Like many students attending college, part of my financial aid package included work study – a program which funds a job for a student to help provide money for the student to live off of while attending college. My job landed me in the financial aid office of Brandeis University.
There, I was exposed to financial aid in a way most college students are not. I saw firsthand just how many of my classmates were taking out huge sums of student loans to finance their education, and it made me wonder …
How the heck are these new graduates going to pay their loans?
But I forgot about the problem when I graduated, convinced I was going to be able to pay off my student loans in record time when I graduated from law school.
That didn’t turn out to be the case because I opted to work in the field of consumer law rather than become a “tall building lawyer.” But law school left me with a huge pile of student loan debt – bills I couldn’t ever hope to pay while building a consumer protection practice.
And did I mention I was married with a young child at the time? Definitely not the ideal financial situation.
So I did what most people would do if confronted with a problem they couldn’t solve. I set about to find some answers.
But I realized a sad fact – not one lawyer or financial professional could give me any ideas that would lower my student loan payments. There wasn’t anyone who knew a thing about how to untangle the knot of student loans.
This is crazy! I thought to myself. How is it that nobody seems to know how to get a handle on student loan problems?
I stumbled across the student loan book put out by the National Consumer Law Center, and tore through it in a weekend. I took notes, drew diagrams, and made flowcharts as a way to figure out my best move.
But in spite of my best efforts, the book didn’t give me the help I was looking for.
My answers came from the federal regulations.
What I found was amazing.
Buried in the twisted language only lawmakers can understand there were tremendous opportunities for student loan borrowers to get their federal loans under control.
Procedures and forms for lowering student loan payments.
Loopholes for married couples.
Dozens of ways to legally wipe out student loans without bankruptcy.
The possibilities were seemingly endless, offering a path out of student loan debt and into financial safety.
Using other consumer protection laws made student loans far less harmful.
I realized how to harness other federal and state consumer protection laws for a borrower’s benefit.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and Telephone Consumer Protection Act provided borrowers with a way to fight back against student loans.
A deep understanding of the ways in which private student loans are packaged for sale on the financial markets revealed the problems that lenders had when they filed lawsuits for nonpayment of student loans.
I’d hit upon a way to help student loan borrowers, and it became a full-time practice area for my firm.