Today, I've decided to write about something that has been a big issue for me. Student loan debt. Unfortunately, I have a lot of it. Also, I see what it does to other people's lives. Not just friends and family, but many others are suffering under the weight of student loans.
I'm going to write about this issue again and maybe on a regular basis. I believe that what happened with mortgages and the current issue with foreclosures is going to play out in a similar way with student loans. Maybe this is the legislative issue that will take care of #33 on My Life List.
The salaries and jobs that were needed in order to pay back these student loans do not exist in large enough numbers. They have not for some time and I'm not sure that they ever will again. At least with bad mortgages, homeowners can walk away from the house or sell it. There's no option like that with student loans. You can't give back your education. You're trapped with the debt and may wonder if the degree or degrees were worth it. Some graduates even leave the country in order to escape the debt. Maybe it makes sense, when so many jobs have been and continue to be outsourced. Even President Obama was only able to pay off his student loans after receiving royalties from his best selling books.
The House and Senate both have pending legislation that would provide some relief from student loan debt through discharge in bankruptcy.
S.3219 -- Fairness for Struggling Students Act of 2010
H.R.5043 -- Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Fairness Act of 2010
Both pieces of legislation were introduced on April 15, 2010. If you agree with this legislation, then please contact your Senators and your Representatives and let them know you support this legislation. I'm pretty sure that Student loan providers will have all sorts of lobbyists trying to fight this relief and any other changes to the student loan status quo.
We the people must speak up if we want something done. This legislation is just one piece. There needs to be a big overhaul in the student loan system.
Also take note that July 1st is a big date for student loans. Read this press release from the Project on Student Debt. The Student Loan Borrower Assistance website also has plenty of good information. If you have a federal student loan, you may be able to do a direct consolidation loan and move it out of the hands of a student loan company directly to the Department of Education.
*Updated 7/1/10* A new press release: U.S. Department of Education Marks Historic Day in Higher Education
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