February 28, 2013
Rate of lawsuits against delinquent student loans in eastern Michigan among nation's highest
People who are delinquent on paying student loans from the eastern part of Michigan have one of the highest chances of being taken to federal court to recoup payments, the Detroit Free Press reported Sunday.
Eastern Michigan over the past two decades has accounted for an average of 13 percent of all federal student loan recovery lawsuits nationwide at more than 14,000 suits filed, the Freep reported. The chances of being hauled into court were higher only in the Los Angeles area.
Michigan’s relatively high rate of lawsuits are partly thanks to four private practice law firms that work under lucrative federal contracts giving them a quarter or more of what they recover.
Among local schools, Washtenaw Community College had the highest default rate for student loans at 21 percent, according to the Free Press’ database. Eastern Michigan University had an 8 percent default rate, Concordia University was at 5 percent and the rate for University of Michigan students was just 1 percent.
The average student in Michigan now graduates with nearly $26,000 in student-loan debt, the newspaper says. Those who are sued can face garnished wages, seized assets and ruined credit for years. Student loans, unlike other forms of debt, can’t be wiped out through bankruptcy.
Some economists fear that the $76 billion in delinquent student loan debt, up more than $10 billion in the first quarter of 2012, could be the nation’s next financial crisis as tuition costs continue to climb.
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