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Student debt collectors want to robo-call your cellphone, but FCC says not so fast 8-11-2016
The Federal Communications Commission issued rules Thursday restricting companies from bombarding Americans with cellphone calls to collect any money owed to or guaranteed by the government, including federal student loans, mortgages and taxes. Advocacy groups pressed the issue with the Department of Education, which initially argued that its student loan servicers — the middlemen that collect and apply payments — would have a better chance of helping borrowers avoid late payments with access to their cellphones.
“Limiting servicers to three call attempts per month is far too restrictive to fully assist student loan borrowers,”said Michele Streeter of the Education Finance Council, a trade group representing nonprofit and state-based student loan servicersRead More at The Washington Post

Colleges Push Back on Student-Debt-Forgiveness Plan 8-10-2016
A U.S. Education Department proposal set to become final this fall will offer billions of dollars in student-debt forgiveness for thousands of Americans who were drawn to schools by what they say was deceptive marketing.
“This regulation is an acknowledgment that the federal government has really failed to protect students and that there are numerous victims out there,” said Barmak Nassirian of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, a trade group for public schools. A hearing officer appointed by the Education Department would determine whether schools had to reimburse students their tuition money. UNC spokesman Jim Gregory said the school is “looking forward to working with…the Department of Education to make sure that students are treated fairly.” Read More at The Wall Street Journal

There's finally a tiny bit of good news for the 40 million Americans with student debt 8-10-2016
Finally there is a least a small piece of good news about student debt. According to the New York Federal Reserve's Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit, the total student debt load in America decreased between the first and second quarters of 2016, to $1.259 trillion from $1.261 trillion. This decrease in aggregate student loan debt is the first decrease in this sort of debt since at least the start of 2003, the furthest back the New York Fed's data goes. Any decrease in debt loads, however, is good news for the millions of American holding these loans, and at the very least the drop is an interesting point to make note of. Read More at Business Insider

Save thousands with this student debt strategy 8-2-2016
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has said "borrowers should be able to refinance their student loans to take advantage of lower interest rates, the same way people refinance a mortgage." Actually, some borrowers, especially those with good credit and income, already have refinanced their student loans to reduce their interest rates and save thousands of dollars over the life of their loans with private lenders. And greater competition among private lenders recently has made student loan refinancing more accessible to borrowers. Read More at CNBC

What everybody thinks about student debt is wrong 7-19-2016
The people having the hardest time repaying their student loans are not graduates with six-figure debt, rather they are borrowers who took out a fraction of that amount, attended for-profit or community colleges, and never earned a degree, according to a report released Tuesday by the White House... The findings are in line with a body of research that is changing the conversation about what was widely considered a student-debt crisis but now seems more like a student-debt burden. That burden is largely borne by low-income students whose families lack the resources to help them cover the debt and those who attend for-profit colleges, according to the report. Read More at The Washington Post

Student Debt Helps, Not Harms, the U.S. Economy, White House Says 7-19-2016
The White House just released a big report on student debt that contains all the familiar horrors about for-profit schools, indebted dropouts and students defaulting on their loans. But it has an interesting conclusion: That growing stack of $1.3 trillion in student debt is helping, not hurting, the U.S. economy... That conclusion is sure to rankle the many student advocates and special-interest groups—from real-estate agents to employers seeking new tax breaks for their young workers—that argue student debt is a big “drag” on the economy. Read More at The Wall Street Journal

America Can Fix Its Student Loan Crisis. Just Ask Australia. 7-9-2016
Americans owe $1.3 trillion in student loans. More than seven million borrowers are in default, and millions more are behind on their payments. Borrowing for college is common across the globe. Even in Sweden, where tuition is free, most students borrow. What’s exceptional about the United States is that so many borrowers are behind on their loans... So what do other countries do that makes their systems work better than ours? Read More at NY Times

5 Student Loan Changes For 2016 That Can Help You Pay Off Your Debt 7-5-2016
These days, being an average student is an expensive pastime... Fortunately, new programs are being introduced each year in an effort to provide these borrowers with relief. If you’re seeking student loan repayment help in 2016, the following developments might offer just what you’ve been searching for. All three agree the federal government should no t be earning money from interest paid on federally subsidized student loansRead More at Forbes

