Summary

1/23/2013--Introduced. Fairness for Struggling Students Act of 2013 - Revises federal bankruptcy law with respect to the exemption from the exception to discharge in bankruptcy for certain educational... Read More

Status

This bill was introduced on Jan 23, 2013, in a previous session of Congress, but was not passed.

Bill Text

A BILL

To amend title 11, United States Code, with respect to certain exceptions to discharge in bankruptcy.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ``Fairness for Struggling Students Act of 2013''.

SEC. 2. EXCEPTIONS TO DISCHARGE.

Section 523(a)(8) of title 11, United States Code, is amended by striking ``dependents, for'' and all that follows through the end of subparagraph (B) and inserting ``dependents, for an educational benefit overpayment or loan made, insured, or guaranteed by a governmental unit or made under any program funded in whole or in part by a governmental unit or an obligation to repay funds received from a governmental unit as an educational benefit, scholarship, or stipend;''. <all>

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Sentiment Map

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Nation

504 Supporting
233 Opposing
68% 32%

State: CA

55 Supporting
13 Opposing
81% 19%

District: 1st

1 Supporting
0 Opposing
100% 0%

Popularity Trend

Organizations Supporting

Consumer Action supports S 114 because It is inappropriate and unfair to distressed borrowers to treat private education loans more harshly than comparable types of debt. This legislation would restore fairness for struggling Americans who pursued the American dream through higher education and training, only to find themselves in financial distress.

Consumer Action 2 years ago

We hope and believe that at long last, the current legislation will be successfully passed. However, there are 2 points that must be accommodated if the current legislation is to be meaningful. 1. No Repayment Requirement It is wrong to require a severely distressed borrower to find a way to make payments on their private loans for many more years before being afforded the same kinds of bankruptcy protections that exist for every other type of loan. This requirement was not in place pre-2005, and thus has no rational reason for being in the forthcoming legislation. There is a so-called "middle ground" framed into this debate that would consist of a compromise waiting period, as opposed to a repayment period, but we do not see any reason to cede further ground relative to what was taken away in 2005 and before. I hope you will agree . 2. No Exemption for Non-Profit Private Lenders There should be no distinction made between for-profit, and non-profit lending participants for these loans with respect to dischargeability. To allow non-dischargeability when a non-profit makes, insures, or otherwise participates in the loan only provides a loophole that can and will be exploited to maintain non-dischargeability whenever possible. In general, we believe it is very clear at this point that removing bankruptcy protections from both private and federal student loans has led to predatory lending behavior, has enabled unchecked inflation in the cost of college, has led to intolerably poor oversight in the case of federal loans, and caused a plethora of other negative consequences that have far outweighed any short term financial benefits to the lending side of the system. The harm this has done to the citizenry has been incalculable. Therefore, we believe that bankruptcy protections must be returned to all student loans as quickly as possible. The current legislation is an important start, however, and so we look forward to its quick passage.

Organizations Opposing

No organizations opposing yet.

Users Supporting

I support S. 114 The Fairness for Struggling Students Act because I made the mistake of thinking I was bettering myself by getting a college education from a for profit school that I had to take private loans for. I now make interest only payments because I cannot afford $1100 a month payments when I only make $1200 a month. There are no other repayment options and I just get further in debt although I send Sallie Mae $540 a month. My principle just continues to raise and it will never be paid off until I die and my husband collects my life insurance to pay it off.

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GA
1
elvanshalee
GA-1
6 months ago

I support The Fairness for Struggling Students Act because I want to see a future for our economy. I went to a four year unaccredited Art Institute and now find myself in $180,000 dollars in debt owed to SallieMae. I grew up with a single mother who could not afford to put me through school and I now am indebted the rest of my life to SallieMae. The loan sharking, the lies, how do these people take advantage of young students? This is what is destroying the economy. What type of country sets it self up for disaster? This situation is now worse than the mortgage crisis on so many levels.

