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Oregon

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

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Gail

This is my son's story so I don't have all the facts but I do know enough to know it was one of the factors that drove him to suicide.  He was very depressed because he owed over $200,000 in student loans and saw no end to ever paying them off.  He had consolidated before the interest went way down and when he looked into doing it when interest was good he was told he could only do it once in the life of the loans.  He had gotten his masters degree and had almost completed his PHD.  Because of this hard line rule it became overwhelming.  He committed suicide 9/28/05 and the world lost a beautiful, brilliant person and I lost one of the loves of my life.  I'm not just saying these things because I am his Mother and loved him. 

He was so smart he belonged to Mensa and I am attaching his local obituary.  I keep receiving bills from the student loans even though I have repeatedly returned them to sender with the message that he was deceased.  When they kept coming I added the fact that he was deceased in part because of these bills and when they still kept coming I added that they were rubbing salt in a wound and were breaking my heart and to please cease already.  Michele was 39 and had so much to give. His Father is dying of liver cancer but Michele's death is the tragedy of his life, even more than his own death sentence.  His wife, his parents and brothers are all victims.    I would like to see legislation that protects these students and gives them alternatives if they have a hardship repaying these loans.  

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Temena

I was amazed to see the student loan story on a CBS New show.


I have been suffering through this situation since 1996. I borrowed $26,000 and upon graduation began to pay after the grace period. I paid religiously for years but have had economic issues periodically and so I have deferred them off and on. I now owe nearly $31,000. I recently had them refinanced to Direct Loans from Sallie Mae but the terms have not changed my payment only got reduced. These loan companies are evil. I am a single mother and the rapid increase in principal has caused serious distress and economic difficulty in my life. I continue to seek employment that will aid me in repaying this dept but I am only making 11.25 an hour working for the state.

I have a BA in Criminal Justice and it has done me no good in this competitive market. I really believed when I began college that I would never have to struggle like this. Isn't that why we seek an education? I believe we were lied to!! I was lied to! They are charging 8% interest and won't let me refinance them to a lower rate. Its wrong and I pray every day that an answer appears for me and others in this situation. I will be paying on these loans for the rest of my life. Again I say....they are evil. Please keep me updated on the progress of this fight and let me know if there is anything I can do. Thank you for this opportunity to express this. Good luck to you!

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E.G.

Tonight is 5/07/06.  60 min just reported on student loans. I had loans of about $12,000.00 in 1995.  I am now partially paralyzed due to spinal surgery. Money is taken from my Social Security and now I receive state aid in order to barely exist. What we don't understand is there are legal rules--one may have to divorce in order to buy a home--or not have wages garnished-- and now that I realize illegals have more rights than I do as a person born in the U.S.--I urge people to start young and get about 3 identifications--just in case--if you have a computer go read student loans at 60 min.  About 2 BILLION DOLLARS was given to CONGRESS to enact these collection laws against honest well intentioned folks--pay attention folks--the honest way won't work anymore--I am all for joining.

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Greg

I graduated from College of Pharmacy 1988 at age of 38, with a loan of 21k. Married with two children. We worked very hard to keep our loans down. I subjected my wife and children to much deprivation and hardship. Ronald Reagans' administration eliminated low interest loans, I had to borrow and the going inflated rate 11% & 12%. Wife went to law school, I worked two jobs 8 years to pay for that education and paid minimum on my loan. Wife became clinically depressed, never could practice law, just terrible years. Divorce, we had just bought a fixer-upper and lost it. A family broken. I began working 30 days out of a month to pay bills. To do this I would have to work out of town, that's when "they" sent the letter. I had not made my payment on time I had two weeks to respond to the fines and charges. My loan had increased because of high interest rates to 31k. Now my loan would be 59k with fines. Because I did not respond in the time allowed by lender ( Note: my loans were sold so often I could not keep up with the transactions) the loan was sold back to DOE.

My loan actually doubled. Since 1997 I have paid $420/mo and that only pays interest, my loan is the same today as then. When I asked for assistance I was told none would come. I'm remarried am purchasing a house and it can be taken and sold to pay the big investors. I have paid $39k on a 21k loan and will never be able to pay it off because I can no longer work but two days a week, I'm not completely disabled so no help. "if you trip you will fall". Folks you will become indentured, the constitution of USA says that cannot happen, but big capital says they can. Considered leaving USA.  Good Luck to you all  GW age 56

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Witheld

I am now 53. I was raised in poverty--picking beans and berries at the age of  in order to help put food on the table. I was the only one in the family to graduate from high school, and last year I earned my masters degree. I am more than $80,000 in debt because, being in poverty, and ignorant of the system, I was unable to get the help I needed with money matters (in high school the counselor told me to forget going to college because I would never be smart enough to get through it--only because I was raised on welfare).
I have been unable to find a job in my career, and am now homeless and jobless.
I borrowed money from private institutions who are unwilling to stop the interest from accruing, so even if I do find a job, my wages will be garnished--so why try?

