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Justice@studentloanjustice.org

 

California

The following are testimonials submitted to this site. To tell your story, please go here.

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Brit 

Q: How does the American middle class dream of affordable higher education become a nightmare?
A: Default a student loan.

Original loans=$26,000

Amount paid to date = $24,000

Current amount owing = $70,000


Synopsis:


Multiple loans as a graduate student attending Cal State Northridge. Full-time through 1993 in graduate school, no problems, just sailing along. I lost my dwelling in the '94 Earthquake, and dropped down to less than 1/2 time. I was put into default by Sallie Mae. Wrote numerous letters to CSAC & loan Co. (AFSA) that due to hardship, I'd be dropping below full-time. To no avail. Returned full-time in Fall '94 thru Sp.'95 full time, sent numerous letters (all certified mail), "sorry, but can't help." I've been fighting this since then. Have all documentation, but it's useless. Every year (thru 1997), I would ask for a dispute hearing, and was answered with either a garnishment or judgement. I Finally gave up.

Original loans $26,000, now over 70,000. Paid over 22,000 in garnish $ tax intercept, lost my scholarships (PhD), loan forgiveness programs, and chance at a fellowship. This hurts me particularly since I taught at an inner city school in Los Angeles for 5 years in the expectation that my loans would be forgiven.

I've completed 2 master's degrees since this nightmare, and work at a college (JC) as a professor/counselor. Made the mistake of contacting Scott Williams & EdFund. I offered a settlement, also, but no bite. Instead, Edfund has increased the amount of my wage garnishment, and raised my interest up to nearly 20%

I left off of the synopsis all the anguish, the embarassment, credit problems, anxiety, etc.( need I go on?)
All I want to do is pay my loans at a reasonable amount, and get back to my life.

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Janet

My story started in 1995, I was a senior at UCSD and looking forward to a bright future. My father had died when I was young and my mother struggled to support me and my four siblings so there was no money for college. But not to worry Sallie Mae was there! So I borrowed about $28,000 over four years to pay for my education.

However in my final semester in college I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Like many students I had only cateastrophic care insurance, which paid for some but not all of my medical bills. I had to drop out of school to undergo surgery, radiation and chemotherapy treatments. I applied for and received a medical deferrment on my student loans. Also, I had to give up my apartment at this time, as I was no longer able to care for myself. I filed a change of address with Sallie Mae as well as with the postal service and had my phone forwarded to my new address.

When I recovered about 12 months later I contacted Sallie Mae to begin making payments on my loans. They informed me that the loans had gone into default and were now due in full and had been returned to EdFund the California guarantor. Further, my $28,000 debt was now over $50,000 with the fees in interest they added. Although DOE regulations state that gaurantee agencies must exercise due dilligence before putting loans into default, I had received no notification from them. Not one person on my promissory notes had been contacted and no mail had been forwarded to me. It is clear now, that they had a financial incentive to put these loans into default.

I have struggled to repay this debt for nearly ten years. Originally, I hoped to have the loan rehabilitated so it would be removed from my credit report. By law after twelve consecutive payments the loans must be removed from default. So I struggled to pay $700 a month on this loan, taking on weekend work, etc. After 36 consecutive payments EdFund still refused to remove the loan from default. Letters sent to them are unanswered and phone representatives give false and misleading information. I have been lied to, abused, yelled out and the calls just keep coming. Their automated phone system calls 8-10 each day, and five times on Christmas day!

Even though I have repaid well over $25,000 on this loan it still remains in default. My credit is ruined, I am now threatened with 40% wage garnishment, so for me it is better to work "under the radar." Will I ever be able to have a normal life?

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John W (CA)

Cutting to the chase, I borrowed about $6,500 and finally repaid over $20,000.

After college I got a job as a reporter for a small daily newspaper here in California. After a couple of years of trying to survive and pay my debts with an hourly wage of $6 (first year) and $7 (second year) -- this was around 1990 -- I declared bankruptcy and defaulted on my student loans. Unfortunately, as we all know, student loans are forever, with interest eternally compounding.

It took two years to get enough financial footing to start repaying, and six more years to finally pay the last dime. A huge weight lifted off me once I paid it off, but I soon learned that the hammer could still come back down. Shortly after making my last payment I read about someone who had paid off his loan, only to have them come after him 20 years later to say that he had not repaid and was in fact deeply in debt. The moral: Once you finally pay off your loan, keep your documentation safe -- forever.

The plight of student loans might seem new to recent grads, but the usury has been going strong since way back.

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Ed

I GOT A STUDENT LOAN,TWO $3500.00 LOANS TO GO TO TRUCK DRIVING SCHOOL,WHICH I COMPLETED.I WORKED SEASONAL,IN THE FRUIT SEASON FOR THE FIRST 2 YEARS BECAUSE I HAD NO EXPERIENCE.I COULDN'T EVEN MAKE A LIVING. I WORKED OFF AND ON FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF YEARS TO BUILD MY RESUME'AND THEN ONE NIGHT,DRIVING HOME FROM A FRIENDS HOUSE I WAS ARRESTED FOR DUI AND LOST MY LICENCE FOR 7 YEARS AND ENDED UP IN PRISON FOR 2 YEARS.I GOT OUT 9 YEARS AGO AND STARTED ALL OVER, TAKING LOW PAYING JOBS UNTIL THE POINTS CLEARED FROM MY DRIVING RECORD.I NOW OWN MY OWN TRUCK WITH 80,000.00 PER YEAR CONTRACT,IHAVE WORKED ALMOST 4 YEARS WITH NO VACATION, MY WIFE AND I ARE IN OUR 50'S WITH NO HEALTH INSURANCE, AND FUEL IS CREEPING TOWARD $4.00 PER GAL. MY LOAN IS NOW IN EXCESS OF 21,000.00! I'VE BEEN PAYING 150.00 PER MO. BUT THEY HAVE NOW DOUBLED IT TO NEARLY 300.00 PER MO. I PROBABLY WON'T SURVIVE THE FUEL RATES MUCH LESS THE LOAN PAYMENT. I FEEL LIKE NO MATTER HOW HARD I WORK,I AM NOT GOING TO MAKE IT! I WOULD LOVE TO PAY WHAT I OWE, BUT I DON'T THINK I OWE THIS. PLEASE ,IS THERE HELP OUT THERE FOR ME?

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Julie

I have been on top of my loan from the start and it just keeps growing. 

I too borrowed money for student loans and when I graduated in 1994 Sallie Mae called me and convinced me to consolidate my guaranteed student loans. I had one small loan of $2500.00 that was unsubsidized the rest of $35000.00 was subsidized. They told me nothing  about this. It took me four years to get them to tell me what happened to my loan. See, I was a single mother of two and didn't get a job right from college. In order to keep my certification I had 5 years to complete 18 more credits. So my plan was to accrue 2 years or so of interest until I got a job and could go back to school and be in deferment. The deferment would have put my loans on hold and I would not accrue interest. This is what they told me. In the third year I didn't have a full time job, but I did start back at school half time. So my loans should have become defered without interest acrruing. Well that didn't happen. When I called (which was often) Sallie Mae they told me "My loans were none of my business and why don't you just get a job." After several years I started to record the comments and rude remarks. They told me I wasn't allowed to record the conversation. After 8 years Sallie Mae sends me another notice. This time the note has a place called Ombudsman. Ombudsman was supposed to be a go between. She was all supportive and ready to go after Sallie Mae and a week later she called and said "That is the nature of your loan, so pay it." I have been paying a small amount for 2 years. I pay $100.00 a month. Edfund has my loan now and are threatening to garnish my wages. When they do this I will have to quit my job. I have my grandson and when they garnish my wages I won't be able to pay for daycare. Your right, they don't care about the human element. All I want to do is pay back my loan. The original loan of $37,000.00. I am now ordered to pay $86,000.00. I thought the same thing you did. That they would make an offer and I could begin to manage my loan. The Edfund person told me why would we do that. We wouldn't make any money. I have been on top of my loan from the start and it just keeps growing. I am a teacher that works in a low income school and will never be able to do what they are demanding. I truly believe in my soul that Sallie Mae is just as responsible for this getting out of hand. They can't tell me about ignorance isn't an excuse. I didn't have the knowledge to ask the right questions. I had to take their word and they told me all my loans were subsidized. Now they have a form that separates subsidized and unsubsidized loans. They didn't have this when I signed their promissary note.


Thank you for reading this.

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Name witheld

Well I borrowed $4,100 dollars originally and I am now being told that I owe $9, 910. I was first contacted by Pioneer Credit. I finally decided that I would do the right thing and stop avoiding them.

I spoke with them and was told I would have to agree to pay $354 a month. I advised them I could not do that. They told me I could file an appeal and had to fax in my financial paperwork. Like an idiot, I agreed and sent them my paystubs and copies of bills. Biggest mistake I ever made.

They rejected my appeal to pay less. They have this crazy system where they only consider certain things. If you are making IRS payments or any other kind of payment like credit cards or certain things, these are not considered.

At the end of it, the lady said, "Well you didn't qualify and we still need $354 a month or a garnishment order will be issued in 10 days."

UGH. I gave them my personal info on a silver platter. I should have taken my chances and let them garnish me. Now they have everything. I feel like I was tricked into giving them this information.

Now I am screwed. I agreed to a rehabilitation program to pay $354 a month even though I will not be able to pay it. I honestly don't know what I'm going to do except for get a second job.

It sucks that trying to do the right thing only screwed me over worse.

 

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Joann

 I originally borrowed $8,000.00 for my masters degree. The campus closed and I decided to enroll in a Ph.D. program rather than continue on another campus in another school for my Masters. The other school was trying to get APA accredidation and there were problems. My husband lost his high-paying job and our income dropped. I then had something like $30,000 in debt. I went to antoher Ph.D. program for 5 years and once again they were trying to get out of accredadation problems and I was dismissed for failure to pass the research sequence in 5years, at that time I was working for a Stanford professor doing research and getting high evaluation, I just had math anxiety. They had me take statistics classes over and over again, I hold the record, at $3,000 a pop, while handing me $30,000 a year. I had math anxiety and finally got a tutor who helped  me. The educating body provided no such support, they were just trying to survive at that time because half the student body quit in protest prior to my entering (something they did not tell me). My doctor husband left me because he could not handle his life with a defaulted mortgage and debt. After being dismissed to cover their loan and management practices, I enrolled in another program, at my own expense and finished. I now owe $250,000 with 7% interest annually. I have deferred my loans for twenty years and just finished. I received a letter in the mail stating that in 30 years I will owe $600,000.000, for a Ph.D. in psychology. I just laughed because it is abusurd...just absurd.  I am 53 years old...get real. I started to make a life with my doctor husband. It all went away and I am left with this abusurd debt. I can not even help people for free. Our society has gone nuts...Capitalism? You can not really organize a society around this kind of debt...$250,000 and counting for education, $500,000 for a home, 1 million to raise a child? The few who get riches do not make a society. It is unsustainable...very simply. I tried getting help while the other shoe fell and I went through so much anxiety and fear over all of this...now it is just too absurd to worry about.  It has to change and it will.

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Sybil 

I graduated from high school at 16 and went to college on my own. My parents did not have the means to send me to school and the student loan officers explained to me that I could become an emancipated minor. As an emancipated minor I was able to take out student loans for my education. I was very happy because at the time I could not see any other way to attend college and I desperately wanted to be successful in life. Well I graduated from college and a professional school program with about 50,000 dollars in debt.

I eagerly entered the workforce, but because I graduated off schedule I had to wait seven months to take a test to get my license. During those seven months I began being contacted by twenty or thirty different loan servicing agencies. I was overwhelmed with trying to keep up with who I should be sending my request for deferment to because the loans kept being sold and resold to new agencies. Eventually, because I could not find work without a license, I ended up on food stamps and public assistance. The student loan agencies sold my loans again and despite the fact that I kept trying to send in my paperwork to request deferment I eventually ended up default because the new agency that bought my loan used my old name and address from college. I had no idea they were using this old information. They sent information to my college address and then defaulted me. At that point I attempted to gain my license and I took the test that I had been waiting for. I was suddenly faced with a 20,000 jump in the amount due on my loans and they started saying I owed money to a community college where I was actually taking Spanish classes. I tried to explain that I did not owe money to this community college but of course this complaint fell on deaf ears. I was default and now my life was ruined forever.

I got a conditional job in my field that was contingent upon me obtaining my professional license. However, the payment for my loans was more than I made per month. The agency that would have granted me my license to work in my field said that I would have to make plans to bring my loans out of default. So I could not actually practice in my field because I could not get my student loan under control. Eventually I gave up trying to practice in my field and I started looking at other options that would help me to pay my student loan. I went to and completed the police academy, only to find out that only a small amount of my loan would be discharged from this type of service. I wanted to join the FBI but I was told that I would be unable to do so because of my student loan status, then I said perhaps I could join the peace corp, but of course the student loan prevented this type of move. I sank into depression.

I sank into depression and seeing a psychiatrist, I considered suicide, I still consider it. I started on a course of 80 mg of Prozac a day. I moved out of the potential for being a middle class conservative professional into the reality of being a low to working class person with no future. Eventually I ended up homeless, because when I could not pay my rent I found out that because of my student loans I also was not eligible for assistance with housing. Living in my car I vowed to change my life and overcome my depression. This was 1997 and I had been living on an average of less than 1000 per month since 1992 when I graduated.

I picked myself up and got a scholarship to go to school. I earned a different degree so that I could teach, since I could not effectively practice my chosen profession at this point.

