Tags: Seniors | student | Loans | billions

Federal Reserve: Seniors Owe Billions in Student Loans

By Michelle Smith   |   Monday, 02 Apr 2012 12:29 PM

New research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows that Americans 60 and over still owe about $36 billion in student loans.

More than 10 percent of those loans are delinquent, according to research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. As a result, Social Security checks are being garnished, The Washington Post reported.

There are a number of reasons why seniors still owe so much for education.

Editor's Note: Did Obama Betray Seniors to Gain Votes?

Some signed loans for their children or grandchildren who now find it difficult to get a job or at least one that pays enough to foot the bill for their degrees. Some seniors went back to school later in life to pursue higher education or in aims of changing their career paths.

But, according to The Washington Post, there are some senior citizens still grappling with their first wave of student loans.

With $67 billion of student loans in default, Bloomberg reports that the Department of Education is turning to an army of private debt collection companies.  “Working on commissions that totaled about $1 billion last year, these government contractors face growing complaints that they are violating federal laws by insisting on stiff payments even when borrowers are eligible for leniency,” Bloomberg reported.

It is often said that young people dealing with the student loan issue are worse off than their parents, especially given the job market. However, many older Americans strapped to these debts are surviving on fixed incomes. Still, their creditors expect to be paid.

Consumer advocates say that it isn't uncommon for Social Security to checks to be garnished or for collectors to harass borrowers in their 80s over student loans that are decades old, The Washington Post reports.

Since this type of debt can't be discharged with bankruptcy, many find themselves without a solution.

“A student loan can be a debt that's kind of like a ball and a chain that you can drag to your grave,” said William E. Brewer, President of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. “You can unhook it when you lay in the coffin,” he told The Washington Post.

Editor's Note: Did Obama Betray Seniors to Gain Votes?



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