Showing posts with label student loan forgiveness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label student loan forgiveness. Show all posts

Friday, April 15, 2022

14,000 Law Firms Received Payroll Protection Money: Why Not Forgive All Student-Loan Debt?

 Our government spent trillions of dollars responding to COVID, and just about everybody got a little something from Uncle Sam.  Sometimes I think my wife and I are the only people in the United States who didn't get a COVID relief check.

For example, 14,000 law firms got Payroll Protection money, ostensibly to help them avoid laying off lawyers during the COVID crisis.  Eleven firms got $10 million each, but all 14,000 firms got at least $150,000.

Prisoners also got some COVID cash. More than a half-million incarcerated individuals got three-quarters of a billion dollars in stimulus checks.

Even drinking establishments managed to get their noses in the trough. Hooters of Louisiana, a "full-service restaurant," got $156,000.

In short, the U.S. government has been spewing out COVID cash like a drunken sailor on shore leave. So why not forgive all student-loan debt--all $1.7 trillion?

After all, student-loan forgiveness makes more sense than handing out Payroll Protection money to professional athletes and politicians.

Wiping out all student-loan debt would benefit 45 million student borrowers, giving them extra cash to put into the American economy. That's got to be a good thing.

Moreover, many student debtors took out loans to get college degrees that are worthless to them. Maybe they attended one of the dodgy for-profit colleges where they paid too much for a mediocre educational experience. Perhaps they borrowed $100,000 to get a gender studies degree from an elite college--a degree that did not lead to a good job.

So--you can put me down as a supporter of total student-loan forgiveness.  That's right; let's wipe out everybody's federal student-loan debt.

But we should recognize the perils of this course of action. First of all, student loans constitute the largest category of federal assets. If those loans disappear from the nation's balance sheet, the government's fiscal situation will look bleaker than it already does.

Secondly, we should recognize the moral hazard of wholesale student-loan forgiveness. People who take out student loans in the future will likely do so with the expectation that the feds will eventually forgive the debt. Thus, they may conclude they can default on their loans with no penalty.

Finally, wiping out all student debt does nothing to pressure colleges to get their costs under control. The higher education industry will continue raising tuition rates, forcing future students to take out more student loans to finance their studies.

In conclusion, I support student-loan forgiveness. Nevertheless, wholesale loan forgiveness will not solve the student-loan crisis. Until higher education cleans up its act and reduces costs, future generations of colleges students will continue getting hammered with unmanageable college-loan debt.

Thanks for the PPP money!






Friday, March 11, 2022

Like Prisoners on Death Row: 25 million student debtors may get another reprieve from making their student-loan payments

Around 2,500 prisoners sit on Death Row in American prisons. Nearly 700 condemned men await death in the Golden State of California. A couple hundred are housed on Death Row in Texas, the Lone Star State. And Florida--the Sunshine State-- has 330 prisoners who've been sentenced to die.

How long do condemned prisoners sit in prison before being executed? On average, 19 years. Most men on death row can postpone their execution date by filing multiple appeals in the courts.

Of course, Americans living in freedom cannot compare their situation to the men on Death Row. Nevertheless, student-loan debtors are somewhat like condemned prisoners. They are seeing their lives drain away while the federal government issues multiple stays of execution on their student-loan payments without giving them real relief.

In March 2020, the Department of Education allowed 25 million student debtors to stop making payments on their loans due to the economic disruption of the COVID pandemic.  DOE said it would not penalize borrowers who didn't make their loan payments and wouldn't charge interest on the underlying debt.

That moratorium has been extended four times, and the Biden administration may extend the moratorium yet again.

Are these debt-forgiveness edicts a good thing for the nation's overburdened student-loan borrowers? Yes, of course.

But there are psychological and emotional costs to being burdened by debt that can never be paid back, costs that some federal bankruptcy courts have explicitly recognized. And these costs are not alleviated by giving college borrowers a series of loan holidays.

And allowing 25 million Americans to skip their student-loan payments for two years does nothing to solve the student-loan crisis, which has grown to catastrophic proportions. Together, American college borrowers owe $1.8 trillion in student debt and another $150 billion in private student debt.

Maybe President Biden will forgive $10,000 in personal student debt as he promised during the 2020 presidential campaign. But that will do little or nothing to ease the debt burden of most borrowers.

