College enrollment dropped over the past two years and is down 13% since 2019. I don’t blame you all one bit for passing on higher education because I believe its overpriced. I also see the diploma mills sending out volumes of degrees with little prospect for a job that will not only cover living expenses, but also to repay ridiculous student loan debt. The advice I was given about a career and success has certainly changed and no longer applies to our young ones today. We’ve all lost our minds when we abandoned skilled labor in favor of a desk job, or what we might consider a noble profession like medicine and the law.
Today, we have nurses and doctors walking off their jobs because they don’t trust the science and are exhausted from being overworked, under paid and risking their very lives to save ours when that is not what they signed up for. Sometimes, another’s pain is our gift because I’m glad that today, I chose the law instead of a nursing career. We have too many pharmacists right now because there just are not enough jobs for the number of graduates and I’ve seen my share of pharmacist clients seeking to discharge their loans through bankruptcy. Lawyers have a similar outcome.
When I was assisting in winding down my former business partner’s law practice after his passing, I worked with a State Bar of California investigator who once told me that the average income for an attorney in the state of California was $40,000.00 annually. He’s not wrong. The reason is that many of us hang our own shingle and become instantly self-employed, which means we’re broke until we figure out how to make money. Hint: They don’t teach you how to make money in any education! Our young people are waking up to the debt trap and wanting no part of it! Unfortunately, now there’s a new trap.
The new trap is one of convincing you that working for yourself is the best thing since sliced bread and that’s a misnomer too! Unless you’re constantly feeding the social media content machine, you’re irrelevant. So, you endlessly make content and post it like you’re worshipping GaryVee on the hope that you’ll become recognized. It does happen, but it’s rare.
Whether the decline in college enrollment forces colleges and universities to adjust tuition, well, so far that hasn’t happened. Whether our government will increase their eligibility guidelines for Title IV funded schools and forcing them to give back government loans when graduates don’t succeed, thus holding these institutions accountable for an educated citizenry, is a long shot. Whether this Great American melting pot has had a full meltdown is probably the most accurate statement I’ve made in this article yet.
The future of the current student loan crisis lies in the hands of the 43 million Americans holding more than $1.7 trillion in student loan debt. Biden’s speech on January 19th shows he’s pushing the burden of forgiveness on to other parts of the government. In the meantime, student loans are still not eligible for a bankruptcy discharge absent proving either an Undue Hardship or that the loans were not qualified education loans. Even then, you’ll probably be forced to litigate those issues because you can’t count on creditors to do the right thing. So, what exactly can you do to be prepared?
First, get educated on your rights. I’ve written a book entitled How To Tame the Student Loan Dragon, and it’s available wherever books are sold. You can also visit this consumer friendly website that even has a search box, along with all the forms you’ll need, here.
Next, after you’ve gathered all the information you need, you’ll need to carve out a plan of action. Keep records of all of your efforts and send everything via Certified Mail or have some other documentary proof that you’ve sent off documents, with the dates you’ve sent them. Then wait. Indefinitely. If rejected, figure out what went wrong and do it again. You see, sometimes not giving up is the only way out.
After you’ve developed a goose egg lump on your forehead from beating yourself up over this, consider out of the box solutions like moving to another country (my favorite) or going nuclear and filing for a bankruptcy discharge (my next favorite) and arguing that your previous exercises in futility have created your undue hardship. That’s why you need to keep records because our courts still require proof, ironically.
I believe that some will get administrative relief while others have a completely different experience with their student loans. The reason is that the useful information spreads quietly, while the flagrant disregard for your well-being is spoken at the podium. Caveat Emptor, buyer beware.