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PORTSIDE  April 2012, Week 1

PORTSIDE April 2012, Week 1

Subject:

60 Years Old, and Still Paying off Student Loans

From:

Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>

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[log in to unmask]

Date:

Tue, 3 Apr 2012 22:38:03 -0400

Content-Type:

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (131 lines)

60 Years Old, and Still Paying off Student Loans 

New data shows that people over 60 owe 36 billion in student
loans 

Common Dreams staff 
Common Dreams
April 3, 2012

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/04/03-3

The extent of the student loan crisis is becoming all the
more evident. New research from the Federal Reserve Bank of
New York reports that $36 billion in student debt belongs to
Americans who are 60 or older. The debt to this demographic
comes as a result of unpaid loans from their original days in
college, loans for mid-career education, and co-signing loans
for younger family members, the research shows.

The plight of unpaid student loans has become a cause for
increasing concern in recent years. Tuition continues to
drastically outpace inflation, the job market for recent
college graduates remains murky, and wages for are stagnant.

Another problem for borrowers is that as of 2005, when the
Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act was
passed, private student debt cannot be discharged in
bankruptcy court. This lack of this consumer protection makes
student debt nearly impossible to erase. "A student loan can
be a debt that’s kind of like a ball and chain that you can
drag to the grave," said William E. Brewer, president of the
National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, in an
interview with the Washington Post.  "You can unhook it when
they lay you in the coffin."

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), has introduced legislation
that would reinstate bankruptcy protection for students.
Other groups, such as Occupy Student Debt, are fighting for a
variety of protections for student borrowers.

*  *  *

Washington Post: Senior citizens continue to bear burden of
student loans

The burden of paying for college is wreaking havoc on the
finances of an unexpected demographic: senior citizens.

New research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows
that Americans 60 and older still owe about $36 billion in
student loans, providing a rare window into the dynamics of
student debt. More than 10 percent of those loans are
delinquent. As a result, consumer advocates say, it is not
uncommon for Social Security checks to be garnished or for
debt collectors to harass borrowers in their 80s over student
loans that are decades old.

That even seniors remain saddled with student loans
highlights what a growing chorus of lawmakers, economists and
financial experts say has become a central conflict in the
nation’s higher education system: The long-touted benefits of
a college degree are being diluted by rising tuition rates
and the longevity of debt.

Some of these older Americans are still grappling with their
first wave of student loans, while others took on new debt
when they returned to school later in life in hopes of
becoming more competitive in the labor force. Many have co-
signed for loans with their children or grandchildren to help
them afford ballooning tuition.

* * *

Time Magazine reports:

60 and Still Not Out of Student Loan Debt: Seniors Facing $36
Billion in College Loans

The data indicates Americans ages 60 and over collectively
owe $36 billion in student loans. About 5% of the $85 billion
delinquent student loans in the U.S. is owed by borrowers
ages 60 and over, and another 12% of the total is the
responsibility of Americans ages 50 to 59. In some of these
delinquent situations, Social Security checks are garnished
in order to pay off student loans.

How does one get to an age in which you could see your
grandchildren graduate from college-with hefty loans, no
doubt-while still being on the hook for loans yourself? While
some seniors have student loan debt lingering from their
original degree earned in their 20s, they could also be
burdened with debts related to higher-ed degrees pursued
later in life, or perhaps because they co-signed for their
children’s or grandchildren’s loans.

In any event, one thing seniors and young people have in
common is that they both face an especially challenging jobs
market, making it harder than ever to get student loans paid
off. The unemployment rate among America’s recent grads
remains high enough to force the "Boomerang" generation to
live with their parents, while SmartMoney reports that
workers ages 55 and over who are laid off are unemployed for
an average of 53.6 weeks, compared to just 39.4 weeks for
those 54 and under.

At the same time, older Americans are increasingly finding it
necessary to keep working-because their nest eggs and home
values took a beating during the Great Recession, and/or
because they still need to pay off credit cards, mortgages,
student loans, and other debt. In 2001, just 13% of Americans
ages 65 and over were employed; that figure ballooned to 18%
by last summer.

___________________________________________

Portside aims to provide material of interest to people
on the left that will help them to interpret the world
and to change it.

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