Blogs

3 years 2 months ago

In a recent bankruptcy decision, Bank of America v. Caulkett, the Supreme Court denied a chapter 7 debtor's attempt to strip away or discharge an unsecured second mortgage in a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.

The debtor, Mr. Caulkett, owned a house in Florida. The house was subject to a first mortgage in the amount of $183,264, the house had a fair market value of $98,000 and was subject to a second mortgage in the amount of $47,855, that was held by the Bank of America.

Mr. Caulkett's position was that since the Bank of America second mortgage was "underwater", or totally unsecured, the second mortgage should be stripped away or discharged in the chapter 7 bankruptcy filing like a credit card debt.

The Supreme Court, relying on an earlier decision known as Dewsnup denied the Debtor's claim stating that the outcome in Caulkett was controlled by Dewsnup . Although in a footnote by Justice Thomas, Justice Thomas noted that from its inception Dewsnup has been the target of criticism. Additionally during oral argument one of the Justices asked the Debtor if they were seeking to overturn Dewsnup and counsel for the debtor said no. In the future a debtor may seek to have Dewsnup overturned based on this footnote.

Notwithstanding the Caulkett decision which involved a chapter 7 bankruptcy case, a debtor may still be able to strip off or discharge an unsecured second mortgage or home equity loan in a chapter 13 bankruptcy case. Homeowners whose houses are underwater and subject to a second mortgage, may want to seek a consultation to determine their options with Jim Shenwick.


3 years 2 months ago

Sixth Circuit Affirms Bankruptcy Court Order Allowing Amended Exemptions Following Re-Opening of Case
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, a debtor is required to file a schedule listing all of the debtor’s property. This includes cash, hard assets such as furniture and cars, as well as intangibles such as causes of action or potential causes of action. The Bankruptcy Code allows debtors to “exempt” certain types of property from the estate, enabling them to retain exempted assets post-bankruptcy.
In a recent opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit analyzed the limits of a bankruptcy court’s authority to disallow claimed exemptions.  Read More ›
Tags: 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Chapter 13, Chapter 7


3 years 2 months ago

MacKenzie v. Neidorf (IN RE NEIDORF; 9TH CIR. BAP)
Ninth Circuit Court of AppealsChapter 7 debtor Carrie Margaret Neidorf (Debtor)scheduled her real property (Residence) as an asset of her estate. There was no equity in the property. Postpetition, the lender obtained an unopposed relief from stay order and foreclosed on the property. Years after the foreclosure, but while her bankruptcy case was still open, Debtor received a postpetition payment in the amount of $31,250 (Foreclosure Payment). The payment was made to Debtor pursuant to a national settlement between banking regulators and certain financial institutions, including Bank of America (B of A). Debtor disclosed her receipt of the Foreclosure Payment to Robert A. MacKenzie, the chapter 7 trustee (Trustee). Trustee then filed a Motion to Compel Debtor to Turnover Estate Property (Turnover Motion), asserting that the Foreclosure Payment was property of the estate under § 541(a)(7). The bankruptcy court denied his motion, and this appeal followed. For the reasons discussed below, we AFFIRM.
The result is that, in the Ninth Circuit, the debtor is able to keep funds that become available after the bankruptcy is filed.  This is a great result for individuals.  My congratulations to Ms. Neidorf’s attorney Kenneth Neeley.

The post Debtor in Bankruptcy Keeps Post-Petition Mortgage Settlement Funds appeared first on Diane L. Drain - Phoenix Bankruptcy & Foreclosure Attorney.


3 years 2 months ago

By TARA SIEGEL BERNARD

On a typical day in her last job, Janet Roth left home at 4 a.m. each day and drove 40
miles to a tax preparation office in Glendale, Ariz. When she finally got back home,
she had less than an hour before starting her 6 p.m. shift decorating cakes at
Walmart. She worked until midnight, giving her just a few hours to sleep before
starting all over again.