On the issues: Student loan reform offers rare moment of agreement for candidates 5-26-2016
Underscoring the increasing importance of millennial voters in presidential elections, an issue that barely made a blip on the political radar four years ago has gotten significant attention in 2016: student loan reform. At least on the surface, the issue presents a rare unifying moment between presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, and Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. All three agree the federal government should no t be earning money from interest paid on federally subsidized student loans. Read More at UPI

The Millennials’ Dilemma: Pay Off Student Loans or Save for Retirement 5-25-2016
The Department of Education soon will allow Americans with federal student loans to bypass the department's contractors and make payments directly to the government, avoiding loan servicers accused of routinely mistreating and misleading borrowers. Officials "will implement a single Department of Education student loan portal for all borrowers ... hoping to make things clearer, simpler and less confusing for every borrower," according to Undersecretary of Education Ted Mitchell, who addressed college financial aid administrators in Las Vegas on Tuesday. The audience can be heard applauding his announcement in a video recording. Colleges, their financial aid employees, and state and federal regulators routinely complain about the level of customer service student borrowers receive from the Education Department's loan contractors. Read More at Huffington Post

Federal Student Loan Interest Rates Set to Drop 5-12-2016
Beginning next school year, federal student loan interest rates will drop to the lowest they’ve been in a decade.Thanks to the Treasury Department’s recent auction of 10-year notes, interest rates for all three student loans operated by the federal government will drop about half a percentage point. Students borrowing for undergraduate studies will pay 3.76 percent versus 4.29 percent; graduate students will pay 5.84 percent versus 5.31 percent; and parents taking out loans for their children will pay 6.31 percent versus 6.84 percent. The rate will be reset in July and will apply only to student loans taken out to cover the 2016-2017 school year. Read More at U.S. News & World Report

The Obama Administration Wants To Bypass Student Loan Servicers 12-1-2015
It’s no secret that our nation is facing a student debt crisis. You don’t need me to tell you that more and more people are graduating with burdensome student loan debt levels that force them to rely on credit cards, put off buying a home and perhaps even live at home with mom and dad to save rent money. But there’s a serious consequence of student loan debt that we don’t hear much about: how high debt payments in the early working years could have a devastating impact on the retirement security of today’s young people. The problem for recent graduates and those nearing graduation is two-fold. First, student loan debt payments will eat up a disproportionate share of their income. Second, as the United States - particularly in the private sector - has moved away from providing pensions as a vehicle for retirement savings, young people are being left with inadequate and risky 401(k)-style plans as their only shot for retirement. Read More at Huffington Post

You Could Get Your Student Debt Wiped Out 11-24-2015
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program cancels student debt for loans extended by the government after the debtor has spent 10 years paying off the loan while working in a public service job. Many people either don’t know about the program or can’t navigate the bureaucracy of signing up. Krista Eliot, who has $92,000 in debt, spent three years working as an adjunct instructor at several community colleges in San Diego. She tried to enroll in the program but didn't qualify because she was working several part-time jobs and no one college employer could attest to her working at least 30 hours a week, the threshold. Now she is trying to become a special education instructor in elementary and middle schools, which she thinks will make it easier to get in. Read More at Bloomberg Business

Obama Administration Hits Back at Student Debtors Seeking Relief 10-14-2015
On Tuesday, the Department of Education intervened in the case of Robert Murphy, an unemployed 65-year-old who has waged a three-year legal battle to erase his student loans in bankruptcy... The court asked the Education Department to weigh in on the matter. In a document submitted to the court on Tuesday, government lawyers urged the federal judges not to cede any ground to borrowers who say they are in dire financial straits. Doing so would imperil “the fiscal stability of the loan program” that has existed for half a century. The Department of Education did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Murphy doesn’t deserve a break just because he is 65 years old, department lawyers wrote. Repaying his debt loan may require “that he remain employed at or past normal retirement age,” they said, even though “his income may top out or decrease” and “further employment opportunities may be limited.” Read More at Bloomberg Business

Congress Axes a Lifeline for Small Colleges 10-12-2015
The Perkins Loan program, the U.S. government’s oldest student aid program, expired two weeks ago, leaving small schools that depend on tuition without a lifeline. Expect “greater pressure on university financial aid budgets and enrollment volatility” at those institutions, said the report, published on Thursday by Moody's, the credit rating agency. Senator Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee, said the Perkins Loan Program, launched in 1958, was “outdated and unnecessary” and refused to allow the Senate to vote on an extension of the program. Perkins loans were disbursed based on a complicated formula that included the level of student need and how much money a school had historically received through the program. The student need level, however, had been calculated partly based on tuition, so schools that charge their students a lot tended to benefit more from the program, said Ben Miller, an education expert at the Center for American Progress. Read More at Bloomberg Business

