The following are testimonials submitted
to this site. To tell your story, please go here.
I originally borrowed about
$38,000 for both undergraduate, and graduate school, and
earned 3 degrees in aerospace Engineering, plus 2 minors
in Industrial Systems Engineering, and Philosophy from USC.
After graduation, I consolidated with Sallie Mae. I got
a fairly low paying job as associate Scientist at Caltech,
and faithfully began repaying my loans. As an aside: I was
slightly short one month. I called Sallie Mae, and was told
over the phone that as long as I continued to pay in a timely
matter, that the underpayment wouldn't affect me. It was
over 6 months later when I realized that Sallie Mae had
charged me large penalties EVERY month after that for the
original underpayment. I talked to them again, and they
refused to take off the fees. I realized at that point
that Sallie Mae was not part of the government, but rather
My wage at Caltech wasn't huge,
and I found that after about a year or so, It was getting
harder and harder to maintain the payment schedule, despite
my taking a night job as a cook. In Summer, 2001, I left
my job at Caltech with the belief that I would find a higher
paying job. Unfortunately, the events of September 11th
put an immediate chill on the economy, particularly aerospace
. I proceeded to liquidate all of my assets, which included
a small retirement package, and a vehicle. I left the state,
and began searching for work. There was none. I applied
for a hardship deferment with Sallie Mae on December 12th,
2001. They denied it, and instead place my account into
default on December 13th. It would be about 2 years
before I again found any type of full time employment. During
this time, I worked as a cook on a remote island in Alaska
(7 days per week, 92 hours per week, at a wage of about
$5 per hour), did odd jobs, and cooked in 4 different restaurants
in Tacoma, WA.
In April, 2003, I received
a bill for nearly $80,000 from General Revenue Corporation
(which is owned by Sallie Mae) on behalf of the guarantor,
Edfund. I thought there must be a mistake, given that I
had originally borrowed $38,000, and paid off approximately
$4,000 of this. It turns out there was no-mistake- the federal
law gave these people the right to add huge penalties and
fees to my loan. Moreover, Sallie Mae - who had already
profited at least $25,000 on my $38,000 loans (this doesn't
include interest subsidies paid to them by the federal government
while I was in school), was demanding more than double what
I originally borrowed to be paid in full! Sallie Mae would
have profited an additional $20,000 on my $38,000 in loans
had I been able to find a way to comply with their demand.
I called Edfund and repeatedly
offered to begin repayment on the original debt (what I
borrowed, plus interest). I even offered to repay at a higher
interest rate! They refused. I couldn't understand why a
"non-profit, public benefit" corporation needed
to charge so much more than the original debt.
Then, I got curious, and researched
the executive salaries of Edfund. They were exploding! I
dug a little deeper, and saw that there were dozens of "Edfunds"
out there, all paying themselves massive increases
in salaries. Then it began to make sense. I was blown
away when I saw the stock bonuses that Sallie Mae executives
had given themselves.
Anyhow, the loan has since
been transferred to the Department of Education, who now
claim that I owe about $109,000, which may as well be a
million. My life has been paralyzed. My pitiful tax returns
have been taken, The job I could find, helping disadvantaged
businesses at a local non-profit, utilizes none of my engineering
skills, pays a fraction of what I though I would be making,
and is about to be garnished by yet another collection agency
holding my account. I recently got another job as
a tech writer at a defense company, but with my defaulted
loans, my initial security clearance application was
denied. I received notice two weeks ago that I am being
There is no reason for the
collection agencies to accept a fair amount (i.e. what was
borrowed, plus interest), and so they don't. I have thought
seriously about bankruptcy, and believe me- this is the
last thing I would ever want to do- but even this option
is not longer available to student borrowers thanks to the
lobbying efforts of Sallie Mae.
Its really funny how people
who are well connected can find ways to extract more and
more money from the public without actually creating anything
useful for society. I'll never understand how anyone could
live with themselves for doing that. This system is
rigged, and a whole bunch of already
rich people are intent on getting a LOT richer
from my misfortune.
I This is the most satanic
organization on the earth. Nothing honest or Christian can
Back in 1998 I signed in to a 1 year computer trade school
to try to better myself and education.