Ms. Roth, 68, worked in many jobs over the years, but she never made quite
enough to pay back the $33,000 she borrowed years earlier for an education degree
she couldn’t afford to complete, and certainly not the $95,000 it ballooned to in
default.

She filed for bankruptcy, wiping out five figures in medical debts. But erasing
student loans requires initiating a separate legal process, where borrowers must
prove that paying the debt would cause an “undue hardship.”

To prepare her case, she copied down statutes at a local law library and watched
episodes of “Law and Order.” Her efforts paid off: Ms. Roth’s loans were discharged
in 2013.

That Ms. Roth, now living on Social Security, managed to succeed in what is known
as a notoriously difficult process is not even the most remarkable aspect of her case.
Instead, the ruling captured the attention of other judges and legal scholars
because of a judge’s bluntly worded written opinion that rebuked the widely adopted
hardship standard used to determine whether a debtor is worthy of a discharge.

The judge, Jim D. Pappas, in his concurring opinion for the bankruptcy
appellate panel decision in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit,
said the analysis used “to determine the existence of an undue hardship is too
narrow, no longer reflects reality and should be revised.”

He added: “It would seem that in this new, different environment, in
determining whether repayment of a student loan constitutes an undue hardship, a
bankruptcy court should be afforded flexibility to consider all relevant facts about
the debtor and the subject loans.” But the current standard, he wrote, “does not
allow it.”

Judge Pappas isn’t the only critic. Although plenty of cases still hew closely to a
strict interpretation of the test, some judges and courts have signaled in recent years
that they believe the rigid standard — known as the Brunner test — should be
reconsidered, even if they are still bound to it now.

“The world has changed,” said Michael B. Kaplan, a federal bankruptcy judge for
the District of New Jersey, who criticized the standard in an opinion article.
“Certainly, the costs of education and the level of student loan indebtedness has
exploded.”

Because the bankruptcy code never defined “undue hardship,” the courts
needed to develop their own definition. Most courts adopted the Brunner test, which
originated from a precedent-setting ruling in 1987, in which a woman named Marie
Brunner filed for a discharge of her debt less than a year after she completed a
master’s degree.

To stop debtors from trying to prematurely cancel their debts, the case laid out a
three-pronged test: Individuals must prove they made a good-faith effort to pay the
loan by finding work and minimizing their expenses. Debtors must also show they
could not maintain a minimal standard of living based on their income and expenses
if they had to repay the debt.

But then, in arguably the most challenging prong, the court must consider
whether that situation is likely to persist for a significant part of the repayment
period — which essentially requires the judge to predict the debtor’s future, ensuring
what some courts have described as a “certainty of hopelessness.”

“How do you prove things won’t change for the better in the future?” said Daniel
A. Austin, associate professor at Northeastern University School of Law.

Bankruptcy scholars and judges said the test made sense at the time it was
adopted because even if debtors could not pass the test, their debts — which were far
more modest then — would automatically be discharged in bankruptcy five years
after their repayment period started.

But the legal landscape has changed substantially since then. Before 1977,
student loans could be discharged in bankruptcy alongside other debts like credit
card balances. Congress toughened the law in 1976, adding the five-year period, and
again in 1990, when the waiting period was extended to seven years.

In 1998, the waiting period was eliminated. So now, all debtors must prove
undue hardship to erase their student debts. (In 2005, Congress added private
student loans to the mix of federal education debt that could not be discharged, even
though the loans are not backed by the government.)

“You can see why courts would have developed a harsh standard in those cases
where consumers had sought discharge of loans soon after they came due, without
waiting five or seven years,” said John Rao, a lawyer with the National Consumer
Law Center. “But it is kind of ridiculous to be applying the same standard now when
there is no longer a right to an automatic discharge.”

Another noteworthy case, also from 2013, involved a “destitute” paralegal
named Susan Krieger, then about 53, who lived in a rural area of Illinois with her
mother, according to court documents. Ms. Krieger received a bachelor’s degree in
legal studies and a paralegal certificate, graduating when she was 43. But after a
decade-long search, she couldn’t find a job.

