All Articles Tagged "student loan debt"
In an effort to collect on student loan repayments as the number of delinquencies rise, schools are increasingly turning to the court system for help. The result is lawsuits filed against graduates who are falling behind in payments.
According to the Today show, colleges and universities across the nation, including Ivy League schools like the University of Pennsylvania, are using the courts to compel students to repay loans that the schools, by law, have to collect on. Unlike other debt, graduates can’t shake student loan debt even through bankruptcy proceedings.
Lowering the financial burden of getting a college education was one of the big points President Obama made during his State of the Union address in January. This Washington Post article makes the case that for most people, college debt is not as crushing as some of the extreme stories we’ve been hearing lately would indicate. In fact, if you study something that leads to a well-paying career, college education is as valuable as it ever was.
But the case has also been made for the fact that tuition and college costs keep rising at a time when the job market is in trouble. Moreover, the jobs that some students are preparing for do not reflect the way that the market is going, where digital technology, innovation, and other qualities are more highly valued.
In an op-ed from a couple of weeks ago Charles Blow writes in The New York Times that we’re entering an era of “the new normal” where “students and their families to continue to make increasingly greater financial sacrifices in order to complete a postsecondary education.” And the burden is being felt most among those in the lower income brackets.
Just this week, the Obama administration cut commissions for the collectors who chase borrowers for repayment, Bloomberg reports. This should push collection companies to adhere to federal laws which state that collectors should offer repayment terms that help borrowers get back on track. Previously, collectors could make thousands of dollars by forcing borrowers to pay more than they could afford to get themselves on a better financial footing.
Be strategic folks. If you’re planning for college — or any big purchase — be realistic about what you can afford, save your money, and move at the pace that will allow you to reach your goal without a debt that will follow you for decades.
Life insurance company MassMutual is hoping to connect with college students and young adults about student debt relief through a familiar channel: Facebook. Starting on January 14, the company launched “Down with Debt” a campaign that will use Facebook to provide tips and advice for saving, paying down debt, and overall financial planning.
Additionally, “Down with Debt” includes a contest, where consumers are encouraged to “like” the MassMutual Facebook page and write a 140-character post about their creative plans to pay down debt. One winner will receive $20,000 in student debt relief and the campaign runs through February 14.
“MassMutual recognizes that new graduates and young professionals in today’s world face big financial challenges,” said Tara Reynolds, MassMutual’s corporate vice president, in a press release about the campaign. “As a result, we created ‘Down with Debt’ to help people learn about effective ways to conquer their loans and take smart first steps in building a secure financial future.”
While students and young adults are on the Facebook page to register for the contest, MassMutual also hopes they check out the financial advice posted there, which includes making a budget, reviewing student loan payment options, avoiding using credit cards, and delaying luxury.
For the majority of college students, encountering student loan debt is an inevitable reality. But depending on the types of loans you take on and what you decide to do after graduation, loan debt doesn’t have to be a lifetime burden. Maura Kastberg, the executive director of services for college prep company RSC, tells the Daily Finance that if college students address their student loans sooner than later, there’s a greater chance of loan forgiveness.
“When they graduate, many students immediately consolidate their loans,” Kastberg says to the Daily Finance. “While this can simplify things, it also can close off many loan forgiveness options.”
When it comes to loan forgiveness options, there are several traditional and non-traditional approaches recent graduates can choose from. While these are careers that may not align with the graduate’s ultimate career aspirations, they are opportunities that can provide new exciting learning experiences, and perhaps even place you in a career you never thought you’d enjoy. For those of you who can’t afford to wait for the court or congress to make a ruling concerning student loan debt, take a look at these optons:
Americorps and Vista: This program is especially beneficial for someone with minimal student loan debt. As a volunteer for Americorps or Vista, recent graduates can gain experience in a variety of fields and positions that can add new competitive skills to their resume. In addition, after one year of service, volunteers receive $4,725 to pay off loans and a stipend of up to $7,400.
Peace Corps: If volunteering interests you as well as the prospect of gaining overseas experience, then the Peace Corps may be the right program for you. If you have Perkins student loan debt, Peace Corps will cancel up to 70 percent of your debt. For Stafford and consolidated loans, you can receive a deferment of up to 27 months.
