Zach Duffy

How Student Loans Are Keeping You Out Of The Middle Class

When Vernardo and Claire Simmons-Valenzuela married, they imagined all the trappings of a middle-class life. Soon enough, they had kids. Claire finished a master's degree. They held jobs as an Army medic and a physician's assistant. They dreamed of next steps: owning a home, taking their first vacation in years. Vernardo would return to school for a bachelor’s in nursing. But when payments for the couple's $187,000 in combined student loan debt came due, most of it accrued during Claire’s graduate education, they put those dreams on hold.

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How Student Loan Debt is Treated Differently Than Other Debt

Current law treats student loans as non-dischargeable debt. In other words, no matter how broke a borrower gets, even declaring bankruptcy isn't going to get you out of paying back your student loans. 

That's why earlier this month, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) re-introduced H.R. 532. This bill is a counterpart to legislation introduced in the Senate in January that would allow borrowers of private student loans to discharge them in bankruptcy.

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