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Justice@studentloanjustice.org

 

Missouri

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

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Jeanne

I think my original loan amount was about $4000 in 1987 or thereabouts.  Since I defaulted the company has taken one tax refund of about $3500, two refunds of about $500 and they garnish my wages.  Yet, they never send a receipt telling me all I've paid and where it went.  They say I still owe about $2000.  A neverending story.  Not to mention the times when I was set up on payments and they sold it to another lender and I had to start over again trying to figure out who exactly I owe.

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T.J.

The original amount I borrowed for school was $14000.00  With the penalties, fees and interest accumulated, they say I now owe over $48,000.00.  I will readily admit that my loans went into default due to my inattention, but I was dealing with some extraordinary circumstances including the death of a child and years of abuse by a husband I finally left but who continued to stalk me.  I realize that is not the Dept. of Education's problem;  I'm offering it as an explanation, not an excuse.

I could write a book on the underhanded activities of the Dept of Ed's collection agencies.  I think I have been through at least ten.  As soon as they find out the truth - that I have no assets and very little income, they pass me on to the next collector.  They have called my employer, misrepresented themselves as a credit card or loan company or told them I didn't pay my debts;  they have called my neighbors, misrepresenting themselves as a parcel delivery service;  they have screamed at me on the phone, insulted my character, have called me lazy, called me a liar ... the list goes on.

I have tried a COUNTLESS number of times to make payment arrangements.  I have sent in COUNTLESS numbers of forms to verify my income and ability to pay.  None of the collections agencies would accept a "reasonable and affordable" payment plan.  They all state it is not reasonable to accept $50 a month on a balance such as mine.  They misplace the paperwork, become rude and as soon as they figure out they can make no money off of me - they discontinue working on my account, and pass me on to the next collection agency where the process begins all over again.

I recently discovered they are required by law to accept a "reasonable and affordable" payment amount.  Guess what?  No Dept of Ed collection agency I have spoke with in the last 12 years obeys that law.  None.   They are out to make money on the collection - period - with no regard whatsoever to the consumer or the laws of the United States.

Had the collection agency I spoke with ten to twelve years ago obeyed the law, I probably wouldn't have a student loan debt.   I could have made my income contingent payments, went back to school and finished my education and paid off all my debt.  Instead, they have created a "no-win" situation out of pure greed and unscrupulous tactics.


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Kathy

I went to Career Beauty College on ST.charles rock rd. , took out approx, 6,000 loan and did gat a pell grant. Went to school approx. 6mo.,then one day the school was  pysically closed down (doors locked with chains /locks)I did not get to graduate. I was devestated and all I could do was  cont. working hard to care for my daughter by myself( who else is gointo pay the bills?)I started to investigate into it,when my daughter wsa older . I found out that HAHN the owner of the school had other law suits at Clayton court house(public record). And the school was not even certified by the cosmotology board and should have been disqualified for any pells or loans at the time of my attending that school. After all this investigating and writing my congress and the board of ED.they have still taken any income tax refunds I was due.So I did start paying on the loans when they said on paper it looked as the school didnt close for a year after it physically closed d!
 own. I was in an agreement plan of paying 100.00 month which I would pay for approx, 6 mos. than I wouldnt recieve a bill in the mail for acoulple mos. and then anew agency  would start mailing me anew bill and attempting to raise my payment.I am so sick and disgusted that I would like to crawl in a hole and forget about it all together. My interest just keeps growing I have been to sick to even look at it ,it must be at least 30,000.00 . Of course I am waiting on the next new collection agency that pays pennys on the dollar for my student loan to send me a bill.

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Marylin

I enrolled in Kaplan Online program under the impression from the advertisment that it was a program for working adults due the the flexibal schedual. However it has not been a positive experience and I am having problems with the student services and admissions depts. My first day of class was Feb 28, 2005 I was enrolled in two classes that was a total of 10 cr hrs. I didn't even have books for these two classes. This was a full time schedual and I was awarded 2 loans one was subsidized and the other was unsubsidized by Kaplans financial aid dept. The first award letter that I was given had errors and under the belief that I would not have to pay anything out of pocket. I accepted the award. That turned out to be incorrect and before I was to sign and fax back the papers the financial aid dept they called and said the letter was not correct and e-mailed me a corrected award letter. This time I was to pay $97.00 a month starting March 15th. I was not sure that I was able to do this and asked for time to consider and speak to my husband but was told that I need to fax the papers back as soon as possible because the awards were handed out on a first come first serve basis. I went ahead and signed and faxed the papers back. In the first two weeks I received a e-mail that tuition was increasing $20 more a cr hr. Each class was 5 cr hours and $250.00 a credit hour when I started. 