I truly believed that if I got an education, I would be able to get out of poverty. With the student loan debt I will never get out of poverty.

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D.S.

Well, different than the other stories on this website, I did everything right.  I don't have any disabilities, or disabled family members, I'm not divorced, or a single parent.  My husband and I own a decent middle class home, and two decent newer cars.  I have been employed almost right out of grad school at a decent income level.  But STILL... I'm in student loan trouble like everyone else here. 

I borrowed $25k from Sallie Mae for my undergrad loans.  Took 3 years off to stay home with my babies, putting my loans in deferment during that time.  Then I took out $40k from Key Bank for grad school.  I knew then that was a lot of money, and a lot of debt, but I figured it was reasonable to pay 1 year salary for your education.  What I didn't know was that with fees, interest and penalties, I would be repaying not only my own education, but also the money I would someday want to save for my children's future education.  Now I currently owe over $175k, and that number will only continue to grow with interest.

1 year into repayment and my new career, I began to fall behind in my payments.  $37k annual salary isn't really that much.  And with the payments they were demanding, I didn't have enough left over to even pay for my kids hot school lunches.  I was not then, nor am I now living extravagantly.  After ending up in default on my grad loans, I am still paying Sallie Mae, and now the people who are collecting on my grad loans.  I pay $700 a month. 

If it weren't for my husband's income, I too would be living on the streets, or at least in a very depressing tiny apartment, trying to scrape together the food and utilities money each month.  I currently save $0 each month. 

I've read other stories here about how this has ruined marriages.  My husband too is upset by the situation.  Upset that I can't contribute even a little to the expense of a family vacation, that I have to ask him for money to fill my gas tank.  And who can blame him?  He entered marriage believing he was gaining a partner, not another dependant.  And it wears on my self esteem. 

I saw the story on 60 Minutes last night. It infuriated me!  I can't believe our government has turned us into a generation of slave labor, intentionally set us up to fail and default.  Now all I want to know is... what can we do about it?  We've all shared our stories about how bad off we are, what i'd like to see is information about what our rights are, and what we can do to protect ourselves.
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Nadia

I graduated from the University of Oregon in 1987. I've been trying to get a job. No one will hire me.

The Student loan ruined my credit and damage me for the rest of my life. Last Fall I got a small job to teach a class at OSU Women Studies. I filed for my income tax. The Student loan garnished it..

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Teague

II accept full responsiblity for incurring student loan debt under Sallie Mae.  However, I discovered upon graduating (A.S. Microelectronics) that employers expect job applicants to have at least 1 year prior work experience for available positions.  I have none.  Therefore even though I made both the Dean's List and the President's List I am working as a toilet cleaner with a student Loan debt totaling $32,000 (including interest).
My interest has been paid off but I still have $141.75 monthly principle payments to make for the next 17 years.
My concern is not exactly with Sallie Mae but the fact that colleges and universities continue to promote various degree programs without mentioning the prerequisites for obtaining a job after graduating (primarily work experience).

If I was employed as an electronics or semiconductor technician at high wages I could afford the $141.75 monthly payment a lot easier.

Well, I geuss I have no one to blame but myself.  I consider my degree as a personal but pyrrhic victory.
I have to embrace my fate along with other debtors who in the aggregate have become indentured servants to Sallie Mae.

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Frelime

My story is not one of default, nor is it of one regarding my own student loans, which are already consolidated under a private lending institution.  I simply wish to tell you what happened to others, for whom I have and am advocating, and my personal dealings with Sallie Mae.

Khalid is a Saudi citizen and permanent resident of the U.S. whom I met approximately 15 years ago as a Portland Community College student.  Over the years of our acquaintance, he eventually transferred to a four year school, Portland State University, where he took an undergraduate degree.  He then enrolled in a graduate program through PSU. He had completed his course work in this program, only needing to complete and defend his master's thesis, when he suddenly got bad news from home.  His family learned that his father was dying, with no more than six months to live.

Unfortunately, these events transpired a mere 6 months after 9/11.  He needed to leave for home as quickly as possible and needed someone to take responsibility for his business affairs--sell his car, handle his bank accounts, begin collecting mail from his post office box, pay his bills, etc.

