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Pennsylvania

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

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Sean

I went o Dickinson College after I got out of the Army. I was led to believe that I was now going to enter the better side of life. But Dickinson drained all my veterans benefits and left em with student loans. They made no attempt to male phone calls to get me a good job. So, I returned home because I had no other place to go.

My only job choices were working in a factory for $9.00/hour or temp. So I took the bus into NYC for a 4 hour ride each way. I hoped that a company would hire me full time but they preferred long-term temps. I could not sustain my impending student loan payments nor the commute and I did not have the economic resources to move to NYC or anyplace else. So I applied to grad schools.

I then went to Columbia and thought that I now was going to enter the better side of life but gained no such access. I saw my classmates getting jobs making about $100,000/year and wanted one too. So I chose the graduate major that was said to lead to the best paying jobs but I did not get offered one. Columbia made no attempt to make phone calls and pull strings to get me a six digit job or any other job.

I then returned home and worked for $9.00/hour in a factory. I considered returning to temping and commuting to NYC 4 hours one way again. I called some agencies and was told by a young 20 something girl with a British accent that I was not qualified for office work because I was doing Physical labor. I was very disgusted that so many foreigners come here and get good corporate jobs while we must do physical labor or work in Walmart or McDonalds and the like.

I then returned to Columbia and got another grad degree, hoping that this one would lead me to a job making real money. But it did not and could not keep up with the many foreign students who come to the US much better prepared for graduate school and then get well paying jobs in our country, while we must do working class labor jobs.

I asked the PA unemployment office but they tell me it is not their job to help me get a management job or a job making $100,000 per year. They resent that I expect them to help me do so. They make sure I understand that I am not special because I have an advanced education and I will learn to settle for a $9.00 per hour like everyone else. I explain that this won't help repay my loans. They tell me tough. That's my problem. But the truth is my loan debt comes out of the economy and it is those who are making money who actually end up sucking up the cost of my education. But they can't see that.

All of my loans want to put me on a graduated payment plan but I can't even make that. No lender is willing to have a conference call with all the other lenders. But at this point the only thing that I can tell them is that I cannot come up with the money. I am very angry at my first educational institution for putting me on this education path in the first place. They drained my GI benefits but they did not guarantee me a job. I expected that and they knew that. I even put it in my personal statement that I expected "prosperity" in exchange for going to college and I told them exactly what job and career I wanted. They admitted me by saying that they were the "perfect" place for me but they weren't. They also left me very poorly prepared for graduate school in comparison to the students from competitor schools and especially from overseas.

There was only one Dickinson College alumni in my graduate two graduate programs. So I guess the students who go to Dickinson already have something lined up before attending college. But schools can't take all your college benefits and approve your student loans if they are not sure you are going to make enough money to repay the debt. They are wrong for that. I am very angry with them for that. They not only did not help me get to a better place in life, the put the nails in my coffin to ensure that I would never climb out of my student loan debt. They sentenced me to a life in poverty. I really hate them for that. But I hate them even more for turning their backs on me, forbidding me from ever contacting anyone associated with the college, to include alumni and denying me access to the alumni network.

They fear that I will identify other dissatisfied graduated and start a movement against them. They are so wrong and evil about how they go about doing what they do and the government just ignores the problem because the educational lobbies have linked up with the banking lobbies and the banks donate money to the politicians. College and university education in the US is nothing more than a racket that needs to be busted up. If a school cannot get you a job making more money than you could have made without the education, you should not be expected to repay the debt and the school should be forced to repay, to you, the full cost of having attended college brought forward to present value.

 

DB 

I took out several loans to help pay for my College during the mid to late 1980's.  Upon graduating in 1989, I had difficulty finding employment and ended up working in Restaurants and retail stores for the years to come.  I kept deferring my loans (and accruing interest) until I ran out of deferments.  I then procedeed to pay for three years until I lost my job and was in over my head with credit card debt.  From an original loan of around $10,000, I now owe nearly $30,000 which includes a $9,000 fee from a collection agency.  My options are to take out a loan or make payment arrangements, both of which will cost me around $400+ per month.  I make $39,000 a year and have a wife and two kids to support.  I cannot afford this and am constantly being bothered the collection agency despite the fact that I moved to Europe several years ago.  I really want to pay this money as the guilt of these loans is on my mind 24 hours per day.  My credit in the USA has been destroyed and I am unable to even get a copy of my college transcripts.  I don't honestly know how a collection agency is allowed to charge a %40 fee on top of the loans which are continuing to accrue interest.

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Witheld 

Yes, all that has happened to the others happened to me too.  I can't believe there are so many of us. 
My loans have at least doubled in the amount that I originally borrowed, they will not take off any of the ridiculous interest.  Like others I am only making a small salary, barely able to live.
Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency made life a living hell.  They were the harrassers in my situation.  They even went as far as to actually say to do anything you have to to repay the loans at an enormously high monthly amount.  Anything meaning illegal things including what the man on the phone was serious about prositution if that is what you have to do.

Whether they can sleep at night knowing full well that they ruin so many lives is their business. I wish a watchdog agency was on their hinds to rip the top of their money making scheme to get so much back from a student borrower that has received nothing for all their efforts in the educational system.  If it doesn't produce, it shouldn't be asked to cost so much.

Someone will find out what they are doing.  Someone will stop them.  This is America.  It's a matter of time.

One other thing.  It's a mockery to know that foreigners come to our country the great USA and they go to college for FREE.  Absolutely FREE while the taxpayers are treated so poorly.  They have to borrow and then are penalized extremely.  Inexcusable, when it becomes public, there will be something done. 


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Jenny 

10 years ago I took out a student loan for $3,200. I was an irresponsible young adult and I never graduated from college. I had deferred my loans to the max and then I just never paid, thinking they would never find me. I now owe $14,00. I am now married with 2 small children. My husband and I both work low paying jobs and we have to pay $265 a week for day care. The IRS has seized our tax rebate(mostly from my husbands revenue) for $6,000. We were going to use this rebate to get caught up on our late mortgage and car payments. We are now in serious financial trouble. I spoke to the creditor and they are not willing to take a settlement, they didn't even know about the seized money. I told them I was willing to pay the original loan amount plus reasonable interest but they are not willing. I do understand that I owe this debt, but these laws are only in their favor. Who is protecting the rights of the borrower?????

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Jason 

My story is at youtube for all to see:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-zQTgZmA

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Frederick 

TA doctor butchered my wife in 1997. She could not return to her job as a casemanager. We were forced into reorganization bankruptcy to save our home. We paid nearly 80000in 53 months and completed our plan. Three of our adult children had plus loans when we went into the plan. The bankruptcy lawyer told us "Dont worry about it. Tell them not to worry about it. More than likely they will be discharged. :They don't have to make payments during the reorganization if they don't want to." We passed this on to our children. We believed everything we were told. We were never told about the plus loans being sold and resold while we were in reorganization. We never heard of AES oor ECMC or anyone. We were so trusting of our lawyer it makes me sick that he never gave us the information we should have had to protect our children. At the end of our plan the bankruptcy court had paid about 5000 out on our childrens three loans separaely and on my wifes loan for school.