Teaching: There are several school districts that offer additional incentives for teaching. Some school districts will even offer full forgiveness for Perkins loans and up to $17,500 for Stafford loans in exchange for five years. Check into school districts near you to see if you can qualify for any loan forgiveness as a teaching.
Military Service: If you’re facing a tremendous amount of loan debt, the Army National Guard has the Student Loan Repayment Program. Depending on your field of student, the program will pay as much as $50,000 of student loan debt
Become a Rural Veterinarian: For those who have the skillset and background, the Department of Agriculture has the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program. For qualifying applicants who don’t mind living in rural areas, the program offers up to $75,000 in loan forgiveness.
Healthcare Professionals: For those interested in health fields, your loan debt can be addressed through programs such as the National Health Service Corps or the Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program. Both of these programs place medical workers in underserved areas and offer funds for student loan payments.
The National Institute of Health is another option that repays up to $35,000 per year for clinical researchers that qualify.
Legal Professionals: Some states offer loan repayment aid for state employees who studied law. There are also several nonprofit and public interests groups that help young lawyers pay off their debt as well.
If none of these offers work for you and it looks as if you have no other option, there’s always the French escape route. The French Foreign Legion allows new members to travel to distant lands and even encourages them to pick a new identity! After one stint, members can pick up a French citizenship, which may assist you in securing legal protection against creditors.
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(Wall Street Journal) — For-profit colleges are facing a tough test: getting new students to enroll. New-student enrollments have plunged—in some cases by more than 45%—in recent months, reflecting two factors: Companies have pulled back on aggressive recruiting practices amid criticism over their high student-loan default rates. And many would-be students are questioning the potential pay-off for degrees that can cost considerably more than what’s available at local community colleges. ”People are just frozen or deferring, delaying decisions to go to school,” said DeVry Inc. Chief Executive Daniel Hamburger in a conference call earlier this month. “The average person in the U.S. has become much more risk-averse and cautious when it comes to spending or committing to anything. It’s unrealistic for us to think that education would be immune from this.”
(Smart Money) — With tuition bills due in a few weeks, a growing number of banks are offering stretched parents and students new, fixed-rate loans that promise protection from the specter of rising rates — for a price. Until recently, most private student loans have carried variable rates, where the interest rate can adjust up or down each month. But now, for borrowers nervous about rising rates, lenders are advertising loans with interest rates that remain fixed for the term of the loan, typically 10 to 15 years. At least 12 lenders now offer fixed-rate loans, nearly double the number from a year ago, according to FinAid.org. Since May, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, Citizens Bank and Charter One have all introduced fixed-rate loans for students. And banks that haven’t gotten on the bandwagon will probably do so soon, says Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org and Fastweb.com. That could make these new fixed-rate loans a permanent part of the college-lending landscape.
(New York Times) – Student loan debt outpaced credit card debt for the first time last year and is likely to top a trillion dollars this year as more students go to college and a growing share borrow money to do so. While many economists say student debt should be seen in a more favorable light, the rising loan bills nevertheless mean that many graduates will be paying them for a longer time. “In the coming years, a lot of people will still be paying off their student loans when it’s time for their kids to go to college,” said Mark Kantrowitz, the publisher of FinAid.org and Fastweb.com, who has compiled the estimates of student debt, including federal and private loans. Two-thirds of bachelor’s degree recipients graduated with debt in 2008, compared with less than half in 1993. Last year, graduates who took out loans left college with an average of $24,000 in debt. Default rates are rising, especially among those who attended for-profit colleges.
(Washington Post) — Statistics show that there are more Americans below the poverty line now than when President Lyndon Johnson declared the War on Poverty. We must use every arrow in our collective quiver to reverse this devastating trend. The Urban League is dedicated to fighting poverty by empowering youth in underserved communities through education and job training. We have found that a college education, whenever it is possible, is the best path to employment. The league strongly supports President Obama’s pledge that America will have the highest percentage of college graduates in the world by 2020. But as the nation navigates the various paths of education reform, we must be careful not to inadvertently set up roadblocks for the students most at risk for failure.