A couple months after I graduated my school in 1999 I began
to get sick with 'CHF' Congestive Heart Failure, and with
in a few months I was unable to work for a living and started
on Social Security at about half my working wages.
In February 2001, my Dr. told me I probally would not live
to see Christmas that year. My heart only pumped 15% of
what It should!
I had to file bankrupsy from my bills piling up, everything
was taken care of 'except' the satanic sallie mae.
I told them of my situation, and followed their instructions
for aquital of my debt, includind a letter from mr Doctor
stating I most probally would not survive this setback.
They gave me a couple of their extensions while adding up
more of their interest against me.
I've survived, my heart has gotten better, it's now at,
and will never get better than the 50% blood flow it's presently
at, which is still considered CHF. I still can't fully work
or exercise like I want or need to.
At present I'm getting full payment notices of 8,700+ for
the original 3,700 I had applied for in schooling.
I am unable to make much better than minimum wage and my
wife has been disabled for the last year and a half, so
I'm working to support two at present just to live very
modestly week to week.
We need a class action suit against this vile organization
with 5 million people being afflicted.
Please keep me posted as to what we can do to protect ourselves
against this terrible 'blood~money' sucking machine against
the American people.
I am too ashamed to put my
true name or anything else that would identify me.
It was 1993 and I grauduted with a BA; could not find work
to cover expenses for my young son. (Deadbeat Dad,
was of course no help.) So, not knowing anything about
money, a local University said sign here and you can get
a Masters. They never advised me that I might not
be able to pay it back. Then to make matters worse, upon
graduation, I did not land that dream job that paid decent,
the year was 1994, and I am making about 1800.00 a year.
Sallie Mae said oh, we can defer till you can pay: well
ten years later I am still deferring. And know I owe
about 60,000.00. Actually, its over 60,000.00.
They are saying I will be paying until I am 70 years old,
or die. Yes, its true if I die the debit is forgiven.
The Federal Government was predatory in their lending to
me: they knew I might not be able to aford to pay it back
but they did not care. They should be ashamed of themselves.
My son has been warned of the evils of Sallie Mae and the
Federal Governments role, he will not be a slave to their
Still Alive Sallie Mae Slave
I borrowed $25,000 in student
loans in 1996 and have gotten all the extensions i can and
have not been able to pay on these with my wages and bills.
now they say i owe almost forty thousand and i cannot pay
still. i don't know what is going to happen, i am afraid
they are going to start taking my pay check now.
I borrowed roughly $25,000
from 1992 to 1997. In early 2002 I was within
$2,000 of paying this back. I lost my job in the "dot
com bust" and fell behind on my payments.
I did not go into "default" (I guess it takes
a while for the loan to go into that state) and eventually
paid everything off, but the late payments have really hurt
Sallie Mae reports each semester as a separate "account",
even though I make all my payments to Sallie Mae (unlike
a credit card, where no matter how many items you by you
have only one account). So now my credit reports
show four seperate accounts I was late on -- lowering my
credit score by over 80 points. On one of these
loans I only owed ~$50!
I called Sallie Mae and asked if they could report this
as only one account, seeing as the loans were so small and
since I've paid them all off, they refused.
A typical business will happily remove negative remarks
on your credit report in exchange for payment, but since
Sallie Mae is guaranteed to get paid, negotiating with them
will get you nowhere.
A lower credit score has made it practically impossible
for me to buy a home or get a credit card (ironically, a
both of these would help build credit). My car
insurance is also more expensive, though that's a fairly
The government should not be supporting this kind of behavior.
There are so many ways to law could be changed to help students
without "hurting" corporations. One
simple way would be to disallow reporting of paid-off student-loan
debt to credit-reporting agencies.
I think I'm probably one of the lucky ones -- younger people
are taking out much more in loans but new-graduate wages
have not increased that much. I did not slip
into default so I avoided collection agencies and huge penalties,
but if the country slips into a recession (it always does!)
new graduates could easily default and be in debt for decades.