When the plan closed and we began receiving piles of notices and warnings etc from Smae we were lost. They waited until everything was final and began a barrage of mail announcing huge huge amounts of interest that had been salpped on each loan. (Our oldest son had auto debit and paid 87 an mo. on his loan. At the beginnning of our Ch 13 plan his balance was about 11,500. It was originally 9000 but when he graduated and consolidated it went to 11000 and now they added 0ver 6000 in interest all in one day. He was furious. :They began taking 183.00 a month out of his checking account instead of 87. He stopped paying on his loan. Of course that meant I had to watch my fragile credit hx destroyed that my wife and I were just getting all clear. My son won't pay them.) Our daughters loan went back to 1992. She had borrowed 2000 for grad school on a plus loan. She faithfully paid every mnth anythingn from 40 to 50 and had each cancelled check. She assumed her loan was paid off since we received nothing form anyone regarding her loan and her figures showed that it was paid. Her loan reappeared. One line showed a 0 bal. and the next one showed almost 2600 or 2700. Our youngest son had almost the same amount of 600 in interest added to the balance of his 2000 loan. He also had paid off the other plus loan of 2000 during our reorganization. In addition the funs taken out of our payments into the Ch 13 reorg. (about 5000) never showed up anywhere. We were directed to another company AES? or ecme? and they said if you think the fed court sent us money prove it. if your daughter has all her cancelled checks..prove it. 

This is where we are at:  My wife is nearly sixty and I am in my sixties. I could have retired last year. I cannot afford to retire. I am now trying to pay my son's share of thse plus loans every month. My wife gets 575 a month in disability from the government. She is totally and permanently disabled because she trusted a doctor. She cannot walk except for a few small steps without assistance. Many days she has to stay in a wheelchair. We walked and hiked everywhere. She cannot bath or care for herself wihtout help. The attorney never told us what would happen with these loans. It was a great concern to us and my wife asked him at any meeting for answers about the plus loans and her loan. We got the same answer. If we had been given the information about how they sell these loans and move them around.  I still do not understand it. I am afraid I am going to have a heart attack form the stress of all of this. We did file for a discharge of her loan in May of 2005. I found your site on a website about Sallie Mae. I am sick about all of this. If I had had any idea what I was getting into I would never have signed for any plus loan. Each of my children are married working adults and tried to do the normal responsible thin with these loans. The harder they tried it seesm the more interest and fees were added. 

My wifes original loan when she returned to school in the 80's to get another degree for a beter job. Grew from $13,000 to 70,000 plus. She is battling such deep depression right now I am afraid for her. She has been trying to get thngs together to prove thses monies were sent to them. It is overwhelming. I do not understand in this nation, where they send our tax dollars to every country in the world for everything, the government can allow untold families to be treated this way. I do not understand. And when I call I have to talk to someon in India  that I can barely understand. What hurts the worst is our son leaving us to eal with this. He says he will pay his loan but not 6000 plus in interest they added on. And the lawyer told us in 1998 that they are not allowed to add interest and late fees and now he says he never told us that.


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Witheld 

My husband the victim of a hit and run driver, and he was left in a vegetative state for months. This took our savings, and left bills.
After his death I had to sell my home and most of my furnishings, and moved back with parents. I spent a few years doing whatever kind of work I could find for minimum wage. However, I wanted life to be better than it was, so I started looking into the possibility of going to school for some kind of training to make my future better.  So, this former high school drop out, with a GED in hand, was encouraged to go to college (big mistake).
I went to school on grants,by working part time, and by taking out one of those horrible student loans (PHEAA).
While in school I made the Dean's list, and received other honors. After graduation, I went onto graduate school...again a very high point average.  I was more than sure my future would be a good one.

My dreams were shattered when my Dad had a heart attack and then a stroke.

I was needed at home for awhile to help my elderly Mom take care of him.  I took a part time job, and took a deferment for awhile with full intentions of finishing graduate school. Well, my Dad got worse, and my Mom started having medical problems too.  PHEAA allows someone to care for a sick child, but not a sick parent who lives in the same home. I was told I had to start paying. Unfortunately,  what I could pay, and what they wanted was two different things. So, they sent a letter to my employer and I was let go. In the meantime, I had a Dad with cancer, a bad heart, who had multiple mini-strokes to take care of and a Mom with orthopedic problems.

Then I found another job...paid what I could...and had to go on family leave because the end was near for my Dad. That is when I was defaulted.  To think that the goverment speaks of the importance of FAMILY VALUES...
NOT when it comes to Student Loans.

I have been in and out of low-paying jobs without benefits. I tried to pay, but it has never been enough, so the loan has been handed from collection agency to collection agency...sold...and it has risen from the original $14,500 loan to a now whopping $31,000...and increasing.
I have been harrassed at home and at jobs. I have lost numerous jobs over this. There were attempts to garnish wages, and my income tax return has been taken away. Right now I have been unemployed for 2 years, and I cannot find decent employment anywhere, let alone a low-paying job.  I have sold almost everything I own to live. Then imagine having to live off of a 85yr old's pension and Social Security (2 of us). Yes, all of my pride is gone, self-confidence went away a long time ago, and my entire life and future seems completely hopeless.
Oh, yes, I wound-up with a bankruptcy (but of course the loan is never excused).

I agree that something needs to be done about this, but What? NO one listens...politicians certainly don't, and everyone else looks upon us as losers, and dead beats.  My life is ruined. If only I would have worked my way through college slowly and would have paid for it as I went. Maybe the factory work wasn't so bad after all. At least I had my dignity.

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Karen 

During my semester of student teaching I ended up getting a divorce.  My daughter and I moved out before I had even finished.  I did not get a job for several months after I finished school.  In short I used up the period of deferment because I could not afford to make the payments.  Although I contacted my lender and still do, I was unable to get a smaller interest rate.  Now I am locked in at 8.25%  I was unaware that I could go to another lender to lower the rate.  Now that I have the information it is too late.

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Linda 

I finally went to college in my 40s after my husband left me with two children, 3 and 8 in 1987.  (He is since deceased.)It was a graphics art school- 2 year course and I paid for it with grants and loans.  I graduated and paid directly to PHEAA  until my loan ballooned. I was receiving letters from Sallie Mae.  I called and they said they could reduce my payments.

 I didn't find out till later that they added another 5 years and were charging me 10 percent.  (stupid me) I lost my job.  I took deferments.  I was re-employed but could not afford the payments while supporting a family.  I had no child support coming in.  I finally got to the point I was able to pay on the loan which had doubled by this time due to interest, late charges, etc. Then I lost my last job and the local economy took a steep nosedive.  At almost 60, I can't find anyone to hire me. 

I am now 60.  Hardly an employable age. I now scrape by doing freelance graphic design work at home.  My credit is destroyed.  I had a hard time even getting lower auto insurance because they now check credit records. 

My children are grown but come by with groceries and have helped me keep the utilities on for 3 years now.   I live in a house that is falling apart.  My roof leaks and my garage roof is caving in and there's mold in my basement.  My backyard has been sinking and becoming a swamp due to develoment in the area.  I can't move because I can't get an apartment without credit.

My health is not good.  My doctor will not sign a medical form unless I go to a specialist.  I can't see a specialist because I have neither the medical insurance or the money.

So it's Catch 22. 

No more deferments.  I'm not in default yet, but soon will be.

Frankly, I'm at the point I don't care anymore.

What is the worse case scenario?

The original loan was about $13,000.  It is now $32,000.  They just added another $3,000 on to it after I came off the last deferment.