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CA
28
Anonymous327881
CA-28
7 months ago

My husband, who is only 4 years out of school, has student loan debt that is so large that I am confident that he will never pay it off in his lifetime, even with a stable job. Because there is no bankruptcy protection for private student loans, he has no options. He will never get a second chance. This mistake, a mistake that he willingly admits was the biggest mistake he has ever made, will follow the both of us for the rest of our lives. It will affect or impede every financial decision we make until the day he dies. How is this a fair consequence for someone trying to better themselves with an education? Please support The Fairness for Struggling Students Act. Private student loans do not have the same programs and income based repayment options that federal loans do. They don't have these programs because no one is forcing them too. Without the threat of bankruptcy, these lenders feel no real pressure to change their practices because they know they've got their lendees under their thumbs for life. When my husband first started college, private student loans were still dischargeable under the law and Sallie Mae was still connected to the federal government. My husband and his parents believed what many other Americans believed: that Sallie Mae was a federal institution and that these loans would have income based repayment options. They believed that bankruptcy, an option that is extended to every law abiding citizen of this country save deadbeat dads, was still available. They never in their wildest dreams could have believed that such a basic level of consumer protection could be stripped. My husband and his parents entered into a loan agreement with a company that changed it's fundamental basis so drastically, that had they known what they know now, they never would have allowed him to sign the papers. My husband is in the modern day equivalent of debtor's prison simply because he had the audacity to believe that taking out loans for his education was a smart investment. Asking for bankruptcy protection is not the same as asking for a handout. Bankruptcy exists as a way to keep people out of a cycle of endless debt, giving them hope and a shot at a more promising future. Bankruptcy exists as a way to keep our system balanced. We need a fresh start. We need a voice. Please help us have one.

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CA
45
mrslorie
CA-45
1 year ago

I support The Fairness for Struggling Students Act because... since graduating law school in 2007, I have been unable to find a job. As a result, I decided to become an independent contractor and provide Freelance Paralegal services. Although I have been able to keep my head above water, I am still barely getting by and I have been unable to make any payments on any of my student loans. In addition, I am constantly looking for work and, as of 09/2013, work severely slowed for all of my solos to the point that I cannot even survive on what I'm making right now. I have had to borrow money from family and friends just to pay my rent, last month I had to seek charity from my local church in order to pay the rent and avoid going homeless. I keep hoping that I will find a job and things will get better, but they do not and I cannot keep borrowing money from my family and friends as they do not have the resources to do so indefinitely and my outstanding student loan obligations are already so substantial ($195,000+)!!! If this law is amended to its pre-2005 revision which permits private student loans to be discharged in bankruptcy, I may have a better chance to recover from the financial hardship resulting from the cost of attaining a higher education and graduating in a less than welcoming economic climate. Your support in getting this amendment in place would, simply put, allow me to breathe and envision that I may possibly have a chance at planning for my retirement and maybe one day buy a home and send my son to college. Thanks Congress, for hearing my story.

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CA
26
DrowingInStudentLoanDebt
CA-26
1 year ago

I support The Fairness for Struggling Students Act because...I am a middle class mom (55) who had to go back to college to secure my job. I have two children in college. Last year Obama eliminated parent's plus loans from reduced interest repayment- and this has placed a serious hardship on my family. My combined student loans (parent's plus and personal student loans) are 175,000 - I am paying 8% interest on the parents plus loans and 6.8 on the personal student loans. This is outrageous in this economy- CDs are giving less than 1% interest. My payments exceed 1200.00 per month. My salary is 60,000 per year- I work as much as 15 hours of overtime each week just to pay the bills. This student loan debt will eventually cause me to lose my house. If interest rates were reduced to a reasonable 3% capping payments at 10% of income the payments would be around 700.00- which I could pay- please help us - we do not want to default- we want to pay our bills. We have already been punished by a poor economy and job market- I had no choice but to go back to school - and my children (one is an A student in accounting/business at UW Madison) deserved an education. Sallie Mae made 40 billion dollars in profit last year alone- how can our representatives ignore the suffering in the middle class. Please help us.

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WI
5
hartlandmom
WI-5
1 year ago

