For those of you who have not visited the site Student Loan Justice, please take a moment and do so. There has been a lot of interest lately in defaulting, and you should know how the loan companies and Uncle Sam can screw you before you do so. This is from Student Loan Justice:
Congress removed bankruptcy protections, refinancing rights, statutes of limitations, truth in lending requirements, fair debt collection practice requirements (for state agencies) and even removed state usury laws from applicability to federally guaranteed student loans. Congress also gave unprecedented powers of collection to the industry, including wage, tax return, Social Security, and Disability income garnishment, suspension of state issued professional licenses, termination from public employment, and other unprecedented collection tools that are used against borrowers for the purpose of collecting defaulted student loan debt.
Concurrently, Congress established a fee system for defaulted loans that allows the holders of defaulted loans to keep 20% of all payments from borrowers before any portion of the payment is applied to principal and interest on the loan. In the absence of fundamental consumer protections, the defaulted borrowers’ only available recourse is to submit to a hugely expensive “loan rehabilitation” process whereby they are forced to make extended payments (which are almost never applied to the principal or interest on the loan), and then sign for a new loan to which additional fees are attached. This effectively obligates the borrower to a much larger debt than when the loan defaulted, often double, triple, or even more than the original loan amount.