They advertise that they have lower online tuition than other online programs. This has now turned out to be another disception. By the third week after trying to keep up staying up till 1:00am in the morning and the thought of $50,000.00 plus since tuition was increased I realized I would be unable to keep up with that pace for 4 years. I contacted my adviser and told her I wanted withdrawl but she said she could not process my request until I complete the exit interview but no one called me to do this. I work full time and they knew this and had all my numbers, I received a letter regarding the first disbursment of $750.00. I called student services and told them I had chose to drop before I owed more money and to return all money they received. On the papers I signed it said if you withdral within the first week 100% would be reimbursed or  within 2 weeks 80% would be reimbursed etc. So at the most I believed I would owe less than 50% and $100.00 admin fee. I e-mailed my adviser and stident services  and again requested to withdrawl but nobody would call me until I received a call from the billing dept stating that I owed $200.00. I had not been enrolled more than 3wks they say it was 4 weeks because I logged on to use the e-mail system and tried to contact student services but that showed I was active. I was told by financial aid when the award letter was given that the 15th of March would and my first pmt of $97.00 that turned out to be another misleading statement. I told Evon who called me from the billing dept this and she said that the information she had showed I owed Feb 15th and  now March 15th plus a late fee. My first day of class was Feb 28th so how did I owe for Feb 15th? I tried to tell her that I requested a withdrawl and I wanted to have a  statement showing the total amount owed at that time and be done with it please have someone get in contact with me one regarding my status in the program. I  have e-mailed student servises and called the head guy who I was told was Jeffery Harrison for two weeks. During this time I received another letter regarding another disbursement of $1330.00. I called again and left messages to have all money received returned. 

To this day nobody has called me back. Not even the Jeffery Harrison who my husband tried to contact regarding the amount I owed them and the date of withdrawl. He has not called us back. I received my financial aid statements showing I owed Kaplan $1880.00 and I tried to call them and tell them it should be prorated but again no one would call me back. They did return the first subsidized disburment of $750.00 but kept $1330.00 and continue to bill me $1880.00 and won't call me back to discuss this. I have letters with incorrect dates for money owed and a letter  stating they that they took me out of the program because I failed to log on 21 consecutive days I did quit logging on after the 4th week because I figured then they would call me back. They say that are accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges I thought they would help me so I e-mailed them I have not heard anything from them.  I have copies of the letters to back these facts and would be greatful to any assistance you might be able to lend. I received a call from the Direct Loan billing dept and told her my situation and she was to turn in a complaint form but they get their information from the school so I still needed to contatct them. My grace period is about up and they are showing I owe them the $1330.00 plus interest. In addition to Kaplan's $1880.00. How could I owe that amount?  Kaplan said I was enrolled 4 weeks, I say 3 but in either case it was not 50% of the 12 week term in a 4 year program. 




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Charlotte

I am going to court on March 20 to determine dischargeability of my student loans (for law school).  I am telling my story to see whether anyone else is in a similar situation.  I graduated in 2001 (age 58) amd could not get a job for 3 years and still am not employed in law.  I was never in default as shown by my recent credit report, having used my teacher's pension in dire circumstances to keep up the loan payments.

I consolidated my loans in July 2003.  Although the promissory note says, "Federal Consolidation Loan", these loans are listed on my Sallie Mae statement, not as FFELP, but as "SM."  Is the Sallie Mae fund the private loans?  I believe so.  If so, then according to the bankruptcy law 11 USC 523(a)(8) as interpreted by Missouri law, In re Scott, 287 B.R 470, these loans are dischargeable.

I filed the adversary proceeding on March 14, 2005.  On or about April 20, 2005 (the day of my hearing) Sallie Mae transferred (illegally, I believe) my loans to a collection agency, New York Higher Education Services Corporation.  I was not in default, and bankruptcy law does not allow transfer of creditors' debt to avoid dischargeability.  11 USCA 362(a)(6).

So I am going to court on my own (can't afford attorney) to argue this issue of Sallie Mae's improper transfer of my loans, before I get to the "undue hardship" (since I'd be paying to age 83)issue.

Has anyone else had this unfair transfer issue?  Have you argued it successfully? 




