A student loan default can impact more than just student borrowers
Parents who co-sign on student loans face the same ramifications for default as student borrowers.
Dirk Wierenga learned that lesson the hard way, The New York Times reported last year. His son came out of college optimistic about job opportunities and his ability to handle his student loans. But he eventually defaulted, and the repercussions of the default followed Wierenga who was the co-signer on the loans.
Wierenga had his state tax refund confiscated to pay for the loans, and worse, his credit score has taken a massive hit as a result of the default. “I’m basically a third-world nation when it comes to my credit score,” Wierenga told The Times. “They put so much weight on these defaults, and they just plain trash you.”
The topic of defaulting on your student loans garnered a lot of attention after Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Lee Siegel wrote an op-ed article in The New York Times where he advised people to default on their student loans rather than remain stuck with crippling debt.
But Siegel never mentioned the far-reaching effects on family members that defaulting on your loans can cause.
And unlike consumer debt, it is extremely unlikely to have student loan debt charged, even in cases of bankruptcy – meaning the government will follow you around your entire life until the debt is paid off. “They can and do – literally do – pursue debtors to their graves,” Heather Jarvis, a student-loan expert who advises people on how to manage their debt, told Vice.
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