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abc-action-newsThis week, Adam Walser of ABC Action News reports on the problem where licensed health care workers who are in default on their federal student loans are at risk of losing that license here in the State of Florida “Florida Board of Health Suspends Health Care Licenses Over Student Loan Defaults”.  We were interviewed by Adam:

“We’re not saying that people shouldn’t repay their loan,” said Arkovich. “We’re just saying that getting them fired probably isn’t the best way to go about that.”

By suspending healthcare workers’ licenses, which by the way only Florida has chosen to pursue this draconian measure, economists fear that many will be put out of work.  At a time when we are told there is a shortage of health care workers.  And in the State of Florida which likely has a greater than average number of health care workers caring for our elderly in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and rehabilitation centers.

Published on:, approval is needed from the bankruptcy court to take on any new debt in the form of a new federal or private student loan.  This would include the filing of a refinance or even a consolidation application – as these are considered new loans.

ECMC, the guarantor of FFEL government backed loans, has a specific policy regarding regaining Title IV eligibility during a bankruptcy.  Whether a borrower is in a Chapter 7 or 13, they are required to make six consecutive payments in order to regain Title IV eligibility.

If the student loan debt is not listed, or if it is listed in the bankruptcy, but the plan provides for 0% to be paid to general unsecured creditors, then the borrower is not considered to have established a “satisfactory repayment arrangement” through their bankruptcy plan.

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triviaMark L.  Due to client confidentially rules, I won’t post your full name.

Amazingly, Mark answered our 1:48 pm. email within a record 7 minutes.  Closely followed by another client Kari N., only two minutes later.  Feels a bit like a horse race!

The answer is:  String theory for all our fellow Big Bang followers!

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shutdownYou still need to pay your student loans when you are furloughed or else you risk a default.

But if you are a federal employee, take this opportunity to ask your servicer to recalculate your IDR plan while you’ve got zero income!!  Even if the shutdown ends next week, your zero payment would continue for the remainder of your 12 month plan.

To Schedule a Consultation
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consumer-law-with-bkWhen you are thinking about hiring a bankruptcy attorney, what should you consider? – besides all the regular stuff like client reviews, years of practice, cost, availability, knowledgeable, friendliness of attorney and staff etc.

One thing to keep in mind is what other areas does that law firm handle and could that help you fix your situation.  As you can see from the chart above, many bankruptcy attorneys just take bankruptcy cases.  While that’s fine, most people facing a bankruptcy also have issues with their credit report, foreclosures, debt collection violations, robo calls, student loans etc.  We handle all of that.  We also have a class action team.  One consumer area we don’t handle is vehicles – I don’t know a thing about our lemon laws or other issues regarding vehicles for instance.

I’m not suggesting you hire someone who dabbles in bankruptcy to file your bankruptcy.  That is probably the worst thing you can do.  But hiring a firm that is experienced in bankruptcy plus the other issues you are facing is probably best.  We have over 25 years experience in bankruptcy plus a myriad of other consumer related issues commonly faced by our clients.

Published on: what reads like a Student’s Bill of Rights, a 76 page Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, CEC must clearly and conspicuously disclose to prospective students a “Single-Page Disclosure Sheet” that contains the following information:

  • the anticipated total direct cost for the program of study at the prospective campus; provided, however, that this provision shall not be interpreted to restrict CEC’s ability to change tuition, fees, or expenses;
  • the median debt for completers for the program of study for the most recent reporting period, if available;
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fcraDid you ever wonder why credit reporting agencies cannot correct an error?  Even one that seems rather obvious to you?

The reason is the elaborate mechanism created by the credit reporting industry is inherently flawed.  This leads to inaccurate credit reports that lead consumers to paying too much for credit or being denied credit altogether.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) uses a standard that requires “maximum possible accuracy”.  This high burden was created by Congress in 1970 due to the need for consumer reporting agencies to assemble and evaluate consumer credit and other information  on consumers while acting in a fair, impartial manner respectful of a consumer’s right to privacy.  Congress recognized that the power to control this information could easily be misused and abused.  Credit bureaus do not consider the consumer as their customers.  They work for the creditors.

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Most of us still use the New Year as an opportunity to review the past year and set goals for the New Year.  My own practice has grown tremendously from this goal setting.  We target the best strategies to grow our practice and help our clients to get back on track financially.

As most of you know, we practice bankruptcy and foreclosure defense as we have for many years, but since student loan debt has become such a crisis, much of our work is focused on eliminating that debt.  We have developed different strategies both inside and outside of bankruptcy to reduce student loan debt.

A new tool we are adding this year involves the misreporting of student loan debt on credit reports.  Put quite simply, the student loan servicers often can’t get it right.  They send bills with different amounts owed, transfer the debt so often that it appears duplicate times on a credit report, inaccurately reports payments etc.  We intend to hold them accountable.  Stay tuned as we hope to blog about this regularly to help our readers recognize when their credit reports may be in error and costing them real money – by denied credit or increased cost of credit, insurance etc.

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fha-appleI’ve written before about the requirement in FHA mortgages that the lender send certified letters and conduct a face-to-face meeting with a borrower before initiating a foreclosure.  When a lender fails to do that, the may be liable for the damages sustained in a wrongful foreclosure.  There are other advantages as well to allow for the transfer of the debt to a third party or even another family members in case they wish to keep the home if the borrower becomes ill or even passes away.  Also it’s easier to obtain deficiency waivers of the debt in case a short sale or foreclosure occurs.

Conventional mortgages are not assumable.  However, similar to veterans who have VA loans, a consumer with an FHA loan may sell his/her home to a purchaser who is willing to assume the existing mortgage and continue making payments pursuant to the existing lending agreement.  HUD and FHA approval is necessary for a loan assumption to occur, and requirements include:

  • Manual underwriting to ensure that the homebuyer is creditworthy
Published on: last week’s announcement that the Department of Education was forgiving $150 million in federal student loans, many people have reached out to us to see if they may benefit.

Those who will receive forgiveness under the $150 million announcement are limited to only those borrowers who:

  • were enrolled when the school closed; or
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