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The stress and fear that come with out-of-control student loan debt

If you have significant and unmanageable student loan debt, you are not alone. A growing number of post-secondary education attendees and graduates face the same financial stress. In spite of government programs created to improve management of monthly payments, defaults are at record levels.

The number of borrowers defaulting has reached its highest levels in three years, according to Jason Delisle of New America, a Washington-based think tank. In the last quarter, more than 336,000 borrowers defaulted on their student loans.

In response, private collection agencies retained by the Department of Education took aggressive action. From October 1 to December 31, 2015, these companies garnished more than $176 million in wages to pay back past-due debts.

These efforts had one independent student loan researcher refer to the efforts as “horrifying.” Taking away money when finances are already significantly strained makes a bad financial situation much worse.

Solutions exist to avoid default, specifically installments linked to the borrower’s salary. A new repayment program implemented by the government at the end of 2015 caps monthly payments at 10 percent of income.

Participation in the program is increasing, yet the complex processes are keeping the number of defaults at alarming levels. Many claim that private companies providing oversight are not doing enough to increase awareness and help borrowers navigate the program’s difficulties.

You do not have to endure another day of financial stress and fears of wage garnishment. Bankruptcy may be the best way to address student loan debt. Options are limited, requiring the help of a skilled and knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer.

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