Columbus Big Table and Student Loan Debt


Yesterday I had the opportunity to participate in a community event called “The Big Table”. This event was sponsored by the Columbus Foundation. The Columbus Foundation is a philanthropic advisor, helping through effective charitable giving. Approximately 5000 random Central Ohio residents, mixed in with government officials and various non profit organizations, sat down in small groups to discuss a wide variety of community problems and issues.

Thousands gather in small groups to discuss civic issues at Big Table event was an article detailing the event, published in the Columbus Dispatch on Wednesday, August 31, 2016.

Transportation and Employment

One issue which was highlighted at our Big Table was the need for better education and job opportunities for our youth. A major topic was transportation the lack of transportation for many youth in order to have the ability to get to jobs if they had one. The table discussed that many parents work full time and cannot provide transportation for their working teenagers. This leads us to the need for a transportation system that can get the young workers safely to and from work. Drug dealing and violence can sometimes be a result of the lack of opportunity to travel to work created by the insufficient public transportation system in Columbus.

College and Student Loan Debt

For those who move on to college, the expense of a college education was another vital topic that the Big Table group I participated in discussed. This topic was of particular interest to me since I am am part of a network of lawyers that provide assistance with student loan debt issues. Therefore, I am consistently working with graduates as well as those with some college who are overwhelmed with student loan debt.

There is no formal teaching mechanism in the schools to provide the information to our high school students to help them to make an informed decision on cost of their college education. Most any day on the Oval at The Ohio State University campus you can find credit card companies giving free tee shirts, mugs, or some other trinket or prize to entice college freshman to sign up for $5000 limit credit cards by just signing their name. Our kids need to understand the cost of a college education. College students are often paying in excess of $40000 to get a bachelor’s degree from college, then in today’s economic environment are struggling to find a job that will support their cost of living, any accrued credit card debt, and student loans. Student loans, and credit card debt may be easy to come by, but will your degree enable you get a job that pays you enough money to live on, and pay your student loan?

Student Loan Debt Help

Over the years the Department of Education has put in place a variety of programs that can help student loan debtors survive in a financial crisis that does not leave enough money to pay your student loans. Some of these programs use an Income Driven Repayment calculation that can help student loan debtors to survive on the income that they are earning, and in some cases even forgive the debt. A large part of what I do on a daily basis is to help student loan debtors to find, assess, and apply to these student loan debt relief programs. In fact, since I do not charge for initial consultations via phone, student loan debtors can call me at no expense to learn how The Needleman Law Office Process can help them.

Overall, I found the Big Table event to be very interesting and informative on numerous topics in addition to the student loan debt topic which is near and dear to my heart. It is with great hope that the type of open communication and learning experience provided through these forums will help us to better understand and learn how to better work to improve the living circumstances for the entire Columbus, Ohio community.

Student Loan Bubble


While credit card debt is trending down, student loan debt has been on the rise since 2004 and in 2012 had almost tripled1. Many have referred to the impending financial crisis as the student loan bubble. However unlike the housing bubble the Federal Government is still making money on these student loans.  They are becoming more aggressive in their collection efforts often filing lawsuits.  They are aggressively pursuing co-signers of student loan debt.  They are also gearing up collection efforts on Parent Plus Loans.

Student Loan Debt Help in Columbus, OhioSimilar to the housing bubble the student loan bubble has been predicted to explode.  Financial crisis for the borrowers will be the result of defaulted student loans.  The crisis will be that people saddled with high student loans may find it very difficult to obtain credit. The debt to income variable for a bank to make a loan would be very hard hurdle to overcome.

College graduates struggle to find jobs with a bachelor’s degree, while the rest of the country wonders why the recent grads are not helping the already slow recovery of the housing market.  Unemployed graduates work to pay back loans that may already 90 days or more past due, so the idea of buying a house to start their futures seems out of reach.  This also can be viewed as an explanation for the rise in multi-family housing nationwide.  With tuition rates rising and student aid decreasing, colleges are losing enrollment numbers each year.  This is one reason schools like Sweet Briar College in Lynchburg, VA have had to make the difficult decision to to close its doors. Sweet Briar did so in the spring of 20152. Sweet Briar is not the only college with a financial crisis, Corinthian College in California filed for bankruptcy in May 2015 and announced it would close its doors3.  Entrepreneur and billionaire Mark Cuban has been very public about his opinion regarding debt forgiveness, as predicted the “inevitable college implosion” has begun.  Cuban also registered the domain which shows the ongoing increase of student loans compared to credit card and auto loans. As the dollars tick up anyone could feel the impending bubble burst on the horizon.

The majority of the $1.3 trillion in student loans are backed by the federal government so that leaves the public with the burden.  Public burden tends to resort to federal legislation talks and words like bail-out, market crash and crisis.  Bail-out is a familiar word we have heard before and with that comes years of recovery, but the options for to prevent the bubble from popping are running out.  There new amendments being introduced, such as H.R. 449, this bill would amend the bankruptcy restrictions allowing the discharge of private student loans in a personal bankruptcy. Bills such as this come into play with the debate on how to fix the student loan crisis. In some cases student loans can be discharged, dependent upon major restrictions and proving financial hardship. Even with those restrictions, a high number of bankruptcies are coming from those millennials forced to live on credit cards while they pay those past due student loans.  The student loan bubble has caught a lot of national attention, more so after the housing market crash.  With a new generation starting college this fall, new solutions are bound to become available for those still struggling with loan payments. In fact, as a bankruptcy attorney office, we have dedicated a portion of our practice to working with those who are struggling with student loan debt in order to help to find a solution to overwhelming student loan debts.