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Subject: Checking in.
Date: Saturday, April 01, 2006

Hey Everyone,

Just wanted to give you all an update. StudentLoanJustice.Org been up and running for 1 year now, and we now have members (or victims as it were) in the hundreds. This is without doing any advertising really. Remember there are between 3-5 million defaulted borrowers out there, so we're only scratching the surface here.

Accomplishments since last email: We published an OPED in the Baltimore Sun, to which Sallie Mae quickly responded: I (the author) am a deadbeat who has been leeching off government subsidies, and need to repay my debt.

I leave it to you all to read my story on the "victims" page, and judge for yourself. I don't care much what they say about me personally...BUT...This is the attitude that we are fighting. It is a convenient argument for those who are extracting vast personal fortunes at our expense to make, and hard to change, particularly with a republican Congress running the show.

The Sun, to their great credit, has given me (us) an opportunity to publish future pieces, and I fully intend to do this.

Also NPR contacted me yesterday about a story they're working on regarding Sallie Mae's purchase of non-profits (They are currently trying to acquire the Missouri Agency, and the Illinois Agency). I sent them 3 borrowers who had been screwed when their lenders were acquired. If you are one, please let me know and I will forward your contact info to the producers as well.

Senator Dick Durbin had his office call us, and invite us to meet with him. Also, he gave a couple of talks last week at various Universities in Illinois, and urged them to look at the website. The link to the story is on the "media" section of this website. It is my hope that a couple of Republicans will come around and see how they're selling out their principles of free trade to Sallie Mae.

So..the word is starting to get around, but as I've said before, this is truly a grassroots deal, and we as individuals need to figure out how we can get Congress to give us relief by way of an Amnesty Amendment, and restoration of standard consumer protections to the student loan industry. Those of you all who haven't had a chance to speak with your representatives would be amazed at how little they know, and how much they actually do care.

Other than that, there are a couple-three class action lawsuits in the works. I will probably end up putting them all in one place on the website in the near future.

Anyhow, I will try to check back like this every couple of weeks or so.

Keep me posted as to how things are going on your end!

Don't Give Up-

Alan

ps. I got this submission after the Baltimore piece ran. I think It's important.

First_Name: Name Withheld
State: MD
phone:
Email:
any_other_comments: I am writing to tell my sister's story. She is no longer with us...She took her life a year ago.

My sister was the first in our family to attend college. She graduated from Johns Hopkins University and did really well for awhile. In her early 30s, she became ill (breast cancer) and was unable to work. I am not sure how she was paying her loans, but I know the student loan representatives were hounding her. I spoke with several on her behalf and little if anything was ever accomplished.

My sister was out of work for a very long time as "chemo" made her very ill. She was repeatedly called by student loan represtatives even when told how ill she was.

I do not want to go into a great deal of detail, but I will say that my sister took her life as she said she simply did not want to live anymore. What is interesting is that my sister was not terminally ill. Her cancer was in stage 2...and her prognosis were very good. What ultimately led to my sister's death is the way she was repeatedly hounded by collection agencies regarding her student loans. I wrote to a Maryland Senator myself and stated that something has to be done about this. People are being penalized for going after their dreams of becoming educated. Does anyone else see something wrong with this picture?

My sister's life has been an inspiration to me. I have decided to go back to school. I promised her that I would not obtain any student loans...I am doing it the old fashion way....I am working 3 jobs to finance my education. I will be somewhere in my early 40s when I finish, but at least I won't have to be concerned about being literally worried to death over student loans....


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Subject: Checking in.
Date: Sunday, May 21, 2006 11:51 PM

Hey Everyone,

Hope you all are well. Its been a busy couple of weeks, but I wanted to give you all an update:

The day after the 60 Minutes piece on student loans, Sallie Mae sent an email to all of their participating universities (which is pretty much all of them). It was fraught with gross exaggerations, huge inaccuracies, and the usual corporate drivel that their grossly overpaid executives spit out on a daily basis. No surprise there. Sallie Mae's Stock actually went UP by 3% the day after. Great.

What WAS surprising was this: Ralph Nader published an extremely poignant essay on this issue. At the same time, the Adam Smith Society (an extremely conservative, free market organization) published an equally scathing (but from the opposite point of view) piece about Sallie Mae and the student loan industry. This was heartening.

There are a couple of very interesting media-type things happening as well, and I will be sure to tell everyone about them when appropriate.

...So...I've received over a thousand emails in the past two weeks. I've answered them all personally. Its been pretty overwhelming, but I've been awestruck to read about all of your situations. Suicides, wrecked families, destroyed lives, being forced to leave the country, living "underground"--I've heard about all of these in the past two weeks. All because of Student Loans. STUDENT LOANS. How in God's name did this country get so badly off track?

I would say that at this point, this is a bonafide grassroots movement, and you are the first members-

Here's what I'm doing:

1. Posting all of our stories on the website
2. Fielding calls from various press and other media organizations
3. Grouping all of us by State for potential coordinated efforts down the road
4. Forming the StudentLoanJustice.Org Political Action Committee (PAC)
5. WHATEVER else I can do to let America know about this hidden, cancerous scam that is being perpetrated upon us decent citizens.

This is a not a "watch it happen" type deal unfortunately. We have to stick up for ourselves-because no one is going to fight for us. There are a couple of interesting things happening in Congress, but I'm not holding my breath.

Now really is the time for each of you to consider your own situations for a moment, and think of how YOU, as an individual, can do. This could mean calling your local electeds A MILLION TIMES to make sure they feel your pain. It could mean getting something published in your hometown newspapers. It could mean protesting the Sallie Mae bus tour when it comes through your town. I don't know...Thats the cool thing about a grassroots movement- we all, individually, have complete freedom to do whatever what is right for us.

The only advice I have is this: Be creative, know that we are doing the right thing, and keep me posted. Obviously, anything that I can do to help...I am here for you all.


Best Regards,

Alan

SLJ


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Subject: Checking in.
Date: Wednesday, May 31, 2006 3:30 AM

Hi Everyone,

Hope everyone is doing well. Here is an update:

1. Sen. Clinton has introduced a student loan "Bill of Rights" into Congress. I am pasting a summary of the proposed legislation below. It looks pretty good. Among other things, it puts a cap on the amount a student pays back over 10 and 15 year payment horizons, reduces the collection fees allowed to be put on the debt, and allows for refinancing.

I have been saying (and still believe) that some sort of amnesty is in order, whereby citizens who have been forced to live in a default situation for an extended period of time (say, 5 years) whould be allowed to repay their original loan amounts, plus a nominal amount of interest. I still believe this, but I think this, or something similar, is achievable through this legislation, depending on what sort of maximum repayment caps come out of it.

You can download the full text of the bill by going to thomas.loc.gov . Type in "S.3255" in the search box, select "Bill Number" and click
search. I would appreciate any analysis any of you make on this.

2. We have rolled out one state "breakout group" so far- Wisconsin. The others will be following in the coming weeks. Please be patient on this.

3. Attorneys needed! I think it would be useful for us to have a collection of local attorneys who are competent and well practiced in this field. If you have an attorney who has been doing good work, please have them send us an email, and we will begin referring them to local borrowers on an as-needed basis.

That's it for now. Remember not to be ashamed or intimidated from sticking up for yourself in a public way on this. WE ARE NOT ALONE!!!!!!!!!


Regards,

Alan

THE STUDENT BORROWER BILL OF RIGHTS

SENATOR CLINTON


A fact about our higher education system is that college and graduate students must borrow more and more money to pay for school. Two-thirds of public school graduates take out student loans. On graduation day, they owe an average of $15,500. Yet when student borrowers begin repayment, some lack access to timely information about their loans. Others are asked to make high, unaffordable payments. The Student Borrower Bill of Rights provides student borrowers a basic set of rights to make sure that the process of repaying student loans is reasonable and not burdensome.


1.. A Right To Shop In A Free Marketplace
The bill urges the Department of Education to vigorously enforce rules prohibiting lenders from acting in ways that prevent a borrower from consolidating their loans with a competitor.

To encourage greater competition in the student loan marketplace, the bill requires lenders to report comprehensive information to credit bureaus, including both positive and negative information, and to identify student loans as student loans.

The bill eliminates the anti-competitive single-holder rule, allowing borrowers to consolidate loans with whatever lender they wish. It makes it easier for borrowers to consolidate into the Direct Loan program. It allows borrowers to reconsolidate.

2.. A Right To Timely Information About Loans
The bill requires that lenders provide borrowers a regular bill containing information about their loan, and provide borrowers who start repayment, in delinquency, in default, and seeking to consolidate their loan pertinent information.

The bill urges the Department of Education to produce and to distribute to organizations that help people having trouble repaying their loans a manual describing the rights of people in delinquency and default, and the Department's policy for dealing with particular programs. It also requires the Department to provide technical assistance to such groups.

The bill requires that, if the loan servicer changes, the old and new servicers inform of the borrower and allow the borrower a 60-day grace period during which payments mistakenly sent to the old servicer are not counted as late.

3.. A Right To Make Affordable Loan Payments
The bill caps the monthly loan payment that can be required of a borrower of a federal student loan at a level that is affordable given that borrower's income. For certain borrowers, if this payment does not cover the interest owed, the federal government would pay the difference.

For borrowers in the Income Contingent Repayment system, the bill exempts for the purposes of income tax the amount forgiven at the end of the repayment period.

The bill allows borrowers with severe need to discharge student loans with appropriate safe-guards, in cases of serious disability and in certain cases of bankruptcy.

4.. A Right For Interest Rates and Fees To Be Reasonable
The bill requires the Department to conduct a study of interest rates and fees charged of borrowers of private student loans.

The bill limits collection fees and makes them dependent on the expenses incurred in collecting on a loan.

The bill requires the Secretary to cap the total amount that can be charged of a borrower for a given loan over various periods of time, including all interest and fees, beyond which additional payment would be exploitative.

5.. A Right To Not Be Exploited
The bill requires greater publication of group-level employment, earnings, and default information about graduates of certain schools.

The bill urges the Department to enforce borrowers' rights to raise claims related to the actions of for-profit schools against the lenders from which they borrowed money to attend such schools (including the Federal Trade Commission Rule).

The bill provides borrowers recourse if they suffer an economic loss as a result of a violation of the Higher Education Act.

The bill makes schools liable for a borrower's loan if the school violates the Higher Education Act by paying admissions officers as salespersons - i.e., on the basis of how many students they admit.

The bill requires lenders to give borrowers who pay more than is required in a given payment period the option of applying that payment against the principle owed on the loan.

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Subject: Checking in.
Date: Monday, July 31, 2006 3:48 AM

Hey Everyone,

Just wanted to touch base. We have rougly 1000 people among the fifty states now. We will be rolling out the states again to account for the new members.

Also, One of our own, John Pinion, was featured in last weeks "Geraldo at Large". You can see the clip Here:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5723049845277943308

Also, Lynnae Brown is still seeking people to submit their own video submissions for here documentary. That link is Here:


I hope you will think about stories that you can get out in the public eye. This is important.

More Soon,

Alan

SLJ


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Date: Sunday, October 29, 2006 9:33 PM

Hey Everyone.

Hope all are having a great weekend. We were featured 3 times this week in the media. First: Two of our own, Ethan Winsby, and the Small Family (Beccie and Andrew) were featured in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle October 25th ("Private loans prove costly for college students"). KUDOS to you both for standing up like that.

Second, we were quoted in a piece by Annys Shin in the Washington Post ("Getting Schooled on Student Loans-").

Third, I published an OPED in the Fredericksburg Free lance Star, responding to what some idiot lobbyist said in an earlier piece ("Student Will be Hurt by Loan Rates").

There are a couple of other pieces I am aware of in the offing, but it will take awhile for them to come out.

Also, There was a disturbing report issued by the Office of Inspector General Last Month:

http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oig/auditreports/a04e0009.pdf

In this report, Theresa Shaw, Head of Federal Student Aid, is warned by the Inspector General that her oversight of Federal student loan problems is weak, and open to conflicts of interest. Her office disputed most of the findings. This is no surprise, especially since Ms. Shaw is a former vice president for Sallie Mae. Read it for yourself, and let me know what you think.

That's it for now. I hope everyone will see what they can do to get their stories published in local media.
This is what we have to do right now.


Best Regards,

Alan
SLJ

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Subject: Day 1: Oregon
Date: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 4:34 AM

Hey Everyone. Tomorrow is officially our first stop on the "Bus Tour" . I will be meeting with Rep. David Wu's (D-OR) staff at 2pm in downtown Portland. I will be giving him all of our Oregon Stories, and reiterating the urgent need to get a fair shake for the borrowers through passage our PAC's agenda.

Other than that, we have been doing alot of press stuff lately. Today we did the Armstrong William Show in New York. Tomorrow we are doing a radio show in Baltimore. A TV station in Wisconsin is doing an investigative piece on student loans, featuring our members, and we have also been approached by CSPAN, and a whole cadre of radio stations.

Oh. We also published an OPED in Denver, and were written up in a fairly controversial piece in Inside Higher Ed. Read it for yourself to see what the Industry thinks of us. I do feel somewhat compelled to say, here, that we no longer use profanity in emails to student loan executives. The email mentioned in this piece was sent almost two years ago, before this movement took off. The sentiment, of course, remains...

Anyhow, I couldn't be more excited to be hitting the road finally. As always: PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD about this! There is true strength in numbers.

High Regards,


StudentLoanJustice.Org

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Subject: Day 5: Santa Rosa, California
Date: Monday, January 22, 2007 2:50 AM


Hello Everyone,

The bus tour is in Santa Rosa presently, with meetings planned for tomorrow with Congresswoman Lynne Woolsey. We will be meeting with George Miller (chairman), Nancy Pelosi (Speaker of the House), Buck McKeon (ranking minority member), and Linda Sanchez (Los Angeles) this week, before heading to Arizona next week. The "bus" is performing admirably, with only minor mechanical glitches so far! I will get some photos up on a daily blog in the coming week.

It is really critical that we get the word out. That is why there is a brochure posted at

www.studentloanjustice.org/brochure.pub

You can easily download this file, get brochures printed, and distribute as you see fit to. I recommend libraries, coffee shops, or other public places with a high throughput of people.

I know this is a slight bit of effort on your part, but I hope you all will see that the effort will be worth the hassle. It is definitely a wiser use of your time than trying to deal with collection companies to no avail!!

Other than that, we have been doing a ton of radio shows recently, and are getting OPEDs published in various small papers across the country. The folks in Wisconsin have recently completed taping for an investigative news piece to be aired in March.

The next few months will be critical, and so I hope you each will give that fact serious consideration. Obviously, keep us posted as to developments in your local areas, so that we can update the country as to your progress!

More soon,

Alan

StudentLoanJustice.Org

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Subject: StudentLoanJustice.Org bus tour: Day 9: Santa Monica
Date: Sunday, January 28, 2007 2:47 AM

Hey Everyone,

We are currently leaving Santa Monica enroute to Tucson by way of Phoenix. We have met with the staff of 5 members of the education committees thus far: Wu, Woolsey, Miller, McKeon, and Sanchez.

Also, we have been greeted at our stops by various members...this is important...helps keep the morale up!

The "bus" continues to function well, except for a slight mishap (flat tire) in Cherry Valley.

The meetings have gone well. Some staff have suggested measures even more beneficial than what we are currently proposing, although we did meet some skepticism from Miller's staff with regards to the payoff plan for defaulters (agenda item #1 for the PAC). This is of particular concern, since Miller is Chairman of the house education Subcommittee. It would behoove you all to contact the House Committee, and let them feel your pain!! Their phone number in Washington D.C. is:

202-225-3725

We will be giving a talk in Tucson to the Democratic Party (Northern Tucson chapter) on Monday at noon. I will be sending out a note specifically to Arizona folks to give the location.

All in all, I'd say it's shaping up pretty well, but REMEMBER THIS ENDEAVOR WILL ONLY WORK IF YOU ALL, INDIVIDUALLY, PITCH IN FOR THE CAUSE. The brochures are a great start, maintaining a high amount of pressure on your congressmen is critical, and getting media attention is also of utmost importance.

Oh...I almost forgot. WE HAVE T-SHIRTS NOW!! This is a fundraising effort to support the PAC. We are selling them for $20 delivered, or $15 in person. You can pay via the PAC donation link on the webpage.

Strength in Numbers,

Alan


StudentLoanJustice.Org

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Subject: Day 16: Edinburg, Texas
Date: Sunday, February 04, 2007 3:55 PM

Hey Everyone,

We have now made it through Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, and are in Edinburg, Texas, to meet with Ruben Hinjosa tomorrow. He is probably the most important member of the House committee, since he chairs the higher education subcommittee.

Arizona was very successful. Gave a talk to the Greater Tucson Democrats, which was only supposed to go 15 minutes, but stretched out to over an hour. There were about 40 people there, and led to a number of follow up meetings with members of the state legislature. We also did a "drive by" at Senator McCains office. Also, we were invited to do an OPED for the Arizona Republic, and are now connected to the University of Arizona Young Democrats. I have met with a bunch of the members along the way, and appreciate all the energy out there! Would be great to speak with more republican groups, however. This issue really does cut both ways...

We also met with Senator Bingaman's staff in New Mexico.

We've gotten OPEDs published in a couple of local papers in Oregon, and Colorado, and did an hour radio show on WDIG (Ohio). Also, we've been inundated with requests from all over the country to do interviews with various editorial boards, which I will accomodate as best as possible.

At the urging of many of our members, we have procured a video camera to document peoples stories along the way. Hopefully we can deliver a good video to Congress when I get to D.C. If you want to do an interview, let me know, and we'll try to make that happen.

Regarding the PAC: We have received a total of $3,757 in donations to date. I have not done the calculations yet, but I estimate that we have spent approximately $2,000 in fuel, some food, and some administrative costs (paper, bumper stickers, office supplies). We have a payment of $1200 coming due imminently to cover the costs of 200 T-shirts, and 100 hats. Since we are selling these items ($20 each) these should way more than pay for themselves over the course of the trip.

So...we're staying above water, but your support continues to be critical on this.

Beyond that, I have posted the brochures in two different formats: Word and Publisher. Please, Please, Please print 20 or so out, and place at strategic locations. Public bulletin boards, coffee shops, libraries, etc seem to work pretty well.

Beyond that, I hope everyone will think positive thoughts for the "Bus", and its mechanical health!!!!

That's it for now! Have a great week, everyone, and remember, this is a grassroots movement which means that each of us have a responsibility to make something happen...however seemingly insignificant!

Strength in Numbers!

Alan


StudentLoanJustice.Org

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Subject: Day 21: Ft. Worth, Texas
Date: Friday, February 09, 2007 5:56 PM

Hey Everyone,

Two of our members, Cheryl Rohloff and Lynne Ostergen, are being featured today in an investigative TV news program in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This is a hard hitting piece that cuts right to the heart of this issue. The link is:

http://www.todaystmj4.com/features/iteam/5688091.html

It takes courage to get up and tell your story in a public fashion like this, but it is SO important and helpful to the cause. So thanks to Cheryl and Lynne from all of us.

I truly believe that we could do this in every state of the Union. There is no shortage of compelling stories out there, and the folks in the media are more than willing to do stories on it. I hope all of you will consider making an effort to contact your local media, or get me their contact info. I'm more than happy to get the ball rolling, if you are willing to get up and tell your story. And for what it's worth: at the end of the day, it feels good to get it off your chest!

Also, we are doing a nationally syndicated radio show tonight at 11 pm eastern time. Its called the Jim Bohanon Show. It would be great if some of you want to call in. You can find the show in your local area at:

http://www.jimbotalk.net/


There's been alot of political stuff happening. President Bush chopped Student Loan subsidies even further than Kennedy in his budget. Both House and Senate have introduced student loan bills. Refinancing is there, which is good, but as far as repayment of defaulted (or otherwise extremely high) debt: the Senate bill promises a cap on repayment of 15% of borrowers income, and loan forgiveness after 15 years. It is not clear, but I am assuming that defaulted borrowers would be able to "rehabilitate" their loans into this program. I do not like this plan, because:

1. This will entail living with an ever increasing balance over the 15 year term in most cases, (hindering borrowers credit), and ensures a MASSIVE tax penalty at the end of the term-particularly for those of us who's loans have already "gone nuclear" in the first place!

2. This plan ensures that if we should experience financial fortune, it will be sucked into the interest on this debt.

3. 15 years is a long time, and who knows how it will change over time depending on the whims of Congress?

Anyhow, let me know your thoughts. A good analysis of both bills is at:

Analysis of H.R. 5, the College Student Relief Act of 2007

Analysis of S. 359, the Student Debt Relief Act of 2007

The Bus tour is in Ft. Worth, Texas. This is a BIG state! We have shot 3 videos in the past 4 days, and have two more scheduled before we leave the state for Louisiana tomorrow to meet with Charles Boustany (or his staff) on Monday.

We did an interview with the New York Times yesterday regarding private loans and culinary school. (If this is you, you may be getting called by them soon).

That's it for now. As always, please help spread the word about this in whatever way you see fit, and remember that this is a grassroots deal, and we are the roots.


StudentLoanJustice.Org

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Subject: Day 29: Tifton, Georgia
Date: Sunday, February 18, 2007 2:10 AM

Hey Y'all!

The Bus Tour is currently in Tifton, Georgia enroute to Atlanta. Since I last wrote, we've been to Amarillo, TX, Lafayette, LA, New Orleans, and Orlando. I was awaken by a violent shaking and an indescribable torrent of rain that disappeared as quickly as it came early tuesday morning in New Orleans. Turns out that a tornado wiped out 4 houses two blocks from us. So that was interesting, and probably a bit lucky.


Lafayette, Louisiana

Anyhow...Progress:

1. The Jim Bohannon show went well. Jim started as a skeptical host, asking all the tough questions, but was making our arguments for us by the end. In particular, he couldn't believe that it is illegal to refinance consolidated student loans. The calls (which included Holli and Warren, SLJ members) seemed to really drive the points home. So that was good.

We also did interviews with the NY Times and the Arizona Republic recently and were contacted yesterday by Time Magazine, and a couple of other papers that escape me at the moment.. Hopefully something will get published soon. Please keep calling the press, and getting them to do stories. that really is where the rubber meets the road.

2. We continue to take video submissions from members. We have 7 at this point, but can certainly use more. Here is the itinerary for the next two weeks. If there's any way you could meet the bus at these locations for a few minutes to have your say, let me know:

February 19th: Atlanta, GA (Sen. Isakson)
February 20th: Marietta, GA (Rep Tom Price)
February 21st: West Columbia, SC (Rep Bob Inglis)
February 22nd: Memphis, TN (Sen. Lamar Alexander)
February 23nd: Clemmons, NC (Rep. Virginia Foxx)
February 24th: Winston Salem, NC (Sen. Richard Burr)
February 25th: Newport News, VA (Rep. Robert Scott)
February 26th: Annapolis, MD (Rep Sarbanes)
February 26th: Annapolis, MD (Sen. Mikulski)
February 27th: Dover, DL (Rep Castle)
February 28th: Boston MA (UMASS Boston)
March 2-3: Chapel Hill, NC (Education Writers Association)

ALSO: IF YOU HAVE YOUR OWN VIDEO EQUIPMENT, MAKE YOUR OWN SUBMISSION POST IT ON UTUBE (OR SIMILAR), AND EMAIL ME THE LINK. PRIVATE LOAN STORIES ARE MOST NEEDED PRESENTLY, BECAUSE I AM SITTING ON AN EDUCATION WRITERS PANEL IN CHAPEL HILL MARCH 3rd, AND WOULD LOVE TO HAVE SOME TO SHOW.

3. We have T-shirts and Hats available now. Here is a photo of the T-shirts:

To order, just donate $20 to the PAC for each item, and send me an email letting me know what you want, and where to send it. Please be patient. I will be amassing orders and sending in bulk once per week.

4. Here is the list of legislators we have visited so far with contact info. Now is the time to nail them with calls if you are in their state


Name Address City State Zip Phone
David Wu 620 SW Main Portland OR 97205 5033262901
George Miller 3220 Blume Drive Richmond CA 94806 510-262-6500
Lynn Woolsey 1101 College Avenue Santa Rosa CA 95404 707-542-7182
Susan A. Davis 4305 University Avenue San Diego CA 92105 619-280-5353
Linda T. Sanchez 17906 Crusader Ave Cerritos CA 90703 562-860-5050
Howard Mckeon 26650 The Old Road Santa Clarita CA 91381 661-254-2111
Nancy Pelosi* 450 Golden Gate Ave San Francisco CA 94102 415-556-4862
Raul Grijalva 810 E. 22nd St. Tucson AZ 85713 (520)622-6788
Ruben Hinjosa 2864 West Trenton Road Edinburg TX 78539 (956) 682-5545
Jeff Bingaman 505 South Main las cruces NM 88001 5055236561
Kenny Marchant 9901 East Valley Ranch Parkway Irving TX 75063 972-556-0162
Charles Boustany 800 Lafayette Street Lafayette LA 70501 (337) 235-6322
Ric Keller 605 East Robinson Street Orlando FL 32801 4078721962
Tom Price 3730 Roswell Road Marietta GA 30062 770-565-4990

5. Financially, we are doing OK. We're a bit in the red, on account of 2000 more miles logged than predicted at this point (Texas is BIG), currently, but I have faith that all will work out. I'll be crunching the numbers between now and next report.

6. Don't forget about the brochure . We are about to roll a new version, but the current one is fine for now.

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Subject: Day 33: Knoxville, Tennessee
Date: Thursday, February 22, 2007 2:24 AM

Hi Everyone,

Greetings from Knoxville, Tennessee! We went through Georgia, meeting with staff for Senator Isakson, and Rep. Price the last couple of days. Today we hit both representatives (Wilson, Inglis) from South Carolina, and made it into Tennessee. We're getting into the "whilrwind" part of the tour.

Three things:

1. I was contacted yesterday by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. They are looking for borrowers who have had hard times with collection companies for federal loans. If you are willing to testify, let me know. There are a few that stick out to me that would make excellent testimony, but we literally have thousands of submissions, and I don't want to overlook any good ones that would really help to further the cause. If this is you, let me know ASAP.

2. Keep spreading the word, and doing what you can-individually-to make this right! The flyers are working- Alberto handed out 100 in Florida, and we received a couple of submissions from that already. Also, remember to keep bugging the House and Senate Committee members. Do not be put off by the junior staffers. Do whatever it takes to make them feel your pain!

3. A StudentLoanJustice Supporter has issued a "fundraising challenge"! For the next 7 days, all donations between 10-$100 to the PAC will be matched...up to a maximum of $1000. As always, your support is greatly appreciated, and will be used wisely. To date, we have received $4,457, and are nearly breaking even. I will have an expense report at the end of the week.

Keep Fighting,

Alan

StudentLoanJustice.Org


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Subject: Day 35: Oxford, NC
Date: Saturday, February 24, 2007 9:49 AM

Hey Everyone,

The Tour is now in Oxford, North Carolina. We hit Senator Burr, and Rep. Foxx in Winston Salem, NC today, and are off to Newport News tomorrow. We will be back in Chapel Hill on March 3rd for a conference, and will hopefully be meeting with staff for John Edward's campaign at that time.

This is important, and I forgot to mention in the last update:

The Student Borrower Bill of Rights has been reintroduced into the Senate. It is now S.511, and can been seen here
I think you will all agree that it has nearly everything that we are seeking, including:

An income contingent repayment plan without the tax penalty
Refinancing
Bankruptcy protection (but not for private loans)

One thing it doesn't have is a viable "make good" option for defaulted borrowers who want to repay a reasonable amount in the short term (i.e. the amount that the government paid for the default claim), and move on with their lives, which is our #1 PAC agenda item.

Anyhow, give it a look, and let me know what you think. I am very encouraged that it was reintroduced, since it was our efforts that led their office to do the original act in the first place, so we should all be slightly proud about that.

More soon,

Alan

ps. 5 days left in the "fundraising challenge"!

StudentLoanJustice.Org

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Subject: Day 39: Boston, MA
Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2007 10:06 PM

Hey Everyone,

Since I last wrote, we have visited Virginia, and high tailed it up to UMASS Boston. UMASS, at the last minute, informed me that we could not set up a table on their campus, despite detailed planning 2 1/2 weeks ahead of time. I wasn't too impressed with this response. Judging from the brand new buildings, and facilities on campus, it would seem that they are protecting their investment.

Not to worry, we will be posting and handing out as many flyers on campus regardless.

Anyhow, Virginia went well, and we are off to Chapel Hill for the Educational writer's conference on Saturday.


One quick thought: Could we all make a committment to make one local reporter do a story on this issue? You'd be surprised how easy it is, and it really has a huge impact, cumulatively.

I'll have more to say soon.

KEEP FIGHTING!!!!


StudentLoanJustice.Org

*************************************************
Subject: Day 44: Chapel Hill, NC
Date: Sunday, March 04, 2007 12:43 PM

Hey Everyone,

The Tour is now in Chapel Hill, NC. We presented on a panel of the
Education Writers of America Conference yesterday, along with Luke Swarthout
(PIRG), a private lender (Tamera Briones of EFP), and a private guarantor
(Willis Hullings of TERI). There were about 30 writers in attendance, and
we are scheduling follow-ups in New Jersey, and Ohio. The moderator was
Stephen Burd, formerly of the Chronicle of Higher Education, and currently
with the New America Foundation. Unfortunately, we had a camera
malfunction, so there are no pictures...but I promise to get some at our
next event.

These are heavy hitters, and so I considered it a good sign that we were
invited to present. I think you would have been proud. Sallie Mae, by the
way, declined the invitation to present, which is too bad. They keep
ducking the opportunity to answer the very serious arguments being made
about them and the industry.

While the topic was private loans, I did a long seguet that covered federal
loans as well. The presentation can be viewed here .

Also...we ended up with $670 on the $1000 goal for the matching fundraiser.
This helps alot. Thanks for your support.

So now it's back up the coast. We are speaking at Cornell University on
Wednesday, and also doing a radio show the same day. This is being
organized by Heather Dunbar. Thanks to Heather for her herculian effort and
energy on this!


Talk soon,

Alan


StudentLoanJustice.Org

*************************************************
Subject: Day 49: Bingampton, NY
Date: Friday, March 09, 2007 11:05 AM

Hey Everyone,

The Tour is currently in Bingampton, NY. We gave two talks at Cornell University on Wednesday to a total of 27 people. Thanks again to Heather Dunbar for her efforts to make it happen. It was quite well received, and I was truly shocked at how little the students know about their loans.

For example, I asked three students at UNC Chapel Hill about their loans:

- The first student thought her loans were from FAFSA, and knew nothing beyond this.
- The second student knew who her loans were with (Sallie Mae), but wrongly guessed that they were a "public organization"
- The third student thought he had student loans, but wasn't sure.

This is beyond appalling. If the students don't know even this most fundamental type of infomation abot their loans, we can bet that they know even less about the terms of their loans.

Anyhow, we're off to Boston again, and will be coming back through NY, and then off to the midwest.

Pray for the Bus. We had our second flat tire yesterday, and various other mechanical difficulties are beginning to appear!!!.

Oh...four quick things:

1. Great article yesterday in the Port Folio Weekly (Virginia). It can be found here: http://www.portfolioweekly.com/Pages/InfoPage.php/iID/2580

2. Has anyone ever been threatened with having their degree taken away? A reporter wants to talk with you if so.

3. As of March 4th, PAC expenditures were at $3,717.00, and donations are at $5,797. Expenses are a bit less than I had thought, which is good, but we still have yet to cut the check for the T-shirts and Hats, however, which will be roughly $1000. The expense report can be viewed here.

4. T-shirts are being mailed out This Monday. Thanks for your patience!!

More soon,

Alan

StudentLoanJustice.Org


*************************************************
Subject: Day 54: Concord, New Hampshire
Date: Wednesday, March 14, 2007 6:24 AM

Hey Everyone,

The tour is in Concord, New Hampshire. We met with Kennedy's staff on Monday, and Sen. Sanders (VT) Tuesday. It's back to Boston tomorrow, and then back to New York. So the East Coast is almost finished, then its off to the North and Midwest before we finally get to DC.

Susan in California had an emotional face to face with Rep. Woolsey on Saturday. I can't tell you all how important this is...Elected officials get inundated by lobbyists all the time who are trying to sell solutions for nonexistent problems. If we are to be successful, we have to make sure they know there is a problem, and put a face to it.

There are a couple of interesting things perking along on the media side of things, but nothing firm to announce quite yet. We did appear on Coast to Coast AM over the weekend, but it was pretty short. Don't forget to convince a reporter in your local area to do a story on this problem. At the minimum, get me a name and contact info, but I would prefer if you could do some of the legwork- it's really not hard, just takes a small amount of perserverance.

Also, we'll be sending "open emails" to everyone on a state by state basis in the next couple of weeks. If you DON'T want your email address to be visible to others in your state, please reply to this email, give your state and email address, and we will take you off the list.

That's it for now...KEEP FIGHTING!!!

StudentLoanJustice.Org

*************************************************
Subject: Day 59: Providence, Rhode Island
Date: Monday, March 19, 2007 10:10 PM

Hey Everyone,

So the bus tour is now in Providence Rhode Island. We have now logged about 14000 miles on the SLJ Bus, and have connected with about two-thirds of the Denate and House Education Committees.

We're going to SenatorJack Reed's office tomorrow, then it's on to the North, and Midwest, before we end up in Washington D.C.

I want to say thanks to all the folks who have stepped up and supported the tour along the way. Meeting you all, and hearing your stories makes us all the more dedicated to bringing justice to student loans. Membership has picked up appreciably. We are getting like 5-10 submissions per day now, and are getting calls out of the blue from media people throughout the country.

What we need right now is press. Despite previous publications and newscasts, we need to get our story out there. Unfortunately, this seems to be what the Congress responds to. The Student Loan Loan PR machine is extremely strong, and their PR stooges are very good at casting doubt in the national and local media. Think about local reporters in your area who need to be writing about this issue. Pick up the phone. Call them. Send me their contact info. We are batting nearly 1000 in stories as compared with suggested press contacts. We have a compelling story to tell, but it takes everyone to give a damn, and do some legwork on this. Are you feeling me?


One quick note: The House Education Committee needs to hear your input. I gave their email in the last update, but "snail mail" may be the best way to go. the address to send letters to is:

Committee on Education and Labor
2181 Rayburn House Office Building |
Washington, DC 20515
t: 202-225-3725

Call them as well. Make them FEEL YOUR PAIN!!!

So that's it for now- I will have alot more for you all soon.


Regards,

Alan


StudentLoanJustice.Org


*************************************************
Subject: Day 62: Wethersfield, CT.
Date: Thursday, March 22, 2007 11:20 PM

Hey Everyone,


The bus tour is currently in Wethersfield, CT. We are meeting tomorrow with staff of Sen. Chris Dodd, and also a new Congressman Joe Courtney. Joe has never taken money from the Sallie Mae PAC.

We have, to date, logged almost 14,000 miles on the tour, and have visited with staff of about two-thirds of the members of the House and Senate Education committees.

Quick facts:

1. NY Attorney general Andrew Cuomo recently revealed findings about an investigation of student loan companies in NY. He found that they were giving kickbacks to Universities in return for business. This is only the tip of the iceberg of bad practices on the part of the student loan industry. We were interviewed by Newsday about the matter, and also gave two talks about this in Chapel Hill and Cornell University. Tip of the Iceberg, folks. What I would really like to find are provable examples of illegal collection tactics. We've uncovered a couple, but there are many, many more out there. If you are currently dealing with collection companies threatening you or your employers with jailtime, additional fines, or are presenting themselves as government employees, then get a tape recorder, and get proof. Radio Shack sells decent recorders fairly inexpensively. If they announce that the "call may be monitored", then we're covered. If not, then work into the conversation an announcement to the affect that the call may be monitored.

2. There is a class action lawsuit brewing for people in the direct program. If this is you, you may want to check it out.

3. We have 4 hard media pieces working currently (that I know of). 3 in Major media outlets, and 1 in...well, you'll see soon! Please identify the right reporter in your area to cover this topic. Use your powers of persuasion to get them to do a piece. I can send them any number of local "victims" with extremely compelling stories to back up what we are saying. This is not hard, folks...

4. Don't forget: The House Education Committee needs to hear your input. I gave their email a couple of updates ago, but "snail mail" may be the best way to go. the address to send letters to is:

Committee on Education and Labor
2181 Rayburn House Office Building |
Washington, DC 20515
t: 202-225-3725

Call them as well. Make them FEEL YOUR PAIN!!!

5. The "bus" is hanging in there. We had a battery breakdown, and also a gas tank leak become problems in the past week, but are dealing with them. The generator is almost not usable at this point, due to exhaust issues which will require a welding machine to fix. The engine and transmission remain strong, however. This is all that really matters (knock on wood).

6. Keep sending donations as you can afford to. We're slipping a bit back into the red. Also, I would like to have a small reserve built up for when we get to Washington D.C. Thanks.

7. Special thanks to Anthony in Providence for the great hospitality. He originally borrowed $3,000 and is being pursued for $52,000. Absolutely insane.


More Soon,

StudentLoanJustice.Org


*************************************************
Subject: Day 65: Nyack, NY (This is important):
Date: Sunday, March 25, 2007 5:09 PM

Hey Everyone,

The Bus Tour is in Nyack, NY after hitting Connecticut last week. Good meetings, quite a bit of progress. I will talk about that later. Actually, there is quite a bit going on right now, but there is someting much more pressing to announce:

So we were snubbed out of the Department of Education's "Commission on Higher Education Policy" summit this Thursday, along with almost every other student group (with one notable exception). Cool. Fine. Whatever. To be expected.

Below is the list of people who were invited by the Secretary to attend.

Each of you: PLEASE browse this list, and find one or more who is in your local area. Call them a million times, if that's what it takes to get ahold of them, and MAKE THEM FEEL YOUR PAIN. Stick to our agenda if it makes you feel better, but at all costs, talk to at least one of them. And DO NOT GIVE UP until you are convinced that they feel you. Don't be intimidated by their title. It does not matter. Don't be shy. Life is too short to be the victim of politeness and social constructs. I'm picking the Gates foundation person, because that is where I'm from. If there's on one on the list in your local area, then pick one without an address at random!


Please do this, if you do nothing else this month for this cause. There is no time to waste since the event is on Thursday. PLEASE DO THIS. MAKE THEM FEEL YOUR PAIN. Plus, It will make you feel a bit better, by the way...


Keep us posted too-


More soon,

Alan

Who's Who at the Spellings Summit
For weeks, mystery has swirled around who will have a seat at the table(s) this week when Margaret Spellings convenes her higher education "summit," which is designed to help set the course for how the Education Department moves forward in carrying out the recommendations of the education secretary's Commission on the Future of Higher Education.Would business leaders dominate? Will Washington's higher education associations - which have been frozen out of several other recent policy discussions in Washington - get a golden ticket? Will you need a Texas birth certificate to join in?

The various conspiracy theories were fed in part by the fact that requests to see the list, from participants and interested reporters alike, were turned away in recent weeks. But department officials insisted that the delays had occurred because they were striving to balance and satisfy the hundreds of nominations and suggestions that college groups and others had submitted for the maximum 300 slots, and to make the final group representative not only of higher education itself but of the many other constituents with an interest and stake in it.

The full list of those planning to attend Thursday's meeting follows:

Lois Adams-Rodgers
Council of Chief State School Officers
Deputy Executive Director

Susan Aldridge
U. of Maryland University College
President

King Alexander
California State U. at Long Beach
President

Frank Alvarez
TMC HealthCare
President & CEO

Loren Anderson
Pacific Lutheran U.
President

Arthur Anthonisen
Orange County Community College
Trustee

Theresa Antworth
Fla. Dept. of Education
Director, State Scholarships and Grants

James Applegate
Ky. Council on Postsecondary Education
Vice President for Academic Affairs

Bart Astor
National Association of State Student Aid and Grant Programs
Director, Washington Office

Wendy Ault
MELMAC Education Foundation
Executive Director

Guy Bailey
U. of Missouri at Kansas City
Chancellor

Thomas Bailey
Community College Research Center, Columbia U. Teachers College
Director

Kristin Bannerman
U.S. Dept. of Education
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Congressional Affairs

Diane Barrans
Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education
Executive Director

Sandy Baum
The College Board
Senior PolicyAnalyst

Julie Bell
National Conference of State Legislatures
Education Program Director

Roger Benjamin
Council for Aid to Education
President

Thomas Bennett
Parkland College
Trustee

Barbara Beno
Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Assn. of Schools and Colleges
President of ACCJC

Andrew Benton
Pepperdine U.
President

Julia Benz
Ohio State U.
Director, Student Financial Aid

Robert Berdahl
Assn. of American Universities
President

David Bergeron
U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education
Director, Policy and Budget Development Staff

Carrie Besnette
Metropolitan State College of Denver
Vice President and Foundation Executive Director

Ronald Blumenthal
Kaplan Higher Education
Senior Vice President

Victor Boschini Jr.
Texas Christian U.
Chancellor

Karen Bowyer
Dyersburg State Community College
President

James Boyle
College Parents of America
President

Kitty Boyle
Assn. of Community College Trustees
Chair

Kathleen Boyle Dalen
Partnership for Regional Education Preparation-KC
Associate Director

Adam Briddell
U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
Staff

Kerri Briggs
U.S. Dept. of Education
Acting Assistant Secretary, OESE

Barbara Brittingham
New England Assn. of Schools & Colleges
Director, CIHE

Steven Brooks
N.C. State Education Assistance Authority
Executive Director

J. Noah Brown
Assn. of Community College Trustees
President and CEO

Jonathan Brown
Assn. of Independent California Colleges and Universities
President

Beth Buehlmann
Senate HELP Committee
Staff

Ronald Bullock
Bison Gear & Engineering Corp.
Chairman & CEO

Ken Burke
St. Petersburg College
ACCT Immediate Past-Chair

Patrick Callan
National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education
President

Rebecca Campoverde
Kaplan, Inc.
Vice President, Government Relations

Nancy Cantor
Syracuse U.
Chancellor and President

Donald Carcieri
State of Rhode Island
Governor

Kevin Carey
Education Sector
Research and Policy Manager

Max Castillo
U. of Houston-Downtown
President

Daniel Chambliss
Hamilton College
Tobin Distinguished Professor of Sociology

Sally Clausen
U. of Louisiana System
President

David Cleary
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander
Staff Director

Michael Cohen
Achieve, Inc.
President

Ann Coles
The Education Resources Institute
Sr. Vice President, College Access Programs

George Conant
California State U.
Legislative Director

Shari F. Crittendon
United Negro College Fund
VP,General Counsel,Government Affairs & Secretary

Ronald A. Crutcher
Wheaton College
President

Ding-Jo Currie
Coastline Community College
President

Stephen Curtis
Community College of Philadelphia
President

Jason Dalen
Civic Council of Greater Kansas City
Associate Director

Sharon Darling
National Center for Family Literacy
President & Founder

Thomas Dawson
U.S. Dept. of Education Office of Postsecondary Education
Chief of Staff

Philip Day Jr.
City College of San Francisco
Chancellor

John Dean
National College Access Network
Chairman

Robert Dickeson
U. of Northern Colorado
President Emeritus

Kathryn Dodge
N.H. Postsecondary Education Commission
Executive Director

Lawrence Dotolo
Virginia Tidewater Consortium for Higher Education
President

James Duderstadt
U. of Michigan
President Emeritus

Mary Ellen Duncan
Howard Community College
President

Johanna Duncan-Poitier
New York State Education Department
Senior Deputy Commissioner of Education

Gwendolyn Dungy
National Assn. of Student Personnel Administrators
Executive Director

David Dunn
U.S. Department of Education
Chief of Staff

Janet Durfee-Hidalgo
Gov. Donald Carcieri (R.I.)
Education Policy Adviser

Judith Eaton
Council for Higher Education Accreditation
President

John Ebersole
Excelsior College
President

Phyllis Eisen
The Manufacturing Institute/National Assn. of Manufacturing
Vice President

Richard Ekman
Council of Independent Colleges
President

Sandra Elman
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
President

Edward Elmendorf
American Assn. of State Colleges and Universities
Sr. Vice President

Bill Evers
U.S. Department of Education
Consultant

Peter Ewell
National Center for Higher Education Management Systems
Vice President

Nancy Farmer
Independent 529 Plan
President

Ricardo R. Fernandez
Lehman College - City U. of New York
President

A. Lee Fritschler
George Mason U.
Professor

Matthew Gandal
Achieve, Inc.
Executive Vice President

Les Garner
Cornell College (Iowa)
President

Mary Gershwin
Center for Workforce Studies, National Assn. of Manufacturers
Senior Fellow

Ronald Gidwitz
GCG Parners
Partner

Scott Giles
Vermont Student Assistance Corporation
Vice President for Policy, Research and Planning

Larry Gold
American Federation of Teachers Higher Education
Director

Gabriella Gomez
U.S. House Education and Labor Committee
Senior Education Policy Adviser

Gerrit Gong
Brigham Young U.
Assistant to the President

William (Bill) Graves
SunGard Higher Education
Senior VP, Academic Strategy

Joanne Greathouse
Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology
Chief Executive Officer

Alison Griffin
Chartwell Education Group
Assistant Director

Terrell Halaska
U.S. Department of Education
Assistant Secretary, Legislative and Congresssional Affairs

Eve Hall
Thurgood Marshall College Fund
Vice President of Programs

Matthew Hamill
National Assn. of College and University Business Officers
Senior Vice President

Cynthia Hammond
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Legislative and Congressional Affairs
Legislative Liaison

Judy Hample
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education
Chancellor

Eric Hanushek
Hoover Institution
Senior Fellow

Mary Jane Harris
Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education
Director

Natala (Tally) Hart
Ohio State U.
Senior Adviser for Economic Access

Sarah Hawker
Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education
Vice President for Adult Education

David Hawkins
National Assn. of College Admission Counseling
Director of Public Policy

Patricia Hayes
U. of Colorado
Chair

Susan Heegaard
Minnesota Office of Higher Education
Director

Erika Heikkila
U.S. Rep. John Boehner
Policy Advisor

Carolyn Henrich
U. Of California
Legislative Director

Richard Hersh
Council for Aid to Education
Co-DirectorCLA

Marc Herzog
Connecticut Community College System
Chancellor

Marshall Hill
Nebraska Coordinating Committee for Postsecondary Education
Executive Director

Nancy Hoffman
Jobs for the Future
Vice President, Youth Transitions

Lucy House
Rep. Ric Keller (R-Fla.)
Legislative Assistant

Freeman Hrabowski
U. of Maryland, Baltimore County
President

Amanda Hughes
U. of Texas System
Coordinator for System Federal Relations

Mary Jacquart
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
Director State & Federal Government Relations

Kenneth James
Arkansas Department of Education
Commissioner of Education

Bruce D. James
Director, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges
Commissioner, Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Connie Jameson
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough
Government Relations Consultant

Sally Johnstone
Winona State U.
Vice President

Amy Jones
U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor
Professional Staff

Stan Jones
Indiana Commission for Higher Education
Commissioner

Todd Jones
Assn. of Independent Colleges & Universities of Ohio
President

Horace Judson
Grambling State U.
President

Troy Justesen
U.S. Education Department Office of Vocational and Adult Education
Assistant Secretary

Richard Kazis
Jobs for the Future
Senior Vice President

Cheryl Keenan
U.S. Education Department Office of Vocational and Adult Education
Director, Division of Adult Education and Literacy

Kimberly Kiely
National College Access Network
Associate Director

Cheryl King
National Commission on Adult Literacy
Study Director

William Kirwan
University System of Maryland
Chancellor

Dale Kuehne
Saint Anselm College
Professor

George Kuh
Indiana U. Center for Postsecondary Research
Chancellor's Professor

Holly Kuzmich
U.S.Department of Education
Deputy Chief of Staff

Hudson LaForce
U.S. Department of Education
Senior Counselor to the Secretary

Michael Lambert
Distance Education and Training Council
Executive Director

Richard Lariviere
University of Kansas
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

J.D. LaRock
U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.)
Senior Education Advisor

William Law
Tallahassee Community College
President

Jon Lawniczak
Hispanic Scholarship Fund Institute
Executive Director

Thomas Layzell
Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education
President

Richard Legon
Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges
President

Moira Lenehan-Razzuri
Rep. Rubén Hinojosa
Legislative Assistant

Justin Lepscier
Georgetown University
Student

Valerie Lewis
Connecticut Department of Higher Education
Commissioner

Brett Lief
National Council of Higher Education Loan Programs
President

Paul Lingenfelter
State Higher Education Executive Officers
President

Dane Linn
National Governors Association
Director

Dennis Littky
The Big Picture Company & The Met High Schools
Founder and Co-Director

Kathleen Little
The College Board
Senior Executive Director, Financial Aid Services

Evelyn Lynn
Florida Senate
State Senator

Lauren Maddox
U.S. Department of Education
Assistant Secretary, OCO

Arturo Madrid
Trinity U.
Murchison Distinguished Professor

Geri H. Malandra
U. of Texas System
Vice Chancellor for Strategic Management

David Mandel
Carnegie-IAS Commission on Mathematics and Science Ed
Executive Director

Kathryn Mannes
National Retail Federation
Managing Director, Workforce Development

William Massy
The Jackson Hole Higher Education Group, Inc.
President

Joe May
Louisiana Community & Technical College System
President

James McCormick
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
Chancellor

Townsend McNitt
U.S. Department of Education
Deputy Chief of Staff

M. Peter McPherson
National Assn. of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges
President

Mary Meehan
Alverno College
President

Robert W. Mendenhall
Western Governors U.
President

Thomas Meredith
Institutions of Higher Learning (Mississippi)
Commissioner of Higher Education

Denise Merrill
Connecticut General Assembly
State Representative

Christina Milano
National College Access Network
Executive Director

Charles Miller
Meridian National
Chairman

Margaret Miller
National Forum on College-Level Learning
Director

John Moder
Hispanic Assn. of Colleges and Universities
Senior Vice President/COO

David Moldoff
AcademyOne
President

Sheryl Moody
Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools
Executive Director

Robert Moran
Perennial Strategy Group
Vice President

Geanie Morrison
Texas House of Representatives
State Representative

Anne Neal
American Council of Trustees and Alumni
President

Elaine Neely-Eacona
Kaplan Higher Education Corp
Senior V.P. - Regulatory Affairs

Michael Nettles
Educational Testing Service
Senior Vice President

Sheftel Neuberger
Ner Israel Rabbinical College
President

Kay Norton
U. of Northern Colorado
President

Charlene Nunley
Montgomery College
Retired President

Michael Offerman
Capella U.
President

Daryl Ogden
Project GRAD USA
Vice President, Strategy

Sean O'Hare
iThink Technologies, Inc.
President

Robert O'Leary
State of Massachusetts
State Senator

Shirley Ort
U. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Associate Provost & Director

Katie Ortego
U.S. Education Department Office of Federal Student Aid
Program Specialist

H. James Owen
Piedmont Community College
President

Matt Owens
Association of American Universities
Assistant Director of Federal Relations

Raymund Paredes
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
Commissioner

David Payne
Educational Testing Service
Executive Director

Paula Peinovich
Walden U.
President

Mark Pelesh
Corinthian Colleges, Inc.
Executive Vice President

William Pepicello
U. of Phoenix
President

Laree Perez
The Medallion Company
Managing Partner

Robert Perry
South Dakota Board of Regents
Executive Director

George Peterson
Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology
Executive Director

Tony Peyton
National Center for Family Literacy
Senior Director

Neil Pickett
Office of Gov.Mitch Daniels (Ind.)
Senior Policy Director

William L. Pollard
U. of the District of Columbia
President

Nan Poppe
Portland Community College
Campus President

James Ptaszynski
Microsoft Corp.
Senior Director, WW Higher Education Strategy

Karen Quarles
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Legislative and Government Affairs
Deputy Assistant Secretary

Julie Radocchia
U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor
Education Policy Advisor

Kathy Randolph Sproles
National Council for Higher Education, NEA
President

Chris Rasmussen
Midwestern Higher Education Compact
Director of Policy Research

Charles Reed
California State U. System
Chancellor

Travis Reindl
Jobs for the Future
Program Director

Stephen Reno
University System of New Hampshire
Chancellor

Kimrey Rhinehardt
U. of North Carolina
Vice President for Federal Relations

Robert Rivera
Project GRAD USA
President & CEO

Reginald Robinson
Kansas Board of Regents
President and CEO

Jason Rohloff
Office of Gov. Tim Pawlenty (Minn.)
Director of Federal Affairs

Raul Romero
Alliance Consulting Group, LLC
President and CEO

Joseph Russo
U. of Notre Dame
Dir. Student Financial Strategies

Donald Saleh
Syracuse U.
Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management

Stefanie Sanford
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Deputy Director, National Initiatives

William Scheuerman
United University Professions
President

Bill Schilling
U. of Pennsylvania
Director, Student Financial Aid

Sandra Schroeder
American Federation of Teachers - Washington
President

Jewel Scott
The Civic Council of Greater Kansas City
Executive Director

Nancy Segal
ACT, Inc.
AVP and Director, Washington, DC office

Marlene Seltzer
Jobs for the Future
President & CEO

Rev. Michael Sheeran, S.J.
Regis U.
President

Robert Sheets
U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Business and Industry Services

Robert Shireman
Institute for College Access and Success
President

Sanford Shugart
Valencia Community College
President

David Shulenburger
National Assn. of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges
Vice President for Academic Affairsn

Ray Simon
U.S. Department of Education
Deputy Secretary

John Simpson
State U. of New York at Buffalo
President

Celia Sims
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr
Legislative Assistant

Andre Smith
Florida Dept of Education
Deputy Director

Kathleen Smith
Education Finance Council
President

Janis Somerville
National Association of System Heads
Senior Associate

David Spence
Southern Regional Education Board
President

Pat Stanley
U.S. Education Department Office of Vocational and Adult Education
Deputy Assistant Secretary

Sheila Stearns
Montana University System
Commissioner of Higher Education

Richard Stephens
Boeing Co.
Senior VP, Human Resources and Administration

John Stevens
Texas Business and Education Coalition
Executive Director

Debra Stewart
Council of Graduate Schools
President

Peter Stokes
Eduventures, Inc.
Executive Vice President

Karen Stout
Montgomery County Community College
President

Louis W. Sullivan
Morehouse School of Medicine
President Emeritus

Robert Templin
Northern Virginia Community College
President

Michael Thomas
New England Board of Higher Education
Sr. Vice President

William Troutt
Rhodes College
President

Carol Twigg
National Center for Academic Transformation
President and CEO

Johan Uvin
Rhode Island Department of Education
State Director of Adult Education

Richard Vedder
Center for College Affordability and Productivity
Director

Martha Walda
California State U.
Trustee Emeritus

Danielle Walking Eagle
St. Francis Indian School
Elementary Principal

David Ward
American Council on Education
President

Jack Warner
Rhode Island Office of Higher Education
Commissioner

David L. Warren
National Assn. of Independent Colleges and Universities
President

Chad Waukechon
College of Menominee Nation
Education/Outreach Director

Rabbi Moshe Z. Weisberg
Yeshiva Administrators of Financial Aid
President

Edwin Welch
U. of Charleston
President

Mary Ann Welch
NASSGAP
President

Jane Wellman
Delta Project on Postsecondary Costs
Director

John D. Welty
California State U. at Fresno
President

Ben Wildavsky
Ewing Marion Kauffman Fdn.
Senior Fellow, Research & Policy

Benna Wilde
Prince Charitable Trusts
Managing Director

Gene Wilhoit
Council of Chief State School Officers
Executive Director

Reginald Wilkinson
Ohio College Access Network
President & CEO

Roger Williams
Accrediting Council for Career Education and Training
Executive Director

Jack Wilson
U. of Massachusetts
President

Ralph Wolff
Western Assn. of Schools and Colleges
Executive Director

Shaun Yoder
Business Alliance for Higher Education & Economy
Director

Mark Yudof
U. of Texas System
Chancellor

Tony Zeiss
Central Piedmont Community College
President

Nancy Zimpher
U. of Cincinnati
President

Susan Zlotlow
American Psychological Assn.
Director, Program Consultation and Accreditation


AC"

*************************************************
Subject: Day 81: Youngstown, Ohio
Date: Tuesday, April 03, 2007 7:29 PM

Hey All!

The StudentLoanJustice.Org bus tour is currently in Youngstown, Ohio.. We haver logged approximately 15,000 miles since the tour began, have visited 39 members of both House and Senate educatiom committees, have given 3 public speeches, 4 radio shows, and have been featured in 7 newspaper pieces. Not too bad. I'm looking very much forward to getting to Washington, D.C. to make a whole slew of career lobbyists who work for Sallie mae, and other student loan companies look extremely foolish in public, by doing nothing more than stating the facts about student loans.

A pretty good piece on CNN today on the Paula Zahn show regarding preferred lender arrangements, and the NY Attorney General Investigation. Her producers talked with us before the story, and hopefully will be focusing on the bigger picture soon. It is so funny how all the press regarding this almost trivial issue has come about, and yet most of the national media is oblivious to the bigger, REAL story about student loans. Oh well. Any press is good press, I guess. Keep fighting to get THE REAL story out there. It will all come out sooner or later.

One quick thought: We are all but invisible on the internet, still. Most of our new members come from Findlaw, and the big lenders have purchased most of the webspace for this issue. This is why it is SO IMPORTANT to spread the word by mouth. Seek out others in your life who are dealing with this crap. Tell them to come to StudentLoanJustice.Org, and tell their story for the record.

There are tons of things perking, but I don't have anything to brag about at this moment. Some extremely intelligent, and influential peope in this debate have contacted us recently, and we are working with them. All I can say is...KEEP FIGHTING. The press is our friend, and anything we as individuals in our local areas can do to get media to cover this issue is key. Anthony in Boston has gotten the attention of the Globe. Victoria in San Diego has gotten the attention of People Magazine. There should be other pieces in about 3 BIG papers coming out in the next month or so.

