Despite Crippling Student Loan Debt, Government Rarely Sues to Recover Defaulted Federal Loans
(17 May 2021) Despite student loan debt now topping $1.7 trillion dollars, the latest case-by-case court records analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University show that civil suits filed to recover federal student loan debt have become increasingly rare even before pandemic relief provided a collection moratorium.

There were no suits filed in April 2021, and only one during the first seven months of FY 2021 (October 2020-April 2021). Before the pandemic hit in FY 2019, only 261 federal civil lawsuits for student loan default recoveries were filed nationwide. However, there was an earlier period when federal loan recovery suits were more common. The number of student loan default recovery lawsuits in fact reached 4,335 during FY 2011 following the financial crisis of 2008. Since that peak in FY 2011, there has been a continuous dramatic decline.

Historically, when lawsuits for recovery of defaulted student loans were filed, they were concentrated in a relatively small number of locations across the country. Almost one out of four (22%) was filed in the Central District of California (Los Angeles). Nearly half (48%) of student loan recovery suits were filed in just three federal judicial districts. In addition to California Central, these were the Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit) and the Southern District of Texas (Houston).

Relative to the size of their population, the number of these suits filed in the Eastern District of Michigan led the nation with over six times the national average. The Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria) and the Eastern District of Texas (Tyler) were tied for last place with the smallest number of student loan recovery suits filed relative to their respective populations.

To read the full report, including the locations across the country where the most federal lawsuits were filed for recovery of defaulted student loans, read the full report at:

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