Perhaps Congress will pass legislation to forgive all federal student-loan debt, or President Biden will do that by executive order. But I think relief of that magnitude is unlikely.

In the meantime, while our legislators and policymakers ponder global solutions,  why doesn't Congres simply amend the Bankruptcy Code to allow insolvent student borrowers to discharge their student loans in bankruptcy?

But Congress probably won't do that. For all the sympathetic rhetoric, Congress is content to allow millions of Americans to sit helplessly in a vast debtor's prison without bars--financially unable to buy homes, save for retirement, or start families.

In the meantime, college borrowers live much like the men on Death Row. Like condemned prisoners, they get numerous reprieves from making payments. They get deferments, they sign up for long-term income-based repayment plans, and they get to skip loan payments during the COVID crisis. 

Condemned prisoners whose sentences are postponed again and again will never be free. Some will eventually be executed, but many of them will die of old age.

Likewise, America's student loan debtors can manage their massive loan debt with various types of reprieves. They can apply for economic-hardship deferments. They can sign up for long-term, income-based repayment plans. They can skip payments during the COVID loan-payment pauses.

But millions of them will never be free of their college debt. They will die before it's repaid. That's a high price to pay for going to college.

 

California's death row





Tuesday, February 8, 2022

A student-debt strike to pressure Congress for wholesale student-loan forgiveness simply won't work

Student Debt Strike, an online Reddit community, advocates for a mass student-debt strike as the best way to pressure Congress to grant wholesale student-loan forgiveness.  I totally support this group's goals.

Economist Stephanie Kelton and others have argued persuasively that forgiving all federal student-loan debt would stimulate the economy. Relieved of burdensome student loans, more than forty million Americans would be free to buy homes, start families, and save for their retirement. 

Furthermore, I agree with Professor Kelton, who believes the federal government can handle massive student-loan forgiveness without wrecking the economy. The feds can simply select one of its many accounting gimmicks to absorb the loss, much as it dealt with the savings-and-loan crisis in the 1980s, the real-estate turmoil of 2008, and Puerto Rico's bankruptcy.  

After all, $1.7 trillion in outstanding student-loan debt is peanuts to a nation with a federal deficit that tops $30 trillion. What's $1.7 trillion among friends?


Nevertheless, it is dangerous for people to participate in a student-loan strike by refusing to make their monthly loan payments.


First, defaulting on a student loan is catastrophic for the individual debtor. Interest and penalties add up and get added to the loan balance. Over time, a student-loan defaulter's loan balance can double, triple, and even quadruple.


Moreover, student-loan defaulters rarely get free of student-loan debt in bankruptcy.  Congress inserted the "undue hardship" rule into the Bankruptcy Code to discourage bankruptcy relief. Many bankruptcy judges interpret "undue hardship" quite harshly and refuse to discharge student debt even when the debtor is in desperate circumstances.

Secondly, I do not believe a student-loan strike will have the desired effect on Congress. Thus far, Congress has shown little appetite for reforming the federal student loan program. Political pressure from the higher education industry (including the for-profit colleges) has blocked reform.

Besides, a significant percentage of college borrowers are already on strike because they have defaulted on their student loans. In a 2018 report, the Brookings Institution calculated that 40 percent of student borrowers may ultimately default on their student-loan obligations. If that is not a strike, I don't know what is.

If I thought a student-debt strike had any chance of succeeding, I would support it 100 percent. But I'm afraid strikers will simply be labeled as deadbeats without moving the needle on reform or loan forgiveness.

Much as I hate to admit it, I think the best option for an overburdened college-loan debtor is to sign up for the most generous income-based repayment plan that is available.

Someday, the student-loan crisis will become so massive and so scandalous that Congress will be forced to act--either by canceling all student debt or easing the path to bankruptcy relief. 

Unfortunately, I think that day is a long way off. 




Monday, December 27, 2021

Why Doesn't the Federal Government Just Cancel All Student Debt? To Find the Answer, Take a Look at Our National Balance Sheet

 When Joe Biden was running for President, he said he would cancel $10,000 of every college borrower's student debt if Congress consented. But Congress hasn't acted.