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Michelle 

I am 57 year old wife (of a disabled Vietnam Veteran) and mother of two adult daughters.  I went back to college at the age of 34, wanting to better our family financially and to fulfill my dream (now turned nightmare)I was an honor student for the majority of my undergraduate studies.  I obtained a bachelors degree in Psychology and went straight into graduate school where I graduated all A's and one B.  I went to work immediately after graduation.  I wanted to help the unfortunate, working in non-profit organizations (D&A Rehab, Community Counseling Centers, etc.).  My salary was not what most people get with a Master's, so therefore when it came time to pay my loan they offered me a percentage of my pay as payback.  I originally owed I believe $16,000.  I have been paying monthly since 1990, taking advantage of the two deferments offered when our family had financial hardships (my husband became ill).  I have never been in default.  I now owe over $17,000 after 14 years of faithfuly making payments.  My payments are currently $140.00 a month.  at this point in time this is not a hardship, however I am informed that in 1 1/2 years this will be raised to well over $200.00 a month.  I want to retire next fall to spend some time with my husband (I will be almost 59 years old).  his health is not well.  I am a nervous wreck, cannot sleep at night and my blood pressure is sky high.  I am so worried they will attach my Social Security when i turn 62.  I am to receive around $750.00 a month.  I have worked since I was 17 years old (40 Years). I am willing to be interviewed.  I want to do what I can do to not only help myself, but others in this trap.


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Maria 

I too was lured into this scam.  The thing is I always wanted to go back to school and get my degree but refused to take out loans.  Then one day I decided to go for it to later regret it.  I don't regret my education. I am in default also.  The interest keeps going up. How is that I am ever going to pay for the loans. How am I going to pay for my loans when here in Pennsylvania jobs do not pay.  How am I going to pay for my loans with a salary of $7.50 an hour. I would be working just for Sallie Mae.   I have been in total depression. I can't smile anymore because the only thing that goes through my head is SALLIE MAE those Vampires. They sucking the life out of me.  I have even thought of suicide, the only reason I don't is because of God's mercy (I believe in my Lord Savior)and my family(children). There isn't a day that goes by that I don't cry and can't even eat.  I just pray to God that something comes along and this nightmare might go away.  I do want to pay my loans..but how....?????



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Seth 

TI received my first of 5 annual Stafford loans of $7,500 for graduate school in 1987-88, from Flemington National Bank and Trust Company, Flemington, NJ.  I graduated in April 1993, and took no further loans.  I confess that from 1993 until 1998 I did not contact the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (NJHESAA).  I also was in a very low paying job (under $25,000 per year) up to the beginning of 2000, and was unable to make ends meet.  In 1998 the  Long Island law firm of Hayt, Hayt, and Landau hired by the NJHESAA put a hold on my bank account for about $82,000.00 .  With legal intervention, the hold was removed, and the account placed in default until 2001.  In 2001 I was diagnosed with testicular Cancer.  Wishing to put my affairs in order, I contacted Mr. Gary Penn, the Hayt, Hayt, and Landau Account Representative, who informed me that I should consolidate my loan  with Federal Student Aid Direct Loans.  Not wishing to continue in default, the account, as of 03/25/2002 was settled in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York, for the amount  of $56,319.98 (although in a  communication dated .  It was consolidated bythe William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program on 02/07/2002 for the amount of $82, 513.31 (this increase, I was told, was to cover the cost of consolidation).  For most of the time that I have been with Direct Loans, I have needed to request forebearances.  The first one was given for the period of 1 year, without interest, due to illness.  Since then, I have requested forebearances although with the accrual of interest.  The payback amount as of 06/05/2006 is now quoted as $110,004.24.  I earn $47,650.00 per year, before taxes.  It is not the onus of $567.20 per month that concerns me, as much as it is that a loan originally for $38,000.00 has increased to $110,004.24 with immediate payment.  Now, under the Income Contingent Repayment Plan I am quoted:
Principal Balance $103,408.63
Interest Rate 8.00%
Initial Monthly Payment $398.50
Repayment Term (# of months) 356
Interest Paid $137,356.62
Total Amount Repaid $240,765.25

I can not afford the Standard Repayment Plan, which over 116 months requires monthly installments of $1,365.36, with the Total Amount Repaid at $158,381.14.
The Extended Repayment Plan is $809.70 per month, with the Total Amount Repaid at $288,251.39

As I stated, the account is currently in forbearance, which I will have to renew.  Here is the summary of what I have paid to Direct Loans:

Payment Received  Payment Type  Payment Amount  Applied to Principal  Applied to Interest  Applied to Fees & Charges
01/09/2006 Electronic Debit Account $50.00 $0.00 $50.00 $0.00
12/08/2005 Electronic Debit Account $50.00 $0.00 $50.00 $0.00
11/07/2005 Electronic Debit Account $50.00 $0.00 $50.00 $0.00
10/07/2005 Electronic Debit Account $50.00 $0.00 $50.00 $0.00
09/07/2005 Electronic Debit Account $50.00 $0.00 $50.00 $0.00
08/08/2005 Electronic Debit Account $562.87 $0.00 $562.87 $0.00
07/07/2005 Electronic Debit Account $567.20 $435.00 $132.20 $0.00
06/13/2005 Online Payment $567.20 $0.00 $567.20 $0.00


For the record, I want to repay the loan, and the interest it accrued over the years I was unable to pay.  I think the amount settled in 2002 for $56,319.98 was a fair one, and should have been the base for repayment.  I accepted the  $82,513.31 amount because I had no choice but to accept.  Nonetheless, from $38,000 to $240,765.25 is nothing short of usury!

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Devin 

I am relieved to have found your web site.  I found it through the 60 minutes site. 
I have a private student loan from Sallie Mae.  I went to a small school in Florida called Full Sail for Film Production.  There, my loan advisor "advised" me to get this loan. 
I have The Bank One/Sallie Mae Alternitive Loan for Full Sail.
My original loan amounts are:
2,500
5,000
26,967
1,617

Those Loans are up to:
3,728.60
7,319.46
38,621.89
2,221.23

My monthly payment is $842.92. My interest rate in April, 2006 was 17.125%.  To avoid defaulting, I put my loan into deferrment.  As of May 1st it came out of deferrment.  I called Sallie Mae last week and my interest rate is up to 18.325% and about to rise again!  I have only paid off $3,000.  Since this is a private loan, I cannot consolidate.  I can't afford to make this payment.  It has always been too high to pay every month.  I have spoken with many people at Sallie Mae and no one can help.  I have talked to at lease 20 consolidation companies and no one there can help either.  If I make the minimum payments for 15 years I will end up paying about $115,000.  I only got an associates degree and I am paying for a medical degree.  I am scared of defaulting and I am hurting my father's credit because he cosigned.  I have seen financial advisors/accountants and they cannot help.  I am so frustrated!  My credit that I work hard to build is severly tarnished.  Luckily, I pay all my other bills on time.  I have searched, but can't find any way to resolve the issue.  I have been trying for over two years.  Sallie Mae suggested that I find another loan to pay this one off at a lower interest rate.  I have no colladeral and the banks will not help.  I am beside myself. So, I have about one month until I default.  I don't know what to do!!!! 
Unfortunately, I have learned about loans the hard way.  I was just trying to get an education and now I wish I had not gone to school.  That is wrong!!!  Student loans should not be predatory.  If there is anything I can do please email me!

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Witheld 

You're going about this the wrong way! The way to engender sympathy for your cause is not to go on national Television and whine about the injustice of having to pay back loans. After all, loans are loans because they are not gifts and all loans (car, home, whatever) have to be repaid. The mortgage lender doesn't care what your personal situation is like, in most cases, they just want their money - don't pay them, lose your house. All of you signed legal documents promising repayment, and setting forth the terms of the repayment (including terms of deferment and forbearance). Whining about this, and proclaiming yourselves as deadbeats will engender no sympathy from the average public.