The Educational Credit Management Corporation, the guaranty agency hired to
battle student debtors in court, argued that Ms. Krieger should enroll in an
income-based repayment program, even though she probably wouldn’t end up
paying anything. Ms. Krieger’s remaining balance of about $25,000 was eventually
discharged.

But it was the written opinion of a well-regarded judge in the Krieger case,
questioning the application of the Brunner test, that has been repeatedly cited by
other judges. In the ruling, Frank H. Easterbrook, then chief judge for the United
States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, seemed to signal that requiring
debtors to prove their futures were “hopeless” was taking the undue hardship
standard too far.

He wrote that it was important not to allow “judicial glosses,” like the language
in the Brunner case, “to supersede the statute itself.”

Rafael I. Pardo, a bankruptcy law professor at Emory Law, said Judge
Easterbrook’s opinion was a reminder to other courts that carried a lot of weight. “If
this highly respected, highly cerebral conservative judge is saying this, that is a big
deal,” he added. “It is a clarion call that some judges should be more forgiving when
applying the law.”

Judge Easterbrook and Judge Pappas weren’t the first to criticize the Brunner
standard. That distinction may belong to Judge James B. Haines Jr., who spent 25
years as federal bankruptcy judge in Maine before retiring in 2013. In an opinion in
2000, he said that some courts reach too far in trying to define undue hardship.

He said he never felt shackled by Brunner’s three-prong test because the higher
court in his jurisdiction never adopted that standard, leaving him free to consider
another standard, whereby judges can consider the “totality of the circumstances.”

“Throughout my time on the bench, I heard many student loan cases,” said
Judge Haines, now a professor at Maine University School of Law. “The totality of
the circumstances test gave me sufficient structure, with a fair ability to balance all
pertinent facts.”

Many of those facts have become more dire over the last decade. Among debtors
filing for bankruptcy with student loans, the average amount of student debt has
doubled to nearly $31,000 in 2014 from $15,350 in 2005, according to an analysis by
Professor Austin of Northeastern. But perhaps more important, student loans as a
percentage of the filer’s annual gross income have also increased substantially. In
2014, 16 percent of all bankruptcy filers had student loans that totaled more than 50
percent of their annual income, compared with 5.4 percent in 2005.

This year, President Obama instructed several governmental agencies to review,
by Oct. 1, whether the treatment of student loans in bankruptcy should be altered.
Congress could tweak the bankruptcy code, perhaps reinstating a waiting period
before debts can be canceled. Judge Kaplan, in New Jersey, said perhaps 10 or 15
years was the right number. Otherwise, the existing hardship standard could be
overridden if a circuit court hears a case en banc, meaning all of the judges in a
circuit decide together.

All of those are long shots, for the time being. A larger part of the problem is
that only a tiny percentage of debtors attempt to discharge their student loans in
bankruptcy, perhaps because of the perception that it isn’t possible or is too hard.

But debtors’ best chance at having their student loans wiped away may simply
be to try.

© 2015 The New York Times Company.  All rights reserved.


3 years 2 months ago

Does your debt make you feel stuck in a bad place in your life?
You can’t get ahead, no matter what you try.
You pour everything you’ve got into worrying about the bills, so there’s no energy left to put into making the other parts of your life better.
You can’t focus at work so you underperform, which hinders your chances at raises and promotions.
Seeing friends and family members is just another opportunity to be reminded of how well they’re doing, and how poorly your life is turning out.
One thing you know is this – you’re stuck in a bad place. And you need to figure a way out of it of it’s just going to get worse.
If this sounds like your world, you should consider starting over … from the beginning.
A Second Chance To Get It Right
Nothing is perfect the first time.
Whether it’s a bestselling book, a painting, a movie, or your life … expecting it to be perfect is unreasonable.
In spite of the fact that we’re all human (and, therefore, imperfect), we never want to start over once we’ve put effort into doing something. It feels like giving up, and we’re wired to avoid that scenario.
But sometimes the only way to get a better result is to scrap everything and start over.
You’re in so much debt there’s no way you can ever pay it off. Or the house is headed towards foreclosure. Or the creditor sued you and got a judgment, so the wage garnishment will put you over the edge financially.
None of these situations are fun. But if you’ve ever been there then you know it’s easier to get things right if you start over.
You’ve got the benefit of knowing what doesn’t work so you can avoid it next time around. With that knowledge you can make better choices from the beginning.
Often, getting a fresh financial start produces better results and, ultimately, makes you wealthier in the process.
6 Reasons to Look Forward To a Fresh Start

