The student loans just like the other forms of financial aid are a service that is subject for repayment. However, although aware of such fact, many borrowers still fall to the trap of walking away from student loan debt which then results to series of consequences, such as student loan default or Student Loan Defaults.
What is Student Loan Default
Defaulted student loans are actually defaults made by the borrower to the creditor of the terms and conditions of the student loan contract. It is usually caused by the act of escaping from debts, leading to unfavorable consequences on the part of the borrower.
Basically, prior to the declaration of student loan default is the delinquency period. At this period, the lenders of student loans authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act will exhaust all efforts to find and contact the borrower. If the lender’s efforts of locating the debtor are unsuccessful, the loan will then be placed in default. It will be turned over to either the state guaranty agency or the Department of Education. And, once the loan enters the default status, the maturity date is accelerated, making the overall payment in full due right away.
The Consequences of Student Loan Default
When the loan enters the default status, it may lead to several consequences. Some of them are following:
- The loans may be turned over to a collection agency.
- The borrower will be liable for all the costs associated with collecting the loan. This may even include the court costs as well as attorney fees.
- The borrower can be sued for the entire amount of the loan.
- The wages may be garnished.
- The federal and state income tax refunds may be intercepted.
- That federal government may withhold part of the Social Security benefit payments.
- On the credit record, the defaulted loans will be mentioned, making it difficult for the borrower to get an auto loan, mortgage and even credit cards. Note that having a bad credit record can harm your ability to find a job.
- The borrower’s chance to receive federal financial aid will now be impossible to happen until he repays the loan in full or make arrangements to repay what he already owe and make at least six consecutive, on time, monthly payments.
- Federal interest benefits will be denied.
Aside from the above mentioned consequences, there is also some other less-obvious consequences that are oftentimes omitted from consideration. One of those could be the rule that the federal student loan borrowers holding defaulted student loans are no longer entitled to any deferments or forbearance. Subsequently, there are some instances when the loan default may force the individual to consider or take a semester off. This must be taken due to his or her inability to qualify for federal student aid as well as to afford the cost of higher education independently.
In addition, there is a great possibility for those borrowers who defaulted on their student loans to lose their professional licenses. For instance, the lawyers who possess defaulted loans may be subject to have their license to practice law disavowed. The doctors and certified public accountants would also fall into this category.
Lastly, the borrowers who just ignored summons for loan repayments will become liable for all fees associated with collecting the federally financed loan. This means that the borrowers will end up repaying their outstanding debt, plus up to 25 percent in contingent fees in order to satisfy the student loan debt. Note that this rule is actually consistent with the Higher Education Act as well as on the terms of most borrowers’ promissory notes.
The Collection Procedures of Defaulted Student Loans
Most of the guaranty agencies’ stringent collection procedures have successfully deterred student loan neglect. One of the supports for this claim is the steady decrease and current all-time low of student loan default rates. However, although the collections department is highly committed to assisting those who are in default and making repayment as simple as possible, the non-response in the borrowers’ side still opens up to one or more of the following collection approaches:
• Garnishment of Administrative Wage:
Under the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Department of Education as well as the state guaranty agencies may require employers who employ individuals with defaulted student loans to take away 10 to 15 percent of the debtor’s disposable income per pay period. The garnishment of the administrative wage is actually a resort taken only when the debtor refuses to voluntarily repay his or her defaulted debts and may persist until the total balance of the outstanding debt is paid back.
• Treasury Offset Payments:
Aside from administrative wage garnishment, the Department of Education has the right to request the Treasury Department to perform a federal offset against the federal income tax refunds as a way of collecting defaulted student loan debt. To simply put, the borrowers with loans in default status may forgo any federal tax refunds until he or she has repaid the defaulted loan.
• Legal Action: Litigation can be pursued by the Department of Education as well as state guaranty agencies as a means for collecting the defaulted loans. It means that if the debtor refuses to repay the debt voluntarily, he or she is subject to prosecution in a state or federal district court. The borrower is therefore sued for the outstanding debt as well as for the attorney and court fees. But, these methods are usually considered as last resorts, thus need prior notice of the proposed offset.
Student Loan Defaults should be avoided as possible as you can.