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Maureen

I went back to school as a non-traditional student to help me get a leg up on life.  I borrowed like most did to help me get through the tough times of going to school, raising a family, having a mentally ill husband and trying to get decent grades.  The original loan when I finished school was about 25,000. It seemed that I could not get a hold on life as my husband who had his own loans was too unstable to work.  So we put the loans in deferrment to help us out which added only to the principal.  To make a long story short my loans are now at 36,000.  I am in ill health and am trying not to default on these loans. But i can not make the full payment so I pay what i can every month.  This truly makes the powers that be quite upset.  They want their money  I have been turned over to the collection agency.  At times that I have spoken with those at the collection agency, they are very rude and hateful.  I have told them about my condition and they could ca!
 re less.  Last week I was in the hospital and almost died.  My son answered my phone and the agency was on wanting to get hold of me and he told them that I was in the hospital.  They told him that this loan must be paid by someone and that he must take over the payments.  My son then said a few expletives and hung up.  The collection agency calls me everyday at least 4 to 5 times.  I am to the point that I never answer anymore because of their rude and unmerciful tactics. I just wanted to share this with someone.  I am considering disability just to get this monkey off my back.  I am sick of it and wished I had never heard of school loans. 


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Pat

I went to Spartan School of Aeronautics from 1989 to 1991. When I enrolled, I was told that "by the time I would graduate, there would be 100,000 aircraft mechanic jobs open". When I did graduate in June 1991, everyone was laying off and there wasn't an aviation job to be had. The total cost of my schooling was $18,000. Since I had to go back to making near minimum wage, I had to put my loans in forbearance. I unable to get a high paying job for 6 years. During that time, I was in and out of forberance (mostly "in"). I am not sure the total amounts that I have paid over the years to the various companies, but I would have to guess that it is in access of the orginal amount. The loan has been held by three companies, the first of which I don't remember and I would have to go and dig up some paperwork to find out. It was the consolidated in 1998 (at a wonderfull 11%) with Southwest Student Loan Corp. And, I just refinanced with Sallie Mae in January at 8.25%. The total due now is a bit over $41k. Now the kicker, I am now unable to gain employment as an aircraft mechanic (without moving a large distance) and I am again struggling to make the $350 a month payment.

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Ivan L. Fail

I saw the story on the Fannie Mae "shake down" on Student loans on CBS 60 minutes this evening May 7, 2006 and wanted to congratulate you on having the courage to stand up to this larcenous, unprinciped and tyrannical monster. As a retiree from an agency of the U. S. Department Of Justice I doubt that you have any concept of just how big a "can of worms" you have opened but I want to assure you that by going very public you are definately on the right path. I can tell you from many years of experience and observation that the "hip pocket" polticians and the money compromised and corrupted courts are not going to take any meaningful, effective and timely action to clean up this racket. It HAS to be done at the "grass roots" level by thousands of fed up victims who if necessary will take to the streets en-masse to demand justice and stay in the streets until we get just that.

 I would like to join you in your battle for justice against what can only be termed this "Trojan Horse Of Tyranny" via "Debt Slavery Entrapment".

 I must tell you that I have been working for some time on a way for victims "rip off, runaround and rotten service" and "loan shark rip off" like this one to "counter attack" with enough "bottom line destroying force" against "white collar crooks" to force some drastic changes in the credit AND THE CREDIT REPORTING INDUSTRY to make them "cry UNCLE". Telling your story on 60 Minutes and setting up a website such as this tells me that you and I are "thinking outside the box and alike".

 The credit bureaus are the "GESTAPO" of the credit and finance industry. They serve as "accessory to fraud"henchmen enforcers who only tell HALF of the story and that "half of the story" is often corrupted by biased, deceptive, misleading, inaccurate and outdated information which gives the credit, loan and finance industry the perfect excuse to label victims as "bad credit risks". That of course "justifies" higher interest rates and stiffer penalties. That's no "accident".

 Most Americans are not aware of the fact that until the African Americans torched some credit bureaus and their records during the Civil Rights struggle of the 60's consumers could not even SEE their own credit reports much less "dispute them". I know because I was denied the right to see my credit report in 1968 when I applied for a loan to purchase a house in Nixa, Missouri.

When I asked to see my credit report I was smugly and arrogantly told "THAT"S confidential information". Some black American "firebrands" ---, armed with matches and flammable liquids accomplished what the votes of struggling poor, low and middle income voters could not, they
"motivated" politicians to get off their pompous and compromised butts and enact "credit bureau reform" which didn't go NEARLY far enough but it was a feeble start.

 The credit bureaus routinely act as "black mailing character assassin
henchmen enforcers" of blatant white collar "sneak thief" fraud --, with the blessing and support of the law. Just one classic example out of thousands involved the infamous "fleece leases" on the 1990's when GMAC and 4 other giant vehicle leasing corporations scammed thousands of victims out of millions of dollars with misleading, deceptive, evasive and fraudulent advertising and marketing tactics.