Senators Elizabeth Warren and Charles Schumer have urged President Biden to cancel $50,000 of every borrower's federal student loans, saying he has the executive power to do so. But that hasn't happened either.

Why not? Given the hardship that student debtors are experiencing--especially since the COVID crisis began--why not just wipe the slate clean and cancel all $1.7 trillion in federal student debt?

In my opinion, President Biden and most members of Congress would like to cancel all student debt. After all, there are about 45 million student borrowers, and canceling their student loans would make them all very happy. 

But Congress can't do that, and neither can President Biden. And here's why.

Student loans are carried on the nation's balance sheet as assets. As of September 30, 2020, the United States held almost $6 trillion in assets, and about a quarter of that amount is listed as outstanding student loans. 

As of September of last year, total national liabilities amounted to roughly $32 trillion, resulting in a national debt of around $26 trillion (give or take a few trillion).

Thus, if Congress simply wiped out all those student loans or President Biden canceled them through executive action, the nation's balance sheet would look significantly worse than it already does.  Instead of holding total assets of $6 trillion, our government would have only a little more than $4 billion.

Simply put, the federal government pretends that all that student-loan debt--closing in on $2 trillion--will be paid back.  And that fiction cannot be maintained if Congress wipes out all student debt or allows large numbers of distressed debtors to discharge their student loans in bankruptcy 

If you are a student-loan debtor, you have benefited from the moratorium on making monthly loan payments--a moratorium that won't be lifted until May 2022.

But just because you haven't made any student-loan payments over the past two years, don't get your hopes up that Congress will simply forgive all federal student debt.  It won't do it because it can't do it. The Federal government's balance sheet simply can't take the hit.






Friday, December 4, 2020

Steve Rhode: Here is Why Forgiving Student Loans is an Impossible Issue with an Easy Solution

Written by Steve Rhode

 Originally published at Get Out of Debt Guy

When it comes to a rapidly accelerating financial burden on American families, there is no greater concern than student loans.

The debt is burdensome and unfair on many levels that I’ll explore below.

However, there is a straightforward and simple solution for dealing with all of this outside of struggling to develop a fair forgiveness strategy. I’ll talk about that after we look at common opinions on the subject.

Is Student Loan Forgiveness Fair?

The talk of forgiveness is a difficult topic because how do you reach any level of fairness.

And let me be clear when people talk about forgiving student loans, it only applies to federal student loans. Not private student loans.

As Howard Dvorkin, Chairman of Debt.com said, “Only one-third of the people in this country get a four-year college education. The two-thirds without a college education is expected to subsidize their education when it is very likely that they earn less than the people who are receiving the educational subsidy.”

Dvorkin went on to say, “The issue of forgiving debt is complicated. What about all the people that have already struggled to pay their debts, and now other people get loans forgiven. That’s not fair.”

Student Loans – Another Financial Mistake for Many

A 2019 student by New York Life of 2,200 adults found the average participant reported taking 18.5 years to pay off their student loans, starting at age 26 and ending at 45.

That is a significant portion of life to have to be tied to a student loan payment that should have been directed to saving for retirement and then mushroomed into a giant nest egg. It can take decades to recover from that financial mistake. But that’s not the only financial regret people have.

What is shocking is the number of people that have student loan debt but who never graduated. I’ve seen statics as high as 75 percent of people with any student loans never obtained the degree.

And the wave of for-profit schools that have oversold education to people that never should have purchased their product is another national disaster.

“For-profit schools are not worth the money,” said Dvorkin. “As an employer, I hire people with traditional non-profit college degrees before I would hire someone with a for-profit degree.”

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said, “Students who attend for-profit institutions take on more educational debt and are more likely to default on their student loans than those attending similarly selective public schools.”

The study went on to say, “Overall, our results indicate that, on average, for-profit enrollment leads to worse student loan outcomes for students than enrolling in a public college or university, which is driven by higher loan takeup and worse labor market outcomes. This is an important set of findings for several reasons. First, a substantial amount of public funds go to for-profit institutions through the financial aid system. Our estimates indicate the return to such expenditures may be quite low. Second, the results suggest that students who attend local for-profit institutions when there is a negative labor demand shock may be making mistakes: they would be better off attending the local public college or university instead.”

But even non-profit schools are ramping up tuition and selling students into seats that maybe should not have been admitted.

