No way out: Will Congress change bankruptcy laws for student loans?

Edith Oquendo wishes she could file for bankruptcy. When Oquendo, a resident of Kissimmee, Fla., left her job as a photographer at Walt Disney World after she developed carpal tunnel syndrome, she decided she would go back to school “to better” herself, the Huffington Post reports. She heard about Full Sail University, a Florida-based, for-profit college specializing in the entertainment industry with many courses online. Oquendo enrolled, hoping to learn about new photo technology and design programs like Photoshop. To pay for it, Oquendo took out a private student loan. A few years later at age 46, she’s $33,000 in debt with no degree. She’s struggling to make payments since she also has fibromyalgia, is on disability and is unable to work as much as she’d like.

“I wish I just could go back and undo everything,” Oquendo said. “Knowing then what I know now, I would have never taken out the student loan.”

Click here for the full story…Read More

1 million signatures delivered asking Congress to do more than low interest rates

Congress may have a deal on extending the discounted interest rate on federal student loans, but there are a million people who want them to go further, the Huffington Post reports. Robert Applebaum, a former assistant district attorney from New York, delivered 1 million signatures Thursday from his petition for Congress to pass H.R. 4170, the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012, at the House side of the Capitol. He was joined by the bill’s author, Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-Mich.), Tony Mitchell, Jr., Congressional Liaison of the National Black Law Students Association, and Getachew Kassa, who is Legislative Director for the U.S. Student Association. About 20 students and college graduates and Occupy Colleges activists also joined the group.

Their argument: forgiving student debt would fix the economy.

“Forgiving student loan debt would have an immediate stimulating effect on the economy,” Applebaum argued. “Responsible people who did nothing other than pursue a higher education would have hundreds, if not thousands of extra dollars per month to spend, fueling the economy now.”…Read More

Divided Congress likely to agree on student loans

One way or another, the Congress seems certain to prevent a low interest rate for federal student loans from doubling on July 1, aides and analysts say, largely because lawmakers do not want to rile young voters before the November 6 elections, Reuters reports. Yet it remains unclear how – or even if – Congress will pay for a one-year-renewal of the 3.4 percent rate for about 7.4 million students, which would cost about $6 billion. Senate Republicans on Tuesday are expected to block a proposal by President Barack Obama’s Democrats to cover the cost by plugging what they call a tax loophole for the rich. Senate Democrats are expected to reject a bill passed two weeks ago by the Republican-led House of Representatives to fund it by taking money away from Obama’s healthcare overhaul…

Click here for the full story

…Read More