Supreme Court Considers Student Loan Bankruptcy Case


December 1, 2009
by Scholarships.com Staff
The U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments today on the intricacies of one student's 20-year-old debt that could change the way bankruptcy law handles student loan cases.

The U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments today on the intricacies of one student's 20-year-old debt that could change the way bankruptcy law handles student loan cases.

The case, United Student Aid Funds Inc. v Espinosa, goes back to 1992, when Francisco Espinosa, a technical school graduate, filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Espinosa by then owed nearly $18,000 in not only student loans taken out four years earlier, but interest on those loans to lender United Student Aid Funds Inc. He filed for bankruptcy to relieve him not of his loan debt, but the nearly $5,000 in interest accrued on the $13,000 he initially borrowed. Thinking he had reached an agreement with his lender, Espinosa eventually paid off the principal on the loan over a five-year period.

Several years later, however, he received notice from his lender that he still owed the remaining interest. The lender claimed Espinosa had not sufficiently shown "undue hardship," a requirement under bankruptcy law for students to qualify their student loans under Chapter 13. Espinosa says he fell on hard times when the hours for his baggage handler job through airline America West were cut, and he was unable to find a job that fit his degree in computer drafting and design through the technical college.

That's when the legal battle began. Espinosa won on the bankruptcy court level, but the district courts ruled in favor of the lender and demanded a hearing to show whether Espinosa met the criteria for a bankruptcy filing. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it was too late for the lender to challenge the filing, which then landed the case in the U.S. Supreme Court.

An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education previewing the case this week looked at the implications of the court's eventual ruling. If the Supreme Court overturns the last appeals court's decision, lenders could feel free to collect back interest on student loans that have already been approved for Chapter 13. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Espinosa, lenders could be open to abuse by borrowers taking advantage of the law to get out of their student loan repayments. The article suggests that the Court should consider redefining the "undue hardship" criteria to make it easier for judges to apply that criteria across the board, as many say it is already too subjective.

The case is an important one for students, especially in a difficult economic time when college students are not only borrowing more, but having a tougher time finding jobs to make payments on their student loan debt. Student loan default rates are also on the rise for both federal and private loans as tuitions only continue to rise. If you're worried about the amount of debt you'll accrue going to that dream school, consider all of your options. Factor college cost into your college search, and make sure you have a good idea of financial aid and scholarship money available to you before taking out student loans.

College is expensive, Scholarships.com is completely free. Pay for your college education with as much free college scholarship money as possible. By applying to all the awards you qualify for, you can be sure to not miss a single opportunity in paying for your college expenses - including tuition, fees, room and board. Get matched to college scholarships instantly and start applying today by conducting a free college scholarship search at Scholarships.com.

Discuss

Share your thoughts and perhaps thousands of students will benefit from your unique insight on the subject!



If you can read this, don't touch the following fields


 

    When it comes to earning scholarships for college, some students have the go big or go home mentality and chase the big buck scholarship opportunities. Landing a huge scholarship may take more work - meaning more time spent on the application process and essays, needing strong recommendation letters and competing against a pool of highly-qualified students. If you're motivated to land a large dollar scholarship that can potentially pay for your entire college tuition, check out these generously-endowed scholarships:

Large Dollar Scholarships

June 23, 2017 11:01 AM
by Susan Dutca
When it comes to earning scholarships for college, some students have the "go big or go home" mentality and chase the big buck scholarship opportunities. Landing a huge scholarship may take

    Everyone knows big-name companies such as Google or Coca-Cola...but did you know that these companies also offer scholarship opportunities to help you pay for college? That's right! If you love these quality products and services, you may be interested these generously-endowed scholarships. Check out this list of brand name scholarships offered by the companies with which you are most familiar:

Brand Name Scholarships

June 22, 2017 2:44 PM
by Susan Dutca
Everyone knows big-name companies such as Google or Coca-Cola...but did you know that these companies also offer scholarship opportunities to help you pay for college? That's right! If you love

    Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July, is the day in which we celebrate America's independence and freedom. Education has been, and will always be a great equalizer. Even though college can be expensive, it is still a fast track towards the American Dream and can be more easily attained with the help of financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships - which do not have to be repaid! Exercise your freedom this July and help make your college education dreams more affordable with these red, white and blue July 2017 scholarships:

July 2017 Summer Scholarships

June 22, 2017 11:43 AM
by Susan Dutca
Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July, is the day in which we celebrate America's independence and freedom. Education has been, and will always be a great equalizer. Even though
POTUS Donald Trump is pushing for apprenticeship programs and intends to support the initiative with an apprenticeship grant program of up to $200 million, with special emphasis on industries such as information technology,  healthcare, and manufacturing. The college alternative initiative hopes to attract and prepare students for great careers that do not require a four-year degree or the massive debt that often comes with those four-year degrees and even two-year degrees.

POTUS Pushing Apprenticeship Programs, Grants in 2017

June 14, 2017 11:16 AM
by Susan Dutca
POTUS Donald Trump is pushing for apprenticeship programs and intends to support the initiative with an apprenticeship grant program of up to $200 million, with special emphasis on industries such as

    Summer is finally here and fall semester may be the last thing on your mind right now. However, you may be one of the many students who need to work a summer gig, save up, or rely on your parents and student loans to help foot your fall tuition bill. While those are all legitimate options, you now have more free time (and less homework and tests), so why not take advantage of these summer scholarships? It's not too late to earn free college scholarships to help pay for school. Use your downtime wisely by applying for these summer 2017 scholarships!:

Summer 2017 Scholarships

June 2, 2017 3:47 PM
by Susan Dutca
Summer is finally here and fall semester may be the last thing on your mind right now. However, you may be one of the many students who need to work a summer gig, save up, or rely on your

    In support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGTBQ) Pride Month this June, Scholarships.com is adding more color to its themed scholarships with scholarships for LGBTQ students and allies. Scholarships.com is dedicated to bringing equal financial aid and free college scholarship opportunities for all students.

LGBT Scholarships for Pride Month 2017

June 1, 2017 11:42 AM
by Susan Dutca
In support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGTBQ) Pride Month this June, Scholarships.com is adding more color to its themed scholarships with scholarships for LGBTQ students and