  1. Adjust Your Expectations: The second version usually turns out better than the first. A fresh start lets you take a second look at your financial goals and decide what’s really important to you.
  2. Get Your Mojo Back: If you are stuck in a debt rut, a fresh start gives you a break so you can recharge your batteries and get energy. They energy will help you think about new ways to manage your finances and break the cycle of old, bad habits.
  3. Get on the Right Path: It’s easy to keep making the same mistakes when you’re drowning in debt because you’re too busy struggling to keep your head above water. A fresh start gives you the chance to get out of the way of the rising tide, catch your breath, and correct your course. You’ll also have a chance to account for changes in your financial position that arose before you got into debt.
  4. Get Some New Ideas: When you’re trying to deal with your debts there’s no time to think of new ideas. Now that you have time to stop and regroup you can start gathering new ideas for ways to handle your personal finances. Take the time to read new books and reputable websites about personal finances so you can have a good handle on the basics.
  5. Practice: If you’re like most people, you didn’t get an education in managing your money. That’s why you can look at your money mistakes as a learning experience, and practice for a better result next time.
  6. Gain New Perspective: The only way to get a fresh start is to go back to the starting line. Ditch all of your old habits and to allow you to take a different approach to managing your finances. This new perspective may be just the thing to help you figure out how to make the most of your money this time around.

When It’s Time for a Fresh Start, Don’t Delay
When you’re in over your head with no clear way out, a fresh start can be the answer to making your life a better one.
But in order for it to work, you’ve got to take action. Things won’t get better until you start to move forward.
Talk with a lawyer about your financial issues and learn all your options. Learn about bankruptcy, debt settlement, credit counseling and everything else you can do to get out of debt quickly and as painlessly as possible.
Map out the pros and cons of each choice, then move in the right direction.

The post Why a Fresh Financial Start Makes Sense appeared first on Bankruptcy and Student Loan Lawyers - 866.787.8078.


3 years 2 months ago

Each state has a laws that govern real property (land, house, etc) rights and duties.  These laws include how secured interests (mortgages) are perfected, foreclosures completed or the rights of various parties as to the land.  Sometimes it is confusing for lenders or property owners what laws govern.   Arizona is no different.  Once a loan is placed on real property and recorded that loan established a priority position (a place in line as to rights over other loans or liens).  That loan stays attached until either the debt is paid or a court enters a judgment removing the loan as a lien on the real property.
Maze with handCan a lender just lay in wait for the real property to appreciate in value and then foreclose?  Trying to understand this can leave you feeling as though you are lost in a maze.  The answer is “perhaps” because it depends on the laws governing waiting to collect a debt.  These laws are called “statutes of limitation”.  Arizona has a six year statute of limitation to collect on a contract (presumably that applies to deeds of trust or mortgages).
12-548. Contract in writing for debt; six year limitation; choice of law
A. An action for debt shall be commenced and prosecuted within six years after the cause of action accrues, and not afterward, if the indebtedness is evidenced by or founded on either of the following:
1. A contract in writing that is executed in this state.
Also, the foreclosure statutes limit the ability to start a foreclosure after the statute of limitations runs.
33-816. Limitation on action or sale of trust property
The trustee’s sale of trust property under a trust deed shall be made, or any action to foreclose a trust deed as provided by law for the foreclosure of mortgages on real property shall be commenced, within the period prescribed by law for the commencement of an action on the contract secured by the trust deed.
What happens to the recorded lien?  It stays on the public record and some title companies will demand the borrower pay the debt as part of selling the property.  The borrower can use another law to remove the old debt.
ARS 12-1104  Allegation of lien or interest claimed by adverse party; jurisdiction of court to enter decree
A. In an action to quiet title to real property, if the complaint sets forth that any person or the state has or claims an interest in or a lien upon the property, and that the interest or lien or the remedy for enforcement thereof is barred by limitation, or that plaintiff would have a defense by reason of limitation to an action to enforce the interest or lien against the real property, the court shall hear evidence thereon.
B. If it is proved that the interest or lien or the remedy for enforcement thereof is barred by limitation, or that plaintiff would have a defense by reason of limitation to an action to enforce the interest or lien against the real property, the court shall have jurisdiction to enter judgment and plaintiff shall be entitled to judgment barring and forever estopping assertion of the interest or lien in or to or upon the real property adverse to plaintiff.
I expect to see thousands of junior mortgages or deed of trust that will find an astute borrower asking a court to remove that debt as a lien on the real property.  In bankruptcy we do that all the time in chapter 13 cases.
The post Can a Lender with a Mortgage Wait Too Long to Collect Their Secured Debt? appeared first on Diane L. Drain - Phoenix Bankruptcy & Foreclosure Attorney.


