The most wonderful time of the year

December 19, 2010

That lovely time of year when we find lots of year-end wrap up stories, lots of tighten-your-fiscal-belt advice for January, and this year, lots of recession/debt stories. So here we go with our last post of 2010.

-We came across a lot of numbered lists this month for some reason. So here are 5 student loan repayment tips from CBS, 5 from BlogHer, and 7 things they don’t tell you about student loans from CBS.

-Among those on tap to get help with student loans, we have Colorado doctors (more here), doctors everywhere (potentially), Iowa teachers, and veterinarians serving in shortage areas.

-Many blogs have seen fit to post about student debt woes lately, including The Pursuit of Harpyness, The Frisky, Above The Law, and The Consumerist.

-Plenty of general “student debt sucks” stories out there right now, from ABA Journal, Falconaire, Parent Dish, The Daily Cardinal, and Blogcritics. And one story about a doctor with over $500,000 in debt.

-In terms of solutions, you can try bankruptcy, but you won’t get far. You can’t cite the recession for your failure to pay your student loans. Undue hardship is notoriously difficult to prove. (More here and here.) Also, you’ll want to avoid default because settling defaulted debt is difficult. Forbes thinks you should hold off on paying your student debt down. Luckily, you’re probably not liable for your spouse’s student loan debt. Another way to maybe get your debt down is to take out more student loans.

-In leglislative news, we have a report on enhancing tax credits, and a bill to make the student loan process more transparent.

-In terms of the broader implications of college debt, note that some say that college costs are the next bubble, and that student loans are the cause of the slowing economy.

-If you’re feeling bad about your student debt, take heart, because at least one U.S. Congressman still has quite a bit of student debt himself, and Wells Fargo will now forgive student loans in case of death/disability (Sallie Mae does already).

-Speaking of Sallie Mae, I’m sure all we borrowers paying exorbitant interest which we can’t negotiate or refinance will be pleased to know that its earnings are supposed to look quite good in 2011. In other Sallie Mae reporting, Just Means says that Sallie Mae cheats student borrowers: “While Sallie Mae has financed millions of educations, and therefore has increased access to education, it has done so with a business model that inherently cheats borrowers and causes them to pay unnecessary risk premiums. Because student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, the interest charged on student loans is total windfall that is unethically earned.” (Oh, and speaking of fraud, 4 student lenders are paying the U.S. government nearly $58 million to settle fraud claims.)

Student Loan Debt Clock: $875 billion and growing all the time. Happy holidays!

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