DEAR HARRY: I'm 24 years old and a 2013 Temple grad. I have a good job in the suburbs. When I took out my student loans, I needed a co-signer, so I got my father to sign. Last week, I received a notification from my lender that my loan was in default.
Harry, I never missed or was late in any payment, so I called to find out what was wrong. It seems that I am caught on a hook because my father died in early June. I called everyone I know who was involved in the loan, but they would not budge. It is their practice to declare a default if the co-signer dies, goes bankrupt or gets a big credit-score hit. I solved the problem easily with my mother as the new co-signer. I'm sure my own score will take a big dive when they get wind of the default. Something has to be done about this. What's your take on it?
WHAT HARRY SAYS: Wow! I was unaware of this practice until I got your email. It appears that this is not unusual. I think it stinks to high heaven. At the very least, the borrower should be given some time, say 60 or 90 days, to get a replacement co-signer. This will require Congress to act. Such legislation should sail through because it's nonpartisan. Lean on your congressperson. This is an election year, and you should get cooperation.