How Can I Deal With My Wells Fargo Private Student Loans for My Caribbean Medical School


Dear Steve,

I really need some help. Every lawyer I reach is looking for a consult fee and I am not sure if there is a solution for me and at this time just cannot afford the $500 consult fee. I am happy to pay if I know there is a solution and this person can help but I don’t want to be out the money for no reason.

I am a Canadian citizen who went to Medical school in the Caribbean with a school affiliated in the USA. Xavier Medical School. This school then had a residence program in Atlanta. After I wrote my med exams I was unable to get residency. I have tried everything and now have an enormous student debt in the USA and working an hourly job in Toronto to pay it off. My student loan was issued by Wells Fargo. Prior to going to med school I was in University in Toronto and took an OSAP (government issued) student loan to pay for my undergraduate degree. Now I have a $200K USD in loans and I make minimum wage in Toronto. I pay $3000 a month in loan bills (combination of the USA loan and OSAP loan) and just drowning in debt that just doesn’t seem to go down.

Do you have any suggestions or recommendations of how I can get some relief? My Wells Fargo loan was co-signed by my uncle who resides in the USA so I cannot default on any payments. Given that I did not get into my field would the bank or the government consider writing off some of my debt? Should I try to get a loan in Canada to pay for that debt (however, I don’t have any assets so I am not sure how I would get a line of credit in that large amount). What can I do? Or how can I bring the interest down? Any help would be greatly appreciated.



Dear Sarah,

Finding the right student loan attorney is so important and the right one is well worth the consult expense. This is a new field for most so here is my list of student loan attorneys I know.

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These Caribbean medical school loans are problematic. Not all are protected in bankruptcy and can be discharged. Take a look at this and this.

To see if the medical school you attended was approved by the Department of Education you should check these lists for the years you attended and see if your school is on the list. If it is not on the list then that’s another sign the loans may not be protected in a bankruptcy proceeding.

However, you have two complications.

1. You are not living in the U.S. anymore and may not be eligible to file a U.S. based bankruptcy. If you have no bank account in the U.S., earn U.S. income, or have property in the U.S. and have been out of the country for more than 180 days then it can be tricky.

2. You are going to have to coordinate all of this with your uncle. Even if you discharge your liability for the loans, the co-signer is still 100 percent on the hook for the loan.

Do You Have a Question You'd Like Help With? Contact Debt Coach Damon Day. Click here to reach Damon.

Since you live in Canada, if you just defaulted on the debt it is possible you could be sued in the U.S. over the debt, lose, and have a judgment against you. You could then be chased for the judgment in Canada by a Canadian based collection company.

According to Scott Hannah from Credit Counseling Society “It’s common that creditors based in the U.S. will actively pursue their customers when they re-locate to Canada. Typically they will utilize collection agencies in the U.S. who are registered to operate in Canada or Canadian-based collection agencies and/or law firms that specialize in collections to enforce payment if the creditor has been unsuccessful in obtaining a repayment commitment from their customer. Our courts do recognize U.S. judgments and will allow a U.S. creditor with a judgment obtained in the U.S. to apply to the courts and register the judgement in Canada enabling them to enforce payment through legal means.”

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Scott also suggested the firm of Bennett & Company in Toronto is very experienced in technical bankruptcy matters and would be worth contacting as well.

If this private student loan is unaffordable I would suggest that while there is no easy solution, there is a solution here. My advice would be that you should contact my friend Damon Day and setup a consultation with yourself and the co-signer to talk through a strategy that may even include a strategic default and settlement of the debt.

Alternatively if the school was not recognized by the Department of Education at the time you attended then you might want to establish some form of asset or bank deposit in the U.S. to meet the residency requirement and discharge the student loan in bankruptcy. Your co-signer would have to be on the same page with you if they go after them.

If you do decide to go the residency route to file bankruptcy on a non-protected student loan you might want to find an experienced student loan attorney right here and coordinate your plan with them.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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