The worst effect of this all are the kids that watched 60
Minutes on Sunday and walked away thinking if they went
to college they could just to end up slaving away to corporate
lenders when its all over.
I'm not posting my email address here for privacy reasons
but I've emailed the site owner so he has it.
In 1992, I graduated from an
expensive trade school with $15,000 in student loans and
no job prospects. Within a year I became severely
clinically depressed. I was unable to work for the
next 5 years. Thanks to medication, I am now able
to work and pay back the loan, but the loan has now ballooned
to almost $30,000. I contacted SallieMae, who referred
me to their debt collector "OSI Education Services,
Inc." who said if I applied for a loan consolidation
they would reduce the "collection costs" that
were applied when I defaulted, from 24% down to 18%.
And they applied a lot of pressure, including calling my
employer, to get me to agree to the consolidation.
What they didn't tell me, was that I would have to agree
to capitalize all the interest to date, into the principle
of the loan. It seems like, every time I turn around,
these people are trying to make more money off of my misfortune.
Although I have done nothing wrong, there are so many stigmas
from having this debt, and the reason for having this debt,
that I must remain anonymous.
I went through school as a
single parent of 3. It took me 6 years to get a bachelor
for computer programming. I ended up borrowing 45,000, because
at the time I started, by oldest was 4, my youngest was
6 months. I have no parents (not that they could have
helped), no income other than welfare, no help. My
rent was 500 a month, day care was 900 a month.
At one point, I was taking 15 credits, and working 12 hour
shifts as a cab driver, trying to make the bills, just to
get through school. When I told the welfare office
that I was going to school, the first thing they did was
to take away my food stamps.
When I graduated (in 1991) my youngest was 6 1/2, my oldest
When I got my first job, I started paying back my student
loan at 400 a month - a very large chunk of the paycheck.
Then I lost my job, and started doing contract work, deferring
the loan, until I got a 'real' job. I had gotten married,
and eventually ended up in Virginia, doing contract work.
My (now) ex husband wasn't taking care of business, and
I lost track of the loan (I ended up in Virginia for 9 months),
then it went into default. After another year of contracting,
I got a 'real' job in 1997.
By this time, I have teens and preteens, a new house, and
still have the regular bills. I had already given
up on the student loan, because the payments were just to
high. Something always had to be taken care of - cars
breaking down, braces for the kids, whatever. They
started garnishing my wages at 10%. I don't even remember
the last time I had received a tax return.
In 2001 my ex and I split, and everything went to hell.
Due to health issues and a car wreck, I lost my job in 2003.
I also lost my house, my car, and (I think), my sanity.
I have SO given up ever being able to pay my student loan.
I have come to the realization, that, as usual, if you have
enough wealth to cover your bills, you don't have bills
to cover. If you start out poor, you can never get
up to even. If I had had the money from the beginning,
I wouldn't have owed anything. Right now, I owe 116,000.
I live in a rented trailer for 550 a month. I don't
live extravagently. I don't have credit cards, and
I make my other bills fine. I own a car. That's
the only thing I do own. I filed bankruptcy in 2004,
but as we all know, student loans are not covered. That
bankruptcy covered my house, the property the house was
on, the leftover balance on the car that was totalled, the
catastophic medical bills, the one or two 300.00 balances
on the credit cards, and other miscellaneous things left
over from the divorce. Not the student loan.
If I had had the money from the beginning, my educational
expense would have been 45,000. Since I was poor (as
is anyone else who has to borrow), I have to pay a minimum
of twice the amount as the others - even if I HADN'T defaulted.
I have also found out, (as my oldest got a student loan
to go to Bryman), that the current interest rate is 18%.
The money that DOES get paid back doesn't go anywhere, except
to the pockets of the lenders. Financial has been
cut by 20 BILLION DOLLARS.
The rich are fine. The poor are screwed. Always
have been, and they are finding even better ways to continue
When I graduated from high
school in 1999, going to college seemed like the logical
next step. Well, that was one of the worst decisions of
my life! I can't even tell you how much I actually borrowed
anymore. The amount has gone up that much since then. I
believe my original loan amount was around $40,000. I now
owe close to $68,000 and by the time I'm done re-paying,
if I pay on time and don't make the terms longer, I'll pay
about $103,000 (2.5 times more than borrowed). My grandparents
have helped me pay $1,400 before I left school.
