student loan debt, Student Loans

Debt Cancellation for Disabled Borrowers Reinstated by the Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education announced recently that they will cancel federal student loan debt for borrowers who are no longer able to work due to disabilities. This announcement affects tens of thousands of borrowers currently paying on outstanding federal student loan balances.   

Student loan advocates say that this small step is the first of many to help reform the student lending system, including opening debt forgiveness to groups who are legally entitled to receive it but have not yet received debt forgiveness.  

According to an investigation conducted by NPR, 28 percent of eligible student loan borrowers have either had their loans completely erased or are on track to be erased through the “Total and Permanent Disability Discharge” program. This number is alarmingly low. According to the Department of Education, more than 41,000 borrowers have permanent disabilities. These 41,000 borrowers owe a collective $1.3 billion in student loan debts that would otherwise be eligible for discharge.  

Many of these disabled borrowers had previously had their loans erased. However, once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they struggled to submit required income-monitoring documentation, resulting in these loans being restored. The Department of Education announced that borrowers who are currently required to submit income-monitoring information will not have to do this for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Waiving this requirement will help ensure that borrowers who are totally and permanently disabled will not be hurt by their inability to submit required paperwork during this health crisis.  

For several decades, federal law has made it possible for borrowers who are no longer able to work and earn an income to support themselves due to a severe and permanent disability to receive relief from their student loan debt. While the goals behind the law are admirable, the execution has left much to be desired. Between March 2016 and September 2019, NPR reported that only 28 percent of those eligible for debt forgiveness actually received it.  

NPR also reported that of the 365,000 borrowers who are eligible for this relief, 225,000 had defaulted on their student loan obligations.  

Many argue that the problem with the system has to do with the fact that disabled borrowers have the actively seek out the loan forgiveness. The requirements placed on these borrowers to respond to eligibility notices and report their income qualifications have left many of them to fall through the cracks. Requiring someone who is already struggling with a debilitating disability, such as chronic memory loss or other illness, to keep up with required paperwork places a substantial burden on these individuals.  

NPR also reported that in 2019, tens of thousands of borrowers asked for assistance, had their student loans conditionally discharged, and then had them reinstated due to the failure to keep up with the annual paperwork. Critics argue that this paperwork requirement forces the borrowers to do too much just to prove that they are not able to work. In fact, income-monitoring has consistently been a problem for many disabled borrowers. 

Representatives from the Department of Education say that they hope this change will alleviate some of that pressure, at least temporarily.  Student loan reform advocates believe that this change needs to be a permanent one, at least when it comes to requiring permanently disabled borrowers to continually provide proof of their inability to work.  

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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, COVID-19, Medical Debt, student loan debt

Bankruptcy Reform Bill Proposed that will Discharge Student Loans and Medical Debt

The Medical Bankruptcy Fairness Act of 2021 was unveiled by Democratic Senators this week in response to the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The bill would make substantial reforms to the current bankruptcy code, making it easier for those struggling with student loan debt and medical debt to discharge the same in bankruptcy.

Currently, the bankruptcy code treats student loan debt differently from other types of consumer debt. Borrowers must show they meet the ‘undue hardship’ requirement in order to discharge their student loan debt in bankruptcy.

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

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

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

The Hidden Cost of Student Loan Debt

According to a recent report from the Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC), student loan debt may lead to additional interest paid on other forms of debt, including credit cards and mortgages. Borrowers may not realize just how much their debt can influence these other payments and may be paying higher prices without even realizing it.

The effects of student loan debt are far-reaching. Approximately 44 million Americans carry a collective $1.6 trillion in student loan debt. Most of these individuals also carry other forms of debt, the most common of these being mortgages and credit card debt. According to this SBPC study, these individuals are also forced to pay up to tens of thousands more in extra costs when purchasing a home or car or even using their credit card.

Coronavirus, COVID-19, student loan debt

Tips for Keeping Student Loan Debt Under Control During Covid-19

Student loan debt was already a financial burden for many Americans, but the COVID-19 crisis has made it worse. It helps to understand what options are available for borrowers who are struggling to keep up with their student loan debt during this time of crisis.   

Federal Assistance and Forbearance

In March 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act in light of the growing pandemic. The CARES Act includes certain provisions that lighten the burden carried by student loan borrowers. As of March 13, 2020, most federal student loans were put on administrative forbearance which means no payments were due, beginning March 13, 2020 and ending September 30, 2020.

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.

student loan debt, Student Loans

Entering Retirement with Student Loan Debt

An alarming number of Americans are entering retirement with student loan debt. Normally, student loan borrowers are between the ages of 18 to 39. However, a 2017 report issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, showed that people over the age of 60 are the fastest-growing sector of the U.S. population carrying student loan debt.

More than 2.8 million Americans over the age of 60 are carrying some type of student loan debt. This figure has skyrocketed from the 700,000 individuals reported in 2005. Between 2012 and 2017, the balance carried by people over the age of 60 nearly doubled from $12,100 in 2012 to $23,500 in 2017.

Debt Relief, student loan debt, Student Loans

An Alarming Number of Student Borrowers Have Made No Progress on their Loan Balances

A disturbing number of student loan borrowers who began their repayment plans between 2010 and 2012 have made little to no progress towards reducing the principal balance owed on their student loans. According to a recent report from Moody’s Investor Services, 49 percent of student loan borrowers whose loan repayment plans began during that time have made no progress. Even worse, many of them have seen their balances grow.

This problem could be due to several factors, including poor job prospects and low salaries in their first jobs after graduation. Depending on the degree pursued by each borrower, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to find a viable job that will allow the borrower to make appropriate payments to pay down their student loan debt.