This Court Case Could Unshackle Americans From Student Debt 10-8-2015
When Robert Murphy said he wanted to try to get his student loan debt erased, the person overseeing his bankruptcy case told him he had a better shot of getting hit by a bus. A win for Murphy would relieve him of hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt-and could fundamentally change the way U.S. bankruptcy courts handle borrowers who can't repay college loans. At the center of Murphy's battle are federal rules that make it nearly impossible for borrowers to get rid of student loans. Anyone aiming to discharge student debt in bankruptcy must prove that repaying it would constitute an "Undue hardship." Lawmakers never defined an undue hardship so it has been left to the courts to decide just how destitute someone needs to be in order to qualify for relief. Read More at Bloomberg Business

Why Student Debtors Go Unrescued 10-7-2015
A vast majority of the more than 10 million Americans who have defaulted on or are behind on repaying their student loans could have benefited from income-driven repayment plans that are intended to ease pressure on distressed borrowers and keep them from defaulting on their federal loans. These plans can allow borrowers with low income or high debt - or both - to pay less each month, or even nothing, until their finances improve without being penalized or going into default. Many borrowers never even hear about these payment plans, thanks to poor customer service by the companies that are paid more than $600 million a year by the government to manage these accounts, process monthly payments and enroll distressed borrowers in alternative repayment plans. Read More at NY Times

Pointing a Finger at For-Profits 9-11-2015
The paper, released Thursday as part of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, argues that the student loan crisis, to the extent there is one, is concentrated only among these “nontraditional” borrowers at for-profit and community colleges. As students flocked to those institutions during the recession, they accounted for a huge surge in loan borrowing and the subsequent defaults on the loans as they faced poor job prospects and low earnings, the report says... “Our work suggests that weak economic outcomes and poor loan performance are concentrated in certain sectors where institutions have not been held accountable for the outcomes of their programs either through market mechanisms or regulatory oversight,” write the two researchers, Adam Looney of the U.S. Department of Treasury and Constantine Yannelis of Stanford University. Read More at Inside Higher ED

These student loans may be worse than subprime mortgages 9-11-2015
Borrowers who take out student loans to attend a for-profit college may struggle just as much to pay them back as homeowners who used shady mortgage products to finance their homes in the lead up to the housing crash, new evidence suggests. Borrowers who took out student loans to attend for-profit schools defaulted at the same or higher rate within five years as those with subprime mortgages, according to an analysis from Karen Pence, an adviser at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, of data released by the Brookings Institution Thursday... The original Brookings paper, authored by Adam Looney of the Treasury Department and Constantine Yannelis of Stanford University, found that the growth in students taking out loans to attend for-profit colleges and then subsequently defaulting on them over the recession and recovery accounted for an outsize chunk of the recent growth in student loan defaults overall. Read More at MarketWatch

Student-loan crisis: 10 colleges where students owe the most 9-11-2015
Students at one U.S. college owe more than $35 billion, and at 14 other colleges they owe over $5 billion, according to a report released this week by the Brookings Institution. The data is based on tabulations by the U.S. Treasury using a sample of 4% of all federal student borrowers since 1970. This is perhaps unsurprising, given that outstanding student-loan debt now exceeds $1.1 trillion, having quadrupled over the past 12 years, the report revealed. And for the average student borrower, that means the debt burden is heavy. More than seven in 10 college seniors graduate with debt, and it averages nearly $30,000 per borrower, according to the Project on Student Debt. What’s more, default rates are hitting around 14% (up from around 9% a decade earlier), though at some schools those rates top 20%... Read More at MarketWatch

Lawyers, Doctors Compete Online to Free Themselves of Student Debt 6-26-2015
Lucky has not always been a word that fit Joseph Tillman, but that may be about to change. The 30-year-old lawyer is the clear front-runner in a contest that would cancel his entire student debt load. For Tillman, that bill stands at $168,000. “The only reason I became an attorney was because I wanted to be able to make money to help my family,” says Tillman. “Because of my monthly student loan payments, I can't really do what it is that I came to do.” Tillman is participating in a contest run by Social Finance (SoFi), a startup that refinances student debt for borrowers who are likely to pay it back, at rates lower than what they've been paying the government or other lenders. The contest, for which voting ended Tuesday, offers the client with the most compelling story (as judged by online voters) the chance to cancel his or her entire debt load. Read More at Bloomberg

