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Disabled Former Cop in Student Loan Story Gets Her Debt Forgiven

by Sasha Chavkin, ProPublica

The Department of Education has finally forgiven the student debt of disabled former police officer Tina Brooks–who we featured in our Feb. 13 story [1] about the government’s broken program for forgiving the federal student loans of borrowers who become seriously disabled.

Brooks, who fractured her spine when she fell 15 feet down a steep rock quarry while training for bicycle patrol, had spent six years battling to persuade the Education Department that she was too disabled to work again. The department had repeatedly denied her applications for loan forgiveness, and more than $4,000 in interest had accrued on her debt, even though Social Security had found that she was fully disabled in 2006. (See our Interactive Timeline [2] showing Brooks’ struggles to cancel her loans.)

“I feel like this giant weight has been taken off my shoulders,” Brooks said. “Six years of filling out the forms and hoping it was the right thing and cringing every time I would hear I needed more information and had to go crawling back to my doctor.”

Our investigation–a joint effort with the Center for Public Integrity and the Chronicle of Higher Education [3]–found that although borrowers who develop severe and lasting disabilities are legally entitled to get federal student loans forgiven, the process for deciding who is eligible is dysfunctional, opaque and duplicates similar reviews conducted by other federal agencies. Many borrowers have been denied for unclear reasons, and many others have simply given up.

Following our story, the Education Department pledged to overhaul [4] the program and said it will propose new regulations this summer to make the system work better for disabled borrowers.

For Brooks, the approval of her loan discharge application comes just before the deferments she had received for economic hardship were scheduled to run out. She said she didn’t know how she would have paid the $47,500 that she owed on her loans and had been preparing for another struggle with Education Department bureaucracy when she found out last weekend that her debt had been forgiven.

“No more fighting. No more battling that windmill,” Brooks said. “I am so relieved.”


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    DIFC | Dubai International Financial Centre
    Level 14, The Gate
    P.O. Box 74777, Dubai, UAE

    Greetings From Ahmad Humaid Al Tayer,
     
    Join our principle office, DIFC which is a financial service centre, whose main focus is to create the right regulatory and legal framework for the financial service firms to operate within our jurisdiction in order to assure the development of a sound financial centre with the highest national standard of best business practices.
     
    Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) is the largest Finance Centre in the Middle East.
    With over £5 trillion private and corporate investment portfolios In this regard, we offer guidance to financial institutions that would like to set up an office or fully register with the DIFC and know more about the region.
     
    Also involved in the referral business, promoting financial service institutions, and providing finances, loans, sponsorship, joint venture or procuring investments projects that have not been initiated With over £5 trillion private and corporate investment portfolios.
     
    currently have a back-log of an Excess Maximum Return Capital Profit (EMRCP) of an average of 1.2% on each private investment and corporate portfolio under our administration and control now to put it under the management of private businessmen and corporations with good business ideas that can generate at least 10% ROI per annum over maximum of 5 years duration.
     
    The fund will be disbursed based on a clear loan of 4.5% interest rate per annum for 5 years renewable tenure of a sum totaling $500,000,000.00 American Dollars. All sign-up contracts, briefings and investment portfolio management files will be handled in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
     
    If you want to participate do indicate the part which you choose to participate, – Want to be an Agent/Broker? – Do you need a Loan? – Partnership/Incorporation?
    For further details contact me directly for more information.
     
    Regards,
     
    From: Ahmad Humaid Al Tayer  
    Chairman/Director (DIFC) Dubai International Financial Center.
    [email protected]
    Website: http://www.difc.aem
     

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