To date, I have not been able to make payments towards my
loans. Oh, but good old Sallie Mae gets $150 from me every
6 months so that they can be put in forebearance. Mind you,
not a penny of that $150 goes towards the loans - it's all
"fees." Each time I call them, I tell them that
I can't afford the $580/month that they want. I've asked
for help numerous times, but to no avail. I have one loan
re-consolidated, but that's one of six. They tell me "there
are ways to re-consolidate, but we don't know how."
I know that's a load of you-know-what! Oh yeah, Sallie Mae
can't consolidate my loans either, because they're "student
signature loans." Each time I put my loans in forebearance,
they make $150 AND they get to charge me interest while
the loans are in forebearance. By the end of the 6 months,
I just paid for a quarter in interest alone (aprox. $1,200).
The only company I've dealt with is Sallie Mae. I've made
it so they can't call me anymore. All I have is a cell phone
and I am not about to waste my minutes on them. However,
they do harass my mom, dad, grandparents and aunt via mail
when I miss a payment. They each get a letter to the effect
of "we need an updated address" as if I don't
get their stupid bills - which by the way look like statements.
Last time I called to put them in forebearance, they wanted
a payment. I told them I had to borrow the $150 for the
forebearance, because I didn't have that. They didn't want
to wait for my mom and I to call in, so they had me bother
her at work for the payment. This same lady offered to mail
me info on graduated and income sensitive re-payment options.
This only took a month to get to me. Oh, did I mention she
put all but one loan in forebearance? They tend to mess
something up every time I call - or give me incorrect information.
The loans are out of forebearance in August 2006. At that
point they want $580/month. I can't afford that. I am living
at home (with mom and dad) temporarily to save up for deposits
on a new apartment. I'll be paying aprox $600/month in rent
and that's half of my income. The other half covers my car
(which is cheap), car insurance, health insurance, food,
cell bill, gas and the power bill. I have no cable/dish
or internet to save money. How do they expect people to
spend half of their income on these loans? And I agree with
a previous statment I saw - you think they'd want your money,
even if you couldn't pay in full. Now that I've learned
more about Sallie Mae (that they get paid no matter what)
I can understand why they don't offer help or care. I can
also see why they don't help make it feasible. There is
nowhere else to cut back. There are no better paying jobs.
Speaking of better paying jobs, I don't even have a degree
to show for all of this! That's right - no degree. Somewhere
along the line, my student loans started arriving AFTER
the semester was over. So, I had numerous credit cards that
were almost maxed out, because that was my only money for
food. The school I went to had no job market. And I had
rent to pay. I don't know exactly what happened but at the
end of 2002, I had enough and left the school. Ultimately,
I filed bankruptcy in 2005, which just discharged in January
2006. Where I had perfect credit when I was younger, it's
now 100% shot and I am not likely to ever be able to re-build
with Sallie Mae's existence. This site is helpful and I
hope it helps me find ways to make Sallie Mae pay for what
they are doing to people.
Ten years ago after I graduated
from high school, I attended ITT Technical Institute for
Computer Aided Drafting. I was receiving loans and grants
from CitiBank. Eighteen months later I graduated with an
Associates of Applied Science Degree. It took me four months
to find a job. I started working for an Engineering/Architecture
firm and loved it. One of the other employees that worked
there with me went to the same school I did and was having
trouble with her loans. I thought that I wouldn't because
I was making $11 an hour. The financial aid people at the
school said that I could make monthly payments as low as
$50 a month. So I thought that I could do that. But once
I started getting my paperwork in the mail to repay, it
was different from what they told me. The payments were
really high and I knew I wouldn't be able to make them.
I was living by myself, paying my own bills. It was then
that I knew that I was in the same boat as my co-worker.