Student loan debt is a life sentence in painful debt for many: The Impossibility of Forgiveness

Opinions on forgiveness range all over the place. Betsy DeVos, the current Secretary of Education said recently, “Policies should never entice students into greater debt. Nor should they put taxpayer dollars at greater risk. There are too many politicians today who support policy that does both.”

 

She also labeled student loan forgiveness as an “insidious notion of government gift giving. We’ve heard shrill calls to “cancel,” to “forgive,” to “make it all free.” Any innocuous label out there can’t obfuscate what it really is: wrong.”

Forgiveness is never going to be fair, and it’s not going to a quick and effective way to stimulate the economy in a difficult time from a pandemic, as some claim.

Today, student loan forgiveness would result in people not making loans they are already in default on or making payments that are too low to pay the debt off. At most, it will result in people not having to make some loan payments monthly.

The economic impact will be felt over a long period of time rather than the boost and support the economy needs now.

While DeVos talks about avoiding policies that entice students into greater debt, her own Department of Education is a big part of the problem, with help from Congress.

As the federal student loan program stands now, there is $1.37 trillion of outstanding debt to students, and the Education Department has determined that borrowers will only pay back $935 billion. That leaves the program in the red and holding for $435 billion of bad loans.

The Wall Street Journal said, “The analysis was based on government accounting standards and didn’t include roughly $150 billion in loans originated by private lenders and backed by the government.”

 

To deal with that shortage, “Congress will have to raise taxes, cut services or increase the deficit to cover the losses.” That solution is also not fair to the many that repaid their loans.

So the Battles and Arguments About Student Loan Forgiveness Are Complicated

We can argue and politically position ourselves around the idea of forgiving student loans is either the best thing or the worst thing ever to happen.

It is actually a moot point since the program is in so much trouble already.

Let’s not forget the 42 million student loan borrowers will become due again in January 2020, as a result of the CARES Act forbearance ending.

People that can’t afford their student loans will suddenly be required to begin payments again. Defaults will explode even more.

As it stands now, the Department of Education’s base position is students should feel lucky they can enroll student loan debt in an Income-Driven Repayment program (IDR) that will give them a loan payment based on income. But, as I wrote before, it’s a trap.

As it stands now, while a student loan debtor might enroll in an income-based repayment program, the minimum payment is not enough to cover the interest being charged on the loan, and the balance owed grows. While people say, “certainly Congress will change that.” The reality is they have not, over the many years the programs have been in place.

So the way the “lowest payment” solution works right now is that the government lets you pay less than is due, that grows the balance, and in two decades, when the exploded balance is forgiven, people will owe income tax on that debt unless they are insolvent. It sounds crazy, but it is true.

Here is a case that is a great example of the madness. The student loan debtor could not afford to pay off her $40,000 of student loans over 14 years but is now required to enroll and remain in an IDR that will drive her balance up.

The article by Richard Fossey J.D. says, “How could the judge conclude that Hladly might someday pay off her student loans when the amount she initially borrowed had tripled since the time she graduated from law school? If Hlady could not pay off $40,000 in student loans over 14 years, how will she ever pay $140,000 over the next 25 years, especially since her loan balance grows by $20 a day in accruing interest?

As Judge Scarcella observed, Ms. Hlady is 48 years old. Her 25-year repayment plan will terminate when she is 73. By that time, her loan balance will be more than a quarter of a million dollars. This amount will be forgiven, but the forgiven debt will be taxed as income unless Hlady is insolvent at the time.”

With IDR Plans, the Government Has Already Accepted the Loan Forgiveness Proposition

In my opinion, with federal student loan forgiveness programs already on the books, policymakers have already accepted some form of loan forgiveness. Yet, the current talk of student loan forgiveness ranges from its “socialism” to its “a right.”

As it stands today, the federal government already runs a student loan program that is rapidly increasing in delinquencies, defaults, and repayment plans that will only grow the balance.

The only current winners in the student loan cycle are the schools that can sell students on attending and get easy money from the federal government.

Students enroll, schools get paid and accept almost no responsibility for the outcome. When a student loan debtor was sold education, they could never logically or mathematically afford and later defaults; the school does not have to pay back the loan.

