US Department of Education to Review Criteria for Discharge of Student Loans

Possible Bankruptcy Options for Student Debt

There’s nothing more relatable than student loan debt. We all know a student, parent or grandparent that is or will be trapped under thousands of dollars of debt after schooling. On February 21, 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported that student loan debt is nearly 1.4 trillion dollars. That’s doubled from just ten years ago. Read the original article here

After a quiet few years on the topic of student debt, it’s a relief to hear that the Trump Administration announced that it’s looking into the issue. The administration agreed to consider the public opinion before deciding whether Americans should be able to declare bankruptcy because of student loan debt. With the help of Congress and the Department of Education, more students may be able to claim bankruptcy, Wall Street Journal reports.

Under present law, very few students have been able to claim bankruptcy because they have to be able to prove “undue hardship.” Since there aren’t any official definitions of undue hardship, bankruptcy relief for students comes on a case-by-case basis. Relief has become elusive.

Also on February 21, the Department of Education sent out a press release requesting information on evaluating “undue hardship.” DOE is looking to hear from individuals, advocacy groups, professional organizations and other state and federal agencies, according to DOE press release. It is important that all people affected by this issue make their voices heard during this review.

To make your voice heard, send your responses before May 22, 2018, by mail, eRulemaking Portal or commercial delivery. Find more information click here. Call Jean-Didier Gaina of the U.S. Department of Education for more information 202-453-7551.


DeVry University Settles Lawsuit for $100 M to Cover Students’ Loans and Tuition

Last week the Federal Trade Commission announced that DeVry University had settled a major lawsuit that alleged the University put out false advertising claiming that their graduates found employment within six months of graduation at up to 15% higher salaries than students who graduated from other universities. 

“When people are making important decisions about their education and their future, they should not be misled by deceptive employment and earnings claims,” said Edith Ramirez, the F.T.C chairwoman in a statement

Under the settlement, $51 million in debt relief will be granted and an additional $49 Million in cash will be paid to students harmed by the advertising.  Tens of thousands of students stand to benefit from the agreement according to the F.T.C.

The settlement also contained provisions to prevent the University from making misleading statements in the future.

The full article can be read in the business section of The New York Times of December 15, 2016.

Borrowers are Being Illegally Barred from Making Income Based Payments on Student Loans

Unfortunately, in this day and age, student loans are a necessary evil that nearly every college student has to indulge in – and now the process of repaying those loans has gotten even more complicated.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau(CFPB) has determined that many student loan ‘servicers’ are illegally denying borrowers the right to adjust their repayments to match their income, even though they qualify for the special repayment programs.
One of the reasons servicers do not want borrowers to use the special income driven repayment programs, is that after 20 years any balance can be ‘forgiven”.
However, CFPB is demanding that Government appointed servicers live up to their original agreements and allow qualifying borrowers access to income driven repayment plans.
For more information, see complete article here

Mortgage Fraudster Sent to Jail

A recent item in Newsday reports that Aaron Wider, a mortgage broker who lured people into mortgages which they could not pay, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison. It is about time that those who perpetrated these frauds on consumers receive the punishment which they deserve. We still wait anxiously to see if any of the executives of the nations biggest banks, who orchestrated the massive collapse of the economy are brought to justice. Unfortunately, his conviction will do little to help those who have already lost their homes or who are still in foreclosure. If you are still looking to obtain a mortgage modification, call us to discuss your options. For more information click on the following link — Newsday