After about nine months of working at the engineering firm,
I was fired. I tried for five months to find another job,
but I couldn't. So I decided to go back to school. A big
mistake. I went back to ITT Technical Institute for a Bachelor's
Degree in Computer Visualization Technology. School was
going really well until we had to take a class I felt that
I would never need. So I didn't try and I kept failing the
class. Finally it came to graduation for my classmates,
but not me. I had to wait for about 16 months for the new
starting class to get to where I needed to be to take that
class. So I said forget it and didn't come back. That time
came and went and that class graduated and they offered
that program no more. So even if I wanted to finish, I couldn't
because they don't have that program at that school anymore.
So, I cut my losses and moved on. I could only find jobs
like working at the local sports arenas and stadiums in
the concession stands. My education was worthless. I couldn't
go back to working for any engineering/architecture firms
because I had forgotten all of what I had learned. So I
decided to try a different school and a different program
all together. Not really realizing that my loans are getting
really high. I just kept deferring them, and filling out
economic hardship forms, so that I could delay making payments
for as long as I could.
I went to the Art Institute of Seattle and at that school
I was receiving loans and grants from Sallie Mae. It was
there that I learned that I would be maxed out on my borrowing.
So I would have to make monthly payments to stay in class.
I did really well there until again, I failed a class. I
failed because the instructor was just going too fast and
I couldn't keep up. So after that my gpa went down and stayed
down. After awhile they sent me a letter stating that I
could not attend there unless my grades went up and I would
have to attend a community college to bring them up. I couldn't
take anymore loans out and so I gave up on that school as
I started working in retail. I would go on interviews for
office positions, but I just could not get hired anywhere.
Just recently I've been receiving harrassing phone calls
from a company named GRC (General Revenue Corp.)saying that
they work with my loans and they want me to make payments
to them, because I am now in default. But I don't want to
do that because I feel that my education is not worth paying
for. They kept calling me at work even when I had told them
not to. They would repeatedly call my cell phone, and my
home phone. So, I told them to stop calling and so far they
have. I changed my home phone and cell phone numbers. When
I did talk with them, they told me so much conflicting information.
In one phone call, I think I talked with 4 differnt people.
It was very confusing. They were saying that they understood
my situation, but there was nothing they could do to and
that I needed to pay them or else I would get garnished.
They kept telling me (almost threatening) that they would
garnish my wages. I don't make much, just barely above minimum.
So if they did do that I wouldn't be able to survive on
what I would bring home from my paycheck. They also told
me that if the company that I work for won't garnish my
wages, then the company would have to go to court and pay
my loans. I have been looking for a new job because with
my current job, the hours have gone down significantly,
and I'm beginning to hate my job. I'm at a loss as to what
I should do. I can't get a job in the field that I went
to school for, I can only get retail positions. I want to
go back to school, to learn something different, but I can't
because of my loans.
Having to deal with these loans and not finding a good job
make me feel like a failure. If I could go back in time,
I wouldn't have gone to the schools that I did. I tell my
friends and family never take out loans no matter what.
You will be paying them for the rest of your life, and they
will mess up your credit.
I have been dealing with student
loans since 1996, my credit other than those has been ok,
yet I have had no available credit to get housing, buy a
car or get credit cards with out huge fees. I had
thought I paid off the loans when I got out of school I
received a payment book and paid off the book, only to find
out the book was for only 1 loan of 4. My credit has
suffered from not being able to pay medical expenses from
lack of credit since I found out about the default loans.
I did the 1 year automatic withdraw payments to regain status,
then lost my job. I am not sure how much I have paid
into the laon, yet the balance has not seamed to change.
the amount is not unfathomable, yet the lack of credit makes
me live from check to check without being able to plan for
retirement. I am also disabled, with a hearing loss,
I saw on 60 minutes that sallie mae or the collection agency
who already get my tax returns, can get disability if something
should happen scares me. My dealings with the collection
agencies has been demoralizing, I have been told to borrow
money from friends or family, I recently faxed a copy of
application for deferment, yet I still receive mail and
phone calls that threaten to put me in default status again.
You may or may not be interested
in highlighting specific policies or corporations, but I've
found a "mistake" with Citibank's online student
loan repayment system that is not well reported on their
site. I had a long conversation with a Citi customer service
rep who she said she gets 3-4 calls a week about this.
