Last week the U.S. Department of Education announced their latest move to assist some individuals with financially debilitating student loan debt. This part of the Obama Student Aid Bill of Rights, is directed at hundreds of thousands of borrowers who are permanently disabled and cannot work. The Department of Education started sending out letters this week to student loan borrowers that have been identified, with the help of the Social Security Administration, as receiving disability payments and are eligible to have their student loans discharged. This type of student loan relief is known as a “Total and Permanent Disability” loan discharge. There were 387,000 permanently disabled individuals identified, with nearly half of these currently in student loan default, as qualifying with an estimated $7.7 billion in student loans.
The U.S. Department of Education announced, on March 25, 2016, that evidence uncovered in its ongoing investigation of Corinthian Colleges, Inc. indicates that students were defrauded at 91 former Corinthian campuses nationwide and that those students have a clear path to student loan forgiveness. Students in more than 20 states who attended Corinthian's Everest or Wyo Tech schools, now represent the largest group of borrowers eligible for loan relief as a result of the Department of Education's investigation into Corinthian.
An important factor that sets student loan debt apart from all other kinds of debt is that it’s just about impossible to rid yourself of it. Even borrowers that end up in such financial burdens file for bankruptcy and struggle to get a fresh start void of their student loan debt.
But a few cases working their way through the legal system could alter that. They increase the possibility that the courts might offer a loose definition of how difficult the borrower’s financial situation is before a bankruptcy judge can justify discharging his or her loans.
It’s not just young people struggling to pay back student loan debt but more and more retirees are struggling due to this student loan debt burden. An estimated 700,000 seniors on Social Security are still paying off student loans. Recently nearly 160,000 of these retirees have had their disability and retirement payments garnished to pay down student loan debt.
Subsidized and unsubsidized student loans are federal student loans that are made for students to help cover the financial costs of a higher education at a 4 year college or university, community college, trade school, career, or technical school. The United States Department of Education offers eligible students who attend participating schools Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans.