American Students Are Moving To Europe To Avoid Paying Off Their Student Loans

You don’t need to turn on the news today to know that the American student loan debt situation is a nightmare. Currently, the amount of money adults in the United States owe to due education is over $1.3 trillion and increases by more than $2,000 every second. The average borrower owes $28,000 and many former students can barely afford to keep up with interest payments – let alone the principal amount.

In response to this financial horror, people have attempted to bail on their loans by leaving the country and hiding from banks and collection agencies. While it probably sounds unreal, with a financial crisis like this, it genuinely seems like a better option to leave the United States for good than being forever-fettered to your student loan debt.

According to Adam S. Minsky, a student loan lawyer and author, people are leaving because:

“There’s a sense of hopelessness and [people] see greater opportunities overseas, usually through a combination of higher pay and lower living expenses. They think they’ll be better positioned to either pay their loans in real time, from abroad, or to save up and be in a better place to address the loans a couple of years from now.”

Given that the United States Government seems to have done very little to mitigate the debilitating effects of crippling student loan debt, people have to take matters into their own hands. Leaving the country sounds extreme, but when you have very limited options in your home country and have a government that has done effectively nothing to help your financial situation, you get desperate. You only leave your home country when you have no more options – when opportunity has dissipated completely. Think about the mass immigration to the United States during the 1800s and the 1900s. They left their countries because the United States had far more opportunities for them than their respective home countries.

Joshua R.I. Cohen told Vice that this method could work for some people, but only if the debt dodgers plan to never live in the United States again. Students who move to a foreign country to avoid their loan debt “will only feel consequences if they’re working for a US company on foreign soil.”

In short, if you’re living abroad, earning a salary from a foreign company, not paying United States taxes and not collecting social security, then the loan companies can’t touch you nor will the United States government chase after you.

Mark Kantrowitz, another expert on student loans, said that the “federal government doesn’t have really strong tools for collecting debt from people who move overseas. In theory, you could live the rest of your life in another country.”

However, if your family co-signed your loan with you and still lives in the United States, they will still be required to pay off your student loan debt. This strategy is contingent on the former student never returning home again. “The debt will still be there – it never goes away,” says Cohen. “All they’re doing is putting off what could happen if they come back to the US.”

As a current college student, this strategy is pretty enticing. My college increases its annual tuition every year and is an institution that prides itself on making education affordable. It’s rather troubling that even the colleges that want to make higher education available and affordable to all students cannot. Tragically (I say this with the utmost sarcasm), I love my family and friends and I won’t be leaving the country any time soon to avoid paying off my student loan debt. We’ll all suffer together.

Are You A Recent Grad? It’s Time to Face These 7 Hard Truths

[Story via]