One of my business responsibilities for Khalid,  was to consolidate the student loans of my friend who had taken them out under four separate lending institutions.  Because my loans are consolidated with Citibank, I was familiar with the process.  We, therefore, chose to go with that institution. One of the lenders was Sallie Mae.  We kept the forebearances/deferrments going until the consolidation was finally complete.  My job was not easy and very time-consuming because I was repeatedly relapsing with multiple sclerosis, I had no power-of-attorney over this person (the girlfriend who did have that legal status flaked on us--I  believe partially out of fear of surveillance), and I was doing this for a person over-seas by whom I mainly communicated by e-mail. There were forms I needed to get to him through the Acrobat Reader or J-peg, but for whatever reason, it was impossible for him to download from his internet service provider in Saudi Arabia. I won't elaborate upon all the problems with faxing, delays with the postal service, confidentiality issues, etc.

Two summers ago, when it finally apppeared that the job was done--the consolidation application form was done with all the lenders, loan amounts and interest rates listed and signature--Sallie Mae flatly refused to RELEASE their loans he had with them.  They blatantly lied to me, claiming that the loans were not eligible for consolidation because he had his loans with them as the single lender.  Citibank, by the rules, could only leave that loan application pending for a limited amount of time without having to void it out. Because Sallie Mae loans were included with the bunch, we seemed to be left with no alternatives.

I desperately called the Oregon Student Assistance Commission (OSAC) because by this point his forbearances were expiring, and there was the impending danger of default.  OSAC went into their data base where they had listed all his student loans.  They told me that what Sallie Mae was telling me simply was not true.  When I asked, "But why?", I was told, "Because they want to force you to consolidate under them!"  In the meantime, we were being bombarded with Sallie Mae advertisements coming through the mail. These were encouraging us to consolidate with Sallie Mae while the prime interest rate was at it's lowest in forty years!  In the meantime, Citibank just closed out the application.

The unemployment rate in Saudi Arabia is incredibly high. My friend was being heavily pressured by his family to remain in Saudi Arabia, where the family was intent upon finding him a wife who could assist in caring for his now widowed mother.  He wanted to marry a Western woman of his choice who also had the ability to speak Arabic to his aging mother, but finding such a woman was impractical.  He also had the pressure of completing a thesis in which he had done half his research at an English library facility in the U.S.  Having to switch over to Arabic resource materials was a nightmare.  He was under tremendous psychological pressure.  In the meantime, I was steadily relapsing and remitting with MS and not clear-headed enough half the time to conduct my own business affairs in a reliable and consistent manner, let alone his.  Because we were desperately attempting to prevent a default, I lent him money I could not afford to lend from my meager Social Security benefits.

In the fall of the same year (summer 2004) that Sallie Mae undermined the Citibank consolidation effort through manipulatiion and lying, he did, that fall, default on a loan upon which he owed approximately $280.  Fortunately, we were free to bundle that defaulted loan with the loans from other institutions, which amounted to $16,000-$18,000.  We were able to pull it back out of default through Wm D. Ford, but only under special repayment conditions which we are still struggling  to meet.  He must now make five on-time payments, regardless of his financial hardships, otherwise the consolidation will be nullified.  He will be eligible for no deferrments, forbearances, or downward adjustments of payment amounts which are in keeping with his income until we meet these specially tailored guidelines, thanks to the dishonesty, delays, and unethical behavior of Sallie Mae.  Needless to say, his credit record has been trashed.

While this unnecessarily long consolidation process was going on, I was being bombarded with phone calls and mail correspondence from lenders and collection agencies.  I was and still am seriously ill.  When Sallie Mae placed calls,  I found them to uncooperative, hostile, beligerent, and deceptive.  When I angrily stated to someone who had placed a menacing call t6o me from Salllie Mae that the acccount would not be delinquent and on the verge of default had they only not stymied our efforts to consolidate under Citibank, this person went so far as to tell me that the reason for their refusal to release his loans to Citibank is that it is unlawful to consolidate federally guaranteed loans under a private financial institution.  Of course, I was left asking why I had been told prior to that that the problem for their failure to release was that they, Sallie Mae, was his single, solitary lender, therefore making consolidation impossible.   Also, how had I managed to so simply consolidate under Citibank? The party with whom I spoke was so beligerent and so quick to present much of what I knew to be misinformation, that I came to the realization, in a stunning way, that the customer service representatives were being TRAINED to engage in this type of unethical behavior.

