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Topic focus: bankruptcy reform in student loan context

In our immediately preceding blog post, we noted the "nasty surprise" that can confront many debtors who fall behind on their student loan repayment obligations, namely this: seizure of their tax refund by federal authorities and its application toward their loan balance (please see our March 13 entry).

A logical question can immediately be asked in connection with that sad reality for many former students.

That is this: Why has it even come to that? Why is student loan debt such an onerous -- and sometimes insuperably difficult -- obligation to meet for many millions of Americans?

The Obama administration has some strong opinions on the matter, with the president himself weighing in recently with reform-minded rhetoric and specific reference to a "Student Aid Bill of Rights" aimed at helping debtors deal more easily with loan exactions.

Candidly, and as noted in a recent media expose on reform initiatives in the student loan industry, it is exceedingly hard for persons across the country to stay above water on their student debt. The federal Government Accountability Office states that many thousands of seniors with longstanding debt obligations sank into poverty in 2013. The above media piece from the Huffington Post states that military servicemembers have been cheated on loan terms by mega-lender Sallie Mae. The U.S. Department of Education points to a nearly 17-percent delinquency rate among lenders having student loans.

Clearly, reforms are needed, and the president has termed it a "personal mission" to see they are enacted.

One interesting possibility that has been suggested to Congress is the potential for bankruptcy laws to be tweaked to provide for some relief to student loan debtors. Currently, it is quite difficult for persons with student loans to discharge any of their debt through bankruptcy.

We will keep readers in Arkansas and elsewhere updated on this important subject matter.

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