I got my first real full time job at age 33. But, of course then the student loan people resurfaced. Now I owe 160,000 for that initial 50,000. The payment is still more than I make per month and the income contingent plan would require that I pay about 1000$ per month. I make 2600 per month; my rent is 700, electricity 200, phone 50, car 200, water 50. So if I simply paid the bare essentials, don't count gas, food, credit cards, medications, and other non essentials---I still can't pay the loan. One agent suggested that I discontinue my medical insurance payments and that this would allow me to pay more on my loan. So because I owe student loans I should be forced to live without medical insurance. This is undue hardship if I ever saw it. The very fact that I could not get the license to work because of the student loan is undue hardship. But, no one can tell me what is considered undue hardship and lawyers seem to look at me like I am filth. This is probably because my student loan went to pay for law school. That exam I could not get past was the bar exam. My life is ruined and I think of suicide more and more. I can't buy a house, I still drive a car from 1990, I can't even pay for certain medical expenses that I need to take care of because no one will give me a loan. My life is ruined by student loans. I declared bankruptcy pro se in 2001 with the hope that I could fix it, but of course I got a letter saying that the student loans were not dischargeable without an adversarial hearing. I could not find out how to do an adversarial hearing and the suggestion was for me to get an attorney, but of course I could not afford and attorney. I talked with one set of people who told me I could pay till I was ready to retire and then of the 4 or 5 hundred thousand dollars that I would owe by then, I would have to take that as a capital gain on my income tax. So if I live long enough this will l even burden me when I can no longer take care of myself. So it will become a burden to my unborn heirs.

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Darah

* Original student loan debt in 1991-- 43K
* Current owed 67K (and I am not in default-- I've been paying since 1993!)
* Declared Chapt. 13 in 1993-- I was unable to discharge the loans in Chapt. 13 and during the bankruptcy years a small percentage of my loans were paid to the lenders.
* For seven years the student loan lenders could not contact me under Chapt. 13. ( I choose to file Chapt. 13 instead of 7 because I felt that I was responsible for my debt and wanted to pay at least a percentage of it).
* After the 7 years of "protection" under chapter 13 I was lenders started contacting me. I don't even know now how many times my loans changed hands. What I did know was that the 43K I owed going into Chapt. 13 had grown to 60K. I was overwhelmed.
* I then made one of the worst decisions of my life-- In the hopes of simplifying my life I consolidated my all my loans under SallieMae. My rate of consolidation was 8.5
* I have had 2-3 deferments during the last 5 years-- During times of deferment penalties and interest was accrued.
* Despite my paying over 10K ( approximately 1/4 of my original debt) I owe 7 thousand more than I owed when I consolidated, and 1/3 more (43K) than the debt I owed when I received my masters in 1991.
*SallieMae will not reconsolidate my loans at a lower rate.
* More stats about me--I have a BA and a Masters degrees from the University of California system ( UC Santa Cruz, and Berkeley)
* I work in the State Correctional System-- and make less than custody officers with 6 mths. of training. I believe my employment situation speaks volumes of a society which values putting its dollars behind paying those who keep other incarcerated than education.
* Similar to criminals who have made poor decisions in there youth; I feel that I am paying the price for was making the decision in my 20's to get an education. I thought education would result in freedom; instead I am in prison.

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Lisa

 In 1993 I took out two loans in order to attend a private business school in Northern California. At the time I had a partial scholarship and needed the loan money to cover not only the rest of my tuition but also books and supplies. In the middle of my junior year I decided I needed some work experience and dropped my status to part-time. I began working at a prestigious investment banking firm and started paying on my student loans. Everything was fine until I began receiving phone calls on Saturday mornings from student loan officers demanding that I pay more than the $150.00 a month I was currently paying. Lots more!! I told them that I thought the amount they were asking me to pay was outrageous. Their response was they could take me to court and sue me for the whole amount if I didn't make the payments they were asking for. I suggested what I thought was a reasonable amount above the $150.00 and they told me that amount wouldn't even make a dent in what I owed. Trying to reason with them I told them that getting something on the loan was much better that getting nothing. To no avail. Eventually I left school for good, started working full-time and continued to make payments even though the prestigious firm only paid me $28,000 a year. I worked for many years trying in vain to pay down this debt, until in 2001 I was diagnosed with a chronic illness.
In 2002, I was declared fully disabled by the State of California. However, after submitting three applications to have my loans discharged, I was turned down all three time. Direct Loans gave me every reason under the sun for turning down my application and some of them they even made up. Like saying I didn't sign my name on one of the application and when I sent them a copy of the original application with my signature clearly present, they said that I hadn't dated it correctly and so on and so on....

Adding to all this is my growing amount of medical bills, medical insurance, rent and living expenses... all of this has made my illness even worse.

The bottom line here is, these people need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!!!

Where is the class action lawsuit?

 

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Vesna (California)

My original student loan debt was 5K USD. I graduated in May of 1989 and paid off the full amount of the debt within one year (my parents covered about 2/3 of the repayment costs). I do not recall whether I received a letter from American Student Assistance stating that all debts had been paid, but I did consciously keep microfiche copies of the deposited checks from the bank. During a cross-country move in 1997, the moving company I used "lost" three boxes of my personal effects, including my old financial documents. These were never recovered. Naively, I hadn't kept up with legislation on student loans (as I no longer had one myself and didn't have any children), and assumed I needn't worry about those particular documents as the loans had been repaid in full over seven years previously. (NOTE: I do take responsibility for my ignorance and know that it is no defense; I'm simply trying to convey my thought processes at the time.)

Fast-forward to April 2005. I get a call at work from someone claiming to represent a company called "West Asset Management", wanting to talk to me about a student loan. The man was barely literate and talking far too fast for me to follow; I had to ask him to repeat himself several times. When I finally understood he was calling to collect, rather than to offer, a student loan, I explained to him that I did not then have any outstanding student loans. He immediately began to ask me for personal information - Social Security Number in particular. I stopped him and asked for information regarding the type of loan, the original amount, the date, the lending institution, the university attended, etc. He said he didn't have any of that information. I asked him if West Asset Management owned the disputed debt. He said no, they were attempting to collect on the part of the creditor. I asked who the creditor was; he said "the Department of Education". I asked him for contact information so that I could call "the Department of Education" directly to verify the alleged debt, as he didn't have any of the details. He told me I could not contact them, I must deal only with him.

At that point, I stopped him and verified that he had my correct home address, and then requested that he state his case in writing on his firm's letterhead along with details of the alleged debt and proof that his firm was authorised by the creditor to collect it. He again asked for my social security number. I told him I would not give him that information over the telephone, but when I received his package in the mail I would call him back to discuss. He became verbally abusive and said that he didn't need to speak with me, he could get his information elsewhere. He then demanded that I transfer him to my "Human Resources department". I laughed involuntarily and asked him if he knew anything about California state law (which is notoriously tough on employers giving out information on employees over the phone). He hung up on me.

When he discovered I was correct about California state law and that my company's Human Resources department wouldn't give him the time of day, he began calling back again and leaving messages on my office voicemail. As he had already been quite clear that he had no further need to speak with me, and since I don't enjoy being abused by random strangers, I didn't return his calls. Honestly, I didn't think it was possible that someone so obviously inept and lacking in basic communication skills could be legitimately connected to -- let alone solely entitled, as he claimed, to speak for -- the US Department of Education (!!). I assumed his claims were spurious and that the whole thing was either a hoax or some sort of identity theft-related stunt... an assumption that his failure to follow up in writing as we had discussed strongly supported.

Fast-forward again to June 2005, when the head of my company's payroll department arrives in my office and hands me an envelope containing ... a garnishment order from the US Department of Education, claiming 26% of my post-tax income, beginning in four business days. I call the Department of Education (which I should have done back in April, except I was fairly convinced that the alleged "collector" from "West Asset Management" was not legitimate as he claimed to have no information about the debt he was trying to collect). In negotiating my way through the DOE's recordings, I discovered I could enter my social security number (and other identifying information for security purposes) and thus retrieve all the information in their records regarding my contact information, the education institution to which the alleged loans were applied, the number of supposedly outstanding loans, and their original amounts. When I finally got through to a person, I was able also to get the tracking numbers of the allegedly outstanding loans (not useful, as they were not the original tracking numbers but numbers assigned later on in the process as the phantom debt was bought and sold several times, and details were never communicated to me), the breakdown among principal, interest, and collection agency costs ($1871.76 for that single harrassing phone call!!), and the date that the debt was passed to the DOE Collections Center (0ctober 2003). The DOE tells me there is no way to stop the garnishment, but if I do the legwork myself to discover what it is I allegedly owe and provide proof that I've paid it, I can submit my claim to the DOE and they will "wait 90 days before the evaluate it" and then, if they agree I have paid my unspecified debts in full, they will "possibly" reimburse me fornthe wages that have been unfairly garnished, "after another thirty days or so". (Forgive me, please, if I laugh!)

My reaction? I paid these loans, years ago when they were due. If somehow some or all of the payments were misplaced or miscredited, I deserved a prompt call from the creditor informing me that there was an issue and providing me concrete information about the debt perceived to remain. My mother still lives at the original address on my loan, and will happily forward any mail received in my name to me. I have lived at my current address for six and a half years, and it is the address the DOE has on file, according to their voicemail system. Why not contact me as soon as an issue was identified with the loan, rather than waiting sixteen years and blindsiding me with a grossly inflated figure, and even then not giving me the chance to offer to resolve the issue voluntarily before summarily garnishing my wages?

I can only conclude - and it fits with the pattern I am seeing here and on the Findlaw forums and with many others caught in the student loan morass -that the objective was actually NOT to recover the loan and to reimburse the taxpayer for his or her (perceived) loss, but rather to artificially infate the collectible debt - perhaps in order to line the pockets of SallieMae and her allies in Congress, and/or in order to make sure that collections agencies like West Asset Management - who surely cannot possibly make a living based on the substandard skills of their employees - continue to stay afloat? That said, I plan to pursue whatever legal and political action I can... and if necessary, some that most people say I "can't".

I thank everyone here for sharing all of your experiences and impressions. God bless you all, and I hope you prevail with whatever plans you have to strike back, and/or to reclaim your lives and your livelihoods for yourselves and your families. If I can be of any assistance to anyone here, or if anyone wishes to compare notes, please feel free to contact me at kurevesna@skim.com. Thanks, and best wishes, Vesna.

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Rick

About 15 years ago I decided to look into going back to school because I was getting a little bored standing in front of a lathe all day cranking out motorcycle parts. For some long forgotten reason I thought (at the time) that working on automobile electronic control systems would be if not a step upward at least something different. After checking out a few places, I found a trade school that seemed legit enough. Of course the school is VERY helpful in assisting me with all of the student loan crap that I had never dealt with before.

 
On my 2nd day of class when they called me in to sign the tuition check, the school had yet another loan form that they wanted me to sign. Like I said this was my first time with dealing with this kind of thing but something seemed fucked up. They looked like the same forms I had originally filled out same dollar amount same date that I had filled them out the first time, except very neatly typed. Why would I need to sign this shit again? I knew that the first forms were o.k. because I had talked to this very nice and helpful woman at the lender's office the day before who assured me the check had been mailed to the school and should be there any day. Sure nuff. The check was sitting right here in front of me. So what the fuck is REALLY going on here? As I'm trying to get my brain around this, the school's "counselor" is sitting across the desk holding out a pen and saying something but I'm not listening because I'm reading these "new" forms. All of the info is correct and identical to the paperwork that I already submitted. Except, they had made some changes on my application regarding the people that I had listed as personal references! the contacts that i had written down on the original document were gone and the new contacts were names that i had never heard of. i ask mr. "counselor" what the fuck? but, it takes too long for him to get his answer going. I decide that I'm not signing this shit. I'm not signing the fraudulent form, I'm not signing the tuition check. I wanna talk to the nice lady at the lender's office. When I tell Mr. "counselor" my decision so he'll get that fucken pen out of my face, he tells me that if I refuse to sign the check that he won't be able to hold a spot open for me in class. I know that is bullshit because the fucking class isn't full. I will not be pressured. If I sign this shit it'll be when I'm confident that I understand everything I'm signing. Which is exactly what I tell him. He looks like he is getting pissed but, he calms down quickly and in this VERY irritating voice like he's talking to someone with an IQ a few points above cabbage he very slowly says o.k. let me explain this to you again.. explain? explain what? Loan fraud? I'm pretty sure that signing off on a government loan with information that I know to be blatantly false carries some consequences that just don't wanna fuck with no matter how it's explained to me. I tell the fucker that I'm not doing shit until I talk to the nice loan officer lady and that if everything is on the up & up it makes no difference whether it gets signed today or tomorrow and walk out. I go home and call the very nice lady that I've been dealing with at the lender's end of things and tell her exactly what happened. She confirmed what I already knew re: falsifying loan documents and assured me that she could take care of this. When I told her that I did not sign either the 2nd loan form or the check she told me that even if HAD signed off on it before I noticed something was amiss that she could stop payment on the check and that I should call her back in a couple of days to make sure that everything got cancelled. Which I did and was once more assured that the loan was cancelled and since I had not signed the check it was all the easier to quash the whole deal. Cool. Except that I'm right back where I started. A few more months of boredom and I decide to head for Washington to see if I can get a job on a fishing boat. I'm up there for 4 years. Worked a few boats out of Bellingham during the season but, mainly just fucking around.
I decide that I should move back to L.A. to be near my mom because she was having some health problems and needed some help. Stayed there for a year and a half. Then after Ma died I went back up to Washington.

There really is a GFD coming I just needed to do the background so you can see what an ongoing pain in the ass this is.

1995 it's been five years since the bullshit at the trade school. FIVE FUCKING YEARS. Living in Kent, Wa. For the better part of a year and I'm working in yet another machine shop. I decide to e-file my taxes for the first time because of the quick refund. I pay my $29.95 or whatever the fee was and the H&R block guy says that the refund check should be in my hand within 2 weeks.
3 weeks later I get a letter from the IRS telling me that they have sent my fucking money to the dept. of education because I'm in default on my student loan!!! WTF??? There is of course a number to call if you have a question about having your money shanghaied. The trade school never crosses my mind. You see where this going don't you? I sure didn't. so I call the number on the letter from the IRS and their phone system answers and automatically puts me on hold for an ungodly amount of time and then hangs up on me all by itself. After going through that sort of shit for a few days, I finally manage to get someone on the phone who informed me that I had an outstanding loan in default for $1500.00 which was lent to pay a tuition at that motherfucking trade school. As this is sinking in the voice on the other end tells me that amount was just for the principal, with interest and penalties, etc. I owe over $3500.00 and that since the loan is so far past due I'll need to send a check for the full amount immediately. Well, this is obviously a mistake and I'll just explain what happened and we'll be able to get this sorted out.