Come on, guys. I'm out here humping it for zero pay, and am (in all likelihood) killing my own personal hopes of pursuing the goals that I went to college for in the first place. That's fine. I'm ok with all that. However: The LEAST you all can do is get a media story going in your local areas. It's not hard. Just think about things, pick up the phone, dial the right number, and talk to the right person, and make them FEELYOUR PAIN!!!!!!

Keep us posted.

StudentLoanJustice.Org


*************************************************
Subject: Day 88: Fremont, OH
Date: Thursday, April 12, 2007 3:30 PM

Hey Everyone,


The StudentLoanJustice Tour is now in Fremont, OH, on our way to meet with representatives from Michigan. The bus continues to function...barely, but that's ok. the engine is good, transmission is fine. All else is not important.


Bunch of items:

1. It was discovered recently that not only have a gaggle of financial Aid Administrators been found to have taken stock, and other incentives from Student lenders: A high ranking official from the Department of Education has also been implicated in a private lender stock scandal that is only now starting to come out. This is the tip of the iceberg with regards to corrupt activities folks. I guarantee it.

2. I am getting calls from 4-5 national and regional media outlets. I am on auto pilot, and am simply forwarding them emails I have received from all of you. Be redy. Be ready to tell your story, and fight for yourself. This is why I started this whole deal in the first place.

3. Remember that despite the current "heat and light" regarding the university-lender relationships, it does nothing to shine light on the inexcusable predatory situations that are currently plaguing most of us. The curent maelstrom will blow over and be forgotten in a few months time if we do not each, individually, fight to make ourselves heard. To our politicians. To the media. To ANYONE who will listen.

4. Remember guys...This is not a "watch it happen " type of deal. I can guarantee you that if you all do nothing, nothing will happen. We each need to make something happen. Maybe it is convincing a reporter in your local area to do a story. Maybe it is meeting with your representative personally to make him/her feel you pain. Maybe it is showing up at your guarantors board meetings and making public comments. Maybe it is something altogether different. I don't know. What I DO know is that if you sit back waiting for good fortune to come your way, it won't. Guaranteed. The "system" is counting on you standing down when it is most important. That time is here, and you have to ask yourself if you want to be relegated to a lifetime of ridiculous debt or if you want to something about it.

5. There are more items working in the press right now that I can really talk about. I have forwarded over 100 stories to various reporters throughout the nation recently. Hopefully more than a few of you will be called. Be ready. Be ready to tell your story. Don't be intimidated. Don't be ashamed. Tell your story for the record. It needs to be told. Hold nothing back. Here is a represenative piece published recently by Anya Kamanetz in the Village Voice:

http://www.villagevoice.com/arts/0715,kamenetz,76309,12.html

6. Find 3 people who are having similar experiences. Tell them to come here. Our numbers are growing, but we are still nearly invisible on the net, and have to rely on word of mouth to grow.

7. James Kvaal, policy advisor for John Edward told me recently to stay tuned, that the Edwards camp wil have much more to say on this subject on the near future. Apparently the email I sent him, and the messages that other SLJ members sent him, are having some positive effects.

8. If you can afford to donate to the PAC, do it. We have incurred some costs recently, such as a tow truck in Pennsylvania, and motel stay in Youngstown, OH, that were unforeseen. Also, we will be arriving in D.C. shortly, and would like to have a modest "war chest" built up to write strategic checks to key legislators. Thanks.

KEEP FIGHTING!!!


*************************************************
Subject: Day 92: Pontiac, Michigan
Date: Monday, April 16, 2007 12:00 PM

Hey Everyone-

Sallie Mae is being acquired by B of A, and JP Morgan Chase, among others. Pretty slick move. No doubt many of the senior executives will be cashing out bigtime.

Story: http://charlotte.com/295/story/87530.html

This does not change our mission of bringing standard consumer protections to student loans. It will be harder to obtain financial information about the new private company, however.


More soon,

Alan


*************************************************
Subject: Day 111: Clear Lake, IA
Date: Monday, May 07, 2007 9:59 AM

Hey Everyone,

The Tour is now in Iowa, after hitting 4 states in the last 6 days! Since the last update, our members have been featured in the Washington Post, Chicago Sun Times, NJ Star Ledger, and others. There are a couple of big, national pieces in the hopper that I will announce when they air/go to press.

While the recent media attention has focused on improper relationships between lender/guarantors and universities, that is beginning to change and the real story- the astonishing lack of consumer protections for student loans and the effect this is having on decent people for the sake of corporate profits- is beginning to come out.

Three quick points:

1. One of our members has started a yahoo group for studentloanjustice. It seems to be really taking off. the link is;

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/StudentLoanJustice/

2. If you are in any way encouraged to default by your lender (advised not to make payments, applied for but denied a deferments, etc.), send me back a paragraph or two that clearly describes how.

3. Keep the donations coming! We are operating pretty significantly in the red at this point (by about $1500), and could use a shot in the arm prior to our arrival in D.C. next week!

That's it for now.

Alan


*************************************************
Subject: Day 126: College Park, Maryland
Date: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 7:44 PM

Hey Everyone-

The bus tour is now within the beltway. We hit the Senate offices tomorrow and Thursday, and will be turning our attention to the House through next Tuesday. Heather from New York has joined us, and others will be converging upon D.C. in the coming week. I must say: It has been an extraordinarily good month, in terms of press coverage. Either we or our members have been written about in top stories for a number of reputable news publications in the past month, including (In no particular order):

1. Probe Launched on Sallie Mae Collection Tactics, Amit Paley, The Washington Post, April 27th, 2007 (Front Page, Business Section)

This detailed collection abuses that the Senate has found from borrowers, and asked Sallie Mae about. If the abuses look famiiar, they should. They largely came from SLJ members. A couple of our members were featured in this piece, and for good reason.


2. Student Loan Agency Faces New Scrutiny , Carrie Sturrock, San Francisco Chronicle, May 16th, 2007 (Front Page)

This piece was a long time in the making, and featured two of our members. This piece really begins to address the question of the predatory activities of the guarantors, which many of us have had first hand experiences with.

3. 'Top Chef' Dreams Crushed by Student Loan Debt , Kim Severson, New York Times, May 8th, 2007 (Front Page)

This piece details some of the extraordinary high interest loans that are being doled out by culinary schools across the country. Great piece. Our members are featured, and we are quoted.

4. Sallie Mae Reaps Benefits From Ties to Key Agency, Paul Basken, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 7th, 2007

We are quoted in this piece. Paul Basken is proving to be an extremely talented reporter. He later uncovered some very helpful activities that ED employees performed on behalf of student loan companies. I don't think this is that last we will hear from Mr. Basken.

5. Law favors gambler Over Grad, Dave Newbart, Chicago Sun Times, May 6th, 2007

There are actually 3 pieces by Mr. Newbart that address this problem. One of our members, Richard, is profiled in one of these pieces. Please google newbart, and student loans to see the collection. Very hard hitting pieces. Richard: You now have the clout to go banging on Barack's door. Please do it...I can confirm that their offices are wheelchair accessible!

6. Lending to Students a Gold Mine for Creditors, David Washburn, San Diego Times Union, April 24th, 2007


7. The Poverty Business, Ben Day, BusinessWeek, May 21st

Our member are featured here. Very good piece that gets at the more important issues.


8. Bad Debt Pays off in Loan Industry, Stephen Koff, Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 13th, 2007

SLJ Member Alyscia was featured in this piece. Again, this piece really begins to ask the tough questions. Stephen Koff has broken some extremely compelling stories in this area in the past few years, and his tenacity is highly, highly ijmpressive. This may be the most important piece of the lot, because it looks at the guarantors, not just the lenders.


Here is the dirty little secret: To date, NO LEGISLATION has been proposed that addresses our problems. With the exception of Hillary Clinton's Borrower Bill of Rights, nothing even comes close, and Clinton's Bill does little more than grant refinancing rights to those of us who have not defaulted. While this is important to those of us whose loans remain in good stead, it does nothing for those of us whose loans have gone "nuclear".

This is what we're up against. If I had to predict, I would say that this next week will be filled with low level meetings with junior staffers who don't want to address the REAL problems within the student loan industry: The plight of those of us whose lives have been wrecked by their student loans will remain the Great Unaddressed Problem unless we act, and act forcefully. This means that we have to push our electeds far beyond what we have yet endeavored to do. We have built up a bit of political capital, and this should provide us with at least an entree to make our pain felt. All of you must do it., and do it now. We have nothing to lose. Remember that.

Beyond that, we need to get state reps for this cause. We already have leaders for the states of California (Southern), New York, Iowa, and Maryland staked out. The rest are open. The job descriptions for these volunteer positions are very loose: In other words, as state leader, you can do as much or as little as you deem appropriate. All that is required is your passion to get something done. Let me know if this is you. I will get you an email address, and a mailing list, and you will have complete control beyond that. There is no pay, if you have to ask ( No one gets paid in this, by the way...).

One last point: Here is the list of our enemies. These are the people who make their fortunes by ensuring that decent people like you and I are stripped of their wealth for the sake of unearned fortunes of those in control of the student loan industry. Thanks to Anya Kamanetz for this nugget:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anya-kamenetz/secret-email-whos-who-i_b_48684.html

GET UP, GET OUT, and MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN!!!!!

*************************************************
Subject: Day 129: College Park, Maryland
Date: Friday, May 25, 2007 6:38 PM

Hey Everyone,


The PAC is currently in Washington D.C., meeting with both Senate and House members of the respective Education Committees. The widespread media coverage that we have enjoyed in the past month has helped alot, and we apparently have quite a bit of "political capital" built up.

Our message- whether meeting with D or R offices-has been the same: current proposed legislation does almost nothing for borrowers who have seen their loan balances explode to ridiculous proportions. Our agenda remains the same, and we must all, individually, endeavor to convince our lawmakers to right what that which has so sorely wronged us over the last decade or more.

1. Speaking of individual efforts: Huge credit is in order for Denise of Maryland. Denise wrote a very concise, and otherwise well written response to an editorial by the executive Director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC). After a couple of interchanges with Mr. Davis, StudentLoanjustice received the following email:


"...I have also asked our general counsel's office to make proposals to me for adoption by our commission that would limit the Maximum borrower responsibility in bankruptcy to the original principal borrowed. ie waiving penalties and interest. I know we have the ability to change this policy unilaterally for our private loans. WE will investigate what flexibility we may have in the federally guaranteed loans. I appreciate the continued input, comment , and critique.
AD..."

This is a very large movement here, folks. The fact that Mr. Davis is interested in granting this kind of common sense fairness to borrowers is potentially a massive step forward for this movement. It is our hope that ISAC will indeed be able to get this done. This will be groundbreaking, and other guarantors throughout the nation will be compelled to follow his lead. So huge thanks to Denise for this effort, and please use this as inspiration for your own efforts.

2. State leaders. We now have volunteer state leaders for the states of California (Northern and Southern), New York, Iowa, and Maryland, and Arizona. All other states are open. If you have the passion to lead your state in this, let me know. This doesnt require a huge amount of work, but does require a strong desire to get things done with your legislators, and fellow borrowers in your state.

3. Keep the donations coming. We are significantly in the red at this point (By about $2000). This is a bit worse than I was expecting at this point, and so every contribution counts. I am confident that all wil pencil out in the end, but your support really matters.

4. Again, there are a gaggle of media efforts underway. I will announce these as they come to press, or go on air.

More soon. KEEP FIGHTING.


Alan

*************************************************
Subject: Day 138: Elkhart, Indiana
Date: Sunday, June 03, 2007 9:01 AM

Hey Everyone,

The tour is now in Elkhart, Indiana. We finished up our 8 days in Washington, and spent the day on Wednesday with the CEO and staff of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.

The Washington visits were... just ok. I frankly was less than impressed with most of the education staffers on the hill, but I think we made a few impressions in the right places. My general impression was that they were quite happy to remain interested in the issues that the media has driven- namely, the preferred lender arrangements that have been exposed recently, and had little interest on addressing the millions of people who have already been through the system, and are having their lives ruined by exploded debt. Hopefully I am wrong. This is where your contacting these people really becomes important.

I was pretty impressed that the Pennsylvania Student Loan Agency was interested in meeting with me. We had almost 5 hours straight of frank an honest dialogue, and they were clearly concerned with what I told them. Hopefully this will come to something tangible in the future for us (like what is happening in Illinois), but only time will tell.

In any event, Below are all the email addresses for relevant education staffers that I could find. If you have some that are not on the list, please forward to me:

Barack Obama 230 South Dearborn St. Chicago IL 60604 (312) 886-3506 steven_robinson@obama.senate.gov
Barbara A. Mikulski MD christopher_fick@mikulski.senate.gov
Bernard Sanders (I) 1 Church St. Burlington VT 05401 802-862-0697
Bob Inglis 105 N. Spring St. Greenville SC 29601 864-232-1141 april april.evans@mail.house.gov
bobby jindal bill.cody@mail.house.gov
Carol Shea Porter 33 Lowell Street Manchester NH 03101 6036419536
Carolyn McCarthy 200 Garden City Plaza Garden City NY 11530 (516) 739-3008 perre.smalls@mail.house.gov
Cathy McMorris Rodgers 10 North Post Spokane WA 99201 5093532374 jaime.herrera@mail.house.gov
Charles Boustany 800 Lafayette Street Lafayette LA 70501 (337) 235-6322 mike.thompson@mail.house.gov
Christopher Dodd 30 Lewis St Hartford CT 06103 8602586940 kate_wasserman@dodd.senate.gov
Dale Kildee 432 N. Saginaw St. Flint MI 48502 (810) 239-1437
Danny Davis 333 West Arthington St. Chicago Il 60624 7735337520
Dave Loebsack 125 South Dubuque Street Iowa City IA 52240 3193510789 kara.marchione@mail.house.gov
David Davis 320 West Center Street Kingsport TN 37660 4232478161 megan.caldwell@mail.house.gov
David Wu 620 SW Main Portland OR 97205 5033262901
Dennis Kucinich 14400 Detroit Ave Lakewood OH 44107 (216) 228-8850 marian.carey@mail.house.gov
Donald Payne 50 Walnut Street Newark NJ 07102 (973) 645-3213 laverne.alexander@Qmail.house.gov
Edward Kennedy 2400 JFK Building Boston MA 02203 6175653170 jd_larock@help.senate.gov
George Miller 3220 Blume Drive Richmond CA 94806 510-262-6500 gabriel.gomez@mail.house.gov
Hillary Clinton 780 Third Ave New York NY 10017 (212) 688-6262 mildred_otero@clinton.senate.gov
Howard Mckeon 26650 The Old Road Santa Clarita CA 91381 661-254-2111
Jack Reed 201 Hillside Road Cranston RI 02920 (401) 943-3100 nancy
Jason Altmire 2110 McLean St. Aliquippa PA 15001 (202) 225-2565 bennett.reed@mail.house.gov
Jeff Bingaman 505 South Main las cruces NM 88001 5055236561 michael_yudin@bingaman.senate.gov
Joe Courtney 2 Courthouse Square norwich CT 06360 8608860139 sheila.duffy@mail.house.gov
Joe Sestak 600 N. Jackson Street Media PA 19063 (610) 892-8623 christopher.raymond@mail.house.gov
Joe Wilson 1700 Sunset Blvd West Columbia SC 29169 (803) 939-0041 melissa.chandler@mail.house.gov
John F. Tierney 17 Peabody Square Peabody MA 01960 9785311669
John Kline 101 W. Burnsville Pkwy burnsville MN 55337 952-808-1213 casey.buboltz@mail.house.gov
John Sarbanes 44 Calvert Street Annapolis MD 21401 (202) 225-4016 delicia.reynolds@mail.house.gov
John Yarmuth 600 Martin Luther King Jr. Place Louisville KY 40202 5025825129
Johnny Isakson 3625 Cumberland Blvd Atlanta GA 30339 7706610999 Jason
Judd Gregg 125 North Main Street Concord NH 03301 6032257115 allison_dembeck@gregg.senate.gov
Judy Biggert 6262 South Route 83 Willowbrook IL 60527 6306552052
Kenny Marchant 9901 East Valley Ranch Parkway Irving TX 75063 972-556-0162 ryan.flood@mail.house.gov
Lamar Alexander 167 North Main Street Memphis TN 38103 9015444224 elizabeth_howell@alexander.senate.gov
Linda T. Sanchez 17906 Crusader Ave Cerritos CA 90703 562-860-5050 celeste.drake@mail.house.gov
Lynn Woolsey 1101 College Avenue Santa Rosa CA 95404 707-542-7182 anita.franzi@mail.house.gov
Mark Souder E. Ross Adair Federal Building Fort Wayne IN 46802 2604243041 brett.swearingen@mail.house.gov
Michael B. Enzi
400 S. Kendrick Avenue Gillette WY 82716 3076826268 beth_buehlmann@help.senate.gov
Mike Castle 300 South New Street Dover DE 19904 (302) 736-1666
Nancy Pelosi* 450 Golden Gate Ave San Francisco CA 94102 415-556-4862
Orrin G. Hatch 125 South State Street Salt Lake City UT 84138 8015244380
Pat Roberts 444 SE Quincy Topeka KS 66683 7852952745
Patty Murray 915 2nd Avenue Seattle WA 98174 (206) 553-5545 kathryn_young@murray.senate.gov
Pete Hoekstra 184 South River Avenue Holland MI 49423 6163950030 katherine.haley@mail.house.gov
Phil Hare 1535 47th Avenue Moline Il 61265 3097935760
Randy John Kuhl 22 Buell Street Bath/elmira NY 14810 6077769142
Raul Grijalva 810 E. 22nd St. Tucson AZ 85713 (520)622-6788 ruben.reyes@mail.house.gov
Ric Keller 605 East Robinson Street Orlando FL 32801 4078721962 lucy.house@mail.house.gov
Richard Burr 2000 West First Street winston-Salem NC 27104 3366315125 karey_haywood@burr.senate.gov
Rob Bishop 324 25th St. Ogden UT 84401 80162520107
Robert Andrews 506-A White Horse Pike Haddon Heights NJ 08035 856-546-5100
Robert C. Scott 2600 Washington Ave. Newport News VA 23607 (757) 380-1000 erin.davies@mail.house.gov
Ruben Hinjosa 2864 West Trenton Road Edinburg TX 78539 (956) 682-5545 moira.lenehan@mail.house.gov
Rush Holt 50 Washington Rd West Windsor NJ 08550 609-750-9365 christopher.hartmann@mail.house.gov
Sherrod Brown 600 East Superior Avenue Cleveland OH 44114 216-522-7272 william_jawando@brown.senate.gov
Susan A. Davis 4305 University Avenue San Diego CA 92105 619-280-5353 spencer.young@mail.house.gov
Thomas Petri 2390 State Road 44 oshkosh wi 54904 9202316333
Tim Bishop 3680 Route 112 Coram NY 11727 6316966500 joanna.serra@mail.house.gov
Tim Walberg 800 W Ganson Jackson MI 49202 5177809075 bruce.miller@mail.house.gov
Tom Coburn, M.D. 1800 South Baltimore Tulsa OK 74119 9185817651
Tom Harkin 210 Walnut Street Des Moines IA 50309 (515) 284-4574 bev_schroeder@harkin.senate.gov
Tom Price 3730 Roswell Road Marietta GA 30062 770-565-4990 jeff
Vernon Ehlers 110 Michigan Street Grand Rapids MI 49503 6164518383
virginia Foxx 6000 Meadowbrook Mall Clemmons NC 27012 3367780211 rebecca erica.shrader@mail.house.gov
Wayne Allard 111 S. Tejon Colorado Springs CO 80903 7196346071
Yvette Clarke bridgette.dehart@mail.house.gov
rahm Emmanuel 3742 w. irving park rd. Chicago IL 60618 7732675926 lauren.aronson@mail.house.gov
john boehner stephanie.milburn@mail.house.gov
Dick Durbin sirat_attapit@durbin.senate.gov
John Larson jackie.primeau@mail.house.gov
Steve King IA jeff.wiseman@mail.house.gov
Chris Van Hollen MD sarah.schenning@mail.house.gov
patrick tiberi kelli.briggs@mail.house.gov


That's it for now. We should be back in Washington Stte in a few days...

KEEP FIGHTING!!!


*************************************************
Subject: Day 138: Elkhart, Indiana
Date: Sunday, June 03, 2007 9:01 AM

Hey Everyone,

The tour is now in Elkhart, Indiana. We finished up our 8 days in Washington, and spent the day on Wednesday with the CEO and staff of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.

The Washington visits were... just ok. I frankly was less than impressed with most of the education staffers on the hill, but I think we made a few impressions in the right places. My general impression was that they were quite happy to remain interested in the issues that the media has driven- namely, the preferred lender arrangements that have been exposed recently, and had little interest on addressing the millions of people who have already been through the system, and are having their lives ruined by exploded debt. Hopefully I am wrong. This is where your contacting these people really becomes important.

I was pretty impressed that the Pennsylvania Student Loan Agency was interested in meeting with me. We had almost 5 hours straight of frank an honest dialogue, and they were clearly concerned with what I told them. Hopefully this will come to something tangible in the future for us (like what is happening in Illinois), but only time will tell.

In any event, Below are all the email addresses for relevant education staffers that I could find. If you have some that are not on the list, please forward to me:

Barack Obama 230 South Dearborn St. Chicago IL 60604 (312) 886-3506 steven_robinson@obama.senate.gov
Barbara A. Mikulski MD christopher_fick@mikulski.senate.gov
Bernard Sanders (I) 1 Church St. Burlington VT 05401 802-862-0697
Bob Inglis 105 N. Spring St. Greenville SC 29601 864-232-1141 april april.evans@mail.house.gov
bobby jindal bill.cody@mail.house.gov
Carol Shea Porter 33 Lowell Street Manchester NH 03101 6036419536
Carolyn McCarthy 200 Garden City Plaza Garden City NY 11530 (516) 739-3008 perre.smalls@mail.house.gov
Cathy McMorris Rodgers 10 North Post Spokane WA 99201 5093532374 jaime.herrera@mail.house.gov
Charles Boustany 800 Lafayette Street Lafayette LA 70501 (337) 235-6322 mike.thompson@mail.house.gov
Christopher Dodd 30 Lewis St Hartford CT 06103 8602586940 kate_wasserman@dodd.senate.gov
Dale Kildee 432 N. Saginaw St. Flint MI 48502 (810) 239-1437
Danny Davis 333 West Arthington St. Chicago Il 60624 7735337520
Dave Loebsack 125 South Dubuque Street Iowa City IA 52240 3193510789 kara.marchione@mail.house.gov
David Davis 320 West Center Street Kingsport TN 37660 4232478161 megan.caldwell@mail.house.gov
David Wu 620 SW Main Portland OR 97205 5033262901
Dennis Kucinich 14400 Detroit Ave Lakewood OH 44107 (216) 228-8850 marian.carey@mail.house.gov
Donald Payne 50 Walnut Street Newark NJ 07102 (973) 645-3213 laverne.alexander@Qmail.house.gov
Edward Kennedy 2400 JFK Building Boston MA 02203 6175653170 jd_larock@help.senate.gov
George Miller 3220 Blume Drive Richmond CA 94806 510-262-6500 gabriel.gomez@mail.house.gov
Hillary Clinton 780 Third Ave New York NY 10017 (212) 688-6262 mildred_otero@clinton.senate.gov
Howard Mckeon 26650 The Old Road Santa Clarita CA 91381 661-254-2111
Jack Reed 201 Hillside Road Cranston RI 02920 (401) 943-3100 nancy
Jason Altmire 2110 McLean St. Aliquippa PA 15001 (202) 225-2565 bennett.reed@mail.house.gov
Jeff Bingaman 505 South Main las cruces NM 88001 5055236561 michael_yudin@bingaman.senate.gov
Joe Courtney 2 Courthouse Square norwich CT 06360 8608860139 sheila.duffy@mail.house.gov
Joe Sestak 600 N. Jackson Street Media PA 19063 (610) 892-8623 christopher.raymond@mail.house.gov
Joe Wilson 1700 Sunset Blvd West Columbia SC 29169 (803) 939-0041 melissa.chandler@mail.house.gov
John F. Tierney 17 Peabody Square Peabody MA 01960 9785311669
John Kline 101 W. Burnsville Pkwy burnsville MN 55337 952-808-1213 casey.buboltz@mail.house.gov
John Sarbanes 44 Calvert Street Annapolis MD 21401 (202) 225-4016 delicia.reynolds@mail.house.gov
John Yarmuth 600 Martin Luther King Jr. Place Louisville KY 40202 5025825129
Johnny Isakson 3625 Cumberland Blvd Atlanta GA 30339 7706610999 Jason
Judd Gregg 125 North Main Street Concord NH 03301 6032257115 allison_dembeck@gregg.senate.gov
Judy Biggert 6262 South Route 83 Willowbrook IL 60527 6306552052
Kenny Marchant 9901 East Valley Ranch Parkway Irving TX 75063 972-556-0162 ryan.flood@mail.house.gov
Lamar Alexander 167 North Main Street Memphis TN 38103 9015444224 elizabeth_howell@alexander.senate.gov
Linda T. Sanchez 17906 Crusader Ave Cerritos CA 90703 562-860-5050 celeste.drake@mail.house.gov
Lynn Woolsey 1101 College Avenue Santa Rosa CA 95404 707-542-7182 anita.franzi@mail.house.gov
Mark Souder E. Ross Adair Federal Building Fort Wayne IN 46802 2604243041 brett.swearingen@mail.house.gov
Michael B. Enzi
400 S. Kendrick Avenue Gillette WY 82716 3076826268 beth_buehlmann@help.senate.gov
Mike Castle 300 South New Street Dover DE 19904 (302) 736-1666
Nancy Pelosi* 450 Golden Gate Ave San Francisco CA 94102 415-556-4862
Orrin G. Hatch 125 South State Street Salt Lake City UT 84138 8015244380
Pat Roberts 444 SE Quincy Topeka KS 66683 7852952745
Patty Murray 915 2nd Avenue Seattle WA 98174 (206) 553-5545 kathryn_young@murray.senate.gov
Pete Hoekstra 184 South River Avenue Holland MI 49423 6163950030 katherine.haley@mail.house.gov
Phil Hare 1535 47th Avenue Moline Il 61265 3097935760
Randy John Kuhl 22 Buell Street Bath/elmira NY 14810 6077769142
Raul Grijalva 810 E. 22nd St. Tucson AZ 85713 (520)622-6788 ruben.reyes@mail.house.gov
Ric Keller 605 East Robinson Street Orlando FL 32801 4078721962 lucy.house@mail.house.gov
Richard Burr 2000 West First Street winston-Salem NC 27104 3366315125 karey_haywood@burr.senate.gov
Rob Bishop 324 25th St. Ogden UT 84401 80162520107
Robert Andrews 506-A White Horse Pike Haddon Heights NJ 08035 856-546-5100
Robert C. Scott 2600 Washington Ave. Newport News VA 23607 (757) 380-1000 erin.davies@mail.house.gov
Ruben Hinjosa 2864 West Trenton Road Edinburg TX 78539 (956) 682-5545 moira.lenehan@mail.house.gov
Rush Holt 50 Washington Rd West Windsor NJ 08550 609-750-9365 christopher.hartmann@mail.house.gov
Sherrod Brown 600 East Superior Avenue Cleveland OH 44114 216-522-7272 william_jawando@brown.senate.gov
Susan A. Davis 4305 University Avenue San Diego CA 92105 619-280-5353 spencer.young@mail.house.gov
Thomas Petri 2390 State Road 44 oshkosh wi 54904 9202316333
Tim Bishop 3680 Route 112 Coram NY 11727 6316966500 joanna.serra@mail.house.gov
Tim Walberg 800 W Ganson Jackson MI 49202 5177809075 bruce.miller@mail.house.gov
Tom Coburn, M.D. 1800 South Baltimore Tulsa OK 74119 9185817651
Tom Harkin 210 Walnut Street Des Moines IA 50309 (515) 284-4574 bev_schroeder@harkin.senate.gov
Tom Price 3730 Roswell Road Marietta GA 30062 770-565-4990 jeff
Vernon Ehlers 110 Michigan Street Grand Rapids MI 49503 6164518383
virginia Foxx 6000 Meadowbrook Mall Clemmons NC 27012 3367780211 rebecca erica.shrader@mail.house.gov
Wayne Allard 111 S. Tejon Colorado Springs CO 80903 7196346071
Yvette Clarke bridgette.dehart@mail.house.gov
rahm Emmanuel 3742 w. irving park rd. Chicago IL 60618 7732675926 lauren.aronson@mail.house.gov
john boehner stephanie.milburn@mail.house.gov
Dick Durbin sirat_attapit@durbin.senate.gov
John Larson jackie.primeau@mail.house.gov
Steve King IA jeff.wiseman@mail.house.gov
Chris Van Hollen MD sarah.schenning@mail.house.gov
patrick tiberi kelli.briggs@mail.house.gov


That's it for now. We should be back in Washington Stte in a few days...

KEEP FIGHTING!!!


*************************************************
Subject: Checking in-June 19th, 2007
Date: Tuesday, June 19, 2007 11:28 AM

Hey Everyone,

We've been a fairly since I last wrote. We are featured in this month's issue of Penthouse Magazine in a piece by Anya Kamanetz. I know, I know...but any press is good press, and the article is very, very good. I salute the magazine for tackling these issues. This is stuff that Rolling Stone should be covering, except that it is no longer relevant! There are ALOT of other press pieces working in some very notable publications. As always, I will announce them when they publish.

Also, I have forwarded stories from our members whose loans are guaranteed through The Illinois Guarantor (ISAC) to the Executive Director, and his assistant is personally attending to them. Keep me posted if this is you. I can't tell you how important this development is for us, potentially. I am going to be asking many of you to pitch in for a nationwide push against the various student loan guarantee agencies to do the same. In the absence of meaningful legislation at the national level, this could be the path of least resistance to get what we need. Pamela Chambliss will be the point person on this, since she made the ISAC thing happen.

We now have state leaders for the following states:

Arizona
Northern California
Southern California
Florida
Iowa
Louisiana
Maryland
Massachusetts
New Hampshire
New Mexico
New York
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Virginia
Washington

This is good enough to get started. We will roll these state chapters out at the end of the week.


So here's the skinny on legislation:

Dick Durbin recently introduced legislation that would reinstate bankruptcy protections for private student loans. This will be retroactive to the best of my knowledge, so that is important for those of us with private loans. Except for this, and refinancing rights mentioned in Clinton's bill, I don't really see anything in current legislation thats particularly useful for us.

The Sallie Mae/CBA lobbying team is strong, and they have every advantage. It is pretty much up to us to counter what they are doing back in D.C.

Use the list of contact people for House and Senate Education Committees. Contact them, and make them feel your pain!

Name Address City State Zip Phone
Barack Obama 230 South Dearborn St. Chicago IL 60604 (312) 886-3506 steven_robinson@obama.senate.gov
Barbara A. Mikulski MD christopher_fick@mikulski.senate.gov
Bernard Sanders (I) 1 Church St. Burlington VT 05401 802-862-0697
Bob Inglis 105 N. Spring St. Greenville SC 29601 864-232-1141 april april.evans@mail.house.gov
bobby jindal bill.cody@mail.house.gov
Carol Shea Porter 33 Lowell Street Manchester NH 03101 6036419536
Carolyn McCarthy 200 Garden City Plaza Garden City NY 11530 (516) 739-3008 perre.smalls@mail.house.gov
Cathy McMorris Rodgers 10 North Post Spokane WA 99201 5093532374 jaime.herrera@mail.house.gov
Charles Boustany 800 Lafayette Street Lafayette LA 70501 (337) 235-6322 mike.thompson@mail.house.gov
Christopher Dodd 30 Lewis St Hartford CT 06103 8602586940 kate_wasserman@dodd.senate.gov
Dale Kildee 432 N. Saginaw St. Flint MI 48502 (810) 239-1437
Danny Davis 333 West Arthington St. Chicago Il 60624 7735337520
Dave Loebsack 125 South Dubuque Street Iowa City IA 52240 3193510789 kara.marchione@mail.house.gov
David Davis 320 West Center Street Kingsport TN 37660 4232478161 megan.caldwell@mail.house.gov
David Wu 620 SW Main Portland OR 97205 5033262901
Dennis Kucinich 14400 Detroit Ave Lakewood OH 44107 (216) 228-8850 marian.carey@mail.house.gov
Donald Payne 50 Walnut Street Newark NJ 07102 (973) 645-3213 laverne.alexander@Qmail.house.gov
Edward Kennedy 2400 JFK Building Boston MA 02203 6175653170 jd_larock@help.senate.gov
George Miller 3220 Blume Drive Richmond CA 94806 510-262-6500 gabriel.gomez@mail.house.gov
Hillary Clinton 780 Third Ave New York NY 10017 (212) 688-6262 mildred_otero@clinton.senate.gov
Howard Mckeon 26650 The Old Road Santa Clarita CA 91381 661-254-2111
Jack Reed 201 Hillside Road Cranston RI 02920 (401) 943-3100 nancy
Jason Altmire 2110 McLean St. Aliquippa PA 15001 (202) 225-2565 bennett.reed@mail.house.gov
Jeff Bingaman 505 South Main las cruces NM 88001 5055236561 michael_yudin@bingaman.senate.gov
Joe Courtney 2 Courthouse Square norwich CT 06360 8608860139 sheila.duffy@mail.house.gov
Joe Sestak 600 N. Jackson Street Media PA 19063 (610) 892-8623 christopher.raymond@mail.house.gov
Joe Wilson 1700 Sunset Blvd West Columbia SC 29169 (803) 939-0041 melissa.chandler@mail.house.gov
John F. Tierney 17 Peabody Square Peabody MA 01960 9785311669
John Kline 101 W. Burnsville Pkwy burnsville MN 55337 952-808-1213 casey.buboltz@mail.house.gov
John Sarbanes 44 Calvert Street Annapolis MD 21401 (202) 225-4016 delicia.reynolds@mail.house.gov
John Yarmuth 600 Martin Luther King Jr. Place Louisville KY 40202 5025825129
Johnny Isakson 3625 Cumberland Blvd Atlanta GA 30339 7706610999 Jason
Judd Gregg 125 North Main Street Concord NH 03301 6032257115 allison_dembeck@gregg.senate.gov
Judy Biggert 6262 South Route 83 Willowbrook IL 60527 6306552052
Kenny Marchant 9901 East Valley Ranch Parkway Irving TX 75063 972-556-0162 ryan.flood@mail.house.gov
Lamar Alexander 167 North Main Street Memphis TN 38103 9015444224 elizabeth_howell@alexander.senate.gov
Linda T. Sanchez 17906 Crusader Ave Cerritos CA 90703 562-860-5050 celeste.drake@mail.house.gov
Lynn Woolsey 1101 College Avenue Santa Rosa CA 95404 707-542-7182 anita.franzi@mail.house.gov
Mark Souder E. Ross Adair Federal Building Fort Wayne IN 46802 2604243041 brett.swearingen@mail.house.gov
Michael B. Enzi 400 S. Kendrick Avenue Gillette WY 82716 3076826268 beth_buehlmann@help.senate.gov
Mike Castle 300 South New Street Dover DE 19904 (302) 736-1666
Nancy Pelosi* 450 Golden Gate Ave San Francisco CA 94102 415-556-4862
Orrin G. Hatch 125 South State Street Salt Lake City UT 84138 8015244380
Pat Roberts 444 SE Quincy Topeka KS 66683 7852952745
Patty Murray 915 2nd Avenue Seattle WA 98174 (206) 553-5545 kathryn_young@murray.senate.gov
Pete Hoekstra 184 South River Avenue Holland MI 49423 6163950030 katherine.haley@mail.house.gov
Phil Hare 1535 47th Avenue Moline Il 61265 3097935760
Randy John Kuhl 22 Buell Street Bath/elmira NY 14810 6077769142
Raul Grijalva 810 E. 22nd St. Tucson AZ 85713 (520)622-6788 ruben.reyes@mail.house.gov
Ric Keller 605 East Robinson Street Orlando FL 32801 4078721962 lucy.house@mail.house.gov
Richard Burr 2000 West First Street winston-Salem NC 27104 3366315125 karey_haywood@burr.senate.gov
Rob Bishop 324 25th St. Ogden UT 84401 80162520107
Robert Andrews 506-A White Horse Pike Haddon Heights NJ 08035 856-546-5100
Robert C. Scott 2600 Washington Ave. Newport News VA 23607 (757) 380-1000 erin.davies@mail.house.gov
Ruben Hinjosa 2864 West Trenton Road Edinburg TX 78539 (956) 682-5545 moira.lenehan@mail.house.gov
Rush Holt 50 Washington Rd West Windsor NJ 08550 609-750-9365 christopher.hartmann@mail.house.gov
Sherrod Brown 600 East Superior Avenue Cleveland OH 44114 216-522-7272 william_jawando@brown.senate.gov
Susan A. Davis 4305 University Avenue San Diego CA 92105 619-280-5353 spencer.young@mail.house.gov
Thomas Petri 2390 State Road 44 oshkosh wi 54904 9202316333
Tim Bishop 3680 Route 112 Coram NY 11727 6316966500 joanna.serra@mail.house.gov
Tim Walberg 800 W Ganson Jackson MI 49202 5177809075 bruce.miller@mail.house.gov
Tom Coburn, M.D. 1800 South Baltimore Tulsa OK 74119 9185817651
Tom Harkin 210 Walnut Street Des Moines IA 50309 (515) 284-4574 bev_schroeder@harkin.senate.gov
Tom Price 3730 Roswell Road Marietta GA 30062 770-565-4990 jeff
Vernon Ehlers 110 Michigan Street Grand Rapids MI 49503 6164518383
virginia Foxx 6000 Meadowbrook Mall Clemmons NC 27012 3367780211 rebecca erica.shrader@mail.house.gov
Wayne Allard 111 S. Tejon Colorado Springs CO 80903 7196346071
Yvette Clarke bridgette.dehart@mail.house.gov
rahm Emmanuel 3742 w. irving park rd. Chicago IL 60618 7732675926 lauren.aronson@mail.house.gov
john boehner stephanie.milburn@mail.house.gov
Dick Durbin sirat_attapit@durbin.senate.gov
John Larson jackie.primeau@mail.house.gov
Steve King IA jeff.wiseman@mail.house.gov
Chris Van Hollen MD sarah.schenning@mail.house.gov
patrick tiberi kelli.briggs@mail.house.gov


I will have a budget update by the end of the week. We are significantly in the red (by a few thousand dollars) currently, but I will have exact figures shortly. The good news is that the spending has stopped, but it may take awhile to dig out. Do not hesitate to donate to the PAC . It is needed, and useful.

Many have asked for a mailing address to send checks to. It is:

2123 Mt. View
University Place, WA
98466


That's it for now. More soon!


KEEP FIGHTING!!!

*************************************************
Subject: Checking in....State Leaders
Date: Sunday, July 01, 2007 10:53 PM

Hey Everyone,

We now have reps for roughly half the states. We still need leaders for Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, and a couple of other big states. The responsibilities are not huge. In fact, as State rep, you can do as much or as little as you deem appropriate! The main point is that we are able to talk to others in our local areas, and do something locally. There is strength in numbers.

Below is the list of State Rep Emails. If you want to throw your hat in for your state if it isn't taken, let me know.


Alabama chukov452000@yahoo.com
Alaska
Arkansas
Arizona foran@zensearch.com
Northern Cal cynthiadwarner@yahoo.com
Southern California twinsgram@peoplepc.com
Connecticut
Colorado
Florida erlandsonj@bellsouth.net
Georgia Msteeta73@yahoo.com
Iowa drhombs@yahoo.com
Illinois
Indiana
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana KALLITAY@AOL.COM
Massachussetts pjolalor@gmail.com
Maryland pdchambliss@gmail.com
Michigan
Minnesota
Missouri
Maine
Montana
Mississippi
North Carolina
North Dakota
Nebraska
New Hampshire jtrewhella@mansd.org
New Jersey
New Mexico adiadharma@juno.com
Nevada lcoate@charter.net
New York veryagedreceivable@yahoo.com
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania sales@firebrandthriller.com
Rhode Island pjolalor@gmail.com
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee dwayneandrebecca@netzero.com
Texas sferguson_130@yahoo.com
Utah jeffkelly59@hotmail.com
Virginia avalonmist2005@gmail.com
Vermont
Washington kerridwen@gmail.com
Wisconsin webeditor@newspubinc.com
West Virginia

*************************************************
Subject: We're being featured on NPR today
Date: Tuesday, July 10, 2007 8:40 AM

Hey Everyone,

Pastor Dan Lozer of Iowa is being featured on NPR today in a piece by Libby Lewis.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11837081


The piece good, although it doesn't really emphasize how predatory these loans are. For instance, it doesn't mention the fact that the federal government is making alot of money from defaulted loans. Importantly It does at least make the point that Dan has repaid more than he borrowed, yet still owes twice what he borrowed, which is important.

Anyhow, I am thankful for Dan's courage to stand up!


*************************************************
Subject: [StudentLoanJustice] Checking in....July 19th, 2007
Date: Thursday, July 19, 2007 6:58 PM

Hey Everyone,

I've been locked into CSPAN all day, watching the education bill being debated on the Senate floor. There isn't much in this bill to provide fairness for people whose lives have been hurt by their student loans, but even still, it is being blocked. It is certainly "silly time" in the Senate, with amendments being offered pertaining to Bush's pardon of Scooter Libby, Clinton's pardon of terrorists, etc.

I'm not impressed.

Anyhow, we need more media coverage, guys. Its not hard. You just have to pick up the phone, and call a reporter in your local area. I've said this many times in the past, and a few of you have guided stories all the way to press, with great effect.

You need to do this. It's not rocket science. Point them to this site if they ask questions you can't answer, but make a story happen. The press has been pretty good for us to date, and we have an extremely strong argument.

Keep us posted.

Alan

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

*************************************************
Subject: Checking in: July 21st, 2007
Date: Saturday, July 21, 2007 6:57 PM

Hey Everyone,

I had a couple of facts slightly wrong about the bill (2669) that passed the Senate the other day. Fore instance, Repayment for the income contingent repayment (the one with the massive tax penalty at the end of the term) is actually 25 years, not twenty (assuming no public service). A good synopsis of the bill can be found at:

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/07/20/budget


Thanks to Luke Swarthout (USPIRG) for pointing this out.

I have noticed alot of you showing up on blogs, and article comments. This is great. It really does help. What REALLY helps are media pieces that show how predatory the industry has become...particularly on the guarantor/collection side. People don't believe me when I talk about student loan debt doubling, tripling, or worse. They also don't realize the astonishing lack of onsumer protections for student loans, even compared to IRS, credit card, or payday loan debt! It is up to us to make sure they realize the extent to which we are being hit. If you don't tell the story, no one will!

Given what I'ce seen from Congress, it will take quite sometime to get anything close to fairness for those of us who have already had our lives trashed by student loans...certainly through the next election cycle unless somethinjg dramatic happens (which I'm not counting out). So there is time, but we have to keep working the problem in our own ways.


Also, we are up to roughly 30 state leaders now. Here is the list: If your state isn't listed, than think about volunteering. You can do as much or as little as you like,and it actually is kind of fun! If your state is listed, then contact that person and say hello! I'm not giving out your email addresses beforehand due to privacy concerns. It's up to you to "opt in".

 


KEEP FIGHTING!!!

Alan

*************************************************
Subject: Checking in: August 2, 2007
Date: Thursday, August 02, 2007 6:06 PM

Hey Everyone,

Sorry if I've been less than responsive lately. It has been very busy on this end, and alot is happening. As you know, HR 2669 was passed by both House and Senate last week, and is currently in the reconciliation process. I have said, and continue to say that we are extremely disappointed- the bill does some good things for future students, but nothing for those of us who have gone through the system, and are now stuck in unreasonable debt situations.

1. MEDIA

Some good stories have come out recently. We were featured in the Port Folio Weekly in Virginia this week:

http://www.portfolioweekly.com/Pages/InfoPage.php/iID/3152

Also, Jesse Jackson wrote one of the first good OPEDs I have seen on this issue in the Chicago Sun Times this week (you'll have to google it), and a good opinion piece also came out in the NY Times in a piece by David Nocera:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/29/education/edlife/nocera.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

There are 3 or 4 other pieces in the hopper. One of them promises to be quite groundbreaking. I will announce them when they come out.

In the meantime, NPR is looking for younger people (i.e. 30 or younger) whose life decisions have been altered by their student loan debt. If this is you, let me know and I will forward to the appropriate people.

***Also, Joe Galata of Nevada is planning on doing a doumentary/book on this subject*** PLEASE SEE SUBMISSION AT THE END OF THIS MESSAGE.


2. BUS TOUR FUNDING

I finished the expense report for the PAC/Bus tour. For the Bus Tour, we spent $13,402.92. Nearly half of this went for fuel ($5200), while the rest was roughly equal amounts for food ($1300), lodging ($1500), T-shirts and hats ($1200), Internet/Cellphone ($1000), and repair ($1300). This is pretty good considering the tour covered nearly 6 months, covered 22,000 miles,and accomplished what we did. I hope you will agree. You can see the expense report at:

http://www./expense report.htm

Donations, however, currently stand at $8967.00. I hope that you all will consider what we accomplished on this shoestring budget, and consider it a worthwhile investment to support the PAC further. Monetary gain is clearly not my intention here, but neither do I want this to cost me personally an arm and a leg. Every bit helps, and your support is appreciated!


I will leave it at that for now, but there are other things happening that I intend to report on in the coming week.

Fight On!


Alan


First_Name: Joseph
State: NV
phone: 775-338-7597
Email: JGalata@aol.com
any_other_comments: Being a professional in the world of media, arts, education, I travel the world presenting stories in theatres, on television and radio, at conferences and conventions, and in schools. My work has taken me to all 50 states, plus London,Turkey, Portugal, Serbia, Wales, Ireland, Mexico, People's Republic of China, Israel, etc.

I am now going to design and produce a book, teleplay, and theatrical presentation featuring TRUE STORIES about students, graduates, and parents who are borrowers of SALLIE MAE STUDENT LOANS.

The web site is now being designed, the research is being done, and I'm starting to request TRUE STORIES from those who have are borrowers of Sallie Mae student loans.

My work has always focused on telling stories in the different formats and genres mentioned above. I have focused my telling of stories on the tragedis and triumphs juvenile justice, hospice, education, cultural, heaiing from grief and mourning, subtance and sexual abuse, etc.

Now.. because I am learning first hand from being a parent who is a co-signer on my daughter's student loans with Sallie Mae and I have no other relationshp with a student loan lender, and our relationship with Sallie Mae is what makes great entertaining and educational drama...and all good stories have plot after plot of conflict, I can only focus on true Sallie Mae stories.

Hope you'll share your true story with me... I'll keep it nameless or will acknowledge you.... just email me at JGalata@aol.com.

Joseph

*************************************************
Subject: Checking in- August 15th, 2007
Date: Wednesday, August 15, 2007 5:43 PM

Hey Everyone,

Hope all is well. Congress is out on recess for the rest of the month, so I hope you all will see if there is an opportunity to meet with your Congressman or Senator during the break while they are local- particularly those who sit on the House or Senate education committees. They will picking up the College Access Bill upon their return, so now is the right time do to this.


Also, we are interviewed today by The News Hour with Jim Lehrer. This is a special edition for students. The link can be found at:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/features/july-dec07/loan_8-15.html


I cannot repeat enough times how important it is that we all, individually, make media stories happen in our local areas on this issue. Frankly, I have only seen 3 or so stories come out that were direct results of our member's efforts, and so I'm a bit disappointed there. I hope more of you will step up, because if you don't, no one will.

Also, Mark Kantrowitz, of FinAid.org, released an interesting report regarding private student loans and bankruptcy yesterday. It can be found at:

http://www.finaid.org/educators/20070814pslFICOdistribution.pdf


There are a bunch of other things happening. I am currently researching Sallie Mae donations to universities, and am finding some interesting items...I will be able to say a few more things about this later.

And as always, please support the PAC if you can. We still need to make up about $3000 to break even on the Bus Tour! If you prefer not to use paypal, you can mail donations to:

2123 Mountain View
University Place, WA
98466


KEEP FIGHTING!!

-Alan

*************************************************
Subject: Checking in- August 23, 2007
Date: Thursday, August 23, 2007 4:09 PM

Hey Everyone,

I hope all is well. This week, I have some bad, some good, and some research news.


The Bad News:

It was reported yesterday that a former student at Illinois State University, despondent over student loans, committed suicide on campus yesterday. SLJ leader Denise (Maryland) has reported that Andy Davis of the Illinois Student Aid Commission (ISAC) is very concerned about this, and has asked Denise to keep him apprised. I can only say that our prayers go out to the family, and I hope that all of us, if faced with similar emotions, will think about positive steps to be taken to solve this problem rather than taking actions like this. We're definitely not alone- not by a long shot, and if you need to talk about it, go to one of our chatrooms, such as the StudentLoanJustice group on Yahoo.com

The Good News:

Time Magazine did a fairly good piece on the issue yesterday. While the piece focused on private loans, and they failed to mention a whole host of consumer protections that are absent for all student loans, they did mention the lack of standard bankruptcy protections. Importantly, the piece quoted Sallie Mae employees:

"...Conwey Casillas, Sallie Mae's director of public affairs, acknowledges that the previous bankruptcy law, which allowed students to discharge their loans after seven years of active re-payment, might be more appropriate, adding that the company would support revisiting bankruptcy laws for students who act in good faith but still struggle to pay off their debt. Martha Holler, a company spokesperson, defended Sallie Mae, saying: "We don't make the rules, but we do have to follow them.""

This last line is a complete and utter lie, given that Sallie Mae (along with the Consumer Banker's Association and others) has championed all manner of legislation that curtailed, or ended, bankruptcy protections for student loans, but the quote is an important one nonetheless.


Regarding other press, This month is shaping up to be a pretty good one. We were featured last week in the student edition of The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, and also were featured in a piece in PortFolio Weekly that was blogged on in the Village Voice. Also, we were quoted in a good piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education on August 3rd.

There are a couple of other things going on in this area, and I will announce them soon.

Research:

So last week, Eastern Michigan U returned over $100,000 to a foundation that Sallie Mae uses to donate to non-profits, in order to "avoid the appearance of conflict of interest". Well, I looked into the tax filings of this foundation, called "The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region". Check this out:

The Foundation has a mission of donating to worthwhile causes in the greater Washington D.C. area. However, there are a bunch of non-profits OUTSIDE Washington D.C. that received millions of dollars in donations from this foundation--Mostly universities, and university foundations, as well as alumni associations, financial aid groups, and the like.

I found this interesting enough to compile some of these gifts from the foundation over the past three years. Below is what I found (This is a long list, so please excuse any typos!). I hope that some of you out there will see this as interesting. Please note that the gifts to universities in or near the beltway probably aren't from Sallie Mae entirely, but it's a good bet that many- if not most- of the others are. I would go further in saying that these universities, or the universities that these nonprofits are connected to, are more than likely preferred lender schools for Sallie Mae.

