I am a USA national — studied 4 years at the University of Edinburgh in the UK, finished my degree in 2008. I currently owe the university about $20,000 (9000 pounds or something thereabouts). I made so many financial mistakes before I turned 22, and in total I’m over $50,000 in debt. I have control over the remaining $30,000, and would like to get control over this one. The University has passed me along to a debt collector who told me without a substantial payment my degree will be disqualified.
It has been SO difficult to find employment. I’ve not been picky — I looked for service positions, everything. I’ve finally begun to build a career — I had to create volunteer positions for myself before anyone would take my resume seriously. I’m now an adjunct professor of Literature and composition — which I supplement by working as a tour guide in my town. I need my degree to proceed — if I’m ever to have a chance of paying them back, but I don’t see how I will be able to do so in the next five years, unless I can work out some sort of low monthly payment, like with my other loans.
I don’t know what to do. It’s so confusing — particularly because no one seems to know what to do with a broke international student. I have no money, no one I know has any money. I would pay this back in trade if I could! Do you think I can pay this back in trade? You know, I even asked the debt collector how I might find the money to pay this back. Presumeably he has considerable experience with this sort of thing, and could therefore offer a suggestion. He hadn’t any advice. He seemed a little dumbstruck. I don’t want to avoid it — but I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know what questions to ask.
How on earth am I going to pay the University of Edinburgh (or, more accurately, the debt collector that they’ve hired) the $20,000 that I owe them while I am here in the United States, making $1,500/month and half of which goes to other debts and the other half allows me to survive?
I can understand your confusion, and the confusion that those that deal with student debt here in the UK may have. You have a unique issue to deal with, not that makes it any easier to handle. Scottish law is somewhat different than English/Welsh law, and this is the same for debts and student loans.
Have you sought legal advice?
I am assuming you are now living in the US, is that correct? And that the debt/student loans have been sold onto a US debt collector?
Were they actual student loans, or just loans from a bank? Who is collecting the loans there in the states? ( I ask this to try and determine the full extent of their collection authorities there in the states)
Worst case scenario is you cannot discharge the loans in any form of insolvency, meaning bankruptcy, but you may need to discharge your other debts in bankruptcy to be able to pay these loans. What other debts do you have?
There also is an ancillary proceeding of bankruptcy in the states, but as to if you can include Scottish student loans, I would initially say no you cannot not, but speaking to an attorney may be advisable.
Get back to me and also let me know exactly what ‘threats’ and what the collector is saving they will do if you do not pay.
Jon Emge is an experienced UK debt advisor who has helped thousands and thousands of people in the UK to deal with problem debt. Jon specialises in finding good solutions for problem debt using a variety of UK specific techniques.
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