The skyrocketing student loan debt shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. In fact, it increased by more than 250 percent in the past decade—adding up to over $1.4 trillion in total. Plus, if you’re among the 70 percent of college grads who borrowed money for your education, you likely won’t pay off your debt until your 40s. And that’s just in the United States!
But when it comes to college loans, the news isn’t all doom and gloom. Some borrowers might never have to pay back their debts at all, thanks to a simple clerical error.
The New York Times reports that National Collegiate, an umbrella company of 15 trusts that holds 800,000 private student loans worth $12 billion total, has recently lost multiple court cases due to improper paperwork. When National Collegiate tried to sue borrowers for failing to pay their debt, judges ruled that the company’s paperwork was so poor, it couldn’t prove that it owned the debt it was trying to collect.
As a result, nearly $5 million of debt is currently under dispute. (By the way, if you bought any of these electronics from 2001 to 2011, you could be owed big money!)
Samantha Watson, a mother of three who took out private loans to finance a degree in psychology at Lehman College in the Bronx, was one of the lucky ones. A judge’s ruling cleared her of $31,000 in debt owed to National Collegiate. “It was such a relief,” she told the New York Times. If you qualify, take these essential personal finance tips from financial experts.
Sadly, this won’t apply to most student debt holders; the $12 billion in loans that belongs to National Collegiate is just a small percentage of national debt. Still, it never hurts to try.
To skip the debt entirely, make sure you’re following these money-saving habits of people who didn’t take out loans for their kids’ college.