The voice on the phone listens very patiently while I explain the whole trade school debacle. When I finished telling my story the voice said it didn't matter. That I needed to pay the loan and that was that. I informed the voice that I had no fucking intention of paying of a fraudulent loan and demanded to talk to whoever is in charge. The voice put me on hold where I stayed until I was automatically hung up on once again. After trying to reach a human for a few more days I got a different voice on the phone who was much less infuriating than the first one was. This voice explained that I had certain rights and that I could dispute the loan. Yes. I fucking dispute the loan. The voice said that it would send me some paperwork to fill out and send back, which I did. There was a shit load of it too. One of the rights I was told that I have is to have them send me copies of their complete file on this matter including a copy of the front and back of the actual check that was sent to the school that I refused to sign. When I got it guess what? There was no signature of endorsement or stamp from the bank showing that it had even been cashed!


I very carefully and in the most minute detail that I could remember explained what had happened at the fucking trade school, and pointed out that there was NOTHING that indicated that the fucking check had been cashed. I spent a couple days filling that shit out. No reply.
Swear to god. Didn't hear a fucking thing from the cocksuckers. I know that they got the shit I sent in because I sent it by registered mail. After a few months I started trying to call again finally get a voice on the phone only to be told that my dispute has been denied no explanation, no reason. denied. period  I tell the voice that i wouldn't pay this shit even at fucking gun point and for once beat them to the hang up. It doesn't improve my mood though. First thing I do when I get to work is change my deductions at work so I come as close as possible to breaking even at the end of the year so there won't be a refund to steal from me.


This has been going on just about every year since then. Their demands change every year and since it is impossible to talk to the same person more than once every time i try to deal with this shit it means starting from scratch over and over. I have sent in sworn and notarized written statements, paperwork from the school, letters from employers stating that I was not employed in the field that the course was in, there has even been twice that I have received a call and been told that everything was straightened out. When I asked when I could expect a check for the money which had already been wrongfully taken from me I was told that I would need to contact the school for a fucking refund. Which I found out closed down shortly after I quit because they no longer qualified for student aid due to having a problem with, yep you guessed it. Applying for fraudulent loans. Both times when told that this was all taken care of course I asked for some written proof that all was well.  Of course I never got any proof and the following year I received instead of a refund a "fuck you we are stealing your money again" letter. Until last year I have been able to provide everything that they asked for to document my claim and every year they have disregarded the very information that they asked for and tell me to pay up. Last year was different though, they wanted TEN samples of my handwriting from 1990! Of course, the samples have to be on some sort of a dated document. The only thing that I have from back then is the paperwork from the fucking school and they are all carbon copies. When I sent them in, they returned them and told me that it had to be originals only. No copies or carbons. Fuck me. So that is how they do it. All they gotta do is to keep asking for different shit until there is no more shit to send.


I was not able to adjust my deductions this year because I changed jobs and had a pretty significant wage increase so I was afraid to get myself in a spot where I owed them a tax payment on April 15th.. This is going to be a rough one since, as I spelled out in some detail in a previous post I'm not working and because I got laid off before April 1 if I file for unemployment now I won't get enough money to live til the job calls me back. Last month a family member whom I thought had written me off years ago unexpectedly sent me some money upon hearing of my plight and I was able to pay most of my bills last month. Of course this month's bills have began to arrive and I'm sitting here with $20.00 to live on for at least 7 weeks.


I did my taxes am due a refund of $440.00 That much money wouldn't even take care of all my bills but it would allow me to buy a little food and to keep my electricity and phone and connected so I can at least keep looking for a job. It occurs to me that on the same day that I walked out of that school if I had walked into a bank with a loaded gun and shoved it in a tellers face and walked out with a sack of money, the statute of limitations would have applied years ago and I could sit here and brag about it without fear of being prosecuted. Yet, after having refused to allow myself to be used as a pawn in a loan fraud, I'm still paying for it 15 years later. I'm unable to get credit, own a home or get a credit card, I've been refused when trying to rent someplace to live, it was hell trying to get a cell phone, 3 different companies wanted a $1000.00 deposit. I'm not going post how I finally managed to do it on here. I did manage to get a loan for a car a few years back but  the interest rate was 24.9% (.1% below usury) and I could not afford to keep it. After making 2 years of payments at $350.00 a month on a $10,000.00 car I still owed over $7000.00.


The dreaded letter will probably arrive any day now. That $440.00 would just about enable me to get through this shit, barely but, I think I could swing it. I don't know which way I'm going to handle it this year. It's always a pain in the ass but this is the first time that i could very possibly lose the ability to survive on my own because of this shit. That is unacceptable. I can hear you saying just give them the fucking money The thought has crossed my mind but, even if I did give in and submit to this blatant fraud, the harassment would continue. I'm certain of it. In the last 10 years of trying to deal with these bloodsucking parasites to get this shit straightened out the result has been the same. 10 years of jumping through every hoop they put in front of me and the result has been the same. thus will it ever be. There is absolutely nothing that makes me think that this will stop. What happens when they say that I still need to keep paying? even after they have the money. they ask me to send my receipts for the payments, i do and when they lose them and come after me again then what? I would eventually snap in a very big way and for certain wind up in prison. I wonder if they'll take the .25 per hour that I'll earn making license plates?

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Stephanie

**1987-1989: Court Reporting College Original loan: $30,000
1992: I filed bankruptcy because of astronomical medical bills (no health insurance), my student loan was not eligible to be discharged.
1994-1998: back in college, got a B.S. in criminal justice (irony at its best here), additional student loans totalling $50,000
1987-1992 and 2000-present: single mom of three kids.
1998: GRAND TOTAL of consolidated student loans =80,000
2000: filed bankruptcy 2nd time, student loans not eligible to be discharged.
2005: GRAND TOTAL of student loans (including capitalized interest etc) are up to $100,000 (almost 3 times my annual salary)


I have been on the income contingent repayment plan (ICR) for 4 years now, meaning when I turn 61 years old, my student loan will probably be over $200,000, but at least I'll be paroled from my 25 year ICR payment "sentence" that was supposed to financially alleviate me.  Then at the ripe old age of 61, when the government "forgives the balance of my student loan that has quadrupled in the last 25 years, and to which I've been paying according to the ICR scale, at the rate of $130/month for 25 years, equalling a total payment of $40,000-- then I'll be forced to claim "income" of 30 percent of whatever the total of my student loan is up to by then (my estimate of $200,000 is probably very low), which equals adding $60,000 as income for myself that woeful year. 


Not everyone benefits from "education", with the exception of the student loan folks, they always benefit.  Oh, and forget ever getting married again, because then the government will count my husband's income in their calculation of my ICR payment-- and we all know the bull shit road that leads down-- I mean, why should a spouse be held potentially financially liable for my student loans-- which is what it would be when it all boils down-- if I remarry, his income counts towards the calculation of what my ICR payment is-- which would definitely affect our "standard of living".  My only benefit from education is a better understanding of how under the guise of "student loans" my own government is allowed and encouraged to financially SCREW ME OVER, coming and going.  I would have been better off living off of welfare than getting an education-- Sally Mae, and all the bastards that have profitted from student loan reform, well, I hate you, and may you roast in hell (with interest at mafiosa rates).  I'll never be able to retire, I'll never get this loan paid off, I'll never get ahead, but hey my own government continues to give $$ away, hand-over-fist to other countries -- knowing full well they'll never be paid back-- but hey, me, a middle-income taxpayer, I have to pay no matter what!  This system needs to be reformed like no other-- IT MAKES ME SICK, IT DISGUSTS ME-- then just recently I read in the ABA magazine that legislation is going to be introduced to relieve lawyers-- that if they work as a public servant that their ICR will only be for 15 years instead of 25 years before it's forgiven.  What a crock of shit, what about the rest of us in middle America-- is no one going to represent our interests-- ?????????????????

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Dave

Going to make this semi-short because so much is the "same" as so many others...and I have not checked for spelling. Back in the 80's I wanted to go to college.  My parents could not afford to send me and I was not eligbale for grants (Pel?) because my parants earned "too much" - which at the time was something like 100 more than what they allowed people to earn per year. The only way I could go to college was to get a student loan. I did this three times - one for each year I was in college.

 So college is done and I start to make payments. On a good day (month) I would pay up to 3 payments at once. never one time did I get a "thank you" letter about doing that. On a bad day (month) i might be a week late. The DOE wasted no time in contacting me with threats about "We will report you and that will ruin your credit". Around 1985 or so it got very bad - multiple letters and phone calls with colleciton agencys making threats about ruining my credit and telling everyone they could about how bad I was at making payments. Agian with not knowing what I know now I was freaking oput about all of this and I just sent a nasty letter to them. The ltter was basicly a rant from me syaing that I was tired of being treated as a number, I was tired of calling and being told that none of my letters were "on file" and all that came up was my name on a computer screen saying I did not make payments, that I was tired of not one time ever being thanked for getting payments ahead of t!
 ime to them but being a day late and getting calls with people making threats. I also said that if I got any more letters or calls I would consider the remaining $2,500.00 paid in full and also report them to the AG of California. Needless to say I got more calls and letters so I sent off a letter saying because they failed to honor my request my debt was now cancelled,I also sent a copy of all the paperwork I had at the time to the and CC'd a copy to the AG of California at the time...and to this day I have no idea why I actually did that, but I am, glad I did. For the next almost 18 years there were no more letters, no more calls...nothing.

 Than one day I am on a film set. Suddenly the line producer comes out and stops the shoot. She has the really concerned look on her face. She hands me a cell phone and stands there looking so sad. I say hello? and I hear a mans voice ask "is this Dave?" and I say "yes..." and his tone changes and goes into this whole "We are a colleciton agency and you defaulted on your student loan..." blah blah. I was stunned and chocked and i could barely muster anywords..sitting on a set with the entire production being help up because of this phone call. As calmly as I could I had a semi-mnoir freak out and sked how they got the number and he would not tell me. I told him he had no right to call me on set and hung up. I asked the line producer how, and why, she would stop shooting for that. Well - after she told me what the guy told her I did some back searching. I called my mother and she had gotten a call from an "old friend" of mine who "has some jobs lined up" and needed to get a h!
 old of me as fast as he could. So she gave him the studios production office. They got a call asking for me and told the person I was on a shoot and could not be reached. So the caller tells them there is a serious family emergency and he needed to get a hold oe asap.  So they give him the productions cell number so they can call the set directly. The phone rings and the line producer answers the phone and she is asked fo rme and she sayd I am busy, they are shooting ans so on. Now she gets told that my mother is ill and possibly near death and it was of the utmost improtance that he speak with me. By the time I got this whole story together I was shaking and had I known where this collection agency was and the who the person was, and where they lived, I would have done whatever I could have to bring them to their knees in whatever way I could.

 The best I could do is get the guys voicemail and left him a message that he was never ever to contact any member of my family or my emplyers again. That if I ever found out who he was I was going to bring charges agaist him for the methods he used. I never heard from him again. But a few years after that I am married and have a child. The first year my wife and I file and get to use th e"erned income" credit suddenly instead of a return we get a letter sayinf that the enitre maoutn was used for a past debt...you got it - the student loan. This has gone on now each year for the last 5 years, except I am much wiser and my wife fills out the "injured spouse" form so their amount they take is less than 100%.

 Like someopne else posted the IRS on behald of the DOE has taken more than what was owed to start off with except now, this week actually, my neighbors are getting phone calls from a "Val" at "Van Ru" looking for information about me. She says she is an old friend of mine and needs to speak with me urgantly. I have no idea who "Val" is or who "van ru" is - so i do a search and find out "Van Ru" is a collection agency that seems be hired a *lot* by various state and federal agencys for deebt collection. They also seem to have long list of lawsuits against them for their methods. Seems they claim I owe $8,000.00 on the loan plsu another $52,000.00 in intrest and "fees". Keep in mind when the harrasment was going on the first time around I only owed $2,500.00 - seems they upped it a bit...ok, they upped it a HUGE bit.

 Now here is a bit of info on "van Ru" - I contacted the DOE about them and they said they could not help me because Van Ru was not one of their contractors. So I did some searching and found out their contract with the DOE expired in March 2005. Not only that but guess how much "Van Ru" was paid? (or I should say "guess how much our beloved DOE "awarded" them for the contract to go out and collect debts?") $47,029,654.57  yes - you did read that amount correctly.

 So now I have to wonder what the hell is "van Ru" doing? They have not contacted me at all - yet they are contacting all my neighbors asking about me. I did a credit report search and I come up with nothing - as in nothing owed, no debts, no bankruptcy - a clean and good report. But now here is the "fun" part. In the last 12 months guess who has requested to see my credit report? yup "Van Ru". They did it in August 2005.

 So that is where I am at as of today. Waiting for the next shoe to drop. But I now save things, I now keep records. I dod not have any student load records around - I don't have check stubs of copies or even statments. I mean they tell you to keep thing for maybe 5 years....and we are talking over 20 years years now with no word about student loans from anyone for about 18 of those years. So sad...so very sad. If I harrased people like some of the Collection places do I would be tossed in jail.  Not only can they get away with it, one look at the stack of lawsuits against "Van ru" over the years shows they not only keep doing it but get HUGE govt contracts to do it.

