Missing Paperwork May Erase $5 Billion In Student Debt

Jul 20, 2017, 00:50
Missing Paperwork May Erase $5 Billion In Student Debt

Those 800,000 private student loans are worth $12 billion, and more than $5 billion of that debt is in default. Judges throughout the US, including recent cases in Ohio, New Hampshire, and Texas, have thrown out lawsuits by National Collegiate because the trusts could not prove they owned the debt they were trying to collect.

Overall, there is about $1.3 trillion in outstanding student debt among Americans, Time Magazine reports.

According to the New York Times, the 166,000 loans that total $5 billion are now in the middle of a legal battle. The loans were originally sold by banks and then purchased by National Collegiate, though ownership records were lost in the process.

National Collegiate's troubled loans did not start out with the organization.

When borrowers don't go to court, National Collegiate nearly always automatically wins the case, but when they do show up, most of the time judges throw the suits out because National Collegiate was not able to produce the paperwork proving it owned the debt in question.

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You can ask your loan servicer to show you a promissory note proving who owns the loans, but the servicer isn't legally required to turn that over, says Robyn Smith, an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center.

Per The Times, given that it's unclear who owns the loans judges may throw them out. And most student debt holders don't owe National Collegiate.

Document: National Collegiate's Audit of P.H.E.A.A.

"It's a numbers game", lawyer Richard Gaudreau, who has helped defend borrowers in several National Collegiate lawsuits, told the newspaper. Because of those steep rates, the size of the loans can quickly balloon, leaving borrowers to pay hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of dollars each month. If you don't show up in court, National Collegiate (or any other private loan company) will win a default judgment-giving it a court order to collect your debt.

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