The way to go about this is to keep banging away on the concept that American education costs are out of control. That there is no way to get a decent priced, fairly priced, affordable education in this nation. And, it is these costs that suck everyone into the student loan "trap," (I don't think it's a trap, I think it's a cost of getting what you want, and one that should be repaid.). 

If you are going to persuade, you have to have something worthwhile to say - saying "I took out loans and then couldn't repay them," isn't worthwhile. It's more worthwhile to say "College costs are spiraling out of control, I was forced to take loans to pay for those costs, and I found myself in a spiral of debt that I am still honestly repaying today, and repaying far more than what I borrowed. However, it is the cost of the college education that really bares scrutiny, not the fact that some companies, Salle Mae included, make money from student loans."

Remember, Aristotle and persuasion - Ethos, Logos and Pathos - whining about the obvious doesn't persuade. Educating people on the costs that leads to the loan debt, and offering concrete solutions to the cost issue is a much better way to go.





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Rick 

I hope that these words spilling from my fingers and my mind will reach someone's eyes, someone who can make a difference.  I attended a small state school in PA for my undergrad taking on about $24,000 from Sallie Mae and AES.  I worked two jobs through the entire thing and then it was time to pay.  I was making $450.00 a week and could not keep up with my load payment and it was growing.  I went back to school for my Master's degree and finished a two year program in just under fiteen months.  When I got done my debt had grown to a little over 40,000.  It is now but a year later and I am up to $48,000 and counting from Sallie Mae alone.  I reconsolidated and dropped my interest from 8% to 4% and yet I am still struggling.  MIND YOU that this does not include my loans from AES.  AES has been understanding and have allowed me to put off my payments from them but the juice is still running.  When all is said and done I will pay somewhere around $98,000 for an eduaction that I could have got at the local library for $2.00 in late charges.  It's a shame that I spent all that time and money for two pieces of paper that have yet to do anything but bring frustration and sorrow.  I should have listend to Socrates and realized that I didn't know anything, and apparently I never will.  Godspeed.


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Anitra 

I became a victim of Student Loans during the Spring of 2002. I was told by my college's student services representative that was was uneligible to receive a financial aid and that loans were my only choice.  I later discovered this was untrue. It is true that I do not qualify for federal money but I DO qualify to receive money from the state. I just found this information out this year. I am now in debt with Uncle Sam for over $10,000.00 because I did not investigate information for myself. I trusted my student services rep. I borrowed $10,000.00 by mistake. PA income limitations for a state grant is $69,000.00. I only make $35,000.00 and in the past less than that so you see I am very much entitled to receive grant money. AES told me that I only could start applying for the state grant from this point. Thankfully, I was awarded $1300.00 for Spring 2006 & Fall 2007 classes.  I am using this painful experience to encourage other students to investigate and take full advantage of the various websites the government have provided about financial aid and loans.  If you school gives a seminar on financial aid, take full advantage of it. Remember, there are TWO grants you can qualify for, if you are denied Federal money, check with your state to see if you qualify for state aid. Please use my mistake as a learning tool. Uncle Sam is no joke and if you think he is playing, think again! 
Uncle Sam truly wants you!

P.S. The college does reserve the right to borrow money for your classes even if you marked on your FASFA application that you are not interested in a loan. It is legal too. This was done to me and I had to tell the school that I do not want anyone requesting for loan money without my written consent. You do not want to come out of school with your degree you have worked so hard for to only discover that you have all this money to pay back on a student loan.

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Jennifer

My name is Jennifer Muller and I am reaching out to you with my last bit of energy I have concerning this subject.  This might be long, and maybe even a bit boring and if it seems like a sob story. then so be it.

I grew up in a small town called Mill Grove, Pa.  During my time there, my guidance counselor expressed to me that I might consider making a career of my part time job in a deli/sub shop.  I was a bit confused for I did not consider myself an un-intelligent individual. But she was an adult, and she knew better.  From that point on, I never made any attempts at getting into college,  i.e.: studying, applications, and so forth.  It wasn't until my father threatened to disown me if I did not go, that I gave it a whirl.

So, of to technical college I went.  I decided that I wanted to "break the mold" and become a CNC machinist, not quite realizing how high the high road really went.  Two years later, I got a job  in Reading, Pa.  From there, I became a working part of society, renting, paying taxes, shopping, moving, and living out my early twenties.   I struggled even then with things like discrimination, harassment, and just plain intimidation working in a mans' field,  and managed to change jobs 4 times, hoping that the next place would be better.  Men kept me back for years and as I aged, I learned about things like respect and how to earn it, and give it.  I was hired by a shop called Aeromed Inc.  in Hatfield, Pa and they managed to completely change my life.   They put a trust and faith in me, and gave me the opportunity I had never gotten before.  I excelled at my job and earned an unknown respect.

So I suppose to the outside world, my life should be nothing less than satisfying, and for the most part, it is.  Unfortunately, I thought I did everything right.  You know, the American way.. High school, college, marriage, house, kids, so on and so on. 
Now here is my life from the inside looking out.  I went to college, but did not qualify for any scholarships or grants.  And yes, I take responsibility for that.  But my parents did not have the money for me to go to college so they figured I would just have to get student loans. 

I was pestered constantly at school to apply for credit cards, with such bribes as free t-shirts and gift certificates. Being a broke college student with minimal time to work part time jobs, it seemed like a good idea.  Charging books, food, school supplies, and only having to pay ten dollars a month or so seemed reasonable. And it was until about six months after school.  Then the loan payments came.
Presently, I am 27 years old, I have a good job, and managed to pay all of my credit cards off.  Seems great right?  Except for the fact I have a 9 year old car that I am still paying off because I needed one after school and no one would give me one because I had so many school loans.  They charged me 18% interest and I  will pay about $18,000 for a car that is worth about $3,000.  I have loans that started at $27,000 and now are totaling over $40,000, with payments of over five hundred dollars a month that I can barely afford after rent, utilities, and insurance.  I shop at dollar stores and discount grocery stores to save money and have become a hermit for I do not have the money to spend on frivolous things like cocktails and fast food.  All of this, I can live with.  I have for almost ten years now. 

Recently, I started doing some research on buying houses.  I have been renting for ten years and have nothing to show for it.  This is when things came into the light for me.  My boyfriend (whom is in the same situation as I) and I thought it would be a good idea to invest our money into something that would gain us equity instead of just paying someone else's mortgage.  Thus, after much research, we can afford a one bedroom shack with no yard, that could or could not have running water. 


Please sir, do not find me so bold as to think I am writing you to ask for money, for I am not.  I am fully aware that I should have worked harder in high school, not gotten credit cards, and planned my life out a little better by being more informed.  What I can not plan for, are things like layoffs, injuries, car repairs, etc.  when issues like these arise, I have no choice but to send partial payments to these loan companies, and then spend months attempting to settle accounts, due to incredible late charges and fees tacked on to my regular bills.  Currently, I have PHEAA garnishing my wages because they take less money this way than if I paid my regular bill each month.  And yes I have options like consolidation.  Except, I do not want to still be paying my loans when I am trying to pay for my children's'.  
I am aware of your views on this matter and am not trying to insult you by stating things you probably already know.  What you do not know is that I have postponed things like buying a house, getting married, and having children, because I would never want to have a family and a working household based on my current situation. I truly wish I could say I was the only one in this situation.  My options are minimal, and these issues do not get any easier to deal with when the statistics like salaries and stock prices  for companies like Sallie Mae and PHEAA are published for the public to see.