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Ramona

When I was young I wanted to attend a nursing school to get a medical assitance degree to help me support my family, I was already working in a medical office as a medical office manager but since my husband had been laid off work I really needed the extra income. My Boss said that if I had Medical Assistant Certification he would give me a raise to help pay off the loan as well as enough to help support my family this was in 1986. Since I was married they wouldnt allow me to apply for the loan with out my husbands consent, ssn and signature. Well needless to say things didnt work out quite this way. My wonderful supportive boss had selective memory as soon as soon as I got out of school. My work title was not changed and his "raise" was $5 a week. I tried to keep up with the payments but having a non working spouse and 2 small children as well as having to make child support payments for my ex-husbands kids didnt leave me a whole lot to work with. Eventually I feel behind. A few years later I ended up going through a divorce and at the time wasnt even thinking about the student loan, only in trying to make ends meet. I dont know how much I paid I never received a receipt for anything and the loan was passed around so much apparently no-one knows or can even tell me where to look. I know the original loan was somewhere between $5 & $6K. And I had paid on it for awhile. Then I got laid off from my Job as an Office Manager when the "Boss" remarried. His wife wanted the job. So I went out looking for work as a "Medical Assistant". Guess what. I have never worked under this title. I included it in all my resumes' but it's might as well have said "Snail Wathcer" for all the good it did me. A couple of years ago a company who now I cant remember the name of called me and of course they are the collection agency that now is collecting on my loan, the lady was very kind and understanding, she made an agreement with me to waive all  the intrest and late charges if I paid $200 then and payments of $80 a month. So I did and this went on it seemed for at least a year. Then suddenly I started getting bill statements from another company. They were willing to accept my $80 monthly payments but they were also charging me like 33% interest. I still kept making the payments but they would call my home and my job everyday starting 2 weeks before the payment was do. Needless to say my job was ticked my kids and I were stressed I finally told them to "kiss my ass". Maybe it wasnt right but my payments were not making any difference, here I was paying $80 a month and only $3 or $4 dollars was actually going towards the loan the rest was intrest. Once again I slipped into default, at this same time I became very Ill, the Doctors discovered I had Diabetes, Lupus and Fibromyalgia. I missed a lot of work and was out on disabillity for a few months. I lost my apartment and had to stay with my sister borrowing money from her just to pay for my medications and doctors appointments. Now its  been four years. I am still ill but functioning. I do miss a lot of work, I have one child left at home with me and I make a fair amount of money but I also have a fair amount of bills. I mean gross monthly is only about 2400 and 1050 of that is rent once you deduct gas electricity food car insurance medical bills dental bills and charge cards whats left? So they are back. I received a letter about 5 months ago I filed a request to be relieved of the loan since I was never able to get a job as a medical assistant. I finally received a letter saying they were sustaining the loan and I was responsible. I then get a call from Ed Fund. According to them the loan has increased by $2000 in finance charges while I was disputing it. Sigh. Now I dont know what to do. If they garnish my wages I will lose my apartment not be able to afford car insurance what do I give up?  I'm sure no one has anymore answers than I do. I read somewhere that if I die the loan will be written off.  How sad is that? If anyone has any answers Id be happy to hear from you.

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KG

After the bills of Christmas of 2005... while more broke than any part of the year....
  January 3 2006 I recieved a letter in the mail dated December 27th 2005
>From ECMC of Minnisota. It stated I have 30 days from the date on the letter to stop wage garnishemnt to collect on a $2000.00 student loanI recieved in 1983.  I declared bankruptcy on the 2000.loan after paying off half of it, in 1998.
 ECMC quoted my debt to be $5163.00(including fees) Accoording to the date on the notice, I had already lost 7 day of searching time when I got it in the mail because of the christmas mailing maddness.

My files on such matters have long been boxed away and lost.  I frantically looked for any info on this to stop the scheduled January 27th wage garnishments .
Today is January 22 2006. I just reached a kind woman working for bankruptcy
court in Los Angeles, who had to leave the phone walk down a hall and look into a vault of old cardboard boxes to find info on my bankruptcy. she gave me information to show I declaired bankruptcy on this loan. and I am telling everyone to do the same..
Find the phone number of your bankruptcy court get the vital three numbers that locate your bankruptcy and send the NARA archives 10.00 for a copy of your discharged debts.

There must be some new laws that allow the collection agencies to come after you even if your debt was discharged decades ago..with the People running the country now,  .there are no laws that hold, and anything can happen.
To stop these attacks you must practally be a bankruptcy lawyer yourself. 
This is the only way to stop these people from attatching your wages.
I dont know what the laws are on old (1989) bankruptcies but these guys
came out of the blue and gave me 30 days to stop them.
 This is just one more thing that make living in the USA feel like the begining of Ann Frank Germany, to me.
Oh yeah and to think the National Security Agency is monitoring this as I type it .....oh brother!!

        Here's to FREEDOM!!!!!and LIBERTY!!!!!

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D.

AI was a young man struggling to complete my Phd. in student loan counseling.  In order to complete the four years of graduate school, (six years in my case) I had to sign numerous student loans of my own.  Of which accounted for more that $160,ooo.  As it turned out, I found out after graduation that student loan counselors are not in high demand in my home town.  Now I know your thinking, "why didnt he check the future of this occupation before he spent six years studying it?"  Well I have a good reason for you, well the truth is I continuously forgot to plan for my future.  As George Bush would put it "College is a time for parting and having fun."  I blame this poor governmental example for all the debt. that the youth of america are suffering.  It is truly the corporate CEO who have taken advantage of the innocence of today.

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Lorraine

In 1988 as a new widow (age 56) I decided to go back to school.  I was told I did not qualify for a loan until my final (2nd) year.  At the time I applied I was to go on from the community college, (El Camino, Torrance CA), I was attending to a State College and then University.  I graduated in June 1991, I was already to continue when my oldest son was killed and I had to leave school to go to the Northen part of the State to settle his estate.  In Dec 1991 I called the 800 number I had been given when I applied.  I explained that I was now living on a very small Veteran Widow's pension.  I was assured that there was no problem, they would forgive the loan.
In about 1996 I applied for a regular loan and was turned down, I immediately contacted the Credit Bureau.  When I received the credit report, there were several student loans in default on it.  I contacted the 'lender' they agreed that the amount was wrong, I had borrowed about $1500. but they were showing $4000. But they told me that there is no way the loan would have been 'forgiven'.  I tried to explain I was living on a small Social Security check.  I didn't hear from them again until about 2 months ago when they attached my SS check.  I only receive $786. a month, and now they are taking $36. a month from it and they claim I now owe over $12,000. I AM 74 YEARS OLD, and SS is my only income. 

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Paulina

I graduated from SDSU in 1991. I owed Sallie Mae approx. $20,000. I was 50 years old. Because the general economy was slow, I was unable to find a job. I did three part time jobs just to pay my bills, at times. I paid my student loans when I could, but there were times I just didn't earn enough money to pay it. Sallie Mae was only to pleased to suspend my payments but not the interest and penalties. Today my payments are pure interest.I have worried so much and been so scared about the growth of this loan. Today, I am 67 and still owe over $30,000.

I just watched 60 Minutes and I'm so happy a light is being shone on Sallie Mae and their predatory practices. What do you need me to do? I will do anything to illuminate what is happening to so many people who are involved with Sallie Mae. I think the American people should know about this.

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Jason

My story is one of absolute absurdity..


  In the Fall of 1995, I was accepted to a university in Florida. It was to be an adventure, as well as an education. I am from Los Angeles, and the thought of crossing the country to go to college was exciting.
  The school arranged the student loan, and, although the school was expensive, the loans covered not only tuition, but books as well.
  The first semester was great..I got a job at a local nightclub, kinda' fantasy employment for a single college guy.(I say that not to boast..it will be important later)My grades were acceptable, and my roomates were easygoing, likeable guys and girls.
  Then I had an accident at work. Needed surgery and many, many months of recovery.Actually, turned out to be 2 years. "Screw it" I figured..cost of the business; besides, I would be the same after the recovery.
  My 3rd week in the hospital is when the nightmare began. I had dropped out of school, of course. The school was extemely understanding, and agreed to clear my record for the semester.
  As I lay in the hospital I got the first of many unbelievable phone calls. I was told that as I had dropped out of school, my tuition was due NOW;as I was an independant student, I was responsible for the ENTIRE balance NOW. PERIOD.
 

 I told them as I was in the hospital, payment was impossible. The hospital had  taken (literally) the last of my money, and, quite frankly, I was planning to return to return to school as soon as I am healed.
  This was impossible, he said. I can get NO more funds until the ENTIRE balance was paid.
  College, at least for the moment, was over.
  I asked the nurse how he was a bill collector could get my room and through to talk to me, I was told he told them he was my brother(I don't have a brother)
 

 The at-home phase of my recovery was 18 months, and in that time I was pretty much home bound. I had to move in with my parents, as I was broke, and had my phone number installed inn my room, so as not to bother them.  The phone calls were unbelievable. 6-10 per day, 6 days a week, from 7 am to 10:45 at night. Cursing, Death threats..it went on for 18 months straight.


I then went back to school(borrowed money from the parents), got a job..started over. Then the calls at work came..thank God my boss was understanding, and assured the secretaries kept it all at a distance.
It went on until I graduated, 3 long years..After graduation, I stayed on at the same place of work, and hired an attorney. As this was a cross-country case for (relatively) little money,the time span has been in years. My attorney is a cousin, so thank God for that..Otherwise I would be bankrupt by now.
 

Anyway, I digress. We are now in year number 5, and they have used EVERY means at their disposal, their costs far exceeding the amount owed.

This has been a nightmare,one I would not have believed. On a 13,000 loan I now "owe" 78,000 dollars. Amazing


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Michelle

I took out a SallieMae 25,000 loan for LVN school this past year.  The school told me at the time when I got the loan that I would be able to get it consolidated, because I questioned why the interest rate was so high. They told me don't worry, after you pay on it for a year you will be able to get a lower interest rate. Well, needless to say, the school was not totally truthful.  It is a private school, and it did not offer me DLP or any other loan programs.  I feel because they get "kick backs" they do not try to steer the students to other lenders.  It encourages the schools to charfe an exorbitant amounts for their tuition, because they know they will get paid regardless.  Everyone has their hand in the cookie jar.  I do not see how it is even legal for them to have all the power they do to collect you from in such a ruthless way.  My loan is already overy 30,000 dollars, and will be over 75,000 by the time I pay it off.  What hurts the most is that they are taking advantage of the very vulnerable and I guess the government is just looking the other way. 

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Joe

I In 1987, I applied for Sallie mae loans totaling $50,000.  The interest rate has been 9% since then.  My loan amount now is $ 130,000.  I will never be able to pay back this amount in my lifetime.
the Payments are $900.00 a month.  Sallie Mae has not allowed to refi my loans to a lower rate, even when they could have been 4.5%, they will not agree to any modifications what so ever, even if I am working part time, they do not negotiate in any way.  Sallie Mae is a corrupt, unjust, and vile institution, and I hope they collapse due to their selfish-ness.

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Witheld

Just more of the same, so I'll be brief.  Chasing my dream...at the age of 40, graduated with a B.S Aviation Technology, Commercial rated pilot, former United Airline intern, and 42,000.00 student loan debt.  For the next 2+ years worked and paid to complete my flight instructor rating, which is crucial for building flight time.  Generally, 1000 hours of logged time to begin career at regional airlines, then on to the major airlines.  Enter 9/11!!  Needless to say, while I'm not currently in default, I'm working in retail, and back in school pursuing a new set of skills in the hope that it will lead to viable employment.

My current position within the black hole:

age:                                     47
income:                                  25,000/yr
student loan debt:                       68,000.00
orginal loan:                            42,000.00
monthly payment:                            572.00
amount applied to princple each month:   about a 100.00
retirement:                              Forget about it
pursuing the American dream:             Forget about it
flying for a major airline:              Forget about it
owning my own home:                      Forget about it
congress caring:                         Forget about it
hope:                                    Forget about it       

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June

My story is not unlike others -- it's over 16 years old now and I'm 70. Government computers are poised to automatonically abuse my Social Security Income. Pioneer Collect, Albany, NY, has recently had personality disordered employees harassing me; and now Diversified Collection, Livermore, CA, has sent me a collection letter along with a barcoded envelope for payment addressed to the Dept. of Educ., Greenville, TX.  This loan was paid in full in 1996.

I have a law book written by two attorneys, Taking Control of your Student Loan Debt, (Nolo Press); in it they tell us that the Dept. of Education continues to dun students for loans they have paid many years ago.

I just want to THANK you for your courage -- and your appearance and story on the news program on CBS last Sunday night!  I appreciate your courage as well as your perseverance to look for solutions -- we can make a difference together.

I'd like to ask if there is anyone interested in prayer work for our dysfunctional U.S. Government and our debacle of Department of Education/Sallie Mae student loan debauchery. If so, I'd like to hear from them so that we can pray together.

This abuse is NOT a lot different than TERRORISM -- except it's our government -- they need help.  Of course, I've already prayed for all of you out there because I knew all along that I wasn't the only one.

Living with the effects of Sallie Mae's debauchery is too devastating for most of us to bear without HELP. 

Does anyone have a story about the Dept. of Education Ombudsman?? I would like to hear it.

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John

I originally borrowed $42,000 total for undergraduate and graduate school loans.
My loans included funding for law school, but I because of my grades, I could not graduate.
I entered default when I was not making much money after graduation from college. The loans were referred to Sallie Mae for collection.
I consolidated my loans in 1994 which are today 45,000.
I can only afford to pay the interest (9.5%), almost $450 monthly.
At this rate, I will pay Sallie Mae for the rest of my life, at a whopping total many times the original loans.
So, far, I repaid more than $50,000, but the principal is virtually unchanged.

Because of special laws, I am precluded from discharging this debt through bankruptcy.

The rate for new loans is much lower than 9%.
I feel that I should be able to refinance at the rate for new loans, but Sallie Mae refuses.

I live in Los Angeles, so I have no representatives on the Education Committee.

Keep fighting the good fight.

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Lorraine

Shortly after graduation I started getting weaker and weaker as time went on I became fattily ill with an advanced form of artirio-sclosis I was in intensive care for one week waiting for quadruple bypass heart surgery. I am a now 62 years old. In 1988 I received my chiropractic licensed and practiced being a primary health care doctor. My weakened condition prevented me from  working and in January 1994 I no longer could do any work.  We had the Northridge earthquake My home had over $120,000.00 worth of damages and the stress of that along with my inability to pay the student loan debts and creditors always calling, created unbelievable stress.  I developed diabetes and a case of post traumatic stress disorder.  I still have remnants of this condition and although my surgery was a susses and I am still alive.  I have been unable to have a job or any gainful work  for 11 years now.   State Disability doesn't only not pay for my living expenses but ther!
 e is no way I will ever be able to pay for my student loans.  I have written to the student loan creditors and others and conversed with them, to no avail expect for my increased stress and possible heart attaché a few years ago.

