It’s a scary time for millions of Americans right now. Much of eastern Texas has been declared a disaster area following Hurricane Harvey. Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have been declared disaster areas as well following Hurricane Irma, and the southeastern U.S. (especially Florida) may be next. The last thing anyone in those areas is thinking about right now is student debt. But what happens to your student loans when a disaster strikes?Read More
National Collegiate Trust – formally known as National Collegiate Student Loan Trust, or NCSLT for short – is one of the biggest players in private student loan litigation. But you may never have heard of them. And you may not even realize that they claim to be the owner of your student loan.
Who, or What, is National Collegiate Trust?
NCSLT is not a student loan company; it’s not even a single organizational entity. There’s no call center, no corporate headquarters. Rather, NCSLT is a catch-all term used to describe dozens of individual trusts (the trusts are usually designated by a year and a trust designation – for example, “National Collegiate Student Loan Trust 2006-2”, or “National Collegiate Student Loan Trust 2007-1”). The NCSLT trusts contracts out student loan servicing operations and debt collection to various third parties (such as American Education Services, or AES), so you’ll probably never actually deal with one of the trusts directly.Read More
Yesterday, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey filed a lawsuit against loan student servicing giant FedLoan Servicing (formally known as the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Authority, or “PHEAA” for short). The lawsuit alleges widespread loan servicing problems that have harmed thousands of borrowers. The allegations against FedLoan Servicing are entirely unsurprising to me, as I’ve written extensively about ongoing problems with this student loan servicing company. But this is a major development and represents an important step in holding student loan servicers accountable for their actions.
Here are some common questions I’m getting about the lawsuit – and my answers.Read More
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is a program that allows borrowers to have any remaining balance on their federal Direct student loans forgiven after 120 “qualifying payments” (typically under an income-driven repayment plan). Borrowers must work full-time for a public service employer to qualify. For hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of student loan borrowers, it is a critical program that allows people to work in traditionally low-paying sectors that often require advanced degrees.
The PSLF program has been in the news a lot lately, however, and not in a good way. There’s been talk about changing or eliminating the program. There’s been news about the U.S. Dept. of Education denying people access to the loan forgiveness benefit. And no one has been granted forgiveness yet under the program. There’s a lot of uncertainty, which is understandable given PSLF’s complexity and the constant stream of news stories.
So let’s take a moment and review where things are.Read More
There was a news article going around this week that had a shocking headline – due to lost paperwork, billions of dollars in private student loans might be forgiven or cancelled. This article, published first in the New York Times, was picked up by other media outlets across the country and shared repeatedly on social media. Student loan forgiveness is, after all, big news.
Except, it’s just a little bit more complicated than that. Sorry to be the bearer of a tough reality check, but we all need to take a deep breath and take some time to learn about what’s really going on here.
Here’s my analysis.Read More
Yesterday, I testified at the Massachusetts State House in support of the “Student Loan Bill of Rights,” which would introduce new statewide protections for student loan borrowers in Massachusetts. Below is my testimony.
If you live in Massachusetts, contact your state representative and state senator and ask them to support the Student Loan Bill of Rights.
Dear Honorable Chairs of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure:
I am writing to you today in support of S129, the “Student Loan Bill of Rights,” sponsored by Senator Eric Lesser.
By way of background, I am a solo-practicing attorney with a uniquely-focused practice devoted entirely to helping student loan borrowers. To my knowledge, I am the only such attorney in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts – and one of the only in the country – specializing in this area of law. I have a unique perspective on the student loan crisis, particularly as it impacts student loan borrowers here in our Commonwealth.Read More
Happy summer, everyone. With all the big national news going on lately, there’s a lot of developments in student loan law and policy that are flying a bit under the radar. Let’s bring everyone up to speed.
Credit Report Changes Will Help Student Loan Borrowers Who’ve Been Sued
Starting July 1, the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) will no longer report civil judgments on people’s credit reports. There have been ongoing concerns about credit reporting errors for judgments, since a judgment is often not linked to a person’s social security number. This is a significant change that will have a direct, positive impact on borrowers who have been sued by their student loan lenders.Read More
There’s been a lot of depressing news lately for student loan borrowers. President Trump has targeted crucial student loan programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness and income-driven repayment plans in his recent budget proposal. Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Education, recently rolled back some important protections for student loan borrowers. And just this week, DeVos announced that she intends to halt and roll back new rules designed to protect victims of predatory for-profit schools. Meanwhile, student loan servicing continues to be a mess, as does the student loan debt collection system.
With all the bad things going on, it can be easy to become paralyzed and to think that there’s nothing you can do. But you’d be wrong about that.
There’s plenty that you can do to fight for student loan protections. And the more people who join these efforts, the more effective those efforts will be. Here are some actions that you can take right now.Read More
It’s been a whirlwind week. Last week’s leaked budget documents from the Trump administration showed proposed cuts to critical student loan programs including Public Service Loan Forgiveness, as well as major changes to income-driven repayment plans. The proposals sparked panic; hundreds of thousands of student loan borrowers have made major life decisions – selecting specific careers and specific repayment plans – in reliance on the continued existence of these programs. To have the rug pulled out from under them would be disruptive and unfair, and would likely be the basis of viable legal challenges.
After just a few days, we have some important updates on some of these reforms. Some good news, and some bad. Read on.Read More
President Trump’s budget proposal calls for the elimination of funding for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. The program allows for borrowers who are repaying their Direct federal student loans under an income-driven repayment plan while working full time for a public service employer to have any remaining balance forgiven after 10 years of qualifying payments. The first wave of borrowers eligible for forgiveness under this program will be applying later this year.
While this is certainly a time to be extremely vigilant, there are two things to keep in mind before panicking:Read More