Debtor attended several colleges starting in 1972. She took out student loans in pursuit of her undergraduate degree; those loans were discharged when she filed for bankruptcy in 1984.
She continued her education in 1999 when she attended Aurora University; she received a Master’s degree in Social Work (“MSW”) from there in 2002. The Debtor asserts that if she were forced to begin making payments on her student loans she would have to pay $1,111 per month over ten years.
To fund her Master’s Degree, Debtor took out eight student loans from the DOE totaling $29,441. The DOE provides student loans through its Direct Lending Program. Nelnet Servicing, LLC (“Nelnet”) services these loans but does not own them. As of March 6, 2018, teh Debtor’s balance on her DOE student loans was $37,496. All of her DOE student loans are currently enrolled in an income-based repayment plan (“IBR”); her current monthly payment is $0 per month.
Debtor’s monthly expenses are $2,480.26 per month. She testified that she guesses that she has a couple hundred dollars left over after she covers her expenses each month. Specifically, Debtor currently lives alone in a two-bedroom apartment where she pays $1200 rent per month even though one-bedroom apartments are available in the same complex for $975 per month. She has a timeshare she acquired for $9,000.00 in 2003 that costs $71.67 per month in membership and maintenance fees.
Debtor agreed that the items identified as potential cost savings amount to approximately $900 per month.
Debtor is 63 years old and if she retires now her monthly Social Security benefits would be $1230, $1430 if she retires in two years. She testified that she understood that Social Security Income does not count towards gross income but did not realize that if Social Security was her only source of income, her income-based repayment amount would still be zero dollars per month.
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