Many Parents Have to Pay Off Dead Kids' Student Loans
Families often have little legal recourse in these cases
By Jenn Gidman, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2014 3:30 PM CDT
Parents are often still required to pay down their child's student loan debt—even after that child has died.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Probably the last thing parents mourning a deceased child want to do is deal with late notices from creditors—especially when those notices are for a student loan taken out by their lost loved one. That's what happened to pastor Steve Mason, who found himself saddled with a $100,000 bill after his 27-year-old daughter died five years ago, leaving him and his wife to raise their three grandkids on the relatively modest salaries they both earn at a local church, reports CNN. As a co-signer on his daughter's private student loans, Mason was on the hook for her IOU, which turned into $200,000 after interest and late fees piled up.

While there's been some governmental progress at alleviating the heavy burden of student debt—which grew nationwide at an average clip of 6% per year between 2008 and 2012, according to the Project on Student Debt—families like the Masons who have lost a child find themselves in a troublesome situation: Unless they have a federally backed loan, explains CNN, the loan typically can't be discharged in a bankruptcy, and the lender isn't required by law to forgive the loan or lower interest or payment amounts (though some lenders have done so as an act of goodwill). "People with other debt from splurging—they can discharge that," Mason tells CNN. "But somehow getting [my daughter] an education has encumbered me for the rest of my life."

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Johnny Good
Apr 7, 2015 3:57 AM CDT
Student loans are one of the hardest debts to get out of, if not impossible. Bankruptcy won't clear it and now it seems like death won't clear it either, in some cases. There are plenty of smart, energetic, talented students who are limited in their ability to pursue college and graduate schooling because of finances. That's why we have student loans. But if student loans stay with you until the day you pay them off, how come the interest rates are so high like with short-term online loans UK for your needs ?
Aug 1, 2014 3:36 PM CDT
The Republicans are vermin that hate children and love rich banks run by rich white people. These loans should be discharged immediately, but the Republicans refuse to help the poor who can't afford to repay these predatory loans. They should send the bill to the Republican Party and make them pay out of all the money they get from attending fundraisers and kissing Big Oil's butt.
Reverend Right
Aug 1, 2014 11:35 AM CDT
Student loans should be dischargable in bankruptcy like every other kind of loan. This would stop the irresponsible lending that is burying young people in debt. It would also deflate the higher education bubble and start getting college costs more in line with reality.