Howard Dvorkin said, “Colleges must start operating as a business and deliver service within income. The days of college expansion paid for from easy government student loan money needs to stop.”

He’s right.

Student Loan Forgiveness is Much-Ado-About-Nothing and Misdirected

I hate to state the obvious here, but rather than worry about the inequities of forgiveness and who wins and loses, the most rational and logical option is to roll back the 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA).

BAPCPA made private student loans harder to discharge in bankruptcy. And private student loans are growing as well.

The issue is students are drowning in debt. It can be argued that because of student loan debt, they are also having to take out other debt and reduce retirement savings.

When those people are old enough and can no longer work, the lack of retirement savings will create a public safety net drain. No matter how you look at this, the systemic problem of easy money for education has driven up the debt, and we will all pay for it in one way or another.

The Solution Seems So Apparent

Up until 1976, all student loans were dischargeable in bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a legal right for consumers to get a fresh financial start, and it is even a part of the U.S. Constitution. Those that file for bankruptcy generate an immediate stimulus for the economy and have a second chance to do better, having learned hard lessons from mistakes.

Returning to allowing both federal and private student loans to be discharged in bankruptcy has many features:

1.      It is a current and accepted legal process with clear rules and guidelines.

2.      The debt is forgiven tax-free.

3.      It allows people a chance to get a fresh start from an impossible situation. Oftentimes these issues are the result of accidents, injuries, medical issues, pandemics, etc.

4.      A bankruptcy Trustee and Judge must review and approve the discharge plan. If a consumer has too much income for a full immediate discharge, they will be required to enter a five-year repayment plan in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

5.      Forgiveness will be restricted to only those that qualify.

6.      The fact the loans may now be dischargeable should force lenders to make better loan decisions before just handing the money to anybody.

7.      If loans are less abundant or actually just based on repayment ability, then schools would have to ratchet back tuition fees. Less easy money would be available.

8.      This process would be restricted to those who need and meet the accepted legal standards for bankruptcy.

9.      People that can afford to repay their loans will have to do so through their Chapter 13 repayment plan.

10.  We can eliminate this ridiculous game and administration of student loans that will never be repaid and have to be dealt with.

If We Restore Bankruptcy Student Loan Debt Elimination to All Then We Can Focus on Doing Better

There is no argument that education leads to opportunity. I don’t care if that is education at a trade school, some other hands-on education, or a degree in some college subject at the best school in a 200-mile radius.

I heard recently about a “toilet paper” degree program. That’s where plumbers make much more than people to go to college. I do know some very rich electricians and plumbers. I guess that’s a raw subject for me since I’ve spent $3,000 in plumbing bills in the last 30 days.

We have a wonderful system in place to allow people to have affordable access to start their education. The local community college is a fantastic place to start.

It is affordable, and as Dvorkin said, “When thinking of how to get started on the journey of education, community college is a great investment. Think about this: why pay much higher tuition to take classes that use the same books as the community college class uses. Start affordably and then transfer to a more expensive school if you want to continue to finish your college degree.”

The power of community colleges is not new. It is proven. My very own father started his education from a farm in Michigan at the local community college. He then went on to become the very first Ph.D. graduate in Political Science at Michigan State.

So let’s all stop trying to reinvent the wheel here. Just restore the bankruptcy provision for all student loans and require some commonsense and responsibility on future lending.

There will never be any universally accepted plan for past forgiveness of student loans that were flawed from the start.

We are a great country and instead of looking back, let’s do better moving forward.

 

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Steve Rhode points out that wholesale forgiveness of student loans is impossible. Bankruptcy Relief for distressed college debtors is the best option

 Millions of words have been written about the student loan crisis. Heck, I've probably written a couple of million words about it myself. 

For my money, Steve Rhode's succinct and cogent essay, published yesterday, is the best analysis of this catastrophe. Mr. Rhode explains why massive student-loan forgiveness is a bad idea. Instead, he argues that bankruptcy relief is the better option. He also points out the fatal flaws in the federal student-loan program, which have brought us to the brink of calamity.

I urge you to read Steve Rhode's essay in its entirety.  My commentary will highlight a few key points.

First of all, Rhode points out that taking out student loans to pay for a college education was a mistake for millions of Americans. He cites a New York Life survey, which found that the average student-loan borrower took 18.5 years to pay off student loans, starting at age 26 and ending at 45.