Student-Loan Refinancing Boom Could Cost U.S. Taxpayers Billions 6-10-2015
In a growing refinancing boom, a new generation of private lenders -- backed by hedge-fund billionaires and Silicon Valley royalty -- is targeting successful graduates with professional degrees and student loans. For the borrowers, “it’s an uncashed lottery ticket,” said Brendan Coughlin, head of education finance for Citizens Financial Group Inc... There’s a catch. Their good fortune could cost taxpayers billions and damage the credit quality of the government’s $1.2 trillion student-loan portfolio, the biggest pool of U.S. debt, except for mortgages. That’s because professional-school graduates and other borrowers with successful careers subsidize the less fortunate, who are more likely to default. Read More at Bloomberg

The US government is about to provide unprecedented debt relief to a potentially big pool of students 6-8-2015
In a statement sent to Business Insider, the Education Department estimated that the cost of forgiving debt of students who attended one of Corinthian's colleges would be $544 million... The plan announced Monday will let students who left the schools run by Corinthian on or after June 20 last year receive a closed-school discharge of their federal student loans. This is instead of the usual period of 120 days up until it closed its last campuses on April 26, effectively adding about six months to the eligibility period. Read More at Business Insiders

The Lawsuit Machine Going After Student Debtors 6-3-2015
With defaults climbing, lenders have turned to the courts to collect. Many of their suits are marred by missing documents and procedural errors, say consumer advocates and lawyers defending debtors. “Our office is seeing an uptick in abusive loan debt-collection tactics that leave no room for relief,” wrote Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey in an e-mail... The paperwork problems echo the “robosigning” scandals that followed the housing bust. Like mortgages, student loans were bundled into packages and sold to investors. “This is robosigning 2.0 with student loans,” says Robyn Smith, a lawyer with the National Consumer Law Center, a nonprofit advocacy group. “You have securitized loans in these large pools; you have the sloppy record keeping,” as in the mortgage crisis. Read More at Bloomberg

Understanding Obama's Student Loan Bill of Rights 4-20-2015
One of the biggest pain points in American personal finance today involves student loans. There is over $1 trillion in outstanding student loan debt, and that number keeps growing every year. At the same time, the number of complaints about student loans has risen as well. Borrowers are having a hard time navigating the complex bureaucracy that makes up the Federal and private student loan market. Students are taking out loans effortlessly and getting into trouble later, and are having trouble finding their options for help. President Obama has laid out a roadmap for what he calls the Student Aid Bill of Rights. It’s a series of proposals intended to address the issues facing many borrowers. But what will it really do? Read More at Forbes

A 21-year-old who's refusing to pay back her student loans compares her cause to Rosa Parks' fight 3-17-2015
Mallory Heiney, a 21-year-old former student of the now-defunct Everest College, is part of a group of students refusing to pay back their student loans. Heiney called Everest a "debt trap." When she explained to her adviser that she couldn't afford student-loan payments while in school, she was assured she could defer the payments on her $24,000 in student loans until post-graduation, according to her article... Heiney and 15 other students who attended the Corinthian College system have banded together to fight what they describe as predatory student-loan tactics by the financial aid offices and a failure to provide quality education. Read More at Business Insider

There’s a Catch to Income-Based Repayment That Could Cost You Money 3-16-2015
When it comes to dealing with student loans it can be a good news-bad news situation. While there are some good options to dealing with student loans when you can’t afford the payments, not all loans are the same. Federal student loans have a number of repayment options while private student loans tend to be more limited in terms of repayment plans that adjust the payment. In fact, some borrowers have found private student loan repayment options to be so limited that they have considered a strategic default. The vast majority of student loan assistance companies promote the Income-Based Repayment plan and similar programs as a fix for troubled student loan debt. But are there downsides to IBR? Yes, and it’s important to weigh the considerations carefully before you decide. Read More at Credit Blog

