Skip to comments.Student must repay $350,000, court says
Posted on 07/15/2009 12:19:28 PM PDT by MplsSteve
If the bad economy has you thinking of taking on debt to go to grad school, consider the case of Mark Jesperson. The federal case.
The Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the 45-year-old Grand Marais man cannot escape more than $350,000 of student debt he piled up over more than a decade.
Jesperson had hoped to discharge the debt in bankruptcy and won the first couple rounds in court. But last week a three-judge panel reversed the lower courts' decision and said he must pay the money back.
While the dollar amount involved is unusual, experts say the latest ruling is not. It's extremely difficult to get rid of student loan debt, even through bankruptcy.
"The system's set up as such that most people -- people like myself -- cannot complete a professional degree without the help of student loans," Jesperson said. "Then, even if that profession doesn't work, even if things go wrong, there's no way out."
Jesperson has a law degree, but he's not putting it to much use these days -- except for representing himself early in his case. He works as a painter, and lives in a camper.
Struggles with alcohol brought him in and out of college; it took 11 years to complete his undergraduate degree.
He began law school at Hamline University School of Law in 1995, transferred to Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Ore., in 1997 and got his degree in 2000, according to court documents.
(Excerpt) Read more at startribune.com ...
So, is this guy a never-do-well type who's just trying to avoid paying for his mistakes or does he have a legitimate out by claiming bankruptcy?
Comments or opinions - anyone?
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Sounds like he went to rich, private schools to get his JD and wants us the court to feel sorry for him because there are already too many stinking lawyers in this country.
He's a lawyer. Make him pay double!
You said — Comments or opinions - anyone?
Ummmm..., about the only thing I can say is that I used to live a couple of miles from Lewis and Clark Law School, when I was in Lake Oswego... :-)
A student loan is an investment in your future. It’s akin to any business that takes a financial risk to achieve a later return on that investment. This clown took a risk and screwed it up via alcohol. The fact that it took 11 years to complete his undergraduate degree says a lot!
I had always thought that if you could get a law degree (and pass the bar for your state(s), I suppose) you could _always_ find _something_ to do with it, even if it wasn’t high-dollar and fancy. Help others put together legal doucments, for example.
In all those years of “higher education” the guy never reached a point where he understood the term “LOAN?”
He’s saved that $350k already in court costs. Now he can pay it back.
One more thing...
Since he is a lawyer he should be given the option of paying back the $350K loan with interest or doing society a favor via a public hanging.
It took me six years to get through undergrad. But I had the VEAP behind me and I worked through school and summers on paid internships and other jobs. When I graduated, I had little money and TWO undergraduate degreesbut NO DEBT!
There’s a reason student loans are not dischargeable: they’re presumably used to acquire knowledge and skills and the lender can’t take back. Discharge would let him escape the loans while keeping the skills.
Maybe he should have considered whether he was learning anything useful before taking out $350,000 in loans. The lenders should probably have also considered this, since they’re not about to get this loan repaid even if he’s not allowed to discharge it.
...Or teach idiots how to spell ‘documents!’
My comment and opinion: he needs to go to work and pay his debt.
Shame on him for wasting that much of our money just to become a drunk and deadbeat.
Somehow, people ARE able to do so without running up $350,000 in money they can't pay back, you pathetic carbon blob.
Now buck up, there's a lot of houses that are gonna need to be painted in order to pay back the money you owe.
An alcohol or drug problem naturally throws a monkey wrench into repayment plans and this guy should--no MUST--get into recovery and face his responsibilities.
On the other hand, if a person has a permanent disability (physical or mental--and alcoholism and drug abuse don't qualify), there is IIRC a mechanism for discharging student loans.
Unfortunate (or fortunately) for this dude, being a "neer-do-well" isn't a career option.
Yes. He racked up 350K in student loans over 11 years by living off the loans while partying.
This guy doubled down!
He never worked a day in his life until now. 11 years and $350,000 in school loans says he was taking the maximum amount to cover his living expenses. My kid just finished, went through 4 years,( all out of state btw)and has managed to accumulate all of $12000 in student loans. NO sympathy from me. AND this guy became a LAWYER, should have just taken a life insurance policy out on him and shot him to pay off the loans
tell him to sit tight because Obama has hidden provisions in his takeover of the student loan program that will forgive most of it at some future date
Thanks for your service!
It took me 4 years to get my engineering degree. i worked full time nights, and had a family. No debt, since I worked at the school. I did construction summers and weekends to pay the bills around the house. I hate debt, and aside from my mortgage, have none.
This dirtbag Needs to get to work and pay his debt.
it took 11 years to complete his undergraduate degree.
She finally had to go bankrupt but of course, the loans weren't written off. Getting that degree made her so smart that she has waitressed all but one year of the six since she got the degree. She got fired from that job and now the rocket scientist is going to get more loans and go back to school!!! I'd say she's just shy of brilliant.
I don't think they should be discharged, any degree you get is a choice.
My other DIL will be 10 years getting her degree because she went only part time so she could be a full time mother. She paid for everything until she went full-time last year and did get some scholarships and student aid. The university allows her to make payments through the semester for the balance and if she doesn't pay then she doesn't get credit for the classes she took. She will graduate debt-free.
I went to college before college loans were so prevalent. Even I know that student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.
He could have saved a lot of money by just going to painter school instead.
Student loans tend to be federally backed, as such they are next to impossible to whipe out as part of a BK, however if you don’t pay them for years, then work out a payment plan and pay for 6 months continuous, often the balance winds up being forgiven. Used to tick the hell out of my wife when she worked for PSU in their EOC department.
