National Student Loan Centre
Last week financial aid officers at Texas A&M University - a school with over 54000 students - heard from seven different lenders warning that they would no longer be able to offer federal student loans a situation that has made more than a few borrowers uneasy. Dyneche Duffield an incoming college student headed to Houston Baptist University is uncomfortable with the prospect of having to establish a relationship with a new lender other than her local bank which used to offer student loans. "I would have much rather taken out a loan there than somewhere where I didnt know anyone" Duffield said. While students like Duffield may still be able to go directly to the Department of Education for their federal college loans or find those remaining lenders who are still offering private student loans (albeit with more stringent credit criteria that are making it harder for students to qualify) the magnitude of the problem within the student loan credit markets and how deeply it has permeated the college loan industry is alarming to many administrators and officials in higher education.
Under this legislation the Department of Education can buy federal college loans from lenders thereby providing these lenders with the liquidity they need to continue funding new parent and student loans. The law specifically targets lenders who in the current credit crunch are unable to find investors in the secondary market willing to purchase their student loan portfolios. Even with this legislation in place however lenders continue to find themselves forced to suspend their student loan programs. As recently as July 28 the Brazos Higher Education Service Corp. the 26th-largest originator of federal student loans in 2007 and the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority the largest student loan issuer to Massachusetts residents both announced that they would no longer be able to provide either new or current borrowers with student loans.
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13. If the rational for excepting student loans from discharge is that the cost to students to obtain loans would soar this fact would seem to lay waste to that argument. In the wake of the slow march towards saddling our students with unshakable debt the government created a couple of ways to deal with government backed student loans outside of bankruptcy. In 2007 the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 added income based repayment which allows for a smaller repayment than income contingent repayment 15% of discretionary income and debt forgiveness after 25 years. 14. In 2010 the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 created a new version of income-based repayment cutting the monthly payment to 10% of discretionary income with debt forgiveness after 20 years. 15.
For borrowers who are on the governments income-based repayment plan any outstanding federal college loans can be discharged prior to full repayment if the borrower has made her or his monthly loan payments for 25 years. Borrowers who go to work for the government or the public sector can have their federal college loans forgiven after 10 years. Federal college loans can also be forgiven in the event the borrower dies or becomes permanently disabled. Non-federal private student loans on the other hand arent required to offer any of these payment-deferment or discharge provisions. It is at the lenders discretion whether to offer a struggling borrower deferred or lower monthly loan payments and even whether to discharge the private student loan upon the borrowers death or permanent disability.