Name of School/Nonprofit 2006 2005 2004 TOTAL

Adams State Coll $500 $500
Adelphi U $4,120 $4,120
Agnes Scott Coll $1,000 $1,000
Alabama A&M $1,000 $6,000 $7,000
Alameda County Office of Education $46,600 $46,600
Alaska Pacific University $5,000 $5,000
Albright College $500 $500 $1,000
Alfred State College $6,600 $6,600
Allegheny College $10,500 $10,500
Alliant International University $5,000 $5,000
Amarillo College $500 $500
American Career College $250 $250
American College of Trust an. $500 $500
American Film Institute $2,000 $1,250 $3,250
American Indian College Fund $50,000 $35,000 $85,000
American Intercontinental U. $500 $500 $1,000
American International U. $1,750 $1,750
American U $55,100 $85,000 $112,000 $252,100
Amherst College $2,000 $2,000 $4,000
Angelo State U. $1,000 $1,000
Anoka Technical College $500 $500
Antelope Valley College $1,000 $1,000
Arcadia U $500 $500
Arizona State u $1,000 $1,000
Art Institute of Chicago $2,500 $2,500
Art Institute of Philadelphia $500 $500
Associates for renewal in Education $49,500 $49,500
Association of governing boards of Universities $5,000 $5,000
Association of Independent Colleges $82,400 $135,000 $217,400
Auburn U $500 $500
Austin Community College $500 $500
Austin Peay State U $500 $500
Averett U $700 $700
Barnard College $20,500 $5,000 $5,000 $30,500
Barry U $500 $1,000 $1,500
Bauder College $500 $500
BCC Community Scholarship $1,000 $1,000
Belmont U. $500 $400 $900
Benedictine College $4,250 $4,250
Bennet College $700 $700
Berkeley College $1,000 $1,000
Bethune College $1,000 $1,000
Bevill State CC $500 $500
Black Student Fund $28,000 $79,000 $86,200 $193,200
Boston College $13,000 $5,000 $18,000
Bowie State U. $1,750 $5,000 $6,600 $13,350
Bowling Green U. $500 $500
Brooklyn Academy of Music $500 $500
Brooks College $500 $500
Brown U $10,750 $5,500 $30,000 $46,250
Bryn Mawr College $1,000 $1,000
Bucknell $10,000 $10,000
Butler U $500 $30,000 $30,500
BYU $700 $700
Cal Baptist U $1,000 $1,000 $2,000
Cal Poly $1,000 $2,000 $1,000 $4,000
Cal State $9,500 $5,250 $3,400 $18,150
Campbell U $500 $500
Capital Community College $500 $500
Capitol College $55,000 $56,000 $111,000
Capitol College $55,000 $56,000 $50,000 $161,000
Career College Foundation $50,000 $50,000
Carnegie Mellon $500 $1,500 $2,000
Casper College $500 $500
Catawba College $500 $500
Catholic U. of America $190,500 $500 $191,000
Cayumaca College $1,200 $1,200
Central Connecticut State U $500 $500
Central State U $1,000 $1,000
central wash. U $1,000 $1,000
Central Wyoming U $1,000 $1,000
Charter Oak State College Foundation $3,000 $3,000
Chemeketa CC $1,000 $1,000
Christopher Newport U $4,800 $4,800
Cincinnati Christian u $10,000 $10,000
Citadel Foundation $5,000 $5,000
Citizens Scholarship Foundation of America $1,236,000 $1,236,000
City Lights School, inc $4,500 $1,000 $5,500
City of Sanibel, FLA $25,000 $25,000
City University of NY $10,000 $1,000 $11,000
Claflin $500 $500
Claremont U. $1,000 $1,000 $2,500 $4,500
Clark Atlantic U $1,200 $20,000 $21,200
Clark County Public Education Foundation $3,000 $3,000
Cleary u $1,000 $1,000
Clemson U $500 $500
Cleveland Scholarship program $5,000 $14,200 $19,200
Cleveland State U $500 $500
Colgate $5,000 $5,000 $1,600 $11,600
College Board $10,000 $10,000
College Misiricordia $50 $50
College of Dupage $65,000 $65,000
College of Lake County $500 $500
College of Mt. St. Vincent $500 $500
College of Physicians and Su. $500 $500
College of St. Catherine $500 $500
College of William 7 Mary $500 $500 $3,000 $4,000
College Summit $636,000 $2,500 $638,500
Collin County Comm. College $1,000 $1,000
Colorado College $1,875 $1,875
Colorado State $1,000 $500 $1,500
Columbia College Fund $2,500 $2,500
Columbia Union College $10,200 $6,000 $16,200
Columbia University $6,000 $11,000 $6,250 $23,250
Community College of Denver $1,000 $1,000
Community College of Denver $5,000 $5,000
Community College of Rhode Island $500 $500
Community College of South. $500 $500
Community Foundation of College. $3,000 $3,000
Concordia University $2,500 $2,500
Consortium of Southern California Colleges $3,000 $3,000
Consortium of Universities of the Washington $900,000 $900,000
Cornell U. $1,000 $3,600 $4,600
Council for opportunity in Edu. $14,000 $14,000
Cumberland College $500 $500
Curry College $500 $500
Cuyahoga CC $500 $500
Dallas County CC $30,000 $30,000
Dance Institute of Washington $52,800 $25,200 $90,200 $168,200
Dartmouth College $1,000 $4,000 $5,000
DC College $25,000 $25,000
Delaware State u $3,200 $500 $2,500 $6,200
Delgado CC $500 $500
Delta Sigma Sorority $5,000 $5,000
Depaul $2,400 $2,150 $4,550
Desalcs U $1,012 $1,012
Devry U $700 $700
Dillard u $500 $5,000 $5,500
Dixie College $1,000 $1,000
Dixie State College $2,000 $2,000
Drew U $1,000 $1,000
Drexel U $3,500 $2,700 $6,200
Duke U $54,250 $670,000 $125,000 $849,250
E Carolina U $700 $700
E Stroudsburg u $500 $500
E Washington u $1,000 $1,000
Eastern Connecticut Uni $21,000 $4,500 $9,000 $34,500
Eastern Kentucky U $1,000 $1,000
Eastern Michigan U $100,000 $500 $100,500
Eckerd College $700 $700
Edmund Burke School $11,000 $11,000
Education Resources Institute $25,000 $50,000 $75,000
Educational Advancement Alliance $670,000 $100,000 $770,000
Educational Opportunity Fund $500 $1,000 $1,500
El Centro College $1,000 $1,000
El Paso CC $250 $500 $750
Elizabeth City State University $1,250 $1,250
Elizabethtown College $2,000 $2,000
Elon U $100,000 $100,000
Embry Riddle Aeronautical U $5,000 $5,000
Emerging Scholars Program $50,000 $50,000
Emerson College $848 $5,000 $5,848
Fairfield U $5,000 $1,750 $4,000 $10,750
Fairleigh Dickinson U $1,200 $1,200
Fashion Institute of Design $9,250 $9,250
Fashion Institute of Technology $700 $700
Fisk U $500 $500 $1,000
Florida A&M $1,500 $1,500 $750 $3,750
Florida Association of Students $5,000 $5,000
Florida Atlantic U $2,000 $2,000
Florida Institute of Tech $700 $700
Florida International U $1,000 $64,000 $65,000
Florida Memorial College $500 $700 $1,200
Florida State $1,000 $500 $1,500
Florida State U Foundation $5,000 $5,000
Fordham $4,100 $23,000 $16,000 $43,100
Fort Valley State University Fund $7,500 $7,500
Forum for the future of Higher Education $50,000 $50,000
Franklin and Marshal College $11,000 $2,000 $13,000
Fresno City College $1,000 $1,000
Friends of Briarwood College $100 $100
Frostburg State $5,000 $80,000 $5,700 $90,700
Fullerton College $500 $500
Futures in Education Foundation $1,000 $1,000
George Mason $55,250 $56,200 $69,000 $180,450
George Washington U $33,000 $61,500 $108,900 $203,400
Georgetown $386,000 $400,000 $60,000 $846,000
Gesher School, Inc $25,200 $25,200
Gettysburg College $2,000 $1,500 $3,500
Glendale cc $1,000 $1,000
Golden West College $500 $500
Gonzaga College High School $210,000 $110,000 $10,000 $330,000
Goucher College $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $3,000
Greater Cincinnati College $2,500 $2,500
Greater Washington Educational $50,000 $50,000
Green Tree School $4,875 $4,875
Greenlining Institute $10,000 $10,000
Grinnel College $1,000 $1,000
Grizzlies Academy $5,000 $5,000
Grossmont College $500 $500
Gulf Coast cc $4,500 $500 $5,000
Hagerstown cc $1,000 $1,000
Hamilton College $5,000 $7,500 $12,500
Hamline U $500 $500
Hampton U $2,200 $1,200 $1,700 $5,100
Harvard $83,500 $553,000 $1,136,500 $1,773,000
Hebrew $50,000 $50,000
Hebrew Union Co $1,000 $1,000
High Point U $1,000 $1,000
Higher Achievement Program $43,000 $65,500 $108,500
Highline CC $64,860 $64,860
Hightower Scholars, Inc $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $15,000
Hill Central Music Academy $500 $500
Hillsborough cc $2,250 $2,500 $4,750
Hispanic College Fund $395,000 $31,500 $2,100,000 $2,526,500
Hispanic Scholarship Fund $9,100 $9,100
Hofstra $7,070 $3,550 $10,620
Houston cc $1,000 $500 $1,500
Howard $24,000 $54,700 $112,000 $190,700
Humboldt State U $500 $500
Hunter College $1,500 $1,500
Illinois State U $1,000 $1,000
Independent College Fund of Maryland $5,000 $5,000
Independent College Fund of Nebraska $48,000 $48,000
Indiana Commission for Higher Education $85,000 $60,000 $60,000 $205,000
Indiana Sports Corporation $75,000 $75,000
Indiana University Foundation $50,000 $10,000 $60,000
Institute of Fashion and Design $5,000 $5,000
ITT TECH INST $250 $500 $750
Jackson State U $50 $50
James Madison Alumni $100 $6,900 $7,000
Jefferson Medical College $300 $300
Jefferson Medical College Alumni Foundation $1,000 $1,000
Johns Hopkins $51,900 $105,250 $103,500 $260,650
Johnson C Smith U $4,200 $4,200
Kansas Associat5ion of Student $5,000 $5,000
Kansas City cc $1,000 $1,000
Kean U $2,500 $500 $3,000
Key Academy $50,000 $50,000
Kids2College $8,605 $1,000 $9,605
King's College $1,500 $1,500
Lasalle $3,800 $23,000 $24,000 $50,800
Lasierra U $10,000 $10,000
Lassen cc $500 $500
Lee U $500 $500
Lehigh U $1,000 $1,000
Levine School of Music $78,000 $169,500 $75,000 $322,500
Lewis And Clark U $500 $500
Liberty y U $1,000 $700 $1,700
Lincoln U $1,000 $500 $1,500
Local Education Agency $65,000 $65,000
Loma Linda $20,000 $20,000
Long Beach CC $250 $250
Long Island U $700 $700
Longwood U $500 $500
Lorain County CC $7,500 $7,500
Los Angeles Mission College $250 $250
Lowell School, Inc $7,500 $7,500
Loy9la College $7,500 $5,000 $12,500
Loyola College $8,700 $8,700
LSU Foundation $200,000 $200,000
Macalester College $2,000 $2,000
Madawaska School Department $5,000 $5,000
Madeira School $2,000 $2,000
Madonna U $5,000 $5,000
Mary Baldwin College $500 $500
Marywood U $500 $500
Mcdaniel College $2,500 $2,500
Meadowbrook Foundation $670,000 $1,800,000 $2,470,000
Medghar Evers College $1,000 $1,000
Meharry Medical College $1,100 $800 $1,900
Mercy College $18,400 $23,500 $3,400 $45,300
Miami Dade College $1,500 $500 $2,000
Miami u $500 $1,500 $2,000
Miami U of Hamilton $500 $500
Michigan State U $1,500 $500 $2,000
Middle Tennessee State College $1,000 $1,000 $2,000
Middlesex County College $500 $500
Midlands Technical College $1,000 $1,000
Midwestern U $1,600 $2,500 $4,100
Miles College $500 $500
Miller Center Foundation $1,000 $1,000
Millersville U $1,000 $500 $1,500
Mills College $500 $500
Milwaukee Area TC $500 $500
Milwaukee Foundation $100,000 $100,000
Minnesota Ass of Fin Aid Administrators $5,000 $5,000
Mississippi State U $500 $500
Mississippi Valley S. U. $5,000 $5,000
Missouri Association of Student $500 $2,600 $3,100
MIT $523,079 $523,079
Montclair State u $1,000 $1,000
Montgomery CC $35,000 $35,000
Montgomery College $470,000 $141,000 $227,000 $838,000
Morehouse College $5,000 $8,000 $13,000
Morgan State u $100 $1,100 $1,200
Mt. Holyoke College $10,000 $10,000 $11,100 $31,100
Mt. Ida College $500 $500
Mt. St. Mary's College $10,000 $10,000
National Association for College Admiss $18,000 $18,000
National College Access Network $11,310 $11,310
National Dance Institute, Inc. $5,000 $5,000
NELA $5,000 $5,000
Neumann College $500 $500
New England College of Optometry $350 $490 $840
New England Dollars for Scholars $5,000 $5,000 $10,000
New Jersey Educational Opportunity $500 $500
New Mexico State U $1,250 $500 $1,000 $2,750
New York Alumnae Deltas, INC $600 $600
New York Institute of Tech $2,500 $2,500
New York State Financial Aid $300 $300
New York University $500 $3,000 $1,500 $5,000
Norfolk State U $500 $5,600 $6,100
North Carolina A&T State U $4,600 $1,700 $6,300
North Carolina Central U $500 $500
North Carolina State U $1,100 $1,100
Northern Arizona $250 $250
Northern Illinois U $2,500 $2,500
Northern Virginia Community $7,500 $41,400 $48,900
Northwest College $500 $500
Northwest Nazarene U $1,000 $1,000
Northwestern $31,000 $25,000 $20,000 $76,000
Oberlin $15,000 $2,000 $17,000
Office of Financial Aid $1,000 $1,000
Ohio Association of Community Colleges $7,500 $7,500
Ohio College Access Network $25,000 $11,500 $36,500
Ohio College of Podiatric Med $6,250 $6,000 $12,250
Ohio State U $500 $1,500 $2,000
Ohio Wesleyan U $1,000 $200 $1,200
Oklahoma University Foundation $500 $500
Old Dominion $250,000 $11,500 $261,500
Olivete Nazarene U $10,000 $10,000
Orange coast u $500 $500
Oregon State U $500 $500
Otis College of Design $650 $650
Our lady of Mercy Community College $66,000 $66,000
Pace U $5,500 $7,300 $2,500 $15,300
Pacific Lutheran University $10,000 $10,000
Palm Beach CC $500 $500
Palo Alto College $1,500 $1,500
Park U $1,000 $1,000
Pasadena CC $1,000 $1,000
Penn State $3,500 $8,500 $7,950 $19,950
Pensacola Christian College $2,400 $2,400
Pensacola Jr College Foundation $1,000 $1,000
Philadelphia College Opportunity Fund $300,000 $400,000 $700,000
Philadelphia Community College $100 $100
Philly Citizens for Children Foundation $250 $250
Philly Council for Community. $250 $250
Pima CC $500 $500
Pittsburgh Council on Higher Ed $5,000 $5,000
Point Park College $1,000 $1,000
Polytech U $1,000 $1,000
Portland Adult Education $25,000 $25,000
Portland CC $1,000 $1,000
Post U $2,500 $2,500
presidential scholars foundation $20,000 $20,000
Presidents and Fellows of Harvard $295,000 $295,000
President's fund/event sponsor $15,000 $15,000
Prince George's cc $10,300 $1,500 $11,800
Princeton $427,500 $285,000 $188,000 $900,500
Princeton area community foundation $2,000 $2,000
Public Education partnership f. $63,000 $63,000
Purdue $500 $500
Purdue Foundation $100 $100
Purdue Research Foundation $56,000 $56,000
Queens College $500 $500
Queens U of Charlotte $500 $500
Queensborough cc $0
Radford U $5,100 $5,100
Ramapo College of NJ $1,000 $1,000
Rappahannock CC $290,000 $290,000
Regent U $600 $600
Regents of the U of California $36,070 $36,070
Rensselaer Poly Institute $400 $400
Resources for Indian Student $58,000 $58,000
Rider U $2,500 $2,500
Ripon Education Fund $10,000 $10,000
Robert Morris College $1,500 $1,500
Rockefeller U $192,000 $192,000
Roxbury cc $500 $500
Rutgers $3,500 $3,500 $8,000 $15,000
Sacred Heart U $250 $4,550 $9,550 $14,350
Salisbury State U $5,000 $5,000
Salisbury U $6,000 $1,000 $5,000 $12,000
Sam Houston State U $1,000 $1,000
San Antonio Education Partern. $1,500 $500 $2,000
San Bernardino Valley College $1,000 $1,000
San Diego Mesa College $500 $500 $1,000
San Diego State $6,100 $5,250 $5,250 $16,600
Santa Anna College $500 $1,000 $1,500
Santa Barbara CC $500 $500 $1,000
Sarah Lawrence College $1,000 $1,000
Scholarship America $1,400,000 $1,060,000 $543,000 $3,003,000
Scholarship fund of Alexandra $1,000 $1,000 $1,448,000 $1,450,000
Seattle Pacific U $3,000 $3,000
Seattle U $1,000 $1,000
Seton Hall $8,500 $8,500
Shelton State U $1,000 $1,000
Shepard Foundation $6,000 $6,000
Sheperd U $500 $500
Shoreline CC $1,000 $1,000
Sienna College $1,000 $1,000
Simpson College $500 $500
Smith College $16,000 $1,000 $5,000 $22,000
Snow College $1,000 $1,000
South Boston Educational Com. $5,000 $5,000
South Carolina State College $1,000 $1,000
Southeast Missouri State $500 $500
Southeastern $6,750 $6,750
Southeastern Bible College $5,000 $5,000 $10,000
Southeastern LA College $500 $500
Southeastern U $2,000 $2,000
Southern A&M U $4,125 $1,500 $5,625
Southern Illinois U $250 $250
Southern Illinois U $1,000 $1,000
Southern Methodist U $500 $500
Southern Regional Education Bo. $60,000 $60,000
Southern U and A&M $11,750 $1,200 $12,950
Southwest Missouri State U $1,000 $1,000
Southwestern $250 $1,000 $1,250
Spellman $500 $500
Spring Hill College $500 $500
St. Augustine College $500 $2,700 $3,200
St. Francis U $1,000 $1,000
St. Johns $11,350 $2,500 $2,500 $16,350
St. Johns College High School $100,000 $100,000
St. Josephs U $500 $1,000 $1,500
St. Louis CC $1,000 $500 $1,500
St. Mary's College $6,000 $6,000 $6,000 $18,000
St. Mary's U $5,000 $5,000
St. Paul's College $1,000 $1,000
St. Peter's College $3,500 $3,500
Stanford $11,000 $12,000 $11,000 $34,000
Star Scholarship Foundation $1,000 $2,000 $1,000 $4,000
State U of West George $10,000 $10,000
State U of West George $10,000 $10,000
Stephen F Austin U $500 $500
Strayer $6,300 $6,300
SUNY Buff $500 $500
SUNY Morrisville $10,000 $10,000
Suny Westbury $1,000 $1,000
Swarthmore $142,186 $105,000 $247,186
Syracuse $4,700 $2,100 $6,800
Tallahassee CC $500 $500 $1,000
Tarrant County College $500 $500
Teikyo Post U $2,500 $11,000 $13,500
Temple College $15,000 $15,000
Temple U $1,000 $500 $1,500
Tennessee State U $2,000 $2,000
Tennessee Tech $500 $500
Texas Christian $30,000 $60,000 $86,000 $176,000
Texas Christian $60,000 $60,000
Texas School of Business $1,000 $1,000
The Corcoran College of Art Design $1,000 $1,000
Towson College $5,000 $5,000 $10,000
Trinity College $25,000 $25,000
Trinity Higher Education Corp $15,000 $15,000
Triton U $500 $500
Tulsa Community Foundation $500 $500
Tuskegee $500 $1,200 $500 $2,200
U South Florida Foundation $1,000 $1,000
U Alabama $1,000 $1,000
U Arizona $1,000 $500 $1,500
U Arkansas Pine $500 $500
U Baltimore $15,000 $5,000 $20,000
U Buffalo $1,000 $1,000
U California $4,500 $2,350 $6,850
U Chicago $5,000 $200,000 $400 $205,400
U Cincinnati $1,000 $1,000
U Colorado $500 $500
U Conn $1,000 $1,000 $2,000
U Conn Foundation $5,600 $5,600
U Delaware $250 $24,950 $25,200
U Detroit Mercy $2,500 $2,500
U Florida2 $2,500 $1,000 $700 $4,200
U Georgia $400 $400
U Hartford $2,200 $2,200
U Houston $750 $750
U Illinois Chicago $500 $500
U Kentucky $2,500 $2,500
U Laverne $2,720 $1,200 $5,000 $8,920
U Maryland $1,000 $153,500 $62,300 $216,800
U Mass $500 $500
U Miami $80,000 $2,200 $82,200
U Michigan $6,000 $38,000 $6,500 $50,500
U Minnesota $1,000 $500 $1,500
U Montana $36,000 $36,000
U Montana $36,000 $36,000
U Nebraska Foundation $325 $300 $625
U New Haven $3,000 $2,320 $5,320
U New Mexico $1,500 $1,500
U New Mexico $1,000 $1,000
U New Orleans $1,000 $1,000
U North Tex $350 $500 $850
U Northern Colorado $2,000 $2,000
U of Maryland College $56,000 $152,000 $62,000 $270,000
U of North Carolina $12,000 $12,000 $500 $24,500
U of Penn $103,000 $1,800 $4,200 $109,000
U of Southern Cal $20,000 $3,000 $5,500 $28,500
U of the District Of $1,240 $1,240
U of the Sciences $500 $500
U Oklahoma $10,000 $10,000
U Pittsburgh $500 $700 $1,200
U Puerto Rico $1,000 $1,000
U Rhodes Island $1,000 $1,000
U Richmond $500 $500
U Richmond $5,000 $5,000
U Rochester $5,000 $10,000 $15,000
U San Diego $5,000 $5,000
U South Florida $2,500 $2,500
U St. Francis $1,000 $1,000
U Tennessee $500 $1,500 $2,000
U Texas $25,000 $500 $25,500
U Texas $2,500 $2,250 $4,750
U Toledo $500 $500
U Wisconsin Foundation $500 $500
UC Berkeley $2,000 $2,000
UCLA Foundation $2,500 $3,000 $5,500
UCSB $500 $500
UI Baltimore $5,000 $5,000
UM Foundation $2,000 $2,000
UMBC $1,000 $1,000
UMMS Foundation $5,000 $5,000
UMUC Foundation $10,000 $10,000
UNC $12,500 $12,500
Uni. Of Virginia $8,000 $1,150 $21,000 $30,150
Union County College $500 $500
United Negro College Fund $25,360 $25,360
United Negro College Fund $556,000 $1,450,000 $2,006,000
University $2,006 $2,005 $2,004 $6,015
University of the Arts $1,200 $1,200
Ursula College $500 $500
US Regents $2,000 $2,000
USDF $2,000 $2,000
USF Foundation $5,000 $5,000
UTEP $1,000 $1,000
V Tech $1,000 $1,000
V Tech Alumni Association $0
V Wesleyan $1,000 $1,000
Valencia CC $1,000 $1,000
Vanderbilt U $5,000 $5,000
Vassar $2,000 $1,000 $3,000
Ventura CC $1,250 $1,250
Villa Nova $1,250 $600 $250 $2,100
Virginia Athletics Foundation $1,100 $1,100
Virginia Commonwealth U $15,600 $15,600
Virginia Foundations independent Colleges $15,000 $15,000
Virginia Intermont Colleges $1,000 $1,000
Virginia Poly & State U $17,600 $17,600
Virginia State U $12,000 $12,000
Volunteer Florida Foundation $809,920 $500,000 $1,309,920
W Virginia State U $500 $500
Wagner College $2,700 $5,000 $7,700
Wake Forest $2,500 $2,500
Washington and Lee U $7,000 $7,000
Washington College $60,000 $76,500 $50,000 $186,500
Washington U $1,000 $1,000
Weber State U $2,000 $2,000
Wellesley $3,000 $2,000 $1,000 $6,000
Wesleyan $2,000 $5,000 $7,000
Western Governors U $150,000 $150,000
Western Illinois U Foundation $5,000 $5,000
Western Oregon U Foundation $10,000 $10,000
Westfield State College $1,800 $1,800
Wheaton $1,000 $1,000 $2,000
Whitman College $105,000 $32,000 $137,000
Wichita State Foundation $10,150 $500 $2,500 $13,150
Wingate U $500 $500
Winthrop U $1,000 $500 $1,500
Wright State $1,000 $1,000
Xavier $1,000 $1,200 $2,200
Yale $7,100 $2,800 $8,100 $18,000
Yeshiva U $50,000 $50,000

Hopefully others will pick up on this, and do some more thorough research to determine whether or not there are quid-pro-quo arrangements here.


Anyhow, that's it for now. As always, please donate to the PAC, and KEEP FIGHTING!!!


*************************************************
Subject: Checking in: August 30, 2007
Date: Thursday, August 30, 2007 11:57 PM

Hey Everyone,


Couple of announcements:


1. I have been asked- and have agreed- to write a book on student loans for Beacon Press. Beacon Press is (I believe) the oldest publisher in the country. While perusing their website (Beacon.org), I found the following quote from Albert Einstein:

"...If we succeed in renewing the spirit of the American Constitution after the confusions of our day, it will be in considerable measure to the credit of the courageous efforts of the Unitarians and their Beacon Press"


This, frankly was all I needed to hear to agree to do this. I have a massive amount of admiration for what Dr. Einstein did both in Science, and as a Humanitarian, and have read many of his works. I know that in life, he did not dole out compliments very readily.

This will be a yearlong effort, and if yoiu're wondering, I'm not forseeing getting rich from it--If the sales are 20,000 hardback copies, I will be thrilled. 10-15,000 is probably more like it, although I give it a chance to break through to a much larger audience, potentially.

Anyhow, the true strengh of this book will be stories from you all, so don't be surprised if I ask you to allow your story to be used.


2. There is a class action brewing against General Revenue Coporation (A subsidiary of Sallie Mae), regarding collection abuses. The website for this is:

http://www.lawcash.com/attorney/3348/general-revenue-lawsuit.asp

3. There is another suit brewing against the California Culinary Academy. They are the worst school that I am aware of in terms of submissions to the SLJ website. Take a look at the email at the end of this email.

4. Inga Skipping of the SEIU Union would like to hook up with SLJ members in the DC area who are interested in representing us. If this is you, let me know and I will forward your contact info to Inga.


5. We still need state leaders for about 20 states. Check the list to see if your state is open: I want to get at least 40 States, including the big ones like Michigan and Illinois covered before posting this on the website, so I hope you all will consider taking a leadership role here...

 


That's it for now. We are certainly gaining momentum, folks, but I have to say, Keep fighting, and do whatever you can do as an individual to help the cause-


-Alan

I


Hey guys,

Hope you're all doing well. Daniel and I are getting settled in So Cal right now. I just wanted to get in touch with all of you and pass along what i think is pretty exciting information.

I'm not sure if you're aware of the publicity CCA has recently recieved in the media. Just in case you haven't, here's a link to an article (if you want more, just let me know, because there are many others!).

http://www.sfweekly.com/2007-06-06/news/burnt-chefs/

Anyways, to make a long story short, there is a lawyer that is filing a class action lawsuit against CCA. If you feel that you were misled in any way during the "admissions" process (particularly about the student loans or the career options when you graduated), then you might be interested in getting some of your money back. I'm going to attach all the info for the lawyers. Please feel free to contact them. Their office is in LA, and Daniel and I went to meet them in person and I was very impressed with them. They're very smart, very nice and helpful, very willing to answer questions or concerns, and above all else- they genuinely believe that CCA students were wronged and they're willing to fight for us. They only get paid if we win the case, so Daniel and I feel that at this point we have nothing to lose. Since this is a class action lawsuit, obviously the more people we have, the better. I believe that currently there are about 50 students or so. The lawsuit will be filed this month in September, so if you are interested DON"T PROCRATINATE! Also, please pass this along to anyone you know from CCA. Even if you choose not to take part in the lawsuit, I think it's only fair that we pass the info to as many people as possible.

I would love to catch up with you all one on one! I definitely miss cooking and eating with you guys every night. By the way, my new phone numbers are (650)515-0791c and (949)209-8856. Please feel free to call me anytime!


Sincerely,
Sarah

P.S. If you can just send me a response to this e-mail so I know you got it, I'd really appreciate it. I just want to make sure I get this info to everyone.

P.P.S Daniel's class--- Can one of you guys forward this to Christle, Brandon, Dave, Bill, and Adrian? I don't have their e-mails. Thanks!

 

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Subject: Checking in: September 3rd, 2007
Date: Monday, September 03, 2007 3:12 PM

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to all the new members. We seem to be picking up steam in terms of submissions to the site, so keep sreading the word-

Couple of things:


1. Our OPED last week in the LA Times was picked up by the Baltimore Sun, Nashua Telegraph, Centre Daily Times (PA), Las Cruces Sun, Albany Times Union, Austin American Statesman, News & Observer (NC), and the Capital Times (WI). If you live in these areas, now would be a good time to call them and convince them to do a story on the issue.

2. As most of you know, I've agreed to write a book on this subject (to be published next year), and my intention is to feature as many of us as I can. If you DON'T want your story used in the book, then please let me know.

3. Don't forget to join the SLJ "chatroom" http://groups.yahoo.com/group/StudentLoanJustice/

4. We've picked up a couple of additional state leaders since last week. Hopefully we can get up to 40 in the next week or so. Here is the current list (see below). If your state is taken, drop an email to the lead, and say hello!

5. We are still a few thousand dollars short of covering expenses for the bus tour. Your support is appreciated

That's it for now...Keep Fighting!!

 


Please support the PAC


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Subject: Checking in: September 10, 2007
Date: Monday, September 10, 2007 4:53 PM

Hey Everyone,

Four quick items:

1. A respected media organization is looking for people who filed for bankrupty for whatever reason, and weren't able to get their PRIVATE loans discharged in the process (regardless of whether they went in to it thinking that their private loans would be dischargeable like most other debt). This is for PRIVATE loans, not federally guaranteed ones. If you're not sure whether your loans are public or private, private loans usually carry high interest rates, above 10%. Public loans (those guaranteed by the federal government) do not. If this is you, particularly if you filed after October, 2005, let me know ASAP, and provide yor contact info as well.

2. One of our members, Jason, is being featured on "The Story" on NPR tonight at 8pm. You can go to the WUNC website (NPR affiliate), and go to the "The Story" tab to find it.

3. Please support the PAC (we are getting fairly close to paying off expenses for the bustour, so I will be nagging for a bit longer on this.) If you don't like paying on the web, our mailing address is:

2123 Mountain View Dr. W.
University Place, WA
98466


4. We are up to 33 state leaders. I will post them below. Drop them a not to let them know your out there...

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Subject: Checking in- September 18th, 2007
Date: Tuesday, September 18, 2007 12:36 PM

Hey Everyone,

Hope all is well. Couple of things-

1. We are quoted today in the Port Folio Weekly (VA) in another good piece by Jenny O'Donnell. The link is:

http://www.portfolioweekly.com/Pages/InfoPage.php/iID/3315


Also, the L.A. Times ran a series of OP-ED regarding Student Loans in the last month. One is by us, and the other (published this Sunday) is by Michael Kinsley.

They are Here, and Here .


2. I am updating much of the website to include recent press coverage, and also the SLJ listserv. Please take a look at it over the next week, and let me know your thoughts. In particular, if there are news stories that we were featured in that aren't listed in the "media" section, let me know, and send me a link so I can add it.


3. We still need State leaders for 18 states, including big ones like Illinois, and Michigan. If your state isn't listed, then I hope you will consider it.


4. We are receiving a significant number of submissions from people who have left the country on account of their student loans. The fact that a couple of dozen have cared enough to find our nearly invisible website, and tell their story convinces me that this is a far larger problem than I had originally thought. This is a story that has never been reported, but needs to be. So if you can find a reporter who is interested in this, that would be helpful. First Come, First serve. In any event, I would hope that many of you are calling local reporters to do stories on the problem in general, since this has proven to be one of the most effective ways to get congresspeople to listen.


5. Please take an hour, and distribute a couple dozen SLJ brochures in your local area. This is one of the better ways to find others out there who are going through what we are. There is strength in numbers, and currently, we only have about 3500 members or so. The number of people affected by this approaches 10 million, so we have a LONG way to go.

6. Please contribute to the PAC. We still need to cover expenses for the Bus Tour, and have a couple of thousand of dollars to go. I don't foresee any large expenses beyond this, so I can quit harping about it when we meet this important goal!

That's it for now. As always, KEEP FIGHTING!!!

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Subject: Checking in: September 24, 2007
Date: Sunday, September 23, 2007 12:50 PM

Hey Everyone,

I hope all is well. Things are perking along on this end.


1. We now have state leaders for 35 of the 50 States. I will post them below. If your state is not covered, please consider throwing your hat in. It involves only as much work as you feel is appropriate, and you and your state will have absolute control over your activities. If your state is already covered, shoot them an email, and let them know your out there.

2. One of our members, Fred, is featured, and we are quoted this week in the Chronicle of Education in a piece by Kelly Field, regarding bankruptcy protections for private loans. It can be found at:

http://chronicle.com/subscribe/login?url=/daily/2007/09/2007092001n.htm

This is a subscription, unfortunately, but the savvy can find it posted elsewhere on the net...

3. Sallie Mae said recently that they would support bankruptcy for student loans publicly. Twice now. The first quote pertains only to private loans. The second quote, however, is applicable to federal student loans, I believe.


The first quote was from the Chronicle of Higher Ed:(cached version: http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:N-lwoIqKZ8sJ:chronicle.com/daily/2007/06/2007061101n.htm+%22student+loans%22+bankruptcy+holler&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us )


"..."We agree that it may be appropriate to revisit how to handle private student loans in bankruptcy," Ms. Holler said in a statement, "and we would be happy to participate in finding a solution that provides relief to borrowers who act in good faith but still find themselves in difficult financial situations."


This is from Time Magazine 2 weeks ago: (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1651473_1651472_1651495,00.html )

"...Conwey Casillas, Sallie Mae's director of public affairs, acknowledges that the previous bankruptcy law, which allowed students to discharge their loans after seven years of active re-payment, might be more appropriate, adding that the company would support revisiting bankruptcy laws for students who act in good faith but still struggle to pay off their debt. Martha Holler, a company spokesperson, defended Sallie Mae, saying: "We don't make the rules, but we do have to follow them." "


Obviously, now is a great time to contact Durbin, and other Senators to encourage them to move forward with this legislation- and extend it to cover federally guaranteed loans as well.

4. I know alot of you are bumming out about your loans, as I am about mine. I also know that a slight majority of our members are female, who reportedly "turn inward" when faced with external pressures. I can't pretend to understand this. I know the individuals responsible for the student loan scam, and I am taking the fight directly to them. Anyhow, if you are finding yourself unable to cope, don't do anything stupid that doesn't solve the problem. If you need to talk about it, go to our newsgroup at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/studentloanjustice/ to talk with others going through the same thing. Also, go to the whatwecando page on the SLJ website. These are concrete, easy steps that can be taken, and help the cause bigtime.

5. Our numbers are still, really low. We have roughly 3000 members, but this is a tiny, tiny fraction of our true numbers, which run as high as 10 million. Please find a couple of others in the same boat as you over the next week, and tell them to come here. I am frankly stunned at the progress we have made thus far with nearly zero funding, and a relatie handful of members. When we reach 20,000 members, we will really be able swing a big stick.

6. (Speaking of funding)...we are still trying to make up for the expenses of the Bus Tour that finished in June. If you are able to donate to the PAC, that would be helpful. Our needs are very small compared to the Million Dollar PACs operating on the other side (Sallie Mae spends over $1 million on their bus tour compared to our $15,000 excursion), but needed nonetheless. Your help here is appreciated. I hope to shut up about this soon.

7. As always, KEEP FIGHTING. Call a reporter in your area and get them to do a story. Post some brochures in your neighborhoods. Do whatever you can to make a difference. It helps us all. And keep us posted on your activities so we can brag about them.


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Subject: Checking in: September 30, 2007
Date: Sunday, September 30, 2007 4:06 PM

Hey Everyone,

I hope all is well out there. Couple of things:


1. We were quoted this week in a piece about the death of Mr. Jason Yoder in the Chicago Sun Times, and Mayor Daley made some compelling statements about the student loan problem in today's paper. The links to these are:

http://www.suntimes.com/news/education/571489,CST-NWS-SUICIDE24.article

http://www.suntimes.com/news/education/581019,CST-NWS-college30.article


-As an aside: We are all feeling trapped by overwhelming debt--many of us being pursued for many times what we originally borrowed. We are being screwed by a state-sponsored predatory lending system. While it is human nature oftentimes to blame ones self for problems- even external ones- I would implore you all to arm yourself with information, and fight back to win the standard consumer protections that borrowers of payday loans, credit card debt, and even other types of federally guaranteed loans enjoy. These protections have been systematically stripped away by Congress, and we are seeing the result today.

We are on the winning side of this argument, folks. The lenders have ducked nearly every swing we have taken at them. Sallie Mae executives declined to be interviewed for the 60 Minutes piece last year. When I gave a talk at the Education Writers Association this Spring, Sallie Mae declined to present. I could give a thousand examples on this here, but suffice it to say that in the two and a half years since this website has been up, the national attitude about student borrowers has changed dramatically. Respected individuals and organizations from all ends of the spectrum- from Ralph Nader to the Adam Smith Society- have spoken out against the student loan system.

We were also the reason that Senator Clinton introduced the Student borrower Bill of Rights, and our borrowers are the basis for an ongoing Senate investigation of collection abuses by the biggest lenders. And I daresay that national attitudes regarding student borrowers have changed quite a lot during this time. The big lenders are finding it harder and harder to push the outdated stereotype of the lazy, irresponsible, or scheming student borrowing their way through college without the intention of paying the money back on the American People. This cheapshot myth is reduced in value by the facts on the ground--facts that only we can stand up and point out.

So if you're feeling low, don't roll over. Fight back. Educate yourself, and tell anyone who will listen about the real story with student loans. In particular, the free press, and Congress are the people we should be talking to. I've said this a thousand times, and will probably say it a thousand more. This is what works.

And if the pressure seems overwhelming, then know that there are millions of citizens like us going through the same thing. Go to the SLJ group to see what other's are doing if you need inspiration ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/StudentLoanJustice/ ). Also, we will have state chapters for all 50 States in the coming months. I think that these state groups will prove to be key in this fight down the road.

2. Speaking of State Chapters, we are up to 37 state chapters now. The contact info for these is below. If your state isn't covered, then think about stepping up. There are no formal "job descriptions" for heading these groups--this is a grassroots deal, which means that you all are in charge. Make your own decisions, do whatever is appropriate for your state.

3. Pamela in Maryland met with staff for Senator Cardin this week, and they were impressed with her presentation. Also, Joe in Nevada single-handedly got a TV piece done on the Reno Area last week. Also, Thanks to Fred in Massachusetts for stepping up to be interviewed by the Chronicle of Higher Education in a piece about Durbin's bankruptcy bill.

4. Our membership seems to be picking up, but we're still only slightly north of 3000 members. I hope that everyone can find one or two friends that are going through the same thing, and tell them to come here. There are millions of us out here, and I see no reason why we shouldn't have at least 20 thousand members. I know a lot of people are ashamed intimidated, and otherwise unwilling to step up and speak out, but they need to get over it. By suffering in silence, they are actually hurting the cause rather than helping.

5. Keep the donations coming! We are starting to get pretty close to paying off the bus tour, and every little bit helps. Paying off this expense, and having a bit left over to cover nominal admin expenses (i.e. internet and cell phone), and perhaps a few small, strategic checks to candidates is all I really see the need for at this point. When tax time comes around next year, and the presidential races heat up, we will probably try for another drive of $5,000 or so, but that is a way's off.


*************************************************
Subject: Checking in: October 6th, 2007
Date: Saturday, October 06, 2007 2:33 PM

Hey Everyone,


I hope all is well. Welcome to the new members. We're picking up between 20-30 per week now- a noticeable increase. I hope that you all will continue to find others in the same boat, and tell them to come here. It's only with numbers that we will be listened to by Congress.

Couple of things.

1. Late last month, The President signed the College Cost Reduction Act, touted as the most significant higher education legslation since the G.I. Bill. Don't be fooled. While the bill is pretty good for future students, it does very little- or nothing- for those of us who have already been slammed. There is a loan forgiveness provision in it that was fought for by good people, but this program has major flaws. To be quite candid, I can only think of one phrase to describe this program...Lipstick on a Pig. At the end of the day, student loans remain as astonishingly absent of the basic, standard consumer protections as before. So the fight continues.

2. One of our members, Rod in Florida, got his OPED published in the Daytona Beach News Journal today. Way to go, Rod! Last month was pretty good for us in the media, with our OPED being published in the LA Times (and throughout the country), and a feature story in the Port Folio Weekly, as well as quotes in the Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Chicago Sun Times. I am guessing that national media will be dying down on this now that the bill mentioned above has been signed, so it is our job at this point to keep the issue alive in our local media. Are you up to it?

3. If you want to do something useful for the cause besides contacting reporters and Congress, post to your local craigslist (www.craigslist.org). This has been done successfully in a number of states. its free, quick, and easy. Tell them to come to the SLJ website and tell their story.

4. Again, I am posting the revised list of state leaders. Contact them and let them know you're out there, and if your state is open, then consider stepping up and leading your state.

 

Regards,

Alan

Why 2669 Doesn't Work for Defaulted Borrowers.

In recent legislation signed by the president, the "fix" for defaulted borrowers comes in the form of loan forgiveness for public service, and income based repayment plans. Both plans would require a defaulted borrower to consolidate his or her defaulted loans into the Direct Program, and a percentage of their income would be taken for extended periods of time (1-2 decades). At the end of the term, the unpaid balance of the loan would be forgiven. For those who have seen their loan balances triple, quadruple, or worse, this program is entirely unacceptable for the following reasons.

1. This program requires the borrower to sign a new promisorry note to the federal government for the massively increased loan amount- thus legitimizing the escalated amount- and this amount will likely increase through the life of the repayment term.

2. At the end of the term, there is likely to be a massive amount still owing on the debt, and this is TAXABLE INCOME.

3. If the borrower should experience financial fortune, it will be taken away by this debt.

4. If the borrower should default on this second, inflated loan, the default process begins again, and what was an astronomical amount owing becomes far, far larger.

5. Who can say that future Congresses won't change the terms of this plan, much like bankruptcy protections were taken away retroactively for student borrowers?

For defaulted borrowers who have already had their lives trashed by the unfair, predatory laws governing student loans, this program reeks of yet another complicated government program that promotes even greater governmental control over the borrower's lives for decades.

The solution is simple and obvious: RESTORE STANDARD CONSUMER PROTECTIONS TO STUDENT LOANS.

Standard Bankruptcy protections would solve this entire problem without creating a new government program. Bankruptcy is no longer a "walk away" situation for the vast majority of debtors. Typically, bankruptcy courts will require payment of principle, and perhaps some interest for filers since 2005.

While no one wishes to file for this protection, it is a hugely important right that all borrowers should have. The right to file bankruptcy is essential for negotiating fair and reasonable settlements of debt. Not having this most needed protection causes both lenders, and the federal government to abuse the borrowers. This has been proven time and time again in the case of student loans.


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Subject: [StudentLoanJustice] Checking in: October 18th, 2007
Date: Thursday, October 18, 2007 11:54 AM

Hey Everyone,

I hope all is well. Welcome to all the new members! It's been a relatively quiet week or so since my last update, but there are a few items to share:

1. Couple of articles last week in that we were featured or quoted in. The first was a piece by Helen Huntley in the St. Petersburg Times:

http://www.sptimes.com:80/2007/10/07/Business/New_law_gives_some_st.shtml

I was mischaracterized in this piece a bit, being ascribed the position that student should be able to "wipe out their loans" with bankruptcy. This is not the point of our fight to restore standard bankruptcy protections for student loans, and I made this clear in the interview, but this is the way it came out.

Also, we were feature in a piece by Marketwatch:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07287/825027-68.stm


There was very widely circulated piece by Marcy Gordon (AP News) a couple of weeks ago as well. We weren't used in this story, but It enjoyed such a high pick-up rate around the country, I feel it is worth mentioning:

http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/2007-09-30-studentloans_N.htm


Beyond that, there are 5-6 interesting pieces "in the hopper" that I am aware of, but as always, I will only mention them when they publish. I had figured that media attention to this issue would be dying down on this issue since the President's signing of the College Cost Reduction Act, but I may have been wrong.


2. The book is well underway. Drafts of the first two chapters are completed. With continued effort, I hope to have it finished ahead of schedule. The hard part is selecting borrower stories to use...there are so many! I will be contacting some of you in the coming months regarding this.

3. We now have 38 state leads signed on. The list is posted below. Please drop your state contact an email to let them know you are out there. If your state is unclaimed, please think about stepping up. The positions, obviously, are volunteer, and the duties include whatever you think is appropriate in your local area. I hope you will consider it.


4. Our Pac Mid-Year report should be posting at the FEC next week. As of June 30th, our expenditures (primarily for the Bus Tour) were $13,402, and our contributions were $8,917. We've received approximately $2,500 in donations since then, so we are within $2000 or so of breaking even. Please consider supporting the PAC!

5. As always, KEEP FIGHTING! This is a grassroots effort, which means that everyone has to step up. Don't be intimidated or ashamed to stick up for yourself, and this cause. This is not a "watch it happen" deal. You can be doing any number of activities, at little or no cost, to help. Plus, it feels good to do!

Have fun, and keep us posted!

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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Subject: Checking in: October 27th, 2007
Date: Saturday, October 27, 2007 3:17 PM

Hey Everyone!

Welcome to all the new members. We have a 4-month backloog of stories to update the website with at this point, so I ask for your patience in getting them up! I am reading them carefully, and a few of our new members have been featured in reports, so even though they aren't posted yet, they are doing good!

A really good piece came out last weekend in the Philadelphia Bulletin (Dan Hirschorn was the reporter). Thanks to The Wallaces, and Richard Frea for stepping up on this one. The link is:

http://www.thebulletin.us/site/news.cfm?newsid=18936241&BRD=2737&PAG=461&dept_id=623495&rfi=6


For the thousandth time, I will gladly repeat: It's not hard to get the press to do stories on this issue! I hope that some of you will step up, and take the initiative to get something out there in your local area. It's tremendously helpful (posting brochures is also a big help, by the way...)

On the lighter side: I learned recently that anyone seeking to find the website corresponding to the name of Albert Lord's new golf course (Anne Arundel Manor) will be redirected to .

Also, one of our members in Florida, Joe, has started his own website. I think you will find it inspiring!

www.joesdebt.com


Keep Fighting, and Have Fun!


-Alan

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Subject: [StudentLoanJustice] Checking in: November 4th, 2007
Date: Sunday, November 04, 2007 3:27 PM

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to the new members- I hope all is well out there. I have some important info that I hope all of you will take to heart as you go forward. This is information that to date has not recieved widespread press attention:

The student loan industry and even the Department of Education frequently brag that defaults of student loans are at an all time low- proof that the system does work. Those "few" that do default on their loans are then painted as deadbeats, lazy, irresponsible, etc--this is used as a justification by those same entities to slam these borrowers with fees, penalties, and capitalized interest. Not only are defaulted loans huge moneymakers for loan guarantors and collection companies; even the Department of Education makes a huge return (about 20%) on every dollar it pays out to lenders in default claims.

When people like us speak out about this, the lenders/Department of Education respond that the the system works, since defaults have come down so much--to between 4-5%.

Well, a study recently completed by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) shows that the 10 year default rate for students borrowing more than $15,000 for college is actually about 20%. This is not the lifetime rate, which probably approaches 23-24%. This is one in five, perhaps closer to one in four. This is an ABSOLUTELY HUGE number. Moreover, about 10% of all borrowers default on their student loans within 4 years after graduation.

This study looked at students graduating in 1993, and tracked them through 2003. College has become much more expensive- even after accounting for inflation- since that time, so we can expect that these rates are increasing as we speak, despite the ridiculous "cohort default rate" that the lenders/guarantors/Department of Education point to- a metric that is easily manipulated by those same entities.


Erin Dillon of EducationSector.Org does a pretty nice analysis of this study:

http://www.educationsector.org/analysis/analysis_show.htm?doc_id=559757


I hope that you will digest this information, and spread this fact around as widely as you can, particularly as you are working with reporters to develop stories about this issue.

I ASSUME EVERYONE IS OUT THERE TALKING TO REPORTERS, RIGHT??!!!


Most reporters don't have a clue about the magnitude of this problem. It is in our interest to make sure that they do.

That's it for now. There's a bunch more going on right now, but I will save it for the next check in.

Regards,

Alan

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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Subject: Checking in: November 29th, 2007
Date: Thursday, November 29, 2007 5:34 PM

Hey Everyone,

Hope all is well. Welcome to the new members.

1. Senator Dodd announced legislation to restore bankruptcy protections for private student loans. This is good for some of us, but not most, who have federally guaranteed (not private) loans. Remember, bankruptcy is no longer a "walk away" solution for the vast majority of borrowers- most will be required to repay what they borrowed, and some interest. Still and all, it is an extremely important protection to have in order to negotiate fair and reasonable settlements, particularly for defaulted debt that has spiraled beyond comprehension. We need to push for the reinstatement of bankruptcy rights for ALL student loans, not just private loans.

2. One of our own, borrower Joe Perez, made the front page of the Providence Journal this week. I applaud him for standing up- something that we all should be doing. It takes some guts to do this, but I think you will all find that it pays dividends. At the least, this kind of exposure will cause your loan holders to give you some additional consideration, I have found.

The link to the story is: http://www.projo.com/ri/cranston/content/joes_debt_11-27-07_307SPRK_v21.2c27e53.html

2. NPR is accepting questions for their democratic debate. Please go to http://www.npr.org/blogs/news/2007/11/ask_the_candidates_other_topic.html#commentform

and submit your question. If 100 of us do this, I should think they will seriously consider giving us a question.

3. A noted reporter is looking for older borrowers who are either having their social security garnished, or are perilously close to this happening. If this is you, please let me know so I can forward you to her.

4. Please donate to the PAC. Your support is appreciated, and needed. We are still a bit in the red from the Bus Tour, and also need to start building a small warchest for the upcoming presidential and congressional elections. I don't expect to be able to match what the lenders are pushing into Congress, but a $100 check from us is as significant as a $5,000 check from Sallie Mae, in my view. Also, the more donors we have, the more respected we will be regardless of the dollar amounts.

5. Please keep fighting, and do whatever you can to keep this issue in the spotlight. Convincing reporters to do stories is best, but posting brochures also seems to work pretty well, and its fun to do!

Regards,

Alan

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Subject: Checking in: December 12, 2007
Date: Wednesday, December 12, 2007 6:34 PM

Hey Everyone-

Hope all is well. Welcome to the new members. Lots of news. A month or so ago, I said that things would be dying down on this issue with the passage of the college cost reduction act. Well, I was wrong. AG Cuomo continues to make pretty big news--primarily with regards to private (not federally guaranteed) loans. This is kind of good --particularly for those of us with private loans- but doesn't have much of an effect on those of us with federally guaranteed loans. Also, Sen. Dodd (D-CT) announced legislation to restore bankruptcy protections for private(not federally guaranteed) loans. This is similar to what Durbin proposed a few months ago. Time will tell if he is serious about pushing this through, or if he will drop it, like what has happened to every other piece of bankruptcy legislation for student loans up to this point.

New information is coming out that is potentially huge:

An NCES Study that tracked about 10,000 student loan borrowers (who graduated in 1993) found that after 10 years, 9.6% had defaulted on their loans. For those borrowing over $15,000 this number was doubled, to about 20%. For African Americans, this number doubled again, to about 40% (for all black borrowers). These number are big, far larger than the "cohort" default rate that the Department of Education, lenders, guarantors, and universities frequently point to as evidence of the success of the federal student loan program. This study didn't even count those who never graduated, by the way.


WELLData released by the Department last week showed that across all borrowers who left school in 2002, after 5 years, 10.6% had defaulted. This is HIGHER than the 10-year default rate (9.6%) found from 1993.

While comparing this data is tough to do, since the 1993 study only looked at graduates, and was a relatively small sample, the numbers indicate, potentially, an INCREASE in the default rate from 1993...not a decrease as the Department, lenders, guarantors, and universities would have us believe.

If this is indeed the case, this is huge news--particularly given the obscene amount of money that these guarantors, collection companies, and yes...even the DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION are raking in on the backs of defaulted borrowers. Given this, this has all the earmarks of a predatory lending system. The fact that the Department of Education recently decided to kill a default aversion program further strengthens this argument. The fact that Sallie Mae's "fee income" increased by a whopping 160% between 2000-2004 further supports this claim.

When I was interviewed for a 60 Minutes piece last year, the toughest question I was asked was why people should really care about this, given that defaults are at record lows. I didn't have a good answer for it then, but I do now. I've also been hearing from people (on the down low) who work for guarantors confirming my sentiments that they love defaulted loans.

ALSOThe private loan market is in a free fall. Stock prices of student lenders are plunging---and plunging big-time. The fall in Sallie Mae's stock price, for example has decreased by about 50% since mid-April. While some may be inclined to take some pleasure in this fact, I do not. This has the very real possibility of garnering sympathy for the plight of the loan industry on the Hill, and could very well be used to take away attention from the critical need to restore standard consumer protections to student loans.

This is why it behooves each and every one of us to take it upon ourselves to make the public aware of the predatory nature of student loans, and the effect that this has had on our lives. Now, more than ever, it is important that the public not lose sight of the real victims in all of this.

Couple of other items:

1. Joe Galata in Nevada has finished a trailer for a documentary on student loans. You can see it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtSdd1-VjQY

When this piece is complete, we will all owe Joe a huge debt of gratitude!

2. Chris Zeman has updated his website, http://www.Salliemaebeef.com . As the name indicates, the site is focused specifically on Sallie Mae. Check it out!

3. There appears to be yet another lawfirm looking at a potential class action. This one deals primarily with minorities borrowers of private loans. The link to it is:

http://www.jameshoyer.com/problem_Sallie_Mae.html I haven't talked to these guys yet. If you do, let me know what you think.

4. I'm getting pretty close to finishing the book. 5 of 7 chapters are now complete in draft form,and we have pushed up the deadline by a month. If there are attorneys out there who might be willing and able to look it over prior to publication, and check it for potential liabilities, that would be extremely helpful.

5. Please keep the donations coming! Even small amounts really add up, and we are still a bit shy of covering costs for the bus tour-


KEEP FIGHTING!


-Alan

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Subject: Checking in: December 17th, 2007
Date: Tuesday, December 18, 2007 3:00 AM

Hey Everyone,

Happy Holidays to everyone! Couple of items this week.


1. There are two stories out currently that SLJ members made happen:

-Ashley Flanagan, reporter for The Times of Acadiana, Louisiana published an uncommonly good piece today. The link is below. Thanks to SLJ member Karen Latioloais for stepping up on this one. I will paste the story below as well.:

http://timesofacadiana.com:80/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071212/NEWS01/712120310/1002/NEWS01


-Theresa Sweet of Santa Barbara Community College also did an equally good piece on December 6th ( I just found it today)


http://media.www.thechannelsonline.com/media/storage/paper669/news/2007/12/06/News/Student.Loan.Debt.A.Growing.Epidemic.Says.Advocate-3137034.shtml


These kinds of stories really, really help. I hope that you each will take it upon yourself to make a similar story happen in your area. It's not that hard, really, and has a tremendous impact. People often don't even think about this issue unless it is in their local paper, with local resident's stories to make it hit home.

2. Please consider a donation to the StudentLoanJustice Political Action Committee this holiday season. Yor financial supprt is obviously important, but more than that, the more donors we have, the more formidable of a political force we become on Capitol Hill. While we can't match the dollars that the student loan companies throw at Congress every year, we should be able to far surpass them in number of donors. I hope you will consider it.

The link to the donation page is:

http://www./pac.htm

To send checks, the mailing address is:

2123 Mountain View
University Place, WA
98466

Again, Happy Holidays!


A student's life on loan:
Graduates face the struggles of paying off student loans the rest of their lives, university officials offer tips to recovery


By Ashley Flanagan
timesedit@timesofacadiana.com

*************************************************

Dan Rosenfield, UL dean of Enrollment Management, at his office Dec. 8. When students stay in school an extra year to work part-time and avoid taking out loans, Rosenfield points out, that means they've kept themselves out of the full-time workforce for an extra year, and lost a year's salary in the long run. Photo by P.C. Piazza



When Karen Latiolais took out her student loans in the early 1990s, she wasn't expecting to still be heavily in debt more than a decade later -- and with no end in sight.

But once she graduated from UL and put that education degree to work, she learned a schoolteacher's salary was barely enough to cover the $700 per month loan repayments, let alone rent and groceries, as well.

Unable to afford payments, she had to start requesting deferments and forbearances. But the forbearance agreement allowed the loan company to capitalize interest -- that is, they added the interest to the principal balance, so that Latiolais now has to pay interest on the interest.

Today, she owes nearly $28,000 in capitalized interest alone. Her total debt comes to $78,000.

"I'll never pay on the loan, my entire life. I will always pay on the interest," she explains. "My forbearance runs out on November 21, so I'll have to get another one and then that will allow me to make a payment I can afford, but it'll also give them the opportunity to tack on a lot more interest to the loan."

If payments were affordable, Latiolais says, she'd be happy to pay them. But as things stand, she has no hope of even paying off the interest in her lifetime -- never mind touching the original debt.

"I figure I will have this student loan on my back until the day I die, and hopefully, it won't affect my children down the road, but there's really nothing I can do," she says. "I've told my family, don't leave me anything, because I'm afraid that they'll come and take it."

Stories like this are nothing new to . He's the founder of Student Loan Justice, a political action committee dedicated to reforming U.S. student loan laws.

The current situation "has literally destroyed people's lives," says Collinge, who collects student loan horror stories. "These are people whose aspiration to pursue the American dream has become an absolute nightmare."

They've had reports, he says, of people who've been driven to leave the country or even commit suicide because of unmanageable debt. And since Hurricane Katrina, there's been a massive upswing in stories of student loan woes from Louisiana.

Cindy Perez, UL's director of financial aid, agrees. After Katrina, "everybody kind of went to a deferment," she says.

Why are loans such a problem today?

In the last three decades, college tuition has increased at nearly double the rate of inflation, says Collinge. But that's not the only factor.

"Congress -- since the 1970s, but really in the mid-90s -- has removed all standard consumer protections from student loans," he says.

Today, it's nearly impossible to discharge student loans by declaring bankruptcy. Once borrowers consolidate their loans, they can never refinance again, no matter how interest rates fluctuate. Student loans are exempt from the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, statutes of limitations and federal truth in lending regulations.

Lenders can levy massive penalty fees on borrowers who don't make payments. Collectors can garnish not just wages, but even tax refunds, Social Security and disability payments.

Other lenders, such as credit card companies, don't have such extensive powers. That means that for many young adults, the very first major economic decision they make is also one of the riskiest.

And, Collinge adds, the high penalty fees mean "it's far more profitable for these guys when students default on their loans."

Loan companies, of course, argue this isn't true. But it does seem clear that they're making a tidy profit from penalties: in Sallie Mae's 2003 corporate report, then-CEO Albert Lord attributed that year's record profits largely to fees and collections on defaulted loans.

And when graduates do manage to avoid defaulting, there can still be a cost for the public.

Everyone benefits when a society has plenty of good teachers -- but teachers need college degrees, and as Karen Latiolais found, it can be nearly impossible to pay off student loans on a teacher's salary. The same goes for many other important, but low-paying, jobs.

Arizona lawyer Kelly Carmody helps state governments develop loan forgiveness programs for public service attorneys. It's necessary, she says, because currently there aren't enough civil legal aid attorneys to cover even 20 percent of the need.

"Certain people can't afford to do it because of their debt, so it limits the pool," she says. "A lot of people who would like to do it just can't."

But not everyone agrees that the laws are the problem.

"If students were allowed to default on student loans, the program would become so expensive that it would be more difficult for the government to set up loans so that students who needed the money were allowed to borrow the money," says Dan Rosenfield, UL's dean of enrollment management.

And, he insists, students who are too afraid to take out loans at all end up hurting themselves. When students stay in school an extra year to work part-time and avoid taking out loans, Rosenfield points out, that means they've kept themselves out of the full-time workforce for an extra year, and lost a year's salary in the long run.

"Loans are an excellent way for students to finance their education, if they are cautious, and if they are good consumers," he says. "Everybody talks about loans as though they're horrible things and they're to be avoided, but they're actually very useful."

And, he says, in his experience, borrowers who run into problems rarely have trouble working out an acceptable payment plan, as long as they contact their lender promptly.

"My experience has been that people making a good faith effort generally do not encounter those kinds of problems," he says -- though Collinge and Latiolais would disagree.

To Rosenfield, a more common source of trouble is student borrowers who don't realize that they need to be careful with loans. "They're not for luxury items," he cautions.

Today's college students, who may have had their own credit cards since high school, don't always take debt as seriously as they should. And it's a rare 18-year-old who can truly grasp what numbers like "$700 a month" mean before they've ever had to pay for living expenses.

Alternative loan companies that advertise on television are another problem, adds Perez.

"We do find students trying to bypass the Stafford loan process to go to the alternative loan process because they think it's a quicker process, but they're hurting themselves when they do that," she says.

"There are some very reputable companies that do alternative loans, but then there are also some that are just out there to make money," she explains. "And the alternative loan industry is really not regulated by the federal government at all, so there's some free rein in there that's a little scary."

Whether you blame Congress, Sallie Mae, alternative loan companies, rising tuition costs, or naïve student borrowers, one thing is clear: Student loans are something to handle carefully.

"A lot of people say, 'I don't want to borrow money; I would like grants. I would like scholarships. I don't want loans.' And I think that's wonderful; if you can finance an education without loans," says Rosenfield.

But that's just not possible for everyone.

When it comes to law school, "I don't think there's any way to avoid it anymore, unless you come from a wealthy family," says Carmody.

It is possible to minimize costs, though, by shopping around for a school that offers relatively low tuition, and by making sure not to borrow more than necessary.

For choosing the loan itself, both Perez and Carmody recommend that students look to federal loans first. Federal loans offer much better rates, they say.

Thorough research is key. Carmody recommends talking to recent graduates, as well as your school's financial aid office. If private loans are necessary, Perez suggests, look for a company that offers federal loans as well, and be sure you can find reputable information on them.

Look into possible loan forgiveness programs before you take out a loan. Latiolais says she found out too late that her loan could have been partially forgiven in exchange for working at a high-risk school -- but only if she'd agreed to it when she first took out the loan. "I wasn't given that information at all," she reports.

And if you do encounter trouble making payments, contact your lender immediately. When someone who's having trouble avoids their loan company, companies tend to take "kind of a hard tack," says Rosenfield.

Perez agrees. "Especially when times are tough, that's when you need to call that lender or servicer to see what you need to do to stay out of default," she says.

For those already in default, the first step is talking to both your lender and the financial aid office at the school you graduated from. Both may be able to offer options.

For others, Carmody suggests that it may not be too late to look into programs that offer forgiveness in exchange for public service work. Programs can apply to almost any government job and many non-profits.

Lawyers can find loan repayment assistance programs, or LRAPs, at ABAnet.org. For others, Carmody recommends searching at finaid.org.

Another option is checking with individual employers. Many public interest attorneys now administer LRAPs directly for attorneys working under them.


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Subject: Checking In: January 5th, 2008
Date: Saturday, January 05, 2008 6:58 PM

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to the new members, and Happy New Year!

Couple of items:

1. David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter for the NY Times, has just published a book: "Free Lunch: How the wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill)". This book is currently #3 on the Amazon list, and marks the second time we have been written up by PP winning journalists.

This book has a chapter devoted entirely to Student Loans, in which two of our members are featured. So thanks go out to Jason in Pennsylvania, and Jason in New Jersey for stepping up on this.