I feel like a complete looser, frustrated and angry and them and well as my self.   I would want to do something to resolve this disgrace from my life for as long as I remain on this earth I will feel bad about not completing my earnestly made commitment to pay off my loans.  I borrowed about $90,000.00 and believed that within 10 years they would be paid off.  Now I have no exact  knowledge of what I owe today, I would extmate over $150,000.00 by now.  I have a judgment on my home that is but should not be accruing interest.   According to the last document sent to me last week.  It looks as if they the USA are trying to charge  my interest on the judgment and go back to when it was recorded, June 9, 1995, to add the passed supposed interest in to what I would owe and continue accruing interest at 10%.  Scott M. Gitlen Esq. {BN#(4596} of Goldsmith & Hull in Encino, California sent me an order to show cause dated April 20, 2006,  this is an other form of severe stress and ha!
 rassment from the credit agencies and attorneys that seem to be never ending.  I would like to quite at times but something new always comes up to try to get what ever they can from everyone, old or young, sick or poor, life disasters or natural disasters, nothing but money counts to them.  I have tried to stop them and will keep trying but wish it where resolved.  I need the peace and quiet to live a longer healthier life.

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Eric

I learned of this website by watching 60 Minutes.  About 4 years ago, I decided to attend culinary school after getting laid off from a corporate job.  The tuition for the culinary program at the California Culinary Academy, was at the time, about $37,000 for the 15 month program.  During the enrollment process, the only lender which was offered to me was Sallie Mae.  The loan process was easy and I was covered for the entire tuition amount plus additional expenses such as living.  I was informed that there was a deferment period after graduation which is normal before repayment.  After graduation, I began work and was anticipating the repayment schedule.  I got a letter informing me that I was late with my payment.  I never received any information or a payment schedule.  I talked to a Sallie Mae rep and I was informed that I would be sent information; never did.  I requested information about my account and I was sent an invoice for my current payment a!
 nd payment due date.  I was getting charged 16% interest for $45,000 (approx) "alternative student loan!" My payments were $575.00 a month.  Last fall, I was informed that my account was 60 days past due.  Sallie Mae claimed one of my payments never arrived and therefore I cancelled that check.  I was charged late fees for this. I arranged for an alternative payment schedule which would only lower my payments to $520.00.  Sallie Mae claimed that was the lowest payment I could make.  In November, I decided to impose a deferment period...at the cost of $100.00!  For 5 months, interest would accrue without payment.  My account is now current but repayments have started at a new interest rate of 17.35% and a new payment of $676.01.  I have started looking into California law regarding usury for loans.  Unless I get a co-signer for a loan to buy my Sallie Mae out, I am stuck with Sallie Mae for the time.  Hopefully, there may be a way to bring a class-action against Sallie Mae for their business practices.

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Edward

I am glad i found this site!  I thought i was alone.  I currently owe more than 75 thousand on student loans after graduating.  I was unable to find work suitable to pay  the amount asked, working at a non profit than losing my job and becoming entrenched in this debt.  I went into default and now i am being threatened with garnishment of may wages at 15 percent of my income.  I have a family, two children, and have asked to be given a payment plan.  I was involved with rehab of the loan, but was told by other loan agencies that i could get a much lower amount on loan payments.  I was paying 475 dollars a month.  After being told by the dept of ed, that my loan was going to collections, they now have threatened me with garnishment.  I want to pay this back with reasonable amount.  I have two children and one, graduating and heading to college.  I am worried and now in the process of looking for help!  Is there anything i can do at this point?  I am feelin!
 g awful as a college graduate with this debt, and my family is feeling the pinch.  I cannot even get my official transcripts for applying to jobs that i qualify for, they want me to pay up or else!  Thanks for telling this story and getting the word out.  I will take on any input from anybody..thanks.

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Nicole

 My student loans from Sallie May originally totaled $25,000 in 1998 -- I defaulted on one loan because I couldn't pay on since I wasn't making enough money. I've since reconsolidated the loans and now the total has ballooned to $41,000. I was told there isn't anything I can do about it.  I have an excellent credit rating and am frustrated that I will be paying about $100,000 on an original principal which totaled in the mid-twenties.

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Ed

 I don't know how much I borrowed to attend a state public school and business school at a private university, but I have so many collection stories I could write a book.

My first shock was my exit interview at business school where they told me I would have to pay $1400/month to pay back the $70,000 I borrowed. They told me the total repayment would be $270,000. I couldn't believe it. Maybe they should do an "enter" interview rather than an "exit" interview. I didn't know of too many jobs that paid enough to cover San Francisco rent, bills, and $1400 a month in loans. It was about a year after graduation when I got a call at work from a collector representing the Private Lender. He told me my loans were about to go into default and the only way I could avoid it was to pay all of the back interest by Fedex overnight. I panicked. I had only been working about 6 months and was struggling to just pay the bills. I felt I had no choice but to cash out my newly created 401K plan and protect my credit. I sent them about $2100 overnight. The following week they sent me a letter telling me that I had defaulted on my student loans. The check had alread!
 y cleared.

My credit went downhill faster than you could imagine. My credit card companies all reduced my credit limits or closed my accounts. I vowed that this particular company would never get another red cent out of me.

A few years later they sued me for the balance due. I fought back and won a dismissal of the case. I haven't heard from them since.

I also owe money to the DOE. I've dealt with Van Ru, GC Services, Financial Asset Management, all of those losers. And that's what they are -- losers who get a kick out of demeaning their victims. One company that knew my phone number (having called me every day for weeks) went so far as to contact my next door neighbor and leave a message for me with them. Imagine my shock and embarassment when my neighbor came over with a handwritten message telling me that "this person says she's been trying to contact you". I had no choice but to look up this collector on zabasearch.com, get her home address, look up her neighbor, and call her neighbor and leave her a message that "this person says he doesn't want you to contact him anymore". Never heard from her again. Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire.

The good news is that the collection agencies only have about 12 weeks on the account before it gets passed to another agency. This way we get to compare the tactics and nastiness of each agency with the others.

I take one of TWO APPROACHES TO DEALING WITH STUDENT LOAN COLLECTORS:
1. If the collector is courteous and professional (which happens more often than you think), I treat them with professional courtesy. I answer their questions honestly, describe my predicament, and attempt to cooperate in ways that do not upset them.
2. If the collector is nasty, I get NASTY. Each rude or intrusive comment or question they ask is met by an equally rude or intrusive comment. I ask them how much they get paid to harass people, if they have any friends, if their parents are proud of their choice of career, if they own or rent, what kind of car they drive and how they cope with the jealousy of dealing with college graduates on a regular basis. Usually they keep their cool and stay on track, but occasionally someone will have a meltdown.

If you owe a large amount to a single lender and have not consolidated AND HAVE SOME MONEY or EQUITY IN A HOME, you should attempt to negotiate a lump sum settlement. First, you need to come up with an offer. Start by subtract ing all of those bogus and ridiculous penalty fees. No way any judge in the universe will make you pay those. Then subtract the interest. You're left with the original balance. That's a fair offer to start negotiating with. From your perspective, you've had an interest-free loan that you're repaying in full. From their perspective, they're getting their entire investment back from a "deadbeat" and can invest more wisely next time. If they don't bite, ask for a counteroffer. There are only TWO RULES OF NEGOTIATING A LOAN SETTLEMENT:
1. DO NOT PAY A DIME for them to "hold" the deal for you or to "show good faith". They'd love to have your bank account info so they can verify the balance. Too much money and they'll just sue you. Your "good faith" money will go into their pockets and the deal will disappear.
2. GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING. Every offer. Every counteroffer. Every rejection. Most importantly, if you're settling a large amount (more than $10,000) have a lawyer review the settlement agreement to make sure it's valid. There is nothing worse than thinking you've finally paid your loans off only to find out that you've been PUNK'D by the collection agency. Trust me. It happens all the time

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Marylin

 I was told by the International Air Academy in Ontario, Ca.  that I was signing the paperwork for a grant to pay the tuition for my class.  When schooling was finished and the airline to which I had been sent or hired told me I would have to relocate to keep my job I quit as I was working to support my family, not abandon them.  I was in between jobs and the state employment office was not helping in that department either.  I called the funder of my student (grant)loan only after I received communications stating I was in default and would need to call now.  I was always connected to an automated system that I am assuming no one checks because I left message after message for someone to call me about my grant and no one ever returned any of my calls.  When I was hired by a local printing company I started making regular payments, but by that time they were sicking collection agencies on me and the interest and penalties were climbing at an alarming rate.


   Now because I was fired or terminated from my work while out on disability because I stopped breathing a couple of times with COPD, they are holding out money from my social security of which doesn't even come close to paying my house payment let alone my space rent for that home.  They had garnished my wages before getting sick and then when I went out on disability they sent paperwork to my employer saying to cease all garnishments from my paychecks.  When I wrote to them about which way they wanted me to go and why they stopped garnishments they turned it around like I was the one saying I thought I shouldn't pay.  I only wish that people like me would be made aware of the "loans" and "grants" and where the boundaries for both are drawn.  I was a single mother supporting 3 children most of my life and couldn't get credit so you can imagine my surprise when they said after graduation that I had passed the credit check. I am a white woman single divorce mother and have been harrassed for many years because my government sees fit to do that to me because one of their funders of grants and loans could not return a simple phone call.  I am now 66 years of age and am stuck in my house because of another government thing .  I couldn't get out if there was a fire here.

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Barbara

 I am a 57 year old woman. 
I first went to college here in Modesto at Modesto Junior College from 1970 to 1972.I was majoring in Biology but as my folks could not pay for my schooling, I was on work study and what ever grants were available.  I had to drop out for financial reasons.I did not get back  to school until 1978, when I majored in art for 2 years.  In 1980 I got the last Dept Technician jot at CSUStanislaus that did not require a degree. During this time, I began to take some upper division classes to complete my Major in Biology and a minor in Art. I had recieved a small inheritance and was able to use this to go to school until my (then)husband was injured on the job, and I had to drop out to support us.   


11 years ago, my mother's health reached the point that she could not drive so I moved in with her.  I was having trouble getting full time or permanent work and had just lost my place due to a messy divorce.  In late 1997 things got really bad, and she asked me what I thought would help.  I had been working whenever I could as a (non-medical) lab tech, but with only 2 1/2 years of college, I couldn't get the really good jobs. So I said I thought finishing my degree would help. 
She offered to let me stay as long as it would take (5 semesters, as I had been out of school for 11 years at that point.  Even though she offered to pay for it, I knew that my sisters would scream bloody murder (I am the only surviving member of my immediate family that does NOT have bipolar disorder, my mom did, too).


So I applied and was accepted at CSUStanislaus in Turlock, this time with a major in Art and a minor in Biology, and applied for all grants and loans available. I do not remember being told about anything other than salliemae loans and I did not even know about the others until I saw  60 minutes, last Sunday. I never did want to go the loan route, but even though My mom offered to help me, I knew that befause of her mental problems that she could back out at any time, and I would not get my degree, again.  In fact, when one of my sisters did object, any way, she tried to get me to drop out, and even went so far as to try to kick me out of her house, even though I was the only daughter able to help her out with taking care of the place.  In addition to the grants and loans, I was working parttime during school and fulltime on breaks and summer vacation.  I finally graduated in June 2000 with a gpa of 3.01.  I would have done much better than this but after my Dad died in 1971, I had a bad year at MJC.  As it was, I made dean's list 2 of my semesters this last time at CSUS.
My mom's health had been deteriorating the last year I was in school, and she died 3 months after I graduated.  In the spring of 2001, I thought I was on my way.  I had taken my CBEST test during my l;ast semester and had been subsitute teaching when I got a really great job at a candle  and gift company in Hayward CA, starting at $17 an hour, almost twice what I had ever made before.  I was working as a color and design technician with all kinds of possibilities for advancement when the company was sold overseas in August, just before 9/11.  I had 5 resumes out, for jobs almost as good, when that happened, and no more than a week later, they all dried up. 
I realize that when my mother's probate was settled in NOV 2002, I could have paid off the loan in it's entirety, but so fat the only work I'd been able to get was subbing, and by this time there wasn't much there either; the schools had entered a financial crisis and teachere were told not to take off unless they really had to (I hav relative who teach and they told me that this was happeneing)Central Calif was also undergoing a housing crisis at that time, which has slowed down, but not abated.Even with $45,000 in the bank, I was not able to find a place to rent until  I took a low wage job outside of my field. 
In addition to my past job experience I realized after I finished school, that I do have a talent with ceramics that has actually earned me a substancial income, that is, when I am living where I can set up my kiln (I need 220v circut with a 50+ amp breaker).I have not been able to do this since I had to move from my mom's place 01NOV2002, because I have had to move 7 times since then,mostly due to landlords selling their places in a hot seller's market!One place was an out and out fraud, as the guy who rented it to me did not have legal posession and was on parole for defrauding Nevada casinos (I believe he is banned from even enteringthat state)  he only rented it to me to cause it to go into foreclosure, which it did>  3 months after it was sold he was arrested by the Merced police for defrauding his gbrother out of $20000.  This was in the "B" section of the Modesto Bee 18SEP2004; I still have my copy. 
I had been looking for work all this time (I still am), but in the current housing market, looking for housing is a fulltime job in itself, as is job hunting.  I am completely alone as my family self destructed at the close of my mom's probate.  I even ended up homeless and living at the Salvation Army shelter in December of 2003.
I cannot afford to be on line at home and am writing this from the Public Library.  There is a lot more, but my time is up.  I may not be able to send the rest until next week.  I am a few days away from being homeless, again. My slo mail is P. O. Box 583132; Modesto CA95358.
Thank you for being so patient as to read this If I can help let me know, If there is help for me, please let me know.

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Ken

I was contacted by my student loan collection agency today, DCS out of California.  They wanted me to consolidate
my student loans through Sallie Mae with the government's Federal Direct Consolidation Loans program.  Smelling a
rat, I asked what was the reason they contacted me for after three years of garnishment @ 10% net income and roughly
$100 a month interest.  They informed me that the original loan papers were for an adjustable rate and that it would be
going up beginning next month.  To add more bad news they are also going to raise the garnishment rate to 15%.

I asked what was my remaining balance--$23k, already paid over $20k in garnished income and intercepted refunds plus
another $10k to the feds on a different program.  I would like to know if others have been encouraged to consolidate and

whether or not Sallie Mae is feeling the heat of the recent negative PR in an effort to possibly shed its shakey image as

a loanshark.  It seems to me that if I consolidate, I'd be caving into their strong-arm tactics by letting them off the hook

for what is obvious to me some extraordinarily creative accounting practices.  Any insight would be appreciated.