That's when I contacted Wm Ford.  Whoever I spoke with assured me that  various things I was told by Sallie Mae simply were not true.  She asked if I had considered consolidating under Wm Ford.  I told her that Sallie Mae was my problem, but my friend was flatly refusing to yield by consolidating under them because he realized they were running an unethical business operation.  The service representative assured me that they had ways of getting around Sallie Mae.  She said, "We ARE the government."  My friend just this spring managed to consolidate under the Wm D. Ford Direct Loan Program.

There were still unanswered questions in my mind.  Why would the government allow federally guaranteed loans to be handled by such a corrupt organization?  My plate was too full to do any researching or writing of congressmen, but I am so relieved that I just happened to tune in "60 Minutes" the night added insights were given into Sallie Mae and it's operations.  I was fully convinced that, perhaps, not terribly seasoned and sophisticated students were being badly exploited and that there was a need for U.S. Congressional hearings, even, but viewing myself as a potential catalyst was totally unrealistic.  I am relieved to know that others are indeed attempting to do something.

 

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Cynthia

Background....In 1988-90 undergrad loans apx 38K, 1992-94 grad
loans 21K (unfinished due to injuries, no work til 1999-2002).
default in 2000.  Unable to negotiate any fair or reasonable
settlement. Nearly 20K charged in one day by switching to another
collection company. The original amount of about 59K now 220K.

As I explained I am the Plaintiff in a student loan bankruptcy case
trial scheduled for September 15th, defendant Sallie Mae. It is called
an adversarial proceeding.

I am not confident my case is going to be presented properly to the
judge. I am hearing from the attorneys that I may meet two of the so
called three part "Brehner" test ( another case setting some possible
standard ) and that in order to make the third part I may have to be
completely unable to work.

 The whole premise of deciding a case it appears, has to do with
"undo hardship". Common sense would say that original loans of apx 59K
could not possibly be legal to go to apx 220K.

Someone please show me what I signed that said this could happen. I
would not wish this kind of stress on anyone. It's like kicking a down
dog and adding continual insult and injury. It's difficult to admit the
threshold of anxiety this has impressed upon me. Any thoughts of a fair
resolution that I may have had more than ten years ago have slid into
an abyss of hopelessness. One collection rep told me my account had not
been handled properly and that the "mafia" was involved. This was
surely an attempt to put more fear in me.

I burned myself out trying to earn enough money to pay this off,
meanwhile never receiving an accounting of how I got to owe this much.
At every turn a new collection company repeatedly called me with a new
set of "rules" or programs to "help" me which only led to more money
owed.

 Countless times I agreed to be sent literature on the next way to
"save" my credit and start over; ie:" the income contingent program",
(which I fear the judge is favoring and saying we have not explored, he
hasn't a clue!)

How could I sign anything to reaffirm a debt that has added this
much interest, penalty fees, collection fees etc. without even a
statement? One attorney who tried to help me for months quit because of
that unanswered question. He called it "Legalized Financial Slavery."

In 2005 through Oregon representattive Darleen Hooley's office I
attempted to make contact with Sallie Mae and with family help make a
plea to settle this nightmare. More than a year later my current
attorneys are still trying to get an answer.

I sincerely appreciate you listening. The thing is, I as well
as others may have just worried themselves sick. If stress really is a
killer, then Sallie Mae has a license to kill. After all this
"unconscionable", "usury" practice, as yet another attorney called it,
is really an injury to us. Where do we go from here? They are so big
and powerful.

 

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Virginia

I was an "older than average" student, starting higher education at age 40 in 1986. I was also divorced, buying a house and raising two teens.  Former husband was great about getting child support in, but I had other expenses and took out student loans to meet them. First, owed to Student Loan Financing Center in 1986 was listed as $2500 on a subsequent Chapter 13 bankruptcy matrix.  The second ($2342) was to Educational Loan Servicing Center and was taken out in 1990.  I graduated in 1991 with a BS in Management, had a seasonal job with the Forest Service on graduation, and was applying for permanent work after that.  Jobs were sporadic or short term (company went out of business or owner died) and there was nothing consistent to make a definite repayment plan.  I also had a car I was still paying on (used, but reliable) plus mortgage payments and the necessities of life.

When there was the threat of repossessing my car (I lived in an area with no mass transit), I filed under Chapter 13. I was still searching for full-time work but not getting very far.  I do have a small disability pension from the Navy due to MS and was using unemployment income from past work to help keep things paid as best I could.  Then the unemployment ran out.

Next step was filing for hardship discharge of the bankruptcy.  The only one objecting was United Student Aid Funds (somehow they ended up being custodian of the loans) but the judge determined that it was a "no asset situation" so the discharge was granted.

