How A Private Company Stacked The Deck Against Student Loan Debtors.

After two decades of work, the company tasked with collecting payments on government-financed student loans from borrowers who declare bankruptcy has helped create a system that treats student debt far more harshly than other borrowing. The company’s zeal for the task has led it to hound cancer survivors and other unfortunate, hard-working souls, and has reshaped the relationship between student loans and bankruptcy lawin ways that exacerbate the country’s trillion-dollar student loan problem.

Congress created the Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) indirectly in the early 1990s when it sought to tackle the high rate of default on student debt by giving the Department of Education (DOE) “a set of unprecedented collection tools” such as garnishing wages and tax rebates, the New York Times explains. ECMC, founded in 1994, is the largest of the private companies that the DOE uses to exercise those collection tools during bankruptcy proceedings.