I am asking for guidance, advice, or just a comforting word to help me sleep at night.  I am asking for someone to help take a stand for people like me.  I just do not want to believe that I should have stayed home with my parents and made a career out of lunch meat to be in a better financial state than I am now.  I am as bold as to say that I am a good person who did what I thought I was supposed to do, who feels punished, taken advantage of, and financially raped by student loan companies.  Do I sacrifice my job, the area I live in, or just live one step above poverty until I am 45?  Do I continually lie to my parents when I  tell them that everything is okay?  Do I just jump from one slum lord to the next?  I would love to hear your feedback, good or bad.    Any input would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you for your time

 

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Jacqueline


It all began when I was left disabled at age 24 back in 1991 when I was hit by an uninsured driver who was "judgment proof". Prior to that, I had just started out in a high paying union skilled construction trades job (I was the only woman in the plasterers & painters union then). The accident left me with permanent problems with both knees and my back where I cannot stand for any length of time or bend over repetitively or lift. That ruled out waitressing, Wal-Mart greeter, and even McDonalds jobs. I filed for social security disability but was denied because I was "too young" (I was 24 back in 1991)and didn't have enough working year credits paid into the social security system. Because I wasn't a crack addict, an alcoholic or a single mother, I didn't qualify for any help at all from welfare either, even though I had no money, no income and no way of being able to earn a living and had health problems. I was sent by the social security bureaucrats to s!
 ee someone at PA OVR, the state agency that is SUPPOSED to help the disabled get re-trained and get placed in new careers - which ended up being a real joke.

I met with the intake caseworker at the local Allentown PA OVR office and had a skills assessment done. I had been pushed through the public school system. I was in special ed since 7th grade all the way through high school for having learning problems (I have a learning disability - dyslexia)and thus did not have the academic capabilities beyond the 4th grade level even though I was a high school grad. Yet, these clowns at OVR told me I needed to "just go to college to learn something else to be marketable and have a new career". When I asked them to please look at my high school records, told them that I am learning-disabled and if I couldn't grasp basic math - never mind algebra and trig - in junior high and high school, how the hell could they expect me to "just go to college" - especially when I had no money, when I was eating in soup kitchens as a poor disabled woman with no family support network? The response I got was: " You can't use your learning-disability as a crutch. It just means it will take you a little longer. Now, if you do what we tell you to do and get a degree in computer science, we will help you. We will place you in another good job that as a disabled person you CAN do. But you have to make the effort and try hard enough. There's no free ride for excuse-making slackers. If you fail it will be your own fault that you're poor for not trying hard enough."

Well, I DID try. I tried a hell of a lot harder and for a lot longer when most others in my boat would have tossed in the towel. I started out having to go get literacy help first. Then I had to go to community college for remedial level classes for the material I couldn't grasp in 7th through 12th grades and struggled to get through them successfully - often having to put in 8-12 hours into my homework because having a learning disability means you just can't grasp things as quickly and absorb as much at a time as everybody else. Of course, this meant I couldn't even work in a part-time telemarketing job while going to the community college. Since I was in my mid-20's and wasn't a high school merit scholar or football player, I couldn't get any scholarships. Thanks to the Gramm-Rudmann Bill passed before I was old enough to vote (remember, I'm a Gen-Xer and it was my parents' generation, the Baby Boomers, also known as the "Me Generation", who made sure after years of getting to have theirs that everyone else coming up after them wouldn't have any chances to get ours), Pell Grants were decimated to a minimum and many non-college type schools that might have been a better fit for someone like me were no longer Pell eligible.

So as a poor disabled woman, I had to take out student loans to help meet my education related expenses. Having to start out behind the 8-ball due to the learning-disability problem, it took me 5 years to make it through a 2-year community college starting out with remedial classes and finally graduating with a regular college course curriculum under my belt with an A.A. degree. As a dyslexic and an older learner, I felt that the math and computer classes were really too hard for me. I had an easier time in my creative writing and criminal justice classes. I told the OVR caseworker who was monitoring my progress that I really felt I should be going for a degree in pre-law and then on to law school because of the difficulties I was having getting through math and computer classes (which are a nightmare for any dyslexic). I told the caseworker how I was being denied the accommodations of extended time for taking tests by the professors - even though this caseworker said that under the A.D.A., I was entitled to this very reasonable accommodation. I endured ridicule from the younger non-learning-disabled students (smart enough to get into college straight from their college-prep high school classes but not smart enough to refrain from making fun of people with disabilities and problems, go figure!) Of course, the OVR worker's response to my concerns was "You just have a negative attitude. It's your negative attitude that will let you fail. you just have to keep trying. No, law school is not an option for you. The job market need is for IT people, not lawyers. Either you do this OVR's way or you will not get any help with job placement from OVR." Being a poor disabled woman with nothing at the state's mercy, I forged onward to transfer my A.A. degree to Kutztown State University to complete my B.A. in math/computer science - just like I was told to by the OVR "experts".

I transferred my community college degree credits to go forward towards getting my bachelors beginning in August, 1997. I was 30 years old by then and already out of the workforce for 6 years since my accident. Since not all of my A.A. degree credits were accepted for transfer, I had to go to school an additional 3 years instead of 2, which would put me another year behind the 8-ball of not being able to re-enter the job market. My entire time at the university was fraught with professors treating me like crap because of having a learning disability they didn't feel they should have to accommodate and ridicule and bad treatment from the younger, smarter, faster learners I felt out of place among in all my classes when I had to ask questions they thought were dumb - and they let me know it, too. Of course, I was closer to the top in my classes (except for C++ which I failed twice due to my dyslexia so I substituted that for a course in Visual Basic, which I aced)so I was managing to keep up with the best of them.

Then, in my junior year in 1999 when I needed to take Advanced Calc I (it was a prerequisite for other classes I needed to graduate), the school canceled the class for lack of enrollment. Since less than 10 students enrolled in the class, the math department arbitrarily canceled the course for a whole year, which put me behind schedule for graduating yet another year. Then the same thing happened with Abstract Algebra II in 2000, which was also required in order for me to graduate. This put me a total of 2+ years behind schedule for graduating. I looked into taking those courses at another school, but because I would not be matriculating (graduating) from the other schools that DID offer these two courses, I would have had to come up with over $2000 out of my own pocket instead of getting financial aid to pay for these courses I needed to graduate. I had no way of coming up with $2000 on my own to pay for these two courses at Muhlenberg College so as to keep my Kutztown University graduation date only one year instead of two, behind schedule. My only other alternative was to get the professors who respectively taught those 2 classes to teach the material to me on an I.I. (Independent Instruction) basis. The one professor was the math department chair, Mr. Bateman. I approached him about teaching me Abstract Algebra II and explained, very concisely and thoroughly, the urgency of my situation being 100% reliant on student aid for my education, for my degree that was supposed to be my ticket back into the workforce. His response, sent to me by email (which I still have a copy printed out in my personal records file) basically stated that because I wasn't a gifted student able to maintain straight A's due to my having a leaning disability, I wasn't academically "worthy" of his time to teach me this required course on an I.I. basis. 

I finally did get to graduate at age 35 on May 19th, 2001 with $38,000 in student loan debt from Sallie Mae, PHEAA and William D. Ford Direct loan programs combined - 2 yrs after I should have been able to graduate and re-enter the workforce. I was out of the workforce for exactly a decade at that time, having to compete at age 35 against 23 year yr old non-handicapped kids with no experience in the same field I struggled and fought so hard to get my degree in for jobs that, to my dismay, were being off-shored faster than I can type on my keyboard.

