During the past few months, I have seen a fairly rapid increase in new collections lawsuits being filed against student loan borrowers in Massachusetts for defaulted student loans that were previously held by Sallie Mae and/or Navient. This is noteworthy because in my experience, these loans had been predominantly placed with non-attorney third-party debt collection agencies, or out-of-state collection law firms that rarely filed suit. This is a major shift.Read More
Getting sued on a defaulted student loan can be overwhelming and terrifying. In my experience, most people who are brought to court by student loan debt collectors have never been sued before, so they don’t know what to expect. And dealing with debt collectors, attorneys, court personnel, and judges can be intimidating and embarrassing.
However, being sued does not mean all is lost. The initiation of a lawsuit is the beginning of a legal process, not the end. You have rights, and you may have some options. The lawsuit could end in any number of ways ranging from a dismissal of the case, to some sort of negotiated agreement, to a judgment against you. While no one (not even me) could tell you with any certainty what the final outcome of a student loan lawsuit may be, I can tell you that doing certain things may ensure that you lose.Read More
Well, 2017 has been quite an explosive year, hasn’t it? And there’s been a lot going on in the world of student loan law – so much, in fact, that it can be a bit overwhelming to keep everything straight. So as we wrap up this year, here’s an overview of what went down for student loan borrowers, and some hints of what’s to come in 2018.Read More
It’s time to start liberating yourself from your student loan debt.
We’ve got a true student loan crisis – there’s over $1.4 trillion in student debt, and that number keeps on rising. The average undergrad leaves college with nearly $40,000 in student loans, and over 7 in 10 recent graduates are in the red. Twenty-five percent of student loan borrowers are in distress – meaning they are in a suspended status, behind in payments, or in default. And things only seem to be getting worse.
With this as a backdrop, it’s easy to become paralyzed. The loan balance figures and payment amounts can be distressing. Figuring our your repayment options can be overwhelming. It doesn’t help that loan servicers often provide incorrect or misleading information. It’s easy to feel like you’re lost.
But ignoring the problem isn’t going to make it go away; student loans don’t just disappear. Even if there are only imperfect solutions out there right now, it’s important to take stock of your situation, figure out what your options are, and optimize your student loan management approach. Only then can you start getting on the path to student debt freedom. Here’s how you can get started.Read More
If you have multiple student loans, all with different loan balances, interest rates, and lenders, it can feel overwhelming to manage. Should you pay just your minimum monthly payments, or should you pay extra when you can? Which loan should you pay off first? How do you prioritize?
Here are some general rules to consider.
Private Student Loans Before Federal
On the whole, federal student loans have a lot more repayment options and many more consumer protections compared to private loans. Federal loans have discharges available due to death or disability; there is a right to cure federal student loan default; and federal loans typically have flexible repayment options, including income-driven repayment. Private student loans typically don’t have these options or protections. So even if the interest rates on your federal student loans are relatively high, it still might make more sense to pay off your private loans first. You never know what could happen in the future, or when you might need those federal student loan protections.Read More
This is a developing story.
The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has reached a major enforcement agreement with National Collegiate Student Loan Trust, the holder of hundreds of thousands of student loan accounts, about its debt collection practices. This agreement has the potential to impact thousands of student loan borrowers across the country.
National Collegiate Trust (“NCT”) is a collection of individual trust entities that purchased hundreds of thousands of private student loan accounts from commercial lenders (mostly banks) through securitization. In other words, banks bundled many private student loan accounts together, and then sold the bundles to NCT. When student loan borrowers with NCT-purchased accounts became unable to pay, NCT aggressively pursued these borrowers through private debt collectors and litigation.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
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
For most types of private student loans, the only way that the lenders can forcibly collect from borrowers is to file a lawsuit in court. That’s because most private student loan lenders do not have the same collections powers as the federal government – they generally cannot garnish wages, put a lien on a home, or seize any assets without first obtaining a court judgment. That judgment then gives the lender additional powers to pursue the borrower if he or she doesn’t start paying.
So you would think that all private lenders sue defaulted student loan borrowers, right? Well, that’s not necessarily true. In New York and Massachusetts (where I practice), let’s just say that some student loan lenders are more litigious than others. The following is based on my own personal anecdotal experiences representing student loan borrowers – it is not scientific, and it is by no means representative of national trends. And if your student loan lender isn’t on this list, it doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t be sued. But, perhaps my observations below can be insightful.Read More
If you default on your federal student loans, the consequences can be pretty severe, but it’s generally unlikely that you will be sued. That’s because the federal government has enormously powerful tools to pursue defaulted federal student loan borrowers without the need for a court order. Federal lenders and debt collectors can garnish wages, intercept federal tax refunds, offset Social Security benefits, and seize federal income streams – all without stepping foot in a courtroom. While the feds do sue borrowers in some cases, especially when a borrower is not otherwise “reachable” through its normal collection methods, it’s not particularly common (at least in Massachusetts and New York, where I practice).
But private student loans are another story. Private student loan lenders do not have the same powers as the federal government. They generally cannot do anything to you without obtaining a court judgment first – and that requires that they file a lawsuit against you. But suing you is only the first step in the process.
Facing a private student loan lawsuit can be overwhelming and terrifying. If you find yourself being sued, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself.Read More