'Corinthian 15' launch 'debt strike' over student loans 3-1-2015
A handful of former students claiming to be "made poor by the business of education" are protesting their student loans by refusing to pay them. They're calling themselves the Corinthian 15, named for their number and the now-defunct chain of for-profit schools they attended, Corinthian Colleges. Corinthian was largely sold off last fall for parts after its practices came under the scrutiny of federal regulators. A lawsuit by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau accused it of an illegal and "predatory lending scheme," and using falsified job placement figures to "lure" students in. Read More at CNN

Flip Side of Reducing Student Debt Is Increasing the Federal Deficit 2-10-2015
A growing number of people are enrolling in a federal program called Income-Based Repayment (I.B.R.) to pay back their college loans. I.B.R. limits monthly loan payments to as little as 10 percent of a borrower’s income, after deductions for living expenses, and forgives any remaining loan balances after 20 years. People who work in nonprofit and public-sector jobs get an even better deal, with forgiveness after 10 years... There is an unanswered question about the program, however: How much, exactly, will it cost? The final price won’t be known until decades in the future, when debt is wiped off the books. Recent Obama administration budget estimates suggest that tens of billions of dollars will be spent forgiving loans that have already been issued, causing critics in Congress and elsewhere to cry foul. While these concerns are probably overblown, they highlight the complexity of paying for a program that may turn the federal government into the primary financier of higher learning." Read More at the NY Times

Lowering student debt payments is costing taxpayers billions of dollars 2-6-2015
There's a big caution sign appearing in front of the government's generous program to let borrowers cap their monthly student loan payments to a percentage of their earnings. Use of so-called income-driven plans could cost $22 billion more than the government expected, raising concerns about the sustainability of a cornerstone of the Obama administration's education policy... Still, with national student debt approaching $1.3 trillion and many young graduates struggling to find jobs that pay enough to cover their monthly payments, the government's flexible repayment plans are critical." Read More at the Washington Post

The Mental and Physical Toll of Student Loans 2-2-2015
As the use of student loans escalates, so too do conversations about the possible ramifications of increasingly high debt for young Americans. It's widely known that inability to pay student debt can result in a host of problems, like damaged credit or garnished wages, but a new study from the University of South Carolina suggests that some ill effects, such as increased stress levels or feelings of depleted health, can surface just from accumulating student-loan debt... It’s been well documented that financial strain can have measurable mental and physical effects. A 2013 study published in Anxiety, Coping and Stress, for instance, found that “those with greater financial strain perceived more stress, had more symptoms of depression, anxiety, and ill-health.” And significant or growing debt, can be a major cause of overall financial stress." Read More at the Atlantic

Consumer Regulator Vows Action As Student Loan Borrowers Suffer 10-16-2014
In a new report laying bare the runarounds and hopelessness distressed student loan borrowers are treated to by lenders and loan servicers, a top CFPB official said it was time for the agency to examine new rules to better police the historically under-regulated student loan market. "That's something that we are going to take a very close look at ... and we are going to weigh every option to see that these problems get corrected," Rohit Chopra, CFPB student loan ombudsman, said on a call with reporters. "This is something we're taking very seriously, and we do not want to see a repeat of what happened in mortgages happen here." Read More at the Huffington Post

Top 10 Reasons You Should Stop Paying Your Unaffordable Private Student Loan 10-14-2014
Right now if you have federal student loans there are good options to help lower or eliminate your monthly payment... But what about when your private student loan lender won’t work with you. What are your options? Well one of the options is to stop making payments on that unaffordable student loan. If the lender isn’t willing to work with you and you simply can’t continue to make payments, maybe you should just stop making payments. I know it sounds crazy, but listen to what attorney Greg Fitzgerald from California had to say about that... Read More at Get Out of Debt Guy

Defaulted on student loans? Here’s a new chance to make things right. 7-22-2014
"As of July 1, borrowers in default have to be offered a standardized payment option to rehabilitate their defaulted loans... Under new rules of the Department of Education, a borrower can qualify to rehabilitate defaulted federal loans by making nine voluntary on-time and full monthly payments over 10 consecutive months. The extra month allows a borrower to be late on a payment and still qualify. The rules apply only to federally guaranteed student loans." Read More at the Washington Post

Debt Demons Discover Student Debt 7-16-2014
"It was only a matter of time. The debt demons have discovered people burdened with student debt and have started preying upon them. By “demons,” I’m referring to the rapacious scoundrels going under the guise of “debt settlement” companies who pounce on people deeply in debt and promise to get them out of it. After relieving their victims of several hundred — or thousands — of dollars, the debt demons move on, having provided no useful service at all. Lately they’ve headed into student loan debt from their traditional territory of credit and mortgage debt." Read More at Forbes