2. Sallie Mae's stock price has fallen massively in the wake of the botched sellout deal to J.C. Flowers, rising defaults on private loans, and the tightening in the private credit market. This has similarly affected other lenders. This is not a good thing for us, I fear. My guess is that borrowers can look forward to even harsher collection tactics, starting immediately. I advise those of you being harassed to record collection calls.

3. We still need state leads for about 10 states. I will paste what we do have below. If your state isn't listed, think about stepping up and volunteering. We have to collectively get through to the presidential candidates, and by banding together at the state level, we can get it done. This doesn't necessarily require a lot of work per se, but will require some organizational skills, and a drive to get this problem licked. We can do it, but only with your help. Our first effort will be a nationwide "flyer day" at the end of the month, and I will have more about that later.

4. Please consider a donation to the PAC. This will help us immensely down the road to compete with the lenders on the Hill, and we have big enough numbers now to start making a serious impact.

5. Matt Kresling has written and produced a song on student loan debt. I was impressed: http://www.mattkresling.com/Beast.html

That's it for now. Keep us updated about what you are doing out there to solve this problem. We need more success stories from individuals steping up, and taking some leadership on this. Nothing happens unless you make it happen.

-Alan



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Subject: Checking in January 23rd, 2008--NATIONAL FLYER WEEK
Date: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 8:36 PM

Everyone:

I am pleased to announce our very FIRST national action...NATIONAL FLYER WEEK.

THAT'S RIGHT!! January 24th (TOMORROW) through January 31st is national Flyer week. We are asking everyone recieving this email to dowload the flyer, print 10-20 copies, and post in as many public places as possible. Colleges, coffee shops, and libraries are good places, but don't be limited to just them. Be creative and put them everywhere that you feel they will have the biggest impact in your local area!!!

Also, please check back with your state chapters to let them know where you posted.

The flyer can be found at:

http://www./january_flyer.doc


Thanks, and let's make our very first coordinated action count!!!


*************************************************
Subject: Checking in: February 2nd, 2008
Date: Saturday, February 02, 2008 6:50 PM

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to all the new members. I want to thank everyone who pitched in to make our first national action, National Flyer Week, a success. Traffic to the website is up, and I only ask that if you didn't post flyers in your local area, please do. The flyer is downloadable at the main page of our website www. . As far as I'm concerned, every week should be National Flyer Week!

a.. I need to take a moment to ask everyone to make a donation to the Political Action Committee (PAC). It is only with your support that we can continue this effort, and so please give this some immediate consideration. I am asking that everyone make a donation of $50, so that we can finally recoup our costs for the Bus Tour, and also establish a "warchest" for the upcoming presidential (and congressional) elections. Your support is very much needed, and greatly appreciated! As an added incentive: For donations of $100 or more, we are sending out high quality T-shirts! After making your donation, please email us to let us know your size, and shipping address.

There is more to report, but I will save those items for the next update. In the meantime: If you ever doubt why this is a fight worth fighting, I want to bring this to your attention:


A submission was received in December 2007 from a current employee of a non-profit student loan company . This employee, who has worked in both default collection, and default prevention within the organization, wrote:

"...I am disgusted at what I see. The 'Sallie Mae' model has taken over our management and now every huckster from around the world wants to be a Sallie Mae CEO. No one stops these people and they stop at nothing to extort millions from the public.

In eight years we have gone from a wholesome public venture to a loan shark operation, preying on students who do not belong in college in the first place. [one of our VP's] has single handedly turned our agency into a big payday advance type operation, preying on the old, minorities, anyone who is unable to stand up for themselves.

Greed is good? I've seen it destroy American Higher Education firsthand. The mafia would blush if they saw how our operation was run from the inside out."

This employee continues in subsequent emails:

".Envy/greed run hand in hand. People I work with see what the CEO of Sallie Mae 'earned' and now they are all greedy. They have forgotten the schools, students, lenders, employees. We have a rash of private people wanting entrance to this industry purely for a profit motive. It's a mess. Not sure what else I can say-"A significant percentage of our portfolio is what I refer to as 'subprime'. NINJA loans if you will. Our previous CEO targeted the poorest areas of [two states], knowing that many if not all of these students would end up paying us large default collection fees over the long haul.

According to this employee, the company also engaged in egregious collection practices, and gave an example:

When I worked default collections I refused to garnish a little old lady's disability check. Sweetest little old black lady you ever want to meet. She came with her son from Chicago so her son could play ball at [a university in the area]- she signed a bunch of PLUS loans. She was eating a mac and cheese diet on her disability check and I received an order to garnish her, rather than set up on low payment based on income. That's when I snapped and realized no one is protecting the public anymore..."

I hope this encourages you all to get more active to convince Congress to solve this problem, support the movement, and ultimately, help the country going forward.


Best Regards,

Alan

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Subject: Checking in: February 6th, 2008
Date: Wednesday, February 06, 2008 6:23 PM

Hey Everyone,

Welome to the new members. Traffic to the site has picked up since Flyer Week, and so that is a good thing. Couple of items:

1. Congressman Danny Davis(D-IL) is considering offering an amendment to the Higher Education Act Reauthorization that will restore bankruptcy protections for private student loans. It would behoove all of you with private loans to contact him and let him know that you're out there, and need this protection. I know alot of you have been saddled with extremely high interest private loans, and can't get anywhere wih your lenders. Bankruptcy protections will help your negotiating position immensely, and allow for a fair and reasonable way for you to settle your debt.

In classic grassroots style, I am asking you all, particularly Illinois rsidents to send his education staffer, Brian Montgomery, an email: b.montgomery@mail.house.gov . Please keep it concise, and to the point.


2. We have started a Facebook group for . In the first two days, we attracted 30 members, most from only a single university (UVA). I was skeptical at first, but these early results are telling me that this Facebook phenomenon is for real. Please go to the group, link to it, and invite your entire network to join. The link there is:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=7704336701

3. We were quoted last month in the Chronicle of Higher Education. This is a paid subscription, btw: http://chronicle.com/subscribe/login?url=http%3A%2F%2Fchronicle.com%2Fdaily%2F2008%2F01%2F1277n.htm

4. There are curently 3 separate documentary film makers working on student loan documentaries. They are looking for stories. If you have a compelling story you are willing to have told, please shoot them an email:

Jgalat@aol.com

aurora.sf@gmail.com

joshjgoldman@aol.com


4. Please consider a donation to the PAC. I would like to not have to keep harping on this, but it is indeed of critical importance, not only to "keep the lights on", but also to have a voice on the Hill. Suggested donation is $50, but lesser amounts are gladly accepted! Also, we are mailing high quality SLJ T-shirts to donors of $100 or more. You can send checks to:

Student Loan Justice PAC
2123 Mt. View
University Place, WA
98466

Also, Thanks to Tom Cimochowski of New Jersey for stepping up to be interviewed for the Star Ledger in New Jersey a while back. This article escaped my attention!


-Alan


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Subject: Checking in: February 12th, 2008
Date: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 6:07 PM

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to the new members. This will be a brief update.

1. We are quoted this week in a series of pieces by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

Debt can saddle students for many years

2. I've identified the "Blue Dog Democrats" who voted against the amendment from Rep. Davis (IL) that would have reinstated some of the bankruptcy protections that were taken away for private loans. If any of these names look familiar to you, then please give their offices a call.

If not for the blue dogs, this long overdue amendment would have gotten through. Chairman Miller, and most democratic members of the House education committee voted for it, knowing that these protections should have never been taken away in the first place. Here is the list of Blue Dogs that voted against the amendment:

Baca, Bean, Berry, Bishop, Boren, Cardoza, Carney, Chandler, Costa, Davis, Donnely, Ellsworth, Giffords, Hill, Holden, ampson, Mahoney, Marshall, Matheson, Melanon, Moore, Murphy, Peterson, Ross, Herseth Sandlin, Schuler, Space, Taylor, Wilson

You can find their contact info at:

www.bluedogdems.com


3. We now have a facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=7704336701 Please join this. Other student loan protest groups in Europe have managed to gather over 20,000 members, and the student loan laws are unbelievably friendly over there relative to the U.S. So I have the highest expectations fo this facebook group.
4. Please support the PAC . The suggested donation is $50. Free T-shirts provided to donors of $100 or more. Any amounts are gladly accepted.

Thanks,

Alan

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Subject: Checking in, February 24th, 2008
Date: Monday, February 25, 2008 1:42 AM

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to the new members. I hope everyone is doing well, and taking actions to bring attention to the astonishing lack of consumer protections for student loans. I have seen an increase in blog entries regarding student loans, and so that is a good thing. Also, our facebook group is now up to 170 members. My hope is that we can get it up to 25,000 or so in the next 6 months, so please check it out, and help spread the word about it.

I am still very concerned at what the Blue Dog Democrats did to Danny Davis's amendment to return bankruptcy protections to private student loans. I hope that you all will check the list of BDD's who voted to kill this amendment, and if one is in your state, call them, and let them know your feelings. Her is the list of BDD's who voted to kill the amendment:

Baca, Bean, Berry, Bishop, Boren, Cardoza, Carney, Chandler, Costa, Davis, Donnely, Ellsworth, Giffords, Hill, Holden, ampson, Mahoney, Marshall, Matheson, Melanon, Moore, Murphy, Peterson, Ross, Herseth Sandlin, Schuler, Space, Taylor, Wilson

You can find their contact info at:

www.bluedogdems.com

Also, the private loan industry has asked the Feds to consider a bailout for their private loans (these are the high interest, non federally loans that have become hard to resell in the currrent credit crunch). I find it irksome that Congress is willing to consider this, and at the same time is unwilling to consider returning standard consumer protections to student loans. At every opportunity on Capitol Hill, the borrowers are relegated to second position behind the banks. This is what we need to change, folks. Now more than ever, your activism is needed.

Also, I've been asked alot recently to give an endorsement for the democratic presidential race. From my perspective, this is very easy to do. Hillary Clinton did more to restore standard consumer protections to student loans than any other member of Congress in the last Congress with her Student Borrower Bill of Rights (S.511), and so of course my endorsement goes to Senator Clinton. Ralph Nader, who recently entered the race, has written excellent pieces on this issue also, I should add, but has not specifically advocated for the return of consumer protections for student loans to date. Senator Obama has not done or said anything to my knowledge on this issue, nor has Senator McCain.

Having said that, it is incumbent upon us to make this a presidential campaign issue, regardless of who the candidates are. It appears to me that thus far, no candidate has been eager to discuss the astonishing lack of consumer protections for student loans. We can change this. I encourage you all to get with your state chapters, and see what you can do together as the campaigns come through your state. I think we've demonstrated pretty strongly that affecting media stories about the problem is the most efficient way to go about this, but please don't be limited to just this.

I know you all are struggling, and appreciate that. However, we have to devote our efforts to this issue. So please, don't get discouraged, and keep fighting!

Regards,

Alan
Please support the PAC


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Subject: Checking in: March 9, 2008
Date: Sunday, March 09, 2008 5:16 PM

Hey Everyone,

This will be a brief update.

1. We are quoted this week in a piece by Jennifer Haley of CNN. It was the top emailed story of the day, and we are in the first paragraph. The link is:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/personal/03/05/student.loans/

2. This week, we submit our year end report to the Federal Elections Commission for the Student Loan Justice PAC. The report will show receipts of $9,842, and expenditures of $13,403. This leaves us in the hole by about $4,000. The balance has been paid by me personally, a circumstance I had not hoped for. I hope that you will consider making a donation to the PAC in view of this.

3. We need to make this a presidential campaign issue. Hillary Clinton is the best candidate with regards to restoring standard cnsmer protections for student loans, but neither candidate has talked about returning standard consumer protections to student loans on the campaign trail. So get out there, hit the blogs, make phone calls, use every tool at your disposal to make this an issue. It really is up to you.

Alan Collinge,

Please support the PAC

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Subject: Checking In, March 31st, 2008
Date: Tuesday, April 01, 2008 3:31 AM

Hey Everyone,

Alot of you have been asking about the Yahoo group. Unfortunately, It has been taken down. We hav too many people from the student loan industry sitting in on it, and it was beginning to make some people uncomfortable. Anyhow, The Facebook page is up and running, with over 200 members at this point. I hope you will all check that out. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=7704336701

Also, because we have so many members, the StudentLoanJustice ISP is no longer capable of handling all the emails going out from the check-ins, and so I will be posting these on the Facebook until we can increase our mail capabilities. You will have to check out "The Wall" on the link above to get this. I will also post the updates on the website.

I am quite busy with my normal life for the next few months- I know you all can understand that. That said, it is all the more important that others pick up the ball and run with it. I urge you all to get with your state leads to get stuff going locally. It really is the local grassroots work that is going to make the difference for us. California is doing well in this regard, and a couple of the other states are beginning to come together, and this has to continue and expand. Hopefully you are aware that the banks are seeking, and getting alot of sympathy on the Hill currently because of the credit crisis, so that we borrowers, once again, find ourselves relegated to the outside looking in.

Since the Piece on CNN eariler this month, we haven't had much exposure in the press, but there are a couple of items I know that are in the works. However, I hope that some of you will take it upon yourselves to pick up the phone, call a reporter or a news company, and let them know what's going on.

Keep us posted, donate to the PAC, and of course, keep fighting.


Alan Collinge,

Please support the PAC


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Subject: Checking In: April 10, 2008
Date: Friday, April 11, 2008 3:40 AM

Hey Everyone,

Apparently our new ISP is allowing bulk emails, so I will continue sending updates until they catch on!

It has been three (long) years now since was started. However, I have to say that i am proud with what has been accomplished to date. With almost no funding, and a heavily beleagured membership, we have been written about in nearly every major newspaper in the U.S., been featured on 4 television programs including top story on 60 Minutes, been featured in 4 books, and written one of our own, and also been aired on dozens of radio shows across the country. We've also been featured in 3 magazines, and have grown to comprise roughly 3000 members.

We also formed a political action committee, toured the country, and have formed state chapters for 40 states. We also served as a basis for an ongoing Senate investigation, and are credited as being the reason that the Student Borrower Bill of Rights was created in 2006.

Still and all, there has been little progress on the legislative front, and this is really what matters. I hope you will be encouraged by this to get out and do your part to make sure that Congress realizes what an absolute scam the student loan industry has become. If you don't stand up, no one will stand up for you.
Recent News:

1. Lynn O'Shaugnessy thanks us in her new book: College Solution.

2. I was a guest last Monday on the Armstrong Williams show: Take Back America

3. Congress is again bending over backwards for the banks. In my view, this is a travesty. These are the same banks that lobbied for, and got the removal bankruptcy protections for private loans, and then proceeded to wrecklessly lend as much as possible- and at as high of an interest rate as possible- to students. Now, with the economy turning, and these students defaulting on these predatory loans (predictably), they are crying for help. Again, the citizens are taking a back seat to the banks. This will continue, particularly in light of TERI, the nations largest guarantor of private loans, filing for bankruptcy. Ironic that they can file for bankruptcy protection, but not the students who are now saddled with these usurious loans.

That's it for now. Keep us updated on your progress. We need something to brag about for the next update!

Alan

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Subject: Checking in: May 1st, 2008
Date: Saturday, May 03, 2008 10:49 AM

Hey Everyone,

Hope all is well out there. Welcome to the new members. We have noticed an uptick in submissions over the past several weeks(particularly from people planing on leaving the country for some reason), and I expect this trend to continue for the foreseeable future. The downturn in the economy guarantees that student loan defaults will be increasing...possibly at an alarming rate depending on how bad it gets. Those of you who follow these updates will know that despite the rhetoric from the student loan industry that default rates for student loans are at historic ows, the opposite is true. Recent data suggests that about 20% of all student loans will end up in default, and this is probably closer to 25%.

Moreover, the amount of student loan debt out there is massive...about $500 billion. Compare this with the total amount of credit card debt ($900 billion), and you should agree that this problem is very large.

Now is the time for you all to take personal leadeship for getting the word out about the uniquely predatory nature of student loan debt. The pressure that the industry is under due to recent legislation and the credit crunch have all but swept this under the rug, and Congress is cowtowing to the banks, predictably. The suffering that the astonishing absence of consumer protections for student loans is causing has been drown out by the cries (and lobbying) by the banks. This should concern you, and concern you greatly.

I do know of a few media pieces in the works that address this issue, but I have to say that with the exception of a few folks in California, I am not seeing much tangible evidence of action out there in the country to bring attention to this issue. Its not hard to pick up the phone and call a reporter. It's not hard print up some flyers and post them around the colleges. There are a million things that you could do. Just pick one.

Also, I want to make it clear that this site is not for the purpose of giving out personal advice to borrowers. This site is for galvanizing grassroots action to convince Congress to return the standard consumer protections to student loans. I would like, at some point, to be able to offer counseling services to individual borrowers, but we are not there yet.

Thanks, and please take some action.

Alan

Keep us posted-

Alan Collinge,
Please support the PAC


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Subject: Checking in: May 7th, 2008
Date: Wednesday, May 07, 2008 6:49 PM

Hey Everyone,

I estimate that about 200 of us have sent our student loan stories in to Lou Dobbs at this point. If you haven't yet sent in your story, please do so...and save it for later use. If there's no bite with Dobbs, then we will move on to the next possibility. Be sure to mention the unique lack of bankruptcy and other standard consumer protections that are causing predatory behavior.

His email is loudobbs@cnn.com


It has been two years, now since the predatory nature of student loans was examined on national television in a 60 Minutes piece. Since that time, we've been featured in every major newspaper in the country, written dozens of OPEDs, been on other TV shows, Radio shows, and were instrumental in Hillary Clinton's Student Borrower Bill of Rights being created. We formed a PAC of our own, traveled the country, and now have grass roots state chapters in nearly all 50 states.

Recent data suggests that approximately 1 in 4 student loan borrowers will end up in default. This is a huge number. While we represent approximately $200 million in loans, the total value of defaulted loans across the country approaches $40 billion (higher if you include private loans). We clearly have a long way to go to connect with the millions of citizens out there who are going through what we are facing.

Please get with your state chapters contacts, and let them know you're out there. Spread the word about this site to everyone you can in your daily life. Think about actions that you can take as an individual, or in groups, to bring this issue to the forefront. The presidential campaigns have paid little attention to the astonishing lack of consumer protections for student loans, and if we don't make them aware of it, then we will be drown out by the student loan industry. There are a couple of important media pieces in the works, but this is nothing compared to what could be happening if we all dedicated ourselves to this effort.

Also, don't forget to make a small donation to the PAC if you can. It really helps.

You're not alone. Keep Fighting!

Alan

Alan Collinge,

Please support the PAC

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Subject: Checking in: May 19, 2008
Date: Monday, May 19, 2008 10:27 PM

Hello Everyone,

Pretty busy week. Welcome to the new members. In no particular order:


1. A republican in Washington State, Rick Bart, has proposed a student loan amnesty bill. The incumbent he is running against, Rick Larsen, voted against an amendment that would have reinstated bankruptcy protections for private student loans. I applaud Mr. Bart for taking a stand on this. You can read the release at: http://www.politickerwa.com/bryanbissell/1127/bart-proposes-student-loan-amnesty . Please take a moment to review this. This is potentially a really big deal.

2. A couple of weeks asgo we were quoted in a piece in the Chicago Sun Times

http://www.suntimes.com/news/931855,CST-NWS-college05.article


3. The folks in California have started their own website. The address is: http://www.StudentLoanJusticeca.com

I would love to see all fifty states with websites such as these. It would really help.


4. The folks at the James Hoyer Law firm have asked me to spread the word about this:

http://consumerwarningnetwork.com/


5. Sallie Mae is again in the running for the Worst company. I hope you all will cast your vote at:

http://consumerist.com/5009106/round-39-sallie-mae-vs-ebaypaypal

6. Please donate to the PAC as you are able to!!!!!


Im pretty happy to see some things starting to happen out there. Keep it going.


Regards,

Alan

Alan Collinge,

Please support the PAC

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Subject: Checking in: May 28th, 2008
Date: Tuesday, May 27, 2008 11:33 PM

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to the new members. This will be a brief check in.


1. The book, The Student Loan Scam, is now available for pre-order. It won't hit the shelves until next February, but early interest in the book will help in the marketing efforts down the road. Our members and their stories are featured throughout the book, and there are some pretty good scoops in there that haven't been reported. The link is:

http://www.amazon.com/Student-Loan-Scam-Oppressive-History/dp/0807042293/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1211865769&sr=8-1


2. This is worth repeating. A republican candidate for a congressional seat in Washington State has proposed a student loan amnesty. He is going against a democrat who, inexplicably, voted against an amendment put for by Danny Davis (Ill) that would have reinstated bankruptcy protections for private student loans. These are the kind of people that we need to support. Please check out this article, and put in your own comments:

http://www.politickerwa.com/bryanbissell/1127/bart-proposes-student-loan-amnesty


3. Please keep up your grassroots activities. The banking industry has effectively drown out the debate with their own agenda, and we are currently being drown out by the noise! It is critical that we get local reporters to do stories on this issue. We all have the power to make stories happen. We just need to do it.

Keep fighting.

Alan Collinge,

Please support the PAC

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Subject: Checking In June 1st, 2008
Date: Sunday, June 01, 2008 1:28 PM

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to the new members. It has been an interesting week.

1. Steven Greenhouse, a writer at the NY Times, has published an excellent book, The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker in which one of our members, Michelle Young, is featured (Thanks to Michelle for stepping up). This book has won really compelling critical acclaim, and will certainly have a large impact on the public discourse. I encourage you all to give it a read.

2. There is a writer at a well known national magazine seeking people who, despite being highly capable students, dropped out of college. She is particularly interested in people from lower-middle class backgrounds. If this is you, let me know and I will forward it along.

3. As I mentioned previously, a respected, REPUBLICAN, congressional candidate in Washington State has proposed a student loan amnesty, where long time defaulted borrowers would be allowed to repay what they originally borrowed, and move on with their lives. The Democrat that he is running against actually voted with the banks recently to kill an amendment offered by Danny Davis of Illinois that would have restored bankruptcy protections for private student loans. I hope the irony of this is not lost on you all. There may be some hope for the republican party, given this. As treasurer of the StudentLoanJustice PAC, I intend to support this candidate. Please donate to the PAC if you agree.

4. What we have accomplished to date: Since we started over three years ago, I am extremely pleased with what we have accomplished given the hurdles that we faced. We have been featured in nearly every major newpaper in the U.S., including the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Sun times, San Francisco Chronicle, L.A. Times, and many others. We have also been featured on numerous local and national television programs including 60 Minutes (top story), Geraldo, and others. Further, we have been featured in magazines including Fortune, Businessweek, Penthouse, and others. We have also written OPEDs in the LA Times, Baltimore Sun, Denver Post, and many, many others. We have done about a dozen radio shows, and been featured in 5 books including our own book to be published early next year, The Student Loan Scam.

We also are the reason that Hillary Clinton introduced the Student Borrower Bill of Rights, and were intrumental in convincing the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to agree to forgive interest and penalties for bankrupt borrowers, and explore this possibility for federal loans. We also were the basis for an ongoing investigation by the Senate HELP committee into student loan abuses. We also traveled the country for 6 months last year, visiting 50 members of both House and Senate education committees in 42 states.

5. Fundraising: As our numbers grow it is really important that we get serious about contributing to our Political Action Committee. I think that you all will agree that we have are getting a huge return for our investment in the PAC, given our miniscule funding to date compared to what we have accomplished. It is time to step it up on this front. If everyone were to give $30 to the PAC, this would allow us to launch a real nationwide campaign. We'd be able to contribute significant amounts to the "good guys" on the Hill, expand our numbers to more accurately reflect the true size of this problem (there are 5-10 million defaulted borrowers in this country), and this would certainly build on itself. I hope that you will give this serious consideration.

As encouragement I am proposing the following: A small delegation of SLJ members will be visiting the University of Washington at the end of the month. For every $30 received in donations to the PAC for the next two weeks, a t-shirt will be given to a student.

Also, if you have an interest in doing the same thing in your local community, then please contact me.

6. As I mentioned previously, the book is now available for pre-order. There are some great stories in there, and I hope that you will consider ordering it. The cost is approximately $15 on Amazon.

7. Inspirational Closing: I just wanted to share part of one of the many emails that we get on this end by way of encouragement. This is from Jen in Colorado:

"...I have to admit I've been doing nothing - I was paralyzed and didn't want to call and shame myself to a reporter. But something just happened and I hope you can tap into this. I followed the link in this email and read about Bart and the comments readers posted. The desperation and devastation of good Americans lives has me enraged and ready to act! Not because of the wretched, hopeless, agonizing situation I am in with my loans but because of reading other peoples horror stories. About retirees getting their SSI garnished!!! If you could share stories of ours in your email blast I think we would be getting off our asses for each other. Keep up the amazing, courageous and necessary work you are persisting at. I will print brochures to distribute around Longmont, CO and the surrounding area and I will call and email reporters and politicians. I will let you know what I do as I do it. We are a damaged group of ! decent people getting pushed around, driven underground and ruined - our American dream has been stolen and crushed. I don't have anything left to lose so, I'm ready to rise up."


That's it for now. KEEP FIGHTING-
Alan

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Subject: *private* Please send an email to Obama's Education Staffer
Date: Thursday, June 05, 2008 8:27 PM

Hey Guys,

This email goes out to borrowers only. It is certain that Sen. Obama is going to be the democratic nominee. Now is the time to hit him, his staff, his campaign, and anyone else associated with him to make our point.

Please send an email to steven_robinson@obama.senate.gov


Say whatever you can to convince him to make it clear that standard consumer protections need to be returned to student loans. If you want my advice: Keep it short, concise, respectful, but make him feel your pain. I am pasting a couple of bullets below for your consideration, and also a chapter from the book. Use them if you want.


1. Student Loans are the ONLY types of loans in U.S. History to to have
bankruptcy and other standard consumer protections removed.

2. People are literally being forced off the grid, are fleeing the country,
and are even taking their own lives due to the inescapability of the debt,
combined with the massive increases in their loan balances which cannot be
negotiated because of #2. I have many stories to back this up as well.

3. Sallie Mae's "Fee income", for instance increased by 228% between
2000-2005, compared with their loan portfolio growth, which was only 87%.
In their 2003 annual report, Albert Lord brags to shareholders that their
record profits that year were attributable to collections on defaulted
loans.

4. Sallie Mae and others have been found, repeatedly, to have been putting
students into default without even attempting to collect on the debt.

5. Despite frequent claims that student loan defaults are at historic lows,
they are actually increasing. In fact, recent evidence suggests that about
1 in 4 borrowers will default on their loans at some point.

6. There is $550 billion in outstanding student loans nationally. Compare
this with credit cards ($850 billion), and you can see that this is a much
larger problem than reported. Total amount of outstanding defaulted student
loan debt: $40 billion (This doesn't include private loans, which is
probably $10 billion).

7. Check out www.premierecredit.com This is a student loan collection
company owned by Nelnet. They literally have a 4000 gallon SHARK TANK
installed in their corporate headquaurters. Go to their website for 10
seconds, and my point will be proven.

Chapter Eight: Solutions

Citizens, student advocacy groups, and state Attorney's General have begun to make it clear that monumental changes are critically needed for student loans, and Congress is beginning to respond. Widespread publicity showing how standard consumer protections were removed from student loans, how banks and universities actively engaged in improper and exploitive relationships with lenders and students for the sake of monetary gain, and evidence showing the effects that student loan debt is having on the U.S. population has begun to change the national discourse on the subject. The rhetoric on Capitol Hill has finally begun to change in favor of the consumers, not the banks, and the average citizen is now aware that this type of debt has serious, grave implications.

There has been significant student loan legislation introduced since 2006, and some notable improvements have even been signed into law by President Bush. This is an encouraging first step in the right direction. Make no mistake, however: thus far, legislation proposed for the reinstatement of standard consumer protections for student loans has not progressed anywhere close the point of being signed into law, and indeed much of it has stalled, or been abandoned. Student loans still remain as absent of standard consumer protections as before, but the ground has been laid, at least, for A return of standard consumer protections to student loans. Even Sallie Mae representatives have stated publicly (in a Congressional hearing) that it may be time to re-examine bankruptcy laws for student loans.

This chapter discusses recent legislation, proposes additional legislation that should be considered, and also briefly touches on potential solutions for what truly is the overwhelming problem with higher education: the astonishing rise in price.

The College Cost Reduction Act of 2007

On September 27, 2007, President Bush signed into law the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-84). Touted as the most significant higher education legislation since the GI Bill, this law mandates significant improvements for students. The new law provides for a halving of interest rates for future undergraduate students on the subsidized portion of their federally guaranteed loans. Also, the bill increased the maximum Pell grant amount slightly, and cuts lender subsidies significantly and guarantor collection fees somewhat.

While this legislation provides tangible benefits for current and future students, it does very little for those who are already buried under unmanageable student loan debt, especially defaulted borrowers whose loan balances have doubled, tripled or even grown by an entire order of magnitude as a result of unreasonable collection charges and other fees. In fact, it could be argued that the cuts in lender subsidies, while they certainly benefit the federal government, will actually have an adverse effect on people who have already seen their loan balances escalate through the default process, since the lenders will more aggressively work to make profits in other areas to make up for the shortfall caused by the subsidy cuts.

The most important aspect of the bill from the perspective of defaulted borrowers was a provision for loan forgiveness given after 10 years of public service. This was touted by some public policy advocates as a potential solution for defaulted borrowers whose loan balances have spiraled out of control due to penalties and fees. However, the public service plan is largely unacceptable for the purpose of clearing defaulted student loan debt for a number of reasons.

First, assuming the borrower successfully finds and maintains public service employment for 10 years, the amount that would be forgiven would be treated as taxable income under current law. Given that most defaulted borrowers have loan balances that far exceed the amount they originally borrowed and that their loan balance is likely to increase significantly during the remaining term of the loan, the amount of tax they would have to pay immediately after the end of the term would likely be astronomical, often more than the original loan balance.

Second, the borrowers would be forced to "rehabilitate their loans" in order to qualify for the program. This would entail signing a new promissory note, thus legitimizing all the penalties, fees and that caused their loan balances to drastically increase. Moreover, throughout the term of the repayment, the loan balance is likely to increase, such that if the borrower should happen to experience a financial windfall, it would likely be consumed by this onerous debt.

Moreover, there is a larger issue to consider here: this program smacks of indentured servitude. Being relegated to working in a specific field for the sole purpose of retiring one's unreasonably large student loan debt is a severe restriction on the freedom of citizens. This sentiment is felt most strongly by those borrowers in their 40's, 50's, and beyond who have no wish to quit their current jobs and find a new one in the public sector for the sole purpose of retiring their exploded student loan debt.

David Aigaki, the chiropractor in Texas who has been relegated to driving trucks because the State of Texas revoked his license to practice medicine due to his defaulted loans, raises some critical questions regarding the new legislation. "I originally borrowed $75,000. They are now demanding about $400,000 in payment. I suppose that I could quit my job, take a cut in pay, learn a new field, and take a job at a non-profit somewhere for 10 years, and give up 15% of my income along the way, but at the end of the day, I'll probably owe a half a million. What is the tax on that? I'm 50 years old now, where am I going to find a hundred-plus thousands dollars- on top of what I will have already paid- to pay these people off after all is said and done? I don't want to die in debt, but at this point, it's looking like either that, or the tax hit at the end will put me into an early grave anyways, so I can't win- the U.S. Government has seen to that".

There is another issue for borrowers who have seen their loan balances explode, and it is one of trust. Many borrowers who were defaulted on their loans feel they were defaulted improperly in the first place, others accept that they bare responsibility for the default, but see clearly that the system as designed was so heavily tilted in favor of the lenders in the first place, and feel so abused by years of ruthless collection tactics and a lack of recourse under the law, that they no longer have any faith in government on this issue. These borrowers have been bullied for so many years by the system, that they have no desire to enter into a long term contract on the debt with a party that they do not trust. After all, Congress retroactively removed bankruptcy protections from student loan debt, for example, so what assurances are there that the rules will not change in the middle of the game, yet again, during a 10-25 year period, depending on the whims of Congress?

To be sure, this program may be attractive for recent graduates whose loans have not ballooned due to default. In the view of nearly all defaulted borrowers who have studied this program, however, the plan is completely unacceptable, and is seen as a cheap attempt by Congress to forego the reinstatement of the standard consumer protections that have been taken away from student loans.

The Student Loan Sunshine Act of 2007

In May 2007, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly (414-3) to approve the Student Loan Sunshine Act. This act was in response to the investigation of the New York Attorney General that found widespread corruption within the industry. The act called for sweeping reforms of the relationships between the lenders and the universities. Under this act, colleges would be required to make full disclosure of any special arrangements between lenders and institutions of higher education. The legislation also bans lenders from offering gifts worth more than $10 to college employees, including travel, lodging and entertainment, and bans lenders from providing in-kind services to college financial aid offices. The legislation further requires full disclosure of the reasons why an institution of higher education has selected a lender for its preferred lender list, including any special arrangements the lender has with the school.

Again, this legislation was welcomed, and will certainly provide for more education for the borrowers prior to taking out student loans. It does not offer, however, any benefit for those citizens who have already taken out loans.

Bankruptcy Protections

While no one ever wants to file for bankruptcy, the reasons for bankruptcy protections are well founded. Bankruptcy protection affords citizens with insurmountable debt a legal mechanism for resolving their debts, and continuing on to be productive citizens. Most consumers who file for bankruptcy do so for reasons beyond their control. This is seen by most as a critically important freedom to have, and serves as a protection against human rights abuses that frequently occurred for debtors in centuries past, including slavery, involuntary servitude, and debtor's prison. Bankruptcy protections are also seen as a critical freedom for a nation to provide its citizens in order to encourage and foster entrepreneurship, risk taking, and creativity. For example, notable Americans including Thomas Jefferson and Henry Ford went bankrupt multiple times during their lives, yet contributed greatly to society through their creative and societal endeavors..

The rationale for the restriction, and ultimately, the removal of bankruptcy protections for federally guaranteed student loans was predicated largely on undocumented anecdotal examples promulgated by the lending industry of students who filed for bankruptcy upon graduation. In fact, most of the examples involved credit card debt, not student loan debt. Instances of this type of activity were reported widely in the media, and in 1978, Congress added a 7-year repayment requisite before student loans could be discharged in bankruptcy. The amendments to the Higher Education Act in 1998 went much further, and removed bankruptcy protections completely for the majority of borrowers.

Interestingly, the language that exempted student loans from bankruptcy discharge in the 1978 overhaul of bankruptcy laws- which reportedly came up "at the last minute" [i] was opposed by both the primary co-sponsor of the bill, Rep. Don Edwards, and the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education, Rep. James O'Hara. Edwards' opposition was strong. He said that Congress was "Fighting a 'scandal' which exists primarily in the imagination." [ii]

The statistics on bankruptcy filings, moreover, painted a far different picture from the one used as a premise for removing bankruptcy protections from student loans. People graduating from college, and then promptly filing for bankruptcy protections for the sole purpose of erasing student loan debt simply did not occur in numbers large enough to warrant such draconian legislation. In fact, it was shown by the Government Accountability Office that prior to the 1978 legislation fewer than 1% of federally guaranteed student loans were discharged in bankruptcy proceedings.[iii] Thus, the initial basis for the removal of bankruptcy protections is highly suspect and evidently without firm grounding in fact.

Another rationale given for the removal of bankruptcy protections for student loans is the fact that the federal government guarantees these loans. However, there is no precedent for this. There are no other federal loan guarantees in existence in the United States- secured or unsecured- that enjoy bankruptcy exemptions. From Farm Loans, to FEMA Loans, to SBA Loans, and all other government loans, and government loan guarantees, not a single one- with the exception of student loans- enjoy exemptions from bankruptcy discharge.

In general, higher education provides the nation with a public benefit. As such, student loans should, at least conceptually, be more agreeable to the borrower in terms of consumer protections than loans that do not contribute to the public good, such as credit cards gambling, or other debts. Yet, with student loans, we find that exactly the opposite is true. For the purposes of bankruptcy, student loans are in a class with criminal debt, unpaid child support, taxes, and alimony. It should be obvious to any logical thinker that this is wrong.

For private student loans, the lending industry argued that removal of bankruptcy protections would allow for greater accessibility of student loans to individuals with lower credit scores by allowing the lenders to relax the underwriting criteria. Two years after the removal by Congress of bankruptcy protections for private loans, however, no evidence could be found to show that the lenders followed through with their promise, based on disclosures by the largest private lenders in the prospectuses for private student loan securitizations. A study conducted by Mark Kantrowitz, Publisher of FinAid.org, found that since the removal of bankruptcy protections for private loans in 2005, the percentage of borrowers with low credit scores receiving private loans from Sallie Mae, for instance, increased by a mere 0.2%[iv].

Sallie Mae Acknowledges Need for Bankruptcy Protections

In 2007 there was public and congressional outcry over the removal of bankruptcy protections for private loans, and even Sallie Mae executives conceded publicly that perhaps bankruptcy protections need to be revisited. In June of that year, Sallie Mae spokesperson Martha Holler told Paul Basken of the Chronicle of Higher Education that ".We agree that it may be appropriate to revisit how to handle private student loans in bankruptcy".[v] Similarly, Conway Casillas, Sallie Mae public affairs director, told Time Magazine in September 2007 that it might be appropriate to revert to the previous laws regarding bankruptcy of student loans, where discharge was possible, given a 7 year repayment history by the borrower[vi].

These acknowledgements from Sallie Mae are hugely important. After all, the Sallie Mae lobbying machine went to great lengths to support legislation that took these rights away in the first place. Indeed, a December 2006 internal strategy memo regarding federal government relations from Sallie Mae made public in 2007 showed that of the 7 objectives for the company on this front, the second was to "protect private credit economics (including bankruptcy)".[vii]

Canada Relaxes Bankruptcy Restrictions

The Canadian government also changed bankruptcy protections for student loans at approximately the same time as the United States Congress. In 1997 a two year window was placed on the debt after the student graduated, during which time the loans were not dischargeable. In 1998 this window was extended to 10 years. In 2007, however, legislation was approved and is currently pending passage that would reduce the 10 year window to 7 years for all borrowers, and 5 years for those facing hardships.[viii]

Bankruptcy Legislation for Federal-Guaranteed Student Loans

In May 2006, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) introduced the Student Borrower Bill of Rights Act of 2007 (S.511). This legislation had a plethora of important modifications to the Higher Education Act, not the least of which was the reinstatement of bankruptcy protections for student loans. The act provided for the return of bankruptcy protections for federally guaranteed loans, with the restriction that borrowers be in repayment status for 7 years- effectively rolling back the law to pre-1998 conditions. The legislation was reintroduced in March 2007.

The Student Borrower Bill of Rights prefaced its language regarding bankruptcy by stating that the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) affords sufficient protections to prevent fraud and abuse in the carefully regulated discharge of student loans in bankruptcy.

There are two problems with this legislation. First, it only applies to loans made on or after the enactment of the legislation. Second, if a borrower is in such desperate financial condition to warrant a bankruptcy filing, having to wait as long as 7 years to file, does nothing for their immediate financial distress. In other words, this legislation provides no relief for borrowers who have already seen their student loan debt explode. Congress needs to enact legislation that restores full bankruptcy protections for all student loans and all borrowers, regardless of when the loans were made, and puts them on an equal basis with all other types of consumer credit. It is hoped that there will be significant attention paid to arguments made by such experts as Elizabeth Warren, John Pottow, Deanne Loonin and others on this issue.

Bankruptcy Legislation for Private Student Loans

In June 2007, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Il) introduced legislation that would restore bankruptcy protections for private student loans. Senator Chris Dodd announced a plan in November 2007 that would similarly reinstate bankruptcy protections for private loans.

The fact that these loans were exempted from bankruptcy discharge in the first place was a testament to the lobbying prowess of the student loan industry with the Congress of 2005, and had little rational basis, except the false promise (in hindsight) by the lending industry that the bankruptcy exemption would allow for greater access to higher education for individuals with low or no credit scores. Moreover, given that lenders are adopting more stringent credit underwriting criteria in response to the subprime mortgage credit crisis, there is no longer any need for a bankruptcy exception. The Durbin legislation, unfortunately, has not progressed far, and there are indications that the bill may be quietly abandoned[ix]. Senator Dodd ended his presidential campaign in January 2008. It is not known if his plan will move forward in light of his withdrawal.

In February 2008, Rep Danny Davis (IL) introduced an amendment to the Higher Education Act Reauthorization that would have restored limited bankruptcy protections for private student loans. This amendment, like the Durbin legislation, was seen by student advocates as a long overdue correction to language that the republican Congress had slipped into the 2005 Bankruptcy bill that made private student loans (loans not guaranteed by the federal government) non dischargeable in bankruptcy.

The amendment apparently passed by a voice vote, but Buck McKeon (R-CA) called for a recorded vote and there was a delay. During this time, the Banks and their lobbying machines went to work. By the time the vote was cast, the amendment no longer had the necessary support, and it failed.

It turned out that many "Blue Dog Democrats" had voted against the amendment after being lobbied heavily by the Consumer Banker's Association, and other student loan interests on the Hill. Fully 29 of the 37 Blue Dog members voted to kill this amendment. Easily enough to make the difference between success and failure for this initiative.[x]

Refinancing Rights

It is a basic free market principle in finance that if there is a lender who is willing to charge less interest, or otherwise give a better deal to a borrower, that borrower should be able to refinance the debt with the new lender. As per federal law, however, students who have consolidated their federally guaranteed loans can never leave that lender for a more competitive bank. This captivity is a major source of distress for borrowers, many of whom were locked into extremely high interest rates with inferior customer service. For a brief period, there was a convoluted mechanism by which this could occur, where a borrower could transfer his loans into the Direct Program, and then back out with a private lender under more favorable terms, and millions of borrowers took advantage of it while it was available. However, this loophole was closed by Congress in 2006 under intense lobbying by Sallie Mae and others. Tom Joyce, Sallie Mae spokesman, commented that this anti-competitive move would make smaller lenders think twice about getting into the student loan business.

Senator Clinton's Student Borrower Bill of Rights also called for the right for students to refinance (or "reconsolidate") their federally guaranteed student loans. Surprisingly, no Republican members of Congress have stepped forward to similarly call for refinancing rights for federally-guaranteed student loans. This lack of commitment for free market enterprise among some members of Congress may suggest a conflict of interest for those whose campaign coffers are filled by individuals who would not benefit from such a free market.

Future Legislation

The current legislative efforts regarding student loans are significant, but there are still key areas for improvement. First, a borrower's ability to practice in his or her chosen field should not be encumbered by student loan debt. Currently many states regularly suspend professional licenses as a result of defaulted student loan debt. In the current environment, this only serves to further compound the financial difficulties being faced by the borrowers, and does nothing to benefit the public. How does Congress expect a doctor to repay medical school debt if he or she is unable to practice medicine, or a lawyer who is unable to practice law? Suspending their licenses is counterproductive. Legislation should be introduced which does away with this practice entirely.

George, a registered nurse in Texas, can't understand the current law. He wants to repay a fair amount for his defaulted loans, but his nursing license was suspended, and so his hands are effectively tied. "This is completely upside down: They demand that we pay an outrageous amount on these loans, and then they turn around and force us to work at McDonalds to do it. It seems like some kind of trick to keep us paying their penalties and fees for the rest of our lives. There has to be a fair way to do this, but this isn't it. I've never been so hamstrung by my own government, who I served faithfully during years of military service".

Also, legislation needs to be introduced that prevents lenders from "double tapping" defaulted borrowers. This occurs when the original lender owns the collection company used to collect the increased amount of the defaulted loans, under contract with either the state guarantor of the loan, or the federal government. In effect, this gives the lending company a perverse incentive to default the borrower, since the lender gets paid nearly the full balance of the defaulted loan, but also stands to make significant extra income from the collection of the default loan that has been escalated dramatically with penalties and fees. If the lender was unable to collect the loan when they held title to the loan, how does the guarantee agency expect them to be able to collect the loan on its behalf? This provides the lender with a clear conflict of interest and encourages them to fall short in their initial collection efforts. Congress should pass legislation that bans guarantee agencies from retaining lenders (and their subsidiaries) for the collection of loans to which the lender previously held title.

Further it is abhorrent that many of our elderly and disabled citizens are having their social security and disability income garnished by the federal government. Marilynn Piszczek, of Riverside, CA attended the International Flight Academy in Ontario, California in the 80's. At the time, she believed that the loan documents she was signing were for a grant. She was shocked when she began receiving notices of default, and to make matters worse, she had been terminated from her job due to a pulmonary medical condition.

Marilynn is now 66 years old and derives the majority of her income from Social Security. According to Marilynn, "Since the social security cost of living increase, the student loan people have taken more of my monthly check and I am still stuck for all of my rent or trying to figure out where it is to come from. I cannot walk anymore and cannot get in and out of my house that way and cannot get a ramp built for my power chair- and they are taking a bigger lump of my monthly income and do not try to answer any questions from me or anyone else. Sometimes I hope that maybe one day they or someone in their family will get this treatment and then they won't get out of it either."

Repayment Limits for Federally Guaranteed Student Loans

While restoring bankruptcy protections, statutes of limitations, refinancing rights, and perhaps other standard consumer protections for student loans is of critical importance, it is also highly desirable that Congress implement upper limits for repayment of federally-guaranteed loans, regardless of the past repayment history of the borrower. The astonishing level of debt increase that typically befalls student borrowers with no recourse can be crippling for citizens for whom bankruptcy is not an option due to personal considerations. There needs to be an upper limit on how much these people should be forced to pay on their loans, particularly if they faced default, or egregious fees and penalties during repayment.

In other words, regardless of what happens during repayment of a loan, the borrower should never be forced to pay more than a certain amount over certain time periods on the loans, including fees, penalties and the like. This type of repayment cap would go a long way to ensure that citizens who weren't necessarily in a position to file for bankruptcy would at least have some protections from exploitation by the industry. Again, Sen. Clinton's Student Borrower Bill of Rights addresses this issue, and calls upon the Senate to study what reasonable repayment caps might look like over 10 and 25 year periods.

Interest rate caps for private student loans would also be very useful. Given the usurious interest rates that are currently being charged to students for their private loans, approaching 30% interest in some cases, one would hope that federal regulations could be established to prevent usury by setting maximum interest rates for these loans.

Reducing the Price of College

While there is a critical and immediate need to restore standard consumer protections and curb collection powers for student loans, there is an underlying problem that has not been addressed: the costs, and ultimately, the price that is demanded of students, whether in the form of loans, or direct payments by the students or their families. We should reconsider, as a society, our decision to place so much of the financial burden of higher education on our citizens in the first place. The current higher education funding framework has proven, without a doubt, to be obscenely inflationary by its very nature, and is fed largely by the naiveté, vulnerability, and optimism of the nation's students. As a result, we must now brace ourselves for the impact this will inevitably have on the well being of these citizens and their families for years to come.

Dr. Larry Leslie, a Penn State professor in the 1970's, noticed this disturbing trend, and wrote about it at the time[xi]. Today, with the benefit of hindsight, Dr. Leslie is certain that his concern was well founded. Now at the University of Georgia, he comments, "My current views regarding college costs center around the failure of state governments to adequately fund their colleges and universities and the Federal government's policy of promoting student aid at the expense of institutional aid. It is these factors, in my view, that largely have moved us in the direction of higher tuitions and related costs. The discussion of the past two decades or so regarding grants v. loans would largely be moot if governments had continued to fund institutions".
He continues, "The arguments for the high tuition-high aid policy that has guided higher education funding over the past 30+ years was doomed from the beginning, as it turned the support of higher education into a means test based policy that has greatly damaged the support of the middle class, who now pay their high taxes, then must turn around and pay high costs for their children".

It is time to seriously consider a return to the days of low tuition, government-funded colleges and universities. This would obviously make higher education much more accessible to the general public, and would also circumvent and obviate the need for the overwhelming, complex, and expensive layers of bureaucracy that accompany the entire student aid system.

Of course, the taxpayer should not have to pay for the excesses that have crept into our nation's higher education institutions. One does not have to look far within today's schools, however, to see areas where most institutions of higher learning could cut costs considerably. Fancy gyms, student unions, expensive non-academic programs, administrative salaries, exorbitant salaries and bonuses for athletic coaches and other capital projects that go well beyond the classic paradigm of teaching and learning are obvious areas, to name only a few.

It is beyond the scope of this book to delve more deeply into the proposition of returning to institutional aid over student aid, but it is hoped that this recommendation is given serious consideration by the public stakeholders in our higher education system going forward.

Reducing Degree Requirements

One interesting idea for reducing the cost of college that has been proposed is the concept of reducing course requirements for degrees, thereby reducing the cost of those degrees. Notably, Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago proposed in September 2007 that universities should consider cutting courseloads in half. He commented, ""They should cut half the courses. It would cut the cost down tremendously. What are the basic courses that you need in college? Cut some of the unnecessary courses out" to reduce administrative overhead and let students graduate sooner.[xii]

Indeed, it is taking longer for students to graduate. The Education Trust found in 2003 that only 37% of undergraduate students completed their degrees within 4 years.[xiii] While cutting courseloads by half is likely an extreme measure that would shortchange students' educations, the sentiment could be worth further discussion, particularly in today's ultra high cost environment.

It took over a decade for the standard consumer protections that we take for granted with every other type of loan to be taken away by Congress. One can't expect them to be returned overnight. However, the groundwork has been laid for significant change, and legislators can non longer overlook the astonishing rise in price of a college education, and cannot ignore the real human suffering that is taking place as a result. One can only hope that Congress and the executive branch act not only to improve the system looking forward, but also act quickly to address the more immediate problems that the student loan system has caused for people who have already had their lives drastical


*************************************************

[i] The Nondischargeability of Student Loans in Personal Bankruptcy Proceedings: The Search for a Theory, John A. E. Pottow (University of Michigan), Canadian Business Law Journal, March 2007

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Impact of the Bankruptcy Exception for Private Student Loans on Private Student Loan Availability , Mark Kantrowitz, FinAid.org, August 14, 2007. http://www.finaid.org/educators/20070814pslFICOdistribution.pdf

[v] Congress May Revisit Bankruptcy Protection for Student Borrowers, Paul Basken, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 11, 2007

[vi] Government Student Loans, Government Debts and Bankruptcy: A Comparative Study, Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy, CA, February 27, 2007

[vii] Federal Government Relations Strategy Discussion, obtained from the New America Foundation,: http://www.newamerica.net/blogs/education_policy/2007/05/questionable_arrangement, May 31, 2007

[viii] RRSPs to get protection under new bankruptcy law, James Daw, TheStar.Com, December 22, 2007

[ix] Senate Bill Would Allow Borrowers to Discharge Private Student Loans through Bankruptcy, Kelly Field, The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 20, 2007

[x] Blue Dog Democrats voting Nay on the amendments were Representatives Baca, Bean, Berry, Bishop, Boren, Cardoza, Carney, Chandler, Costa, Davis, Donnely, Ellsworth, Giffords, Hill, Holden, Ampson, Mahoney, Marshall, Matheson, Melanon, Moore, Murphy, Peterson, Ross, Herseth Sandlin, Schuler, Space, Taylor, and Wilson

[xi] The Market Model and Higher Education , Larry L. Leslie, Gary P. Johnson, The Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 45, No. 1 (Jan., 1974), pp. 1-20

[xii] Cut half of College Courses: Daley; Says 2-year degree far more, Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun Times, September 20, 2007

[xiii] The Education Trust, Telling the Whole Truth (or Not) About High School Graduation (Washington, DC: The Education Trust, December 2003), p. 1.

Alan Collinge,

Please support the PAC

*************************************************
Subject: **private
Date: Monday, June 09, 2008 5:01 PM

Hey All,

Now, the Wall Street Journal is looking for people who RECENTLY defaulted on their loans. This can be either public or private loans. Please write me back ASAP if this is you, and include phone and other contact info.

Also, I hope you all will consider donating something to the PAC. I haven't said so publicly, but our PAC funds are really hurting, and could use a serious shot in the arm. In fact, we still are not paid up for the bus tour we did last year, so if you can help, please do!

Thanks,

Alan
Alan Collinge,

Please support the PAC

*************************************************
Subject: **private
Date: Monday, June 09, 2008 5:19 PM

Hey All,

Now, the Wall Street Journal is looking for people who RECENTLY defaulted on their loans. This can be either public or private loans. Please write me back ASAP if this is you, and include phone and other contact info.

Also, I hope you all will consider donating something to the PAC. I haven't said so publicly, but our PAC funds are really hurting, and could use a serious shot in the arm. In fact, we still are not paid up for the bus tour we did last year, so if you can help, please do!

Thanks,

Alan
Alan Collinge,

Please support the PAC

*************************************************
Subject: Checking in: June 13th, 2008
Date: Friday, June 13, 2008 12:45 PM

Hey All,

Welcome to the new members. This will be a brief update.


1. T-shirt Fundraiser: The T-shirt fundraiser is still going through Sunday. For every $30 donation to the PAC, an SLJ T-shirt will be given to a University of Washington student at the end of the month. Thus far, we have raised funds sufficient for 7 T-shirts. Please show your support, and help spread the word. Every little bit really does help. If you would like to do something similar in your area, please let us know.

2. The New America Foundation has done an excellent, comprehensive study of the influence that the student loan industry has on financial aid administrators from a lobbying and control standpoints. I touch on this in the book, but the NAF really took it to a new level.

3. That's it for now. There are a number of things developing, but haven't clicked just yet. As Always, keep fighting. Do whatever you can think of to bring attention to this problem...and keep us posted when you have accomplishments so that we can build off of our success!

Regards,

Alan


Alan Collinge,
Please support the PAC

*************************************************
Subject: **Private June 13th, 2008 Have your credit card limits been slashed?
Date: Friday, June 13, 2008 7:09 PM

Hey guys,

This is a slightly removed from our focus, but one of the best known newspapers is looking for people who recenty found that their credit card limits had been slashed.

If this is you, and you are willing to be interviewed, write me back with contact info.

Thanks,

Alan
Alan Collinge,

Please support the PAC

*************************************************
Subject: **private June 18th
Date: Wednesday, June 18, 2008 6:34 PM

Hey Y'all,

Thanks to all of you who stepped up to be interviewed. It looks like we are being featured in pieces in both the Wall Street Journal and the NY Times over the coming month or so. That's pretty much a "two-fer". Hopefully it will help get our numbers up, and get the ridiculous politicians (who don't seem to listen to the borrowers unless its through the media, or there's a picket line outside their office) off their collective a**ses.

Also, I bit the bullet this week, and shelled out $600 of my own money to pay for a mass emailing. Over the next week, two million people will be getting emails telling them to come to SLJ and tell their story. I have mixed emotions about spamming the internet looking for members, but I thought long and hard and decided that it's the right thing to at least try once. We are basically invisible on the internet thanks to the student loan industry and their big dollar marketing campaigns that overwhelm every search you can think of regarding student loans.So hopefully this will serve as an equalizer.

Also, I'm a little distressed about our PAC funding at this point. If you all knew how many thousands of dollars (tens of thousands actually) I have thrown into this personally you would understand why I am always schlepping for donations. Anyhow, if you can help out. Please do. The donation link is www./pac.htm


Talk soon,

Alan
Alan Collinge,

Please support the PAC


*************************************************
Subject: Checking in: June 21st, 2008
Date: Saturday, June 21, 2008 1:24 PM

Hey Everyone!

Welcome to the new members. It has been a busy week.


1. 3 of our members are featured today in a piece in the NY Times on credit card debt by Eric Dash. This is, of course only tangentially related to our struggle, but thanks to Pamela, Leslie, and Craig for stepping up for this piece. About a dozen of our members have been interviewed over the past week for various student loan pieces that are in the works at two major newpapers, and one national magazine. I will publicize these pieces when they come out.

2. We've revised the website somewhat. Please take a look, and let us know what you think. We added real quotes from our members. These were selected in a nearly random way. If there is a quote that you are burning to use , please send it to me, and i will see what I can do to get it up there on the homepage.

3. The T-shirt fundraiser secured donations sufficient for 10 T-shirts to be given away at the University of Washington later this month.

4. Matt Kresling has produced a truly haunting song and video about the student loan problem. Powerful stuff:

http://www.vimeo.com/1208357

5. Please consider a donation to the PAC . Your support is appreciated.


KEEP FIGHTING!

Alan

Alan Collinge,
Please support the PAC


*************************************************
Subject: **Private June 23rd, 2008: Take a hard look at your guarantor
Date: Monday, June 23, 2008 4:12 AM

Hey All,

If you are good at research, and have a couple of hours to spend, here is an extremely valuable challenge for you:

Take a HARD LOOK at your guarantor. This is the entity (usually state sponsored) that supervises the default collection process for your loan. These agencies are the worst actors in the entire student loan system. They derive 60% of their revenue (at least) from the collection of defaulted loans, and are the biggest reason that defaulted loans explode with penalties and collection fees. They love defaulted loans, and actually wouldn't exist were it not for defaults.

For instance, I looked up the executive salaries of my guarantor, Edfund, in 2005. What I found was amazing. These people were making astonishing amounts of money, giving themselves obscene raises, and spending ridiculous amounts on lavish headquarters, travel, etc. The research I did led to a front page story in the San Francisco Chronicle.

There are roughly 30 Guarantors out there, and I have only loooked at a handful of them. If you take a fine toothed comb to your guarantor, you will probably see similar patterns. It may be interesting for you to see where all of your money was going while you were working two jobs, and eating top ramen to pay their massive fees and penalties.

To find out about your guarantor, simply go to guidestar.org and do the free registration. This allows you to look up the recent 990 tax filings of all non profits. Find your guarantor, and get their 990s. From there, you can get the executive salaries going 3+ years back. You can also find all manner of other interesting avenues of inquiry. Its really a gold mine of information, but its more research than any one person can do in a reasonable amount of time.

Those of you who decide to dig in, let me know, and please send me an analysis of your results.

ALSO...The Lou Dobbs thing apparently hasn't worked. So what about Jack Cafferty? His email is:

JackBrokenGovernment@cnn.com

Let try this guy for the next couple of weeks...see what happens.