With my $38,000 in college loans in deferment, I wasted no time in sending out resumes, attending job fairs and when I met with my OVR caseworker, he presented me with clipped out classified job adds that were over a week old and told me to check up on and apply for those jobs. This was the "help" with job placement OVR was going to give me - after suffering through 10+ years with no medical & dental care, no resources, no ability to earn a living, struggling to get a college degree in what THEY told me to get as a condition of getting helped with job placement! I finally managed to get hired as a stockbroker (which is a commissions-only paying high-stress job with no health, unemployment, workers comp or retirement benefits) by a brokerage firm in 7/2001. But a few months later, the 9/11 attacks messed that career opportunity up for me, so once again, I was left unable to earn a living and was facing very bleak prospects of getting any kind of "real" job because of the age discrimination I am up against in the job market being that I am now middle-aged and no longer a skinny young piece of "eye candy".

 I am now going on 40. I never did get any chances at all for a job in that field, not did I get any chances for any other white-collar entry-level professional type job paying a living wage with health benefits so that I could support myself, get the health and dental care I desperately need that I had been without for over 15 years of my life, and repay the $38,000 in student loan debt I was on the hook for - all for trying to do "all the right things" and do what I was told by the "experts". Since you are only allowed a maximum of 36 months of deferments for unemployment/economic hardship, whether or not you are able to get a job that pays enough to meet your basic needs plus make the student loan repayment schedule, my loans went into default after 4 years of enduring a fruitless job hunt which yielded me nothing. My credit is destroyed and I'll never be able to recoup. I have no savings for my own old age, and no healthcare - but I can't get Medicaid either because I don't have any kids. No one will give me a chance for any kind of good job that pays a living wage with health benefits and a stable paycheck (salary instead of commissions-only) because I am middle-aged, have been without a job since 2001, and  despite making super human efforts to get another job after 9/11 I now have ruined credit because my student loans went into default when I couldn't begin repaying them because of not getting any chances for jobs so employers hold that against me, too.

A year ago, the William D. Ford Direct Loan Dept of the US Dept of Ed offered me the option to consolidate all my student loans so I could go on an income-contingent repayment plan. But any unpaid interest (mine is locked in at 8%)was capitalized so now my student loan debt is at $54,000 and growing because I simply don't have the opportunity to earn enough money to meet my basic needs and repay them. And being older, I know I'll never get any chance for a good job so I can make it thanks to off-shoring and age discrimination ensuring that too many people like me who have been economically left out get kept left out, poor and screwed over.

I can't qualify for any funds under the WIA (Workforce Investment Act) through the local unemployment office to pick up anymore training w/ job placement in anything else like the medical field, although I am cynical that it would help me be anymore employable than I was at age 35 five years ago when I graduated with my "marketable degree" because if nobody would give me a chance and hire me then when I was 35, my chances certainly aren't going to be improved the older I get and I am now going on 40. The only "job opportunities" that have been made available to me are commissions-only type sales jobs so I scrape by on food stamps, selling insurance, with no help for medical and dental care and not enough income to keep my utilities from being shut off. There is no way I can afford to repay my student loans. But ending up in this boat with defaulted student loans wasn't my idea when I got injured 16 years ago and was told by all the "experts" to "just go to college and learn something else" when they promised job placement and help. That OVR caseworker and others like him continue to get their decent paychecks, their health and dental benefits, their paid vacation and retirement accounts with scheduled raises - whether or not their "guidelines and advice and job placement programs" results in people like me having our lives go further down the toilet, with no hope for anything better than dying young from lack of access to healthcare, stress from poverty and ending up out on the streets or living in our cars, and our own eventual meager social security checks garnished for student loan debt that we couldn't repay because we couldn't get any good jobs.

In sum, the banks, the corporations who have lied to us and kept us jumping through more and more hoops to be "worthy" of jobs that they continued to off-shore or otherwise take away from us, the state employment and disability agency caseworkers, the self-centered tenured and coddled state university professors in the higher education racket, and the politicians in bed with all of these cretins ought to be held accountable for destroying entire generations in this country. Anyone in favor of re-introducing the guillotine and storming the Ivory Towers like the Bastille?

You may contact me about this, publish my story and quote me verbatim. I am available and willing to testify in front of a congressional committee on this matter.

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Robert


I took out $55,000 in loans through Sallie Mae to supplement my federal student loans while attending the New York Academy of Art. While the interest rate on the originating documentation was 5.5%, the rate in subsequent years has risen to 9%. No explanation is given to me for the rate increases. What began as a difficult monthly interest-only installment payment has become a crippling financial burden that all but prevents me from building my life and my career. I live at home with my parents, working full time as a retail manager, and pay out 56% of my net income to banks holding my student loans. To learn that there are millions more in a position like me leads me to believe that this country is fast approaching a new type of mass-enslavement - a generation of highly educated citizens who are financially paralyzed by the very thing that was intended to aid their progress.

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Victoria


I am unemployed and unable to make payments towards my student loans. I am 6 days away from defaulting on ill-advised student loans I should have never taken out. I have full intentions of paying my student loans, but I am unable to pay on the terms given by my lender. I feel like I am being taken complete advantage of, and that there is not a thing that I can do about it. I feel very helpless, and am honestly running out of places to turn.

I enrolled in the Katharine Gibbs LRC, located in Norristown, PA, in October of 2003, and graduated in May of 2005. I spoke with an admissions representative, who went over everything with me and my parents. I applied for financial aid, and before I filled out the application, it was explained to me. At the time, I had no understanding of financial matters of this sort. If I had known what I was getting into, I would have never enrolled. My parents and I were not informed about private loans or any kind of loans for that matter. All we were asked was if we wanted private or federal loans. When I asked what the difference was, I was told that there is no difference. What we did not know was that there are little or no options with private loans.

Signing for those ill-advised loans was a life-altering decision I should have never made. I was excited about attending a trade school and pursuing a career working with computers. It has cost me thousands of dollars in debt and seemingly irreparable damage to my credit. Unfortunately, I was also easily misled due to the dangling of empty promises in front of me of things that would never come to pass. I now feel as though I have little or no options available to me as a result of the deceptive, almost predatory tactics utilized by Katherine Gibbs School to get me to take out an ill-advised loan so that they can collect a tuition check from me.

I have tried speaking with my lender for my private loans, Sallie Mae. I have spoken with two supervisors. Both times they have been verbally abusive to me, threatened me, talked down to me, and I continuously receive harassing phone calls from them demanding that I pay hundreds of dollars that I do not have. I have tried to persuade them to work with me, but they refuse to do so unless I pay them the money they are demanding.

I have tried everything I can think of to try and resolve this, but I feel utterly lost and forsaken as a result of all of this. If there is anything at all you can do to help me to reach a permanent resolution for this situation, I would be eternally grateful.

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Steven


Let the justice shine on Sallie Mae unconstitutional harassment, I applied for the student loan to complete my Nursing program at Hanneman University in 2003 at Philadelphia and during my first semester, I was just unable to coop with the academic pressure and fell in distress and when the loan process was on I called on Sallie mae to stop disbursement of Loan to my college and that I will arrange for the payment of acrued school fees. Unfortunately due to the long process that they have encountered for the loan process, and gotten to the finishing point, the staff insisted to make the loan disbursement to the college. I called again that the loan should be stop but following morning the loan was paid to the college and I was very furious because I knew this will be double jeopardy for not completing the school and carrying the burden of loan payment. During the loan process the management has obtained several information from my initial co-signer withou!
t my knowledge for the loan processing. Presently Sallie Mae has started maltreating the fellow with garnishment and putting liens on their properties.