3 years 2 months ago

You finally found it. Your dream home. You are ready to make an offer. What should you do to make your home offer stand out above the rest? You never know how many other offers you are competing against. If you are serious, your methods need to be serious. Below are 12 tips to make your offer to purchase irresistible.
 
Lake Geneva Real Estate Lawyer Lists Tips to Make Your Home Offer Stand Out
Lake Geneva real estate lawyer home offer tips1. Make a Cash Offer. This tip is practically a given. All cash offers are normally accepted over mortgage offers. Why? The purchase is not contigent on approval of a mortgage. Therefore, there is less chance the purchase will fall through. The closing may occur faster as there may not be other requirements that take time, such as appraisals, surveys, and required inspections.
2. Obtain a Pre-Approval Letter. What’s a pre-approval letter? A pre-approval letter is a letter from a mortgage lender stating the buyer is able to obtain a loan. A pre-approval letter lets the seller know that there will be no issues obtaining a mortgage, thus decreasing the chances of the sale falling through due to mortgage issues. The bank has already stated to sellers in the letter that the buyer will be given the loan amount. A pre-approval letter also lets the seller know that a buyer is serious and has already gone through the “red tape” of acquiring a mortgage.
3. Become Pre-Qualified. Buyers should always get pre-approved for a mortgage if possible. However, if a buyer cannot get pre-approved, the next best thing is to get pre-qualified. This lets the seller know that a buyer meets the qualifications for a loan. It’s not as concrete as a pre-approval letter, but it’s better than nothing.
4. Call the Listing Agent. Your real estate agent should call the seller’s listing agent to find out more about the sellers. What is the seller looking for in an offer? Why are they selling the home? What timeframe is the seller looking for in respect to closing? Are there any offers on the home? What would be a deal breaker for the sellers? What is most important to the sellers in an offer? How flexible are the sellers in price?
5. Meet the Seller’s Timeframe. Most sellers wish to close within 30 days. Pleasing the seller with a quick closing date can seal the deal over a higher priced offer. The same can be said about a longer closing date. The sellers may need a longer timeframe until closing, such as 60 or 90 days. Meeting the closing timeframe needs of the seller could make or break a deal.
6. Make the Seller Like You. Let the seller know why you want to live in their house and neighborhood. A buyers’ story may resonate with the seller’s own personal circumstances. Maybe you are moving to be close to your grandchildren and the seller is moving for the same reason. The sharing of this personal experience may be enough for an offer to win over the rest. Buyers can provide personal information to the seller through a letter with photographs or a video. Sometimes, just expressing how much you will take the best care of a seller’s home is enough. People have emotional attachments to their homes. You need to be creative and be personal. Don’t underestimate this tactic. If other offers have been presented with buyer letters and one did not, guess whose offer is most likely getting rejected.
7. Put the Best Offer Forward. Be sure to submit the best competitive offer first. Buyers can gamble, but they’re gambling with the chances that the sellers will say, “no.”
8. Submit Non-contingent Offers. Many home offers are contingent upon numerous circumstances, such as: mortgage approval, appraisal, inspections, sale of current home, etc. If buyers can avoid contingencies, although not always recommended, their offer can stand out above the rest. This could mean paying cash and purchasing the home no matter the outcome of an inspection or appraisal. This gamble could pay off, but make sure the conditions are perfect. You could end up paying the difference between the appraisal price and the offer price out of your own pocket. You could also end up living in a “money pit.” It’s not always advisable to forego a home inspection.