Regards,

Alan
Alan Collinge,

Please support the PAC

*************************************************
Subject: Checking in: July 1, 2008
Date: Tuesday, July 01, 2008 6:06 PM

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to the new members. Hope everyone's summer is going well. We continue to pick up members at a steady pace. Stuff that has happened since the last update:

1. We passed out donated T-shirts at the University of Washington over the weekend. This is an excellent way to spread the word. As you may know, there are roughly 5-10 million defaulted student loans out there (about 1 in five people end up defaulting on their loans), and at least that many that are perilously close to the edge. Also, the total student loan market in this country is catching up to the credit card industry, at $550 billion (total outstanding credit card debt is at $850 billion). So there are people out there everywhere who care--or should care about this issue. If you would like to pass out T-shirts in your own area, please contact me, and we can arrange. Your effort is greatly appreciated and needed.

2. As hoped, the state chapters are starting to take off. Two of the state chapters have created their own chatrooms or websites. California has their own website up, and Maine has started a Google group. If you would like to create a similar group in your area, then please let me know- These groups are really good for planning local activities. The California group may have some major news in the forseeable future, for instance...


3. One of our members has created an extremely powerful song/video. If I mentiond this in the last update, forgive me, but I think it is just that good.

http://www.vimeo.com/1208357


4. Please consider donating to our Political Action Committee. As many of you know, this PAC was created specifically for the purpose of standing up to the Student Loan Industry's lobbying machine (Sallie Mae spent $1.6 million lobbying Congress in just the last quarter). So the numbers are big, but not overwhelming. Your donation goes a long ways in terms of funding our operations, and I think the return on investment to date has been pretty outstanding. If we had even a hundredth of the money that the Sallie Mae lobbying machine spends, this problem would be solved. Please keep it in mind.

5. That's it for now. Keep fighting, and keep us posted about your progress!!!


Alan


Alan Collinge,
Please support the PAC

*************************************************
Subject: **private Looking for people who were put into forebearance without their knowledge
Date: Thursday, July 03, 2008 3:00 PM

I am looking for people whose student loans were put into forebearance without their knowledge or approval.

You may have applied for a deferment, but were granted a forebearance.

You may have been less than 1 year ot of school, and they just did it to you.


If this is you, contact me back. ASAP.

Thanks,

Alan


Alan Collinge,
Please support the PAC


*************************************************
Subject: Fw: **private July 8th: Looking for recent graduates in New York /New Jersey for TV show to be filmed this week.
Date: Monday, July 07, 2008 10:56 PM


HI. Businessweek TV is looking for recent graduates to profile in the New York and New Jersey area. They want to interview you wednesday of this week, and will send a film crew to you. They are looking for people with at least $30,000 in student loans.

Please contact me, and let me know your contact info ASAP!!

Thanks,

Alan
Alan Collinge,

Please support the PAC


*************************************************
Subject: **private July 12, 2008
Date: Saturday, July 12, 2008 4:32 AM

Hey Y'all,

Its been rough for us lately in the media. The big issue that everyone is writing/talking about its the student loan credit crisis. Congress is bending over backwards for the banks to make sure that students are able to get student loans. That is the story. The fact that student loans are astonishingly absent of the most basic, standard consumer protections is completely left out of almost every story to come out in the past 4-5 months. This is seriously, seriously bad for us. Not only that; Obama, while discussing his agenda for overhauling the bankruptcy code, did not mention student loans. Its pretty much up to us to get the real issue about student loans out front again. Sink or swim.

Yesterday, I wrote to some of our members asking for email addresses for local reporters who might want to do a story on our side. I also quit my job to devote myself full time to this issue for the foreseeable future. The amount of work required to get these stories cooking is monumental- particularly when you're dealing with 50 states.

So I'm asking you to do one thing for me: Look over the email addresses below. If you recognize any of them as being for publications in your area, then write to these folks, and put what I said to them (pasted below that) in your own words. Say whatever you can to get them to do a story.
Joy jkocmoud@mydailytribune.com
Terry savagel@suntimes.com
Shari shari.rudavsky@indystar.com
Shannon shannon.buggs@chron.com
Steve sblow@dallasnews.com
Jacqueline jfloyd@dallasnews.com
Julie julie.mason@chron.com
Clay clay.robison@chron.com
Joseph joseph.neff@newsobserver.com
Ellen pi@journalsentinel.com
Ross kerber@globe.com
Justin news@thesylvaherald.com
Jim jbulleit@hearst.com
ncollins@wlky.com
Stacy intern1@mailtribune.com
John jlender@courant.com
Chris ckeating@courant.com
George watchdog@courant.com
Jud jmorse@adaeveningnews.com
Randy rmitchel@adaeveningnews.com
Kamika kamikadunlap@yahoo.com
Pavel laugh_1979@hotmail.com
Randy wallace@fox26.com
rdenham@pantagraph.com
tsapochetti@pantagraph.com
eblunny@pantagraph.com
Dan dan_brannan@thetelegraph.com
Brittney anasb@dailycamera.com
James jamos@chieftain.com
Rebecca rboyle@fortcollinsnow.com
Patrick pdunne@gazette.net
Tom tbarstow@patriot-news.com
Tony bartelme@postandcourier.com
Tom tjoyce@ydr.com
Mike mike@ydr.com
ProblemSolvers problemsolvers@wdaftv4.com
Jason jwalsh@pacificsun.com
Carlos cguerra@express-news.net
Gary gclack@express-news.net
Bud bsargent@mininggazette.com
Mark mwilcox@mininggazette.com
Kelly kfosness@mininggazette.com
Jane jnordberg@mininggazette.com
Amy amy.silverman@newtimes.com
Jim jmwall@desnews.com
norrick@bizjournals.com
Errol elouis@nydailynews.com
Alber aruiz@dailynews.com
Emily eanderson@gjfreepress.com
chewlings@gjds.com
Gary 3oys@azfamily.com
Charlie post@vicksburg.com
Gareth cook@globe.com
Dan dwalters@sacbee.com
nodust@hughes.net
snishimura@star-telegram.com
Dianna dlhunt@star-telegram.com
Eric ericzorn@gmail.com
Marcella bombardieri@globe.com
jdoyle@sfchronicle.com
Gretchen gretchen@bohemian.com
localnews@marinij.com
Jim jim@westmarincitizen.com
Jay jay@sfnewsfeed.us
Dan dan.noyes@abc.com
APlemons@YourTV20.com
RVR@marinscope.com
Amanda amanda@cityvisionsradio.com
jupton@sfexaminer.com
eyoung@bizjournals.com
Cassie Cassie.Hewlings@gjsentinel.com
editors@texasobserver.org
George gknapp@klastv.com
Mike mgallagher@abqjournal.com
Mike mcoleman@abqjournal.com
Dusty drhodes@illinoistimes.com
RL rnave@illinoistimes.com
Amanda arobert@illinoistimes.com
Jim jpoyser@nuvo.net
William alcorn@vindy.com
Ernie ebrown@vindy.com
David dholwerk@sacbee.com
Chris cserres@startribune.com
David dphelps@startribune.com
Glenn me@glennbeck.com
Rick rmoriarty@syracuse.com
Rosalie rcrowe@azstarnet.com
Paul ptosto@pioneerpress.com
Ruben rrosario@pioneerpress.com
Jarrett jarrett@citylimits.org
David davidbroder@washpost.com
Diane dwilliamson@telegram.com
Amanda mandygirl1223@aol.com
Kevin kduchschere@startribune.com
Stephanie SBanchero@tribune.com
Kurt khelin@gazettes.com
C.R. c.r.roberts@thenewstribune.com
Steve sangelucci@sprynet.com


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------What I said to them---------------------------------------------------------------

Hi. My name is Alan Collinge. I run a grassroots website called . We started in 2005, and have grown to comprise thousands of people across the country. I recently asked my members to recommend reporters who might be interested in doing a story for us, and your name came up.

The story:

Student loans stand alone among all other types of loans in our nations history to have the most basics, standard consumer protections taken away. This happened since the mid-90's due to a heavily lobbied Congress and sympathetic executive branch. Today, Student loans are the only loans in existence to be exempt from standard bankruptcy protections, Statutes of limitations, truth in lending requirements, refinancing rights, and even Fair Debt Collection Practices. At the same time, the student loan industry convinced Congress to give them mafia-like collection powers including wage garnishments Tax return garnishment, and even social security and disability garnishment---all without requiring a court order! In addition borrowers can be terminated from public employment, and can have their professional licenses suspended as a result of their student loans.

This system actually makes it very lucrative for the lending industry when the borrowers fall behind, and actually makes it far more profitable when borrowers default on their loans! They are, in effect, rewarded for confusing the borrower, and their profits become inversely proportional to the quality of their customer service!

The end result is that decent citizens who fall behind on their payments (for whatever reason) are strong-armed into repaying far, far, far more than the amount they originally borrowed. This often doubles and triples the debt (or far worse in some instances), and there is absolutely no recourse. We have documented thousands of stories from across the country that include people being forced off the grid, fleeing the country, and even committing suicide as a result of this predatory activity.


I hope that you might consider doing a story in your local area. I have (and would like to send you) many stories from your state, from people who are willing to be interviewed. I can also send you thousands of stories from across the country if you would like to interview them. I could go on and on here, but I will simply post a couple of examples at the end of this email for your review.

One last point: In the first year of doing this, we ended up being featured in fortune Magazine, and also were featured in the top story on 60 Minutes in May, 2006. Hillary Clinton introduced a Bill on our behalf in 2006, as did Dick Durbin, and Danny Davis. All have been quietly killed due to massive lobbying by the student loan industry. Also, Since then. Also, our plight has been largely drown out by the credit crisis in the student loan industry. This is why I am writing to you to urgently request your consideration. I will paste a couple of facts below for your further consideration. Also, check out our website to see more. One last request: go to www.premierecredit.com for 10 seconds if you have any doubts about how ruthless this industry has become. You will see what I am talking about if you just go there.

Please write me back if you are interested. I can also put you in touch with our local "state chapter leader" in your area.

Thank you very much.

Alan Collinge

*************************************************

Student Loan Industry FACTS.


1. The student loan industry has grown to rival the credit card industry ($550 billion outstanding debt compared to $850 billion for credit cards).

2. "Fee income" for Sallie Mae, the nations largest lender, grew by 228% between 200-2005 (Their loan portfolio grew by only 87% during the same time period)

3. Despite false advertisements by the industry that defaults are dropping, defaults are actually rising- in fact, about 1 in 5 borrowers will default on their student loans.

4. The average undergraduate borrower now leaves school with $33,000 in student loan debt, $42,000 for graduate students

5. The cost of college has risen at double the consumer price index for the past 30 years

6. Student Loans are the ONLY loans in our nation's history to be specifically exempted from bankruptcy protections, truth in lending requirements, statutes of limitations, state usury laws, and even fair debt collection practices.

7. Between 1995-2005, Sallie Mae set aside $3.6 Billion in stock for its employees. This amounts to about $640,000 per employee.

8. The Sallie Mae CEO bragged to shareholders in the 2003 annual report that their record profits that year were attributable to collections on defaulted loans, and other student loan companies report similar trends.


*************************************************
Subject: **private July 13th
Date: Sunday, July 13, 2008 4:24 PM

Hey Guys,

Thanks for all the email addresses and names of reporters that everyone is providing. The weekend isn't over, and already we have pieces working in three additional outlets: The Hartford Courant, the New York Daily News, and Minnesota Public Radio.

One note: Please don't send me links to newspapers or TV stations. I need more than that. I need you to determine who the right reporter is in your local area who should do the story, and get me their name and email address.

OK? Keep them coming, by the way.

Thanks. This should be a strong week for us. About 30 reporters will be getting our emails tomorrow morning, and hopefully at least a dozen will bite.

Alan

*************************************************
Subject: **private July 14th
Date: Monday, July 14, 2008 5:35 PM

Hey Guys,

Wow. Things are picking up. Bigtime.
We now have firm stories working in New York (3), Connecticut, Texas, Illinois (2), and Minnesota. We also have strong possibilities for Northern California (2), Massachusetts, Delaware, and Nevada.

Keep sending me names and email addresses (not links) of reporters in your areas who you think should do this story. This seems to be working. Even if your state is listed above, there are lots of papers in these states multiple stories are ok.

Many of you may be contacted in the near future for interviews. Please step up, and hold nothing back.

Great job. Keep it coming.


*************************************************
Subject: **private July 16th
Date: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 12:09 AM

Hey Everyone,

The list has grown. Today, I spoke with the LA Times, got heavy breathing from the Austin American Statesman (Thanks to Carol in Texas), sent stuff on request to the Boston Globe, WSJ, NY TImes, US New and World Report, and a few others I'm not even remembering at this moment.

I'll paste the list of people I've contacted below. Keep the reporters names and emails coming, and don't hesitate to contact them yourself to get something going!

Regards,

Alan


Joy jkocmoud@mydailytribune.com
Terry savagel@suntimes.com
Shari shari.rudavsky@indystar.com
Shannon shannon.buggs@chron.com
Steve sblow@dallasnews.com
Jacqueline jfloyd@dallasnews.com
Julie julie.mason@chron.com
Clay clay.robison@chron.com
Joseph joseph.neff@newsobserver.com
Ellen pi@journalsentinel.com
Ross kerber@globe.com
Justin news@thesylvaherald.com
Jim jbulleit@hearst.com
ncollins@wlky.com
Stacy intern1@mailtribune.com
John jlender@courant.com
Jud jmorse@adaeveningnews.com
Randy rmitchel@adaeveningnews.com
Kamika kamikadunlap@yahoo.com
Pavel laugh_1979@hotmail.com
Randy wallace@fox26.com
rdenham@pantagraph.com
tsapochetti@pantagraph.com
eblunny@pantagraph.com
Dan dan_brannan@thetelegraph.com
Brittney anasb@dailycamera.com
James jamos@chieftain.com
Rebecca rboyle@fortcollinsnow.com
Patrick pdunne@gazette.net
Tom tbarstow@patriot-news.com
Tony bartelme@postandcourier.com
Tom tjoyce@ydr.com
Mike mike@ydr.com
ProblemSolvers problemsolvers@wdaftv4.com
Jason jwalsh@pacificsun.com
Carlos cguerra@express-news.net
Gary gclack@express-news.net
Bud bsargent@mininggazette.com
Mark mwilcox@mininggazette.com
Kelly kfosness@mininggazette.com
Jane jnordberg@mininggazette.com
Amy amy.silverman@newtimes.com
Jim jmwall@desnews.com
norrick@bizjournals.com
Alber aruiz@dailynews.com
Emily eanderson@gjfreepress.com
chewlings@gjds.com
Gary 3oys@azfamily.com
Charlie post@vicksburg.com
Gareth cook@globe.com
Dan dwalters@sacbee.com
nodust@hughes.net
snishimura@star-telegram.com
Dianna dlhunt@star-telegram.com
Eric ericzorn@gmail.com
jdoyle@sfchronicle.com
Gretchen gretchen@bohemian.com
localnews@marinij.com
Jim jim@westmarincitizen.com
Jay jay@sfnewsfeed.us
Dan dan.noyes@abc.com
APlemons@YourTV20.com
RVR@marinscope.com
Amanda amanda@cityvisionsradio.com
jupton@sfexaminer.com
eyoung@bizjournals.com
Cassie Cassie.Hewlings@gjsentinel.com
editors@texasobserver.org
George gknapp@klastv.com
Mike mgallagher@abqjournal.com
Mike mcoleman@abqjournal.com
Jim jpoyser@nuvo.net
William alcorn@vindy.com
Ernie ebrown@vindy.com
David dholwerk@sacbee.com
Chris cserres@startribune.com
David dphelps@startribune.com
Glenn me@glennbeck.com
Rick rmoriarty@syracuse.com
Rosalie rcrowe@azstarnet.com
Paul ptosto@pioneerpress.com
Ruben rrosario@pioneerpress.com
Jarrett jarrett@citylimits.org
David davidbroder@washpost.com
Diane dwilliamson@telegram.com
Amanda mandygirl1223@aol.com
Kevin kduchschere@startribune.com
Kurt khelin@gazettes.com
Steve sangelucci@sprynet.com
amy amy@democracynow.org
Katrina katrina.cravy@milwaukeewiti.com
Judy jlin@sacbee.com
datebook@tennessean.com
Diana dmarrero@journalsentinel.com
Diane diane_solomon@sbcglobal.net
Sharon snoguchi@mercurynews.com
susan ssimpson@oklahoman.com
Clint cbrewer@nashvillecitypaper.com
Harold gwin@vindy.com
Nick nperry@seattletimes.com

*************************************************
Subject: **private July 17th
Date: Thursday, July 17, 2008 3:54 PM

Hey All,

We now have pieces working for 2 tv shows (Houston, St. Louis), 15-20 newspapers, and 2 magazines. If you are contacted by a reporter, please let me know.

Keep sending me names and emails for reporters, btw.

Below is a list of most of the reporters I have contacted... The guys on the left didn't respond. The guys on the right are working on stories


Gary 3oys@azfamily.com Amanda arobert@illinoistimes.com
William alcorn@vindy.com Marcella bombardieri@globe.com
Amanda amanda@cityvisionsradio.com C.R. c.r.roberts@thenewstribune.com
Amy amy.silverman@newtimes.com Cassie Cassie.Hewlings@gjsentinel.com
amy amy@democracynow.org Chris ckeating@courant.com
Brittney anasb@dailycamera.com David dholwerk@sacbee.com
APlemons@YourTV20.com Diana dmarrero@journalsentinel.com
Alber aruiz@dailynews.com Dusty drhodes@illinoistimes.com
Tony bartelme@postandcourier.com Dan dwalters@sacbee.com
bmcclellan@post-dispatch.com Errol elouis@nydailynews.com
Bud bsargent@mininggazette.com Jacqueline jfloyd@dallasnews.com
Clint cbrewer@nashvillecitypaper.com John jlender@courant.com
Carlos cguerra@express-news.net Judy jlin@sacbee.com
chewlings@gjds.com Ross kerber@globe.com
Clay clay.robison@chron.com Nick nperry@seattletimes.com
Gareth cook@globe.com Ellen pi@journalsentinel.com
Chris cserres@startribune.com ProblemSolvers problemsolvers@wdaftv4.com
Dan dan.noyes@abc.com RL rnave@illinoistimes.com
Dan dan_brannan@thetelegraph.com Steve sblow@dallasnews.com
datebook@tennessean.com Randy wallace@fox26.com
David davidbroder@washpost.com George watchdog@courant.com
Diane diane_solomon@sbcglobal.net Stacy sforster@journalsentinel.com
Dianna dlhunt@star-telegram.com Pamela pyip@dallasnews.com
David dphelps@startribune.com
Diane dwilliamson@telegram.com
Emily eanderson@gjfreepress.com
eblunny@pantagraph.com
Ernie ebrown@vindy.com
editors@texasobserver.org
Eric ericzorn@gmail.com
eyoung@bizjournals.com
Gary gclack@express-news.net
George gknapp@klastv.com
Gretchen gretchen@bohemian.com
Harold gwin@vindy.com
Stacy intern1@mailtribune.com
James jamos@chieftain.com
Jarrett jarrett@citylimits.org
Jay jay@sfnewsfeed.us
Jim jbulleit@hearst.com
jdoyle@sfchronicle.com
Jim jim@westmarincitizen.com
Joy jkocmoud@mydailytribune.com
Jack jkramer@nhregister.com
Jud jmorse@adaeveningnews.com
Jim jmwall@desnews.com
Jane jnordberg@mininggazette.com
Joseph joseph.neff@newsobserver.com
Jim jpoyser@nuvo.net
Julie julie.mason@chron.com
jupton@sfexaminer.com
Jason jwalsh@pacificsun.com
Kamika kamikadunlap@yahoo.com
Katrina katrina.cravy@milwaukeewiti.com
Kevin kduchschere@startribune.com
Kelly kfosness@mininggazette.com
Kurt khelin@gazettes.com
Pavel laugh_1979@hotmail.com
localnews@marinij.com
Amanda mandygirl1223@aol.com
Mike mcoleman@abqjournal.com
Glenn me@glennbeck.com
Mike mgallagher@abqjournal.com
Michelle michelleroberts@news.oregonian.com
Mike mike@ydr.com
Mark mwilcox@mininggazette.com
ncollins@wlky.com
Justin news@thesylvaherald.com
nodust@hughes.net
norrick@bizjournals.com
Patrick pdunne@gazette.net
Charlie post@vicksburg.com
Paul ptosto@pioneerpress.com
Rebecca rboyle@fortcollinsnow.com
Rosalie rcrowe@azstarnet.com
rdenham@pantagraph.com
Randy rmitchel@adaeveningnews.com
Rick rmoriarty@syracuse.com
Ruben rrosario@pioneerpress.com
RVR@marinscope.com
Steve sangelucci@sprynet.com
Terry savagel@suntimes.com
Shannon shannon.buggs@chron.com
Shari shari.rudavsky@indystar.com
snishimura@star-telegram.com
Sharon snoguchi@mercurynews.com
susan ssimpson@oklahoman.com
Tom tbarstow@patriot-news.com
Tom tjoyce@ydr.com
tsapochetti@pantagraph.com


*************************************************
Subject: **private July 18th
Date: Friday, July 18, 2008 11:11 AM

We have a TON of stories working. The first two to go live:

A TV Piece featuring Lora in Oregon:
http://www.kgw.com/video/video-index.html?nvid=264475

As happens often, they left out the most important parts of the story (i.e. the predatory nature of the lenders), but with TV, you take what you can get...


A very well written OPED by Katherine:

http://www.insidenova.com/isn/news/opinion/letters_to_the_editor/article/higher_education_loans_student_rights/18526/

Thanks to Lora and Katherine for stepping up and making things happen on this. Much more to come. We have three TV stations and 15-20 nespapers/magazines working on stories.


*************************************************
Subject: **private Could you please read this article and write to the author
Date: Tuesday, July 22, 2008 3:29 PM

Hey All,

This guy is arguing that we should further shift away from grants and towards loans to finance higher education. I hope that a few of you will read the article, and drop the author a note letting him know how student loans have affected your life. Its these inside the beltway "experts" that need a strong slap in the face from the real world. That is where we come in.

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Education/bg2164.cfm

Thanks,

Alan


----------------------------What I said-----------------------------------------------


Brian,

How do you spout this nonsense with a straight face?

"Shifting the emphasis from grants to loans would be a much fairer and more fiscally responsible way to help Americans attend college."


For the past 30+ years, Congress has been shifting the cost burden of attending college from grants to loans. As a result of this, and the fact that most students will sign anything to get registered for classes, we have seen unprecendented, and unparalleled inflation in the cost of attendacne, at about double the CPI. The cost of college is now staggeringly, ridiculously high, and students are now graduating with debilitating debt levels. Where have you been, Brian?

Combine this with the fact that nearly every basic, standard consumer protection has been removed from student loans, and one can easily see why decent citizens are now being forced off the grid, are fleeing the country, and are even taking their own lives as a result of your friends in the student loan industry tacking every penalty and fee that they can think of in the absence of bankruptcy protections and other standard consumer protections.

And you argue for a continuation and expansion of these principles? Are you truly that sadistic?
*************************************************
Subject: **private July 24th
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2008 12:03:49 -0700

Hey guys,

We continue to field calls from reporters, and send out stories. By my last count, we have stories woring int he following:

NY Times
WS Journal
NY Daily News
Illinois Times
Seattle Times
Hartford Courant
GI Sentinel
Austin American Statesman
Boston Globe
Business Week
Chronicle of Higher Education
The Vindicator
"Problem Solvers" - St. Louis
Fox TV -Las Vegas

We also have "heavy breathing" from the following:

Dallas Morning News
Sacramento Bee
Chicago Tribune
West Marin Citizen
SF Chronicle
Los Angeles Times

There are a few that I am forgetting as well. I also am booked to to a radio thing next montha, and also talked with Libby Lewis of NPR yesterday, who said that she is going to do a story about people fleeing the country as a result of their student loans in the fall.


Please let me know as you are contacted by these folks. And don't turn down an interview request- The story really needs to be told, and by you!


Thanks,

Alan

 

*************************************************
Subject: **private: Quick question: Were your loans converted to unsubsidized without your knowledge?
Date: Sunday, July 27, 2008 11:37 PM

If any of you have noticed that your loans because unsubsidized for any reason, whether it was due to consolidation or other reasons, please let me know.

Subsidized means that the government pays the interest on the loan during times of deferment
Unsubsidized means that you pay the interest during times of deferement.

Check with your lender if you are not sure.

Thanks, and let's hit it hard this week!


Alan


*************************************************
Subject: **private: CNN is looking for people who have fled, are are planning on leaving the country
Date: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 11:12 PM

Hey guys,

Sorry to be blowing you all up, but things are picking up.

CNN is looking for people who have left the country, or are planning on leaving in the near future (for real) as a result of their student loan debt. I forwarded her a couple of people I know off the top of my head, but if this is you, then please contact me back ASAP.

Thanks.

Today's RECAP:

** Looking for people whose subsidized loans were somehow changed to unsubsidized throgh consolidation
** Looking for African Americans who recently graduated who live in Northern or Southern California (Tavis Smiley)


*************************************************
Subject: **private
Date: Friday, August 01, 2008 4:30 PM

Hey Guys,

Pretty good week. Tavis Smiley is interviewing one or more of our members this week and next. CNN has interviewed two of our people, and I think they're going to do something. Also, the New York Times is flying someone out to Seattle Next week to interview me and some of our Washington State members (hopefully). I still haven't seen anything publish, though, in any of the local papers, but I may not be in a position to see them when they do come out (I only use google news search, usually). So if something does get out there, be sure and let me know in case I miss it.


Also, We're going mobile!

We now have a website specifically meant for mobile users, Thanks to Brian McLane of New York. Brian is the founder of iProgram, a small text marketing company in New York City specializing in Mobile Video. He is trying to keep the wolves at bay, and he has already rehabbed his loan once. To go there, just text "RJB SLJ " to: 83960 The site is supported by Paypal, so your donations to this platform are very helpful. Spreading the word to your friends is also really good.


I'll do a more formal announcement in my "check-in" this weekend!

This is really starting to happen...


*************************************************
Subject: **private August 11, 2008
Date: Monday, August 11, 2008 5:57 PM

Hey guys,

So at least 2 dozen of our members have been interviewed over the past three weeks by a ton of papers, including the NY Times, Seattle Times, Wall Street Journal, Illinois Times, the Journal Sentinel, Chonicle of Higher Education, and a few others. Also, our members have been interviewed by Tavis Smiley, CNN, and a couple of local TV stations, one of which has aired. So far, however, nothing has made it into ink. We're also booked for some radio show in September in the Silicon Valley area. So these guys are basically sitting on the stories. My hope is that when the NY Times thing goes, the others will follow their lead, take their stories of the shelves, and publish.

In the meantime, keep pressing the issue with local reporters.

Also, there's been alot of people wanting to have a forum to meet and discuss with other borrowers. We tried this on Yahoo for a year or so, but the chatroom got inundated by lurkers working for the student loan industry. However, I have created another such room on Google. The link is:

http://groups.google.com/group/studentloanjustice?hl=en

There are currently no members in this group, so hop on in, and get a discussion going if you wish! This is a public forum, so we can expect it to get overun eventually, but for now it is completely safe.

Regards,


Alan


*************************************************
Subject: Checking in: August 21, 2008
Date: Friday, August 22, 2008 12:09 AM

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to the new members. Busy week.

Today, we are featured in two pieces in the Illinois Times:

http://illinoistimes.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A8192 - Special Thanks to Shelley Pethy for stepping up to be interviewed on this one.

http://www.illinoistimes.com:80/gyrobase/Content?oid=8202 Thanks to Wilma for stepping up on this one. (She ended up repaying $18,000 on a $2500 loan).


Also, I went on Fox Business News today on a brief segment. The link there is:

http://www.foxbusiness.com/video/index.html?referralObject=3043038

That's it for now. More to come. Donate to the PAC if you can. The link is below.

Alan


*************************************************
Subject: Checking in: August 24, 2008
Date: Sunday, August 24, 2008 11:53 PM

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to the new members. It has been a busy week.


1. We are featured today in the New York times in a piece by Jonathan Glater. Thanks specifically to Donna Troestler, and Garret Mockler for stepping up to be interviewed for this (as well as other members who were interviewed). While the piece didn't focus on the inherently predatory nature of the federally guaranteed student loan system, I think it was a worthwhile piece. The link is: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/24/business/24loans.html?em


2. I encourage you all to give support to republican candidate for Congress, Rick Bart. Bart has proposed student loan amnesty legislation that would both return standard consumer protections to student loans, and also implement an amnesty program similar to what the IRS currently has in place. I applaud Mr. Bart for this pioneering effort. http://www.politickerwa.com/bryanbissell/1125/rick-bart-proposes-student-loan-amnesty-legislation


3. I urge you all to question both presidential candidates as they roll through your towns and cities on their position regarding returning standard consumer protections to student loans. Neither candidate has addressed this important issue as of yet. Keep us apprised if you hear any comments on this issue.

That's it for now. Keep Fighting!

*************************************************
To: <roomhuntingrochester@yahoo.com
Subject: Re: **private part II
Date: Monday, August 25, 2008 11:46 AM

thx

----- Original Message -----
From: josh D.
Date: Sunday, August 24, 2008, 10:59 PM


Hey guys,

Not to take much of your time, but I did want to get something off my chest. I am personally taking a beating from these articles. As you might expect, I am getting slammed personally by those who feel that I am a lazy, ne'er-do-well, etc. While the emails Im getting are about 20 to 1 on our side, those that are not are painful to read. Frankly, Jonathan Glater really didn't represent my own personal story in a way that would garner much sympathy. It also failed to point out the uniquely predatory nature of the federally guaranteed student loan system (and also the private student loan system inasmuch as recent bankruptcy changes are concerned). I am posting my own personal story (this is actually the preface from the book I just finished) below for your consideration. This is the honest, unadulterated account of my loan history as accurately as I can tell it. I'm sure not many of you care about this, but I feel it's important for those of you who do to have this account for your own consideration.

I do agree that I am not the most effective "poster child" for this issue. After having read over 3000 stories from you all, I can pick out at least 2500 that make my own situation pale in comparison. Unfortunately, I seem to be one of the few who has the time, ambition, drive, motivation, and perhaps stupidity to take a stand publicly and repeatedly on this issue.

One last point: As a result of getting all this publicity for this issue (I believe), the Department of Education did, in fact, offer to settle my student loan debt for $60,000. This includes what I originally borrowed ($38,000), plus interest up until the time my loan defaulted. This is a FAR better deal than most other people get, I am sure. Although they are demanding payment in full, which is not possible for me, I still have to say that all in all, I consider this to be a reasonable deal (although the energy I have expended on this issue and the cost associated with that is probably in the hundreds of thousands after 3.5 long years). I hope this will encourage you all to take the bull by the horns, and speak out publicly and often about this issue. It really doesn't take that much effort to educate yourself about the issues, and be able to speak intelligently about the subject with reporters.

----------------------------------------------------------------Preface Below---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Being the poster child for defaulted student borrowers is a difficult badge to wear—and I never imagined I’d be known as the crusader for student loan justice. The truth is that I never considered student loans to be an especially interesting topic. College debt, I believed, was a necessary evil—to be repaid expeditiously, and then forgotten even more quickly. However, what I once thought of as an uninteresting issue has come to dominate my life.

Through three degrees in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Southern California, I managed to accumulate about $38,000 in student loans. Upon graduating in 1998, I consolidated these loans, which had grown to $50,000 while I was in school, with a friendly-sounding organization called Sallie Mae – an organization that I believed was a part of the federal government at the time.

My plan was simple: graduate with a “bullet-proof” education, get a fine job in my field, repay my loans, and let life blossom beyond that. I yearned for a simple, middle class lifestyle—a wife, family and house—in short, the typical cultural aspirations that most people in the blue collar town in the Pacific Northwest where I grew up shared.

In late 1998, I found a job at an exceptionally good college, Caltech, as an aeronautical research scientist. The salary wasn’t high but at $35,000, it did just cover my rent, food, basic necessities, like a car and utilities, and my monthly student loan payment, which amounted to about 20% of my take-home pay.

In early 1999, I was slightly short on my student loan payment. I called the lender, and was assured that as long as I continued to make my regularly scheduled payments, all would be well, with the exception of a one-time late fee on the account.

I continued to make regular payments thereafter; however, after around 6 months, I noticed that I had been charged a late fee every month since the initial underpayment. Assuming that this was a mistake, I called Sallie Mae, and requested that the late fees be removed. To my surprise, they refused. I spoke to multiple Sallie Mae staff to no avail. It was then that I realized that Sallie Mae was not a governmental entity, but, rather, a for-profit corporation. I searched for a different lender to take over my loans but found that these loans could not be refinanced- it was actually illegal to do so due to federal regulations that only permit consolidation of student loans one time, regardless of whether lenders exists willing to offer better terms on the loan.

At the same time, it became harder to keep up with my loan payments. My rent had been increased, utility costs more than doubled, and a number of relatively small but significant unforeseen expenses cropped up that I hadn’t budgeted for. By the summer of 2001, my financial situation had reached a critical state, and I made the decision to take radical steps to solve this problem. I resigned my position at Caltech with the expectation of quickly finding a higher paying position, likely in the defense industry. Unfortunately, the events of September 11th put a chill on the economy, and instead of a 6 figure defense job, I found myself unemployed and surviving on a small retirement package. In retrospect, leaving Caltech without a job lined up was a big mistake, and one that I will live with for the rest of my life.

I soon returned to my hometown of Tacoma, Washington nearly penniless, and sleeping on a friend’s couch. On December 1st, 2001, after realizing that my student loans were approaching default, I applied for an economic hardship forbearance. I was, after all, unemployed and should have qualified. Sallie Mae claimed they never received my application. I resubmitted the request on December 13th. Sallie Mae denied the request, and instead wrote off my loan on December 14th—the very next day. 9 days later, they made a payment claim for my loan for about $60,000. I never received any notice from Sallie Mae explaining this. Calls to them only garnered the response, “You’ll have to call your guarantor. We no longer hold this loan.”

I didn’t realize then that it would be nearly 2 years before I found gainful employment. In the meantime, I took whatever kind of employment I could find. I worked in 5 restaurants, and even spent 4 months cooking on a remote island in Southeastern Alaska in 2002. I worked 92 hours per week, 7 days a week, with no days off. The income, less than minimum wage, was not even close to covering the growth of my now defaulted student loans. 16 months after being defaulted by Sallie Mae, a whopping $18,000 had been added to my debt, far more than I made during that time period. Upon my return from Alaska in the Fall of 2002, I was shocked to return to find a bill from a collection company, General Revenue Corporation, for nearly $80,000. The company, a subsidiary of Sallie Mae, was collecting on behalf of Edfund, the “guarantor.” I was baffled: who were these two new companies and what was a “guarantor”? I wasn’t in the position to ask a wealthy relative for assistance and the fact that they were demanding “immediate payment in full” greatly exacerbated my situation.

This began two years of relentless collection activities. I was inundated by calls from various collection companies. At the same time, I was contacting my loan holders, and attempting to negotiate a reasonable settlement. I tried first with Sallie Mae, then with Edfund and also with the various collection companies they used, and finally with the U.S. Department of Education. I offered to repay principal and accrued interest, and even offered to pay at an increased interest rate of 10%, if only they would remove some of penalties. I believed that I was proposing a rather lucrative settlement—Sallie Mae had already profited well over $25,000 on my $38,000 loans- why should they need more? At every step along the way, however, I was refused. I found that I had no negotiation power whatsoever since bankruptcy was not allowed for this debt, nor were there any statutes of limitations, or other standard consumer protections that other types of debt have. Meanwhile, my loan balance was exploding.

Most of these interactions, particularly with the collection companies, were unpleasant, to say the least. I was verbally assaulted, intimidated, and humiliated. I was called names that I have since suppressed. I was subjected to all manner of collection ploys to extract vast sums of money that I simply did not have.

It became apparent to me that I had been snared in a web of debt so far above what I had initially borrowed that it was, in effect, a lifetime sentence of indentured servitude. Although I had a job at this point at a non-profit making about $3,000 per month, my debt had risen to nearly $95,000. One day I soberly realized that my hopes for a marriage, children, and home were much further away at age 33 than they had been at age 29, solely because of my mushrooming student loan debt.

I continued working obsessively. I worked 7 days a week with no days off, including holidays, between 2003 and 2005. I earned a fixed salary, so this extra work was not for extra pay. In hindsight, I suspect I worked feverishly to somehow serve a penance for my horrible student loan mistake. While this may have had cathartic benefits, it did nothing to reduce my student loan debt: my original $38,000 debt had swollen to $103,000 by mid-2005.

Those who have had a similar experience will understand what I mean when I say that the debt overwhelmed and paralyzed me. It was completely demoralizing. All the extreme effort, personal sacrifice, late nights studying, and poverty level subsistence I had chosen to endure for the sake of higher education ended up hurting me far more than it helped due to the loans. I felt like the butt of a very expensive, lifelong joke.

In the Spring of 2004, something snapped. I became obsessive, literally unable to put my student loans out of mind for more than a couple of hours at a time. I was furious at myself, frustrated at the sheer stupidity of the situation—and just plain angry.

Consumed, I began doing research. I found that Sallie Mae and other lenders actually made far more money from defaulted loans than from those that remained in good standing. Sallie Mae’s stock price had actually shot up significantly in the aftermath of the Dotcom recession, and overall, it had risen by 1700% between 1995-2005 truly a wall street darling. I found that executives at both Sallie Mae and Edfund had amassed personal fortunes in the time since I had graduated—enough to try to purchase a major league baseball team in one instance. I found a carefully-orchestrated lobbying campaign by well-connected student loan executives and shareholders that caused the most basic consumer protections to be stripped away from student loans. I found that even the federal government was making-not losing-massive amounts of money from the business of defaulted loans, and also that the Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid was being run by former student loan company executives. Finally- and perhaps most importantly- I realized that I wasn’t alone: there were millions of other citizens who were trapped like me.

This is a crisis that our country has never before had to face. It threatens, in a very real sense, to subjugate large segments of our population to lifetimes of debt, at the cost of pursuits far more beneficial to the nation’s interests.

I decided there were basically three options. The first was to accept my fate, and live at a poverty level while paying this exploded debt- perhaps well into my fifties or sixties. The second, I’m embarrassed to admit, was to flee the country, or assume a new identity and start a new life. The last was to try to force a political solution by connecting with the millions of people who shared my fate, exposing the individuals who had engineered this uniquely predatory debt system — and profited tremendously from it— and help spur Congress to fix the problem.

Option #1 was probably the easiest option, and the one that the vast majority of student loan debtors choose, incidentally. However, I decided to embrace the last option, realizing it would require dedication and years of effort (and luck) to accomplish, and that it might very well compromise any career/reputation/earnings potential I might have in the field for which I had gone to school.

In March, 2005 I started a web site called , where I posted my research, and invited others to share their stories. The purpose of SLJ was (and is) to convince Congress to restore the standard consumer protections that have been stripped from student loans. This would allow millions of borrowers to negotiate fair and reasonable settlements of their student loans, just like borrowers with credit cards, payday loans, and IRS debt.

Being virtually invisible on the Internet, and with no budget, marketing or otherwise, I had humble expectations. However, I was amazed that by the end of the year, hundreds of people had posted their stories on the web site. I received submissions from people whose debt had exploded far more astoundingly than my own: one couple who had already paid more than double their original loan amounts still owed more than double of what they had borrowed, for instance.. There were people who left the country, even people whose family members had committed suicide as a result of overwhelming student loan debt. Despite the sometimes tragic circumstances that united us, it has been comforting for all of us to connect with others who had experienced a similar reality.

I made many mistakes in the organization’s first year. Many were emotionally driven. Calling the Sallie Mae CEO at 3 am, for instance, was not a wise decision, nor was sending an email, containing expletives, to a lobbyist who I found particularly offensive. Despite these growing pains, my research was solid, and the facts that I compiled- combined with stories from real citizens- painted a compelling picture.

I’m grateful that several useful accomplishments emerged that year. I implored Bethany McLean, the Pulitzer prize-winning reporter who broke the Enron story, to examine the issue, and after over a year of communication, she wrote an exceptionally strong article which was published in Fortune Magazine in December 2005. was featured in the article, something which amazed me. Sallie Mae responded with a lengthy and scathing criticism of both the piece and of my repayment history. The Baltimore Sun published an OP-ED I wrote on the subject and shortly thereafter, in March 2006, I found myself in the New York City Women’s Republican Club, being interviewed by Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes, along with three other members.

The 60 Minutes segment ended up being the top story, and ran on May 7th, 2006. This was progress almost beyond what I had hoped for. By the time both Ralph Nader and Michael Moore contacted the organization in the week following the show, it had become apparent that we had touched a nerve with the American Public. The avalanche of press coverage that we have been involved with on this issue includes coverage in dozens of publications including the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Sun Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Chronicle of Higher Education, among many others. We’ve been guests on numerous radio programs including NPR, featured in other television programs like Fox TV, as well as a couple of local investigative reports.

The news media has proven to be absolutely critical for this movement. Indeed, around the time the 60 Minutes piece aired, Senator Hillary Clinton’s office worked with us to craft the “Student Borrower Bill of Rights.” This important legislation, had it been passed, would have done much to restore the basic consumer protections to student loans, and we were credited for being the reason they decided to pursue the issue.

In December 2006, I was laid off from a low level defense job after failing to obtain a security clearance (student loans were the first, and nearly only topic during the interview). Given these circumstances, I formed a Political Action Committee and toured the country in a beat-up RV, meeting with staffers for both House and Senate Education committees, and also giving talks at local universities, and other gatherings.

The past 3 years have been a whirlwind of activity, and some significant progress has been realized, but I occasionally wonder how my life would have unfolded without the specter of student loans. I never would have imagined putting forth so much effort for a calling where I receive no pay, yet have the conviction that I’m doing the right thing for the public good. At this point I think it’s important to write this book so that others facing similar situations can be informed, and also for the purpose of helping to move the public debate on this issue towards a workable solution.

In this book, I will unearth both the history of the student loan industry, as well as analyze its current state. You will read of dizzying corporate profits it generated, the organizations and individuals that benefited, and most importantly, the many people whose lives have been destroyed as a result. It will be clearly demonstrated that student loans have become the most profitable, uncompetitive, and oppressive type of debt in our nation’s history, due to federal legislation since the mid 1990’s that removed standard consumer protections, and provided the lending industry with draconian collection tools to use against the borrowers. This book will not only shine a bright light on this problem but will suggest concrete and pragmatic solutions looking forward.

*************************************************
Subject: Checking in September 1st, 2008
Date: Monday, September 01, 2008 11:48 PM

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to the new members. We are picking up members at an accelerated rate now, which is good. I can't stress how important it is that we seek out others in the same boat, and band together.

1. We were featured again on Fox Business News on Friday. The piece was highly antagonistic, and even slanderous at one point. Nonetheless, I feel that we held our own, and made at least some of the important points that needed to be made. The link there is:

http://www.foxbusiness.com/search-results.html?searchString=student+loans&searchType=news


2. CNN ran a piece featuring our members today. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find it on the web. Anyhow, thanks to Peter, and others who stepped up to be interviewed for this piece.

3. Now more than every, your financial contribution to the Student Loan Justice PAC is very important. If everyone receiving this donated a modest amount (say, $20-$40), we would be in great financial shape to begin to have a real influence on the Hill. I hope you will please consider it.

That's it for now. Keep fighting, and keep us posted.


Regards,

Alan


Sent: Thursday, September 4, 2008 1:55:04 AM
Subject: Fw: **private September 3, 2008


Hey everyone,


Public Radio (Marketplace) is looking for defaulted borrowers in the Wasington, DC area. If this is you, please shoot me an email, and I'll pass it along.

Also, I was interviewed again today by the New York Times. Not sure what they're going to be writing about, but this was encouraging.

That's it for now. Im busting my a** over here trying to get things done, and taking serious heat as a result. I hope that is not lost on you all!


*************************************************
From: justice@
To: ;
Subject: **private. Lets hit Oprah
Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2008 23:32:51 -0700


Hey Guys,

Can we please all go to this page, and tell Oprah to do a piece on student loan predation?


Tell her your story. Tell her whatever you can think of to focus on the issue of overwhelming, and predatory student loan debt.

The link is:


https://www.oprah.com/ord/plugform.jsp;jsessionid=ac1106ec30d9d6e64841bbbb4c44b8fbb97f0ffda47b.e3qOax8QbNaNe3uLb3uRbN4Ray0?_k=_co3utwf8_k17ug


Hopefully this will work.

Good luck, and make them feel your pain! Also, please don't post this meesage publicly. That only gives the student loan industry an oppotunity to get to her before we do!


Alan



*************************************************
Date: Sunday, September 21, 2008, 4:01 PM


Hey guys,

It's been a crazy week, as you all know. Interestingly, the US Government has chosen to bail out the banks involved in making bads home loans. The next loan bubble to burst will likely be the student loan bubble. It has been reported that defaults for student loans are spiking as we speak. Now more than ever, Congress needs to restore standard consumer protections for student loans. These are certainly tough times, but we have come a long way, and have got to stick together if we are going to get anywhere. Take heart in the fact that at least the public is now very wary of trusting the opinions of the banks, who have proven to be highly irresponsible. There is an opportunity here for us to get real justice, but we all have to pitch in. So please support the PAC, call reporters, and do whatever else you can think of that will make a positive difference.

I am pasting a chapter from my book below to give you all some inspiration. I hope you enjoy it.

Also, one of our members, JB, made a a student loan video that uses the songe done by Matt Kresling. The link is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9D-QxJNGnM

Matt's song got like 200,000 hits, so I hope the same happens for this piece.

So hang in there, ok? Lets make it a point to seek out 3-4 other people to come to the site.

Regards,

Alan


Chapter Seven: The Grassroots Awaken

Grassroots activities by student loan borrowers have begun to emerge since the amendments to the Higher Education Act in 1998. In the context of this book, “grassroots” refers to organizations and collective activities executed by citizens affected by their student loans. These are not to be confused with initiatives that are created by existing, professional advocacy organizations, or even by organizations with ties to- and financial interests in- the student loan industry that call themselves “grassroots”. These are not true grassroots activities based on the original definition of the word, which pertains to the common people, as contrasted with or separable from an elite.

Initially, these activities started largely with individual citizens desperate for relief. Over time, these individuals began to band together to share information, pursue joint research projects, and finally coalesced into loose organizations, formed for the purpose of exposing the problem to the public, gathering members, and ultimately, compelling Congress to restore standard consumer protections to student loans.

Currently, the collective movement for student loan rights is at a very early stage of development, with fewer than 5,000 citizens actively engaged. This is an incredibly small fraction of the 10-15 million citizens who are overwhelmed by student loan debt. Clearly, significant grassroots growth is required so that citizens can convince Congress that they must address this issue meaningfully. This chapter describes the beginnings of these efforts, and also charts a path for its success.

Weaknesses and Strengths


Grassroots activity to organize borrowers, expose the obvious problems, and ultimately cure the injustices associated with student loans would have been nearly impossible to undertake 20 years ago. There was no World Wide Web, and so the ability for borrowers to seek each other out, and form effective groups was far more difficult. Even now, the barriers to fomenting meaningful political action at the grassroots level are daunting. For one thing, facing large—and often insurmountable— student loan debt is a highly personal matter. Many debtors are too embarrassed or humiliated to tell even their immediate family members or close friends about their situation, let alone joining in a grassroots effort to challenge the injustice of student lending laws.

A coordinator from New York, Heather Dunbar, put it this way: “ People trapped under ridiculously large debt as a result of their student loans often have difficulties getting out of bed in the morning— convincing them to march in the streets, holding banners proclaiming their debt is about as easy as putting a cat in a bucket.” The inherent reluctance of borrowers to take grassroots action due to their weakened financial position, risk aversion, and shame is probably the most significant internal barrier to cohesive action.

From an organizational standpoint, the challenge of internally raising financial resources sufficient to compete with the lobbying interests on Capitol Hill is equally daunting. Given the financial predicament of those overwhelmed by student loan debt, one should assume that this simply isn’t going to happen, and that other forces will have to be brought to bear on the problem.


Another internal difficulty: student loan borrowers are largely ordinary citizens trying to live normal lives. They are not inclined to pursue social justice, and take on powers as great as the force of federal law that have been erected to protect and sustain the federal student loan system. It is far easier for most to simply accept their fate as lifelong debtors, resign themselves to the wage garnishments, tax intercepts, and other collection activities that will inevitably ensue. One can see how easy it would be to consider these challenges, and not even attempt to organize a movement around this issue.

Perhaps the biggest external hurdle to achieving anything at the grassroots level is longstanding national attitudes towards college students in general. To many, the mere mention of the term ” student” invokes a paternalistic response. Thus any term attached to it is disregarded. Moreover, an archetype exists in the nation’s conscience that connects irresponsibility with student loans. This is a result of well publicized accounts of loan defaults in decades past that involved students taking out loans with no intention of ever paying them back, and simply filing for bankruptcy after graduation. This preconception was sufficiently strong to convince Congress to remove bankruptcy protections from student loans in the 70’s. However, according to a March 2007 paper by John A.E. Pottow of the University of Michigan, this preconception had a fatal flaw. “The fatal problem is that there are no empirical data to buttress the myth that students defraud creditors any more than other debtors”.[i] In fact, it was shown that when student loans were dischargeable in bankruptcy, there was a less than 1% bankruptcy rate among student debtors.[ii] Nevertheless, this public misperception has been oft repeated, and now is indelibly etched in the public’s mind.

Despite the various hurdles to organizing debtors, there are other factors that explain the emergence of the student loan grassroots activities thus far. These will be critical to sustaining the continued growth and ultimate success of these efforts. People who analyze this debt system carefully will arrive at the conclusion that if there is to be any reasonable and equitable solution to their student loan debt, it will take a political solution, where the standard consumer protections that Congress removed from student loans are restored. Those without the financial means to pay the drastically higher amounts being demanded of them have only one proactive option—namely, to stand up and speak out against the incomparable lack of consumer protections associated with student loans.

Importantly, student loan debtors are typically intelligent and educated individuals. Meaningful research, articulate communication, and insightful interchange with lawmakers, reporters, and the general public are required to effect change, and so this is another strength within the grassroots that potentially could be brought to bear on the problem.

Also, with the maturing of communications technology, it has become far easier to seek out, find, and organize people across the country who have been harmed by the student loan industry and wish to band together for the purpose of affecting political change. While the Internet is overwhelmed with advertisements, etc. promoted by student loan companies, and this deluge of marketing information makes it very difficult to find those engaged in the effort, those individuals who are sufficiently dedicated and persistent will eventually find sites where like minded individuals coalesce.

Finally, the problem of student debt is increasing, and at a rate proportional to the rise in the price of college tuition- a price that has been increasing at double the rate of inflation for 3 decades. With the average undergraduate borrower leaving school with upwards of $20,000 in student loan debt, and the average graduate borrower accruing $42,000, there inevitably will be a tipping point beyond which the costs simply become too great to avoid broad public outcry. This fact alone virtually guarantees that there will be continued and increased grassroots activities on this issue for the foreseeable future.


is Created


It is in this environment that I founded (SLJ) in March 2005. Initially, the organization was nothing more than a web site that encouraged borrowers to tell their stories as accurately and as honestly as possible. In the first month of operations, 5 submissions were received from borrowers, and only after considerable effort was made to seek out these borrowers (who had posted on a legal resource internet newsgroup), and convince them to tell their stories at SLJ.

Although initial submissions to the SLJ were few, the span of the stories was intriguing, and covered borrowers who had attended schools ranging from vocational institutes to Harvard University. There was Rick, a laborer from California who decided to go back to school to learn automotive repair. The Trade School he attended attempted to make him sign two separate promissory notes for what he was told would be one loan. Suspicious, Rick withdrew from classes, and arranged for the cancellation of the loans. Five years later, he realized due to an IRS tax refund offset that his loans had not been cancelled, and an original $1,500 note had grown to $3,500.

Then, there was Petra, a Harvard graduate who left law school in 1986 with a little over $40,000 in loans. After a prolonged period of unemployment and a denied forbearance, she reluctantly filed for bankruptcy. Her guarantor, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, was paid 10% of the debt as a part of the bankruptcy settlement, and she was told that this was the end. Petra started over again, but the student loans were mysteriously revived. After the 1998 amendments to the Higher Education Act, student loan creditors began calling again, and payment for her loans were now being demanded in full, only this time for the staggering amount of $152,000. Petra notes, “At the start of this story I mentioned that I am a single mother. Part of the reason for my divorce is this issue. My ex-husband couldn't handle the pressure and the threats of the lawsuit. He became enraged whenever I received a harassing phone call or notice letter demanding $152,000 in payment. It was too much for him to take.”

By the summer of 2005, word had begun to spread about the web site, and stories began to trickle in unsolicited. Again, the range of stories was compelling, but they all had in common an extraordinary increase in the amount being demanded from the loan holders compared to the amount of the original loans. The site was also used as a platform to post research regarding lobbying activities, executive salary trends, and other research germane to the problem.

Also, a significant number of submissions were beginning to come from citizens who had borrowed private student loans. These loans typically carried far higher interest rates than federally guaranteed loans, and bankruptcy protections had been removed (retroactively) from them as of October 17, 2005 as a part of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.


The Importance of the Media


By the end of 2005, it was becoming apparent that the most effective way to make the public aware of the problems with student loans was through the media. The press took interest in the stories on the site, and also the research that was posted there within weeks of the website being created. For example, Bethany McLean, a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter for Fortune Magazine took a keen interest in the issue and was quick to see that the stock price of Sallie Mae had been exploding since 1998, and in particular, did far better in the aftermath of the “Dot Com” recession.

In December 2005, McLean published a 5-page article on student loans that proved to be very important. In it, she described not only the massive profits being earned by lenders like Sallie Mae, but also covered a wide range of topics including the massive lobbying presence of Sallie Mae and the student loan industry on Capitol Hill, the massive growth of private loans, and also featured SLJ prominently in the piece. McLean and the staff at Fortune uncovered some astonishing information regarding these private loans. For instance, they found a private student loan whose APR was an astonishing 28%. [iii]

While the article met with intense and vehement criticism from Sallie Mae, the facts reported in the story were accurate. SLJ membership grew by about 300 members shortly after this piece was published- still a tiny percentage of the number of borrowers caught in the student loan trap, but a significant step forward, nonetheless.

Also, in March 2006, The Baltimore Sun agreed to publish a OPED that described clearly the lack of consumer protections for student loans, and the human suffering that had resulted as a result. While SLJ membership increased only slightly from the area following the piece, one submission from a man in Maryland introduced a new reality to the fight, when he described the tragic circumstances surrounding his sister’s self-inflicted death, as is described in detail in the previous chapter.

When it comes to the point where citizens are fleeing the country and committing suicide as a result of student loans, all must agree that it is clearly time to reconsider, and reconsider drastically the whole notion of allowing our youth to assume more than token amounts of debt for their educations. To date, SLJ has received 3 stories of suicide from family members of student loan cborrowers, hundreds of submissions from people who claim to be suicidal, and dozens of submissions from people who have left the country (hundreds from people who indicate that they are seriously considering it). Not because they committed a crime. Not because they were being persecuted for their religious or other beliefs. Rather, this is solely because of the unendurable stress put upon them as a result of their student loans.

In January 2006, Anya Kamenetz of the Village Voice published an important piece that clearly showed how Sallie Mae and the lending industry in general was making incredible profits from late fees charged to borrowers of both private and federally guaranteed student loans. The article also examined the obscenely large stock bonuses doled out to Sallie Mae executives, the potential for antitrust violations, and the huge amounts of money that Sallie Mae regularly poured into C ongressional coffers. SLJ members were interviewed and featured in the piece[iv], and membership grew significantly as a result.

Then, in May 2006, a very significant story about Sallie Mae and the student loan industry ran on 60 Minutes that featured SLJ members including Brit Napoli, the counselor in California who owed nearly triple what he had borrowed, despite the fact that he had already repaid more than he had borrowed, Lynnae Brown, who was stuck repaying about a quarter of a million dollars on what began as a $60,000 loan, and Bill Mclaughlin, whose CPA could not understand the astonishing increase in his loans (Bill had originally borrowed $38,000, had repaid $48,000, yet still owed about $32,000).

The 60 Minutes segment aired, top story, on May 7, 2006 , and shortly thereafter, the tudentLoanJustice.Org membership grew to well over 1 , 000 members nationwide. The story sent ripples throughout academia and the student loan industry. While Sallie Mae issued a scathing criticism of the borrowers portrayed in the story, and the quality of the reporting by CBS staff, the most significant fact of the matter is that Sallie Mae declined to be interviewed for the segment - stating that they didn’t think they would get a fair shake[v].

Importantly, the 60 Minutes piece gave the issue a prominence nationally that proved hugely beneficial to the grassroots. Within a week of the episode airing, SLJ had been contacted by both Ralph Nader and Michael Moore on this issue. Nader published a piece within 3 days of the piece airing in which he said that the corporate executives who designed the student loan scheme should be given the top award for “shameless perversity”. Moore asked to be connected to borrowers for potential use in his upcoming documentary film, although ultimately, the borrowers they were went were not used for the film, entitled “Sicko”, that concentrated on the U.S. healthcare system. While to date, neither has devoted significant resources to the student loan problem, it was highly encouraging to have been contacted by citizens of the caliber of Nader and the audacity of Moore .


Other Media Coverage

The Fortune Magazine article had proven that respected reporters were keenly interested in the issue, or at least became very interested when informed of the facts about student loans. It was decided that if this grassroots movement were to succeed, the press would play a critical role. While considerable effort continued to be spent researching the problem, and attempting to convince Congress of the critical need to restore standard consumer protections to student loans, an equal, or perhaps greater amount of effort was spent promoting regional and national publications and other media outlets to investigate the issue.

