New Effort Aims to Give Freedom Debt Relief Clients A Fresh Start and Call Attention to $1.6 Trillion Student Debt Crisis
San Mateo, Calif., June 11, 2020 – Freedom Debt Relief (FDR) announced that Emely Alcantara of Massachusetts and Lynn Martalock of Wisconsin will be the first recipients of student debt forgiveness as part of the company’s initiative to assist its clients with their student loan debt. This effort, spearheaded by FDR, is assisting clients with student debt repayment to raise awareness of its impact on consumers and the economy at large, and the sparse options available to Americans facing financial hardship due to rising student loan debt.
Emblematic of the vastness of this problem, thousands of Freedom clients applied for the student loan forgiveness program, submitting an essay or video on what they would tell their younger selves before taking out student loans.
“We see the enormous impact student debt has on our client base with no clear solution in sight,” said Freedom Financial Network Co-CEO Andrew Housser. “This initiative is just one way we are doing our part to help our clients, but, for the sake of Americans as we face a historic challenge to repair the U.S. economy, industry and policymakers should reform the current system so federal student loan debt can be discharged during bankruptcy, saving the most vulnerable consumers from an overwhelming burden with no end in sight.”
“For me, student loan debt was an anchor weighing down mine and my family’s future,” said Emely Alcantara. “This opportunity changed my life, for once I have a real opportunity in staying ahead of my finances and not worry about unpaid debt.”
“At age 49, I made the decision to go back to school and finish my degree while continuing to work hard and put four children of my own through school,” said Lynn Martalock. “The passing of my late husband after fighting cancer for more than seven years put us in financial stress, but this money will help ease the burden of my remaining student loans.”
Recent company data found that 29 percent of clients enter their FDR programs with student debt at an average balance of more than $43,000 – far greater than $36,000 – the average balance for student loan borrowers across the country. Of the FDR clients with student loan debt, 54 percent said they cannot save any money because of this debt, and 58 percent said it causes them to feel overwhelmed about their financial situation.
“Student loan debt is not an isolated part of finances for our clients or consumers across the country, it weighs on every financial decision they make, whether it is taking on additional debt, building savings, starting a business or buying a house,” Housser continued. “With limited options to resolve student loan debt, many of our clients put off servicing other debts, including credit card bills, causing them to take on massive amounts of unsecured debt and get stuck in a seemingly never-ending cycle.”
In the United States, consumers are largely restricted from discharging student loan debt in bankruptcy and from negotiating with their creditors to ease their student debt. This means millions of Americans remain trapped by a system which makes it far too easy to get into debt with no simple way out as things currently stand.