 After a massive outcry by thousands of victims 23 state attorneys general with "one eye on the polls" --, and the other on the fistfulls of PAC money payola --, grandstanded in the media and issued meaningless, voter appeasement warnings to the offenders BUT they took NO action to
get justice for the victims such as release from fraudulent leases or refund of massive over charges.

 The Federal Trade Commission also "rattled it's sabers", grandstanded in the media and issued meaningless ultimatums and warnings but also did nothing to get justice and compensation for the victims. What both the 23 state attorneys general and the Federal Trade Commision DID do was permit and empower the offenders to use the credit bureaus to hold the victims hostage to their credit ratings thus forcing their surrender to this blatant "gain by deceit sneak thief FRAUD".

And if the victims defaulted and didn't pay "in full" GMAC and the other hucksters obtained deficiency judgements. If the victims failed to pay off those judgements the leasing corporations "wrote off the debt" and took a large "tax write off". The IRS considers such "write offs" as "extra income" for the victims so each victim of this scam got a bill from the IRS for extra taxes.

 My wife and I got a bill from the IRS for an extra $700.00 plus dollars. We are scheduled to contest that bill in tax court in Kansas City in June but it's safe to assume that the Tax Court will simply "rubber stamp" the IRS's position.

 Incidentally while those 23 state attorneys genaral and the Federal Trade Commission were evading their responsibiity to the victims by simply "grandstanding"  on these fleece leases, the law was prosecuting and imprisoning "average citizens" for making a misleading, deceptive, evasive or fraudulent statement on a loan, credit or insurance application or insurance claim form.

 By the was I have the proof of this scam because I downloaded the FTC report off their web site and have it on disk.
 
  Now ponder this and "follow the money trail". You may have noticed that Equifax is advertising "identity theft monitoring and identity theft insurance" for a monthly subscriber fee. Now prior to the advent of
"identity theft" the "client pool" of the credit bureaus was restricted to banks, credit card companies, charge account merchants, insurance companies etc. BUT with the advent of "identity theft" presto literally EVERY credit dependant American was swept into the client pool of the credit buraus via "identify theft monitoring and identity theft insurance" for a monthly "subcriber fee".

Was this an "accident" or a conspiracy by the credit bureaus and the insurance industry to "incubate and hatch" their very own "Eternal Life Golden Goose"?

  We are going to see that identity theft is destined to be an "Eternal Life Golden Goose" for the credit bureaus and the insurance industry.
After Equifax started peddling identity theft monitoring and identity theft insurance it's stock took a nice jump.

Identity theft is also "good business" for creditors as well because it "manufactures" thousands of "artificial" bad credit risks justifying higher interest rates.

 Think about it. For decades marketing corporations bought our private secrets from driver's license bureaus and "sold them" into the ionosphere of identity thieves. When the Federal DOT mandated the new Commercial Driver's Licenses for commercial drivers, truckers etc in place of the old chaeuffeurs licenses --, the law mandated that OUR SOCIAL SECURITYH NUMBERS BE DISPLAYED AS THE ID NUMBERS ON THOSE LICENSES.
What do you think that did to our identity? Do you think that a group of lawyer-legislators were so dumb that they didn't know exactly what was going to happen to our identities?

 As I said before the credit bureaus only tell HALF of the story and that is more often than not biased, misleading, inaccurate and often vicious.
The Congress and the courts are NOT going to change that so it's up to people like you and I. We must implement a consumer "owned, controlled and operated" "credit bureau clone" centralized data base which operates with the exact same aggressive, cold hearted, merciless "see all and tell all effeciency" against CREDITORS AND BUSINESSES that the credit bureaus have used with such devastating effeciency against CONSUMERS for decades.

 Our subscribers and victims of "RIP OFF, RUN AROUND AND ROTTEN SERVICE" AND credit tyranny provide us the material for the data base via formal comlaints, news clips, public records etc and we fund the operation by charging a fee for reports exactly like the credit bureaus do.

 The credit reporting industry has already proven that such "snoop and snitch" tactics and technology are highly EFFECTIVE and PUNITIVE against debtors and other consumers, That very same tactics and technology can be equally devastating against unscrupulous lenders, attorneys, car dealers etc. And the credit reporting industry has proven by decades of precedent that the tactics and technology are ALSO "legal and Constitutional".

  While I was with the U. S. Department of Justice I was a "whistle blower" and I am not uncomfortable in that role. If you wish to verify my credibility please see the June 25, 1971 issue of Life Magazine and the story "The Gorilla Cowed His Keepers". You will see a picture of myself, my daugher and my home at the time.