 

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Heather

I went to court reporting college in February 1991 and completed the course work in November of 1994.  Please keep in mind that court reporting is considered a vocational school.  The total cost of my student loans was approximately $31,000.  I am now being asked to repay approximately $65,000. 

Court reporting is a unique field.  Most reporters do not work in the court system, and work as freelance reporters.  An awful lot of money is invested in your computer equipment and software.  I took out another loan of about $10,000 just for my steno machine, software, and computer.  At the time I began working as a court reporter, I made less than $20,000 because starting as a freelance reporter is similar to starting a business.  I could not pay my monthly student loan payments and asked for forebearance after forebearance.  After two years, I was so broke that I went back to my original career as a legal secretary just so that I could pay my monthly bills, and again asked for forebearances on the loans because I could not afford the monthly payments. 

After two years, I looked into a bachelor degree program only to learn that the 3 and 9 months of school that I attended to get my court reporting license was not transferrable to any state university or junior college.  At this point, I made a decision to go back to square one and went to junior college, paying as I went, and after four years part-time obtained my AA degree.  I applied to UC Berkeley and was accepted with a 3.97 GPA from Vista Community College.  My student loans from court reporting college were now being deferred because I was taking over 6 units of college course work.  I am still in school, paying as I go, because I have been told by the financial officers at Berkeley that I have reached my maximum amount of loans -- and not one penny of that went toward a "real" degree!  Needelss to say, this burden of having to pay cash at a school where most everyone else is eligible for a loan is draining on my pocketbook.  By the time I do finish getting my Bachelo!
 r's Degree I will be in debt and will again, have no resources to pay back a $65,000 student loan for a useless degree! 

The government should do something about the unsubsidiezed loans given to vocational schools.  Certainly most students, such as I, had no idea how the game works and think that they are getting a "real" education.  I cannot express how difficult it is to work full time, attend classes at UC Berkeley, and pay as I go because I am not entitled to any more unsubsidized loans.  Furthermore, I not only cannot afford the usual items that most adults can afford upon completion of a degree.  I cannot afford a new car.  I cannot afford to move.  I cannot afford what will presumably be an exorbitant monthly payment for a student loan that is now over ten years old. 

The $35,000 in interest that Sallie Mae has made off of me is criminal.  while I have not gone into default yet, the likelihood is I will be forced into such a situation because I cannot afford to make the monthly payments.  Given that I don't even have a bachelor's degree and owe this much money to the goverment should be looked into for other ambitious people like myself who have invested so much of their adult life in getting a decent education.




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Joann

 I originally borrowed $8,000.00 for my masters degree. The campus closed and I decided to enroll in a Ph.D. program rather than continue on another campus in another school for my Masters. The other school was trying to get APA accredidation and there were problems. My husband lost his high-paying job and our income dropped. I then had something like $30,000 in debt. I went to antoher Ph.D. program for 5 years and once again they were trying to get out of accredadation problems and I was dismissed for failure to pass the research sequence in 5years, at that time I was working for a Stanford professor doing research and getting high evaluation, I just had math anxiety. They had me take statistics classes over and over again, I hold the record, at $3,000 a pop, while handing me $30,000 a year. I had math anxiety and finally got a tutor who helped  me. The educating body provided no such support, they were just trying to survive at that time because half the student body quit in protest prior to my entering (something they did not tell me). My doctor husband left me because he could not handle his life with a defaulted mortgage and debt. After being dismissed to cover their loan and management practices, I enrolled in another program, at my own expense and finished. I now owe $250,000 with 7% interest annually. I have deferred my loans for twenty years and just finished. I received a letter in the mail stating that in 30 years I will owe $600,000.000, for a Ph.D. in psychology. I just laughed because it is abusurd...just absurd.  I am 53 years old...get real. I started to make a life with my doctor husband. It all went away and I am left with this abusurd debt. I can not even help people for free. Our society has gone nuts...Capitalism? You can not really organize a society around this kind of debt...$250,000 and counting for education, $500,000 for a home, 1 million to raise a child? The few who get riches do not make a society. It is unsustainable...very simply. I tried getting help while the other shoe fell and I went through so much anxiety and fear over all of this...now it is just too absurd to worry about.  It has to change and it will.

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Todd

Pioneer Credit Recovery (collection agency) owned by Sallie Mae has been calling my home non-stop and my job leaving pseudo threatening messages.  I spoke to one person who misrepresented herself as calling from the Dept. of Education and when I denied being the person she was speaking to she said "if you aren't this person, then you have nothing to be worried about."  She read to me my birth date and social security number and wanted me to verify them which I refused.  Sallie Mae is pretending not to be a collection agency so they can then charge huge collection fees and late fees.  Credit Card companies are allowed to do this and the consumer protection is called bankruptcy to be free from this unfair debt situation created by credit card companies ability to hike the interest rate and charge consumers whatever they want.  Sallie Mae has no limit on its ability to charge a student whatever they want with no questions asked.

I want to pay my student loan and if the government is involved, then why is the government allowing Sallie Mae to charge whatever they want to keep students indebted forever.  The government should put limits on all the late fees and collection fees, etc these companies can charge.

Columbia University (New York) lent me $2,000 dollars as a student and then sued me and I was unable to get a job for 5 years because the judgment was on my credit report. I was unable to apply for graduate school because Columbia wouldn't release my transcripts.  Columbia through its lawfirm even froze my bank account.  I had to deal with someone named Booker Washington Jr. in Financial Aid who did nothing to assit me other than imply I wasn't a good person because I hadn't paid the loan back. It wasn't his problem Columbia decided to ruin my life over $2,000 dollars.  Six years later I'm still fighting with Columbia to release my transcripts.

My student loan debt has grown from $18,000 to $36,000 and I will never be able to buy a home in this lifetime.  I was unemployed for 2 years due to being in a field that contracted (the economy) and wasn't able to transition easily into a new field.  I'm working now for 1/2 of what I used to earn and cannot sleep at night because of this looming debt.

I resent being harassed by Sallie Mae (who has recently become my friend again after I agreed to consolidate my loans at a higher interest rate).  The government has created a Student Loan Monopoly and has turned its back on a generation of students.

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Witheld

 In the early 1990s I received several loans which ultimately amounted to around $15,000.00 from a for-profit student loan corporation to attend a technical school.

With my Associate of Applied Science (A.S.) in Electronics Engineering Technology degree in 1993 I was able to get an entry-level job in a technical field.

The loan corporation started sending me bills for several hundred dollars a month for each loan. There were numerous loans as the loan corporation required I apply for a separate loan for each quarter or semester I was in the two-year technical school. Having an entry level job, having high rent in expensive Southern California, and child support payments I couldn't afford to pay the loans. I asked the corporation if I could pay the minimum on the loans each month to keep the bad marks off my credit report and they responded that the minimum payment is $50 on EACH LOAN! Not being able to afford this I didn't pay the loan for years and it went into default, collecting penalties and whatever interest rate the corporation deemed fit to charge.

A few years ago the Federal government bought the loan from this private corporation because they were obligated to back any student loans. The amount of the loans after penalties and interest for around a decade came to more than $40,000.00.

Any tax returns I got were immediately seized as payment on the loan and after a while my wages started being garnished.

I called the Federal Student Loan people and worked out a plan with them to consolidate all the separate loans into one single $40K loan with an 8.25% interest rate. They looked over my and my wife's (who wasn't even in my life when I took out the loans) income and decided I should pay $527 a month. There's no way I have that money, even at this point in my life after a decade of working my way up the ladder from my original entry-level job and having another child. I told them I could afford at most $350 a month and that'd be stretching it. I've been paying that much for a couple of years, but now it seems they're starting to crack down and demand the $527 each month after cutting me some slack for a year.

I can't get another loan (to say, buy a house for my family) due to this loan being on the books and despite paying $350/mo for a couple of years the loan amount is still over $39K.

I'm looking into debt negotiation services, but am learning that most times that's a scam that can get you into more financial problems than you started with. I'm starting to lean toward bankruptcy at age 35.

It just doesn't seem fair to be smacking down hard-working people who honestly want to pay off what they owe by jacking up penalties and interest rates. I'll never be able to buy my family a home because I had to borrow money when I was younger to go to school to get a decent job and I couldn't afford to pay the corporation when I had an entry level job!

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Rob

 I currently reside in Los Angeles and finished college about 10 years ago.  I borrowed about $20,000 to finish the last two years of school to get my Bachelor's Degree.  I deferred for one year until I had a job and was on my feet.  I paid interest only for the first two years, but my provider, Sallie Mae informed me that I'll have to start paying some of the principal and upped my payment and upped it to over $250.  At the time, I was still only taking home about $2000 per month, and that's not much in L.A. 

Then in 1999, three years after I graduated, my mother who in her 70's, informed my two older brothers and myself that she could no longer afford the $750 per month mortgage on her house in Fresno, CA, where I grew up and went to college.  We each had to begin splitting the mortgage and other bills such as home repairs to the tune of $200-$350 per month. 

At that time, I filed for a one year payment exemption in which I would not be required to make payments for one whole year, with interest accruing and compounding.  At the end of that year, I applied and was granted a 6-month extension under the same terms.

I was able to begin making payments, but not on a regular basis.  Late fees compounded with interest and were tacked on. 

Then in 2002, I was making $48,000 per year at the time, and was making sporadic payments.  I was laid off from my job and given only a few weeks severance pay and was unemployed for four months.  I stopped making payments at that time, and it went into default.  I had to take a job making about $15,000 per year less.  By this time, the balance had ballooned to over $25,000.

I was contacted in 2004 by the California Dept. of Education and started a program to get out of default.  The terms were based on an amortized plan in which I would pay less than the interest that was accruing each month in the first year, at $275 per month, then gradually going up in payment size each year until the third year in which I would be paying interest only and then by year four, paying a small portion of the principle and interest.  By this time, the balance was nearly $30,000. 

I switched jobs in August 2004, and was nearly back to the income level I was at in 2002.  My commute, however was considerably longer, and my living expenses continued to increase.  I defaulted again, because I could just not afford the payments. 

I was contacted recently by a collections agency that wants to work out a payment plan to pay off the balance of over $37,000 - nearly double of the original balance - or face wage garnishment of 15% per month.  They also threatened to turn my name over to the U.S. Dept. of Justice and said that I could face criminal charges.  (I thought we eliminated Bankruptcy prison in the early part of the 20th century because it was deemed unconstitutional under the 8th amendment?) 

As it is, I share an apartment with two friends, I shop at Ross, I clip coupons, I don't go out much, and yet now it's going to get worse.  I have to tell my brothers that they will have to foot the bill for my mother's monthly expenses, and I hope that they can. 

I understand that I owe that money.  If I had accumulated the means by which to pay for college myself or pay them back, I would have gladly done it.  But the working, blue-collar middle class where I came from is constantly facing barriers to moving up the class chain in America.  The middle class - both white and blue collar - is facing extinction in this country and we are slowly becoming a haves and have-nots society.  The people in the middle are having to work twelve hour days and bring home two incomes just to have a roof over their heads, while the dollar for dollar pay ratio for a CEO to the rest of the company in 2006 averages $342 to $1.  In the 50's when the unions were in control, that ratio was only $10 to $1.  Yes, adjusted for inflation. 

In school growing up, they feed you the desiring notion that you can really achieve a higher status and benefit from an education and that it's truly the key to all your hopes and dreams.  But that isn't always true. 

And what happens when a product or service does not fulfill all that is supposedly guaranteed or deliver on all that is promised to you?  You ask for your money back. 

Why should this situation be any different for us?

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Ken

I was contacted by my student loan collection agency today, DCS out of California.  They wanted me to consolidate
my student loans through Sallie Mae with the government's Federal Direct Consolidation Loans program.  Smelling a
rat, I asked what was the reason they contacted me for after three years of garnishment @ 10% net income and roughly
$100 a month interest.  They informed me that the original loan papers were for an adjustable rate and that it would be
going up beginning next month.  To add more bad news they are also going to raise the garnishment rate to 15%.

I asked what was my remaining balance--$23k, already paid over $20k in garnished income and intercepted refunds plus
another $10k to the feds on a different program.  I would like to know if others have been encouraged to consolidate and

whether or not Sallie Mae is feeling the heat of the recent negative PR in an effort to possibly shed its shakey image as

a loanshark.  It seems to me that if I consolidate, I'd be caving into their strong-arm tactics by letting them off the hook

for what is obvious to me some extraordinarily creative accounting practices.  Any insight would be appreciated.


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Tf

I finished college in 1992 and, like most graduates, thought I had a bright future...I couple year later all hell broke lose and I had no choice but to file bankruptcy. I had no idea that my attorney had asked for a hardship discharge of my student loans and after reviewing the case that judge granted the discharge. My attorney mailed the discharge to me and I put it in a drawer.

In 1997 I gat a call from Sallie Mae saying my student loans would go into default if I did not start making payment.Not knowing my loans had been discharged I started making payments. I struggled to make $484 per month payments of which almost all went to interest. My original loan was $39.000 and by then it was over $60,000. In 2001 I lost my job and defered my loans. I started making them again last year but could not afford the to pay the $773 per month payment and go a harship payemnt of $233, less than half the monthly interest on my now $88,000 loan. In May I was going through some documents and found the bankruptcy discharge. I still did not understand what 11 523(a) means so I took it to a legal aid workshop. To my surprise the attorney told me I did not owe Sallie Mae one thin dime. He said Sallie Mae was was on the list of creditors and had been served and given time to respond but, according to the discharge, declined to respond or the motion was not sustained. N!
 eedless to say I was confused and delighted. I called Sallie Mae and told them about the discharge. The representative was very polite and told me to mail the document the them and gave me an address for the claims department. To date I have mailed the discharge, list of creditors and  a letter asking for a refund of the almost $30,000 I have paid them to date to them three times and faxed them two time. However, each time I call to follow up they say they have not recieved them...I just want this matter to be resolved but it seems Sallie Mae is not having it.

