidance for all private collection agencies to ensure they are consistently providing borrowers with accurate information regarding their loans.

Too many student loan borrowers have already been harmed by this abusive practice, which penalizes student borrowers who are current on their payments, simply because the co-signer has died or filed bankruptcy.

NACBA President Ed Boltz said: “This positive step by CFPB puts an end to an outrageous guilty-until-proven-innocent situation where individuals faithfully paying off student loans are thrown into default because of the status of their co-signer. The fact that a co-signer on a student loan has filed for bankruptcy to deal with other debts is in no way a basis for putting into default a student loan that is being paid on time. It is time that the federal government stands up for student loan borrowers who are doing everything right but nonetheless could see their credit ruined as the result of an unrelated action of a co-signer.”

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. 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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Credit, Debt Relief, Student Loans, Timothy Kingcade Posts

6 Things College Grads Should Be Doing About Their Student Loans

On average, college graduates have approximately $37,000 in student loan debt, according to Cappex.com. Most student loan companies allow students a grace period after graduation of six months to one year before they start requiring payments. However, it is important to get your student loans in order immediately after graduation so that you know what to expect down the road.

Below are six things recent grads should be doing to prepare for their student loan repayment.

  1. Get organized. Most students graduate with anywhere between eight and ten separate student loans. As a result, many tend to lose track of their total loan amount by the time they graduate. If you have only taken out loans through the federal government, you can find everything you need to know on the National Student Loan Database System website. This site will simplify your loans in terms of breaking down exactly how much you owe and when you took out each loan. However, if you have also taken out private student loans, it is best to check your credit report. This will show you the status of each loan, the date you opened it and your remaining balances. Also, make sure you note the interest rates for each individual loan.
  2. Determine the Best Monthly Payment for You. Now that you know how much you owe, it is time to determine how much you can afford to pay each month. If you do not select a repayment option, your lender will put you on a standard 10-year repayment plan. When deciding how much you can afford to pay each month, it is best to select highest payment you can afford. This will potentially save you thousands in interest. However, if it means you cannot afford to put money into a retirement fund or a savings account, opt for a lower payment.
  3. Stay on Top of Your Payments. Although student loans take longer to default than other debts, it will negatively impact your credit store if you miss a few payments.
  4. Be Strategic in Paying Off Your Loans. If you have extra money to put toward your student loans, put it toward the loan with the highest interest rate. Also, if you pay extra one month, contact the company to be sure they put the additional amount toward the principal balance. Otherwise, they may treat it as the next month’s payment.
  5. Consider Consolidation. Before you consolidate your loans, make sure you take your interest rates into account. If you have some loans with higher interest rates than others, it might not be the best move to consolidate. If you combine your loans and pay extra some months, you can no longer put the additional amount toward the loan with the higher interest rate.
  6. Educate Yourself on Deferment and Forbearance. Deferment refers to the period when your payments are placed on temporary hold. Sometimes interest does not accrue during the deferment period. Deferment is typically available to students who have enrolled in grad school, are unemployed or experiencing economic hardship. On the other hand, forbearance is what you apply for if you are ineligible for a deferment. This is a time period, typically 12 months, when interest is accrued and added to the principal balance.

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. 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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Bankruptcy Law, Debt Relief, Student Loans, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Certain Private Student Loans Eligible for Discharge in Bankruptcy

Just because your so-called private student loan uses the term, “student loan” it doesn’t necessarily mean it is one.  In fact, for purposes of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, a student loan must be from an “eligible educational institution” to be considered non-dischargeable. If it does not qualify, discharging the loan can be easier than you think.

A student loan must meet specific bankruptcy code requirements. U.S. Bankruptcy Code states a private student loan must be a “qualified education loan, as defined in section 221(d)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.”

The student loan must be from an “eligible educational institution.”  The Department of Education publishes a list every year of the qualifying schools. If an institution is not on the list, the loan is not considered a “student loan” under the Bankruptcy Code. Therefore, it can be automatically discharged in bankruptcy.

So how do you know whether your student loans are from a qualified educational institution?

  • Make sure you know what type of loan you have. This argument only works for private student loans. Just because your loan is with Sallie Mae or Navient does not signify whether it is a federal or private loan. Go to the National Student Loan Data System, and check if your loan is there.
  • If your loan is a private rather than a federal student loan, the next step is to see if the loan is from an “eligible educational institution.” The Department of Education publishes a list every year. You will need to locate the list for the year you received your student loans and see if your school is on there.
  • The law is not always “black and white” when it comes to discharging student loan debt. Oftentimes, it is left to the interpretation of judges on a case-by-case basis. Private student loan debt is the most problematic debt in America. Many courts are finding private student loans should also be considered as an “educational benefit” as that term is understood in the Bankruptcy Code.

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. 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, P.A. 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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.