Importantly, Ken Moser, the president of the Adam Smith Society of California, published a scathing commentary on the lack of free market forces in the student loan industry in May 2006. The column specifically protested the fact that for federally - guaranteed loans, there is no ability for borrowers to refinance the debt after consolidation, regardless of whether there may be other lenders willing to accept less profit by charging the borrowers less to administer the loan. Given that the Adam Smith Society is one of the most conservative organizations in the world with regards to economics, this piece was highly noteworthy and significant.


The First Grassroots Legislative Achievement: The Student Borrower Bill of Rights


In the week following the 60 Minutes piece, SLJ was asked to have a teleconference with Senator Clinton’s education staff. During the conference, we discussed the appropriate elements of a Student Borrower Bill of Rights. The idea was to not only give borrowers far better information before taking out the loans, but to also return standard consumer protections including bankruptcy rights, refinancing rights, and other standard consumer protections. Of the 6 suggestions SLJ made to the staff, 3 of them (bankruptcy rights, refinancing rights, and payment caps) made it into the text of the legislation.

The bill was introduced into the Senate on May 26, 2006 (S. 511). While it didn’t contain everything that SLJ members sought, it was certainly a step in the right direction, and served as encouragement for the group. One of the Clinton Staff members later sent an email stating that it was the efforts of SLJ that was the catalyst for the bill. [vi] This was highly encouraging to the membership.

Senator Dick Durbin also contacted SLJ March 2006, and in June 2007 introduced S. 1561, a bill to restore full bankruptcy protections for private student loans- loans that are not backed by the federal government, and that often carry extraordinarily high interest rates.


Connie Martin, a constituent of Senator Durbin, was one of many SLJ members from the State of Illinois . Connie's son decided to go to culinary school in Chicago in 2002 at the age of 25, and borrowed about $58,000 in private loans from Sallie Mae. The interest rate on his loans was 18%. His first payment was $1,100 a month--his entire monthly salary at an eatery downtown where he worked. His loan balance, including government-backed loans, stood at about $100,000, despite the thousands the family has already repaid.

In his speech on the Senate floor introducing the bill, Senator Durbin opened by describing the story of Connie Martin, an SLJ member since May 2006, and also had entered into the Senate record an important article published on the issue in the Chicago Sun Times—an article that also featured multiple SLJ members[vii]. Again, this was a sterling example of how the grassroots could contribute to legislative change effectively.


The Congressional Elections of 2006


Bearing in mind that the ultimate goal of the grassroots effort for student loan justice is simply to convince Congress to restore standard consumer protections to student loans, the change in the majority control of both House and Senate in the Fall of 2006 was of critical importance. The new majority held great promise for turning the legislation that had been introduced by Clinton, Durbin, and others into a reality, and for introducing additional legislation regarding restoring student loan protections.

The SLJ community decided in December 2006 to form a Political Action Committee (PAC) as a way to serve as a counterweight to the well funded PACs controlled by the student loan industry, and in January 2007, the PAC was established. It was accepted going in that the amount of money that would be raised would be a pittance compared to the millions of dollars spent every election cycle, nevertheless it was an important and worthwhile step if only for reasons of principle. As a companion grassroots act, it was decided to travel the country on a bus tour, visiting as many members of both House and Senate education committees, both in their home districts, and in Washington D.C.

While some in the media questioned the move as a ridiculous effort by a “rabble rouser”[viii], others felt positively about the PAC and the bus tour. In fact, the Boston Phoenix did a feature story on the effort[ix], and more than $5,000 in donations were received prior to embarking on the trip.

The trip covered 42 States, over 23,000 miles, and of the 70 members of both House and Senate education committees, 60 were visited in their home districts. During the trip, the various scandals regarding the “unholy alliances” between the universities and student lenders broke in the mainstream media, and so during this time, SLJ members were featured in front page stories in the New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, among many others. Talks were given at Cornell University, UNC Chapel Hill, and other locations, and SLJ was invited to appear on both local and national radio shows.

While the Bus tour cost about $15,000 to execute (far less than the $1 million or more that Sallie Mae spends on their tour every year), it was universally felt by all members that the money was well spent. By the end of the tour, SLJ had established state coordinators for 34 of the 50 states, and was well on its way to having state chapters for every state in the union. Today there are state chapters in every state, that vary in size from a few dozen, to a few hundred members. It is hoped and expected that these volunteer chapters will serve as focal points for the continued growth and expansion of the organization as time goes on, and the problem worsens.


Changing National Attitudes about Student Loans


Significantly, the national attitudes around student loan debt have changed in the past two years. In years past, many citizens didn’t give a second thought to the issue, likely a result of longstanding paternalistic attitudes around the issue, lack of awareness of the problem, and also the general reluctance of those affected by it to speak out. In recent years, however, the consistent and widespread media exposure of the problems with student loans have begun to seep into the public consciousness.

While this change in national awareness about the issue is difficult to quantify, there are some indicators of change. Most notably, dozens of the nation’s elite schools, including Princeton, Harvard, Amherst, Caltech, Davidson College and the University of Pennsylvania, have committed to ending student loans for either all of their students, or those whose family incomes fall below certain thresholds.


Future Grassroots Development


The need for grassroots activities to convince Congress to restore standard consumer protections to student loans is only increasing. Recent U.S. Department of Education data indicates that defaults are far higher than the commonly advertised rates. Furthermore, the trend may be that defaults are increasing- not decreasing as universities, lenders, guarantors, and even the U.S. Department of Education frequently claim. A study tracking 1993 graduates found, for instance that for those borrowing more than $15,000, fully 20% had defaulted on their loans within 10 years[x]. A more recent release from the Department of Education found that 10.6% of all borrowers leaving school in 2002 had defaulted within 5 years[xi]. This damning default data certainly points towards a much larger and perhaps growing problem. Furthermore, private loan borrowers are defaulting at dramatically increasing rates. As a result of the credit crunch that began in 2007, a number of student loan companies acknowledged dramatically increased default rates for their private loans. While the hard numbers are difficult, if not impossible to determine, Sallie Mae’s top brass stated in a conference call with investors that it was setting aside nearly $600 million for bad loans in the private market, and that the company would be more selective in the future when making private loans[xii].

Clearly, the ground has been laid for a significant surge in activism around this issue. Besides the organization, a number of additional groups have formed, and are growing. These include StudentLoanSlave.Com, SallieMaeBeef.Com, JoesDebt.Com, and a host of newsgroups on the Internet. In addition, there are dozens of blogs started by individual citizens that are similarly focused. While encouraging, from a grassroots perspective, much work needs to be done. The number of citizens overwhelmed by student loan debt is at least 10 million, yet currently, fewer than 5 , 000 citizens are actively engaged in bringing about a solution.

One critically important- but currently absent- element of grassroots activity is at the university level. If ever there were a compelling issue for students to be interested in, absent a military draft, the overwhelming cost of college, and the predatory lending environment that supports it should be near or at the top of the list. Students need to realize how badly they are being exploited, and speak out loudly and forcefully against it. The colleges and universities have, in effect, enjoyed the “catbird’s seat” through the past 4 decades, raising their tuition, fees, and other costs almost at will, with the knowledge that students would gladly sign for increased loans to subsidize this. Until they hear from the students- strongly, loudly and consistently, the colleges will likely continue to operate as they have for years now—taking advantage of the very population they profess to be supporting.

*************************************************

[i] The Nondischargeability of student loans in Personal Bankruptcy Proceedings: The Search for a Theory, John A.E. Pottow, Canadian Business Law Journal, Vol. 44, pp 245-278, March 2007

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Sallie Mae: A Hot Stock, A Tough Lender, Bethany McLean, Fortune Magazine, December 26th, 2005

[iv] Your Late Fees, Their Millions

[v] Sallie Mae’s Success Too Costly?, Leslie Stahl, 60 Minutes, May 7th, 2007

[vi] Email from Dr. Gregory Walton, Office of Senator Hillary Clinton, May 26th, 2006

[vii] Law Favors Gambler over Grad, Dave Newbart, Chicago Sun Times, May 6th, 2007

[viii] More than a Rabble Rouser?, Elizabeth Redden, Inside Higher Ed, January 12th, 2007

[ix] Manhandled No More, Catherine Tumber, the Boston Phoenix , December 14th, 2006

[x] Damning Data on Defaults, Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, December 4th, 2007

[xi] Hidden Details: A Closer Look at Student Loan Default Rates, Erin Dillon, Education sector.Org, October 23rd, 2007

[xii] Sallie Mae Lost $1.6 Billion in 4q, Marcy Gordon, The Associated Press, January 23rd, 2008

Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2008 6:35 PM
Subject: **private September 23, 2008


Hey Everyone,

The banks are now expanding the $700 billion bailout plan to include private student loans. This is on word I received today from from Paul Basken, a reporter for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Sallie Mae has been added by the SEC to the list of companies that cannot be legally "shorted", and so we can expect that Sallie Mae, and other student loan companies will be holding their hands out to the federal government for high interest private loans they made since bankruptcy protections were removed from private student loans in 2005.

People: Now more than ever, we need to ACT. I have given you the tools to do this. Please use the paste at the end of this email. Send it around to every reporter that you can think of. Also, make a donation to the PAC. Now more than ever, your support is critically important. Finally, please, please spread the word about this site. We will certainly be buried by the student loan lobbying industry if we do not act forcefully...RIGHT NOW.

We do have a piece working with BusinessWeek, the WSJ, and a couple of other papers, but I hope for a flood of press inquiries to be forthcoming if you all do what is needed. This is so critical, guys. I can't tell you....please, please stand up for the common good.

If you don't know who to send this to, just send it to the following:


aanews@aapress.com
aanews@aapress.com
akamenetz@VillageVoice.com
bethany_mclean@fortunemail.com
bobshireman@studentloanwatch.org
Bonnie.McLean@abc.com
chris.lindstrom@pirg.org
cohenr@washpost.com
conversation1@kuow.org
CSturrock@sfchronicle.com
ctgearys@optonline.net
Dannenberg@newamerica.net
david.seago@thenewstribune.com
director@ticas.org
dnewbart@suntimes.com
editor@heraldnews.com
George.Stephanopoulos@abc.com
HARRMA@consumer.org
hgoldman@bloomberg.net
hilzenrath@washpost.com
irons@ticas.org
j.c.lawrence@cox.net
jackbrokengovernment@cnn.com
jsalant@bloomberg.net
Kay.Semion@news-jrnl.com
KikerD@cbsnews.com
King@newamerica.net
klein4janet@yahoo.com
KleinJ@cbsnews.com
kyle@wyomingdemocrats.com
Latoya_Johnson@clinton.senate.gov
lfriend@mpnewspapers.com
LLaCara@nncogannett.com
loudobbs@cnn.com
MGrice@mruholdings.com
Michael.Cross-Barnet@baltsun.com
news@ticas.org
nsanews@newspubinc.com
Paul.Gigot@wsj.com
Peggy.Moran@baltsun.com
piramro@cox.net
pyip@dallasnews.com
Rachel.Feldman@foxnews.com
Richard.Gross@baltsun.com
rkerns@times-news.com
rloope@pressrepublican.com
ronald.brownstein@latimes.com
rshireman@ticas.org
rweaver@advertiser-tribune.com
sbesser@beaconhilltimes.com
sbrown@eastoregonian.com
ShinA@washpost.com
shipley@nytimes.com
Sirat_Attapit@durbin.senate.gov
SKOFF@plaind.com
sln@schoolloannews.com
stgree@nytimes.com
tim@williamfactory.com
Timooney@afj.org
Tom.Hamburger@latimes.com
ttaschinger@hearstnp.com
turn2@angnewspapers.com
VBaker@times-call.com
2020@abc.com
3oys@azfamily.com
aalaya@starledger.com
aaron.schmidt@mail.house.gov
akamenetz@VillageVoice.com
alcorn@vindy.com
amanda@cityvisionsradio.com
amy.silverman@newtimes.com
amy@democracynow.org
anasb@dailycamera.com
anita.franzi@mail.house.gov
apellerano@hearst.com
APlemons@YourTV20.com
arobert@illinoistimes.com
aruiz@dailynews.com
atutino@ithacajournal.com
bartelme@postandcourier.com
bennett.reed@mail.house.gov
beth_buehlmann@help.senate.gov
bethany_mclean@fortunemail.com
bev_schroeder@harkin.senate.gov
bill.cody@mail.house.gov
blake.johnson@mail.house.gov
bombardieri@globe.com
bombardieri@globe.com
brett.swearingen@mail.house.gov
bridgette.dehart@mail.house.gov
bruce.miller@mail.house.gov
bsargent@mininggazette.com
c.r.roberts@thenewstribune.com
casey.buboltz@mail.house.gov
Cassie.Hewlings@gjsentinel.com
catherine@bostonreview.net
celeste.drake@mail.house.gov
cguerra@express-news.net
chewlings@gjds.com
christopher.hartmann@mail.house.gov
christopher.raymond@mail.house.gov
christopher_fick@mikulski.senate.gov
ckeating@courant.com
clay.robison@chron.com
cserres@startribune.com
dan.noyes@abc.com
dan_brannan@thetelegraph.com
davidbroder@washpost.com
davidsarasohn@news.oregonian.com
dbyron@theatlantavoice.com
deirdre_vandyk@timemagazine.com
delicia.reynolds@mail.house.gov
dhaynes@journalsentinel.com
dholwerk@sacbee.com
dlhunt@star-telegram.com
dlowery@statesman.com
dphelps@startribune.com
drhodes@illinoistimes.com
dwalters@sacbee.com
dwilliamson@telegram.com
eanderson@gjfreepress.com
eblunny@pantagraph.com
ebrown@vindy.com
editors@texasobserver.org
elizabeth_howell@alexander.senate.gov
ellen.paul@mail.house.gov
elouis@nydailynews.com
erica.shrader@mail.house.gov
ericzorn@gmail.com
erin.davies@mail.house.gov
fcimail2@atlanticbb.net
ferndalechiro@atlanticbb.net
gabriel.gomez@mail.house.gov
gchildress@heraldsun.com
gclack@express-news.net
ghager@usatoday.com
gknapp@klastv.com
glenn.marston@theledger.com
gretchen@bohemian.com
intern1@mailtribune.com
j.c.lawrence@cox.net
jackie.primeau@mail.house.gov
jaime.herrera@mail.house.gov
jamos@chieftain.com
jarrett@citylimits.org
jay@sfnewsfeed.us
jbulleit@hearst.com
jd_larock@help.senate.gov
jdoyle@sfchronicle.com
jeff.wiseman@mail.house.gov
jenny.odonnell@pilotonline.com
jfloyd@dallasnews.com
jim@westmarincitizen.com
jlender@courant.com
jmorse@adaeveningnews.com
jmwall@desnews.com
jnordberg@mininggazette.com
joan.nagel@mail.house.gov
joanna.serra@mail.house.gov
Jon.Healey@latimes.com
joneill6@bloomberg.net
joseph.neff@newsobserver.com
jpoyser@nuvo.net
julie.mason@chron.com
jupton@sfexaminer.com
jwalsh@pacificsun.com
kamikadunlap@yahoo.com
kara.marchione@mail.house.gov
karey_haywood@burr.senate.gov
kate_wasserman@dodd.senate.gov
katherine.haley@mail.house.gov
kathleen.ingley@arizonarepublic.com
kathryn_young@murray.senate.gov
katrina.cravy@milwaukeewiti.com
kduchschere@startribune.com
kelli.briggs@mail.house.gov
kerber@globe.com
kfosness@mininggazette.com
khelin@gazettes.com
Kim.Bradford@thenewstribune.com
kpalmer@usnews.com
KPellmann@mruholdings.com
laugh_1979@hotmail.com
lauren.aronson@mail.house.gov
laverne.alexander@Qmail.house.gov
leah.sullivan@mail.house.gov
Lisa.Richardson@latimes.com
localnews@marinij.com
lriviere@beacon.org
lswarthout@pirg.org
lucy.house@mail.house.gov
lynnosh@cox.net
mandygirl1223@aol.com
marian.carey@mail.house.gov
mcoleman@abqjournal.com
mdadigan@ewa.org
me@glennbeck.com
Mearl.Purvis@FOXTV.COM
megan.caldwell@mail.house.gov
melissa.chandler@mail.house.gov
mgallagher@abqjournal.com
michael_yudin@bingaman.senate.gov
mike.thompson@mail.house.gov
mike@ydr.com
mildred_otero@clinton.senate.gov
mjd@indusbusinessjournal.com
moira.lenehan@mail.house.gov
mpoole@starbulletin.com
mschulken@charlotteobserver.com
mwilcox@mininggazette.com
nchristian@freepress.com
ncollins@wlky.com
nell.haughton@mail.house.gov
news@thesylvaherald.com
nodust@hughes.net
norrick@bizjournals.com
nsanews@newspubinc.com
nvehar@citizen.org
pdunne@gazette.net
perre.smalls@mail.house.gov
perre.smalls@mail.house.gov
pi@journalsentinel.com
pmckenna@timesshamrock.com
post@vicksburg.com
problemsolvers@wdaftv4.com
ptosto@pioneerpress.com
rboyle@fortcollinsnow.com
rcrowe@azstarnet.com
rdenham@pantagraph.com
rmitchel@adaeveningnews.com
rmoriarty@syracuse.com
rnave@illinoistimes.com
rrosario@pioneerpress.com
ruben.reyes@mail.house.gov
RVR@marinscope.com
ryan.flood@mail.house.gov
sarah.schenning@mail.house.gov
sbutler@studentloanguy.com
SchedIntern@clinton.senate.gov
scott.jaschik@Insidehighered.com
severson@nytimes.com
shannon.buggs@chron.com
shari.rudavsky@indystar.com
sheila.duffy@mail.house.gov
SHuntley@suntimes.com

sln@schoolloannews.com
snishimura@star-telegram.com
spencer.young@mail.house.gov
stephanie.milburn@mail.house.gov
stgree@nytimes.com
support@firedupmissouri.com

tbarstow@patriot-news.com
TG.Donlan@barrons.com
thomas.mcginnis@foxtv.com
tjoyce@ydr.com
tsapochetti@pantagraph.com
turn2@angnewspapers.com
wallace@fox26.com
Wally.Roche@latimes.com
watchdog@courant.com
webeditor@newspubinc.com
william_jawando@brown.senate.gov


Hi. I am involved with a grassroots organization called . We started in 2005, and have grown to comprise thousands of people across the country. We have been featured in nearly every major media outlet since our founding 3 years ago. I hope that you will please consider a story on student loan industry.

The story:

Student loans stand alone among all other types of loans in our nations history to have the most basics, standard consumer protections taken away. This happened since the mid-90's due to a heavily lobbied Congress and sympathetic executive branch. Today, Student loans are the only loans in existence to be exempt from standard bankruptcy protections, Statutes of limitations, Truth in lending requirements, refinancing rights, and even Fair Debt Collection Practices. At the same time, the student loan industry convinced Congress to give them mafia-like collection powers including wage garnishments Tax return garnishment, and even social security and disability garnishment---all without requiring a court order! In addition borrowers can be terminated from public employment, and can have their professional licenses suspended as a result of their student loans.

This system actually makes it very lucrative for the lending industry when the borrowers fall behind, and actually makes it far more profitable when a borrower defaults on their loans! They are, in effect, rewarded for confusing the borrower, and their profits become inversely proportional to the quality of their customer service!

The end result is that decent citizens who fall behind on their payments (for whatever reason) are strong-armed into repaying far, far, far more than the amount they originally borrowed. This often doubles and triples the debt (or far worse in some instances), and there is absolutely no recourse. We have documented thousands of stories from across the country that include people being forced off the grid, fleeing the country, and even committing suicide as a result of this predatory activity.


I hope that you might consider doing a story in your area. We have (and would like to send you) many stories from your state, from people who are willing to be interviewed. I can also send you thousands of stories from across the country if you would like to interview them. I could go on and on here, but I will simply post a couple of examples at the end of this email for your review.

One last point: In the first year of doing this, we ended up being featured in fortune Magazine, and also were featured in the top story on 60 minutes in May, 2006. Hillary Clinton introduced a Bill on our behalf in 2006, as did Dick Durbin, and Danny Davis. All have been quietly killed due to massive lobbying by the student loan industry. Also, Since then. Also, our plight has been largely drown out by the credit crisis in the student loan industry. This is why I am writing to you to urgently request your consideration. I will paste a couple of facts below for your further consideration. Also, check out our website to see more. One last request: go to www.premierecredit.com for 10 seconds if you have any doubts about how ruthless this industry has become. You will see what I am talking about if you just go there.

Please write me back if you are interested. I can also put you in touch with our local "state chapter leader" in your area.

Thank you very much.

*************************************************

Student Loan Industry FACTS.


1. The student loan industry has grown to rival the credit card industry ($550 billion outstanding debt compared to $850 billion for credit cards.

2. "Fee income" for Sallie Mae, the nations largest lender, grew by 228% between 200-2005 (Their loan portfolio grew by only 87% during the same time period)

3. Despite false advertisements by the industry that defaults are dropping, defaults are actually rising- in fact, about 1 in 5 borrowers will default on their student loans.

4. The average undergraduate borrower now leaves school with $23,000 in student loan debt, $42,000 for graduate students

5. The cost of college has risen at double the consumer price index for the past 30 years

6. Student Loans are the ONLY loans in our nation's history to be specifically exempted from bankruptcy protections, truth in lending requirements, statutes of limitations, state usury laws, and even fair debt collection practices.

7. Between 1995-2005, Sallie Mae set aside $3.6 Billion in stock for its employees. This amounts to about $640,000 per employee.

8. The Sallie Mae CEO bragged to shareholders in the 2003 annual report that their record profits that year were attributable to collections on defaulted loans, and other student loan companies report similar trends.


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

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Withheld (Maryland)

I am writing to tell my sister's story. She is no longer with us...She took her life a year ago.

My sister was the first in our family to attend college. She graduated from Johns Hopkins University and did really well for awhile. In her early 30s, she became ill (breast cancer) and was unable to work. I am not sure how she was paying her loans, but I know the student loan representatives were hounding her. I spoke with several on her behalf and little if anything was ever accomplished.

My sister was out of work for a very long time as "chemo" made her very ill. She was repeatedly called by student loan representatives even when told how ill she was.

I do not want to go into a great deal of detail, but I will say that my sister took her life as she said she simply did not want to live anymore. What is interesting is that my sister was not terminally ill. Her cancer was in stage 2...and her prognosis were very good. What ultimately led to my sister's death is the way she was repeatedly hounded by collection agencies regarding her student loans. I wrote to a Maryland Senator myself and stated that something has to be done about this. People are being penalized for going after their dreams of becoming educated. Does anyone else see something wrong with this picture?

My sister's life has been an inspiration to me. I have decided to go back to school. I promised her that I would not obtain any student loans...I am doing it the old fashion way....I am working 3 jobs to finance my education. I will be somewhere in my early 40s when I finish, but at least I won't have to be concerned about being literally worried to death over student loans....

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Gail (Oregon)

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

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

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

David (Texas)

I don't have all the facts and figures about my situation but here's a synopsis. I graduated from chiropractic school (1989) and defaulted on my federal student loans (for the same reasons that others have had to default) that totaled approximately $40,000 (in 1989) and now total $320,000 (based on a collection agency's claim in 2005). I can't renew my license to make a living (much less make payments (they wanted $800 per month in 1996) on the loans) and have experienced feelings of hopelessness, despair, no self-esteem, depression, suicide, etc., etc.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Austins

My husband took out a Heal loan for podiatry school in 1982, 1983, 1984 totaling $39,000. We have paid Sallie Mae over $88,000. In the last three years due to illness, bad luck and decisions, my husband's work has declined substantially. He has exhausted his deferments, and now his loan has accumulated a tremendous amount of interest. This was a $39,000 debt that now will have cost him well over $223,000 and more. All his government student loans have been paid in full. This particular loan was originally obtained by a saving and loan that went bankrupt and then was later sold to Sallie Mae. It is not considered a federally backed student loan. We have difficulty, but are able to pay our other debts such as food, clothing, car payment, credit cards, etc. When my husband stopped paying he was making payments of $700-800 a month. We presently do not own a home, but plan on purchasing one soon. He is apprehensive about filing bankruptcy on other debt that we can pay. Also, you must file a student loan "undue hardship" separate from a bankruptcy anyways. How do we find a lawyer to do this, because everyone I have contacted pretty much states "student loans can not be included in any bankruptcy". Personally I don't think they want to bother even in legitimate cases. We have made several attempts to work out arrangements with Sallie Mae, to no avail. Their only recourse is for him to take out another loan, with of course all this additional accrued interest. If that is our only recourse, we will be paying $500,000 on a $39,000 debt. He is now 53 years old and this is getting scary.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

B. Napoli (CA)

Q: How does the American middle class dream of affordable
higher education become a nightmare?
A: Default a student loan.


Synopsis:


Multiple loans as a graduate student attending Cal State Northridge. Full-time through 1993 in an approved grad program, no problems, just sailing along. (received loan in Sp. 1993). Earthquake in Sp. '94, lost home(apt.) verified by FEMA, dropped down to less than 1/2 time. Put into default. Wrote numerous letters to CSAC & loan Co. (AFSA), that due to hardship, I'd be dropping below full-time. To no avail, defaulted. Returned full-time in Fall '94 thru Sp.'95 full time, sent numerous letters (all certified mail), "sorry, but can't help." I've been fighting this since then. Have all documentation, but it's useless. Every year (thru 1997), I would ask for a dispute hearing, and was answered with either a garnishment or judgment. Finally gave up.

Original loans @26,000, now over 70,000.
Paid over $40,000 in garnish $ tax intercept, lost my
scholarships (PhD), loan forgiveness programs, and chance at
a fellowship.


I actually taught at a low income, inner city school in Los Angeles for 5 years with the expectation that my student loans would be forgiven. After 5 years, I learned that my loans would not be forgiven due to my default status.


Made the mistake of contacting Scott Williams & EdFund. I offered a settlement, also, but no bite. Edfund, a "non-profit", has also jacked my interest rate up to 19%.


I left off of the synopsis all the anguish, the
embarrassment, credit problems, anxiety, etc.( need I go on?)
All I want to do is pay my loans at a reasonable amount, and
get back to my life.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Kathryn

I can only tell you part of my story, because my loans have been passed around so much that I have no idea how my interest accrued or what the costs are. Due to a failed business and serious clinical depression, I had to declare bankruptcy in 2002. I defaulted on my student loans, and now, after a couple of years of repaying, I am "rehabilitated". The lapse in paying back these loans was no more than a year. My Sallie Mae bill went from 42,000 to 58,000. I just rehabilitated another loan (by the way, these loans should be rehabilitated with 12 straight payments, but somehow, they "forget" to send them off to another purchaser). Following the purchase of this loan by a bank, I received a "paid in full" note. The current amount I owe on this note is more than $10,000(remember I have been repaying for about 2 years now). The amount of my original promissory note? Less than $4100. WOW, huh?

I won't bore you with the tales of my other student loans. All told, I expect to repay them all by the age of 70, based on the payment schedule. Well, that's one way of keeping me from retiring and collecting Social Security. (These debts were incurred when I was 35 years old, by the way.)

My, my...you would think these student loans would not be given to loan sharks, but...


____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Tina (Mississippi)

This is my story and I sincerely hope that someone will read it. My name is Tina Lutz and I am a 45-year-old Caucasian woman living in Tupelo Mississippi. I have two children ages 14 and 16. I have been divorced for 10 years and have been rearing my children alone.

I graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1985. During my college career I incurred $6000 in student loan debt. $1000 was incurred from Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado and $5000 from the University of Southern Mississippi. Due to my financial situation over the years I could not be as diligent in the repayment of my student loans as I should have been. I have consolidated and defaulted my loans more than once over the years. It has always been my intention to pay off my loans but times have been lean over the years. I have had several IRS offsets that have been applied to the interest of my student loans.

In January of 2002 I was in a repayment program with the Aman Collection Agency, an instrument of the Department of Education. Aman set up a direct payment program for $100 per month that was drafted from my checking account. After 7 months of my repayment program, Aman was to send Sallie Mae paper work for me to sign to further my repayment program. I was consolidating my original three loans plus penalties, interest and collection fees that totaled approximately $14,000. Mysteriously a fourth loan appeared at Aman in almost the same amount of my consolidation. Upon receipt of this fourth alleged loan Aman abruptly stopped my consolidation program citing that I owed approximately $28,000 in total and they could not continue with my consolidation program until all of the loans were added together. This was in August of 2002. At that time I tried to explain that I believed a mistake had been made and the fourth loan was really the first three loans consolidated into one amount. At one point the note grew to approximately $33,000 and the DOE had a garnishment order imposed at that time. I couldn't get anywhere with Aman nor the Department of Education. These two organizations insisted they were right and I was wrong. At that point a local attorney started communicating with Aman and the Department of Education. This attorney has not charged me to date because he has understood that I didn't have the money to pursue this issue. Two years later and many threats of garnishment and almost a ream of documentation the Department of Education has now determined that I owe the $14,000 that I originally agreed to pay in January of 2002. However, to add insult to injury I am now being charged a $3600 commission fee owed to Aman for collection cost in regards to this situation. I feel that this whole situation is criminal and I have no recourse because the Federal Government is right and I have been wrong this whole time. I am very frustrated by the way I have been treated and I am appalled that I have to pay an extra $3600 because of their mistake. I do have the option to take this to Federal Court at my expense and of course the interest is still clicking away on these loans at my expense.

In my defense I was attempting to repay this debt in 2002. I recognize that I did not responsibly address the issues of my student loans in the past, but I still cannot get beyond the fact that I think that the way I have been treated is criminal. If I were to do the same things that the Aman Collection Agency and the Department of Education have done to me I do believe that I would be criminally charged. My credit has been ruined for years because of this situation.

I can't help but wonder how many other women are in the same shoes that I am in. I have been fortunate to have the support of a local attorney to assist me in this matter but how many other women have not been so fortunate? If the local attorney hadn't taken pity on me I am sure that I would be in a forced repayment program, garnishment, exceeding $33,000.

I understand that this is a confusing situation but I do have documentation to support all of my claims. I would somehow like to get my story told because I feel like I have been threatened, badgered and unjustly treated in this situation. I have been in contact with the Aman Collection Agency in attempt to negotiate some reasonable solution to this issue. However, neither Aman nor the Department of Education have been receptive. I had until Feb. 6, 2005 to raise $14,500 or else the garnishment order was to go into effect. I offered to pay the loan in the same manner that was agreed upon in January of 2002. I also asked that the duplicated note be taken off my credit report to which the reply was "it will take at least 3 months if it will happen at all". I also requested that after 6 months of payment without any late payments or missed payment that the original note be taken out of collection on my credit report. All of this fell on deaf ears and blind eyes (my attorney made these requests in writing). Aman wants their $3600 regardless of what the situation has been.

Needless to say, I have been a nervous wreck for 3 years and even considered quitting my job to drop under the radar. That is not an option as I am rearing two teens by myself.

I would love for you to see the responses for my request of a hearing in person. I made that request twice and was denied. I have filled out the hardship paperwork 2 or 3 times at this point. My expenses were computed against the national averages except in the case that I exceeded the national averages. In that case my bill totals were lowered to the national averages. The math used to compute all of this is a mystery to me.

If my story is of interest to you please don't hesitate to contact me. Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I truly believe that someone needs to expose the DOE and their contracted collection agencies to their practices.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dave (New York)

Going to make this semi-short because so much is the "same" as so many others...and I have not checked for spelling. Back in the 80's I wanted to go to college. My parents could not afford to send me and I was not eligible for grants (Pel?) because my parents earned "too much" - which at the time was something like 100 more than what they allowed people to earn per year. The only way I could go to college was to get a student loan. I did this three times - one for each year I was in college, for a total of $7,500.

So college is done and I start to make payments. On a good day (month) I would pay up to 3 payments at once. never one time did I get a "thank you" letter about doing that. On a bad day (month) i might be a week late. The DOE wasted no time in contacting me with threats about "We will report you and that will ruin your credit". Around 1985 or so it got very bad - multiple letters and phone calls with collection agencies making threats about ruining my credit and telling everyone they could about how bad I was at making payments. Again with not knowing what I know now I was freaking out about all of this and I just sent a nasty letter to them. The letter was basically a rant from me saying that I was tired of being treated as a number, I was tired of calling and being told that none of my letters were "on file" and all that came up was my name on a computer screen saying I did not make payments, that I was tired of not one time ever being thanked for getting payments ahead of time to them but being a day late and getting calls with people making threats. I also said that if I got any more letters or calls I would consider the remaining $2,500.00 paid in full and also report them to the AG of California. Needless to say I got more calls and letters so I sent off a letter saying because they failed to honor my request my debt was now cancelled, I also sent a copy of all the paperwork I had at the time to the and CC'd a copy to the AG of California at the time...and to this day I have no idea why I actually did that, but I am, glad I did. For the next almost 18 years there were no more letters, no more calls...nothing.

Than one day I am on a film set. Suddenly the line producer comes out and stops the shoot. She has the really concerned look on her face. She hands me a cell phone and stands there looking so sad. I say hello? and I hear a mans voice ask "is this Dave?" and I say "yes..." and his tone changes and goes into this whole "We are a collection agency and you defaulted on your student loan..." blah blah. I was stunned and chocked and I could barely muster any words...sitting on a set with the entire production being help up because of this phone call. As calmly as I could I had a semi-noir freak out and asked how they got the number and he would not tell me. I told him he had no right to call me on set and hung up. I asked the line producer how, and why, she would stop shooting for that. Well - after she told me what the guy told her I did some back searching. I called my mother and she had gotten a call from an "old friend" of mine who "has some jobs lined up" and needed to get a hold of me as fast as he could. So she gave him the studios production office. They got a call asking for me and told the person I was on a shoot and could not be reached. So the caller tells them there is a serious family emergency and he needed to get a hold one ASAP. So they give him the productions cell number so they can call the set directly. The phone rings and the line producer answers the phone and she is asked of me and she said I am busy, they are shooting and so on. Now she gets told that my mother is ill and possibly near death and it was of the utmost importance that he speak with me. By the time I got this whole story together I was shaking and had I known where this collection agency was and the who the person was, and where they lived, I would have done whatever I could have to bring them to their knees in whatever way I could.

The best I could do is get the guys voicemail and left him a message that he was never ever to contact any member of my family or my employers again. That if I ever found out who he was I was going to bring charges against him for the methods he used. I never heard from him again. But a few years after that I am married and have a child. The first year my wife and I file and get to use the e"earned income" credit suddenly instead of a return we get a letter saying that the entire amount was used for a past debt...you got it - the student loan. This has gone on now each year for the last 5 years, except I am much wiser and my wife fills out the "injured spouse" form so their amount they take is less than 100%.

Like someone else posted the IRS on behalf of the DOE has taken more than what was owed to start off with except now, this week actually, my neighbors are getting phone calls from a "Val" at "Van Ru" looking for information about me. She says she is an old friend of mine and needs to speak with me urgently. I have no idea who "Val" is or who "van ru" is - so i do a search and find out "Van Ru" is a collection agency that seems be hired a *lot* by various state and federal agencies for debt collection. They also seem to have long list of lawsuits against them for their methods. Seems they claim I owe $8,000.00 on the loan plus another $52,000.00 in interest and "fees". Keep in mind when the harassment was going on the first time around I only owed $2,500.00 - seems they upped it a bit...ok, they upped it a HUGE bit.

Now here is a bit of info on "van Ru" - I contacted the DOE about them and they said they could not help me because Van Ru was not one of their contractors. So I did some searching and found out their contract with the DOE expired in March 2005. Not only that but guess how much "Van Ru" was paid? (or I should say "guess how much our beloved DOE "awarded" them for the contract to go out and collect debts?") $47,029,654.57 yes - you did read that amount correctly.

So now I have to wonder what the hell is "van Ru" doing? They have not contacted me at all - yet they are contacting all my neighbors asking about me. I did a credit report search and I come up with nothing - as in nothing owed, no debts, no bankruptcy - a clean and good report. But now here is the "fun" part. In the last 12 months guess who has requested to see my credit report? yup "Van Ru". They did it in August 2005.

So that is where I am at as of today. Waiting for the next shoe to drop. But I now save things, I now keep records. I dod not have any student load records around - I don't have check stubs of copies or even statements. I mean they tell you to keep thing for maybe 5 years....and we are talking over 20 years years now with no word about student loans from anyone for about 18 of those years. So sad...so very sad. If I harassed people like some of the Collection places do I would be tossed in jail. Not only can they get away with it, one look at the stack of lawsuits ageist "Van ru" over the years shows they not only keep doing it but get HUGE govt contracts to do it.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Trevor (New York)

I went to school and never finished because of having a family. Life happened.

Now I'm somehow 40,000 dollars in debt from about $12,000 in student loans. My pay is being garnished by both the DOE and HESC. HESC calls me regularly and their agents are verbally abusive and harassing.

Someone needs to do something. Why can't we file harassment charges? The loans schedule they use is tantamount to Usury, which last i looked, is illegal. I suppose if it's the government doing it, they can make it legal for themselves.

At this point my credit history is destroyed. I'm considering just quitting my job and working under the table to prevent continued collection.

Isn't there anyone who can help?? Why won't our representatives DO ANYTHING?


____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mark (MN)

I Borrowed about 60,000 through law school. Defaulted on loans. Was encouraged to consolidate even though I told them I was unemployed. Defaulted again. Current loan balance of 170000. Was advised to get on income contingent repayment. Told that if I filed taxes separately, that my wife's income would not be used to calculate repayments. Found out that is not true. Waiting to see what my monthly payment will be. I think a lawsuit against Department of Ed and various credit agencies would be appropriate.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Nancy (Oklahoma)

My name is Nancy. I am a graduate with a Masters degree in Public Health from the University of Oklahoma. I decided to go back to school in my early 30s hoping by getting my bachelors and then my masters I could have a better life for myself. By the time I got out of school I owed $27,000 to Sallie Mae. I was paying that loan back, but only through forebearance because I could not afford the astronomical payments they were wanting me to pay. I work for the state and even with a Master's degree, I still only made $40,000.00. The state of Oklahoma does not pay much, but at my age the benefits were good and I have been able to start a program for the state that no other state is doing. I consider my career a success, however, I have had to struggle to make ends meet. I have taken care of an ill partner who did not work for a year and I have taken care of my mother for 5 years who is in complete renal failure. She is in a nursing home, but I supply all of her palative needs to assure she has some dignity to her life. My father was in the nursing home with her for two years. He died of Alzheimers.
Last year I was unable to make any payments on my loan. I kept calling and asking for them to work with me and could I make lower payments. The representatives that I would talk to were rude and would yell at me, belittle me and treat me as if I was some dog on the street. I would occasionally send a payment when I could, but with my partner not working and taking care of my mother, I just could not make the payment every month. Now they have put me in default are threatening to garnish my wages and have informed me that I owe them $59,430.13. They have told me that I am being charged collection charges of 22% of the outstanding principal while in default and are demanding payment in full. I graduated in 1990, I had absolutely no idea that I would be owing this much money at the age of 54. I can retire from the state in 5 years, yet with this loan I don't see how I can do it. If they can take my social security how will I survive?
I have written the default collection agency and made them an offer of a little lower offer than what Sallie Mae wanted, but I don't know if they will take it. I am seriously considering leaving the country once my mother passes and telling them to go FUCK themselves. The home I own is mortgaged all the way up, so there is nothing for them to take from me. It will be the greatest day of my life when I do leave this country and can tell them that. This country is so out of control and our government is screwing us all as we bend over and watch them between our legs.
What I don't understand is why a class action suit has not been filed. I can guarantee that if one person started the action that THOUSANDS would get involved. I know I would personally show up for the hearings. Someone has to start doing something about this and I know there has to be enough people out there who can gather the financial means to do this. Our government has to be shown that we are the ones in control, it is our country, when are we going to stop letting them beat us down?
You may publish my story. I will answer any questions you have. I will talk to anyone you want me to talk to.
Thank you for listening.

*************************************************
Subject: Checking in: September 24th, 2008
Date: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 2:53 PM

Hey Everyone,


Welcome to all the new members. We are picking up new members at roughly double the rate as previously, and so I want to make sure that all the new people feel welcome here. We are definitely not alone. Together, distressed student loan borrowers comprise between 5-10 million citizens.

The SEC recently put Sallie Mae on the list of companies that cannot legally be "shorted" by investors. This means, clearly, that Sallie Mae, and probably other student loan companies will be attempting to take part in the bailout. In other words, they will be expecting to be paid for bad private student loans that they made. It is important for you all to understand what brought us to this point. I particularly hope that members of the media receiving this email will pay particular attention to this. It is critically important that they get the story right:

The student loan industry lobbied heavily to have bankruptcy
protections removed for private loans in 2005, and then proceeded to make
huge loans at credit card-like interest rates. It comes as no surprise to
anyone intimately familiar with the private loan industry that many of these
loans are now defaulting.

If the federal government does decide to purchase these loans, it should be
at a deep, deep discount (ie. principal only), and the borrowers should not
be reponsible for repaying more than the government paid for these loans,
ultimately.

Finally, standard consumer protections must be returned, finally, to ALL student loans.


I hope that you all will contribute to our Political Action Committee. I hope that you all will take it upon yourselves to act locally to bring attention to this issue. I hope that you all will help spread the word about this site. We need more members, and you all are instrumental in making this happen.

Also, please check out the video that one of our members (Jean) has made: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9D-QxJNGnM


Let's go, guys.


-Alan


*************************************************
Subject: Checking in: October 6th 2008
Date: Tuesday, October 07, 2008 3:40 PM

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to all the new members. We have been picking up members at a significantly accelerated rate over the past couple of months. Keep spreading the word about this site. It is one of our only weapons against the incredibly strong lobbying/PR machine that the banks have constructed over the decades.

1. We were featured yesterday in a piece in the Seattle Times. Thanks to Lora Ladd in Oregon, and all the others who were interviewed for this piece. I really like this article because it points out that the lifetime default rate is close to 25%, a fact that is almost never reported. It also highlights my favorite student loan collection company, Premiere Credit (of Indiana), a company that has installed a 3800 gallon shark tank in their corporate headquarters.

2. Sallie Mae and other student loan companies will be holding their hands out for bailout money for private student loans. Senator Schumer sent a letter to Secretary Paulson today asking for exactly that. This is a massive, unprecedented, and brazen abomination of justice: These companies lobbied Congress to remove bankruptcy protections for this type of loan in 2005, and now expect a bailout for the horrible loans that they made in the subsequent years. I wrote an OPED about it, and am pasting it to the end of this email. I respectfully request that reporters receiving this email will kindly forward this OPED along to their editorial departments. I also request that members receiving this will forward thie OPED to their local newspapers.

3. The student advocates out there have issued a letter to Treasury Secretary Paulson, arguing for the return of standard bankruptcy protections to private loans. This is significant. We can only hope that in the future, these advocates will argue forcefully for the return of all consumer protections to all student loans, not just private loans. I have attached their letter to this email for your examination.

4. Hang in there, guys. The submissions I've been receiving lately have been really sobering. If you have thoughts of suicide, don't do it. We were not put on this earth to struggle under a predatory loan mechanism concocted by Washington D.C./Wall Street insiders. Think about positive steps that you can take to solve this problem. It is far better to exert your energy towards positive solutions than wallowing in self pity, and entertaining selfish thoughts of self harm. Remember, predatory student loan debt is a fabrication that no other generation has ever had to face. We are on the right side of this argument. Hang in there. Just hang in there.

5. This is a grassroots effort, as most of you know. It is critical that you, each of you, take it upon yourselves to spread word about this website, this issue, and this story to everyone you can think of who might make a difference. A donation to the PAC would be great, but anything else positive that you can do would be hugely helpful.

*************************************************
Subject: Checking in: October 10th, 2008
Date: Friday, October 10, 2008 8:40 PM

Hi Everyone,

Wecome to all the new members. It again has been a busy week, and we are both pcking up new members, and fielding press inquiries at an accelerated pace.


couple of items:

1. The book I wrote, The Student Loan Scam, was chosen as Publisher's Weekly "Pick of the Week". This is encouraging, Apparently, someone actually read the book, and liked it, so this is, according to my editor, a really good sign. A really good synopsis of the crux of the problem there. Feel free to comment on this page if you are so inclined-


2. I worked on the OPED I threw out there last week. It is 600 words. It would be really great if you all could float this around to your local newspapers to try and get it published. I am trying for some of the bigger newspapers, but right now, the media is obsessed with reporting on the welfare of the banks, as opposed to the citizens. I will also paste this below.


That's it for now. Keep us posted as to your activities.


Keep FIGHTING!!

The Coming Student Loan Bailout

We can fully expect that student loan companies like Sallie Mae will have their hands out to Treasury Secretary Paulson, seeking to be paid book value for private student loans that have gone bad over the past few years. It is important for citizens to understand the history behind this. This is far more troubling for student loan borrowers than for home mortgage borrowers. Here's why:

Student loan companies including Sallie Mae, Citibank, and others lobbied Congress to have bankruptcy protections for private student loans removed as a part of the 2005 Bankruptcy Bill- successfully. No one seems to be able to find out who inserted this language into the bill- no congressman seems to be willing to claim credit. Nonetheless, it happened. That the student loan companies were able to get this passed was seen as amazing and unprecedented by nearly all experts and analysts of this industry. That this most basic, standard consumer protection could be removed for a private, non federally guaranteed loan instrument is astonishing. The industry claimed at the time that by removing this protection, the industry would be able to make loans to people with lower credit scores. After passage, of the bill, however, it was shown conclusively that the industry did not follow through on their promise. Students with low or marginal credit scores received loans at roughly the same rate as before the legislation was passed.

What the industry did do, however, was pile on as much of this private loan debt on the students as possible, often with credit card-like interest rates, and at hugely unfavorable terms. Students across the country found, after the fact, that they had been saddled with an insurmountable debt, with interest that often exceeded their monthly earnings after graduation. Unlike home mortgage borrowers who at least have standard bankruptcy protections in place, student loan debtors are stuck with the principal, interest, and massive penalties and fees. Sallie Mae has been very successful at putting down attempts to reverse this legislation by members of congress including Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Danny Davis (D-Il). In a leaked strategy memo, Sallie Mae listed the preservation of current bankruptcy laws as its #2 priority, and proceeded to spend millions lobbying congress to that end.

Academia, of course, has been silent as a lamb throughout this whole ordeal. The private loan market has grown at a whopping 24% annual rate, and tuition at our nation's colleges continues to soar, usually rising at double the consumer price index (CPI) year after year. The universities have, indeed been sitting in the catbird's seat throughout this process.

Now, the industry wants the federal government to repay them for these loans that proved to be wildly unfair to the borrowers, and caused so much suffering in the citizenry. Even stalwart democrats, most notably Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), have taken the lead in representing the banks on this issue, writing a letter to Secretary Paulson this week to make sure the student loan companies get their bailout, with no mention of any action for the students who now face a bleak future with massive, high interest debt, and a disturbingly weak economy.

One can only hope that Congress will wake up to the fact that they are hired to represent the interests of the citizens. Not the banks. The return of basic consumer protections to student loans such as standard bankruptcy protections should be at the top of the priority list for the next congress. We should also hope, perhaps demand, that colleges and universities will immediately lower their prices, and apply this discount fully towards the debt burdens of the students.

-Alan Collinge

Founder,


*************************************************
From: justice@
To: ;
Subject: **private: Recording your phone conversations
Date: Mon, 13 Oct 2008 19:25:21 -0700


Hey guys,


Over the past 3 weeks, I've received a dozen or so phone calls from a collection company. Every time, the person on the phone announces that they are "with the Department of Education". When I ask them if they are an employee of the Department of Education, they say "Yes".

This is illegal.


This is a clear violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. I assume that this is happening on a widespread basis. So, I've decided to begin recroding these conversations. It is not legal to do this without announcing that the call may be recorded in the state that I live in, so here's what I am going to do: I say, "I happen to know that this call can be recorded, and I don't want any problems with the government". This is a completely valid way of announcing that the call can be recorded, but usually throws the person on the other end, and makes them even more bold, and threatening for some reason.

This is something everyone can do, and is grounds for litigation. I encourage all of you facing similar harassment to do the same. If you don't know how to record a phone conversation, its easy:

1. Go to Radio Shack, and buy a microhone that fits into the green microphone jack on your computer (you may need an adapter to make this happen, but the people at radio shack will know exactly what you need. It costs about $20.

2. Go HERE, and dowload the free sound recorder. Install it, and make sure that the startup ICON apopears on your desktop.

3. Practice with the sotware one or twice to make sure that you are able to quickly turn on the recorder when you get the call.

Just do this, and be vigilant. It may take a couple of tries before you get a conversation on tape that clearly shows a violation of the FDCPA, but keep at it. If you do indeed get an incriminating call on tape, you have the ability to demand hefty damages. If you need to find an attorney willing to represent you on this, I may be able to help. We have a ton of attorneys in this group at this point.


StudentLoanJustice.org

*************************************************
Subject: Checking in October 30th, 2008
Date: Thursday, October 30, 2008 1:05 PM

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to all the new members. Things are picking up.

1. Paul Basken at the Chronicle of Higher Education did a top notch piece on false claims, and other tactics lenders use to "grow" loans (Thanks to Bill in Connecticut for stepping up on this one).:


http://chronicle.com:80/temp/email2.php?id=fg8MrmdbmVrccwtsvkQmFp2kmXPxvztZ


2. CNN FINALLY did a piece on student loan fugitives. This piece wouldn't have happened if our members had not stepped up to be interviewed.

http://money.cnn.com/2008/10/23/pf/college/student_loan_fugitives/index.htm?postversion=2008102407


3. Pretty good piece in the Asbury Park, NJ paper this week. Again, our members are interviewed here.


http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/20081028/NEWS/810280342/-1/newsfront


4. Someone unrelated to SLJ wrote an extremely intelligent opinion piece in the Chronicle this week:

http://chronicle.com/jobs/news/2008/10/2008102701c.htm

You guys should read this. Anyone can do the same thing.

5. Our friend Aurora Menenghello, a filmaker, is going forward with a documentary about student loan debt. The piece will be called "Default: The Student Loan Documentary". I urge you all to check out the website for the film, and support their efforts. The website is at: http://defaultmovie.com/

That's it for now. I expect alot of news on this issue will be breaking in the coming couple of months.


StudentLoanJustice.org

*************************************************
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:,
Subject: **private November 3, 2008


Hey Guys,


Well, It's election eve, and I've been asked alot lately about which
candidate is worthy of an endorsement. Unfortunately, neither candidate
has even addressed the issue of returning standard consumer protections to
student loans. I can say that Obama offers the best chance of this
happening, but the fact that neither candidate has even addressed this
issue publicly is cause for serious concern, and disappointment. The only
candidate, thus far, who has earned a contribution from our PAC is a
challenger for Congress in Washington State, Rick Bart, who has called
publicly for a student loan amnesty program.

Having said that, we have a real opportunity in the next 4 months to make
this issue a major one. With the election over, there will be a ton of
media time freed up for other purposes. It is up to us to make sure that
the student loan scam in this country receives the attention it deserves.

Beacon Press has decided to move the publication date of the book to
January. This will oincide nicely with the inauguration of the new
president. In addition, I've been selected as one of 7 "good guys" for a
prominent national magazine for the month of December. I have 3 media
appearances scheduled ober the next 3 months, and I expect this will grow
significantly...but only with your grassroots support. This means calling
reporters, and convincing them to do stories about this issue. We
definitely have the numbers at this point. Our membership has grown to
exceed 3000 members at this point, and word of mouth seems to be working
(although it is still not where it needs to be).

Remember, guys, we have an incredibly strong and compelling case to make,
and this is being noticed. However, it is still going to take a ton of
effort by you all to continue to get the word out There are 5 million of
us (if not 10 million) in the country, and we have to get to them. It
takes alot of persistence, and dealijng with alot of frustration, believe
me. For every reporter you can convince to do a story, there will be 10
who waste your time, and end up publishing nothing. The first story I
ever
got published on this issue, for example (Fortune Magazine/Bethany
McLean),
took over a year to publish anything...but it was worth the trouble.


So gear up, guys. Educate yourselves, and get ready to do a full court
press after the election. Its really very simple.

Below is a short summary of the issues that I have been sending around to
reporters. Use it.


Regards,

Alan
*************************************************

Hi. I am involved with a grassroots organization called
StudentLoanJustice.Org. We started in 2005, and have grown to

comprise thousands of people across the country. Will you please consider
doing a story on the predatory nature of student

loans?

The story:

Student loans stand alone among all other types of loans in our nations
history to have the most basics, standard consumer

protections taken away. This happened since the mid-90's due to a heavily
lobbied Congress and sympathetic executive

branch. Today, Student loans are the only loans in existence to be exempt
from standard bankruptcy protections, Statutes of

limitations, Truth in lending requirements, refinancing rights, and even
Fair Debt Collection Practices. At the same time, the

student loan industry convinced Congress to give them mafia-like
collection
powers including wage garnishments Tax return

garnishment, and even social security and disability garnishment---all
without requiring a court order! In addition borrowers can

be terminated from public employment, and can have their professional
licenses suspended as a result of their student loans.

This system actually makes it very lucrative for the lending industry when
the borrowers fall behind, and actually makes it far

more profitable when a borrower defaults on their loans! They are, in
effect, rewarded for confusing the borrower, and their

profits become inversely proportional to the quality of their customer
service!

The end result is that decent citizens who fall behind on their payments
(for whatever reason) are strong-armed into repaying

far, far, far more than the amount they originally borrowed. This often
doubles and triples the debt (or far worse in some

instances), and there is absolutely no recourse. We have documented
thousands of stories from across the country that

include people being forced off the grid, fleeing the country, and even
committing suicide as a result of this predatory activity.

I hope that you might consider doing a story in your local area. I have
(and would like to send you) many stories from your

state, from people who are willing to be interviewed. I can also send you
thousands of stories from across the country if you

would like to interview them. I could go on and on here, but I will simply
post a couple of examples at the end of this email for

your review.

One last point: In the first year of doing this, we ended up being
featured in fortune Magazine, and also were featured in the

top story on 60 minutes in May, 2006. Hillary Clinton introduced a Bill
on
our behalf in 2006, as did Dick Durbin, and Danny

Davis. All have been quietly killed due to massive lobbying by the
student
loan industry. Also, Since then. Also, our plight has

been largely drown out by the credit crisis in the student loan industry.
This is why I am writing to you to urgently request your

consideration. I will paste a couple of facts below for your further
consideration. Also, check out our website to see more.

One last request: go to www.premierecredit.com for 10 seconds if you have
any doubts about how ruthless this industry has

become. You will see what I am talking about if you just go there.

Please write me back if you are interested. I can also put you in touch
with our local "state chapter leader" in your area.

Thank you very much.


*************************************************

Student Loan Industry FACTS.


1. The student loan industry has grown to rival the credit card industry
($550 billion outstanding debt compared to $850 billion

for credit cards.

2. "Fee income" for Sallie Mae, the nations largest lender, grew by 228%
between 200-2005 (Their loan portfolio grew by only

87% during the same time period)

3. Despite false advertisements by the industry that defaults are
dropping, defaults are actually rising- in fact, about 1 in 5

borrowers will default on their student loans.

4. The average undergraduate borrower now leaves school with $23,000 in
student loan debt, $42,000 for graduate students

5. The cost of college has risen at double the consumer price index for
the past 30 years

6. Student Loans are the ONLY loans in our nation's history to be
specifically exempted from bankruptcy protections, truth in

lending requirements, statutes of limitations, state usury laws, and even
fair debt collection practices.

7. Between 1995-2005, Sallie Mae set aside $3.6 Billion in stock for its
employees. This amounts to about $640,000 per

employee.

8. The Sallie Mae CEO bragged to shareholders in the 2003 annual report
that their record profits that year were attributable

to collections on defaulted loans, and other student loan companies report
similar trends.

9. Decent citizens whose only crime was to attempt to better themselves
through higher education are literally going off the

grid, fleeing the country, or worse as a result of this predatory debt.

*************************************************
Subject: Checking in: November 12th, 2008


Subject: **private: Have you left the country, or are you seriously planning to due to student loans?


Have you left the country, or are you seriously planning to due to student loans? Please reply to this email if so. I know we have 2-3 dozen people that fit this category; US News & World Report is looking at this phenomenon, potentially.
As an aside: Now is the time to call a reporter, and ask them to do a story on the inherently predatory nature of student loans. For some reason, not nearly enough of us are doing thsis, despite the fact that it is clearly one of the only no-cost, big impact goals that we can accomplish as individuals.

Also, if you have any connections with the new presidential administration, or members of Congress-particularly members of House or Senate Education Committees, The coming two months would be the right time to ask them what they plan to do in the next session to return standard consumer protections to student loans.

Finally: Please don't post these **private messages on blogs. The "check-ins" are fine, but not the private messages. These are meant for members only.

Regards,

*************************************************
Subject: Checking in: November 13th, 2008
Date: Thursday, November 13, 2008 8:58 PM

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to all the new members.

1. We are featured this week in a piece by Nan Mooney. Thanks to Raya and Rebecca for stepping up to be interviewed for this piece. Nan is a very influential writer who recently published a book with Beacon Press, and has appeared on shows including the News Hour with Jim Lehrer three weeks ago.

2. There is a radio show called The Takeaway that is seeking to hear from student loan borrowers. The number to leave your story is 1-877-8-MY-TAKE

3. Please continue to do what you can to bring awareness to this issue, now more than ever it is important for our stories to get attention in the media, rather than the banks hogging all of the media space with their "credit crisis".

4. Please consider a donation to the PAC.


StudentLoanJustice.org


*************************************************
Subject: Checking in: November 24th
Date: Monday, November 24, 2008 9:50 PM

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to the new members. Despite the current turmoil in the financial industry, we continue to make progress. There have also been a couple of developments that are cause for some concern.


