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Some of the benefits and advantages of federal student loans is given below. Unlike other forms of consumer debt student loans receive special protections under current laws ranging from collection to bankruptcy. This special status applies not only to the primary borrower (the student) but also to any co-signer on the loan. Student loans are one of the hardest types of debt to shake. Current U.S. bankruptcy law allows a court to discharge these loans in bankruptcy only in the narrowest circumstances. In fact the legal requirements for discharging education loans are so formidable to meet that most bankruptcy attorneys avoid student loan cases altogether. Since so few loan borrowers qualify for bankruptcy discharge under the law the vast majority of loan debt is carried until the borrower repays the loan or dies -- although some non-federal student loans even survive death passing the debt on to the borrowers co-signer.
Borrowers who are employed full-time in qualifying jobs in the public service sector may have their remaining student loan debt forgiven after just 10 years in the income-based repayment program and this forgiveness would be tax-free thanks to a ruling from the U.S. Treasury last year. Qualifying for Income-Based Repayment To find out if you qualify for income-based repayment on your federal college loans youll need to contact your lender and provide information about your financial situation - youll need to demonstrate "partial financial hardship" as defined by federal regulations. Only federal Stafford and Grad PLUS student loans in good standing along with consolidations of these college loans are eligible for income-based repayment. Federal Perkins loans are eligible only if theyve been included in a federal student loan consolidation.
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If your primary borrower starts missing payments or payment due dates however the lender will contact you. Normally by the time the lender is contacting you the loan youve co-signed is already past due and your credit rating may have already taken a hit. Keep in mind too that any legal remedies a lender has at its disposal for pursuing a loan debt can also be applied to the co-signer. These legal remedies include assignment of the delinquent loan account to a debt collection service and a possible court action. For delinquent federal education loans the government may seek to garnish your wages or seize any income tax refunds you have coming your way. In addition delinquencies or a default on any loans on which youve co-signed will appear on your own credit report with all the same adverse effects as on the primary borrowers credit report.