Companies That Offer Help With Student Loans Are Often Predatory, Officials Say 7-13-2014
"More than half of recent graduates are unemployed or have low-paying jobs that do not require that expensive college degree. Some Americans, including baby boomers whose savings were devastated by the financial crisis, are still struggling to pay off their student loans well into their 50s... Debt settlement companies, which offer to help borrowers lower their monthly loan payments for a hefty upfront fee, have long been fraught with problems. But federal and state regulators are spotting new instances of abuse as the companies shift away from their traditional targets — credit card and mortgage debt — to zero in on student loans. The companies are coming under fire for potentially questionable tactics." Read More at NY Times

4 Changes Coming to Student Loan Interest Rates, Rules 7-2-2014
"The week of July 1 is generally a slow one for most businesses, but it can be a scramble in the world of higher education. Most regulatory changes, including changes to student loan interest rates, are effective on July 1, despite the fact that the federal fiscal year doesn’t begin until October 1. This is partially due to a requirement that the Department of Education give advance notice of any proposed regulatory changes, including those dealing with student loans. Federal law mandates that the Department of Education set aside times for the public and affected to comment on the proposed changes.​ Here are four changes that took affect on July 1." Read More at U.S. News

17 Tips For Quickly Paying Down Student Loans, From Someone Who Paid Off $74,000 In 2 Years 5-20-2014
When Matthew Burr finished his master's degree in 2011, he figured he owed about $50,000. But he was in for a surprise. "The number was almost $15,000 more than I'd previously estimated," he remembers... In 2012, he managed to repay more than $42,000. The next year he paid off nearly $27,000, and finally, this year, he paid back the remaining $5,000. In two years, 31-year-old Burr was completely free of student loan debt. "I paid a grand total of $4,913.69 in interest in 23 months, saving thousands of dollars over the next 25 years," he says. How did he do it? Below, Burr shares 17 tips that helped him pay off his student loans. Read More at Business Insiders

Too broke to leave home even at 35 years of age: Over 30 percent of young adults under the age of 35 living at home. 5-2-2014
"Young Americans are so broke, they can’t leave home. That might sound like the line of a really bad joke but this is the unfortunate situation in our economy. Many young Americans are saddled with mind numbing levels of student debt. Younger Americans are carrying the heavy burden of the $1.2 trillion in student debt outstanding in the United States. At the end of the day, many already have a mini-mortgage before they even go out and house hunt. It should come as no surprise that sales volume is downright anemic in the housing industry because new households are simply not forming as they did in the previous generation. Younger Americans have lower wages, more college debt, and massively reduced benefits compared to the previous generation. The idea of buying and staying put in one location for 30 or more years simply does not fit in with the economic conditions of many younger households..." Read More at My Budget 360

The dependent generation: half young European adults live with their parents 3-24-2014
"Almost half of Europe's young adults are living with their parents, new data suggests – a record level of dependency that has sobering social and demographic implications for the continent. One of the most comprehensive social surveys of 28 European countries reveals on Tuesday that the percentage of people aged 18-30 who were still living with their parents had risen to 48%, or 36.7 million people, by 2011, in tandem with levels of deprivation and unemployment that surged during five years of economic crisis. The data from EU agency Eurofound, obtained by the Guardian, shows that few countries are immune and that the phenomenon is not exclusive to the debt-laden Mediterranean rim..." Read More at The Guardian

Student loan forgiveness: What you don't know (but should) 12-6-2013
"The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimates that one-fourth of the American workforce may be eligible for repayment or loan-forgiveness programs, the Associated Press reported last month... Of course, there is no way to escape student loan debt scot-free, as many federal programs require qualifications, research and lots of fine print. What's the first step? Simply talk to your loan provider, Mayotte says. Loan providers are very familiar with federal programs and will be able to help borrowers determine which programs make sense for their circumstances." Read More at USA Today

New Student Loan Rules Add Protections for Borrowers 11-5-2013
"The new regulations will make it easier for distressed borrowers to get out of default and repay their loans, said Pauline Abernathy, vice president of the nonprofit Institute for College Access and Success, which supported the changes... Under federal law, those who are in default on federal student loans may “rehabilitate” them by making nine on-time payments in amounts that are “reasonable and affordable.” Rehabilitation lets the borrower get out of default and become eligible for further federal student aid. The new rules also allow borrowers who have been delinquent at least nine months to request “forbearance” on their loans orally, rather than in writing." Read More at the New York Times

