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Nevada

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

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M.W. 

Up until yesterday, my wife and I were both Sallie Mae employees. We were  walked out the door under "unpaid suspension" which is a ploy used by companies who know you are living payday to payday. My wife used to service student loans for a bank which is why she took the job at S&M a year ago. She found out the hard way what a terrible company they truly are.

They cut the employees bonuses right after they gave the CEO $6.5 Million in stock. They give any employee willing to suck up to their corporate crapola shares of stock to make up for the lack of pay they offer. We would get paid and be broke. My wife grossed $23,000 there last year. This is not even a living wage.

One thing we did do though. We offered the only real customer service that the borrowers got. We educated them about their loans. Of course, this did not set well with the management. They sent e-mails telling the employees not to be nice to the borrowers.

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Beverley 

I took out 3 separate education loans for a bachelors degree, I was paying on the first two by the time the third came due, I became seriously disabled. I collect Social Security Disability, a wopping $702.00 a month to LIVE on. I did all the paper work that Sallie Mae requested for dismissal of the loans due to my disability, even having all the required doctors do their parts as well (NOT an easy task). After 4 Years, I received a letter from Sallie Mae that these loans were dismissed and paid by the Guarrentor, that I was no longer responsible for them...I thought...HURRAY..FINALLY...In no time, I mean just a couple of months, I began recieving letters from a collection agency known as ACS, I have since found out it is owned by NONE OTHER THAN SALLIE MAE!!! They claim I'm responsible to pay ALL monies back. I have repeatedly sent copies of this letter I have from Sallie Mae, releasing me of my responsibility to pay due to my disability, I've faxed it, !
 copied it and mailed it again and again, more faxes, more phone calles to them, they continue to refuse to address the letter issue with me stating only they don't know what I'm talking about, as there is nothing in my file or on their computer record of such letter. I now get collection letters in duplicates, 2 letters per day from ACS, I make repeat phone calls to no avail regarding my disability as they tell me they are now going to garnishee my disability check, AND THEY CAN!!! I don't have enough money to live on as I receive Medicare and Medicaid to cover my enourmous medical bills, now, they're going to take my disability check too? HELP!!! 60 Minutes..PLEASE DO A FOLLOW UP STORY ON US...

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M.M. 

I am a former 20+ year resident of Nevada. In Fall 1992, after years of taking just one class at a local community college, at age 26, I begin attending full time at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Initially, the tuition at UNR was incredibly cheap -- about $30 per credit/unit. It was an 'open campus', there was no GPA requirement, the school had a mediocre academic rating and was considered a cheap venue to get a undergraduate degree, especially if you were a state resident and poor.

When I began going, I received a PELL grant for about $1,200 for Fall '92. It covered all of my tuition and I had nearly enough left over for books, which as everyone knows, are horribly over-priced.

On top of the grant, the student loan office at UNR eagerly offered me two loan applications. They were for the '92-'93 school year (2 semesters). One was 'un-subsidized' and the other was subsidized. All of my loans were with CitiBank Corp. with the exception of one small one thru First Interstate Bank.

No mention of scholarships or any other form/type of federal grant was ever made by the student loan office. When I asked about SEOG or BEOG grants, I was told that one had been eliminated by the former Bush Administration and the other was only for single mothers on welfare. When I asked about scholarships, I was told to either A) talk to the scholarship office in the next building or B) talk to the scholarship officer with my particular college/discipline.

>From Fall '92 thru Spring '95 I attended full-time while working very part-time. Because I was a Print Journalism major, as part of my degree requirement and resume building, I was encouraged to work for the student newspaper for which I received an average of $50 a month as pay for 15-25 hours a week work. I also was required under my degree to complete so many hundred hours as an un-paid intern at a local daily newspaper. Because of this, working full-time was just not an option for me. I did work 15-20 hours per week for a local copy store at $6/hr with no benefits and my hours and schedule varied wildly.

In 1993 and again in 1994, every time I came up short in my rent (which averaged $350-$450 p/month) or for basic stuff like food or utilities, if I went to the financial aid office, they simply handed me another loan application. In fact, they had a huge stack of loan applications for CitiBank and Sallie Mae right on the front counter in their office and they regularly told students there was "no waiting in line" to get a loan app.

In Spring 1995, an academic counsellor told me that the university was making sweeping changes to its degree requirements for Fine Arts majors such as myself. In order to get a 4-yr undergraduate degree from the UNR Reynolds School of Journalism, I was going to have to attend an extra 1 to 3 semesters to meet these various requirements, most of them in 100/freshmen-level classes.

