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https://www.tampabankruptcylawyerblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2015/07/christie_d._arkovich_p.a_1_small.jpgYes, it’s a holiday weekend and I’m not quite sure why a local consumer group JEDTI is doing their 2nd Annual Convention today, but it is about a 100 degrees out and I think I’d melt outdoors anyway so why not?

JEDTI was originally made up of mostly foreclosure defense attorneys, and this is how I came to be a part of the group several years back.  It was amazing the knowledge this group imparted and I am forever grateful to be a member.

Now that the foreclosure crisis is for the most part behind us, JEDTI has morphed into other consumer protection areas including robocalls under the TCPA, fair debt collection violations, credit repair and reporting violations under the FCRA  — and now perhaps student loans if they like what I have to say.

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CBS interviewed us and our class action co-counsel, Gus Centrone of Centrone & Shrader, P.A., as background for their recent three part Eye on America story focusing on the student debt crisis.  Per Seth Frotman, formerly with the CFPB, there is zero plan to tackle this at the federal level and that the student debt crisis is here with no end or change in sight.  Very true.

Parts I, II and III:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/student-loan-debt-i-had-a-panic-attack-millennials-struggle-under-the-burden-of-student-loan-debt/

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Fox-13-News-Tampa-BayFox 13 interviewed us in connection with their terrific story yesterday on the College Scorecard:  College Scorecard a Wealth of Information on Every College and University in the Country.  Anyone with a high school student or someone bound for college, should look into this resource to help make the decision about which college to attend.

It offers a wealth of information on topics on which a school may not be forthcoming.

“I like the fact that it shows some things that a school probably wouldn’t want to put a spotlight on, like graduation and retention rates.” Arkovich told FOX 13.

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https://www.tampabankruptcylawyerblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2015/07/christie_d._arkovich_p.a_1_small.jpgToday, we appeared on ParentPumpRadio as a guest discussing Breaking the Stigma of High Student Debt.

Different topics were discussed such as the old view vs the new view on picking colleges, paying for school, choosing loans etc.  If you are a parent or student thinking about college, be sure to listen before making key decisions that could affect you for the rest of your lives.

  • How to avoid high student loan debt when attending school
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How it began (B.C. Before Chloe became our office kitty -not really, but close enough):


Ragged-cat

View video – the story of Chloe, best viewed with audio to hear the upbeat and impressive music with Barbara’s photo and editing skills — don’t worry, she makes a better lawyer…

Chloe

Thank you for watching…. pawprint

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Patriot-Act
This week 60 Minutes aired a student loan story about a Home Depot founder who donated hundreds of millions and raised additional funds to make NYU’s medical school tuition free.  While this was a great story, and a compassionate thing to do to ensure that the lower paid physician fields such as general practice and internal medicine draw new doctors in today’s world where it costs several hundred thousand for medical school, still the impact is minimal if you look at the landscape of 1.5 trillion dollars of student loan debt out there.

A better overview of the enormity of the student loan debt bubble, how we got here, and possible solutions, check out the student loan story on the Patriot Act by Hasan Minhaj, airing on Netflix.

A clip with me about Navient appears 8 minutes in, another of our Florida client’s news story about losing her medical LPN license when in default on her federal loans was quickly on in the beginning, and another client spoke of his denial of PSLF, and our class action against Navient for misleading people into believing they qualify for PSLF is 16 minutes in.  It’s only  a ½ hour show – talks about the recent IG audit too:  61% of the time when dealing with your student loans, the federal student loan servicers screw up.  The story focuses on the fact that the Department of Ed is the biggest lender out there, isn’t prepared to be, and how horrible of a job the servicers do and that student loan debt is now more than vehicle and credit card debt combined etc.  Here’s a link on YouTube – it’s well worth the watch:

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Harper

Calling all dog lovers!  Since greyhound racing will cease to exist in the next two years, all the greyhounds will need to be re-homed.  Our friend Hope just adopted this lovable greyhound named Harper and she is so sweet and loving!  Contrary to popular belief, they don’t need to be run around – she’s basically a big lazy cat with lots of elbows.  It’s also really neat to have both an adult dog (already potty trained and calm), who views the world through the eyes of a puppy as many things are brand new to her!

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Faced with a nearly impossible standard to discharge federal student loan debt in bankruptcy due to undue hardship, creative debtors’ attorneys and the bankruptcy courts are continuing to create pockets of relief wherever possible.

Finding that “non-dischargeability does not immunize the student loan claim from modification,”a bankruptcy court confirmed the debtors’ plan under which their payments would go to the principal on their student loan debt with accumulated post-petition interest to be paid post-discharge. In re Duensing, No. 18-10201 (Bankr. D. Kans. Feb. 22, 2019).

The guarantor of the loans, ECMC, objected to the debtors’ proposed treatment of the student loan debt arguing that, because the reduction of principal would result in declining post-petition interest, the proposed plan effectively discharged her student loan without a finding of undue hardship.

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https://www.tampabankruptcylawyerblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2015/07/christie_d._arkovich_p.a_1_small.jpgMany people are facing uncertainty about PSLF for all kinds of reasons.  We’ve focused on those who were told they were in the PSLF program only to find out that their loan types didn’t qualify all along, and now they have to start all over.  We also help borrowers who were in the wrong payment plan and their servicer should have known that that plan did not qualify for PSLF.  Congress even set up a TE-PSLF program to temporarily waive those in the wrong payment plan provided their payment was at least as much as it would have been under IDR.

We now see two other issues popping up with more frequency.  Those encouraged to go on forbearance when they should have been on an income driven plan at a low or even zero payment which would have qualified for PSLF.

One other issue that a potential client is facing is having her PSLF certification under review now for years.

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https://www.tampabankruptcylawyerblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2015/07/christie_d._arkovich_p.a_1_small.jpgHow can you trust your student loan servicer when they don’t follow the law 61% of the time per a recent Inspector General’s Report?

Let’s look at a relatively simple chore – re-certification of income under an income driven plan.  What appears to be simple, can have meaningful impact.  If nothing has changed, you likely can do it yourself – but do yourself a big favor and keep reading just in case.  Here is a brief explanation of what we do to re-certify the borrower’s income to remain in an Income Driven Plan (IDR) for federal student loans:

When we are asked to re-certify an IDR plan, we ask that the borrower advise of their marital status, income of each spouse, # and circumstances of dependents, amount and type of federal loans, and lastly whether the borrower is working or intends to work public service.  There are times that nothing has changed from the borrower’s prior circumstances the previous year and we likely would simply submit their tax return to renew.  We would need to obtain a signed authorization form and often follow up with the servicer(s).  We are often re-explaining how the forgiveness works, the 1099 expectation, impact on their credit, ability to qualify for a mortgage one day.

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