The Student Loan Swindle by Mike WhitneySubmitted by bobbyw24 on Mon, 02/07/2011 - 09:04
Alan Nasser is professor emeritus of Political Economy at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. He co-authored "The Student Loan Debt Bubble" along with Kelly Norman, which appeared in CounterPunch.)
MW: Is it possible to "walk away" from a student loan and declare bankruptcy?
Alan Nasser--- No, it's not possible for student debtors to escape financial devastation by declaring bankruptcy. This most fundamental of consumer protections would have been available to student debtors were it not for legislation explicitly designed to withhold a whole range of basic protections from student borrowers. I'm not talking only about bankruptcy protection, but also truth in lending requirements, statutes of limitations, refinancing rights and even state usury laws – Congress has rendered all these protections inapplicable to federally guaranteed student loans. The same legislation also gave collection agencies hitherto unimaginable powers, for example to garnish wages, tax returns, Social Security benefits and -believe it or not- Disability income. Twisting the knife, legislators made the suspension of state-issued professional licenses, termination of public employment and denial of security clearances legitimate measures to enable collection companies to wring financial blood from bankrupt student-loan borrowers. Student loan debt is the most punishable of all forms of debt - most of those draconian measures are unavailable to credit card companies. (Maybe I'm being too harsh. Sallie Mae recently announced that it will after all forgive a debt under either of two conditions: in case the borrower dies or becomes totally disabled.)