Refusing to do that, I spent several weekends combing thru listings of small newspaper and magazine publications in the journalism school library and after 50+ applications, I was offered an entry-level reporting job with a tiny newspaper in southeastern California outside of Los Angeles. My pay was $8.50 per hour. I worked on average 50 hours per week but was only paid for 40 and I was never reimbursed for mileage on my car.

At that time, I had racked up $28,000 in CitiBank loans in 3 years or, roughly $5,000 per semester for six semesters. By most people's estimates, this was a rock-bottom price to pay for three years of college. When I left UNR in 1995, their tuition had jumped from $30 per credit/unit to nearly $120.

CitiBank sent me my first "deferment/forebearance" application in Summer of '95, when I hadn't even been out of school one year. By December of 1995, when I returned to Reno, Nevada for another job (not in journalism), they said I owed them about $37,000 with interest.

In 2000, while working for $8/hr as a admin. assistant for a web design firm, CitiBank contacted me and suggested I "consolidate" my loans by selling them. They said I had no choice. My loans were sold to Sallie Mae Corp. in 2000 and I was allowed to start filing deferments and forebearances all over again.

I gave up ever repaying or doing anything to minimize my loan debt in 2001 when I found out two things: 1) I could never file for bankrupcy over the loans and 2) the minimum amount the debtors wanted just to pay on the interest of my loans was greater than my monthly income.

Since then, in 2005 the Sallie Mae Corp. handed my debt over to the General Revenue Corp. a collection agency. Between September 2005 and January 2006, GRC averaged 3-6 harrassing phone calls to my home phone per day. Around Christmas of 2005, I got calls from them at 7a.m. on weekends and calls as late as 10:30pm. The collection agents only identified themselves by their first name, never said specifically who they were calling on behalf of, and would repeatedly call and hang up in an effort to get past my answering machine. In January, I had my phone disconnected to stop the calls.

Currently, according to GRC, I owe about $69,000 with interest versus the original amount of less than $30,000. They have threatened to garnish my wages even though I work for a clerical temp agency and when not on assignment, I am on Washington state unemployment. I have sent them documentation to support this repeatedly via registered mail which they have tried to send back to me so they can deny in court that I ever sent it. GRC has sent forms requesting my checking account number, my current gross income, my rent/housing cost, etc. and I've refused and will continue to refuse to give them anything beyond copies of statements for my unemployment insurance.

If they attempt to garnish my wages while I am working, according to Washington state law they will be breaking the law as collectors can only attach wages of people who have not been on unemployment and/or who can show continuous employment for a minimum of 12 months following a period of unemployment.

I hope this story will add to the information you are trying to get out to future prospective college students. My only advise to any of them at this point is, if there is any way to avoid going to college and instead take an entry-level position in your desired field, do it. Not only are student loans a horrible scam, the public universities and colleges they gain you entry to aren't much better.




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Beverley

Don't ever co-sign on a student loan with Sallie Mae.  You will DIE before it is ever paid off.  There is no statute of limitations on student loans.  We were unfortunate enough to co-sign on a student loan for my son Chrisopher early in 2005.  The only piece of paper we have stating we owe anything is a signature loan that my husband signed for $13,000.  We NEVER received any loan documents or payment schedule - NOTHING.  Six months later we started getting nasty phone calls and overdue statements claiming we owed over $18,000!  We have had threatening phone calls and Sallie Mae reported my husband to the credit bureaus as being delinquent on payments.  All the time this is going on, my son is getting the same phone calls and delinquent statements as well.  We can't get a straight answer from anyone at Sallie Mae whatsoever.  Just a continuous circle jerk.  They WILL NOT send us any documentation stating how much we owe or how much interest we are being gouged for.  We are now in the process of refinancing our home and have to pay a higher interest rate because of the negative info from Sallie Mae.

My son signed a forebearance form and sent it in to those crooks but we are still receiving threatening calls and nasty letters.  The harrassment has never stopped. How can these people get away with what they are doing?  Is there anyone who can help resolve this situation?  I have contacted three lawyers and have gotten no where. I have also written letters to Sallie Mae but got no response as well.  I am totally frustrated and beside myself with worry about what is going to happen next.  Had we known at the time just how horrible this was going to turn out, we never would have agreed to co-sign.  We just wanted our son to finish school and look where it got us.  The powers that be at Sallie Mae are scum sucking bottom feeders.  They are only interested in the almighty buck and will stop at nothing to get it!  And they don't care whose life they ruin in the process.







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