On February 27, 2014, Attorney Hayden met with staff representatives of Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and Senator Susan Collins at Representative Pingree’s Portland office. Hayden, and other local bankruptcy attorneys, met with Peter Morin of Senator Collins’ office and James Pineau of Congresswoman Chellie Pingree’s office to discuss two bills currently before the House and Senate. The proposed bills, known as S. 114, “Fairness for Struggling Students Act” and H.R. 532, “Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Fairness Act” would restore bankruptcy protection for private student loans, which were made nondischargeable in the 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA).
According to data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), outstanding student loan debt (both federal and private) in the United States surpassed $1.2 trillion in July, 2013, second only to mortgages in the types of debt owed by Americans. Roughly 40 million Americans have student loans, and owe an average of $30,000 each. An estimated 7 million Americans are currently in default on a student loan. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that the share of loans delinquent 90 days or more rose to 11.8 perfect in the third quarter of 2013. (Source National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, NACBA).
Though it is unclear what the outcome will be regarding the proposed House and a Senate bills, it is clear that the student loan debt problem is not going to go away anytime soon.