In was astonished to find out that, the initial $25,000 loan has amounted to $55,000 with such a high and lucrative interest rate. I am currently jobless and struggling to have my daily meal and in bad health but rather than keeping with me, Mae management has continued to harass my disassociated co-signer.

I am the opinion that this practice is just illegal and something should be done about it and I am soliciting for all means for justice solution

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Steve


I am a recent college graduate with a bachelors degree whose loans exceed $104,000. At the rate they are being paid off, they will total $142,000. I simply cannot afford this enormously too expensive price for a bachelors degree. I read that the average bachelors degree student loan debt is $10,000 and average Medical School student loan debt is $70,000. So I have more student loan debt than most doctors, but do not make even close to a doctor's salary! Is there any kind of law or organization that can help someone like me who just has a ridiculously greater amount of debt than 99.9% of the people in this world who went to college. At what point is the hole so deep that a person gives up trying to climb out? I'm getting too old to be living at home with my mom trying to find ways to pay off this debt, while my 29 year old fiance is depressed that we can't afford to get a place of our own. I seriously wish I could start life over...I can't help but feeling like chasing my dream of higher education was the biggest mistake I ever made. I wish I just bought the text books and read them at home instead of at a table in the university library, as silly as that may sound.

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Eduardo


Please be advised that for those who cannot qualify for Sallie Mae (certificate programs, etc), the situation is more dire. I had to pay 8.25 points origination fee. My loan is not only adjustable, the margin can be adjusted at will by the lender (Plato/Wells Fargo) with a spread between 1.9 and 5.9% (this is actually false - with my 750+ FICO score and not a single late payment in 20+ yrs I get 5.9% margin, there is a 2% deduction for direct payment from my checking account that I will loose as soon as I am late one time). After paying about $100/mo for 5 years my balance is higher than the original net.

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Brian


I have piles of original loan papers. Piles of Medical Backup, But I am not sure who I owe and am currently having a company named General Revenu Corp. trying to get me to sign papers, because after 3 months I finally found out that monies were being taken from my disability check going to them. $161.00/mo. After 2 calls to Social Security I found out on 12/8/06 that it was going to General Revenue Corp (Collection Agency, (USA Funds/CO Sallie Mae. Now this is how I am proceeding: Letter was sent 12/11/06 to USA Funds/C/O Sallie Mae, I skipped General Revenue Corp. I am not sure what I am doing but this was my letter with tons of backup medical/Dr papers and backup. Today I had received a second set of papers from General Revenue Corp to consolidate, but they really don't have much info on them. The first set was a program to pay $50/mo plus for 9 months to get into a program of regabilitation, but the 18.5% interest in fine print caught my eye and I told them I could not afford that, now they said they have another program for me to do, but I have to sign in 7 days. They overnighted me loan consolidation papers 12/28/06. I am not signing, but proceeding with sending the Disability Discharge Papers signed by Doctor 12/11/06 to Loan Holders.

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Mark


Well, My story goes back to 1991 when I graduated with a Bachelors in Social Studies Education and 18,000.00 in debt. I applied to every school everywhere. Social Studies teachers don't retire. They die.

Anyway, I couldn't afford to make payments and couldn't find a proffesional job and decided to go back to school for elementary education. While in that program I took out about 17000.00 in student loans and with interest on the previous I graduated with about 46,000 in debt. I had also found full time work as a social worker for 21,000.00 a year. I took that I still could not afford to pay the minimum loan payment, even under the income contingent program.

I have a house in a poor neighborhood as I figured it would be cheaper to buy the house then rent in the poor neighborhood. My job currently pays about 50,000.00 a year and I owe aproximatly 90,000.00 as I have taken out 20,000. in the last two years to go back to school. I know I am a glutton for punishment. I seem to be under some delusion that the schooling will pay off. lol

By time I graduate from this program I will owe well over a hundred thousand all for a 60,000.00 dollar job. What was I thinking. I really think If I could go back to 18 years of age, I wouldn't go to college unless I had cash to pay for it. I think I would have learned a computer skill or drove a truck. Too me it's not a suprise when youth today are selling drugs and killing each other over drugs. I think a lot of youth see the folly in college and say what is the point. Can you blame them. This government doesn't take care of its citizens. Look at Katrina, thousands of people are still living in fema trailers-- forgotten. I guess it should come as no surprise that the government doesn't want to invest in it's people, i.e. grants and school funding. Perhaps it was wrong of me to rely and believe that the government would take care of me. Wonder why I have to pay taxes. Silly me to help offset the Iraq war and to pay Haliburton.

I guess the ultimate thing to do is not to marry ever and have all assets in someone elses name so that the department of ed can never touch them. The only thing they would be able to do is garnish wages and take tax refunds. ****** the department of ed.

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Jesse


I've just begun my campaign to battle Sallie Mae and my student debt. You can follow that at my blog here:

http://blog.boldwater.net (see category about sallie mae)

My goal is to pay my debt and also inform others of the nature of this game that Sallie Mae and for profit schools play.

I attended Allentown Business School now known as Lehigh Valley College. I will refrain from telling you how much a scam the school was because I know this web site is geared towards Sallie Mae. But I will say to others "BE AWARE OF FOR PROFIT SCHOOLS".

I ended up with an Associate Degree for $38,000.00 and massive student debt that is now at %18.4 interest. I am scheduled to pay back $110,000.00 or more over the next 15 years.

My monthly payments are $844.00 (which I can't afford). I am steadly increasing my income as I get better jobs, but deferring and forbaring only stop payments. The interest tacks on and my monthly payment goes up...up...and up.

I admit that I was young and signed without reading enough. But it should be illegal for companies like Sallie Mae to take advantage of young students who are just ignorant about the process and ignorant about what they are doing to their own future by dealing with companies like Sallie Mae and Career Education Corporation.

When asking for help, Sallie Mae operators have instructed me to use credit cards to pay my monthly bill. One operator actually said

"don't you have any credit cards you can max out?"

There was a class action law suit against Allentown Business School now known as Lehigh Valley College, but it was tossed out by the judge. You can follow the entire chain of events at TheMorningCall.com. The newspaper in Allentown, PA did a nice investigation and confirmed what anyone who attended the school already knew. Aggressive enrollment policies, inadequate borrower advisement, car-salesman like tactics...and many students with massive student debt like me that is rising at %18.4.

Sam Kennedy of The Morning Call has done an excelant job getting this issue out there. You can view part of his investigation into Sally Mae and Allentown Business School here:

http://www.mcall.com/news/local/all-a1_5loansmay22,0,4438054.story?page=coll=l-newslocaleaston-hed

Currently I am unable to pay my monthly $844.00 bill to Sally Mae. I am 54 days late and about to clean out my bank account in order to get Sally Mae to stop calling me for a few more weeks.

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ADP


I just graduated from an accredited university in May 2006 with a Bachelor's Degree in Communications. I come from a lower middle class family (with two siblings) that lives paycheck to paycheck. When it came time to decide how college was going to be paid for, I was informed I could not receive any education assistance because my parents made too much money(that was a complete shock to me because I DO NOT see it as being alot). My freshman year I was able to receive a PHEAA loan for about $1000. That decreased every year after that I applied for it to about $600. This left me with no choice but to apply for student and personal loans. The university I attended was the one I ALWAYS wanted to go to, so I did live on campus away from home.