 Also check the book "Blood Relation" by Eric Konigsberg. I am quoted in that book on page 38 or 39.

 I cannot emphasize too strongly that this "Trojan Horse Of Tyranny" is only going to get bigger, more powerful and more unaccountable unless fed up consumers and victims like you and I take immediate, drastic and unified action. The politicians and the courts are NOT going to do that. IT IS UP TO US!!

I even have a very unique and descriptive name for this enterprise but won't dislose that until I get it registered and we get plans perfected to put it into operation. We need to use bumper stickers, highway billboards, logos on jackets, sweat shirts etc as well as the internet and a DATABASE.
 
 Please feel free to use my name, make copies of this message and distribute to e-mail it to others. You have my permission to use this information any way you deem worthwhile. 


Ivan L. Fail
2885 State Hwy W
Marshfield, Missouri 65706

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Dedrick

I never really wanted to go to college.  I did not do that well in High School and I knew that my parents could not afford to send me to college.  A few years after high school I decided that I did not want to be be a short order cook my whole life.  I knew many people who had went to college and seemed to be successful.  I decided to give it a shot.  In 1991 I went to one of the most inexpensive 4 year universities in the state of Missouri, Central Missouri State University.  Because i was over 21 I was informed that I qualified for student laons, at the time I was told my repayment should be about $50 a month.  To make a long story short I borrowed about $33,000 to go to college.  I am glad that I went because I was able to get a job after graduation but I did not make enough to live on and pay my loans.  I consolidated my loans and because of the intrest my $33,000 has now baloon up to an $82,000 principal and over 30 years I will pay over $180.000 in !
 student loans.  I am presently taking classes so I can defer my loan payment because I cannot afford the $700 a month loan payment.  I am just waiting for the day that my loan goes into default and my already bad credit is shot and I'm not able to support my wife and 4 kids anymore all because I wanted a better life for myself.  I have no problem paying what I owe but how do you get $180k from a $33,000 Loan.  It is basic loan sharking.  Whatever happened to the americam dream?  It got sold out to SallieMae that's what.  I am willing to do whatever it takes to right this injustice that has happened to me and countless others

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TW

I am not giving my full name and all info., as I am an attorney licensed in several states, and know how the "rich & powerful" work, etc.  Let me tell you (with my client's permission) about a student loan case I handled, which is very similar to what I am reading here.  My client is from a poor family, but had graduated with honors and with 3 degrees.  She was never really able to make much income, lacking a "network" & due to the slander "the rich" engage in behind her & others' backs, but lived near poverty for years, paying off the $10,000 she borrowed as an undergrad, and $2,000 as a graduate, and $27,000 with a second graduate degree.  She paid off her undergraduate loans, and finally her graduate loans.  For the first time in her life, she was finally able to purchase a car and old trailer to live in.  

After a couple of yrs., Sallie Mae (SM) as in sado-masochist, started harrassing her with repeated hang-up calls and 6-7 letters mailed per day, and calling her family & friends, calling her a "deadbeat", etc.  She went to the police on the hang-up calls, but they did not want to act on it.  Like several people on this site, she was very depressed and said she was suicidal, and thought that SM's false reports that she was in default (after they sent her a document stating that she was paid in full) were keeping her from getting a decent job.  These acts were violations of the Fair Dept Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"). We filed with the Court asking for a determination that she'd paid off her loans; for discharge under "undue hardship" for anything not paid (she had untreated cancer and recent surgery in addition to unemployment); & for recovery for violations of the FDCPA.  We produced cancelled checks totaling over $70,000 and proof that SM had received the money, but not given my client credit for them; a request to check SM's interest and fee computations; proof that SM had admitted being paid in full, and we produced the originial consolidation note showing what had been consolidatd, and that it was only $32,000, not $42,000 in original principal as SM claimed.  

Our opponent used the exact same document as us, which it got from us, but the court declared that it did not find my client credible, but rather only believed our opponent's evidence.  I contacted a heavily experienced bankruptcy attorney who told me that I had the perfect case for an "undue hardship" discharge, if we could not prove payment in full.  It gets better.  After the case was filed, SM sold $10,000 which it now said was still due on the loan to other entities and a guarantor, and claimed it should be dismissed from the case, and not have to produce any records, nor answer questions, nor testify in court, etc., as it no longer held the loans.  I objected that SM had the original records; held the loans when the case was filed; still needed to answer for its violations of the FDCPA;  and even if it weren't a party to the discharge, it should have to answer discovery as a third party with relevant information, etc.  