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Witheld

********************** This may help*****************
see the letter on www.ifap.ed.gov... dear partner colleg ltr.  DCL publication date 070100. DCLID 00-g-327 ... false cert discharge requests. on 11-16-99 us court of appeals  Jordan v. riley.. Court found section 437(C) of the higher ed act of 65 as amended, 20usc 1087(c) does not authozize the secretarty to inclde criteria in the regulations.  court ruled that statute only authoizes the secretary to determine whether the student met the objective criteria for certication berfore being admitted. the school prop tested student.  NOW.the only thing we have to prove is . the borrower will now only be required to demonstrate the school admitted them on the ability to benefiit from the program offered at the school but did so without using the guidlines or tests they were suppose to.  There is certain guidelines they have to follow, such as there can be no help,************************************************************** and people who work for the school can not give the test!
   If you type in  34CFR 682.402 e 3 ii b. in your search engine. it should pull up the laws.
My story is the same as the rest.  Back in 1985 single mom of 21.  Attended a school for 2 months, before I reliezed they had health hazards, were not going to teach anything. I contacted everyone, health board California student aid/ edfund. 1986 I then went to the famous Bryman College. Little good that did, I was unable to get any position in Medical office. I ended being a yard duty at a local school.  Well the first school closed. Yet I did not qualify for the discharge because it was before 1986. I didnt even attend but 3 months? but the school got paid in full. so I owe. As for Bryman, I did not have any highschool diploma or ged, and there test was given by the office manager,sales person with other people. Came to find out it was not even a valid test.  well total borrow was 5000. paid to date 16000. I have now filed a tort claim againist the attoreny general, since Cal. student aid commsion paid on a loan that I had already paid, and recieved the loan doc. The lend!
 er sumbit a copy of the loan docs, with paper work stating they did not have the orginals, and Ca student aid paid the lender. Next with the bryman school I sumbit false cert discharge request. They refused. I file a tort claim with my state attonery general, and now have permission to sue the Ca student aid.  I order to try to sue any agency, you first have to file a claim with the attonery general. 

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Kelly

In 1982 took a student loan out for 2000.00
1989 filed bankruptcy chap.7 included student loan and credit card.
in 1998 filled bankruptcy again , part of process was search for all outstanding debts.....1982 student loan did not show.
2005 ECMC sends notice of collecting $10,000 wage garnishment fees and interest.

Here is why this is evil....this debt was first dissolved in legal federal bankruptcy....verified in a search for debts years later, then surfaced mysteriously in 2005 ???
WHY?  here is why.....
I have worked for Government for 6 years now and am 4 years from retirement.
I already have a wage garnishment that take almost half my pay (arrears)
I am a homeless father of 5, who cannot afford to rent a room where my children can visit me.
I am a 20% service connected disabled veteran of the USMC
I cant do anything but try to appeal to God and websites like this to stop
this evil, greedy, and attacks.

If an anytime along the way I knew I HAD to pay this I would have made arrangements to do so rather than let the interest grow
but THEY HID THE DEBT SO PAPERWORK ON IT COULD BET LOST AND INTEREST COULD GROW  So Bankruptcys on Student loans back in 1989, was a sleeper scam.

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John 


I hardly know what to write other than my situation on this matter is a bit different and I probably am getting of less scorched than many of you here. This seems to be a trend starting in the eighties. I'll be honest. I defaulted on my school loan. But not because of the institution that loaned me the money for tuition. The school I attended was worth bunk then. Now they have grown and have more of a reputation to think of. So this is good for the younger adults who are trying to make a go of it.

Upon attending the Art Institute of Houston.I was told how much money I received in loans and grant money.I believed most costs were covered.  Each semester the school reserves the right to raise it's tuition-which they did in perpetuity. I was working my way through a one year course in hopes of taking advantage of the education to get a better job through the school-they said a third semester student could do this. Upon reaching the third semester I found out what their idea employment opporitunies were. A black binder with job listings in it.

Consequently, Due to financial hardship, I could not graduate at the time with the rest of my class and received no "Associate Degree" -that what they called it. I fought with them for seven or so years trying to get it regardless. I received it in 1991. Which they promptly backdated to the day of my graduation.it's not worth the paper it's printed on.

They stated they were accredited and credits could be transferred to other colleges. Not so! Sort of.. At the time in the early nineties they were good a one school in New Jersey. Of course, every year just about, someone was getting my tax return money due to the defaulted loan. I can't now and couldn't use any of the education I learned there to get a good job. I have had many jobs since then and have been laid-off many times. Now, a bigger corporation along with a few other colleges has purchased those Institutions. Now they are national. It was one of the worst mistakes I have ever made in my life. They didn't treat all of their students this way, though. Just the one's in a certain income bracket. They seemed to favor those students whose family took out the loans for full time study. So-called day classes. I know one friend who did pretty well attending there. So, I know there were many more advantages.

These schools run things as a business. While on the surface give the appearance of an establishment for learning. The counselors were only concerned about the bottom line -commission. If that is true then they should be treated as businesses are: When making false statements or embellishing facts about what they can or cannot provide to the prospective customer. They should be held accountable. It is out and out criminal activity and. and a black mark on the system of receiving loans for as much. As far as this consumer is concerned it far, far too easy for this establishment to push loans in one door and out the other. It is my belief if I was to use the same information I presented to give to receive it at the establishment for say a business loan (at that time it would not have been approved...just speculation but there it is nonetheless)

I have talked to lawyers. They don't take on cases such as mine-not enough money involved. I contacted the Board of Education and got a form for dismissal. . Which, I will be returning shortly. I contacted the ACLU-no dice. I'm going to check into the Better Business Bureau again.

This is a good read to gain knowledge into this growing problem.

The testimony of the honorable Maxine Waters of the House of Representatives full Committee Hearing on:
"Enforcement of Federal Anti-Fraud Laws in For-Profit Education"

March 1, 2005
I shall be using it for the notes in my dismissal.
Also, CBS did a segment on the University of Phoenix and some students there. Obviously, Something needs to be done about all this.
These " Education Corporations" are always making moves to look more and more legit while covering over the people they have screwed over in the past.
  
I'll stay tuned...

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Katherine

I took out loans in 1980. Total was about $30,000. Graduated and paid off about $10,000 then defaulted. Was told had to pay the remainder in one lump sum of about $17,000. I laughed and hung up. In 2005 I am contacted by a collection agency who eventually contacted my employer, pretended they were the state bar, and basically coerced me into signing a new prom note for $50,000, saying that is what I owe. I can get no records from them of what I paid and of course, have no records 20 years later. This is terrible. They want me to pay $700 per month. Yeah and live on what?

 

 

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Robert

I just read about you in the Chronicle today. Good work! I am so glad to hear about NGOs finally addressing this issue. I actually wrote about it for my PhD dissertation in the mid 90s.

My own particle case of default raises another point for pushing for reform. When I defaulted I quickly found out that they tack on a 20% (if I remember right) fee which cannot be appealed. It's incredulous that corporations and wealthy people can appeal penalties for tax crimes but we are not allowed to appeal such insidious fees. When I contacted Sallie Mae to appeal they confirmed that there way no way to do so. When I wrote my Congresswoman Woolsey's office they responded saying they would promise to address this issue but I have never heard more from them.

Keep up the great work! This is the number 1 underreported story of our time.

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Ben

I only got two loans due to my parent's earnings, savings and home equity and exited college in 1992 with about $4400 in debt. Today this debt is over $10,000. I got notices after grad for consolidation, but my totals didn't qualify me. I have been homeless and had people deny to my face I had any loans, while getting vebally abusive ad barely literate calls from collction agency. After 2 years on the street I got a great job but the Edfund attached my wages because they pretended I didn't make it worthwhile for them to accept my agreement.

My Plus and Student loans in default from the state were freezing my IRS returns, who really performed a scam and made an agreement then bailed on it and attached my wages. Every time I called the IRS it was a 3 hour wait and then they wanted to renegotiate every part of the deal, like they got a bonus or something. When I got he agreement in the mail, my name had been reattached and stapled onto it, like they had docotored what they had sent to my company for the garnishment.

After the Edfund sleaze stopped calling I got a package to return. But I couldn't promise to pay these monies because I was barely scraping by with unserviced debt over my head. The Edfund didn't care and attached my wages. When the company accouting department saw 2 garnishments I lost my job.

These problems have plagued me ever since. I live on family loans and cannot pass any credit check. There is no job in my future. Once the student loan defaults and garnishments show up, an ex-con dealings drugs has a better future than I do. I cannot meet medical costs and have no coverage of any type.

Sooooooooooooo glad I went to college. Every time I ever called the GSL companies for a deferment they acted like i was speaking Martian. I have no kids, no car, no life. There is NO way to change this unless people with brains start running the companies that work this debt.

 

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Patsy

Hello, this is my story. 1982-1984 ORIGINAL SCHOOL LOAN AMT. OWED: $6010.00. PERIOD!
ECMC CLAIMS I OWE: $1198.57 FOR LOAN #1::ORIGINAL LOAN AMT. =$100
ECMC CLAIMS I OWE: $2966.79 FOR LOAN #2::ORIGINAL LOAN AMT =$500
ECMC CLAIMS I OWE $2966.78 FOR LOAN #3::ORIGINAL LOAN AMT =$500.
>From March 1985 to August 1992 I made on time monthly payments totaling have repayed $3560.84 against my Citibank Student Loan.
ECMC claims they want to see all original documentations in order to adjust the correct amt. I've done all they have requested. To no avail. I am willing to pay what I owe. I haven't moved around. Citibank, nor the guarantor CSAC, ever tried to contact me. I've always had my address within the same vicinity. The post office always had a forwarding address for me since I bankrupt. There was no reason for me to be diligent about inquiring about my loan after the Bankruptcy judge declared his order of discharging all my creditors. I've been in the same city for most of my life. They waited 13 years to contact me. They have denied me a phone review. Even with all the evidence they have they won't even consider dropping any interest accrue nor take into consideration the repayment amt of $3560.84. They manipulate facts to justify their greed. I am willing to pay what I owe. They claim in October 28, 1992 following a bankruptcy, ch 13 converted to ch 7 that CSAC,the original guarantor paid a bankruptcy claim to the lender Citibank on Dec. 31, 1993 in the amt. of $2711.60. ECMC states, "since the original claim was paid on a bankruptcy,ECMC, as your current guarantor, requested that your original lender, Citibank, repurchase your loans based on FedReg 34 C.F.R 682.402(H). BECAUSE IT WAS NOT IN DEFAULT AT THE TIME." Before my 65 days notice to respond to these allegations ECMC sold my loan to OSI EDUCATION SERVICES, INC. Even without a hearing or review of my evidence. When OSI administration found out that this loan was still in review status with ECMC, they backed off for now. OSI informed me that they tacked on another $500.00 for each loan they bought off of ECMC...
ECMC threatened to offset the balance by withholding any future tax refunds. OSI threatened to ruin my credit and show delinquent on my credit report. I appreciate you hearing my dilema with a student loan that in all honesty, I thought would be behind me.

Once again thank you very much..

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Kathy

My son Josh has an original loan of approx. $30K. He attended ITT tech which pushed Sallie Mae heavely on us. no other loan agency was suggested.

After Josh graduated, he did not end up with a job that would support himself/bills/carloan/medicalbills etc.... so I started paying on his Sallie Mae loan.

from the beginning their were problems. I would send in the payment amount on the loans plus a few extra hundred to apply to principle. Sallie mae would apply the payments to one loan and make three loans late. they would then add late charges and fee's on top of that. I call them every month to have them fix the payments and take off the late charges. I do not see the loan amount decreasing at all. on top of that, one loan the least amount at 6k is locked in at 3.75% but the other three loans of about 10k each are what they claim private loans. the interest rate has jumped from 10% all the way up to 14.50% so, there is no way the principle is going down.

I have contacted Sallie Mae about consolidation. they will not even consider this unless my son has a co signer. I as a parent will be damned if I co sign on anything having to do with Sallie Mae. so, that leaves my son with high interest. Sallie Mae claims Josh has bad credit, but he does not. he has paid all his credit cards/car payments/rent on time. I told them that Sallie Mae is making it impossible for my son to dig his way out of this debt. I also want to know why the interest rate is going up, is there a limit to how much interest they can charge?????

Something has to be done about this, Sallie Mae is killing our kids dreams of obtaining a higher education.

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Kathy

I graduated about 2 years ago from the California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena CA. Wow did the representatives make it sound so good, "oh yeah, your payments will probably be around 100-200 a month. YEAH RIGHT. Well i borrowed a total of 50,000, which has now turned into around 120,000 over the next 20 years. My girlfriend, her sister and brother and law all went to the same place, and now everyone is thinking about filing bankruptcy. The school strait out lied to all of us, because they made money, and sallie mae proably has the rudest people working for them. We dont know what to do, intrest is outrageous, and the loans keep piling up. If anyone has any ideas, PLEASE HELP! Writing and calling sallie mae has only resulted in laughter.

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Nick

I took out a private student loan for $46000 from Stillwater Bank to attend the Califorina Culinary Academy in San Francisco. When I signed the loan papers, the school told me the interest rate was 9% and based on my credit and could be changed if my credit improved or if I got a cosignor. The school told me I could refinance the loan at any time. Six months before I graduated, Sallie Mae sent me a letter to tell me they had purchased my student loans. I had one private student loan and several federal student loans, and Sallie Mae bought them all.

After graduating from the CCA, I got my first notice for my student loan payments. I nearly died; the payments were almost $1000 a month! And the variable interest rate was at nearly 19%! It took me 3 months to save up enough to make the first payment.

The payments are now nearly $1100 a month at about 19%. I owe a total of $81000 for my degree from the CCA. Of that, only $14000 is from federal student loans; which is at only 2.75%! The rest of the debt is from the $46000 I borrowed from Stillwater Bank.

I wish I had never even considered returning to school! What a waste. I have a great new talent and degree but now have a hopeless future because I am so screwed with my student loans.

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Nick

Well, I saw an infomercial for UTI in phoenix, expressed interest never spoke ,setup or had a cosigner ....nothing about how iI would be paying for the school had been spoken of, Igot a postcard with a start date on it........I was moving yipee!
when Igot there (AZ) they did not call my name nor was I on the roster.
well finacial advisor ? whats that? No I dont know I never spoke with one well after they helped me out a bit Igot some loan and what did I care Iwas there...so to make a long story short, I feel like I got boned and I think I have inherited a large sum of money and plan to pay it off until I see over 3,000 $ in collection costs! what collection I did not recieve any notices. I am 346 days late on a payment I am lost but they want my$.