In Sept 1999, I got a written notice from VanRu Credit Corp. (you'll find them on budhibbs.com worst collectors list) listing for USA Services,Inc. loans in the amounts of $1549.58, 1547.73 and 1547.70. I may have received more but they got told the debts were discharged in bankruptcy and went away.

>From December 15, 2000 through May 31, 2001 I was receiving letters from Diversified Collection Services, Inc. regarding United Student Aid Funds now totalling $5055.68 as of Jan 14, 2001. 

I also have a copy of a letter (received several and some phone calls) from Allied Interstate in 2002 saying I owed a total of $5298.21 to USA Funds.  They talked me into doing a loan consolidation which was put on "income contingency" even though I still held to the bankruptcy.  Didn't know my full rights then.

In the past couple of years, I have been receiving demand letters from SallieMae saying I owe them over $5000 on student loan repayment and Allied Interstate had gotten this loan consolidation through Federal Direct Loan Consolidation Program, and that is also for over $5000.

A bit of internet search today and Wikipedia showed that Sallie Mae is (1) not a government agency, but a private corporation (2)acquired USA Funds on 9/31/2000, and have another agnecy (Student Assistance Corporation) that began calling me,leaving a number for me to call them just under 14 days after I sent a "do not call" letter to Sallie Mae via CMRRR. They were also sent copies of two credit reports (TRW- now Experian--03/30/96 and Transunion 02/22/01)neither of which show anything about the student loans but recent CRs do.

I'm 60 years old now, still on disability and unable to work more than very part-time jobs, and they refuse to listen to facts.  I have not had any steady employment since graduation (who says age discrimination doesn't exist?) and SallieMae is now on my "You didn't want her to go there!!" list.  I have just filed complaint with the FTC and am doing one with my state's Attorney General (the counselor said "SallieMae's going down!).  Then, I might have to get nasty.

Think we may have cause for a class action suit with all the bad things we've experienced?      

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M

I Applied online for a conslidation loan for my daughter from ACS on 6-16-06 in order to take advantage of the lower interest rates that were ending on 7-1-06. She was still in school, with FFEL loans (sub & unsub Stafford) all serviced by ACS (lender: WA Student Loan Finance Assoc).

[This is all very confusing to me, but I have spent a good deal of time researching this and believe I am interpreting this all correctly, but perhaps not. Any clarification would be much appreciated - especially if I'm wrong.]

At that time, I hadn't yet heard of the rule change that allowed you to apply for consolidation with anyone - previously, if all FFEL loans were held by one lender, you had to apply for consolidation with that lender.

Because she was still in school, we had to apply to put her loans in repayment and apply for an in-school deferral - as I understood it. This would also give her the most optimum interest rate left available for her consolidation loan - 4.75%. She applied for the consolidation on-line, and when you submit the application/promissary note - you are agreeing to all the terms, conditions, etc.

We printed that out and were going to send it in, but could find no info online re: requesting repayment and deferrment. Called; only number listed anywhere was 800#, which at the the time of the year (so close to 7-1-06 deadline) was overloaded. Was on hold for 10-15 mins. before having to hang up several times. Couldn't get through (til a week later). So I sent an e-mail, asking about those two issues, and saying I needed an answer back soon, because if they weren't going to give us consolidation, we'd apply elsewhere. [A day after applying online, I learned of Congress' change on 6-15-06, rescinding the "single-lender" rule.] Never got an answer back to e-mail.

Finally got thru to ACS by phone on 6-22-06. Asked about repayment/deferment. CSR said I didn't have to do anything special, it's be done automatically because she was still in school. I asked what they needed me to send. She told me they didn't need anything, online app was sufficient - didn't need to send any paperwork. I asked her when I would hear if consolidation had been approved, cuz if they weren't going to do it, we needed to apply elsewhere SOON. She said they had a huge backlog and didn't know how long it'd take to process, but that approval was not a question. She said we should get paperwork, payment book, etc. about a month or so before daughter graduated (on 9-15-06).

Started trying to call ACS middle of August. Same problem with phone - can't get through after 10+ plus mins on hold. Wasn't real persistent - tried once or twice a week until she graduated, then called more often. Finally got through on 9-30-06 - worried that payments may have to start soon because (I think) you lose your grace period when you consolidate.

They say they have no record of it! Told me I was free to apply for consolidation now, but that interst rate would be new (much) higher rate. Also said I could apply on-line!!!

BTW - ACS specifically allows e-signing of apps for FFEL Stafford loans.

Now one of her loans is in repayment (no grace period!?) while one isn't (in grace period?!) and they won't respond at all.

