A mother took out more than $77,000 in student loans to send her autistic son to college.  He got his debt cleared - but she's still paying hers without ever getting it in the end.

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  • Marsha Wipperman, 59, took out a Parent PLUS student loan so her son with autism could attend college.

  • She received a total and permanent disability discharge, but still has a $77,000 debt burden.

  • She wishes there were more avenues of relief for parents like her.

Marsha Wipperman, 59, was willing to do whatever it took to give her son the best life possible.

In the year After receiving his high school diploma in 2011, Wipperman’s son wanted to continue his education, but because he is on the autism spectrum, he needed to enroll in a program that met his needs. Fortunately, they found a program at a private university in California that gave Wiperman’s son the opportunity to study art and design – areas where he excelled – and Wiperman didn’t think twice.

Her son was accepted into the program, and while he received a few grants, they weren’t enough to cover the full fee. So Wipperman’s son received federal student aid in his name, and Wipperman took out a $77,000 Parent PLUS loan — a type of loan parents take out for their children that covers up to the full cost of attendance.

“But when he got this opportunity and was accepted, we were going to pay him. I didn’t care because I was signing,” Wipperman told Insider. “I’m going to pay it. I wasn’t going to pay it in my mind and I still do today. So I cosigned a loan for my parents because that’s what a parent does.”

Marcia Wipperman

Marsha Wipperman took PLUS $77,000 for her son.Marcia Wipperman

Wipperman’s son He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2017, and qualified for it after receiving his autism diagnosis. General and permanent disability dischargeCertification from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Social Security Administration, or a physician provides debt relief to borrowers who prove they are totally and permanently disabled.

He must still comply with a three-year follow-up period in which the level of disability and income have not changed or the loans can be reinstated.

But Wipperman is burdened by her son’s student loans, and while she says she would do the same thing again to help her son get the future she wants, she wishes parents like her had an option. To get relief.

basis According to the federal student aid website, Wipperman could see her debt balance disappear if she dies, becomes totally and permanently disabled or goes bankrupt.

“If it’s a forgivable parent loan and it can only be disbursed to the student, why can’t it be the parent?” Wipperman said.

“I did 100% what I was supposed to do at that time.”

Parent PLUS loans gave Wipperman’s son the opportunity to attend college, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. But her loan is different from the federal direct loan that her son took out because PLUS loans have no loan limit, which means parents can take out large amounts of debt without any restrictions to prove their ability to repay. Balance.

In addition, PLUS loans have the highest interest rate of all federal loans, which can increase the balance if the borrower is unable to repay their loan quickly.

“I did 100% what I was supposed to do at that point,” Wipperman said. “I didn’t care how we bought it. I worked four part-time jobs to make sure he could go to that program. And I’d make sure the bills were paid. I could pay until I got there. Die.”

Wipperman He joins other parents They took loans for their children because giving them higher education was the only option. Insider previously spoke with the father. He took out $550,000 in PLUS loans “I’m looking to pay $3,000 a month for the rest of my life,” he said.

“I will not take the chance of not sending my children to school, even if it means a huge financial burden,” he said. “It’s not an option.”

Biden’s student-debt relief ‘not even my focus or concern’

PLUS loans for some parents President Joe Biden is included in the plan. In August, it announced that up to $20,000 in student debt would be written off for federal borrowers. With the plan stalled by two conservative-backed lawsuits — the Supreme Court is set to rule in June on the legality of the relief — parents and millions of other borrowers could see a reduction in their balances this year.

But that’s not a big deal for Wipperman, and she continues to care for her son while managing her own student-debt burden.

“I think it will help some people. I think it will help a lot of people, probably,” Wipperman said. “But it’s not my focus or concern right now. It’s just the TPD process.”

The Department of Education has taken steps to improve the debt relief process for TPD borrowers, many of whom have had their loans reinstated despite their disability status.

After 2016 Report According to data from the Government Accountability Office, 98 percent of disability discharges occurred because borrowers did not provide the required documentation, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said. He left the requirement. To provide documents confirming income.

Wipperman is now hoping that relief can reach parents like herself.

“I didn’t take out a loan or support my son through five years of lessons and driving every day because I’m crazy. I wanted him to succeed and he was completely committed to his dream,” said Wipperman. “That’s all you have to do. That’s part of being a parent of a disabled adult/child.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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