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Nebraska

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Debbie

My student loans originate from the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation.  After I graduated from college, I paid on my loans for a good seven years.  Due to an ex-husband putting me in bankruptcy, I was unable to pay the loans back, lost my house and everything else.  I moved back to my home state of Nebraska where my family helped me as much as possible, got a low paying job, and was on welfare for a while.  I've always intended to pay my student loans back if I ever had the ability to do so.  Just this year, 2005, I finally secured a decent job that enabled me and my kids to get off welfare.  I've only had this job for a couple of months and am just getting back on my feet and am the sole support for two young children as their father abandoned us. 

Recently, my 90-year-old grandmother called to give me a message from some person that pretended to be my friend and wanted my work number.  It turns out to be an employee of Van Ru Credit Corp., out of Chicago, calling about my Texas student loans. I made the mistake of calling the number while I was at work, and offered to make payments.  The person I talked to just kept saying they wanted me to verify my employment information - who did I work for, how much money do I make, etc.  When I refused to give the information over the phone and requested they send me something in writing, they told me it was just to "update my file," and "to complete my application."  I told them I was not releasing any information over the phone and they needed to send me whatever papers necessary so I could set up a payment plan.  They REFUSED to do this, got one manager after another on the phone telling me they couldn't do that and I had to complete my application by verbally giving them the information over the phone.  At one point two or three people were screaming at me over the phone telling me they were going to garnish my wages, they knew where I worked, had my employment information and so forth. One of the "managers" told me I could solve this problem real easily.  When I asked how, he said to "just write a check for $22,000."  I told him I do not have $22,000, I am unable to borrow that much money from anywhere due to my bad credit, and that I live paycheck to paycheck supporting two little children.  I just got off of welfare.  Are they crazy?  I finally hung up because I could not talk to these people - they just kept yelling at me.

Then they call back, use the receptionist to get my employment information, and tell her they want to verify my wages.  She tells them they will have to talk to the office manager when available.  They then ask her to talk to me and when I answer the phone, they start yelling at me again that they have my employment information and are going to garnish my wages and they don't need anything from me now.  I could not believe how nasty they were.  If my wages are garnished, I might as well quit this job and either try to find an employer who pays in cash or go back on welfare because I will never make it, especially with the high costs of child care for two children.  I'm willing to make payments but it appears Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation is not interested.   

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Pamela

MyAfter two consolidations, I now owe $85,000 on student loans that had a net worth of roughly $22,000 in the 1980s.

I lost my fulltime job on Black Monday (October 19, 1987). My condo went to sheriff's sale in January 1991 and I survived with the belongings that fit in my 85 Dodge Omni as friends and homeless shelters took me in.

I continued to work fulltime for a temp agency until December 1992.

SallieMae would call me at work once or twice a week, reminding me of "the dire consequences" should they not receive my "negotiated" payment on time. I was usually so rattled by the call, my boss would encourage me to go for a walk or sit in the cafeteria.

Would you believe? I had a debt consolidation service sending SallieMae their monthly payment. All of my creditors settled for lower monthly payments and/or a reduction in interest fees. SallieMae wanted the whole ball of wax and they REFUSED to speak with the owner of the consolidation service, saying they were only authorized to talk with me.

I lived in fear, even though I knew I was doing the very best I could to pay the bill on time.

December 1992 I had a breakdown that affected my emotional as well as my physical health. I have been receiving Social Security Disability Income for well over ten years. I am 59 years old, single and poor as a churchmouse.

I now have a second consolidation loan with an ICR plan that requires me to make payments for 25 years. At the end of 25 years, the balance owed will be written off (paid by the taxpayers?) and I will be required to pay the taxes that are due on the loss. How someone like myself will ever be able to do this, I don't know. Nor does the Department of Education.

My family offered to pay the amount that was remaining in 2000 (minus the accumulated interest). SallieMae refused the offer, saying they had to have it all. Now anyone in my family who could help me is dead.

I live with fear, shame and what feels to me like NO HOPE.

Why is the government allowing my loan to escalate so that taxpayers (not me) can pay well over $120,000 on a $22,000 loan in 25 years? Would it not be wiser for them to write it off now?

My breakdown was the direct result of the financial pressures exerted by SallieMae. Even when I was residing in a homeless shelter, SallieMae would call me so that I would remember what happens to people who do not pay their student loans. Now taxpayers are forced to help me survive with a Social Security check and other welfare related benefits.

Even if you do NOT care about me or the years I have remaining, I hope you will care about yourself. How many student loan fiascos are you going to pay for in the coming years in higher income taxes?

I planned to pay back the loans -- every cent. Perhaps there is a program that could help me do that. How about a volunteer program that allows a certain amount to be forgiven over time at the same time that the clock is stopped on the escalating interest?






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