First the judge granted SM 5 continuances over our objection, dragging out the bankruptcy for a year; then yelled at SM's attorney that SM was in trouble for never keeping records; then said it believed SM and my client's testimony and production of records was "insufficient", although "it looked like" what my client testified to, and let SM out of the case.  The judge granted discharge under "undue hardship" against the entities, but not the Guarantor.  The only "evidence" the Guarantor produced was to say that my client, "must have had other loans that she doesn't remember", which my client denied, and which the Guarantor produced no evidence of.  I was in shock and so was the Guarantor's attorney, when the judge held that my client still owed $10,000, and would have to pay $84/mo out of any unemployment money she received, although the court held that my client did not make enough money to meet her reasonabe living expenses.  The judge said it was not an undue hardship to pay the Guarantor back, as my client had a good reputation in her field, had earned an upper-lower class salary in the past, and although unemployed for 3 yrs. in spite of diligent efforts to find employment, would "sometime" make a living again.  

The judge offered my client's car and trailer home to the Guarantor in payment, but the Guarantor said it did not want my client's "junk".  I contacted my expert friend in the field, who said she thought we'd win an appeal.  Incredibly, we didn't.  The appellate court said the judge could believe my client a liar, even though my client produced documentation to back her up, etc., and SM had no responsibility to prove its defense.  Now, two years later, my client contacted me again.  She's continues to be unemployed (for 4 yrs now); is out of unemployment benefits and is only surviving by help from relatives...none from our government.  She can't even get temporary work, and says employers illegally ask for her SS number and indicat they are checking her credit for jobs which do not entail handling money, etc.  Recently, after 2 yrs., she heard from SM again, claiming she owes them money, asking for more than the $84/mo payments, and for penalties for the last 2 years, etc.  She can't pay me, but even so, I don't know what more to do for her.  I thought about filing a Motion in Interpleader, or to enforce judgment, etc., but even to me, the system seems too corrupt to have any hope (although, I've found most judges to be honest).  I've done and am doing the other things requested on this site.  I love the idea of a class action, although I have never done one, and am not competant to do one without help from an attorney with that experience.  I am a poorly paid government attorney, but would be willing to represent people on a contingency basis, if I could get the right situation.  I have been a member of Christian Legal Society, and will only say there are some sympathetic attorneys out there, but we seem to be in a direct fight with Satan himself in the cloak of SM.  Send up your prayers!

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Ellen

Filled out an application at Full Sail (a small tech college in FL) signed a small box for student loans..my father co-signed.  Got an internship in Nashville thought I'd deferred my debt, but apparently only deferred 1 portion of the loan (one way they confuse you).  In May of 2004 I got a call telling me that I was in default...sold the car, my equipment basically everything I owned to get out of default..was told that my loan would revert to the original amount ($32,000) but in the end they said that the money I paid ($4000) was just penalty fees.  None of it went to the loan itself.  Now my loan is +/- $60,000.  They have attached to my father's credit.  He owns his own small company and this has hurt him.  My credit is SHOT.  I cannot get a job in the field of study...don't have any steady work...can't pay NelNet $400.00 a month which is what they say I owe.  So it goes on and on.  They call 2-3 times a day...bully tactics.  They will not give me any kind of statement on account or any accounting of the money I paid while in default.  Have never received an interest statement for my taxes.  Personally i think these are the biggest crooks in the country, and it's all legal.  We have written our congressmen, the federal government all to no avail.  Lawyers won't help because they say it's government and they don't do it.  It's insane. 

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Mark

In 1989 I filed for bankruptcy on student loans. In 1995 I ended up living on the streets of Hollywood homeless. For the next 8 years, until 2003, I lived in an institution and was being rehabilitated by the State of California. For all I knew the original debt of $4,000 was discharged however, the Dept of Education did not contact me until I was making a good income in 2004. They stated that they could not find me however; I was in the system and all three credit bureaus listed my location as a hospital or institution from 1996 - 2003.  If they had contacted me I could have filed for a deferment or forbearance. 

They chose to wait and as it stands now I will be paying $26,000 on a $4000 loan which is a profit of $22,000. 

I am in debt and this payment is taking all of my disposable income. In addition there is something wrong with the system when the Dept of Education can without a court order garnish my wages and is making $22,000 profit. I am powerless.  I am not trying to get away with anything. In fact I would be willing to pay the original amount plus reasonable interest/penalty. If contacted when ECMC bought the loan this would not have happened and my residence, being a hospital, was on my credit report at the time. The government intentionally waited to contact me, fully aware that I was homeless and was being rehabilitated, in order to make extreme profit. Something is seriously wrong with this system!

