Articles Posted in Student loans

Published on: everyone was talking about CyberPunks and NFTs on Twitter this weekend, as well as the impact of various amendments to the infrastructure bill and how they may affect cryptocurrencies and development in blockchain tech, there was significant movement on the student loan front.

    1. Late Friday afternoon, the Biden administration announced that it was extending the federal student loan restart from Oct 1 to Feb 1, 2022.  Where might that money go for the next few months?
    2. Also on Friday, the Department of Education announced that it was creating a rulemaking committee to rewrite regs for PSLF, income-contingent repayment plans, borrower defense to repayment, closed school discharges, false certification discharges, interest capitalization, arbitration and class action bans, and even disability discharges.  Many of these programs while good in intentions, have been virtually shut down or misrepresented in past years.
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As anticipated, President Biden once again extended the forbearance on federal student loan payments to January 31, 2022.  Here is the Press Release.  Special emphasis is given that this will be the FINAL extension.

Remember, this has no effect on private student loans.

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free-tuitionCNN business recently reported that Walmart has announced that it will provide free tuition for its employees to attend college.  I don’t recognize any of the participating schools below so not sure how much this will impact our Florida clients, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.  Especially since service industries are having a hard time attracting employees right now.  Maybe this will encourage others to do the same – our small law firm started a similar program earlier this year.

Walmart typically starts employees at $11/hour I’ve heard, so this extra benefit may be the tipping point for someone to get ahead in life.  These benefits are likely tax free (not considered as gross income) — provided they are less than $5,250 per year.  Walmart receives the deduction, and neither the employee nor the employer have to pay payroll taxes on this.  Win-win.

Here’s a list of Walmart’s participating partners:

Published on: nail was pounded into the private student loan coffin last week when a new case came out against Sallie Mae.

A private student loan is not a conditional grant and therefore does fall within the meaning of section 523(a)(8)(A)(ii) which excepts from discharge an “educational benefit, scholarship, or stipend.” Homaidan v. Sallie Mae, Inc., No. 20-1981 (2d Cir. July 15, 2021).

So, this puts a duty on us attorneys to determine if the private loan can be discharged whenever a bankruptcy is filed.  Factors to consider:

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Taxes-and-SL-ForgivenessWe’ve received questions about how exactly did the recent stimulus bill affect student loan forgiveness and any resulting taxable event?  Here is the actual text of the change in law below.

As you can see this includes any taxable forgiveness of federal or private student loan debt.

So the time to settle student loans is now, or at least before January 1, 2026.

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FHA-SL-guidelinesAre you looking to buy a house now?  Waiting could cost you as inflationary pressures will likely cause your dollar to decline.  Moreover, interest rates will begin to rise in 2022 – 2023 as the Fed begins to normalize the interest rate.  If you have student loan debt that has prevented you in the past from buying a home, keep reading…

In light of this, mortgages and refinances are a very popular topic now — especially among those with student loan debt.  One big hang up was just resolved.  Previously, a mortgage lender had to use 1% of the outstanding loan balance, even when a borrower was in IDR and the monthly payment reported on the Borrower’s credit report was zero.

We would suggest a temporary fix:  the borrower would exit IDR for a month or two where the payment may have been zero, make a fixed standard or extended payment, apply for the mortgage and after approval, get back into the IDR.  This wasn’t the best fix; however, as it unnecessarily caused a student loan borrower to have the loan capitalize the unpaid interest.  But it did let someone buy a house who otherwise could not.

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Now that the Department of Education (“ED”) is committed to revamping the Borrower Defense to Repayment rules and procedures, I thought it was time to re-visit an old foe.  I was disappointed to find Accrediting Counsel for Independent Colleges and Schools (“ACISC”) was STILL in business.  Despite the sudden closures of ITT Tech and Corinthian Colleges under its watch, it’s still out there, in part due to Secretary DeVos’ leadership of ED and former President Trump reinstating the accreditor in 2018.

This year, career staff at ED have again recommended that ACICS lose its accreditation power because it failed to demonstrate that it has competent and knowledgeable individuals, qualified by education and experience.  For example, when ACICS visited Reagan National University and didn’t locate any instructional material, it didn’t even note the lack of materials as a deficiency in its report.  ED stated that several other red flags were overlooked as well during site visits, USA Today reported in March 2021.

There are two levels of reviews and appeals available to ACISC which they are certain to use if nothing else to run out the clock.

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Are you wondering about what to do with your student loan debt?  Student Loan Planner had me on as a guest on their podcast talking about the student loan system in general, how we got here, what to expect from a Biden Administration and how to settle or obtain forgiveness of your student loan debt.

Here is the link to your episode:

Christie Arkovich who has specialized in helping clients get through financial hardships since 1995. Christie was a champion of the student loan system working for Sallie Mae during the early stages of her career but came to realize that the system is broken. We talk about her work for Sallie Mae and why she “switched sides” to help borrowers navigate the many complexities of the student loan industry.

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busyWe have five seminars that our attorneys are presenting at this month and next!

  • Bankruptcy Updates:  COVID-19 Changes to the Bankruptcy Code – The Consumer Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2020,  April 26, 2021
  • SD FL Student Loan Program Virtual Workshop, May 10, 2021.
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Free course available on April 7, 2021 at 4:00 EST by Student Loan Attorney Christie Arkovich.

Everyone is asking what they can expect from a Biden administration’s student loan relief. In this course, you will learn about the CARES Act and its extensions, including COVID-19 forbearance; interest waiver for direct loans; rules for ongoing collections; and other nuances of these new federal laws protecting borrowers during COVID-19. We will also discuss the tax forgiveness waiver for all student loans provided by the stimulus bill and anticipated forgiveness in future bills. Traps for the unwary will be identified, and solutions will be provided by a nationally known student loan attorney.

Learning Objectives:
Contact Information