Senior parent and student loans

In the news: a 65 year old man is trying to discharge student loans he took out to finance his three children’s education.  Current student loan policy is that students under 24 years of age have to have their parents co-sign to get student loans.  If the young people don’t repay the debt, the parents are held responsible.  As most students  who want to go to college plan to do so right after high school, I predict there will be more cases like this, unless and until the whole system is reformed.  It is nearly impossible to get student loans discharged in bankruptcy.  This man is 65, and couldn’t find a job after being laid off 14 years ago.  Yet the bankruptcy court said it would not be an “undue hardship” for him to pay off nearly $250, 000 in loans!  Makes one wonder how dire the circumstances would need to be for “undue hardship.”  Although a federal appeals court urged the bankruptcy court to allow the man to discharge the debt, it is up to a bankruptcy judge.  The bankruptcy courts don’t have a history of being merciful since standard consumer protections, including bankruptcy, were removed from student loans in 2005.  Here is the article.

Dad wins court victory in effort to erase $250K in student loans

By Associated Press

April 15, 2016 | 10:15am

BOSTON — A Massachusetts man who owes about $250,000 he borrowed to put three children through college has won a major court victory in his effort to have the debt forgiven.

The Boston Globe reports that a federal appeals court has urged a bankruptcy judge to consider a settlement with the company that holds the loans to allow Robert Murphy, of Duxbury, to erase the debt.

A bankruptcy judge and district court judge previously ruled that the 65-year-old Murphy failed to prove repaying the loans was an undue hardship, as required by law.

The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals sent the proposed settlement back to bankruptcy court. It’s now up to the bankruptcy judge to rule.

Murphy says he was unable to find work after being laid off 14 years ago.



Discharge of Disabled People’s Student Loans

Today the government announced that they are taking steps to make sure that people who are totally and permanently disabled get the student loan discharges that they are entitled to. This is a good step. But it would sure be nice to see some progress toward discharging loans for people who can’t afford to pay them and who have no way to earn the money. For example, people at or near retirement who aren’t going to get a job that pays well. Here is the article:

Seniors’ Stories Wanted

There are many seniors struggling to make ends meet because of their student loans.

I would like to be a voice for those people.

I am looking for stories from people over 40 years old who have student loans and can’t afford to pay them.  I chose the age of 40 because many of the loans have 25 year repayment plans and 65 is the traditional retirement age.

I will feature some of the stories on this blog.  I won’t use their real names unless they give me permission to do so.  If you want to see my story, check out my other website at

The more we can get the word out on how bad the current laws are, the better chance we have of getting them changed.

Here are my contact options for folks to send their stories to me.  By mail: Jessica Hopkins, PO Box 2745, Salem OR 97308. On Facebook, send a message to me under the name: Keep Jessica Afloat.  Or you can e-mail me at

I’m looking forward to helping to publicize the plight of seniors with these loans.

If you know anybody who meets the description, encourage them to get in touch.

If you know a news outlet who might be willing to air or print this notice, by all means, share it with them.  Thank you!

A note, I have my blog set up so that I have to approve comments before they appear.  So don’t be concerned if you try to comment and it doesn’t show up right away.  Also, since I work full time and have a busy life, I generally only am able to work on my blog once a week.







The Payment Plans Aren’t What They’re Cracked Up to Be

Here’s an article that a friend recently sent me.  The title is: “The Easiest Way To Reduce Your Student Loan Payment.”

The subtitle is:  “Millions of Americans are struggling unnecessarily to repay their student  loans. The federal government offers a solution.”

A quote from the article: “nearly half of Americans recently reporting that they’ve had to curb their spending due to their student debt.”

It doesn’t surprise me at all that many Americans are having to reduce their spending on other things to pay these nightmare loans.   What does surprise me is that instead of a solution that would actually help, the government keeps trotting out yet another payment plan.  Or claiming that the offered plans solve everything.

What they don’t mention is that most or all of these plans base the payment on the former student’s gross income.

Not their take-home pay, the amount they actually have to work with and pay bills from.  No, they use the gross, which is the amount you make before

taxes, Social Security or anything else is taken out.

I bet that MANY of the Americans who say they are having to curb their spending are already on these payment plans.  Rather than coming up with another new payment plan, the government needs to offer loan forgiveness to people who can’t afford to pay and who are not going to start earning more money.  Like people at or near retirement age.  Right now the Department of Education says that they do not take age or financial hardship into account when considering who should get loan forgiveness. This was in a letter I received from them. Those two considerations should be at the head of the list of things to be considered.  Instead, our government keeps trying to find ways that people who simply don’t have the money can pay off these loans.

The laws need to be changed!