I have the dated confirmation page they supply on-line to affirm online application. Terms and conditions, etc. etc. of the button you had to click to submit app (which is also a PROMISSARY NOTE) online says that "I have not applied elsewhere for a consolidation" (or words to that effect) so we weren't legally allowed to apply elsewhere once we click that button as far as I understand.

Now I'm reading about other lenders/servicers dragging their feet on consolidations because it's more lucrative for them (because the new interest rates are so much higher).

This higher interest rate will cost my daughter close to $2,000 EXTRA over the term of these loans (and her debt was only $7,900 to begin with!)

Is anyone else having this problem?? What can I do?? HELP!

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Name Witheld


Every time I call Sallie Mae to ask for help with my student loans - needing to make the payments lower as I can't afford them at all, they always demand money. They send letters to my family members at least once a month asking where I live and have an automated calling service that calls my family members trying to get ahold of me. I've given up on calling them, because they won't even take a partial payment from me. I am taking the steps needed to complete me degree and get a better paying job so that I can pay them back, but they don't care. I don't have the money in my bank account - if I wrote a check or gave them my debt/visa number, it won't go through. They won't work with people, just send letters saying pay up or we'll put you and your co-signers in collections. My co-signers can't pay either. They had the audacity to suggest I move home (I live in a different state, if I had the money to spend on moving my belongings home, I'd have the money to pay them) They also were trying to state that I didn't have intentions of paying these loans back. This person also asked me how much I pay each month for cable as if I am spending my money on frivolous items. Every penny that I earn goes towards basic necessities: rent, food, utility bills (this doesn't include the internet or cable of any kind), my car payments and gas. They refuse to call my school to verify that I am enrolled to start and that I will qualify to have my loans deferred until I am done. They don't care to know that the school I am going to school that has a very successful job placement program. They have refused to work with me for several years and offer help in regards to making the payments lower. They consider themselves to be helping when I am paying a $150 fee to put these loans into forbearance every 6 months. (Mind you, they are accruing interest the entire time.) I am tired of them harassing me and my family over this. I know they have been in the news lately (which was denied and said to be a "one sided story" when I brought it up). They have been in the news for the very reasons that I am complaining - they harass any references listed on the student's application and they refuse to work with people who are unable to make payments. Because they won't work with me and I don't have the money, I may not be able to start school this month, because they will have me listed as delinquent and I will not qualify for the loans needed to cover my tuition, books and misc fees.

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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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Marjann


Hi, glad to find your website. I am 53 and had been in
default for student loans for 20 years. I went back a
little later to school - worked thru school. No
parental support as they had been gone since I was 17.
I was overwhelmed with the debt and took a while to
get some sea legs for work and life. Now I make an ok
salary and was afraid if I didn't pay, I would just be
in fear about it. So started to pay the amount to the
collection agency. It has been hell. They send and
resend letters, call- even though I was current. There
dates were wrong often. I finally made it out and got
my rehab fee which is so much I will not be able to
pay. I will be calling them tomorrow. I feel the
initial collection company lied to me on a lot of
levels. If I can't get this amount reduced- I just
threw away 3k to a collection agency. I am so angry
that I can't go to a judge and get a fair hearing.
This president got into yale and harvard and he's an
idiot. You know how he got in and he never had to go
through this or any rich kid. I think we should find
someone to make a movie about this and really show
what is happening to this country with this kind of
debt that poor kids pay and then they have to fight
the wars too. This is so sick I can't even believe it.
I think we as borrowers need to get out of the shame
and into some kind of activism. Let me know if there
is anything happening. Do you know how many are now
defaulting?

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Michelle


Reading all of these testimonies just breaks my heart over and over again. I can relate to the pain, continual daily stress, and hopelessness felt by many of those who have posted their story. Last I knew, my student loan debt (husband plus myself) was 325k. This figure just keeps growing. Though we have a good income, we still can't afford to even make interest payments regularly. I am not sure what the actual payments would be- it seems to be a secret. I know they would be at least $2000/mo. I don't know what our future holds. We do own our own home. But paid a high interest rate and have been told we wouldn't be able to get another loan until our student loans were paid off. The shock of the lenders when they see our student loan debt. I am definitely am tired of this. I, too, have tried everything I can think and still am trying to think of what other options we have. If I don't keep thinking of potential options, I sink into a deep depression. I wrote to our senator. What a waste. The reality is there are no options. Eventually, Sallie Mae will take everything we own until we are dead. I just pray that we can keep our house and provide for our kids until they are grown and out of the house. Trying to hide the constant stress of this is so hard. I don't want my kids to experience the stress that I do. They don't deserve that. I just pray that we'll have some solution some day. To all those fellow sufferers out there- Hang in there...be strong.

