Dad Struggles With Dead Son's Student Loans

ProPublica story shows just how complicated the system is
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2012 6:20 PM CDT
Updated Jun 14, 2012 8:00 PM CDT
Dad Struggles With Dead Son's Student Loans
"The grief was relentless; the debt collectors, ruthless." ProPublica   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – It's no big revelation that student loans are getting out of control, but ProPublica weighs in today with a good example of how insanely difficult it can be to navigate the system. Freddy Reynoso graduated from the Berklee College of Music with six-figure debt but was killed in a car accident soon after. His dad, Francisco, co-signed for the loans but makes $21,000 a year as a gardener. "Now he's suffering a Kafkaesque ordeal in which he's hounded to repay loans that funded an education his son will never get to use—loans that he has little hope of ever paying off," writes Marian Wang.

Debt collectors are calling relentlessly, but it's not simply a case of Reynoso looking for sympathy. Even with a lawyer's help, it's near impossible to figure out exactly how much he owes and to whom in the byzantine system. The private loans have been sold and resold, and possibly bundled into securities. ProPublica tried to follow the path and ran into dead ends, even though two of the players are banking giant UBS and, oddly, Xerox, "which owns the loan servicer handling the bulk of his loans." Reynoso's only hope may be a tough-to-meet provision in the bankruptcy code that allows for "undue hardship." In the meantime, "I'm in the hands of God." Click to read the full article. (Read more student loans stories.)

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