1. Thanks to Mark In Alaska for stepping up in a recent piece in the Northern Light .
2. Thanks to Daniel in New Jersey for speaking out in a piece yesterday in the Daily Record.
3. Our Facebook Group is up to 650 members.
4. Premiere Credit, the student loan collection company with the shark tank in their corporate headquarters, announced recently that it would be doubling in size. In the press release, they summed up nicely how relatively easy and lucrative it is to collect on student loan debt:


"...Debt collectors have a much easier time collecting government-backed student loans than unsecured debts like credit cards, which are not tied to an asset. Federal student loans can forcibly be repaid in a number of different ways and debt collectors have more legal leeway to track down debtors. There's no statute of limitations on collection efforts. [Federal student loans], more often than not, can't be discharged in a bankruptcy," Smith writes. "Collection agents can garnish wages, tax refunds and Social Security payments, and they can access a federal database of new hires that makes it easier to find employed people who can pay."

5. The student loan industry is positioning itself to get bailed out on private loans. There is a good article and discussion thread on this at Inside Higher Ed, and also at the New America Foundation's Blog . Please leave your comment on these if you are so inclined. Some important people read these comments.


6. If you have any questions about what you can do, just go to the "Take Action" link on the website. Also, don't forget to get with your state chapter lead if you haven't already. Finally, about 2000 of our members stories are available for download from the website in .xls format. These are more than half of our stories, and may be useful for your own work on this issue. Contact info has been removed for privacy reasons.


Thats it for now- Please Keep Fighting!

StudentLoanJustice.org


*************************************************
Subject: Checking in: December 12th, 2008
Date: Saturday, December 13, 2008 12:28 AM

Hey Everyone,

It has been an interesting week or so. Welcome to the new members.


1. Our Facebook group should be reaching 1000 members in the coming week. Given that between 19-31% of federally guaranteed student loans (given to first and second year students) were predicted to default by an Inspector General's Audit in 2003, I think its clear that this problem is far larger than the industry advertises, and it is my hope that this platform finally gets us through the overwhelming marketing noise that renders us all but invisible to internet users. Interestingly, most of our members are in their 30's, 40's and up, and are reluctant to jump on the latest craze (as I am), but I have begun to see the networking power of the platform, and thus encourage you all to give it a try. There are Facebook groups that have millions of members, so it does work.

2. Received mention from CNN/Money Magazine today on their 2008 list of "Heroes and Zeros".

The link is:

http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2008/news/0812/gallery.heroes_zeros_2008/index.html


You will see that there are other, far, far more accomplished people on the list, and I suspect Money will get more than a few strongly worded notes from student loan industry people regarding their selection, but I am glad that they are giving the student loan problem that kind of visibility-


3. Thanks to Nick Keith for stepping up in a Businessweek piece today:

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_51/b4113040331255.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index+-+temp_business+schools

Hang in there!

StudentLoanJustice.org

*************************************************
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 9:32 PM
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
Subject: **private: Opening in SF on Friday, Possible gathering on Monday

Hey Guys,

So there is a documentary being produced by a pair of film makers in San Francisco about student loans. The title is: Default: The Student Loan Documentary. It has won fiscal sponsorship from the San Francisco Film Society, and they are holding their kickoff part this friday in San Francisco.

I'm flying down there on Friday, and staying through Monday. We'll do some shooting over the weekend, and I am hoping to take a couple of hours on Monday to pass out flyers in front of Pelosi's offices. If you can make it to San Francisco on Friday, Monday, or Both, please let me know. I know this is probably only a few of us, but i wanted to cast the net far and wide.

Please let me know if you're interested. The When/Where for the event on Friday is:

Time and Place

Date:
Friday, December 19, 2008

Time:
7:30pm - 8:45pm

Location:
Rickshaw Stop

Street:
155 Fell Street

City/Town:
San Francisco, CA

You can confim attendance on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=37120389671


*************************************************
Subject: Checking in: December 18th, 2008
Date: Thursday, December 18, 2008 9:06 PM


Hey Everyone,

Welcome to all the new members.

1. Special thanks go out to Jean in Illinois who, of her own volition, labored long and hard to make this video. It is quite powerful. Thanks also to Matt Kressling who scored the song that accompanies it. It is really good to see people out there who are beginning to break out of their paralysis, act on their own, and take positive steps to solve this problem. You can see the video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQ0vN_nx_a4

2. We are quoted this week in The Chronicle of Higher Education regarding the new Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan . Apparently We are one of the few to voice concern over his lack of higher education experience. Oh well. http://chronicle.com/temp/email2.php?id=6BqgxQy8pdgxKvSs6fyRjhqzwpkpfWkc

3. I will be out of office for the next three days, going to San Francisco to help out with the documentary: Default: The Student Loan Documentary. I have high hopes for this production, and in fact, have decided to donate half of our PAC donations for the next week to this production. I have high confidence in the flim makers, and hope that you will see fit to make a donation to support this effort. You can donate to the pac at http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


That's it for now. Happy Holidays!


Alan


StudentLoanJustice.org


*************************************************
Subject: **private December 24th, 2008
Date: Wednesday, December 24, 2008 3:49 AM

Hey Guys,

The trip to San Francisco went very well. I attended the kickoff party for the documentary (more about that in my next post) on Friday, and about 150 people showed up. On Monday, 6 of us went to Nancy Pelosi's office, and gave them a copy of the book. Thanks to Cindy, Heather, L.C., Nick, Aurora, and Serge for making the trip successfull and fun.

We are splitting our PAC donations with the documentary for the next 3 days as a part of their kikoff fundraiser. I've seen the trailer, spent alot of time with the producers, and have high hopes for it. If you have been considering a donation, now would be a good time to follow through.


More soon,

Alan


StudentLoanJustice.org

*************************************************
Subject: Checking in: December 29th, 2008
Date: Monday, December 29, 2008 9:12 AM


Hey Everyone,

Welcome to the new members. I estimate our membership to be just shy of 4000 at this point: 3000 who either submitted stories at, or sent messages to the website, and another 800 on the Facebook Group . I frankly expected our membership would be much higher at this point, but the inherently private nature of debt makes spreading the word a difficult task. Please find two people facing similar debt situations and inspire them to join up if you would. The default rate on student loans is perhaps 30%, so distressed student loan borrowers are everywhere, but it will take grassroots effort to find them. Its been a busy week:

1. Our members were featured in 4 pieces in the Boston Herald Last week (see previous Check in), and were also featured in a good piece this weekend in the LA Times. Thanks to Natalie, and Shianily in California for stepping up to be interviewed for this piece, which was very well researched, and exposed attempts by lenders to purposely confuse and distract borrowers. The piece didn't mention the unique and astonishing absence of bankruptcy, and other protections for student loans, but I believe it was only the first piece in a series, so hopefully this will be well covered in the future.


2. I went to California last week to help two independent film producers kick off a very important documentary on student loans entitled Default: The Student Loan Documentary. We were dedicating half of our PAC donations through the end of the year to support their efforts. I have decided to change this to 100% of our donations through January 1st. Check out the trailer. See for yourself. This is a very important effort worthy of our support. You can also go to the link above, and donate to them directly. Also, they are covered under the San Francisco Film Institute's non profit status, so donations are tax deductible. remember, we donated only $50 to political candidates this past election cycle, but will be making what I hope will be a far more significant contribution to this effort. That should show the high hopes that I have for this film.

3. Thanks to Jean in Illinois for making a great video on the student loan problem. The correct YOUtube link for this piece is here.

4. My book, The Student Loan Scam, should have arrived at your house by now if you pre ordered. Stores will have them in stock by January 10th. This book, if it reaches its intended audience, will have a dramatic effect on raising consciousness about this problem. Check it out for yourself. I think you will be pleased. Anything you can do to spread the word about this book would be helpful and appreciated. This includes writing online reviews, convincing papers to review it, requesting that bookstores cover it, or even arranging for me to come out and give a talk at a college, chamber of Commerce group, etc.

5. There are a couple of other major press pieces in the works. I hope to have more on these soon...

Best Regards, and Best Holiday Wishes!

StudentLoanJustice.org

*************************************************
Sent: Friday, January 23, 2009 10:33:34 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: Checking in: January 23rd

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to the new members. I hope everyone's New Year is getting off to a great start. With the new president and Congress, it is time to push hard on our issue. I hope that all of you will make a commitment to helping to convince congress to restore standard consumer protections to student loans. Couple of items:

1. Thanks to Rachele, Kris, Walter, and everyone else who interviewed with John Stossel of ABC News over the past month. The piece aired on 20/20 last Friday, and addressed the cost of college, and didn't specifically address the astonishing lack of consumer protections associated with student loans. So its not a great piece for us, but it is a good piece. You can see the web version at: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/Economy/story?id=6654468&page=1.


2. We are migrating the website to its fourth version this week to improve function and form. Please have a look, and let me know your comments, particularly if you find a bug. http://www.studentloanjustice.org/


3. We now have two Facebook Groups: One for SLJ, and one specifically for the book. Please consider getting a Facebook account if you don't have one, and join them. The links are:

SLJ: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=7704336701

The Book: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=49312962539

Also, our Google group: http://groups.google.com/group/studentloanjustice?hl=en


4. If you haven't seen the trailer for the student loan documentary being sponsored by the SF Film Society, I urge you all to check it out, and support their effort if you can. This is really a worthwhile effort, and I've been extremely impressed by the skill, diligence, and determination of the film makers.


Default: The Student Loan Documentary http://defaultmovie.com


5. i will be working hard to market the book over the next few months. Any help would be really appreciated. I am available for interviews any time(I am happy to go on both conservative and liberal radio shows). Also, calling university bookstores is good.


That's it for now. Much more to come soon-


StudentLoanJustice.org

*************************************************
From: justice@studentloanjustice.org
To: ;
Subject: **private January 31, 2009
Date: Sun, 1 Feb 2009 02:41:07 -0800


Hey Guys,

Keep calling on local reporters...its working. The Chicago CBS affiliate called back, and is interested (thanks to our flood). Michael Savage gave us very fair treatment...pretty good for a right wing show. ( http://www.studentloanjustice.org/savage.mp3 ) Also, Ralph Nader called our California lead, and asked about the book, legislation, etc.

It would be great if people started to really step up and make this stuff happen in their local areas... I have asked the "state leads" to create local news groups, and we have google groups now created for 6 states. Check out the website, and see if your state has one.

Also, Its important that in addition to local stories, we make special efforts to concentrate on the Chicago media market...The new Sec. of Education is from there, as is Durbin, Davis, and of course Obama...so think of outlets like the Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Tribune...even Oprah would be fantastic, for instance. She apparently has excellent pull with Obama, and others in the state political machine, and her audience comprises women and single mothers...a group that is over represented in our group, btw...I think our stories are pretty much exactly the type of human interest angle that they are looking for. Below is a tightened version of the template I sent around last time. Use it if you want. Also, go to www.studentloanjustice.org/our stories.zip and download a recently updated .xls spreadsheet with many of our electronic submissions (over 2000). You can then pick and choose among the stories from your state, for instance, and make your communications more effective.

Finally, if you are geting your disability check docked, or if you are a senior, and are losing part of your social security income, please let me know, and get me the name of your loan holder. I am thinking that this is an action heinous enough that if we demand that they simply cease doing it, they may comply. This will help at least a bit, and I think it's worth trying.

Thanks...


Alan


*************************************************

Hi. I am involved with a grassroots organization called StudentLoanJustice.Org. We started in 2005, and have grown to comprise thousands of people across the country. Will you please consider doing a story on the predatory nature of student loans?

The story:

Student loans are the only type of loans in our nation's history to have basic, standard consumer protections removed by law. Today, student loans are the only loans in existence to be exempt from standard bankruptcy protections, statutes of limitations, truth in lending requirements, refinancing rights, and even Fair Debt Collection Practices. At the same time, Congress gave unprecedented collection powers including wage, tax return , social security and disability garnishment---all without requiring a court order! In addition, borrowers can be terminated from public employment, and can have their professional licenses suspended as a result of their student loans.

This system actually makes it far more profitable when a borrower defaults on their loans through penalties and fees that are typically non-negotiable. The lenders are, in effect, rewarded for confusing the borrower, and their profits become inversely proportional to the quality of their customer service!

The end result is that decent citizens who can't afford to pay the vastly inflated amount become captives to an exploded debt that often never be repaid. There is simply no recourse for these citizens under the law, and the affect this has on them can be devastating. We have documented thousands of stories from across the country that include people being forced off the grid, fleeing the country, and even committing suicide as a result of this predatory loan system.

I hope that you might consider doing a story in your local area. I have (and would like to send you) many stories from your state, from people who are willing to be interviewed.

In the first year of doing this, we ended up being featured in Fortune Magazine, and the top story on 60 Minutes in 2006. We are credited as being the inspiration for Hillary Clinton's Student Borrower Bill of Rights (2006-2007), and Dick Durbin discussed the plight of one of our members on the Senate Floor in 2007.

Illinois is a very important region for this issue: As you well know, Arne Duncan is from the Chicago Area, and 2 of 3 pieces of legislation that could have helped us originated from Sen. Durbin, and Rep. Davis in 2007.

I will paste a couple of facts below for your further consideration. Also, check out our website to see more.


One last request: go to www.premierecredit.com for 10 seconds if you have any doubts about how ruthless this industry has become. You will see what I am talking about if you just go there.

*************************************************

Student Loan Industry FACTS.


1. Student loans are the ONLY loans in our nation's history to be specifically exempted from standard bankruptcy protections, truth in lending requirements, statutes of limitations, state usury laws, and even fair debt collection practices.

2. Despite false advertisements by the industry that defaults are dropping, defaults are actually rising- in fact, about 25% of student loan borrowers will default on their student loans- perhaps even more.

3. "Fee income" for Sallie Mae, the nations largest lender, grew by 228% between 2000-2005 (Their loan portfolio grew by only 87% during the same time period)

4. The Sallie Mae CEO bragged to shareholders in the 2003 annual report that their record profits that year were attributable to collections on defaulted loans, and other student loan companies report similar trends.

5. The student loan industry has grown to rival the credit card industry ($550 billion outstanding debt compared to $850 billion for credit cards.

6. The average undergraduate borrower now leaves school with $23,000 in student loan debt, $42,000 for graduate students

7. The cost of college has risen at double the consumer price index for the past 30 years, and this trend has continued, despite the current deflationary environment.

8. Between 1995-2005, Sallie Mae set aside $3.6 Billion in stock for its employees. This amounts to about $640,000 per employee.

9. Decent citizens are being forced "off the grid", are fleeing the country, or worse as a result of this predatory debt.


*************************************************
Sent: Monday, February 02, 2009 3:52 AM
Subject: Checking in: February 1st, 2009


Hey Everyone-

Welcome to the new members. Things are getting really very busy on this end: My hope is that someone in the press finally does a comparison between student and home mortgage loans. Such a comparison reveals striking similarities in terms of lax oversight, inflationary forces, and lobbying influence. More importantly: such a comparison reveals that in fact, student loan borrowers are far, far more damaged, since the standard consumer protections that exist for home loans are astonishingly absent for student loans. The Home borrower can, in the worst case, walk away, and file for bankruptcy protections. The student borrower cannot, but rather is forced to repay double, triple, quadruple, or more than originally borrowed with penalties, fees, etc.

1. We were invited to appear on the conservative Michael Savage radio program last Wednesday. The podcast is at: http://studentloanjustice.org/savage.mp3 . One correction regarding the broadcast: I stated at one point that 30% of student borrowers will default on their loans. In fact, the IG estimated in 2003 that between 19-31% of first and second year undergrads will default. In current economic conditions, I suspect it is close to 30% (or even higher), but I should have said 25%.

2. Our position is no longer on the fringe. It is much close to mainstream since September. In fact, dozens of Facebook groups have sprouted that call for forgiveness of all student loans. By comparison, our agenda is quite modest: we are calling merely for the return of standard consumer protections that exist for every other type of loan in the U.S.. One of these groups has attracted nearly 20,000 members, and is starting to really become something, despite a message that frankly seems a bit irresponsible to me.

3. Thanks to Brian in Washington for getting a well written letter published in the Tacoma News Tribune today: http://www.thenewstribune.com/opinion/letters/story/613184.html

4. Thanks to Chris and his wife in Oregon for getting a student loan piece on local news. It is good to see the members making things happen: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9203890031825809173&hl=en

5. We are rolling out newsgroups for the individual states. So far, we have 6. Check the new website to see if your state has one yet- These will become very important in the forseeable future.

6. The book made the "Indy Next" list for February. This is a list published by the American Booksellers Association: http://news.bookweb.org/news/6501.html

7. We modified our agenda slightly. We jettisoned the last item (increasing grants, decreasing loans, and creating more generous tax benefits for repayment). Great idea, just not a part of our core mission. Also, we added repament caps over 10, 15, 20, and 25 year timeframes. This is very similar to the repayment caps suggested in the Student Borrower Bill of Rights. Please review, and make sure that you are comfortable with this agenda.

Now is definitely the time to get serious about your efforts to solve the problem. Please seize the opportunity. Use the website to educate yourself. With just a bit of time spent reviewing the articles in the media section, reading the book, and reviewing the "Facts" portion of the website, anyone can become versed enough on the subject to make the argument effectively to anyone. If you are stuck wondering what actions to take, just review the "Take Action" area of the new site! One note of caution: don't fall into the "paralysis by analysis" trap...I know this issue can easily become complicated and conflated with related issues. This may serve the interests of others, but it dilutes our argument, discourages action, and decreases the likelihood of standard consumer protections being returned to student loans. Our argument is simple, reasoned, battle tested, and easily defended. So stick to the basics, and we can't go wrong!


Regards,

StudentLoanJustice.org


*************************************************
Subject: **private February 18th, 2009
Date: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 11:36 AM

Hey Everyone,


Hope all is well. Thanks to everyone who donated last week. If you didn't make a donation, I hope you will pleae consider it. Two very disturbing pieces of information came across my desk over the past week: If you are a defaulted federal loan borrower, or a private loan borrower currently in repayment, these items are very important.

1. The Justice Department is getting ready to file a large number of lawsuits against defaulted student loan borrowers. They have retained a number of law firms in the Chicago area to pursue collections of studemt loans that have exploded with penalties and fees. You could very well be recieving a summons soon. This came out in the Nationaol Journal:

http://www.law.com:80/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202428251815

This comes precisely at a time when I really thought the Obama Administration would be considering the real harm that has been done to student loan borrowers who often tried their best to keep their loans in good stead but were defaulted nevertheless. I really thought that after 8+ years, Obama might be considering somekind of relief...not cracking the whip!

Can you see, now, why it is so important for us to launch an all out assault on the Chicago /Illinois media? Please send in another request to the Oprah Winfrey Show:

https://www.oprah.com/ord/plugform.jsp?plugId=216


2. Sallie Mae told their shareholders recently that they would be purposely making it very difficult for certain of their borrowers to obtain forebearances on their private loans. This group is, according to Sallie Mae, likely to default anyhow, and the company wants them to default sooner rather than later.

This transcript below, provided by Nicole Mayer at the law firm of James Hoyer, shows that the company is using models developed from past borrowers to identifuy the group that is most likely to default. Then, they are actually inducing the borrowers to default through tightened forebearace policies. The ramifications of this are tremendous. This shows, for instance, that Sallie Mae is willing and able to induce students into default when it is in their financial interest to do so I have little doubt that they have used similar pograms in the past to default federal loan borrowers.

-----------------------------------------From Nicole Mayer:

I took detailed notes on Sallie Mae's 4th Quarter Earnings Conference yesterday and thought you and your readers might be interested in the quotes on forbearance changes and underwriting and payment changes for private student loans. Here they are if you want to send to your members. This is a post I made on our "Fight back against Sallie Mae website."

If you have Sallie Mae private loans, pay attention to this. These are quotes from the Sallie Mae/SLM Corp. investor conference yesterday (1/22/09). It seems that they have majorly changed their forbearance policies and are going to make borrowers pay interest only payments while in school.

Jack Remondi speaking:
"On the non traditional side of the equation and particularly in the forbearance changes, what we are looking at here, there are segments of the population who don't benefit from a forbearance, they're relatively small, they comprise about 17% of the total forbearances that we grant, don't benefit to the same degree as the other side of the equation. And when we parse through the data and look at the actual experience, and remember you need time to be able to evaluate this and see the trends and develop models to approach this, we see that that 17%, looking back over the last couple of years, accounted for roughly 97% of the chargeoffs we incurred to loans that received a forbearance. So by ending that practice and pushing those borrowers into repayment sooner what you're doing is accelerating chargeoffs that would have occurred in future years and a part of our default calculations and part of our reserve calculations but they will result in higher chargeoffs in 2009 as a result. And I'm going to say again, it is not a forecast that our cumulative default rates are going higher it's just the shifting of the time of when they're recognized."


Jack Remondi speaking:
"Loans in forbearance as a percentage of loans in repayment declined sequentially this quarter as we recently implemented a risk-based eligibility model to assess the potential effectiveness and benefit of forbearance for individual borrowers. This change will result in incrementally higher chargeoffs in 2009 as previously discussed. Specifically, we expect this change to accelerate approximately $225 million in chargeoffs into 2009."

Jack Remondi speaking:
"Our new forbearance policies are reducing both the term of the forbearance granted and the usage."

Albert Lord speaking:
"As you may know, we are restructuring our private credit product to make it more financeable and to strengthen the credit worthiness of the asset. We will strengthen the credit with greater cosigner participation, we're going to shorten the term of the asset, and while students are in school we're going to require interest only payments so that loan balances do not grow as a consequence of negative amortization."



StudentLoanJustice.org


*************************************************
From: Alan Collinge (StudentLoanJustice.org) <justice@studentloanjustice.org
To: Undisclosed-Recipient@yahoo.com
Sent: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 11:12:29 AM
Subject: **private February 24th, 2009

Hey Guys,

I've got quite a few things for you:

1. Tomorrow at 8 AM pacific Time, we are interviewed live on "On Point" with Tom Ashbrook. It is a two hour show, and I believe we are on for the entire second hour. The phone number to call in is 1-800-423-8255 .

2. We are profiled tonight in a headline segment on Public Television in the state of Washington. I don't think you can see it if you aren't in Washington, but you can read about it at KCTS.org .

3. The Wall Street Journal reviewed the book today. It is the usual right-wing slam that uses the 5% default rate, when in actual fact the default rate for student loans is close to 30%. Still and all, the reviewer did agree with some points in the book.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123544367541855983.html

4. I have not yet heard from Oprah. Don't stop trying with her, though...I believe she will come around. The stories our members have are just too compelling: https://www.oprah.com/ord/plugform.jsp?plugId=216

5. Will you please consider a donation to the PAC? Our finances are critically low right now, and my personal savings (that I had been using to subsidize our activities) are now depleted. The link is http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

Thanks, and Keep fighting.


StudentLoanJustice.org


*************************************************
Subject: Checking in: February 27th, 2009
Date: Friday, February 27, 2009 2:25 PM

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to all the new members. We are now picking up members at a greatly accelerated pace, about 30-40 per day. I truly hope that we can keep this momentum going. Couple of items:

1. We appeared on "On Point with Tom Ashbrook" on Wednesday. This is an hour-long, nationally broadcast, live radio show. In looking over the past week's shows, which included subjects such as the financial crisis, the war in Afghanistan, and the new presidential administration, our show was, by far and away, the most commented upon (by a factor of 3). Please give it a listen. Hopefully we will be invited onto similar shows in the future.

2. Thanks to Chris Kessler in Maine who has managed to get the Maine members on a local Public television show in March. I will send the link when the show airs.

3. President Obama announced a plan to end the FFELP program, the privately administered loan program that most of us have loans through. In its place, will be the Direct Loan program, whereby students will borrow directly through the federal government. The Direct program is designed to "cut out the middleman", thereby saving both students and the taxpayer money.

On balance, this is likely good news for taxpayers and future students, but this change does not affect people who have already borrowed, like us, and most importantly: the standard consumer protections that are absent the FFELP program are similarly absent the Direct Program. So unfortunately, our fight to restore standard consumer protections to student loans continues. Please see and distribute the press release attached below.

4. Please get with your state chapters. Going forward, it will be personal contact with our legislators at the state level that is likely to make the difference. In pleading our case, I hope that you will lean not towards lamenting about your own personal situation, but rather make our argument forcefully. Please take the time to educate yourself on this before you meet with legislators, and legislative staff.


5. Please consider making a donation to the PAC. It is particularly important at this time.

-------------------------------------------------------Press Release---------------------------------------------------------

For Immediate Release
February 27th, 2009
For questions contact Alan Collinge
(253) 905-7992

President Obama announced recently a plan to end the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) in favor of the Direct Loan Program (DLP). This plan would eliminate private banks from their intermediary position in the student loan system, thereby generating savings for both students and taxpayers.

At StudentLoanJustice.Org, we support any action by the federal government that would end the predatory lending and collection practices that have been systemically integrated into the current student loan system. The Direct Loan Program should provide some relief to future borrowers to this end, and thus we fully support this initiative by President Obama and his staff.

However, both lending systems, FFELP and DLP, are absent the most basic consumer protections that exist for every other type of loan in the nation. This includes standard bankruptcy protections, statutes of limitations, refinancing rights, and others. The president's plan, unfortunately, does nothing to bring these back. Meanwhile, millions of decent American citizens are being forced off the grid, under the weight of loans that have tripled, quadrupled, or worse with federally sanctioned collection costs, interest, etc. Citizens are quite literally fleeing the country as a result, and worse.

We strongly encourage President Obama to realize and acknowledge that this unique and astonishing lack of consumer protections for student loans has come at a massive cost to our nation. We hope that he will act with Congress to restore these protections as soon as possible.

Please visit StudentLoanJustice.Org for more information.

StudentLoanJustice.org

*************************************************
Subject: Fw: **private March 8, 2009
Date: Sunday, March 08, 2009 11:19 PM


StudentLoanJustice.org


----- Original Message -----
From: Alan Collinge (StudentLoanJustice.org)
Sent: Sunday, March 08, 2009 9:13 PM
Subject: **private March 8, 2009


Hey Everyone,

Hope all is well out there. A couple of things:


1. We are the guest tomorrow at noon (PST) on KUOW, the Seattle NPR affiliate. The show is called "The Conversation" with Ross Reynolds, and can be found at http://www.KUOW.org. This is acall in show, and they encourage callers from outside the area. Regionally, it is the highest rated radio station. My hope is that we can do similar shows in every state. This is really a pretty effective vehicle, along with local public television stations. These are the folks who are most willing to devote significant airtime to the issue. If you haven't already, please give yours a call, and make our argument for why they should do a story.

2. I got a call from CNN on Friday. They are doing a story about the inherently predatory nature of student loans. I believe this may be the story we've been waiting for. The producer nearly repeated our argument to me when explaining the premise for the show. I am sending her contact info for our members in D.C. and Maryland, but i may miss some people. If you are in the Greater D.C. area (driving distance), and you can do the interview, please let me know ASAP along with a very short summary of your situation. Please also do NOT post this email anywherek publicly (hence, the " **private " subject line!).

3. Thanks for your support for our PAC- particularly in the past month. I know we are not an ideal group from which to raise funds, but it is really important that or voice not e drowned out, particularly since we are, astonishingly, the only group calling for the return of standard consumer protections to student loans.


Thanks!


StudentLoanJustice.org

*************************************************
Sent: Thursday, March 26, 2009 2:32 PM
Subject: Checking in: March 25th, 2009


Hey Everyone,

I hope all is well. Welcome to all the new members. Some interesting progress since the last Check in:


1. We were covered two days ago in Businessweek Magazine (http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/content/mar2009/bs20090323_558993.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index+-+temp_news+%2B+analysis ). This piece covered a group on Facebook that is calling for forgiveness of student loan debt as a way to stimulate the economy. In the past 3 months there have been approximately 30 similar groups started on Facebooks. This group, however, has amassed a stunning 130,000 members in just a few short months. I will have more on this later. In the meantime, I hope you will visit both our group, and this group on Facebook, and use your network to increase membership for both:

The StudentLoanJustice Group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=7704336701

The Student Loan Forgiveness Group: http://www.facebook.com/groups.php?ref=sb#/group.php?gid=46657437878


2. We appeared on "Democracy Now" along with Reverend Jesse Jackson in a show hosted by Amy Goodman. We will be traveling to Chicago next month to do a number of events with Rev. Jackson, who has started an initiative to provide low interest rates to future students. (http://www.reducetherate.org ).

You can see the show at: http://www.democracynow.org/2009/3/12/reduce_the_rate_rev_jesse_jackson


3. We were also written up in the Tacoma News Tribune: http://www.thenewstribune.com/voelpel/story/667242.html

Thanks to Brian gaolloway for stepping u on this one. He has repaid over $100,000 on his $65,000 in loans, yet he still owes $100,000


4. We have been doing radio shows nearly every day lately. Yesterday, I did a show called "Money Matters", and this afternoon, at 4:00 pm PST, I will be on an hourlong show in central Missouri, the station is KOPN 89.5 FM


5. That's it for now. Please donate to our PAC ( http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm ), and help us keep this thing going.


6. The Education committees for both House and Senate have been selected. Please check them to see the changes, and to see if nearby legislators to you are on the list:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/house.htm
http://www.studentloanjustice.org/senate.htm


Regards,

Alan


StudentLoanJustice.org

*************************************************
Sent: Friday, April 03, 2009 8:01 PM
Subject: **private April 3rd 2009

Hey Everyone,

Big Props go out to Chris Kessler in Maine. He singlehandedly put together a show on Maine Public Television that was quite good. I know it is tough to go in front of the camaras, and argue our case, and so allthemore thanks to not only Chris, the Maine Lead, but also Pat Perrier, and Scott Nailor, who provided great examples of, and insights to, the problem. Check it out:

http://www.mpbn.net/ProgramsSchedules/LocalPrograms/Television/MaineWatch/tabid/477/ctl/ViewItem/mid/2547/ItemId/9841/Default.aspx

Also, we have been invited by Rev. Jesse Jackson to come to Chicago next week, and they have been great about arranging for a book signing at DePaul University and a couple of other events during the week. We are on our own, however, to come up with the funds to pay for the travel. I had originally thought that we would be able to pay for this through an alternate funding source, but this source, it turns out, is not forthcoming. So again, I have to ask the membership to donate to our PAC in support of this trip. I will be driving, as opposed to flying, and will attempt to stay with members where possible as opposed to motels. Even still, this leaves a financial hole of some $600 for the trip. I hope you can help. The link for donations is http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

Finally, we've been mentioned in a number of articles recently including BusinessWeek, The National Review, Credit.com, and others- in addition to the multitude of radio broadcasts we have been doing on an almost daily basis. I've also been interviewed by a ton of press recently, including CNN (today), US News, and others...this issue is growing quickly in the press, and again, we are the only people calling for the return of standard consumer protections for student loasn, which is disturbing, quite frankly. Hopefully the established "student advocates" out there will soon start picking up on our calls, and making them their own.

In the meantime, keep calling reporters, getting with your state chapters, and whateer else you are doing out there to make a difference-

Regards,

Alan

StudentLoanJustice.org


*************************************************
Subject: Checking in: May 12, 2008
Date: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 3:01 PM

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to the new members. There has been alot going on lately, and it is a bit challenging to keep up- thus the decreasing frequency of "check ins". To keep current, I suggest signing up for our Google Newsgroups, and our Facebook Cause, and groups as well:

Google group: http://groups.google.com/group/studentloanjustice?hl=en

Facebook Cause: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/271251/44865416 (This will be replacing our Facebook Group)


1. We are getting to where the state chapters are going to be really important, and soon. Please get with your state chapters, and let them know you're out there. If there is no chapter, then please volunteer to step up and lead your state. The minimum requirement is to set up a newsgroup for your state (This takes about 3 minutes). Beyond that, you can do whatever is appropriate, and feasible to convince Congress to restore standard consumer protections to student loans! There is probably no better use of your time on this issue.

2. We were interviewed in Inside Higher Ed last week. http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/05/05/collinge

It is the highest commented article of the month, so far. If you want to take an action that may matter, commenting on this article would be significant. We could easily make it the most commented article of all time if we wanted to. That would probably get some attention of decision makers. Review the Facts on the website (main page) if you need any ammo. You can see the other side's point of view there in the comments, which is very useful.

3. There have been a ton of other media stories featuring us or our members over the past month. Thanks to all the members who stepped up to be interviewed for these pieces. What would be really great is if you would make a story happen in your local area. Can't stress that enough.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/10/AR2009051001768.html?hpid=topnews

http://www.writersvoice.net/2009/05/college-rip-off/

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_624389.html

http://wvgazette.com/Opinion/OpEdCommentaries/200904250384

http://www.themaneater.com/stories/2009/4/27/students-fight-college-affordability/

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124027600001437467.html#articleTabs%3Darticle

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZTcyNzc4ZTliZDQ3NTRlYzk1YzY0MmQxYzgzYjIwM2M=&w=MA

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/18/your-money/student-loans/18student.html?_r=2&8dpc

The National Review actually agrees with nearly every point that we make in the book, btw, which is interesting. The Wall Street Journal said the book is not important because the problem is not that bad, since the default rate is only 5% or so ( In fact, about 1 in 3 borrowers- perhaps more- will default on their student loans, so this IS a very LARGE problem).


There are more, but I don't have links to all the radio show's we've done lately. Again, hook up on Google or Facebook to get live updates!


4. Despite all the publicity, book sales are pretty low. I hope that you all will grab a copy. A donation to the PAC would be appreciated and needed as well. Also, PLEASE support the documentary!

Book: http://www.studentloanjustice.org

PAC: http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

DOCUMENTARY: http://www.defaultmovie.com/

5. This is hugely surprising, and potentially important. The City of Albany passes a resolution to forgive all student loans as an economic stimulus action. While we are not specifically calling for this, we were notified, and invited to attend a ceremony for this. See Below. This is something that many city councils across the country could emulate.

*************************************************


My good people,


I was forwarded an article by my daughter Kathryn in regard to using
student loan forgiveness as an economic stimulus tool. I have since
used my position as an elected official to introduce a resolution to
advocate using student loan forgiveness as an economic stimulus tool.
If you could please review the attached legislation and provide me
with further information it would be greatly appreciated. Also if you
would like to trek up to Albany NY, I will schedule a committee
meeting at you convenience for your comments as well as arrange for
press to be present. Please advise.


Jim Sano
Albany Common Council
Chair Finance Committee


Council Member Sano introduced the following resolution:


RESOLUTION NUMBER


RESOLUTION OF THE COMMON COUNCIL CALLING UPON CONGRESS TO OFFER
PROGRAMS TO REDUCE STUDENT LOAN DEBT AS AN ECONOMIC STIMULUS TOOL


WHEREAS, the cost of higher education has risen faster than the
average starting salaries, leaving many new college graduates with
student debt which exceeds their ability to pay, and


WHEREAS, student loan repayment can be difficult for young people
starting off their careers and has become even more challenging now
with the economic downturn, as recent graduates lose their jobs or
struggle to land one. Graduates confront unaffordable monthly
payments, loans that are nearly impossible to discharge, and
restrictive loan repayment plans, and
WHEREAS, there were nearly $131 billion in outstanding private loans
in 2008. In addition, there is $544 billion in outstanding federal
loans for fiscal year 2009, up from $502 billion in 2008, according to
the Education Department. The average debts of students graduating
with loans rose from $18,796 in 2006 to $20,098 in 2007, according to
the Project on Student Debt, and
WHEREAS, forgiving student loan debt would have an immediate
stimulating effect on the economy. Responsible people who did nothing
other than pursue a higher education would have hundreds, if not
thousands of extra dollars per month to spend, fueling the economy. As
a result, tax revenues would go up, the credit markets will unfreeze
and jobs will be created, and


NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Common Council of the City
of Albany urges the federal government to consider forgiving student
loans as part of a stimulus package for young people and to move
forward on reforming the student loan process.


NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this
resolution, suitably engrossed, be transmitted to United States
Senators Kristen Gillibrand and Charles Schumer and United States
Representative Paul Tonko.

That's it, guys. You really need to get out there, and make things happen. There is no reason not too, and every reason to!


StudentLoanJustice.org


On 5/20/09
*************************************************


Hey Guys,

Greg from NY is profiled in a a piece in the NY Times this week, thanks to him for stepping up:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/18/your-money/student-loans/18student.html?_r=1&em


We are also featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education this week. This is kind of a big deal, because all the decision makers read this. However, I was disappointed in both the tone and the content- the piece, basically, says that most people have no problems with their loans, and that difficulties exist "only at the margins"...The piece didn't mention the astonishing lack of consumer protections, or the fact that about 1 in 3 borrowers wind up in default. Much like the review in the Wall AStreet Journal, this piece is not portraying an accurate view of reality. I got a message from a former Chronicle writer, Stephen Burd, who is now with the New America Foundation. He is considering protesting the tone, and content of the piece in some way, which is significant.

http://chronicle.com/temp/email2.php?id=QMtxQhhx36bpv4kcbgZtfkt5ZFM9pWWv


1. We could really use donations right now...our PAC account is currently overdrawn :( The link for this is

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

Even small amounts are helpful...


2. I got a call from a lobbyist who thinks he can get a bill introduced for us. He has a good track record, and has great ties in the Chicago area...so I am working on that right now, among other things...even if someone like Dennis Kucinich ends up being the sponsor, just getting something out there is a critical step, and now is the time...so I hope to have something out there in the not-too-distant future.



*************************************************
To: Undisclosed-Recipient@yahoo.com
Date: Tuesday, June 23, 2009, 12:56 PM


Hey Everyone,

Welcome to all the new members. In the 4 1/2 years we have been engaged in the fight to return standard consumer protections to student loans, this is easily the most dynamic period to date. There are multiple very significant developments to report, including a critical call to action. Please read this to the end- there is a time-critical announcement at the bottom.

1. The Department of Education wants our input

The Dept. of Education has invited public input on regulatory changes that should be considered. There are three hearings (The last meeting is today at the Community College of Philadelphia from 9am-4pm) but input can be sent in whether or not someone attends. I have it on good word that our comments will be seriously considered, and so please do not let this one go by...Send your ideas, concerns, etc, to: negreg09@ed.gov If you are unsure about what specifically to say, please consider our argument for the return of standard consumer protections (on the front page of the StudentLoanJustice.Org website). Also, do not hesitate to make clear the harm that student loans have caused in your life, monetary and otherwise.

The Dept. Announcement is at http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/other/2009-2/052609a.html

2. Disturbing news regarding The Dept. of Education Ombudsman Office

Our New York State Lead, and longtime member, Heather Dunbar, discovered, and confirmed very recently that a company contracted by the Department of Education to provide staffing for its Ombudsman office, Vangent (formerly NCO Pearsons) is also functioning as a student loan debt collector. In other words, when you call the Office of the Ombudsman seeking impartial support for concerns about your student loans, the staff assigned to handle your case may well work for this company. This is a clear conflict of interest implemented under the previous administration, but in full view of many current ED staff, and constitutes and a clear breach of the public trust. Preliminary research indicates that at least three members of the Ombudsman staff were brought over directly from the default collection unit at Vangent, but much is still not known. This issue cries out for further investigation, and has yet been reported in the press.

Thanks again to Heather for getting to the bottom of this. Without her dogged research, the problem would likely never have come to light. Until the breadth and depth of this breach of trust is known more fully, and appropriate corrective measures are implemented, contacting the Ombudsman Office for service is not advised.

3. SLJ in the Media

We published a short blog along with 4 other essays in the New York Times Last Week. The blog was easily the most commented piece of the week. Also, PBS did a surprisingly good segment on student loan debt featuring two of our members. While the piece didn't discuss the default issue in depth, it did give fair and accurate treatment to the bankruptcy issue, and showed clearly the affect that large student loan debt, combined with the lack of standard bankruptcy protections is having on citizens. Thanks to "Gina Moss", and Jay Slivocka for stepping up to be interviewed for this important piece.

The NY Times Blog: http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/14/how-much-student-debt-is-too-much/

The PBS Piece: http://www.pbs.org/now/


4. Chapter for Student Loan Expatriates: SLJ WorldWide

We have established a chapter for people living overseas as a result of student loan debt. I know that there are roughly 3 dozen members who are in this situation. If you are living overseas as a result of intractable, and massively inflated student loan debt, please send an email to the chapter lead, and sign up for the google group devoted to this issue.

email: studentloanrefugee@gmail.com
Group: http://groups.google.com/group/student-loan-justice-worldwide?lnk=gcimv

5. Sallie Mae, Nelnet, others awarded the Direct Loan servicing contract.

Despite President Obama's bold initiative to end the FFEL loan program in favor of the Direct Loan program, thereby "cutting out the middleman" (Sallie Mae, Nelnet, and other lenders), It appears that same players are on the same old ship- its just that the deck chairs that have been moved around somewhat! It was announced last week that Sallie Mae, Nelnet, and other long established student loan companies will be both servicing, and collecting on student loan debt. This sets up the likelihood for similar predatory, and wrongly motivated behavior, and while it will save the Department of Education a very large sum, the new system is as shockingly absent of standard consumer protections as before. The fact that Sallie Mae, a company that has fought tooth and nail over the years to strip consumer protections away, and has acted in a clearly predatory manner, was largely a shoe in for the contract before the bids were even considered, is troubling. We will be writing a letter of concern to the Department of Education in the very near future on this, and perhaps other items.

6. Thanks to the active members

Quite a few of us are starting to really get active, I can tell, and this is greatly needed and appreciated. Whether its Chris in Maine representing us on public television, and continuing to be active despite very significant challenges that have come his way in the current economy, or Renee in Arizona, who has established bi monthly meetings in Phoenix and doing tireless outreach (among many other tasks), Mark in Alaska using the local radio station to reach out to members in a very large state, Cindy in California using her position at a local magazine as a bully pulpit, Oscar in D.C. knocking on doors, and pushing this issue in the faces of staff who would rather not be bothered, Nanette Rayman steadfastly making the case for us on numerous blogs, despite being significantly harassed by a borderline psychotic student loan goon, or the dozens of others across the country starting to have a real impact. This is where the movement really happens, and we owe all these people either our thanks, or whets better, our effort. I hope that those of you out there acting will take a few minutes each week to report on the Google group about your activities. It is kind of a hassle, I know, but in letting others know what you are up to, you inspire and encourage action, and inform action decisions in others. The group is easily found through the website's main page.

7. General Strategy for the near future

We are very, very close to done on the media piece of this effort, and will soon...finally... be transitioning into a hardcore grassroots lobbying mode. I foresee legislation speaking directly to our interests being introduced in the near term (i.e. within the next 3-6 months, perhaps sooner), and with a strong tailwind behind it. We will still be doing press of course, but the important work will be in guiding legislation through, and clearing the roadblocks that will be thrown up in opposition. I hope you all will get with your state chapters...even if its only sending them an email to let them know you are out there, and in general, be thinking about how you can have an impact on this final and most critical stage.

8. Potpourri

- Still looking for compelling stories in the State of Michigan. Preferably 40 years old, or so, with a noble degree (i.e. went to college to pursue a "save the world' type career, but who is now flipping burgers, and trapped in debt). If this is you or someone you know, let me know and I will forward.

-We need young people (i.e. 26 or younger) who got trapped in student loan debt and/or credit card debt, perhaps where one exacerbated the other, to go on national television. We are needing people who are well spoken, and who can explain why financial literacy is critical, and use their own experience as a reference. This is for a financial literacy project that is getting underway that informs students about both kinds of debt from a "They are out to get you" perspective...which is accurate, and which I strongly support. It is highly preferable that you are in New York, San Francisco, D.C., or Los Angeles for taping purposes, but if you have a really compelling story to tell and are outside these locations, it may still be doable. People are needed immediately (i.e. in the next 3 days). Filming will happen sometime next week, but I need to hear from you now.

-Please Donate to the Documentary that is in production. Defaultmovie.com . This is probably the most important, and strongest media piece on this subject ever to be produced. If you were planning on donating to SLJ, please instead donate to the film instead (SLJ won't be broke again for at least a month:)). This is how important the film is to the issue, and currently they are needing to put together a second trailer...a critical step.

-Please remember to check out (and spread the word about ) the book. I appreciate it.

*************************************************

June 29, 2009 at 8:33pm
Hey All,

At the last minute, Rev. Jesse Jackson called, and offered to pay my way out to Chicago for a conference he is putting on.

So...Im in Chicago now, and had a chance to get the book in front of Arne Duncan, the new Secretary of Education.

As predicted. Sec. Duncan is touting the income based repayment (IBR) program, and the public service forgiveness programs.

These are pretty good programs for current students and recent graduates who have a very good idea of what they will be doing for the next 10-25 years, but they are absolutely no substitute for the standard consumer protections that were taken away under previous administrations.

As far as I could tell, he also was not aware that his Ombudsman Office is actually being staffed by employees of a student loan collection company (Vangent).

So someone will hopefully have some 'splaining to do when he gets back to Washington.

Anyhow, I hope all is well, and need to get off this credit card operated machine quickly, so Hang in, and I will post to the cause as well.

Also, any donations to the pac would be really usefull about now:

http://www.studentloanjustice.ore/pac.htm

Thanks,

*************************************************

July 2, 2009 at 10:23am

Hi All. If this is you, please contact Steve Burd, a Reporter, and analyst at the New America Foundation (formerly with the Chronicle of Higher Education).

His email is:

Burd@newamerica.net

*************************************************
July 3, 2009 at 10:29pm

This is the best piece in years..if not ever... on this critical subject that I have seen. If you have federal loans (particularly if you have defaulted as 1 in 3 students end up doing), then this piece should be extremely helpful to you:

http://www.newamerica.net/blog/higher-ed-watch/2009/getting-know-guaranty-agencies-federal-subsidies-and-payments-12976

*************************************************
July 7, 2009 at 10:14am

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/07/07/ombuds



Please leave your comments on this article.

ps. My email is down for a couple of days.

*************************************************
July 16, 2009 at 12:00pm

This is for the project on financial literacy I mentioned earlier...they need a couple of people in the SF area, preferably still in school, or recent grads who want to speak out about the predatory nature of the CC companies, and the student loan companies on campus.

If this is you, let me know, and I will forward your info.

Also, do a google news search on Student loans. There is alot going on right now that is important regarding new legislation, repayment programs, etc.

I will post more later.

Thanks,

*************************************************
July 24, 2009 at 1:58am

Hey Everyone,

I'll be doing a public "check in" later this week, but I wanted to share a couple of things with members only.


1. The Documentary needs you to vote for them so they can win $10,000 to get them going. This is a funding project that gives money to good ideas, and they made it into the finals. If everyone reading this email were to take 2 minutes to vote for them, they would win easily (there is a 2 minute registration process). The link to do this is:

http://ideablob.com/ideas/5677-Default-the-Student-Loan-Docum



2. Our discovery that the Department of Education Ombudsman office was actually being staffed by employees of a collection company was reported in InsideHigherEd (thanks again to Heather in New York for her work on this). Instead of admitting that it was a clear conflict, the Department of Education made a statement to the effect that its no big deal. I had hoped that the new administration would instill a new sense of ethics at ED, but apparently not so.

If you had an experience with the Ombudsman...particularly if you were having a dispute with a company called ACS, please let me know about it. Also, leave your comment on this article, these people need to realize that we are through being screwed around by the Department of Education.

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/07/07/ombuds



3. Donations to the PAC would be really useful right now.

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm



More soon,

Alan

*************************************************
July 27, 2009 at 10:15am

Hi All,

The documentary is currently in 2nd place for some serious funding...Please take a couple of minutes to vote for them:

http://ideablob.com/ideas/5677-Default-the-Student-Loan-Docum



Also...and I hate to ask...but your donation would be exceptionally helpful at this time:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


Thanks,

*************************************************
July 31, 2009 at 7:26pm

The documentary is in 2nd place, and voting ends in 2.5 hours.

So this is very simple: If everyone reading this before 10pm Friday votes, the film will win.

Otherwise, it will lose.

http://www.ideablob.com/ideas/5677-Default-the-Student-Loan-Docum

*************************************************
August 10, 2009 at 9:18pm


Good piece in an alternative Weekly in Colorado today. There were points that needed further clarification, and I addressed these in the comments. See if you agree:

http://www.indenvertimes.com/
Thanks to the members who stepped up to be interviewed for this piece, and let's pound some pavement to get more stories like this out.
--------------------

Also, I need to remind everyone about the City of Albany's initative to forgive student loan debt. We are working closely with this initiative, and I am impressed with the political clout this council holds both within the state, and on Capitol Hill. I encourage anyone in the area to be at the meeting at the Albany city council meeting at 6pm on Wednesday.

Those not local can send in their public comment to the email address listed in the press release:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/albany.htm

--------------------------


Also, your donations are still greatly welcomed, needed, and appreciated:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm



KEEP FIGHTING!!

*************************************************
August 13, 2009 at 12:08pm

There is a media campaign underway to downplay the significance of student loan debt. Both the NYTimes, and now today, U.S. News and World Report have written "happy talk" articles claiming that student debt is not that big of a problem. These are pieces which they never even attempted to balance with views from the true student loan advocates out here...and I had a lengthy email conversation with the US News reporter just yesterday!

We need to bury these guys with our comments. The sheer volume of our comments should turn this negative into a net positive for us...


http://www.usnews.com/articles/business/paying-for-college/2009/08/12/is-student-debt-really-a-problem.html?msg=1



Mention http://Studentloanjustice.Org/ if you would.

*************************************************
August 14, 2009 at 10:00pm

We are profiled again in an AP piece on for-profit colleges.


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32420582/

They never mention that bankruptcy is removed for private loans suvh as those mentionecd int he story. They also don't mention the default rate for Proprietary school students explicitly...(about 46%)

Still and all, it is pretty rare to see an investigative piece on thi8s topic, so hats off to the AP.

*************************************************
August 18, 2009 at 12:31am
After significant work on the city of Albany's resolution over the past week, I am very happy to announce that the resolution passed unanimously tonight, with every member of the City Council stepping up to co sponsor the Bill.

The resolution, # 43.42.09R, contains provisions for both loan forgiveness, and also a return of Bankruptcy rights for both federally guaranteed, and private loans.

Our thanks go out to Jim Sano, whose leadership on the council made this happen, and will continue to be a key player as this resolution continues its journey to Congress, and beyond.

Thanks also to Heather, Bonnie, Olnyus, Lars, and the other members of SLJ who showed up to support this important resolution.

Remember: it is important that it took a City council, far removed from Washington D.C. , to recognize this problem, and act. It is important that you alert your local city councils, as well as media, about this development, in hopes that they too, will pass similar resolutions.

I will post a press release on the website:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/albany.htm
************************
*************************
August 18, 2009 at 5:02am

Hi. I am looking for people who have (or are willing to create) an account on the Daily KOS. This is for a weeklong project where 10-20 of us (or more) post articles featuring borrower stories on the KOS each day.

The reason for using the KOS is twofold: First, even the liberal people a the KOS often are not aware of the huge injustices with student loans, and once aware, may decide to help via their networks, etc.

Second, articles posted on the KOS get picked up by Google News Search, which is used frequently by most higher education reporters, who (like me) have "student loans", "college", etc. bookmarked.

This will be an interesting, easy, and fun project for all involved.

If you are interested, please send me an email, and I will contact all back in the next day to get it rolling.


justice@studentloanjustice.org



Thanks!

*************************************************
August 23, 2009 at 8:16pm

Hey Everyone,

Just a quick check in. A couple of items here...

1. Councilman Jim Sano sent me a note urging us to build on the momentum, and try to mimic what was done in Albany. As such, I think it's important that we all take a minute to reach out to our House or Senate representatives in Congress, and also our local city councils.

If you don't have time or energy, please at least do one thing for the cause: EMAIL to me the email addresses for your mayor (and also for your city councilmen if available).

Just an email address is all I request. No phone numbers, fax, address, etc. Just an email address. I will send them a personalized request to examine this issue.

If everyone reading this message does this, then we are certain to cover every major city in the country, and with your follow up, will likely see a few, or more, adopt similar resolutions.

>>Also, Could you please EMAIL me the addresses?<<


justice@studentloanjustice.org


This will make things easier on this end...jumping back and forth between facebook and email is a serious pain, as many of you know!

...And if you'd rather do it yourself, that is fantastic. If you need a sample letter, etc., I'd be happy to send you the letter I use.

Also, you can easily find the House and Senate education committee members through the website. The house subcommittee members are posted at:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/house_subcommittee.htm

Also, here is a link to a radio show we did with the Documentary folks, and Tamara Draut on Wednesday.


http://a4.g.akamai.net/7/4/27043/v0001/kalw.download.akamai.com/27043/YourCall/081909yc.mp3


Thanks alot, and have a great week!

*************************************************
August 29, 2009 at 3:32pm

Hi All,

As it turns out the majority of the Project KOS volunteers had to sign up, and wait a week before the could post diaries. So I am calling tomorrow the beginning of the seconde week of Project KOS !!

If you have an existing account, and would like to joinj us, its very simple:

Just post one diary every day for a week that Highlights something important about the student loan problem, and finish it with a borrower storie taken from our membership:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/victims.htm


Let's make this second week really count. This is an important group of people, and quite frankly, the conservatives have been far quicker to grasp the problem than the liberals. Go figure!

This is opposite of my expectations, but it is what it is. I look forward to reading everyone's posts.

Also>>> there is language similar to the Albany resolution floating around Binghampton, NY that will be debated over the next week. Brookly, NY is also turning on to the Albany initative. If you live in NY, you could probably help out. Send Heather Dunbar, the SLJ staqte lead, an email if you are willing to step up if needed. You can get her contact info at the website.

Thanks

*************************************************
September 11, 2009 at 3:39pm

Hi All,

The City of Binghampton, NY is working on legislation similar to what was passed by the city of Albany. They expect to approve a resolution on September 23rd.

If you live in or near Binghampton, please get involved. See message from NY State lead, Heather Dunbar, below.

I am more convinced as time goes on that in the absence of meaningful federal action, widespread action by smaller governments such as this may be what is needed.

We are contacting roughly 100 city councils across the country currently, and hope to see this spread. Of course this will only happen if people impress upon their respective city (or state) governments the critical need to restore standard consumer protections to student loans.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------

I attended and testified at a committee session of the Binghamton NYCommon Council last Tuesday night where they did some preliminary examination of the proposed student loan forgiveness as an economic stimulus resolution. Their template was the Albany Resolution. They expect to support some version with some changes on September 23rd.


http://www.cityofbinghamton.com/department.asp?zone=dept-city-council

Chair of the Council:

Teri Rennia
Council Member, 3rd District
(607) 772-7165
district3@cityofbinghamton.com

Councilman who introduced the resolution:

Charles Kramer
Council Member, 6th District
(607) 772-7237
district6@cityofbinghamton.com

Heather Dunbar
studentloanjustice.org
NYS Lead

*************************************************
September 21, 2009 at 12:24pm

Hi All,

Couple of important items here:

1. There is a hearing on Bankruptcy discharge for student loans being held by the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday:

http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/hear_090923_1.html

I am skeptical, but hopefull. If they screw us again (for instance, if they only discuss private loans, and only talk about discharge for these loans given a 5-7 year repayment history then you all better be ready to blow up. What they need to talk about is completely removing all special bankruptcy exemptions for all student loans. Lauren Asher (TICAS) will be testifying, and so this will be a critical test for her.



2. Heather, NY lead for SLJ, really needs your help. See below...

Heather Dunbar September 17 at 8:44am Reply
Alan, Jim and Rob-

There was no one at the Financial Committe meeting of the Binghamton Common Council last Tuesday night except me standing up for the cause of Student Loan Forgiveness as an Economic Stimulus. The council members we preoccupied with examining and voting on extensive budgetary items, line by line, that evening too.

The next meeting of the Binghamton City Council as a whole- and presumably the vote on our resolution- is next Wednesday evening, 9.23.09. It would be fabulous if the sponsorship and vote were unanimous as it was in Albany!

As one person and I had other stressors and an off night and may not have stated our case as strongly as it deserved. The fact is- beside the strong support of my great advocate and friends, Charlie Kramer, who witnessed my economic destruction by student loans as my job councilor- I may sound a bit like a loan, disabled crazy who may have had problems with my student loans- partly through my own error or fault. People just don't 'get' what and expensive, widespread, and devastating national dilemma that it is.

While it is true that I am a local; the NYS lead of studentloanjustice.org, that I was among the oldest defaulted student loan borrowers in the country and that I was treated outrageously, I might well have seemed like and anomaly when I spoke alone to the Finance Committee of the Binghamton NY City Council lst week as I presented without context.

I am a great one for telling my story/ hanging out and bleeding/ letting them feel my pain, I am *not* one for numbers to quantify the national impact.

Could you help me by writing some of these people, starting with Teri Rennia,* who is a Binghamton area business owner, reluctant to let people off the hook for contracts they signed- even if the contracts and conditions change continually, outside the the borrowers control?

A thank you to Charles Kramer** would certainly be appropriate for introducing this resolution, more or less, in support of me personally after the introduction of the Albany Resolution. He could use some informational ammo, I'm sure.

Addressing Martin Gerchman, Council President***, is also important.