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Mark


In 1994, I graduated high school in Alaska and attended college in Oregon. During this time, I took out Over $30.000 from Alaska's student loan program, and around $40.000 from the Federal government (it was an expensive school). In 1998, I graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in History and moved back to Alaska, where I was still a resident, and my loans went into repayment. During the next couple of years, I worked some odd jobs, earning what would now be considered less than minimum wage, and barely managed to keep my head above water. In 2000, I went back to school again, and entered a Master's Program at an aviation school in Anchorage. I took out another $15,000 in federal loans (yes, I know, I'm a glutton for punishment), and none from the state of Alaska, since the school I was attending did not accept Alaska student loans (smart people). I managed to get my federal loans (Direct Loans and Sallie Mae) deferred while I was attending school, butthe Alaska loans did not get deferred, since I was attending school part-time, and the office in Juneau told me that I had to be attending full-time in order to qualify for a deferment. Needless to say, I started to lose my grip on the Alaska Loans, because the payment amount kept increasing, while I was trying to make ends meet with what little I was making from work.

Needless to say, I continued to tell the Alaska loan office that I needed help, and got a temporary reprieve by way of an unemployment deferment (I lost my job while I was attending school), but it was only good for one year, and I could only use it once in the lifetime of the loan, according to Juneau. In 2003, things started to take a turn for the worse with the Alaska Loans I had, since I could not afford to finish school, and I had to drop that and continue to work and make ends meet. I'm single, with no wife, girlfriend, or kids, but I found it very difficult to find a job in my chosen career field, which switched from history to aviation, and I had to settle for mediocre jobs that paid pittance. I stopped paying on my Alaska Loans, and I told these people repeatedly that I could not afford to pay my bills, let alone my loan payments. I had a break in my federal loans when I managed to get them all consolidated through Sallie Mae, and I put them on forbearance. This was a relief, and the feds stayed off my back. The state, however, kept sending threatening letters letting me know that I would be in default very soon. I asked them if there was anything they could do to accomodate me, and they said no, they had no deferment options that I would qualify for.

So, in late 2003, my loans with ASL were put in default, since I was still making very little, and I had to move back in with my parents, since it's very hard to live in Alaska because of the high cost of living. Since then, my Sallie Mae consolidation is still in forbearance, of which I only have about a year and a half remaining, and the total for the federal loans now is over $61,000. My Alaska loans are still in default, which has dragged my credit down further and further. Every year, my Permanent Fund Dividend, the yearly check I get from the state, had been taken to pay these loans, but nothing was ever paid on the principle. Late in 2006, I moved out of Alaska, and now live in Oregon. I was hoping that ASL would not track me down, and somehow, they have. I'm now getting calls from a collection agency threatening me about the Alaska Loans. Since I'm an Oregon resident now, Alaska knew they wouldn't get my Dividend, so they turned me over to collection. There's not much these people can do to me, though. I have no assets, I'm still working for pittance, and I'm still broke. As if to fire a parting shot, ASL tacked on over $8,000 in collection fees to my loans, and my ASL is now over $44,000. So, combined state and federal, I now owe over $105,000, and there seems to be no relief in sight, even though I don't live in Alaska anymore. I wanted to get a good education and start a career, but all I got is deeper in debt. I've paid on all my loans, almost $3,000 on my Alaska Loans, and at least that amount on my federal loans, but it hasn't been enough.

A word of advice to anyone attending school in Alaska or elsewhere that is considering taking a loan out from the state of Alaska: don't do it. ASL will screw you over, and their lack of deferment options leave little choice for a lot of people, including myself. They have the worst loan program in the country, in my opinion. And also, please don't do what I did. I'm no closer to getting into my career field than I was 3 years ago, and now I have a collection agency beating down my door and harassing my relatives. I feel like a failure now, since I can't seem to do anything with my education. I sure as hell can't go back to school, with my credit the way it is. I am not posting my e-mail or phone number for obvious reasons. Justice needs to be done for those unfortunate souls like myself who wanted an education at any cost, but ended up getting screwed.