As an alternative solution, buyers have the option of paying for an inspection and appraisal before submitting an offer. This is a risk, but it could work. Another option is to add an “as is” inspection contingency. This means a buyer can have an inspection performed, but the buyer will not ask the seller to pay for or perform any repairs before purchase. If any issues are found during the inspection, the buyer has the option to purchase the home “as is.”.
9. Don’t Submit a “Messy” Offer. Don’t ask for all the furniture and the boat in the yard, too. It would be great to keep all the patio furniture and have all the carpet stains removed, but are those deal breakers? Don’t ask the sellers to pay for all fees. Instead, offer to pay or split fees with the seller. Don’t ask to extend the closing date. Buyers should keep inline with seller’s timeframe. Keep it simple. Sellers have so much to worry about already. Too many conditions and nitpicks could cost buyers the home of their dreams.
10. Add an Escalation Clause. An escalation clause increases the purchase price of a home offer based upon another higher offer submitted during the review period. When a buyer submits a home offer to a seller, the seller has 48 hours to respond to the offer. If a higher offer is received during this timeframe, the escalation clause could make all the difference, especially if the buyer’s other details, contingencies and timeframe, are more inline with the seller’s needs. The escalation clause needs to include the price increment, the maximum price buyers are willing to pay for the home, and proof of the highest offer received. An example of an escalation clause is: “Purchase price to be increased by increments of $2,500 above any additonal offers received up to $450,000. Buyer’s purchase price increase is contingent upon receipt of a copy of highest offer submitted to seller.”
11. Double Your Earnest Money. A deposit, or earnest money, lets a seller know how serious of a buyer you are. Consider doubling the customary amount.
12. Offer Asking Price or Above. This is another simple, but realistic tip. If you match the sellers’ asking price or submit an offer above asking price, you are more likely to have your offer considered by the sellers. Obviously, only submit offers above and beyond asking price when the offer price is inline with market values. Buyers should submit a reasonable offer, yet still be aggressive with their offer price. Let’s face it, price is the most important factor to a home seller in most cases.
Standing out in a bidding war over the perfect home isn’t rocket science. A buyer’s best ally is an experienced real estate agent and skilled real estate lawyer. Getting solid, knowledgeable advice from real estate agents can be challenging for buyers. Buying and selling a home is an extremely emotional process.
 
Contact Our Lake Geneva Real Estate Lawyer
Wynn at Law, LLC is here to help with all your real estate needs. If you have any questions during the home buying or home selling process, please feel free to contact our real estate law office. If you are a real estate agent who needs real estate law assistance, Wynn at Law is here to help you, too. Real estate buyers, sellers, and agents can reach our Lake Geneva real estate law office by phone at 262-725-0175 or by email via “>our website’s contact page. Wynn at Law has real estate law offices conveniently located in Salem, Muskego, Delavan, and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
 
Lake Geneva real estate attorney
 
 
*The content and material on this web page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
 

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3 years 2 months ago

Here’s the Alexandria VA Bankruptcy Hearing Room and Alexandria VA Bankruptcy Courthouse. Most people who file bankruptcy never go to the courthouse and never see the actual bankruptcy judge.  Bankruptcy initial hearings (called “the meeting of creditors”)are at 115 S Union Street. Complicated cases end up here, at the Bankruptcy Courthouse, in front of the […]The post Alexandria Bankruptcy Court at 200 S Washington Street by Robert Weed appeared first on Robert Weed.