If you're enrolled in automatic debit reduction (EZ Pay),
and you attempt to pay additional off of your principle
online, even when you check "DO NOT ADVANCE NEXT PAYMENT"
it "accidentally" cancels all of your next auto
debit payment that would be covered by the extra you paid.
The website is vague on this, citing paying extra online
"may" cause your EZ Pay to reschedule, but doesn't
notify you if it does or does not. I only found it because
I watch my debit acct like a hawk.
It's nickel-and-diming students, but if 3-4 students per
service rep (probably more unreporting or don't ever catch
this) are out a month or more on the interest they would
have saved keeping their regularly scheduled payments, Citibank
is making a TON of money off this "glitch."
Thanks, and I admire the work you do at SLJ.
I attended college too early
following HS graduation because I lived in an area where
it was difficult to find a job. From 1981-1985 I took
out 10,000 in various NDSL and Stafford Loans to attend
college to become a music teacher. I continued to be
unable to find and or sustain gainful employment.
I tried a second time to get a teaching certificate, and
Meanwhile, my loan was sold and traded from Sallie Mae to
NELA and I received a lot of harrassing phone calls--callers
would ask me to make mandatory payments of about $500 a
month and to "stop seeing little green men", they
would tell me. Also I had others who told me
"It is people like you that is what is wrong with this
country". I also was accused of using my student
loan money to buy cars or TVs or personal items not intended
for educational loans--and I NEVER did ANY such thing as
THAT. So....with a mental condition.....THIS is how
I was being treated by phone collectors. Meanhwile
I had to drop out of nursing college, again, with a 3.7
Mind you, I lived on $349.00 a month with rent of
$250 a month, utilities of $30 a month, only $90.00 a month
in foodstamps and it was a neighbor who fed me every weekend
and the foodbank that made ends meet. What little
money I had left over, if any, went into the constant bicycle
maintenance to get me to school or the bus pass in the winter.
I didn't have any--not ANY spare money for loan repayment,
and the funny thing is I and I still can't figure this out---how
do you justify recieving GAU or SSI and using GOVERNMENT
MONEY TO REPAY A STUDENT LOAN? THIS IS INSANE AND
I finally earned an LPN and was cut off from DVR to
complete my RN, where I NEED TO BE, because without the
RN, how am I going to be able to pay for the original loan
at $10,000 that has now become $44,000.00????????
Why was it defaulted? Because one, I could not pay
the payments they demanded, I was out of medical deferment
Now I earn $13.78 an hour--this is MUCH more than what MANY,
people earn, but it does NOT reflect a BA or a BS degree.
In order to afford to pay my loans and still live and make
my medical payments and pay for a car and save for old age.
But right now, I still have to pay for that RN school.
I still have to pay for medical care. I still have
to repair a 1986 Ford Taurus to get to work and to have
any kind of social life. And about that--haha...try
to get a date when you owe student loans in the amount of
$45,000 and your debt to income ratio is as sad as mine....how
about laughing from the mirror to the armpit on that thought...just
try to get a date. Just TRY. Try to look for
a soulmate or a companion or a lover or even a sugardaddy
or best friend when NELLA and GC services send you mail
to remind you that "action will be taken against you
and your marital partner to collect the total amount owed
on this loan."
My car is falling apart. My teeth are rotting out
of my head my social life has never been able to fall
together and what of it I can find falls apart as I only
have associated with the poor, I've always BEEN poor, and
you know what?
You go through this kind of crap. It cuts into your
mind and your heart and it severs your sanity. I'm
on antidepressants and I am STILL suicidal. Because
after they "rehabilitate the loan" they are going
to raise the payments due, and I am BROKE MONTH TO MONTH.
I can't repair my car. I can't eat. I can't
fix my teeth? But I CAN pay $45,000.00 immediately
or face "tough action?"
I can tell you this is the truth--it is how I FEEL.
I would like to leave the country. I really would.
At least I would be able to start over if I could renounce
So $10,000.00 turns to $45,000.00 so I can repay my suffering
and poverty and sickness, either that or I have one hell
of a MIDAS TOUCH and never knew that, either.