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Sylvia


I decided at the age of 46 to go back to school i wanted to do this after deciding to stay at home raising my child when she was old enough to take care of herself, I went to school a 2 yr course and went to work as a medical assistant. I loved my work I worked for about 2 yrs and i started to pay a little out of every ck. well in the yr 2000 i had to have a back surgery and then was to only be off work 2 months i was getting paid thru my employer for about 1 month then he said he needed me back at some point, well after the 2 months i was worse, it ended up that i lost my job due to the fact I couldnt work not even for 2 hrs. i thought after a year of healing I would be able to return, That is when my nightmare just started, I was in too much pain to work on too much medication to drive and work let a lone take care of any one in a medical position. I had no choice i collected unemployment for a good 2 1/2 yrs that was only $300.00 a week but it helped. I never heard from the loan people I really thru ignorance thought that since i had all this going on and they must of seen that i wasnt working when i stopped making payments that the loan was just forgiven. HA HA not the case i fought the Social Security office for 5 5 long yrs to let them know i am truly dissabled not able at all to work. i lay on the couch i am in pain 24/7 i rarley get out except to go to the Dr. and get more medication, I cant walk without a crutch and after finally getting Social Security to believe me i finally get only $400.00 a month Shock!! yes how to live on that? well just recently i got a call from the loan people stating that if i dont willingly pay $160.00 a month for 9 months that they will garnish my little $400.00 ck. they will have to take 15-25% now i couldnt believe my ears.. I would pay if i was working, I would pay if I had the means but getting food stamps and medicare isnt what i expectaded out of my life. so now i am trying to figure out how to get this forgiven my Dr filled out a form that took 2 weeks too long letting them know i am never going to work again that it is a true true dissability and that is that. Wrong now that it took my M.D too long it was sent to collection and they say to bad pay. I am scared to death. why i dont understand the emphaty and the collection guy mentioned that if I payed the $160.00 a month that would allow others the chance to get loans. (AS IF IT IS TOTALLY MY FAULT THAT NOBODY CAN GO TO SCHOOL UNLESS I PAY) If that were true.I say sorry. but that is BXXXXXXXXX S XXXXXXX well you know. I am now 53 what can I do? there has to be something out there something.

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Erin

Well... where should I start. I have not defaulted on my loans and do not intend to do so. I decided to go back to school to become a dentist after receiving my undergraduate degrees. I had tapped out all of the federal undergrad money, so I decided to take out Tuition Answer loans with Sallie Mae. I knew they were high interest loans, but felt I had no choice if this is what I wanted to do. I have been attending school and working part-time since Sept. 2005 in preparation for applying to dental school.


In Fall term of 2006, I went to two different schools, a communtiy college here in Portland to finish up a chemistry requirement (5 credits) and a state university to begin my 300 level biology classes (4 credits). I didn't even think about the less than half time issues for the term since all together I was taking 9 credits, just at two schools.


I have always kept a close eye on my loans and noticed that they had gone into grace. I called SM and was told to have the schools sign an agreement to combine the credits, counting as one school. The CC would not sign because the 300 level class at the state school was too high of a level for them. The state school would not sign because I needed to take 5 credits instead of 4 for them to sign. I did not have the money or time to take more credits at the state school(anatomy/physiology lecture & lab, chemistry lecture/lab + working+ taking care of my husband and child). I called SM and explained this to them. I was told, not just once but SEVERAL times during separate phone calls, not to worry that for Winter term I just needed to attend one school at least half time and the loans would roll back into deferment.


Well, this was true for all but the Tuition Answer loans. Winter term hit and everything went back into deferment but Tuition Answer. When I called back, they said there was nothing I could do. I went through their "Advocate" and spoke to every manager I could, very frustrating, with no help,even comments like "you should have thought about that before you took out the loans". Nice.
My issue is that if I had been given the correct information on the loans, I could have taken a 1 credit class at the community college during fall term and none of this would be happening. But I was told over and over that the Tuition Answer loans would defer. In fact, I called Tuition Answer this last Monday, March 12, 2007, and was told AGAIN that they would defer!! I told the rep that the loans do not defer and to quit telling borrowers that they do!! He then said " that's right, I have been hearing about people coming back and saying their loans didn't defer. We've been telling people they do forever" !!!! I swear this is what he said.WOW!Had I been given correct information, I could have made adjustments. I wonder how many other people are in this position?
I never stopped going to school, I have transcripts and grades to prove it. Now I have the TA loans in forbearance at $500 a pop for 3 months time trying to find another night job to pay these and continue with school.
If I can't find one, I can't stay in school, no being a dentist for me.


Oh, and if I leave school.. all of my loans come due, not just TA loans.
I am not asking for forgiveness of the loans or anything. I knew the interest rates were awful but accepted this as part of the process.
All I want is for the loans to go back into deferrment and to allow me to continue with school. You would think they would salivate at earning more 14.25% interest off of me for a while longer.


 




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