Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in Pennsylvania


I was a student at Lehigh Valley College in Center Valley, PA back in 2004-2005. It was time to reapply for the next years FAFSA and State grants. However, what I qualified for wasn't enough to cover the amount of tuition, so the Financial Aid department told me I had to get student loans. They rushed through to process and told me that I couldn't finish my degree unless I signed for the loans they provided. They never counseled me in applying for other grants or to go with other loan companies other than what they provided. So, without having much knowledge at 19 years of age, I signed their forms for student loans through Sallie Mae. Through unfortunate circumstances, shortly thereafter I was unable to finish my schooling, and had to drop out.

The college has since been shut down completely. I can't finish my degree there, and NONE of my credits will transfer to my local community college. I understand through the local newspapers that there was much controversy regarding the schools financial aid practices and there were many lawsuits filed against the school for the same reason I have. I don't know what the outcome of the lawsuits was.

The bottom line is, I believe the college was receiving kickbacks from the student loan company for having students sign loans that had not only insanely high interest rates, but would be considered sub-prime loans. I believe that their Financial Aid practices were illegal. I now owe over $20,000 in student loans, and I can't even use the credits now to finish my degree. I had to start all over again with zero credits at my community college. I received nothing from this except horrible debt which I can't even afford to pay back because the interest rates are through the roof. Please help me if you can. I want to move forward with my life, and am trying my hardest to get out of debt. I would except full responsibility for the loans had it been done through legitimate practices and I wasn't taken advantage of for being young, dumb, and poor at the time. I just wanted to make a better life for my daughter.

Thank you!

Asked on 8/30/13, 7:18 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Were these private student lenders or public through the US DoE?

When was the last time that you made any kind of a payment on these loans?

There is no statute of limitations for government loans through US DoE. However, there is a statute of limitations for private loans. If these were private loans made in PA and it has been 4 or more years since you last paid, then the statute has expired and you no longer have a legal duty to pay.

You need to do some more digging and find out what happened with the probe by the state attorney general. Here is a link below to get you started:

If this loan is through the US DoE (Sallie Mae went private) then the US DoE may be able to help - there are some hardship programs and it sounds like this whole for-profit "school" you attended was just one big fraud enterprise for making money. At least look into it.

The US DoE may have a program to be able to voluntary make payments affordable based on your financial circumstances.

I would sit down with a local consumer lawyer who handles these things after you do some more homework and pay him/her to review the paperwork and see just what you have. If this is a private loan and its barred by the statute of limitations then it will be dropping off your credit report (or it can be disputed) if you last paid in 2005 or earlier.

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Answered on 8/30/13, 2:40 pm

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