Student-Loan Defaults Rise in U.S. as Borrowers Struggle 9-30-2013
"About one in seven borrowers defaulted on their federal student loans, showing how former students are buckling under higher-education costs in a weak economy... U.S. borrowers owe $1.2 trillion in student-loan debt -- including government loans and those from private lenders such as SLM Corp., commonly called Sallie Mae. That sum surpasses all other kinds of consumer borrowing except for mortgages. Last year, the Education Department revamped the way it reports student-loan defaults after Congress demanded a more comprehensive measure because of concern that colleges counsel students to defer payments to make default rates seem low. Previously, the agency reported the rate only for the first two years that payments are required." Read More at the Bloomberg

Your Money: Programs to help shed student debt 9-7-2013
"A student loan-forgiveness program typically rewards graduates for taking careers in public service, such as police officers, teachers, social workers and firefighters. The college graduate still makes regular monthly payments on a student loan but can look forward to having a good chunk of debt forgiven in the long run, if he or she follows specific requirements... Some other points to consider: Federal loan forgiveness for public service would only apply to federal Direct Loans, not private student loans. Borrowers could consolidate their federal loans into the Direct Loan program to qualify..." Read More at USA Today

60 Ways to Wipe Out Your Student Debt 6-25-2013
"Indebted college graduates may be able to make their student loans disappear, without paying them and without ruining their credit, according to American Student Assistance, a non-profit that aims to educate young people about money and publisher of an eBook called 60 Ways to Get Rid of Your Student Loans (Without Paying Them). That's because both federal and state governments, as well as a handful of non-profit organizations, offer generous loan "forgiveness" programs that zap debt -- sometimes in huge increments. All you need to do is work for the right employer or in the right profession. A surprising number of professions qualify." Read More at CBS News

I Defaulted on My Student Loans. Here’s What I Did to Get Back on Track 6-18-2013
"I have a confession to make. I’ve defaulted on my student loans. I know I’m not alone in this... I had read online that there were options for people in default. The first option was to rehabilitate my loans, which requires borrowers in default to make voluntary, on-time payments based on income vs. expenses for nine out of 10 consecutive months. Once a borrower has successfully done so, the loans come out of default, wage garnishment is stopped, and borrowers are eligible for the same benefits available for the loan before default... I know everyone in this situation has a different set of obstacles to overcome before they can consider rehabilitating their student loans. But for me, getting my loans out of default wasn’t as impossible or as terrifying as I had imagined." Read More at the Billfold

How to Pay Off Student Loans When You're Totally Out of Luck 6-9-2013
"America is in full-on student loan damage control mode. Faced with a $1 trillion student debt hole and college graduates entering the job market already $27,000 in the red, lawmakers are butting heads over the right way to give borrowers some much-needed relief... As much as the student loan situation in the U.S. could use an overhaul, there's little to gain by waiting for lawmakers to throw you a bone. At the end of the day, loans are tied to your name (and whoever co-signed them) and the longer you wait to take action, the worse off you'll be in the long run." Read More at the DailyFinance

"the Department of Education issued final rules for the new Pay As You Earn plan, giving many federal loan borrowers a new income-driven repayment option. In addition to the new Pay As You Earn option, current plans for federal loans include Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR), Income-Based Repayment (IBR), and Income-Sensitive Repayment... The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS), which wrote the policy proposal that formed the basis of IBR and runs the Project on Student Debt, has provided some helpful examples of how Pay As You Earn will provide significant relief for borrowers with modest incomes, and why it is so important to preserve this and other income-driven repayment plans." Read More at the US News

"Consolidation is like refinancing—you get a new loan, the new loan pays off your old loans, and you pay the new consolidation loan instead. You can consolidate pretty much all kinds of federal student loans like Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans, and Perkins Loans, including most federal loans in default. But be careful—defaulted Direct Consolidation Loans can't be reconsolidated, so you only get one chance to use consolidation to get out of default... [However], it's important to understand the potential disadvantages to consolidation. For instance, you'll have the option of taking longer to repay, so a consolidation loan could cost you more over time (since interest keeps adding up until you're done)." Read More at the US News

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