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Nathan

I wrote the following email to Sixty Minutes after I viewed their program.  I would like to contribute it to your site:



Dear Lesley and the Folks at 60 Minutes -
 
I want to thank you for this week's report on Sallie Mae and the cost of their profiteering on the college graduate's dime. 
 
I've been living with a lot of guilt for the past five years since I graduated from USC's prestigious film program with an emphasis in Screenwriting.  I had always been a literary-minded person (a book lover) and a storyteller.  In High School, when I first saw "A River Runs Through It," I felt drawn to the Cinema medium as a means of expression and a way of discovering meaning and identity.
 
I was fortunate enough to make it into the USC Film School, but when my father graduated from Medical School at the end of my Freshman year his income went up and the generous amount of grant money I was provided by the school went from nearly $18,000 down to below $2,000.  In order to stay in my program, which only accepts 24 students per year, I had to resort to borrowing all of the money for tuition.  Thus, Sallie Mae came into the picture.
 
By the time I graduated, I had nearly $100,000 in debt.  At the roughly 30 year payment plan I'm on now, I will end up paying nearly a quarter of a million dollars for my education. I vividly remember my last visit to the financial aid office at USC.  An older man in his fifties looked at my loans, looked at me and said, "You're in debt up to here, aren't you," while leveling his hand just under his nose.  Then he proceeded to laugh at me.  I was in complete shock.  I had no idea what to say, but that was when I first felt my future was in jeopardy because of these loans.

Only a month after graduating in August of 2001, September 9/11 rolled around.  There were no jobs to speak of in L.A. for a young film grad, or it seems any other graduate for that matter.  I couldn't afford to stay in Los Angeles, so I moved back to my home state of Kansas.  I worked for three years managing movie theaters in Wichita, Kansas and struggling to pay the massive loans which were coming due.
 
I had to ask my parents for help.  They were glad to assist, but the fact is that my father, still only a few years out of school himself (he started medical school at the age of 39), owed over $100,000 to Sallie Mae for his student loans.  Life grew incredibly dim as it seemed to me my life would be spent struggling to pay for college, rather than make a living.
 
College is supposed to be "good debt."  It's supposed to be an investment in your future.  Now, because of college, I feel I have no future.  At times suicide has seemed a viable option.  I frequently feel as though I'll never be able to consider having a wife or family.
 
The story doesn't have an entirely sad ending, though.  Because of the digital revolution in film and video, I've been able to direct two documentary films.  The first was a historical film on the history of Bleeding Kansas during the Civil War which played on PBS, and the second I am only a week from finishing.  It's a verite documentary capturing the experience of a husband and wife bluegrass band from the 9th Ward in New Orleans who return to their home for the first time since the disaster.  It's a heartwarming portrait of how they juggle raising their two daughters (4 and 2 years old) while writing music, touring, recording, and dealing with the greatest natural disaster in recent American history.
 
I'm proud of these accomplishments.  I funded my last film with savings and credit cards, which I am successfully paying off.  I will premiere the film this Fall at film festivals and hope to sell it to a mid-size distributor.
 
This wil be something of a short goodbye to filmmaking for me, as I begin (with the help of my family whom I live with now at the age of 28) to complete a new degree in Radiological Sciences - a field with guaranteed employment opportunities.  I'm hoping this will afford me the ability to make bigger payments on my mounting debt with Sallie Mae.  I have the slightest hope of actually having the money to start a family.
 
So when I see the CEO of Sallie Mae cheerfully proclaiming his wealth while buying golf courses and baseball teams - I know personally who is paying for those luxuries.  I'd like to see some reform in this company.  I would like to see a company who invests in people's futures by offering them reasonable payment plans and options for switching careers or investing elsewhere.  So far, my experience has been the same as the student you interviewed, although I haven't defaulted on my loan. 
 
Sallie Mae has been utterly unmoved by my requests for workable payments in relation to my income.  Early on they frequently sent threatening mail and called on a weekly basis.  Thanks to my parents, I've at least been relieved of this torment - but how many students have not?
 
How many people are living in shame or grief over their "good debt?" 
 
Thank you for your story.  I do hope it facilitates some compassionate reform of the system.  Like many others, I want to pay off my debts and I know I am not an irresponsible individual.  What I am, though, is a slave to student loans - and in the words of Orson Welles - "that's no way to live a life."

