Rutgers Student Dies But His Student Loan Lives On

From the HuffPost:

When Christopher Bryski, a Rutgers University undergraduate student, died from a traumatic brain injury in 2006, his family wasn’t thinking about his student loans. That is, not until KeyBank, a Cleveland-based institution with nearly $90 billion in assets, asked his parents to assume responsibility for his debt.

Last week Bryski’s older brother Ryan launched an online petition in an attempt to pressure KeyBank into forgiving the debt. By Wednesday afternoon, the site had attracted more than 78,000 signatures.

“When Christopher died, my family didn’t just lose a loved one — we inherited debt for an education that will never be used,” wrote Ryan Bryski on the petition titled “Key Bank: Stop forcing my family to pay my dead brother’s student loans.”

Christopher owed KeyBank roughly $50,000 upon his death, Ryan told The Huffington Post. “Since Christopher’s death in 2006, we’ve paid several hundred dollars a month,” said Ryan, declining to provide the specific amount owed. The family is now in negotiations with KeyBank.

The federal government cancelled its $5,000 loan to Christopher, according to the Wall Street Journal, in accordance with federal policy. But Christopher’s private lender, KeyBank, happens to be one of many private institutions without a clear policy about canceling the student loan debt of a deceased individual.


    1. I’m picturing more of a French Revolution type uprising. Not that it would be rational or right, but people can only be pushed so far down before they snap. Just as poverty breeds crime, social inequality can foment a similar reaction. How long can a populace continue to bleed serving the needs of the super rich before they reach the breaking point? Do the One Percent really want to find out?

      1. “Après moi le déluge,” I guess. They don’t care what they do to their country or the earth, as long as they won’t be around to reap what they sow.

  1. I’d think whatever is in his student loan contract would clear it up, but apparently this is a grey area. Maybe it’s because the family received the deceased’s estate, they have to accept the deceased’s debts too. Otherwise, why would his family bear any responsibility for another adult’s loan at all (family member or not) unless they were co-signers on his loan?
    But if they were co-signers, as shitty as it sounds on the surface, it makes sense. Despite that he received an education that will never be used, that’s not what the loan was for. The loan was for the teachers that still did their jobs and got paid. His living costs, text books, etc. were still paid for, all through his loan. It’s money that’s already been spent. What if he died a month after graduation? What about ten years later? At what point is it wrong for the bank to want to be repaid?
    I’m not saying I’m siding with the bank, but whomever is now responsible for the loan shouldn’t be completely free of responsibility either. At least the family has been making payments since 2006.
    Hopefully the family and the bank will reach an agreement that satisfies everyone – maybe waive the interest or something.

    1. I don’t think it should be abnormal to think that it is an absurd that the government have not created regulation over student credit so that the financial agencies are obliged to secure themselves against the death of the debtor. That could create the environment where the prohibition over transfering the student loans of deceased people to their families could be universal, without hurting the institutions providing education and even the ones providing the loans.

      (A trivial argument against these actions – that is often proposed through a long snout – is that which claims that it would rise the cost of tuition. Well, the tuition in the U.S. is already sky high, and the cause is not that the market is overly regulated, but the opposite. If we want to see education treated like a human asset, not a profit machine, we have to get over this nonsense.)

      The fact that the law can be on the side of the banks this time tells us even more about the injustice of such laws and the necessity of counter fighting the political power of the banks. Anything absurd you can ever imagine was law sometime, somewhere (slavery, property of women, segregation in access to education, you name it) and that doesn’t make it right.

      tl;dr Even if the bank is right, that makes the case even wronger.

  2. The parents were co-signers, that means they were as responsible to pay the debt as the unfortunately deceased. However, I am happy to see the lender forgive the loan.

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