Bankruptcy is in the news these days, as Congress has finally overhauled the Federal bankruptcy law after years of talking about it. The credit card companies, rightly or wrongly, have been pressuring members of Congress to tighten the bankruptcy statutes, saying that too many people were willfully spending money they couldn't repay with the intention of avoiding paying the money back by filing for bankruptcy. That will soon change, and those with student loans may pay a heavy price.
Most everyone knows that consumers with problem debt who are unable to pay their debts may file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 of the Federal bankruptcy code. This allows for the court to basically wipe away all of the debtor's bills and allows them to start over. It's not entirely free; the bankruptcy filing stays on the debtor's credit report for the next ten years and may affect their ability to buy a home, borrow money or obtain employment. What many people fail to realize is that while installment loan debt or credit card debt can be wiped out through filing for bankruptcy, most student loans cannot. In fact, thanks to legislation enacted several years ago, most any loans acquired for education, including those issued by for-profit agencies, may not be eliminated through filing for bankruptcy.
What this means for those with student loans is that they will need to be repaid. If bankruptcy is inevitable, those with outstanding student loans should contact their lenders and see if they can't negotiate a repayment plan. Those with Federally funded student loans should contact their lender soon, as rates for student loans will go up on July 1, 2005. Now would be a good time to consolidate student loans, as the rates can be locked in for the long term. If these options are not viable, then holders of student loans should simply be aware that their lenders and their lenders' loan collectors will be keeping in touch with them for the foreseeable future. Those with student loans and other financial problems should also be aware that Federal bankruptcy law will change in October, 2005, making it harder to file for bankruptcy. If you have problem debt, now would be a good time to consider meeting with a credit counselor.
?Copyright 2005 by Retro Marketing.
Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including End-Your-Debt.com, a site devoted to debt consolidation and credit counseling, and StructuredSettlementHelp.com, a site devoted to information regarding structured settlements.