3 years 2 months ago

Here’s the Alexandria VA Bankruptcy Hearing Room and Alexandria Bankruptcy Courthouse. Most people who file bankruptcy never go to the courthouse.  Most people never see the actual bankruptcy judge.  Bankruptcy initial hearings (called “the meeting of creditors”)are at 115 S Union Street. Complicated cases end up here, at the Alexandria Bankruptcy Courthouse, in front  of […]The post Alexandria Bankruptcy Courthouse at 200 S Washington Street by Robert Weed appeared first on Robert Weed.


3 years 2 months ago

President Obama announced that he’d like to see tuition-free community colleges. Senator Bernie Sanders, candidate for President, went so far as to introduce a bill that would eliminate undergraduate tuition altogether at all 4-year public colleges and universities.
Both are enticing ideas, especially if you’re thinking of getting your degree. No tuition and no student loans means less of a financial burden once you graduate.
It remains to be seen whether such grand overhauls to our higher education system will ever come to pass, but in the meantime there are a few places where you can get your education without shelling out big bucks. The benefit comes with a cost, though.
Tennessee Promise Offers Tuition-Free Community and Technical Colleges
In February 2014, Tennessee started offering offer a free community or technical college education to select students through Tennessee Promise.
Tennessee Promise is structured as a scholarship and mentoring program providing what’s called a “last-dollar scholarship” that covers tuition and fees not covered by the Pell grant, the HOPE scholarship, or state student assistance funds.
Students may use the scholarship at any of the state’s 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology, or other eligible institution offering an associate’s degree program.
In order to remain eligible for the program, students must participate in mandatory meetings with a mentor, complete eight hours of community service per term enrolled, and maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average at their institution.
Learn more here about Tennessee Promise here.
Oregon Promise Follows The Lead
Oregon Promise is also a last-dollar plan, passed by the state legislature on July 3, 2015 and (as of this writing) slated for signature by Governor Kate Brown. Eligible students also will receive a minimum grant of $1,000, which they can use for transportation, books and other expenses besides tuition.
According to the Willamette Week:

The recipients must have lived in Oregon for 12 months, begin their community college course work within six months of finishing high school or the equivalent, take courses that are required for graduation and maintain a 2.5 grade point average. (And it’s not entirely free—each student must pay a minimum of $50 per term.)

The program is expected to roll out in 2016, with expenditures capped at $10 million per year. Legislative estimates put the expected enrollment at between 10,000 and 12,000.
The Hits Keep Coming
Around the country, more places are starting to look at the tuition-free option.
The Community College of Philadelphia and Harper College, a two-year institution located in Illinois, recently announced tuition-free plans.
City Colleges of Chicago created a tuition-free plan in 2014. Minnesota began a pilot program for free technical college as well.
These initiatives are meant not only to help people get an education, but also to boost enrollment at a time when schools are cutting back on programs or threatening to close altogether. By relying on state and federal money, these colleges see a way to make the economics work to keep them alive.
What’s Next?
As President Obama prepares to wind down his time in office, chances are that he’ll continue to advocate for his plan. House Democrats have introduced a bill based on Obama’s proposal, though given the current makeup of Congress it’s unlikely that it will go anywhere.
More likely is that we start to see tuition-free colleges the state level and at individual institutions. And I’m not sure this is a bad idea, particularly as it allows for failure or success on a small scale. Once a model of success is replicated in a variety of environments it will be easier to see how well it would work on a national level.
For now, it’s important to keep our eyes open to the change that’s in the air and encourage our lawmakers to continue to take positive action.

The post Tuition-Free College Movement Gaining Ground appeared first on Bankruptcy and Student Loan Lawyers - 866.787.8078.


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