I support The Fairness for Struggling Students Act because... I was young and over the course of several years, fell prey to the easy lending that took place with private student loans. I was approved online, in minutes, for 40K, 40K, 30K and 10K.....literally minutes. All I had to do was send a copy of my class schedule and the check was in the mail. This started in 2000. I am now 31 years old. I am married with 2 children. I work full time in a field that I did not study....in fact, I never received a degree for the 120K in student loans that I took out. Every day, week and month is a huge struggle for us. My wife purchased our home in her name since I feared it would be at risk as I defaulted on all loans. The minimum payment they wanted on a single loan was over 800 dollars....more than our/her mortgage currently. Cumulative, 2400 a month in student loans when all I make is 43K a year. After default, collector after collector pursued. I tried to work out repayment options....which do NOT exist. I was threatened, laughed at, told what I should do, and verbally abused. I would then ignore. Things would be quiet for a while, and the debt was transferred to another agency. The cycle would start over. Finally, I was served my lawsuit in October 2012. After a lot of court time, self representation and a fair judge, I was ordered to make installment payments at 210 a month as of May 2013. My wife and I are raising 2 kids, well below the normal median and averages for bills, etc. Yet we struggle. This Act needs to pass, but needs support. I made bad choices when I was younger, doing everything on my own. I continue to rack up interest on this money, was never given a fair opportunity to repay it, and continue to suffer as the collector isn't reporting my timely payments to credit agencies ....I still show delinquent. I fell victim to predatory lending. Private student loans are the biggest regret of my life and will continue to haunt me. Please support this so that there may be the opportunity for a future with my kids that most would consider normal. It is devastating to know that vacations, weekend trips, amusement parts, movies, etc are unreachable at this point because we, two full time working parents paying daycare, cannot afford to do so.

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MI
10
ac87096
MI-10
1 year ago

Users Opposing

I oppose S. 114: Fairness for Struggling Students Act of 2013 because there is nothing "FAIR" about rewarding irresponsible behavior.

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AZ
4
Anonymous877581
AZ-4
1 year ago

I oppose S. 114: Fairness for Struggling Students Act of 2013 because bankruptcy is taking the easy way out. If you could not pay for the loan you should not have taken it out. This is not fairness, this is stealing from tax payers.

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SC
5
anonymous29730
SC-5
2 years ago

I oppose S. 114: Fairness for Struggling Students Act of 2013 because if you agree to debt, you should be responsible for paying it.

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TX
11
brookd007
TX-11
2 years ago

I oppose S. 114: Fairness for Struggling Students Act of 2013 because everything that the government gets involved in becomes more costly, less efficient, and creates unfettered demand by removing personal responsibility and replacing it with government largesse. As far as I am concerned people should have to choose educational options based on realistic financial metrics. In other words, if a person wants to go to college he/she should go somewhere that they can afford, not borrow themselves into a situation where they are married to student loans for life. I vote for eliminating all of the subsidies to schools AND to students. Let the markets work, the students will not suffer, in fact educational quality will increase because the schools will be accountable to somebody instead of beholden to the state...

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NY
24
tburgos
NY-24
2 years ago

I oppose S. 114: Fairness for Struggling Students Act of 2013 because...at what age do you become responsible for your actions. no one person is forced to get a loan. the old american dream also requires that you pay your way. I am all for helping students get their education but surely they are made aware that it is not free money from the onset. I am going to college. I do not qualify for aid. I am an American citizen, born and raised here. It really left a bad taste in my mouth when I discovered some of my fellow classmates were illegals here and receiving funds for college. they thought it was funny and bragged about it

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TX
23
daizee
TX-23
2 years ago

I oppose S. 114: Fairness for Struggling Students Act of 2013 because this situation was created by students when I first started attending college. So many borrowed money, especially those who needed it for medical schooling, and then immediately declared bankruptcy when repayment became due. The law was changed to prevent this from happening. If you change it back, you will be facilitating the same behavior. STOP rewarding bad behavior. If you can't afford something, don't buy it. We don't owe everyone a college education.

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AZ
8
Italiangreyhound
AZ-8
2 years ago

Bill Summary

<br /> 1/23/2013--Introduced.<br /> Fairness for Struggling Students Act of 2013 - Revises federal bankruptcy law with respect to the exemption from the exception to discharge in bankruptcy for certain educational loans if excepting such debt from discharge would impose an undue hardship on the debtor and debtor's dependents. Limits such exemption to the existing ones for: (1) an educational benefit overpayment or loan made, insured, or guaranteed by a governmental unit or made under any program funded in whole or in part by a governmental unit; and (2) an obligation to repay funds received from a governmental unit as an educational benefit, scholarship, or stipend. Repeals the current exemption for: (1) any loan made under any program funded in whole or in part by a governmental unit or nonprofit institution; and (2) any other qualified education loan incurred by an individual debtor on behalf of the taxpayer, the taxpayer's spouse, or any dependent, including indebtedness used to refinance a qualified education loan. (Thus makes both kinds of loans nondischargeable in bankruptcy.)<br /> <br />

S. 113The Know Before You Owe Private Student Loan Act S. 115The Fairness for Struggling Students Act