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Robert

I don't have a story to be honest, although two friends of mine are just despondent over what has turned into a lifelong obligation while a few fatrats get filthy stinking rich.

One took an Eight Thousand dollar loan that is now Thirty Two Thousand and the other took a Forty Five Hundred dollar loan that has ballooned into Nine Thousand dollars owed.

One begins to understand the French Revolution and how the fatrats were carted off to be executed, publicly and by decapitation. One can only hope.

It's no longer a just society and over the last few decades it has become so painfully obvious that we have allowed our government to work AGAINST the citizens instead of protecting them from the types as outlined so much and so horribly in these stories.

We have the worst congress money has bought. They no longer even make an attempt at pretending to be for the common man and woman. Just the rich corporations who control them.

Just keep writing the democratic congress men/women and senators who promised to fix this horrible problem. Don't let up, organize others to do so as well. Then promise to put republicans back in power if they don't fix this and other problems that hurt the Middle Class but benefit the wealthy few.

 

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Rebecca

Hi, My name is Rebecca. I am 24 years old and have a 2 year degree in Visual Communications from Ferris State University in Michigan. I wanted to make my career in the filming industry so I set out for Brooks Institute of Art in Ventura California. They promised to help me fund my education and they did just that. They offered me a Sallie Mae loan to get me through college. 1 1/2 years later when I became a cititzen of CA and able to get some added help finally, Sallie Mae cut me off suddenly and I was not able to finish my schooling. I guess I should be greatful for that because I had two loans taken out for $33,000 each and now before even one payment is due, I already owe them $74,000 at 17% interest and I was able to find work as a waitress. I have tried consolidation companies and even bankruptsy lawyers but NO ONE can touch the Sallie Mae loan. This is the beginnings of a terrible nightmare that I don't think I'm going to wake up from.

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Charles

I'm currently in grad school and filed for "in school" consolidation- signed a consolidation/wave grace consent form- with Federal Student Loan Solution(FSLS)in June of 2006, prior to July deadline. After being informed by FSLS that Sallie Mae refused release my loan. I contacted Sallie Mae and they agreed to release my loan. Again , as before, FSLS informed me Sallie Mae refused and held on to my loan. With so much time wasted I reluctantly decided to consolidate with Sallie Mae so I can concentrate on grad school. Despite receiving 2 request from (FSLS), Sallie Mae wanted me to prove that I filed before the deadline- I provided proof. They then required me to contact FSLS have them fax the proof- FSLS faxed it. They stalled and stalled and in the end , after Nov., denied my application, so i'm assuming that they are now charging me higher interest rates instead of the lower rates I would have locked in with FSLS- easier to pay terms and less likely of default- makes sense to taxpayers right? I asked Sallie Mae if I could pay off my loan- they said I could. Then why does it matter if I or FSLS settle the matter ?
FSLS informed me that there are other students in the same predicament. After my 6 month ordeal with Sallie Mae and its horrible, horrible service. I'm now thoroughly convinced entering into a long term, 20 year, contract agreement with Sallie Mae would be detrimental and want to continue with FSLS. I'm now formally requesting assistance with appropriate federal agency to facilitate release of my federal student loan and expedite my application with FSLS. I can't believe other financial institutions participate in herding students to Sallie Mae for the slaughter !

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Almazul

I'm grateful that you exist...but i wish you had a "your rights" and a "what you can do to get out of your fucked up situation" section!
THEY are threatening to garnish my wages and I have to face them again tomorrow and need to know what I can do! help!

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David

I had originally enlisted the help of Sallie Mae through ITT Tech. At first I was glad that a poor ass like me would have the chance to pursue a college education. Students are on too much of a high-horse to fully comprehend the follies of credit in general. After receiving my associates degree I decided to pursue a bachelor's degree, in my first semester a competitor by the name of New Horizons fed me this illusion of grandeur of World Renown certification(s) with the high paying job of my dreams. All I had to do is leave ITT Tech, quit my job, and pursue them full time, "they would take care of me".
First thing I was told when I had gotten there was I needed to find a new job. "WHY HAVE ME QUIT MY JOB IN THE FIRST PLACE?" The story gets even dumber... I went through one class, passed the test, got the certification. That was nice, but after that I was only taking the classes, certification tests were outright refused to me. As for the job leads??? My rep handling my case had none.
Then the calls came in, threats of physical violence, jail, taking of my belongings, not to mention insult after insult. I managed to find a minimum wage job where funds were extorted on a bi-weekly basis. Did they stop??? no! Every day, new efforts, new payment terms, more threats and insults.
This B$ has affected my performance at work, ruined friendships, and has made life hell for me. Hopefully the newly elected democrats can help turn the tide of this bullshit. It may be too late for me, but atleast change can be made... so that other Americans do not have to suffer like I am.

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Curtis

I had 2 student loans totalling a little over 3,000.00 back in 1989. My then wife was supposed to be paying on the loans, but didn't. We got a deferment, and then she divorced me. Having to pay child support made it impossible to even try to repay the loans. I am a truck driver and never made great money. I remarried in 1995 and we filed for bankruptcy in 1998. We were told that the student loans would be discharged. We never heard from the student loans until a couple of years ago, and we were told we now owe over $12,000. We are now paying it back, but we feel we have been cheated.

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Claudia

incurred 100,000 dollars in student loans. I luckily consolidated my federal student loans at %2.75. My private loans have not been consolidated and the Lender is Sallie Mae. They have increase my payments from $400 dollars to almost $600 dollars per month. I refinance my house and was able to make payments on student loans with that money, but lately after my refinance money ran out it has been very difficult to pay and to pretty much LIVE. Just to pay my student loans I incurred on 14,000 dollars of debt in credit cards. In other words: I did not have the money to repay , but repay with credit cards. WRONG CHOICE! my credit cards are %17 interest. So I pay to sallie Mae around 20,000 dollars in the last three years for my 47,000 dollars private student loans and I still owe them 47,000 dollars. So it is as if I never paid, but i have been paying every month. I can not even go for a coffee or spend money on anything. I feel as if i am trowing my money and my life away, but my debt does not reduces and in top of it I now owe extra 14,000 plus. PLEASE HELP!!! I can not continue living on a 10'X10'room with not money to spare. I have not even be able to visit my parents and the sad part is that tickets to Florida, to where they live, are only $200 dollars. I have become an isolated person and this debt has rob me of avancement at my work place or even the ability to make new friends. If one always can not go out even to a lunch with cooworkers or a coffee on a date---how is one to function into society????

Get more work you may say---well i had. i currentely have two jobs one from 9:00am to 7:30 pm Monday thrue Friday and the other on the evenings and weekends at home--still not enough money to cover my 100,000 dollar debt from Graduate school. Oh how i wish some one could help me.

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Mary

I earned my PhD. from The University of Southern California in 1999. I had worked full-time during my program but found I still needed student loans to pay for tuition, books and other expenses. After I graduated I needed to consolidate my loans amounts to be able to afford the payments. ($1,200 per month without consolidation)

During the time I was still enrolled and in deferrment, I had significant difficulties with my student loan agency (Chase) and the State of California Student Loan Board helped me sort out my problem and Sallie Mae took over most of my loans. At the time I was grateful for their help.

When it came time to consolidate, I spoke with Sallie Mae and they were more than helpful to offer to consolidate my loans (over 30 years.) I agreed to the consolidation and the "generous" rate of 8.125 percent. I was told I was lucky as the students that consolidated in 1998 and 1997 were paying 9% and 10%. Let me tell you I don't feel lucky!!!

I have tried numerous times since 1999 to get my interest rate lowered or get Sallie Mae to sell my loan to another company but to no avail. I have paid my $656 a month for the past 7.5 years with no late payments and they continue to tell me that there are no perks(such as lower rates for ontime payments) for my loan. I'm so frustrated with this company and their policies and I sorely need relief!!!

Please continue your work

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Susan

I My story is no different than any others.

I will be paying student loans until I am 69 years old. Over 20 years ago, when I borrowed less than $12,000 to get an education, I was a single mother on welfare and living in a subsidized housing project. I thought getting an education was the right thing to do. I eventually earned a 4-year degree and was doing fine until the company I worked for relocated and I was out of a job. That was all it took to fall into the clutches of the unscrupulous student loan lending industry.

Because I could no longer make payments, Citibank harassed me until I consolidated - the loans grew to $23,861 over night.

In 1998, for lack of any other option, I filed for bankruptcy. I thought the student loans were discharged. In 2002, the harassing telephone calls from Citibank began again and I was told that my loan had not been discharged and that I would have to file an Adversary Proceeding. I did so, without the assistance of legal counsel because I simply could not find one that would help me. The Bankruptcy Judge scolded me for not having legal representation and told me I was not a "hardship case" and to not come back to court until I was in a wheel chair.

My loan now fell into the hands of the Education Credit Management Corporation. Last year I made an offer to settle in full for the sum of $20,000, after liquidating my IRA and taking out cash advances on my credit card. It was my understanding at that time that I owed approximately $25,000. I even hired a lawyer to help me. Education Credit Management Corporation declined the offer and instead stepped up their harassing telephone calls to me at my work and threatened to contact my employer to garnish my wages. I was given two choices by someone over the telephone who refused to negotiate or put anything in writing: either I consolidate my loan again at a lower interest rate or they contact my employer. As a result of this latest "consolidation at a lower interest rate", my loan grew to $52,000!

I am now 50 years old. I own no property, have no savings and live paycheck to paycheck. I cannot get married. I am at the peak earning capacity for my occupation as a secretary in the San Francisco Bay area. My mother was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's and needs my help. Yet, the student loan industry has backed me into a corner where I find myself making payments on a $52,000 loan that is absolutly impossible to pay off.

How can this happen in America? From what I have been learning lately, I realize that my problem is not an isolated shameful one like I once thought. Rather, I have been shafted by a fundamentally flawed set of laws enacted by Congress. Laws that may have once had good intentions, i.e., to thwart "garden-variety debtors who had not yet demonstrated that they were unable to earn a substantially greater income from the education that the government insured for them", are instead too far reaching and have trapped millions of unsuspecting low and middle class decent citizens into financial ruin. Further, these laws have given carte blanche to an entire student loan industry that reinforces greed and unscrupulous behavior into shamefully unconscioncable excessive profit making.

Thanks to Studenloanjustice.org and others the secret is out. It is up to us to keep the momentum alive by speaking out and fighting back. Do whatever you can now!

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Cindy

I Like many other adults, I decided to return to school so I would be able to provide a better life for my three sons. I was accepted into law school in California and need loans to help pay the costs (about $50,000).

I graduated in 1995 and was faithfully making payments for 10 years(I still owe $43,000!) until my oldest son asked me to move out to Georgia with him. I figured that I would be able to get a decent job and that the cost of living would be lower so I packed up my 79 year-old mother and moved across the country.

What I didn't count on was my mother needing hospitalization and extended care just a few months after our arrival. My son was leaving for Iraq and so being my mother's sole caretaker, I had to resign my teaching position to care for her.

I requested a forebearance/deferrment which went was granted effective November 2005. I thought the deferrment was valid for 3 years...I NEVER received ANY notification otherwise until I received a copy of my credit report two weeks ago showing that my student loan account was 6 months overdue and that my credit rating had been trashed.

I immediately arranged for my retirement annuity to be closed and the full surrender amount (approx. $9,500) be paid to the federal gov't for the loan. I also wrote a letter and email stating that if the derogatory information were taken off of my credit report that I would close out my only remaining retirement fund and send the entire amount to them which would PAY THE BALANCE IN FULL! They aren't interested.

I am 52 years old...does the gov't actually think I'm going to live long enough to pay off this bill (I make less than 1/3 of what I did) making the absolute minimum payments?? I asked them..."How am I supposed to get a decent job now, especially at my age, when my credit has been trashed? And if I can't get a decent job, how in the hell am I supposed to pay for these loans??" Not interested...the government would rather not get paid and ruin my life. I truly understand why more and more people who were born and raised here are leaving the country for jobs (and lives) abroad.

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Rebecca

I am 41. At 22 I became a single mom after things between me and my ex did not work out. I was the sole support of my infant daughter. I decided to go to college because I wanted a better life and to perhaps own my own little home one day for myself and my child. Through a combination of working, sometimes even public assistance, and student loans I earned an AA, a BA, and a Juris Doctorate. A law school graduate who worked so damn hard to get to where I was. I had even moved with my daughter to a different state to go to Law School because the cost of living there was cheaper than here in CA.

My student loans totaled out at: Approx. $90,000.00.

I did not pass the bar exam. My classmates said .. take about 6 months off and then try the bar exam again. How convenient for them to be able to do that. I had a child, I had to work. I ended up working as a Probation Officer.

Today my loans because of interest are over $180,000.

Not to even mention the rest of the debt I racked up trying to live during my time in school. Sure they hand out the student loans easy enough, but its amazing how the cost of tuition and books barely cover that cost. They do not want you to work your first year of law school but no one has real tips on how to live during that time. I heard a financial aid worker tell one of the students he is just going to have to eat mac n'cheese when he complained of all the money going to the school. He said you don't understand.. I don't have money for that.

I actually had a woman from a collection agency call me and ask once if I could pay... $85,000.00 by the end of the week?

Today I am still a probation officer and I work in a small county and the student loan payments (now garnishments) are a third of my monthly take home. Its probably just covering the interest. While raising my daughter I could not afford the payments, when I talked to the loan company once and gave the woman my financial income.. she said.. you can't afford this. No kidding. I have tried the bar exam a couple more times and not passed it. Just taking it is so very expensive and it only comes in 6 mo cycles. I simply can not afford it now. I just don't get it, I have heard of people going bankrupt on more than one occasion. But student loans are forever. I once heard rumors once about Financial Hardship claim being possible... and having some or all of the loan dismissed by a Court. However, I have not been able to locate any more information. I am truly crippled with this debt apparently for the rest of my life. As I mentioned, I never was able to buy that little hous!
e.. never will. Because of the debt my credit is shot, forget about buying a car even a damn scooter on my own. I can never get married because a husband would take that debt on. I can not help my daughter with her college, and if I did not have a roommate I could not afford the apartment I live in now as a 41 year old with a law degree.

 


 



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