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Pamela

I work for United States of Agrigulture the Farm Service Agency, have misplaced my garnishment material for student loan pay off.  The two original loans where in the amount of $469.00 and $3,275.00 for a combine of $3,744.00.  This garnishment started in August of 2004, I have paid Sallie Mae collection agencies General Revenue Corporation at total of $4,577.77.  I have calculated even with a collection cost of $16.60 a pay period every two weeks and interest of 3.34, that I have paid my debt in full as of July 2006. Their records indicate I still owe them $304.08.  Without the original garnishment paper work, I have been unable to disput the $304.08, in an effective manner.  Which has hinded my ability secure my mortgage loan.  With the approaching closing date it is imperative, I receive this paper work.  Even after many e-mails and phone calls, I still have not received any information from my Human Resource Department.

The General Revenue Corporation is not obligated nor required to send me a copy of the garnishment material, now or at the beginning of this garnishment request.  The garnishment material is essential to the fairness to all parties involved.  I did not dispute that I owed the monies for my student loan. But, I've have paid $810.61 more then my orginal amount borrowed.

I know that this loan is very small, when it is compared to others, I should mention that I have paid, on three other loans during the same period as this garnishment.  I have learned my lesson, never to borrow for college again, I think a revolt is needed, then when American's can't compete with other countries, then maybe the we look to help student and not hurt their futures.

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Pamela

I divorced my husband approximately six years ago. Before we were married he incurred over $30,000 in student loans with Sally Mae. Once we were married, he consolidated his student loan with a $700.00 student loan that I had. I can honestly say I do not remember ever signing any paperwork and nobody can seem to show me proof of the original document that I signed. During the time we were married I know he made payments, but I am not sure how much actually went toward the principle. In our divorce decree it states that he is responsible for the loan. But I found out the hard way that divorce decrees aren't worth the paper they are written on.

After our divorce my ex-husband claimed he couldn't afford the loan payments and when he ran out of deferments and any other options he had to delay making payments he started sending them $20 of the $275 he owed each month. After a few years of their threatening letters and phone calls his Father approached the loan servicing center (Sally Mae) and offered them $25,000 of the then $32,000 balance, they refused to take it stating that one way or another they would get every penny owed. It has gone so far past due that the loan has been turned over to Texas Guaranteed for collections. They have recently told him that either he pays the balance owed or they are going to come after me. After attorney fees, late fees, and whatever other fees they could come up with, it has brought the balance to over $73,000! He has never denied that this is his debt or tried to get me to pay on the loan. He repeatedly told Sally Mae and Texas Guaranteed to leave me alone and told them that this is between him and them, but of course they refuse to listen or take my name off of the loan.

I am beside myself and I am in tears every day. I am so upset about the whole situation and I have no idea what to do. I make a decent living, but I have two daughters to provide for. I cannot afford to pay for his debt or for them to take my tax returns and or garnish my wages. The more I read about their legal rights, the more I realize I may be stuck with this for the rest of my life, and the more upset I become. They already put it on my credit report and ruin any and all chances of me obtaining credit. Every six months I contact the credit bureaus and have it removed, which they do, but then six months later it's back on there again. I am in the process of purchasing a home and I am afraid that with this on there (which they just put back on this month) it is going to seriously impact there decision on wether or not to approve me for a loan. I do not want this to affect whether or not my children can go to college, I need to get this taken care of now.

So please, if you can offer any advice or help or even point me in the direction of someone who may be able to help me, I would be forever in your debt.
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Mike

In 2003 I had been cooking professionally for about 4 years, not really going anywhere when I decided to go to culinary school. Boy was that a mistake. I had been out of high school for 4 years already and had some debt, so when the school told me I could get finacial aid for the whole thing at a low pay back, I was in. They never gave me any options on who to borrow the money from, but gave me a sallie mae app. and told me exactly how to fill it out. Unfortunately, due to finacial problems I had to drop out of school half way through.

Six months later I recieved my first bill stating that I had a principal balance of 22,000 with 6% interest on one loan and 20,000 with 5% interest on the other loan and a 240 dollar payment. I was still going through a finacial hardship at the time so a few months later I claimed a 6 month forbearance. They said no problem, and my payments would pick back up in six months like normal. After six month went by I got my next statement saying I owed 425 dollars. After many battles and and different payment plans that doesn't help at all. My current balance as of 01-07 is 28,540.87 with 12.25% interest on one loan and 11,814.70 with 13.75% interest on the other. Estimated amount to be paid is 96,738.96 on a 42,000 dollar loan. These numbers we continue to go up, as I struggle to pay these ******* off while trying live and support my family.

It makes me sad to think that if you want to go to school and better your self, and be a more productive member of society that you will probably never make it. Cause, unless your rich and can pay for your own schooling, you either have to get a loan you won't be able to pay back or just don't go to school miss out on a better career.


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