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Under current credit criteria most students who typically have little or no established credit history will require a co-signer in order to qualify for a private student loan. Typically a co-signer is a relative who agrees to pay the balance of any co-signed loans if the student fails to repay the loan although a family relationship is not a requirement. A student may have an unrelated co-signer. Federal Student Loans vs. Private Student Loans Government-backed federal student loans come with certain payment-deferment and loan-forgiveness benefits. Borrowers who are having difficulty making their monthly loan payments may be eligible for up to three years of payment deferment due to economic hardship along with an additional three years of forbearance during which interest continues to accrue but no payments would be due.
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.
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The facts however did not support this attack. By 1977 only .3% of student loans had been discharged in bankruptcy. 6. Still the walls continued to close on student debtors. Up until 1984 only private student loans made by a nonprofit institution of higher education were excepted from discharge. 7. Next with the enactment of the Bankruptcy Amendments and Federal Judgeship Act of 1984 private loans from all nonprofit lenders were excepted from discharge. In 1990 the period of repayment before a discharge could be received was lengthened to 7 years. 8. In 1991 the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 1991 allowed the federal government to garnish up to 10% of disposable pay of defaulted borrowers. 9. In 1993 the Higher Education Amendments of 1992 added income contingent repayment which required payments of 20% of discretionary income to be paid towards Direct Loans.