ROHNERT PARK, Calif., Nov. 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Student loan debt isn’t just pushing borrowers into economic and emotional despair; it is driving some out of the country. At least a small number of former college students with student loan debt are leaving the U.S. after running into trouble with repayment. Though there is certainly no wave of emigration sweeping the nation, according to a recent MSNBC article, there are at least some individuals who have chosen to leave their home country rather than continue to flounder with student loan debt. Ameritech Financial, a document preparation company, notes other options for those struggling with student loan debt, expertly guiding borrowers through the sometimes challenging processes of applying for and maintaining enrollment in federal programs, such as income-driven repayment plans (IDRs).
“Though we understand the stress that borrowers feel once they leave college, we don’t advise people to leave the country and their debts behind,” said Tom Knickerbocker, executive vice president of Ameritech Financial. “For many, IDRs, which are determined based on income and family size, can possibly lower monthly payments to something manageable. We help clients gain back their financial freedom so that they don’t have to feel forced to do something extreme, like leaving the U.S.”
The article outlined the lives of several borrowers who are now living abroad due to student loan debt. Chad Haag departed his home country for India after being unable to keep up with the $20,000 in student loan debt he left college with. Elephants pad along near his concrete home in Uchakkada — and he is 9,000 miles from his debt, which has gone into default. Chad Albright lived with his parents and delivered pizzas and watched his credit scores and his prospects tank. He angrily left behind the U.S. and $30,000 in debt, moving to China first, then Ukraine, teaching English and getting married. Another borrower, Katrina Williams, jilted Alabama and collection agencies, flying away from her now $100,000 in debt to teach English in Japan.
Overall student debt in the U.S. skyrocketed over the last decade and is projected to grow to over $2 trillion by 2022. Average debt at graduation, adjusted for inflation, is nearly double what it was in the 1990s, while inflation-adjusted wages have remained flat. One of every two student loan borrowers haven’t paid down any of their principal five years into repayment, and default rates are expected to hit 40 percent, according to the Brookings Institution. Despite these grim numbers, moving to another country to escape student debt is risky. Experts note that returning to the U.S. will become increasingly difficult due to compound interest, collection charges and late fees. These same experts agree that for those whose income makes repayment challenging, IDRs can be a much better option than walking away from family, friends and home.
“These types of stories are excellent opportunities to remind student loan borrowers about their options — particularly IDRs,” said Knickerbocker. “Many people get discouraged interacting with their loan servicer, but we can help you navigate the process and paperwork, and even help you recertify year after year, perhaps ending in forgiveness after 20 or 25 years.”
Ameritech Financial is a private company located in Rohnert Park, California. Ameritech Financial has already helped thousands of consumers with financial analysis and student loan document preparation to apply for federal student loan repayment programs offered through the Department of Education.