Not pay your loans then make 6 months of payments the balance is forgiven, play by the rules and pay for 10 or 15 years.... won’t even get into what race the majority of those who got loans forgiven were.
He’s on the hook; bankruptcy doesn’t get one out of his/her student loans. For decades, a huge percentage of students didn’t repay their loans after they graduated. Congress enacted legislation making that virtually impossible.
Unfortunately, this situation has wrecked Jesperson’s life as it has others. I know couples in their 30’s still paying off college loans higher than most mortgages.
I’m sorry Jesperson had a drinking problem that caused him to take 11 years to get his undergraduate degree .. the story doesn’t say where or how much of the $350K is for his undergraduate degree. But by that time he did earn it, he was close to 30. Instead of going to law school (normally a 3 year program that took him 5), he might have worked a few years, built up a resume, saved a few dollars and then gone to law school. Maybe gone to law school while working. There are ways to do it without accruing $350K in debt and he should have looked into those.
That being said, it is atrocious that the system now is set up that way too many people have to put themselves into hock to get degrees that aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.
Unless a student is given grants adequate to his/her tuition and other costs, the smartest course all around would be to get an associates degree at a local community college, then transfer to a state 4 year college for a bachelors. If you mess up at the community college, you can correct your errors (mature) without much debt.
Good tip on paying for 6 months. But a better tip is to save for your kids colleges. Dave Ramsey says only 3% of Americans do.
We did, and none of our three kids had any college debts and neither do we!
Financial Guru Dave Ramsey Rocks: href="http://daveramsey.com
That is a huge amount of debt to pile up. The man is an alcoholic. He saw a way to live off students loans for years, then, because he was unsuited for law practice, he thinks he can force others to pick up the tab.
I’m glad the court slapped him down.
“Discharge would let him escape the loans while keeping the skills.”
Maybe they could cut out his tongue.
My son is in Seminary (after completeing his BA in Music) and my daughter has a Criminal Justice degree with a minor in Chinese language (4.0 for 4 semesters, earning her a scholarship from the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Music Society). Currently she is working on para-legal studies and getting a certificate in Photography so she can be a forensic photographer.
They went to a local college and lived at home. We paid tuition. They worked part-time for gas and clothes, etc. Between them there is not one cent in student loans or debt for Mom and Dad.
A student loan is an investment in your future. Its akin to any business that takes a financial risk to achieve a later return on that investment. This clown took a risk and screwed it up via alcohol. The fact that it took 11 years to complete his undergraduate degree says a lot! One of the reason bankruptcy exists is to allow entrepreneurs that honestly fail(i.e. don't commit fraud by taking the money and running) to make a new start. If you major in buggy whip manufacture and somebody builds a car the minute you graduate, there's a reasonable *capitalist* case for bankruptcy discharging the debt(i.e. you made a business investment in yourself that failed).
From a moral perspective you can make arguments about being a deadbeat, but morality and capitalist efficiency are two different issues.
Ding ding ding...We have a winner. This guy was probably taking out cost of living as well as tuition.
Why isn’t the loan system set up to be truly “free-market”, with investors investing in students likely to succeed and pay the money back, with grades reported to the “student loan bureau”. Seems to me, this would reward smart or at least hard working students who have chosen a field in which they are likely to succeed. It would also punish the lazy, those trying to get a 100K loan for a journalism degree, or those with unreasonable expectations -for example, although I’m sure I could cut the grades, no matter how hard I would try, I couldn’t be a doctor. I don’t like “icky stuff”, and I’m not a big fan of people, either.
This would fix a LOT of problems all at once.
It would also piss off a lot of people at once. Good.
“...I suppose) you could _always_ find _something_ to do with it...”
He can work for ACORN.
I work full time and go to school full time. I’m currently trying to cram four years of undergraduate into five.
Guy should gave gotten his alcohol problem straightened out before struggling to complete college. Something tells me he kept withdrawing from class and not reimbursed.
Post Script. Might sound foolish, but I’m paying for it all out of pocket. It keeps me from taking anything for granted.
Grand Marais is on the North Shore of Minnesota - right on Lake Superior. It's a great place to live - if you can handle the mind-numbing (physically and mentally) leftist residents.
Sounds like painter boy is gonna be living in his camper for a little while longer.
This slimeball leach of a freaking freeloading lawyer, epitomizes exactly what is wrong with far too many Americans.
Stupid, irresponsible and unproductive.
Hell - the best education I got was paid for by the taxpayers and was learned while trying to stay alive for nearly 13 months in the jungles and mountains of Vietnam — while at the same time killing little brown Communists my government wanted dead.
The ONLY reason we wanted them dead, it seemed to be the best way for us to stay alive.
God bless you.
Your education is not over, however, whether you want to pay $350,000 for it or $100 a credit for it. Or even scouring college databases in your spare time for nothing (It’s what Al Gore invented the internet for.)
However, you may be correct in saying the survival skills you picked up in Vietnam are the best of your life lessons. I’ll give it a few years (and so will Al Gore, for completely different reasons) for you to be able to utilize them again.
Until then, cheers! (responsibly, of course.)
Wonder if Dave would allow a "Debt Free" Scream regarding your Sons College. He is debt free from it and so are you. My bet is that Dave would compliment it highly! http://daveramsey.com
Hope it goes the same with your Daughter.
Clark Howard just quoted someone that Heavy debt is a uniquely American thing. Folks here will do 150K debt for a 30K/year carreer. It's Nuts!
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