The “emergency” loan rule requires lenders to make sure students can repay their loans within 30 days of being declared bankrupt.
That’s what happened to Johnathan Wahlgren, a 22-year-old student at the University of Illinois at Chicago who owed $6,000 for medical bills after losing his job at an automotive parts supplier in 2011.
The loan defaulted in September 2012.
In October, he applied for a Federal Stafford loan, which had a $1,000 payment due each month, but was rejected by the lender in October because of a bad credit history.
Wahlgran and his girlfriend both worked for the same company, but they were paid on a part-time basis.
The couple had a job offer, but Wahlstrom decided to go to college instead.
The university offered a $15,000 down payment and a $3,500 interest-only loan, but his loan balance was $2,000.
Walslgren says he couldn’t afford the monthly payments.
“We both got fired, and the school just closed down,” he said.
“So I was kind of left with nothing.”
After the loan default, Wahlrenns family filed for bankruptcy, with the federal government in charge of repaying the loan.
In November 2012, Walslenghans wife, Anna, and his sister, Heather, filed for a temporary bankruptcy in Illinois.
They asked for forgiveness for their debts.
The federal government agreed and agreed to cover $2.5 million of Wahllengham s debt, and a judge set the loan payment at $3.50 a month for the next seven months.
But by April, Wala ls daughter, Krista, and two other relatives were out of work.
They were working part time in a grocery store to pay their mortgage and bills.
Krista was also in the process of applying for a loan, so she and Wahllgrenns had to find another source of income.
They applied for loans from a nonprofit called the Federal Emergency Loan Program (FERP), which is similar to a private credit union.
The FEP is designed to help people with low income and to lower interest rates.
The program has also helped borrowers with small debts.
Wahlgrens family was the first to qualify for the program in October, and he had a full-time job.
But Wahlstenhs sister, Kristina, was also trying to find a job.
The family had applied for several different jobs in the past year, but it was a challenge finding a position for the first time.
WALGINSON: I was in a situation where I had to go into debt to get a job, and I was worried about what would happen if I quit.
So I was trying to think of something that was fun and not so stressful.
And I had some friends in my hometown, so I was like, “Well, I don’t want to be that person that just has to go out there and work and live with my parents.”
Krista said she felt guilty about taking out the loans to pay for college.
“I felt like, Oh, I could have gone to college, but I have a lot of bills to pay,” she said.
She also worried about her health.
“The biggest fear I had was I was going to be sick,” she explained.
But it was difficult to find an affordable way to pay back her debts.
“It was scary, but not like I was losing my life,” she added.
Wahlrens sister had recently quit her job as a cashier at a local Wal-Mart store.
Wala said she was in and out of the hospital with anemia, and she said her daughter had to wear an IV bag while taking care of her.
She had been pregnant with their first child, a daughter, when she had to leave the hospital and had to give birth at home.
“I’m very grateful to be alive, but my life would have been much more difficult without those loans,” she continued.
“When I look at the people that have been hurt by this, I think, ‘I’m a victim, and you’re the one who has to pay the price.'”
Krista and Walslagrens daughter have since graduated from college.
But Walsgrens father is worried that the government is still holding back borrowers.
He said he had been told that if he lost his job, the FEP wouldn’t take any of his loans, and that if they did, he would have to pay them off.
He also worries about how the government will handle the future.
The FEP doesn’t have a formal definition of bankruptcy, but according to its website, a person who has “substantially exhausted all financial resources” is considered a bankrupt. That means