I’ve been searching the Internet for articles on seniors and student loans. There are a lot of stories of hardship out there. What is so frustrating is that these news items have been running for years. Yet there has been no meaningful change in the laws that are ruining lives. So many seniors whose loans have increased by tens of thousands of dollars because of interest and penalties… There are people who have paid back what they borrowed, and interest on top of that. Yet they still owe as much as the original debt, or more. This is not right. People should not be struggling to keep food on the table because they went back to college years ago. I recently spoke with a woman whose father had just died in his 90’s. At the time of his death, he was making payments on his daughter’s student loan, which he had co-signed. He’d been paying on it for years, and apparently, could afford to do so. When he died, the servicer immediately demanded payment in full from the daughter! She didn’t have it. Fortunately the total owed was less than $3000 by then. A relative was able to loan her the money to pay off the debt. But what about the many older Americans who can’t afford to pay and don’t have a relative who is willing and able to help? They have no way out of a desperate situation.
I’ve called my representatives repeatedly pleading for some relief from these terrible loans. They’ve told me “It’s the law.” They say it as if that should be the end of it. Sadly, some people probably take that statement as the final word and hang up. The members of Congress and the Senate passed those laws. The ones that don’t provide real relief, even if the senior is forced into poverty by the student loan payments. Congress and the Senate could change the laws to help people who are suffering, but so far, they haven’t. It’s highly unlikely that seniors who are struggling financially are suddenly going to get a high paying job or experience some other big increase in their income. There needs to be loan forgiveness for seniors who can’t afford to pay. Real change in the laws is overdue.