That is a significant portion of life to have to be tied to a student loan payment that should have been directed to saving for retirement and then mushroomed into a giant nest egg. It can take decades to recover from that financial mistake. But that’s not the only financial regret people have.

Shockingly, millions of Americans took out student loans and never finished their degrees. For those people, student loans are a dead loss.  Instead of enhancing their economic future, dropouts shot themselves in the foot by taking out student loans.

Rhode also points out (as have many others) that the for-profit college industry has wreaked havoc among a population of Americans who took out student loans to attend for-profit schools. He cites a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which found that “[s]tudents who attend for-profit institutions take on more educational debt and are more likely to default on their student loans than those attending similarly selective public schools.”

The Federal Reserve Bank study then went on to say: "Overall, our results indicate that, on average, for-profit enrollment leads to worse student loan outcomes for students than enrolling in a public college or university, which is driven by higher loan takeup and worse labor market outcomes."

The federal student loan program is a mess. It is probably the worst public policy decision Congress ever made when it launched a program more than a half-century ago that now has more than 40 million people ensnared by a total of $1.7 trillion in outstanding student-loan debt.

But massive student-loan forgiveness is not a viable option. 

First of all, wiping out all that debt is fundamentally unfair. And here I will quote Steve Rhode's analysis:

As Howard Dvorkin, Chairman of  Debt.com said, “Only one-third of the people in this country get a four-year college education. The two-thirds without a college education is expected to subsidize their education when it is very likely that they earn less than the people who are receiving the educational subsidy.” 

As Mr. Dvorkin pointed out, “The issue of forgiving debt is complicated. What about all the people that have already struggled to pay their debts, and now other people get loans forgiven. That’s not fair.”

In any event, as Mr. Rhode explained, millions of people are already in a loan forgiveness plan. About 9 million people are in income-based repayment plans that allow them to make minimal loan payments that don't even cover accruing interest on their underlying debt.

So what is the solution to the train wreck we call the federal student-loan program? This is what Steve Rhode recommends:

I hate to state the obvious here, but rather than worry about the inequities of forgiveness and who wins and loses, the most rational and logical option is to roll back the 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA).

It was this pernicious law that made even private student loans virtually nondischargeable in bankruptcy.  Many of the congresspeople who voted for this bill still hold elected office. They should be ashamed of themselves. 

Just as importantly, Mr. Rhode argues, Congress needs to remove the "undue hardship" language from the Bankruptcy Code and allow distressed debtors to discharge their college loans in bankruptcy like any other consumer debt.

Steve Rhode succinctly points out the merits of reasonable bankruptcy relief:

Returning to allowing both federal and private student loans to be discharged in bankruptcy has many features:

1.      It is a current and accepted legal process with clear rules and guidelines. 

2.      The debt is forgiven tax-free. 

3.      It allows people a chance to get a fresh start from an impossible situation. Oftentimes these issues are the result of accidents, injuries, medical issues, pandemics, etc. 

4.      A bankruptcy Trustee and Judge must review and approve the discharge plan. If a consumer has too much income for a full immediate discharge, they will be required to enter a five-year repayment plan in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. 

5.      Forgiveness will be restricted to only those that qualify. 

6.      The fact the loans may now be dischargeable should force lenders to make better loan decisions before just handing the money to anybody. 

7.      If loans are less abundant or actually just based on repayment ability, then schools would have to ratchet back tuition fees. Less easy money would be available. 

8.      This process would be restricted to those who need and meet the accepted legal standards for bankruptcy. 

9.      People that can afford to repay their loans will have to do so through their Chapter 13 repayment plan.

10.  We can eliminate this ridiculous game and administration of student loans that will never be repaid and have to be dealt with.

As I said at the beginning of this commentary, I urge people to read Steve Rhode's article in its entirety. I agree with him completely.

Let's see what Congress does in the coming months. The way out of the nightmare is to amend the Bankruptcy Code.  Various student-loan forgiveness scenarios will not fix this enormous problem. 

If loan forgiveness is the best idea Congress has to offer, then our nation's political leaders will have opted for the status quo. And the status quo will ultimately destroy our nation's colleges and universities along with the lives of millions of student-loan debtors.