My parents helped as much as they could with living expenses, but with rising tuition every year, book costs (which are OUTRAGEOUS and half of the books were never even used) plus other expenses such as rent, utilities, parking, groceries - and everything else that's thrown your way just like a normal person not in school - I did what I thought I had to. I did work throughout college, a part time job where I made about $250 every two weeks which paid for...well not much. Also, when I turned 22, my parent's medical insurance dropped me(Happy Birthday)and ironically enough I had a serious medical emergency my senior year that left me about $4000 in debt which cleaned out whatever money I had saved up to help pay for what little it could my senior year, again having me to take out another student loan through Sallie Mae and other banks for private loans.

To make an even longer story short, when I graduated and got myself together, I applied for loan consolidation (just short of the June 1 deadline for lower interest rates). That was probably my fault. I was fortunate enough to have a job lined up after graduation right away so I felt some relief and was ready for what I thought I would owe. Boy was I wrong.

My company is in a currently bad market (real estate) and I am CONSTANTLY waiting for the call that I've lost my job. When I started paying my loans back, I had consolidated my federal loans with Sallie Mae and my private loans with a private bank. I am still a little ignorant when it comes to all of the fees, interest, etc. and how it came to be (again my fault) but I'm learning every day.

For some hard numbers, my total loan amount after four years of college was $48,987. My interest rates combined around 8.75% with a co-signer. I am paying a few dollars short of $570 a MONTH for the next 30 years. September 2031 is my last payment. With interest, at the end of my term I'll be paying back about $108,000. That number took my breath away.

It makes me so fearful because SO MUCH can happen in that time. I have been fortunate thus far, but it hasn't even been 8 months since I've graduated. I am making a salary of $34,000 a year and I have friends that did not attend college making three times that. I recently had been looking into other jobs as a plan B, and have applied to over 60+ jobs with about 3 call backs for interviews, and no offers. One told me I didn't have the experience needed. It was for a PERSONAL ASSISTANT to a company CEO. The description I was given was literally dropping off dry cleaning and walking dogs among others. TThe job pays $65,000 a year. I was humilitated to be made to feel like after going to college and working hard, I couldn't do a job that I've been doing most of my life.
I could have graduated high school, went to a 2 year local school or less, been an assistant somewhere small with no loan debt and made TWICE the amount I'm making now with loan debt.

After paying monthly bills and my loans, I'm left with about $400 to myself. But the kicker for me is, I LIVE AT HOME!!!! I worry every day how I am EVER going to afford my own place down the road, when I can't even save money living under someone else's roof with no expenses except myself.

I am not asking anyone to throw a pity party for me, I don't want sympathy, I am just the thousands/millions of other people who just wanted to get a higher education like they have been told all their life. "Have a better life than me...get an education...you'll be no one if you don't" blah blah. Well, this is alot more than I had bargained for. I do not have any regrets about my education or experience, but all I have to say is, things would have been done alot differently. As the saying goes, if I would have known then what I know now...

This site has really made me feel I am not alone and has taken some worry/stress off of me. I don't have exact pin-pointed experiences with any one certain loan company, but it still feels great to be able to vent like this.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Tim


IIt is extremely sad that sites like this have to exist. As long as legal loansharking is allowed by our government and predatory companies such as sallie mae continue to fleece the young and ignorant however, sites such as this are neccessary.

Being to rich to be poor and to poor to be rich, going to college and post graduate school meant I needed loans. I took out approximetly 100,000 in loans and assumed the "American Dream" would take over post-graduation. And truth be told, if it were not for Sallie Mae, it may have happened.

Sallie Mae took over my loans without my knowledge or consent from USA loans about 3 years ago. I tried to ask Sallie Mae how can my loans be bought and sold without my consent or input and I was told pretty much "because we can." As you are aware, arguing over the phone or through email with Sallie mae gets you nowhere.

I have paid every month for the last 9 years at a rate of at least $750.00
per month and have never missed a payment. My loans are now at $54,000 at an interest rate of 9%.

My problem is that I have already consolidated my loans and although competing lenders are offering the same product at half the interest rate, I cannot do business with them. What country do I live in?

If Sallie Mae is not a monoploly, I don't no what is. I attempted to ask Sallie Mae why I cannot do business with another lender post- consolidation. The answers were comical at best. It took 5 seperate emails asking the same question to get a direct answer. The first four just danced around the subject. The finally stated it was the federal government, not sallie mae who dictates this policy.

What a joke. Sallie Mae was a driving force behind this legislation, and now, with the help of the crooks, excuse me, politicians help, they are a privately held company who can do as they please. I did not go to school for 8 years to become an indentured servant.

I understand mine isn't the most horrific story and I am leaving out some of it because I am at this point sick of thinking about it. The only reason it isn't worse is because I bust my ass to pay back my debt.

I just wonder, how can a law-abiding tax paying person living in a democratic and free market country be treated with such contempt. Why can sallie mae buy and sell my loans, but post-cosolidation, I cannot.

Something is going to give soon. Any resources available would be much appreciated.


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John


I am 52 now. I went to college in my 30s. It was extremely hard. Got BA in journalism. I never knew how much I borrowed, because I was under the impression that I was getting grants. It took 5 years to get my degree, which was at Indiana University of Pa.
My father was dying by the time I got out on the streets, so I stayed in my hometown and helped him, until he died at age 75. I could not get a journalism related job, so I took a correspondent job at the Leader Times in Kittanning, PA. It paid $20 a story--that's right, $20 a story.
Anyway, I could have sued the L-T, but by the time I figured that out, it was too late. Meanwhile, collection people kept calling at all hours, calling me names, saying I was lazy, etc. They told me to get a job at McDonalds. They said when I did get a job, they (the U.S. Gov.) would take at least half of my checks. So, I quit looking for a job. I live in the underground workplace.
I have no idea what I owe. It could me millions, and it does not matter anymore. Would you work at a minimum paying job, only to have half of your lousy check confiscated?
My choices at this time are 2--

A. Hit the lottery.

B. Suicide.


If I had known that I would get screwed like this, I would have never went to college. No one told me anything about borrowing, etc. Remember, I was in my 30s--I had not been in school since 1972. When I signed papers, I thought I was getting grants--state grants. I knew I was getting a loan, but not what they say I owe.
If they send me to some judge to pay back this outrageous loan, I will walk out of the courtroom and jump in front of a bus. They say you can't take it with you--that way, I will. They will get nothing.


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Mark


My story... complicated and too much student loan debt. I owe somewhere around 100,000 make around 50,000 a year but with taxes and things I really don't make a lot. I pray every day that I will land the right job or something to be able to pay this monster off. If I do the income contingent plan it's around 450 to 500.00 a month for the next thirty years. That would make me around 70 years old. The loan is growing interest because I am in forbearance. I feel like an undervalued member of society. I have no motivation to work as this loan is overwhelming. I have paid taxes since I was sixteen and working. I was always taught hard work has it's rewards. Well the reward is a gestapo like student loan agency crawling down your spine. I really wonder why I even pay taxes. The money seems to go to forgiens illegal wars, other countries that don't pay back what they owe etc., yet our own government won't pay for their own people to be educated .... I think at this point if they had a student loan debters prison I think I would willfully go. I could spend the rest of my life being taken care of and a place to eat. Three hots and a cot would beat this student loan hell.


 




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