(The Loop 21) — With student debt nearing $1 trillion and Americans owing more on student loans than on credit cards, you know it’s bad when the national media finally pays attention. And that’s exactly what happened this week when CNBC premiered a special called “Price of Admission: America’s College Debt Crisis.” The report was compelling and well done except for one glaring omission: It didn’t feature any students or families who were African American or of any other non-white ethnicity. If CNBC goes as far as to say college debt is a national crisis – and indeed it is – then that fact should have been made obvious in its reporting about its effect on students and families from all ethnicities and backgrounds.
by Charing Ball
Over $36 thousand. No, that’s not my income, in fact that’s more than I will make this year. $36 thousand is how much I owe in student loans.
Ten years and three months removed my graduating from Virginia Union University, I am nowhere closer to paying down the debt as loans composed most of my financial aid. Like many Americans, I have exhausted all deferments, forbearances and modifications options and am caught between dogging phone calls from my loan provider and digging between seat cushions, just to scrape together enough to remain current.
As a first generation college grad, I once looked at my degree as a way to escape poverty by opening doors to better career options and more money. However, when I add up how much I’ve been paying in rent, utilities, car insurance, health insurance, food and student loans, and subtract that from my public service salary plus the money I earned through writing and other side ventures, my current finance fails to make dollars and sense.
According to a recent study by the College Board, I am in plenty of good – or unlucky – company as almost one-out-of-five graduates with bachelor degrees will not be able to make payments on the average undergraduate loan debt, which now stands at a whopping $30,500 (pre-interest). If that’s not disheartening enough, consider that for the first time ever, student loan debt now outranks credit card debt.
Let me say that again; Americans now have accrued more debt by pursuing higher education than by using their credit cards. To be exact – $605.6 billion in federal student loans outstanding and $167.8 billion in outstanding private student loans. The news is even more troubling for both the African American and Latino communities, who borrow disaportionately to pay for private nonprofit or for-profit college than a public four-year college.
How did this happen?
Well, there are a number of variables that have contributed to this perfect storm of debt: According to the College Board study, borrowing has doubled over the past decade, to roughly $85 billion in new student loans in the 2007–08 academic year, mainly to keep up with the rising college cost, which too has ballooned at twice the rate of inflation.
When students have exhausted all other forms of federal and scholarship aid including Pell Grants and scholarship, they often resort to federally-back direct loans as well as private student lending, which made up for about 25 percent of all student loans and often come with higher interest rates.
The rule of thumb has always been that graduates with bachelor degrees makes on average a million dollars more than those with just a diploma. However, the million you’re suppose to make is off-set by the reality of a, on average, $46,700 four-year cost of tuition (including fees, books, room and board) at a public school and $99,900 at a private institution (you know, your Harvards, Yales and most HBCUs). And while the median income for a worker, who is fortunate enough to get a job in this economy, with a bachelor’s degree is around $46k, you have to remember that average college grads don’t pull even that with the average high school grads income level until age 33.
It’s no wonder that the default rate climbed to 7.2 percent in 2009 (that rate is almost three times as much at for-profit universities). In an effort to give kids a chance in the workforce, especially when many jobs are now requiring at least a two-year degree, families are borrowing more than they can afford to pay back their loans and are being penalized severely for it.
Earlier this year, President Obama signed into law several loan reform programs, which would add more money to Pell Grants, legislate the caps of future graduates annual payment at 10 percent of their income and eliminate fees paid to private banks to act as intermediaries in providing loans. Currently, Congress is weighing legislation to allow borrowers to wipe out private student loans in bankruptcy, which currently can only be discharged through the impossible task of proving “undue hardship.”
But this might not be enough to help the thousands of graduates such as myself, who are trying to keep ahead of the debt. Is student loan debt the next financial bubble to burst? All indicators are suggesting that it’s almost certain that student loan debt will go the way of the housing market.
And while there is no easy fix for the student loan crisis in this current structure, a combination of across the board caps in college costs plus an expansive student loan forgiveness program for those of us, whom are already out in the workforce, could go along way from keeping this from happening.
If we can bail out the banks, than we can forgive graduates of their student loan debts. And while you can foreclose on a house, repo a car, you can’t take back an education.