With student loan debt approaching $1.2 trillion it has become a threat to our children’s futures. Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a leading consumer activist and advocate for student loan reform in Congress recently co-sponsored a bill, “Keep Student Loans Affordable Act of 2013.” The new bill would have rolled back interest rates and frozen them for a year at 3.4 percent. During that year, Warren and her colleagues planned to reform the student loan system to eliminate profits, provide better consumer protection and address “the college affordability problem,” which, she says, forces families into debt in the first place.
The bill unfortunately failed, but Warren is continuing to press for the following changes:
– Eliminating government profits from the student loan program.
– Reducing the burden of student debt on existing borrowers by letting them refinance their loans during this period of historically low interest rates.
– Restoring basic consumer protections, such as bankruptcy relief. Under current law, student loans cannot be dismissed when someone files for bankruptcy protection.
President Obama gave his support to Warren’s key issue saying that, “government shouldn’t see student loans as a way to make money; it should be a way to help students.” The urgency from Warren and other advocates is that students and their parents are increasingly turning to loans to pay for higher education, as college costs have become out of reach for most families.
Nationally, about 11 million students take out college loans each year. One reason loan numbers are spiking is that college costs have soared since 1982-83, by 257 percent at four-year state colleges and universities and by 166 percent at four-year private colleges and universities, according to the College Board. At the same time, state support of public colleges and universities has slipped. State funding for public universities dropped by 23 percent between 2007 and 2012, Warren said.
Defaulting on student loans can have a lasting impact on your financial future. The Federal Student Aid website lists the following consequences of defaulting on your student loans: The outstanding amount of the loan-both principal and interest- becomes due immediately; the borrower loses eligibility for any additional student aid or forgiveness program; you are reported to credit bureaus; the overall debt will increase as interest keeps building, which can include late fees, collection fees and court fees. The following consequences can also result: Wages may be garnished; tax refunds may be withheld; pay can be withheld and the lender may even file a lawsuit against you.
The debt that students are taking out to finance their lives and futures is crushing! Student loans are the toughest because they start so early, when students are trying to launch their careers and gain their financial footing. This is also the time young people are the most vulnerable and have the fewest resources available to them.
If you are having trouble making your student loan payments or you have recently defaulted on your federal or private student loans, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney. Although student loans are often not dischargeable in bankruptcy court, an attorney can help you eliminate other debts and obligations so you can take control of your finances and better handle your student loan debt.