Most young people who attend college or graduate school view it as a means to a better tomorrow, meaning it will put them in a better position to land a good job and be financially independent. Sadly, this has not been the case over the last several years, as the poor state of the economy has left many educated young people unemployed, saddled with crippling student loan debt, and facing threats of repossession from unscrupulous debt collectors.
As it turns out, however, it's not just young people who are currently grappling with massive student loan debt.
Recently released research by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York indicates that American seniors -- meaning those 60 years of age and older -- have roughly $36 billion in student loan debt and that upwards of ten percent of these seniors are currently behind on loan payments.
This means that the Social Security checks relied upon by many seniors are perhaps being garnished and that debt collectors may be hounding people over student loans that are several decades old.
"A student loan can be a debt that's kind of like a ball and chain that you can drag to the grave," said William Brewer, the president of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. "You can unhook it when they lay you in the coffin."
Why then are so many seniors encumbered by student loan debt?
According to experts, seniors are still trying to pay down student loans 1) taken out many years ago while still young, 2) taken out later in life to subsidize a career change or 3) taken out by their children or grandchildren that they co-signed for.
"I shake my head every day at the thought that I'm working for nothing," said a 58-year-old woman who went back to school in the late 1980s and is still fighting to pay down a $21,000 student loan that has since ballooned to $54,000. "It's really a black hole because there's no end in sight."
Interestingly, Senator Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) recently introduced legislation that would allow private student loan debt to be discharged in bankruptcy. While debtors would still be responsible for federal student loans, such a measure could potentially provide much-needed relief for many.
Stay tuned for updates from our San Antonio bankruptcy blog ...
Contact an experienced legal professional to learn more about managing student loan debt/bad credit and fighting repossession.
This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
The Washington Post, "Senior citizens continue to bear burden of student loans," Ylan Mui, April 1, 2012
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