Here are all the contacts.

http://www.cityofbinghamton.com/department.asp?zone=dept-city-council

Chair of the Council's Financial Committee:
*Teri Rennia
Council Member, 3rd District
(607) 772-7165
district3@cityofbinghamton.com

Councilman who introduced the resolution:
**Charles Kramer
Council Member, 6th District
(607) 772-7237
district6@cityofbinghamton.com

Robert Weslar
Council Member, 1st District
(607) 772-7200
district1@cityofbinghamton.com

***Council President (lawyer I believe)
Martin J. Gerchman
Council Member, 2nd District
(607) 772-7232
district2@cityofbinghamton.com

Black woman representing the 4th ward:
Lea Webb
Council Member, 4th District
(607) 772-7236
district4@cityofbinghamton.com

Assistant Psych Professor at Binghamton University, expert on LGBTQ issues, who seemed very sympathetic to our cause. As an academic, he is likely to know many people in trouble with student loans:
Sean Massey
Council Member, 5th District
(607) 772-7134
district5@cityofbinghamton.com

Edward M. Collins
Council Member, 7th District
(607) 772-7234
district7@cityofbinghamton.com

Thank you,

Heather Dunbar
SLJ.org NYS lead
607-589-7359

*************************************************
September 30, 2009 at 1:30pm

Hey Everyone,

Just wanted to give you all a quick update. The second U.S. city has passed legislation calling for a return of standard consumer protections, and also forgiveness, of student loan debt. We are contacting city councils across the country to this end, and the hope here is that both borrowers, and other student advocacy groups will step up to join us in this effort. While city resolutions are non binding, they do send a very powerful message to Congress, and thus far, we have found that cities are very receptive to this type of action.

If I had to pick, I would say the two cities that would be most helpful for us would be Boston and Chicago, but any other cities to embrace this type of legislation- particularly those outside of NY state (they are well on their way) would be key, so please think about what you and perhaps a small group in your city can do to make this happen.

At the federal level, there was a committee hearing on the House side discussing bankruptcy for student loans, but in reality, all they discussed were private loans, and candidly, all that is on the table is restoring bankruptcy protections as they were prior to 2005...which means this would only apply to loans made by for-profit entities (any loans made or guaranteed by non profits would not be affected). Moreover, I have heard that there may be a 5-year repayment requirement added, so this makes the proposed change largely meaningless.

Unfortunately, "student advocates" like the PIRG's, TICAS, Project on Student Debt, etc., are not in favor of reinstating full bankruptcy to all student loans. In other words, they are against returning standard BK protections to federally guaranteed student loans. How they can call themselves student advocates, while being against such common sense fairness for students is beyond me, but this is politics, and it is what it is.

So the borrowers (us) are resigned, yet again, to fighting for ourselves without any help from the "advocates" making very large paychecks to fight for our rights and interests. This only doubles my resolve to get every city possible- hopefully one in each state- to adopt legislation that calls for, at a minimum, the return of standard consumer protections including bankruptcy to all student loans, both private and federal.

I have already made my feelings known to the various advocacy groups out there. I would challenge you to do the same.

Beyond that, keep us posted as to your activities, and if you can do a small donation, it would be really helpful:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm



Thanks,

Alan

*************************************************
October 1, 2009 at 7:46pm


There is a very important thread happening at the address below:

http://www.insidehighered.com/ne...


I hope that you all will weigh in on the need to restore bankruptcy protections to ALL student loans. This is a piece from the 24th, so you can see the arguments of the other side pretty clearly and fully. They have nothing.

You can also (hopefully) understand our argument on this...it goes well beyond simply arguing for the right for students to get a fresh start....the story is deeper than that, and I hope that everyone takes the time to understand it, and be able to speack publicly from this basis. Let me know if you have any concerns or comments about this argument. I am always open to improvement.

*************************************************
December 21, 2009 at 11:02pm

I hope everyone is having a great Holiday season. I will be doing a year end wrap up in the next week, but I want to implore you all to consider a holiday donation to our PAC:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

We are in dire need of a new machine due to an extremely intractable malware issue, and cannot function effectively until that happens. I hope you will give this serious consideration.

Thanks,

*************************************************
January 9, 2010 at 7:36am

Hi All. This is not the New Years summary...That is coming. In the meantime:

1. If you have already repaid a large amount for your loans, but due to penalties, fees, and other tricks of the student loan industry you still owe more than you borrowed, please send me a 1-2 sentence summary along with contact info that I can pass along. These are the stories that need to be told and there are a couple of very promising investigations happening that will probably make this happen.

3. We need people who because of the poor economy, have gone, or returned to school, subsidizing the majority of their existence by student loans. IF this is you, send me something describing very briefly your situation, and include contact info for me to pass along.

Thanks for your attention and patience. More to come.

*************************************************
January 11, 2010 at 5:46pm

Our piece is published tonight in the NY Times:

http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/11/bankruptcy/

There are, of course 1 or two comments out of 30 or 40 attacking our argument. Can someone please answer these comments in a clear and irrefutable way?

They are clearly wrong, and wrong headed, but you need to point this out...not me!

iI will be glad if other media look into this default issue as a result of this piece...fingers crossed.

Pile on, guys!

*************************************************
anuary 21, 2010 at 8:22am

Hi Everyone,

Sorry for the delay in getting this out. Last year was both incredibly productive, and incredibly disappointing. On the one hand, we were published, interviewed for, featured in, or otherwise covered by more media than the previous 4 years combined. I can't rattle off all of the pieces, but key pieces in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, NPR, The Nation, National Review, and PBS come to mind. Our membership grew at a healthy clip as well, with our membership roughy doubling from about 3000 to about 6000 members.

At the same time, however, I couldn't have been more disappointed. Despite the fact that we have a president who himself struggled with student loans, a national environment where the banks are beginning to seen for the corrupt greedy, uncaring profit driven monsters they have become, a Congress that was undivided, and people like Bob Shireman and Elizabeth Warren in positions of power, no meaningful legislation aiming to return standard consumer protections to student loans was introduced, much less voted upon.

Its easy to chalk up this lack of legislative action on the various issues that took a front seat this past year, but in fact, what we saw was more disturbing than this. The two things that did happen for student loans were:

1. ED rolled out the Direct Loan Program as a replacement to the current federal program.

2. ED rolled out the Income Based Repayment program.

#1 was expected, but doesn't address the astonishing lack of consumer protections. They are still gone in the new program, and companies like Sallie Mae and others are still servicing, and collecting on deaulted debt. So its the same predatory system, just with a few pieces moved around

#2 (AND THIS IS THE DISTURBING PART) is being used as a substitute for standard consumer protections. I don't know what people at the Department of Education are thinking, but apparently they feel that they can get away with the continued removal of standard bankruptcy and other protections by this program. It may be a worthwhile program for current and future students (emphasize MAY), but it is worthless for those of us who are out of school and whose debt has already escalated to ridiculous proportions.

So this is what's happening. What is most maddening to me, however, is the silence of these people who call themselves student advocates. The PIRGs, College Board, New America Foundation, Consumer Law Center, TICAS, USSA, and every other group pretending to be looking out for the interests of the student borrowers are suddenly silent when it comes to returning standard bankruptcy protections to federal loans. Why is that? I have no idea. Ask them.

It is a horrible situation for many if not most of us, and besides continued press coverage, I don't see anything that has a chance of getting congress to come around to the fact that standard consumer protections must be immediately returned to student loans short of mass demonstrations, a nationwide boycott of the system, or other radical activity.

In terms of fundraising, we received something shy of $2,000 this year. The money was spent on two trips to Chicago, and one trip to Los Angeles. We also used the money to pay for cell phone and cable bills, and literally, to keep the lights on twice.

I would welcome anyone who has experience running a PAC and fundraising. This is not my forte, and I really dread both asking for money, and also the reporting end. Its not what Im good at, and given the pitiful amount of money we are taking in, it really isn't worth doing.

It is worth raising a significant amount, and doing meaningful activities. You have to agree that given the pittance we have raised, we have accomplished ALOT. I can only imagine what we could do with a couple hundred thousand dollars.

That's it for now. The only other thing I want to say is imagine if everyone reading this actually expended significant effort/time/money towards solving the larger problem rather than worrying away their energy to the wind. Then I'd have alot more better to talk about.

*************************************************
January 21, 2010 at 8:29am

Hi All,


A very reputable news org s looking for people in Arizona (Phoenix, preferably) who went to either U. of Phoenix, or Grand Canyon University. If this is you, send me your contact info ASAP.

Also, I am needed in San Francisco to finish taping for the student loan documentary, and am in need of funds to get down there. If you can please make a small donation it would be very helpful. We still are needing to upgrade our computer system, btw, but this is more important. Please DO NOT donate via the cause buttons. This actually goes to a non profit that we have no ties to...Rather, donate via the studentloanjustice.org website:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


Thank you in advance-


Alan

*************************************************
January 29, 2010 at 3:07pm

Our response to President Obama's State of the Union Adress was published by Beacon Press:


http://www.beaconbroadside.com/broadside/2010/01/alan-collinge-the-way-forward-on-student-loans.html

Also a good piece in the New York Times:

http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/28/obama/

As an aside: Beacon Press is owned by the Unitarian Church, and also published my book. I have found that there are active unitarian groups in every big city and many medium sized cities...If you are frustrated with your efforts to organize, you might want to stop by and see if there is something there. Social justice is as big a part of their mission as worship and such...

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying that the Unitarians deserve credit for the renewal of the American Constitution through their Beacon Press When I was deciding whether and with whom to write the book, I saw this, and my decision was. They've been really good,and may ultimately play a big role on this issue in Boston.

*************************************************
February 9, 2010 at 8:19pm

Journalism students from Columbia University are doing research on unfair debt collection practices. They want to hear from students or ex-students who have been chased by debt collectors, especially NCO. Contact them by email yourdebtstory@gmail.com or call Barry at 518-598-9353.


*************************************************
February 16, 2010 at 2:29pm

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703389004575033063806327030.html?mod=WSJ_PersonalFinance_PF4#



This is yet another sl piece from the WSJ that completely fails to accurately portray the real story. They quote players from all segments of the industry...except us...the REAL voice of the borrowers. The piece doesn't even talk about the clearly predatory default/collection apparatus , the complete unsuitability of the fixes that "good guy" Sallie Mae proposes, or any of the other fundamental consumer protections that were taken away.

Readers walk away, paternalistically shaking their heads as they consider the irresponsibility of the borrowers that clearly created this situation, and with empathy for the lenders, who are clearly doing everything possible to accomodate these wreckless borrowers. No quotes from the real borrower advocates who see this predatory lending system for what it is.

Slanted, unbalanced pieces such as this have been done, redone, and overdone. I was interviewed for this piece, and made all the points in the letter.

Established advocates such as Deanne Loonin were undoubtedly interviewed for this piece as well, and obviously failed to make any of the points we make in the letter, such as the predatory servicing environment, the other consumer protections that were taken away, etc, etc.

This is why I am so frustrated that no one who should be speaking the truth on our side of the fence is speaking the truth...and those who are speaking the truth from the consumer side ( me, and maybe one or two other people) are poo-poo'ed by the Deeanne Loonin's of the world for political rather than factual reasons.

*************************************************
February 23, 2010 at 4:22pm

Hello All,

I've been working with Ralph Nader and Oliver Hall (attorney) on a letter in response to a recent OPED by Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education. The result is the letter below. I believe this to be the most significant step that anyone has taken under this presidential administration to address the issue of returning standard consumer protections to student loans. The established "student advocates" have largely abandoned the students on this most fundamental and critical issue, so it is very much worth noting that someone like Ralph recognizes this, and is willing to stick it out for the student borrowers.

Technically, this is still a draft until tomorrow, but I don't foresee any changes.



Secretary Arne Duncan
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202

February 22, 2010

Dear Secretary Duncan,

We strongly support President Obama’s plan to end the Federal Family Education Loan program and originate all new federal student loans through the Direct Loan program (Arne Duncan, Banks Don’t Belong in the Student Loan Business, WALL STREET JOURNAL, Dec. 18, 2009). Eliminating the middle man role that private lenders like Sallie Mae, Nelnet and others play as government-subsidized loan originators in the current program will save taxpayer money and help students by providing financial aid directly to the borrowers who need it.

We are writing, however, to urge you and President Obama to reconsider your proposal to allow private lenders to service loans that the government makes through the Direct Loan program. This arrangement would subject student borrowers to the same abusive and predatory practices that private lenders – including the non-profit guarantors in the current program – have engaged in for years.

Time and again, private lenders have demonstrated that when it comes to servicing student loans, their interest lies in capturing a maximum amount of revenue from both borrowers and taxpayers, rather than helping students pursue higher education at a reasonable cost. In recent years, for example, Sallie Mae and others have successfully lobbied Congress to deny student borrowers basic consumer protections that are available to every other borrower, including bankruptcy protection, statutes of limitations, refinancing rights, and others. Meanwhile, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Truth in Lending laws have been curtailed in the private lenders’ favor.

As a result, the current student loan system enables private lenders to inflate their profits by assessing hidden fees, exorbitant late fees and other fees and penalties that drive up the cost of higher education. Student borrowers have no legal recourse to contest such abusive and predatory practices, because student loan agreements generally include mandatory arbitration clauses. This system is producing unacceptably high loan default rates. Incredibly, in 2003 the Justice Department Inspector General estimated that student borrowers who attended four year, two year and proprietary colleges have lifetime loan default rates of 25, 35 and 45 percent, respectively – even higher than the default rate for sub-prime home mortgage loans.

Further, because private lenders like Sallie Mae also own collection companies, they have a financial incentive to send student loans that they service into default. Defaulted loans are worth much more to collectors than the original loan, due to the costs, penalties and fees that the collectors assess. Private lenders have not missed this opportunity to maximize profits at student borrowers’ expense. In fact, Sallie Mae has already been fined $3.4 million for defaulting student loans without even attempting to collect on them, and other lenders have been similarly sanctioned. Giving more loan servicing business to private lenders that keep default rates down, as you propose, will not protect student borrowers from such abuse, nor will it lower default rates, because all private lenders have the same perverse incentive to send loans into default.

With guaranteed profits, no risk, and an endlessly regenerating captive audience of unprotected student borrowers, it is no wonder that private lenders, represented by lobbyists like Jamie Gorelick, are organizing opposition to President Obama’s plan on Capitol Hill. According to the New York Times, Sallie Mae spent $8 million on lobbying in 2009 – more than double the year before – to preserve its $22 billion in annual business originating government-subsidized student loans. If these same private lenders are permitted to service loans that the government makes through the Direct Loan program, they will continue to gouge student borrowers, leading to higher loan default rates and higher costs for taxpayers.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that President Obama’s plan will save $87 billion over the next decade. That’s a lot of money to pour back into student loans. By reinvesting a tiny percentage of these savings to cover administrative costs, the Department of Education can easily afford to service its own loans, and may even save money. As you note, the federal government already both owns and services 80 percent of the student loans made last year, when the credit markets were frozen. Thus, the Department of Education clearly can, and should, continue to service its own loans under the Direct Loan program.

The House has already passed its version of President Obama’s plan, and the private lenders and their lobbyists are now targeting it for defeat in the Senate. The private lenders’ priority is clear – they want to protect a valuable revenue stream – but their goal is at odds with the interests of student borrowers and taxpayers. If private lenders wish to profit from student loans, they are free to offer their services in the open market. The “public-private partnership” that you propose with such lenders, however, is misguided. Private lenders should not be permitted to originate or to service student loans made through the expanded Direct Loan program.

Finally, basic consumer protections should be restored to federal student loans. At a minimum, this should include standard bankruptcy protections. Given that less than one percent of federal student loans were discharged through bankruptcy when it was allowed, and that bankruptcy law has been strengthened to prevent fraud and abuse since then, there is no reason to deny student borrowers this basic right that is available to every other borrower.

President Obama was elected on a pledge to change the way Washington does business. With respect to federal student loans, he cannot fulfill this pledge if the Department of Education allows private lenders to service loans made under the Direct Loan program.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to your expeditious and considered response.

*************************************************

March 4, 2010
http://www.studentloanjustice.org/duncan3-3-10.htm
Please spread this far and wide...Let's get it going now...

*************************************************
March 17, 2010 at 3:30am

Hey Folks,

In the past two months, our members have been featured in quite a few significant pieces, including the Wall Street Journal, the Arizona Republic, The New York Times, and others. Also, I wrote an essay for the New York Times, as well as the Beacon Broadside...Most importantly, we wrote a joint letter to Education Secretary with Ralph Nader, who has thankfully decided to take a stand on the correct side of this issue. The letter was also signed by Jesse Jackson's group in Chicago, and others.

A bit more about the letter (you can read it at the website): What was most significant was who didn't sign this letter...in fact, NONE of the established "student loan advocates" found a reason to sign this letter...all declined.

What do these advocates, like Deanne Loonin (NCLC) or Christine Lindstrom (PIRG's) actually do with their time, energy and funding to fight for students? Quite frankly- almost nothing. These people are primarily concerned with winning funding for their organizations, and whatever they can do to make this happen, they will do. As a result, they have sold us out. They busy themselves sucking up to the Department of Education on pithy little projects, like the repayment programs where they are just following Bob Shireman's lead, not doing any actual heavy lifting.

There obviously is no money in fighting for the return of standard consumer protections, and so they don't, despite the fact that this is one of the grossest injustices to be forced upon the middle and lower class of this country in modern time. Not lucrative enough for the people who have the attention of Congress. The "Deanne Loonin's" of this world are in it for the cash, and thus, they have no interest in actually solving problems.

Their interest lies, instead, of perpetuating problems so that they can continue to wring their hands to Congress, and then hold them out for money. Apparently, it is worth it to them to perpetuate the massive suffering of millions of their fellow citizens (and the billions of dollars that that costs) just so they can make an addition 50 grand or so in salary.

These people, frankly, make me want to vomit.

This behavior is part and parcel to the corruption that has taken over Washington D.C., and the reason that I have been at this for 5 years now, instead of 6 months, which is about as long as it should take for an injustice this obvious to be discovered, pointed out, and fixed by any minimally functioning government.

Christine Lindstrom (PIRGs) called me in March 2007 while I was touring the country on my own dime trying to spread word about this issue. Her advice to me? Stop fighting for the return of Bankruptcy protections. This, coming from someone who makes her paychecks ostensibly fighting FOR students. Sound astounding?

I could go on, here, but if you don't believe me, just ask them yourself, and listen to their mealy-mouthed, sophisticated, side stepping, weasel-worded answers to the most basic questions regarding student loan bankruptcy rights. This is the reality. after half a decade of living and breathing this issue, I do not believe anything these people say. I watch what they do, and what they do is what I just said.

Five years. FIVE YEARS I have waited patiently and politely for these people to do their jobs, and they have failed me, you and everyone taking out student loans. MISERABLY. FAILED.

NO MORE. No more chances for these people. I will be calling attention to their almost criminal neglect of the duties that their job descriptions compel them to do. I frankly wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that these people were taking money from student loan interests. That is worth looking into.

That's all I want to say on that for now,

Finally, I need to make an appeal to you for donations. We have been bumping along the bottom now for a long time, and you need to step up and support us. Every time I go through this prosthelitization for funding, I get maybe 100 bucks. This has got to change if you guys want me to keep doing what I am doing. Like you, I have to eat, pay bills, etc, and a hundred bucks per month does not make that happen.

If everyone reading this were to donate 10 bucks, I wouldn't have to ask again for well over one year. I don't think that's alot to ask, particularly given the public scorn that I am enduring as a result of this, and all the other sacrifices that I am making. Don't tell me "good job". I don't need this, and frankly it comes off as condescending if you don't back it up with a donation, or action to show that you really do care about this issue.

If everyone donated 100 bucks, we could take out half page ads in most of the newspapers in this country, and finally begin to attract the numbers that should be joining us (which is in the millions). So there is much that we could do, if you stepped up, and actually did something instead of sitting back and expecting others to solve the problem.

I will be doing a number of fundraising activities over the next month, and I request that you step up to support us at a level consistent with how important getting standard consumer protections like bankruptcy rights is to you and the lifestyle that you would like to be leading.

The next month will be very telling and critical. The future of this movement depends upon you. We can fail miserably, or succeed wildly.

Up to you.


With best Regards,

Alan Collinge,

Donate:

hrrp://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

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April 9, 2010 at 12:23am


This is the best news I have seen this year...Rev. Jackson called me yesterday to ask me to present on a panel that hopefully will include the head of the federal student loan program (and SLJ friend), Bob Shireman.






Jesse Jackson and HuffPo's Next Crusade: a Student Loan Bailout
The Reverend has found a new grievance group: students in debt.

By Anthony Kang
Business & Media Institute
4/7/2010 3:55:26 PM

Send this page to a friend! (click here)

Jesse Jackson, the civil rights leader, has moved on from the health care debate and found a new oppressed, downtrodden minority: student loan recipients. And naturally, the Huffington Post was happy to afford “the Reverend” a platform for his activism.

“A plan to earn debt forgiveness retroactively must be instituted at once as an acknowledgment that an entire generation is mired in tens of thousands of dollars in student debt,” Jackson wrote. “Not every one of them will be able to write a blockbuster memoir to pay off student loans.”

Although the federal government’s latest takeover in student loans by “cutting out the middleman” pleased Jackson, he called on the Obama administration to take more drastic steps in today’s “Second Great Depression.”

“Students need more than good intentions,” Jackson said. “They need a guarantee that the savings realized by cutting out the banks and Sallie Mae go mostly to them. There are lots of hands out for the income that direct student lending will generate. Some of it will go to subsidize universal access to health care. But most of it should go to students themselves,” Jackson opined.

“This is the Second Great Depression. Students should not have to worry about loan repayment while they are unemployed and looking for work. Nor should compound interest mount during periods of unemployment.”

Jackson specifically called for: a pledge to lower interest rates for student loans to zero and one percent; “retroactive provisions” for students who have already graduated; legislation and regulations to implement bankruptcy safeguards; extended grace payments and defered compounding interest rates for unemployed graduates.

In demanding that the “rules should reflect reality,” Jackson again betrayed a lack of understanding for basic economics and disregard for the idea that abiding by contractual obligations a necessary component of a functioning society.

*************************************************
April 23, 2010 at 12:30pm

If you have private loans, it would behoove you to check out the hearing yesterday regarding bankruptcy reinstatement for private student loans. There is much still to be hammered out that could make this a useful piece of legislation for a significant number of us, or a largely useless bill for almost all of us!

At issue is whether to impose a 5 year repayment requirement for discharge (which would render the legislation largely useless), and also what the requirements are for nonprofits who want to be exempt from this reinstatement (i.e. whether there needs only be a token non profit guarantor involved, or whether a non profit must actually be the funder of the loan.

I was disappointed that the student advocate relied on the premise of "needy students" in arguing for bankruptcy reinstatement. This type of rhetoric is guaranteed to evoke paternalistic responses from audience, and this is unnecessary. There is ample evidence linking the removal of bankruptcy protections to clearly predatory behavior, and a myriad of other effects, such as unchecked inflation to name just one.

The fact that no one even broached the issue of bankruptcy protections for federal loans is what is truly exasperating, but that will change if you take it upon yourself to call one of the committee members, a reporter in that person's district, or even your own, hometown newspaper, and convince them to write about the real problem with student loans, and the systemic reasons that fundamental consumer protections such as bankruptcy should have never been tampered with, and must be restored immediately!

http://judiciary.edgeboss.net/real/judiciary/commercial/commer042210.smi

*************************************************
April 28, 2010 at 5:25pm

Hello All,

Bankruptcy legislation winding its way through Congress as we speak...but the legislation as proposed (for private loans) is nowhere near sufficient. There must be NO repayment period required, and ALL private loans must be eligible, not just those that are made by for-profit institutions. Moreover, Congress will see this as being all they need to do on bankruptcy for student loans, and will neglect federal loans, yet again. This will be satisfactory to the established student loan advocates, who will thank Congress for their bravery, pat themselves on the back, and go back to whatever it was that they were doing...which is nothing for the borrowers.

I want to send a signed copy of the Book I wrote to each and every member of the Senate Judiciary committee along with a personal plea explaining clearly what needs to happen with bankruptcy legislation for private loans, and a more general explanation of why bankruptcy protections must be restored to federal loans as well. Ideally, I would like to send a book to every member of Congress. This would certainly guarantee that a few would start asking the right questions, and that finally, Congress would have good, factual information at their fingertips, information that the industry (and the advocates) have been conveniently neglecting to tell them all of these years.

So for every 30 dollar donation we receive between now and the end of the month (a few days from now), a Senator on the Judiciary will get such a package, and hopefully open up a dialogue with us. From there we will go to the House side, and then the general membership from there. We could easily get the whole Congress with this, but not without your support.

If there is any Congress member you want specifically to receive a copy, send me an email after you have made your donation, and I will make that happen.

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

This will help alot.

Please remember, also, that I will be presenting on a panel in Chicago with Bob Shireman, who is in charge of the student loan program in June, and your donations to help pay for the travel on this are needed greatly. This will be at the Rainbow Push convention in some hotel in Chicago, so if you are in the area, you definitely need to show up to this talk to help me.

Related stuff:

There are a couple of good media pieces in the offing for us: One with PBS, and another with the Huffington Post. There are also a slew of other media pieces in the works that are focused only on for profit schools. While for profit schools are scandalous, all educational institutions participating in the federal student loan program are guilty of charging far, far too much, and for failing to look after students interests on capitol hill with respect to consumer protections for student loans. So as you contact reporters, are interviewed, etc, make sure that if they start focusing narrowly on for profit schools, you make this point strongly.


That's it for now. Remember, the link to donate is not the Public Citizen group that is linked to this cause. You must go to our website.


Thanks


Alan

*************************************************
April 30, 2010 at 1:02pm

Hi Folks,

We have received donations enough to send packages (books and personal notes) to 10 of the 19 members of the Senate Judiciary committee...a good start, but I need to implore you all, particularly those of you with significant private loans, to help out here so that we can get the whole committee, and even beyond would be helpful.

There are two critical open areas in this bill, one is a proposed repayment period that would be required as a condition of dischargeability (5-7 years). This would be a painful inclusion, and would probably render the new law worthless for many if not most of you. The other is play around the non-profit exemption. I've been told that the bill authors would like to restrict this to non profits who actually make the loan, not guarantee the loan...a good thing for borrowers, but something that will no doubt be met with strong resistance by the lending lobbyists.

So the note will cover both of these points, and also inject the common sense argument that all student loans should have full bankruptcy protections restores, federal loans included.

I hope that you all can make this happen. Thirty dollars pays for one book to go out. We will be sending these monday at the end of the day, so there is a couple of days to think about it.

Here is the link to donate:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


Also, don't think that a book and a note is going to ensure this bill will go our way, or even pass for that matter. Take a look at the Judiciary members, call a reporter in their home district, and compel them to do a story on why bankruptcy protections should have never been taken away, and how the least they could do at this point is to roll the law back to pre 2005 conditions (i.e. no repayment period required). Make sure you understand the argument for why bankruptcy is a needed free market mechanism that is critical for keeping price down, and quality up, and make that argument. Many of you have no idea how important that concept is, but it is. And making that argument is far more credible than "whining" (this is how you wil be interpreted) about your own personal situation. Talk about your own situation only if asked. Have a couple of other cases at your fingertips from your state to draw from.

I would love to see us get local compelling stories published i the home towns of all the jdiciary members, but that depends on you. Let me know if I can help, and as always, check out the website, the "argument" portion in particular, and try your hardest to not let the reporter steer you towards the "poor me" side of the argument...if you find yourself telling the reporter that you need a fresh start, then you can expect it to be a weak piece, and will be met with a ton of hot air from people who love to beat up on others if they can assume the "Im looking out for the taxpayers" role. So if you want my advice that is it.


Don't forget, folks: We are looking at the deepest and most serious assault on consumer protections on any population group in modern times, and there has been almost no meaningful response to this. Taking bankruptcy away was really an experiment, and we were the guineau pigs. The horrible personal outcomes are bad for us, but the inflation, extraordinarily high default rate, conflicts, oversight degradation, etc that have resulted are probably more compelling to uninterested citizens. Bankruptcy protections cause prices to be minimized. The reverse causes the reverse. THe cost of keeping banlkruptcy (and other protections) absent is far, far, far more than any direct costs to the taxpayer that bankruptcy causes, and on this there is no debate, The facts are in, and we are correct.

So good luck.


Also, we're going to want to put some pressure on the Blue Dog Dems this time around and make sure that they know we're watching them closely to see who they support: The citizens, or the banks. This vote will tell all, and they need to know that you are waiting to respond to their vote, whichever way they go.

Here is a list of the BDD's who voted against this bill the last time around. Use it!

Baca, Bean, Berry, Bishop, Boren, Cardoza, Carney, Chandler, Costa, Davis, Donnely, Ellsworth, Giffords, Hill, Holden, ampson, Mahoney, Marshall, Matheson, Melanon, Moore, Murphy, Peterson, Ross, Herseth Sandlin, Schuler, Space, Taylor, Wilson

You can find their contact info at:

www.bluedogdems.com


Ok. Good luck.

*************************************************
May 4, 2010 at 2:13pm

Hello All,

We received donations sufficient to get books and letters out to 18 of the 19 members of the Senate Judiciary committee. I am holding this open for one week in the hopes of being ble to dens books to the members of the Blue Dog Democrats who voted against a similar amendment last time around (in 2007). This is approximately 16 members of Congress. Beyond that, I would like to get copies out to every member: With roughly 8000 members in our group, I think this is doable, but I will wait until our membership hits 10,000 to attempt this.

Remember the donation link:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm



Also, I hope those of you in the Chicago area have penciled in June 13th for the forum I will be at along with Bob Shireman, the head of the student loan program, and hopeful Sen. Dick Durbin, who I am inviting to the forum presently. This will be a very unique opportunity for us to make the case for returning standard consumer protections to student loans.


Please donate also to cover the cost of this trip.



Finally, Our members are featured tonight on PBS FRONTLNE. I am disappointed with the thrust of the story, and told them as much, but it helps somewhat.


Thanks,

Alan

*************************************************
May 6, 2010 at 1:40pm

Alan Collinge

Hi Folks,

We have received enough donations to cover the Judiciary Committee (Senate), and a couple of Blue Dog Democrats with notes and the book. Remember, there is a bankruptcy bill on the table for private loans, and it could be useful, or completely useless, depending on how the margins get inked up between now and the (hopefully) passage of the bill. Please see my prior bulletins on this.

But thanks to those of you who stepped up. There is a need to cover the entire Congress with our argument...I know that more than anything, these people are clueless about the facts of the student loan program. They have been fed slanted information for many years, and even today, I am sure that even those sitting on education committees are clueless about the true default rate, the fact that the Department of Education is making, not losing money on defaulted loans, etc.

But that is a future project. For now, please educate yourself. Understand the argument that we are making, etc. Go to the website if you want a good primer on the basics. And please if you do donate, make it through the website, since we have no financial connection to the non profit affiliated with this Cause (good organization, just not connected to us, except by Facebook)!!

So the PBS piece aired Two days ago, and was pretty good for its narrow focus, but didn't approach the story in a systematic way, and so did not come out with a well defined problem. If they had, they would have arrived at the conclusion that the problems seen in the for profit industry extend throughout academia, and the lynch pin of this problem is the absence of consumer protections, which lead directly to a wrongly motivated lending system, wrongly motivated oversight, thus a high default rate, high inflation, suspicious educational quality, and a predatory lending and collection environment that is harming decent citizens like no government system I can think of...Even the IRS is a far tamer beast. Even our voluntary armed forces experience a decrease in death rate during wartime compared to peacetime, according to recently publicized statistics, oddly enough!! The comparison is not a good one there I admit, but my point remains.

I want to mention Chris Kessler, SLJ lead for the state of Maine, again. You may remember Chris singlehandedly made a public television special happen which pitted him against the state guaranty agency...and with very little preparation possible, made our case, and quite frankly nailed the guarantor to the wall during the conversation. If you read the transcript you will see.

Last Weekend, Chris and the Maine Group put an SLJ table up at a farmer's market, and signed up 20 new members...pretty solid evidence, I would say, that this is a big problem....don't forget that 1 in 3 borrowers wind up in default, so distressed borrowers are everywhere.

You can see photos of the even at:

http://www.facebook.com/?sk=messages#!/album.php?aid=2055896&id=1022541413

This is stuff that anyone, anywhere can do. You just have to do it. Its not like we don't have the strongest argument regarding consumer protections in the history of this country....we do!!

Anyhow, I applaud Chris, and the Maine Group, and look forward to similar activities from others across the country who finally accept that barring total forgiveness of all student loans due to external economic conditions, this is the only constructive path to take, and that changing the law is really the only thing that we can do that will truly help things...and that doing nothing will ensure that nothing happens.

I've been approached by multiple people in the past week or so about the possibility of doing something ala a rally in DC, or other event...and I'm into something like that. On our calendar is a very important roundtable in Chicago on June 13th that we have to get as many people as possible to show up for...This will be a pane discussion with Bob Shireman, the head of the student loan program, for all intents (and an early supporter of SLJ before we antagonized all of his friends ;-) ), and I've been tasked to invite Senator Durbin in my volunteer role on the organizing committee, so hopefully he will make it. That's all I really have on the national agenda beyond the activities I already mentioned.

I would be open to forming a board/action committee nationally if it will help get people motivated to act. I say this a bit hesitantly, because I have always considered this to be a state driven, centrally weak organization...but I think It's worth floating and seeing if there is interest among the members. It would be handy to have a group of dedicated people with a division of responsibilities so that we can, for instance, reform the PAC, revamp the website, do some serious fundraising from outside the group, etc.

If you have thoughts on this, let me know.

Ok. Thanks, and if you haven't donated, but would like to, please use this link:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm



Regards,

Alan

*************************************************
May 10, 2010 at 4:20pm

Hi All,

We received donations sufficient to cover the Senate Judiciary committee, and 3 Blue Dog Democrats. With about 6000 members on the Facebook Group and Cause, plus another 2000 + from the website, I really hope that we can do better than this. I extended the drive by a week, which gives us one final day to get as much congressional coverage as possible.

I don't like fundraising, and I'm sure you don't particularly enjoy being asked, but we are basically on our own, currently in calling for the return of standard consumer protections, and I don't think that any of the student loan advocacy groups are fighting the weasel words that are sure to creep into the bankruptcy bill that is currently winding its way through Congress.

So please step up, guys, and donate. Thanks to those of you who already have, and thanks in advance to those of you who will. Remember. $30 gets a book to one of the relevant members of Congress. If all of you donated this amount, we could cover Congress 6 times over...every member...and I wouldn't have to ask for money again for another year or more!!!!

Here is the link (please do not use the links on the Cause page, because it will not get to us!):

http://www.studentoanjustice.org/pac.htm


Thanks,

Alan

*************************************************
May 11, 2010 at 9:18pm

Well after one week's extension, we still barely raised enough in donations to cover the Judiciary Committee. The goal was to cover both the judiciary committee and the Blue Dog Democrats who defeated the last student loan bankruptcy bill.

Do you folks think that you can sit back, do absolutely nothing, and watch the problem solve itself? For those of you who have never done anything to help this cause besides sign up for this group, and send me emails telling me how bad you have it, you need to step up, or get out.

I've spent years of my life, and tens of thousands of real dollars of my own money, humiliated myself publicly, killed whatever normal career aspirations I had, spent countless hours doing research writing papers, books, and articles. I've tried to lead by example, and leave it to fate, and hope that people in the same position as I will respond in kind.

Well, folks, the time has come for other people to respond, because I have no more money of my own, no assets, I no longer even own a vehicle! I would be putting it mildly to say that I'm pretty fucking disappointed with the thousands of people involved with this organization who have done nothing, compared to the handful of people who have done something to fight for the return of standard consumer protections to student loans.

There is no more obvious injustice in the entire banking system than this. The problems that it has caused you and me are obvious. The only solution barring collapse of our financial system is the return of bankruptcy and other standard consumer protections. We found the problem years ago, and only now are we beginning to see Congress respond meaningfully. Meanwhile, the entire establishment has its back turned to our plight...even the so called "student advocates" have been bought off by either the schools, the lending industry, the Department of Education, or all three. Which leaves us.

And if this is the kind of dogshit support that I can expect going forward, then getting bankruptcy protections, or any protections, back for student loans will be be completely in the hands of the entities I just mentioned. Think that will have a good ending?

So for those of you who are brand new to the group, and willing to help, stick around. For those who have stepped up to lead your state, donate to support our activities, write articles, etc in our effort to get standard consumer protections returned to student loans. good work, and keep going. For the rest who are too lazy, paralyzed, or indifferent to do anything but watch as if this is some sort of detached form of entertainment for you: get out. Unjoin. leave.

*************************************************
May 27, 2010 at 10:53pm

Hello All,

We've sent letters and copies of the book to all of the Senate Judiciary committee, who are pushing through legislation that will return bankruptcy protections to private student loan borrowers.


http://www.studentloanjustice.org/plbletters5-2010.htm



Please remember: If the banks have their way with this bill, it will be useless to the vast majority of the private borrowers out there, so it behooves you greatly to jump on this, support our continued efforts, and make efforts on your own in whatever way you can. I suggest calling a reporter or ten, and convincing them to do a story in whatever region they are in. Electeds don't really listen to constituents so much, but they do read the paper.

I see that Wisconsin and Minnesota each have two members on this committee, so those states are of particular importance.

There are still a group of congressmen who we will be hitting hard later in the process, as the measure gets closer to a vote. These are the Blue Dog Democrats who voted down a similar measure a few years ago.

Don't let this drop. If you do, the law will be meaningless, and it will be years before another chance happens, in all likelihood.

Also, please send us a donation. It is critically needed:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac...

Thanks...and so you have all the information you need to rock and roll, here are the critical points that must be made and accommodated if this bill is to have any usefulness (pardon the formatting):

First: Any bankruptcy return that includes a 5-7 year repayment requirement is self-defeating, and will serve very
few distressed private loan borrowers. In short, it really is an unacceptable requirement that was not in place
pre-2005, and thus has no rational reason for being in the forthcoming legislation. It is actually quite cruel, I believe,
to tell a severely distressed borrower that unlike every other type of loan, he/she must find a way to make payments
on their private loans for many more years before being afforded the same kinds of bankruptcy protections that exist
for every other type of loan (most of which have little or no tangible public interest value, I should add). I think if the
intent is to discourage recent graduates from filing from the outset, this concern is hugely overblown, and probably
speaks to the cynical, and distrusting nature of the people making this call far more than any there exists any real threat
of students filing for bankruptcy en masse. In fact, I hope you'll agree that recent graduates are actually quite hopeful and optimistic on the whole.
and hugely disinclined to take such an action.

I know there is a so-called "middle ground" framed into this debate that would consist of a compromise waiting period,
as opposed to a repayment period, but I really do not see any reason to cede further ground relative to what was
taken away in 2005 and before. I sincerely hope you will agree. Quite frankly, someone in Congress has got to not only hold the
line with the banks, but actually start gaining ground in the other direction, and this will be an important opportunity to
demonstrate that. Not to mention, your constituents, both rich and poor, will ultimately thank you for re-erecting a
fundamental inflation control mechanism that has gone missing for far too long.

Second: Despite the army of fear mongering 501(c)(3) lenders, guarantors,etc that surely have your office in their sites,
In the public interest: do away with special treatment with respect to bankruptcy protections for non-profit entities
involved in these loans. These are not the orphanages and homeless shelters that we all remember from decades past.
These are essentially for-profit business entities who deliver hugely a net-negative public benefit in the vast majority of
cases, skate on federal taxes, pay their top executives ridiculously obscene amounts, and have no need to be given
powers that enable a predatory transfer of un-earned, ill-begotten wealth from citizens who IN THE FIRST PLACE were
having problems repaying the loans without penalties, fees, collection costs, etc. I believe that those rare, well intentioned
and well-behaved non-profits will, upon reflection, stand up, suck it up, and agree that this is not a power worth having, and
by losing it, they will become better lenders, guarantors, etc.

*************************************************
May 28, 2010 at 10:18am

This is not the sort of message I like to send to you all, so I will be brief:

We've been attacked pretty viciously over the past couple of weeks, where the organization's, and my credibility has been called into question. Normally I would not bother to respond publicly to attacks such as this...the student loan industry has made a sort of cottage industry of such activities. These attacks, however, emanate not from bankers trying to shut us down, but rather from another group who we have gone to great lengths to support over the past year or so, despite some very serious misgivings.

I won't dignify this with further comment, but for those of you who have questions about our commitment to this cause, and our track record of progress, please consider this short list of our accomplishments towards returning standard consumer protections to student loans:

- Our research was used as the basis for a 5-page story by Bethany McLean in Fortune Magazine in 2005. Our groups adversary, Sallie Mae. did not challenged the substance of the piece.

- Our research was used as the basis for a top story on 60 Minutes in 2006. I, and 4 of our members were interviewed/appeared in the piece, in which the unique and astonishing removal of fundamental consumer protections was highlighted. Our adversary, Sallie Mae, refused to be interviewed for this groundbreaking newscast, which led directly to a State of NY investigation that uncovered all manner of illegal activities among the nation's colleges, lenders, and such.

- We are credited by Hillary Clinton's staff as being the motivation for her Student Borrower Bill of Rights (S.511).

-in 2007 We completed a 6 month, nationwide tour, where we visited 50 of 65 members of both House and Senate Education Committees, in their home districts, and in Washington D.C.

- Our reserarch was used as the basis for a U.S. Senate investigation into predatory lending, servicing, and collection activities by Sallie Mae, and other student loan companies.

-Our research uncovered profiteering from student loan companies by familiy members of republican chairmen of both House and Senate Education committees (published in Fortune Magazine, 2006)

- (2009) Our research uncovered a widespread and longstanding conflict of interest within the Department of Education where the Office of the Ombudsman (a supposedly neutral office) was (and is) being staffed by personel whose paychecks come from a prime contractor that is one of the largest student loan collection companies in the country.

-We have written in, been covered or critiqued by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Fortune Magazine, Forbes Magazine, The National Review, Chicago Sun Times, Seattle Times, PBS, NPR, CBS, Fox News, Penthouse, Macneil Lehrer, and many others. I was selected as one of 5 "heroes" in 2008 by CNN/Money Magazine.

-I published The Student Loan Scam: The Most Oppressive Debt in U.S. History - and How We Can Fight Back (Beacon Press) in 2009.

-We have achieved this, and much more, with donations of approximately $25,000 over 5 years, most of which was used for the Bus Tour mentioned above.

I rarely post on other issues. Student loan policy is where I live, and I am quite happy, and very busy, with this issue alone. Generally, I believe strongly in openness, transparency, and proving the courage of one's convictions through actions, not words. I believe in honest, open, and vigorous debate. I believe that all else is cheap, and not worth pursuing for obvious reasons. These principles have served us well up to this point.

Our mission has not changed in the 5+ years we have been around, and we have suffered all manner of attack from student loan/banking interests. I suspect that many of the members in this group can empathize with the myriad of dirty tricks that are regularly played on progressive movements, so I won't waste the group's time with details unless there is interest.

Suffice it to say, we can, at this point, take shots from any interest, anytime, anywhere. Sneaking, pretexting, lies, incursions, etc, are nothing new to us, and the integrity of our organization has done a good job, I feel, at withstanding the continued onslaught of attacks, and even served to increase our internal confidence and resolve to fulfill our mission.

We have ALOT to do over the next few months, and the student loan industry is acting behind the scenes, spending tons of money to thwart our efforts, as they always have. I believe strongly, however, that finally, they simply cannot run from the facts that we have been beating into the public consciousness like a drum over the past half a decade. Now is not the time to be torn between action and inaction...Now is the time for action.

Enough said?

*************************************************

May 30, 2010 at 5:51pm

Hello Folks,

Busy Week. Depending on the mail screening process at the capitol, The Senators on Judiciary should be receiving our packages this week. You can read the letters we wrote to each at:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/plbletters5-2010.htm

We will be mounting a call in campaign in the coming two weeks to drive the points of these letters home. Remember: these letters, the followup, and all the attendant press activity are critically important if this bill is to have any usefulness. It will not be worth the paper it's written on if the banks have their way, and they are trying hard, believe me. Also, this campaign is important for laying the groundwork for winning back bankruptcy protections for all student loans, generally.

If you care about this issue, you need to act by either joining us in calling the senate staff and compelling them to read and act on our letters, or by calling reporters and informing them of the cheap weasel words that are likely to be a part of this bill due to the greed and lobbying muscle of the banks.

You can also donate to fund our activities. We cannot function without nominal financial support.

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

*************************************************

May 30, 2010 at 11:15pm

I actually am not very impressed by the content of this article (even the most sympathetic bankruptcy judges are constrained to rule under unjust laws, and it is these laws that must be changed for true justice to happen for us), but I am glad to see this paper published by Richard Fossey (Center for the Study of Higher Education Reform). Richard is the only academic to sign the letter (along with Ralph Nader, Jesse Jackson, and others) that we sent to The Secretary of Education recently.

http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentId=15974

"Welcome to the Dickensian World of the Bankrupt Student-Loan Debtor"

*************************************************

May 31, 2010 at 3:01pm

We are in critical need of donations. If you have not donated do so now at:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

We request a ten dollar donation from everyone. This will fund activities for one to two years.

Regards,

Alan

*************************************************

June 1, 2010 at 3:55pm

We need donations for our lobbying effort. If you have not donated:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


Thanks.

*************************************************

June 4, 2010 at 10:06am

Hi All,

If you have private student loans, the next couple of months will determine whether true bankruptcy protections will be returned to you by Congress, or whether the banks will succeed in hijacking the language so that it is meaningless. It is the easiest thing in the world for a couple thousand people to simply call the relevant politicians, and tell them that they would do extremely well not to sell their office out to the banks on this particular piece of legislation.

...The trick, of course, is that you have to mean it...feel it, believe it, and demand it...



What you say is critically important, and the junior staffers had better stop what they're doing and listen to you. I can't tell you how to make a point strongly, that is between you, your loans, your convictiona, and your survival responses, but if ever you were to go with the fight, not flight response, the next two months would be it.

I am confident that we will get free, untarnished bankruptcy protections on these private loans, given that we make our point. I would say that my confidence has improved by a solid 25 percent based on input I have been getting lately...but you telling your story effectively has got to be apart of that.

I know that its hard to get up and fight for the right to do such a morally questinable, and reputation-damaging act, but consider the position you are now in...stuck, and compltely at the mercy of a predatory lending system. Bankruptcy protections in view of this are now not looking so bad, and the fact that they were taken away under the cover of Congress (and with not one legislator claiming credit for this unjust law), makes the whole thing start to look like a cheezy trick...kind of makes you wonder why anyone would sneak around to take this right zwzy....Do a little research, and pretty soon youll be not asking for this right back...you'll be demanding it, and for good reasons.


We still need roughly 400 dollars to make it to Chicago...A student of the most respected linguist, probably the most respected figure in all of higher education made his place available to me to crash for a night, which I think is really helpful and cool, but that won't pay for the plane or train to get there! So again, if you haven't pitched in and have , literally, a couple of bucks to throw in:

www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


I have to double up on you all here, though...because the documentary is sneak previewing in the BAY area tomorrow evening, and these folks have also spent thousands, or tens of thousands of their own money up to this point, and are asking for your support. I would not be saying this if I did not believe strongly that this film is important...the traditional media seems to be in "follow the leader" mode, and unbiased, bold investigative research is currently not happening in this country for this issue, and so this film may be the only honest unadulterated treatment of the truth of the issue as it is, not as anyone would like it to be.

Their website is www.defaultmovie.com

In general, I think you should all look out over the next year, and budget either effort, or money into your plans specifically for your own private battle to get Congress to return consumer protections to student loans as the minimally acceptable outcome. I can't tell you how much , etc but its going to be non trivial if we remain at our current size...

I have a long list of things that are needed if you are unsure of what exactly to do. I hope, though, that you all can pretty much see what is needed, and one or more of these really trip your trigger... go there, follow your instinct, and don't stop until you reach a meaningful progress point to hang your hat on!

I'll be writing a bankruptcy position paper in the next week, and should have some other material available for you to take around, so if these enhance your activities, so much the better!




Sincerely,


Alan

ps. still looking for extremely short webcam clips that illustrate your emotions, or capture the essential facts of your loans

pps, I would love to make a connection with respected "good government" type public figures, so if you happen to have social r other connections with people like, say, Eliot Spitzer, Elizabeth Warren, or whoever else you can think of that might champion this cause, and use their position to remind Congress what good governance is, how far they have fallen, and what is needed to make it right, you would be doing a hugely valuable thing by making that happen!


Thanks!

ALan

*************************************************

June 5, 2010 at 9:47pm


Hey Folks



Thanks to Brian Galloway in Tacoma for getting this piece published in the Indian Country Today, there is nothing in Brians article that we can't prove beyond a shadow of a doubt. I will be interested to see the comments.

http://www.indiancountrytoday.com/opinion/letters/95610544.html

Remember, we could repost this piece in the most arrogant and exclusive higher education related blogs, academic Journals, national newspapers, etc, and the people reading it would be compelled to agree that this system really does not "cut out the middlemen" as advertised, and that the same predatory games will be played by the same predatory players in terms of defaults, and all that entails.

The letter could have included a sentence about the TRUE default rate, which is at least as high as the subprime default rate. This is unbroken news, and people need to know it, but the press has become paralyzed recently, and investigative journalism in it's purest form is sadly not happening currently due to the tense times.

Perhaps that is another letter entirely...


-----------------------------------------------------

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/05/your-money/student-loans/05money.html?src=me


This is the second piece I have seen from Ron Liebner lately, and focuses on the private loan bankruptcy legislation.

If you have private loans, read it carefully. I can't stress how important it is that we continue to strongly make the point to Congress that a 5-7 year repayment requirement is simply unacceptable, unwarranted, and will make the law just another win for the banks if incorporated into the pending legislation.

Furthermore, the article says nothing about the non profit exemption for student loans, which really needs to be done away with.

So we are spot on with our focus, and I will be writing a paper about the likely affect of returning full BK protections to private loans in the next few days.

If you have not donated to our cause, Please do so.

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

*************************************************

June 6, 2010 at 6:36pm

PLEASE COMMENT IN THIS NYTIMES BLOG. THE STUDENT LOAN PR HACKS HAVE TAKEN ONE OF THE TOP POSITIONS AS USUAL AND HAVE TOLD AT LEAST ONE FLAGRANT LIE (SEE IF YOU CAN SPOT IT).

THIS BULLSHIT NEEDS TO BE TAKEN DOWN BY THE NYTIMES. I HOPE YOU WILL SAY AS MUCH> CMON GUYS... I CAN'T DO THIS ALONE-

*************************************************

June 6, 2010 at 11:07pm

I wanted to express deep gratitude to Michelle Bisutti. Michelle is donating $400 to cover our travel cost to Chicago later this week.

Michelle has overwhelming student debt, over a half million dollars. She has also stepped up and suffered the same slings and arrows from those with outrageous student loan fortunes that I, and many others have by going public about her plight in the Wall Street Journal, and other media pieces that followed (Google her). She has made things better for all of us, and now is going even further by enabling our trip to the Rainbow PUSH roundtable, where I will be presenting along with the head of the federal student loan program.

So thanks to Michelle, and if you haven't done anything to help, please visit our action page:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/whatwecando.htm

Or donate at:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


More to come,


Alan

*************************************************

June 7, 2010 at 10:35pm

I would say we nailed the NY Times discussion. Nice to see you all stepping up and making the right points. Don't forget also, we need to expand the discussion to federal loans...

http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/06/debt-2/

*************************************************

June 9, 2010 at 5:43pm

*************************************************

June 11, 2010 at 11:00pm

Hey Everyone,


I hope everyone is seeing the press coverage on the pending bankruptcy bill for private loans. We need to be originating these stories, and you have everything required to make it so.

I don't even have private loians, but I do see the critical need to make them relatively fair. If I had private loans, then I would be treating this like a full time job for the next couple of months....the stakes are hi

*************************************************

June 15, 2010 at 6:01pm

Hi All,


The Chicago Round table at the Rainbow PUSH conference went well. Dick Durbin's staff did not make it, so that was too bad, but beyond that it was everything I had hoped. BET will be televising it at some point in the coming months.

So we still need to emphasize and repeat our requests regarding the private loan legislation that we sent previously by letter. There are two critical points that have to be accommodated if this new law is to be at all useful. This means you, or no one.

The important players, here, are Senator Durbin, Senator Franken, and the entire Senate Judiciary Committee.

Also, Danny Davis (House Rep, Illinois) has introduced similar legislation in the House. We need to focus on him in particular, but we also need to make the Blue Dog Democrats know that they cannot fight for the banks and their weasel words without being exposed for their betrayal.

We have more than enough people, here, to do WAY more than this...In fact, I suggest that every private loan holder simply schedule meaningful phone conferences with every federal legislator in my state, just to cover your bases. And really, all of us should be doing this, because this legislation and its success will have a pretty direct impact on how hard or easy the bankruptcy legislation for federal loans will be.

You can see the letters we sent( with the two critical points) at:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/plbletters5-2010.htm

I know alot of you are doing very little or nothing about this, except whine to yourself, and worry. If this is you, and you're beginning to feel attacked by my last sentence, save the indignation...consider it an example of the pot calling the kettle black, because I know exactly where you're at, remember?

I know that you realize that this behavior does almost nothing for you, or for anyone. I know exactly how good it feels to bitch, and then sit back and sulk. I know precisely how all of us bristle at the thought of expending even one calorie of energy more than has already been sucked out of us to solve this problem...particularly if it involves gladhanding politicians, and all the ridiculous gymnastics that go along with that...and for no guarantee of success. So why not just bitch, and sulk...much easier...feels much better. I got it.

But whoever points out the futility of this, me or you, or whoever, its the truth and we all know it.

If you want to be able to walk around knowing that you really did something that helped, then take this challenge. If you do, and take it seriously, you will find there will be ample opportunities to unload on senate and house staffmembers, who have no clue about the damage, unfairness, and injustice of this system. Unload on them, not on me, other borrowers, your family, pets or otherwise! This is where it does good. These are the people who need to feel your pain.

You'd be surprised at how much better you will feel to have made something happen. You could even be the first one to get a member of Congress to actually understand the horror of this problem, and to stand up to make the argument we are making, finally piercing the corrupt veil and bringing justice back to where it never should have been removed. That would be more than anyone has accomplished on this issue in the 5 years we have been trying, so consider that a worthy, and attainable goal...

Ok More soon,


ps. Don't hesitate to spread word about these two points to wherever there are other private loan borrowers...I suspect that the "advocates", and other groups may not be quite dialed in on this.

pps. I know there is at least one petition going around to support this legislation. I can't really push a petition that doesn't make these points...Is anyone out there willing to step up and create/direct a NEW petition that makes these points?

*************************************************

June 19, 2010 at 12:57am

This, from a journalist I know. If you fit this description, send me an email with your contact info... justice@studentloanjustice.org


"do you have any members who have been unable to become stay at home moms because of student loan obligations and would want to talk to me? am working on a story. . ."

*************************************************

July 2, 2010 at 12:11am

Hey Folks,

I've been incommunicado for the past week, and will be basically out for another week. But I will be back in action after next week. Expect a major movement for us in the media upon my return. This is a good thing. If there are any urgent matters, you can try my email justice@studentloanjustice.org. In the meantime, KEEP FIGHTING, and if you can muster a donation for this cause, it would be most welcomed:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

*************************************************

July 4, 2010 at 6:45pm

We are off next week, but are planning on some major congressional and press activities the following week. Please donate to support our activities. All amounts are welcomed.
Thanks-

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

*************************************************

July 6, 2010 at 1:06am

Just a bit too much going on to take a break this week. Oh Well. Please download this link.


http://studentloanjustice.org/Press emails.xls

It is an excel spreadsheet containing email addresses of most of my press contacts established over the past few years. It is current up until about 1 year ago, but is pretty good. This will come in particularly handy next week, but by all means do not be limited to it. It is only a good base of contacts, and should be added to by you as you go forward.

Also, please Can you please make a donation? We are on the precipice of insolvency yet again, and only your donations are going to pull us through. If everyone gave 20 bucks, I would probably never have to ask again.

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm



Thanks, and stay tuned, guys. Next week is, I am quite sure, going to be a big one for us.

Alan Collinge

*************************************************

July 12, 2010 at 4:39am

Hi Folks, at long last, a major point of huge importance that we have been trying to get the media to write about has been published. This mornings Chronicle of Higher Education's headline story is about the true default rate, and you can read it for yourself.


http://chronicle.com/article/Many-More-Students-Are/66223/


The piece is good, but remember that this is the Chronicle of Higher Ed, and will not be read by a large audience. We need to push this piece to other reporters. We also need to make it clear that the federal government and its agents are, collectively, MAKING, not losing money on defaulted loans. This point was called into question in this piece, but it is true, and needs to be communicated more clearly.

Remember, the Chronicle is typically an extremely college/lender friendly news org. There are a ton of unbiased news orgs out there we can and should be talking to. Also, the story never comes around to saying what a fair guess for the TRUE, overall default rate is for student loans, which is hugely disappointing, since it is higher than the subprime home mortgage lending rate I have heard (25 percent).

I have worked for, literally, almost 2 years to get a piece like this out in the mainstream media, and this is the first piece to actually pierce the veil. I've given you all everything I can to help spread the word to reporters, Congress, and whoever else can help us. I hope you will run with it. I'm counting on you.

Also, we are in critical, critical need for donations. Don't read past this. Help us with your contribution.

http://www.studentlonjustice.org/pac.htm


We really cannot continue this effort without your immediate support.


-Alan

*************************************************

July 12, 2010 at 3:36pm

We need your financial support. You need to support our organization financially, or we will cease to exist. I wish it were otherwise, but it is so. If everyone gave 20 bucks, I would never again have to ask.

This is where you need to go to donate:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

*************************************************

July 15, 2010 at 10:22am

For Immediate Release
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The True Default Rate for Federal Student Loans

July 15th, 2010



This week, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that 1 in 5 students graduating in 1995 have since defaulted on their student loans. While we are pleased that this critical issue has finally been examined in detail hy credible media investigation, we feel strongly that the Chronicle piece raises multiple related questions of equal or greater importance.

Importantly: Based on Inspector General Data initially reported on by Nick Perry of the Seattle Times, and in view of recent 5 year default data, We feel confident that the true default rate across all federal student loans is between 25 and 33 percent- clearly higher than asserted in the Chronicle article, and certainly worthy of continued press inquiry.

Also, we ask the media community to consider the facts in an objective manner, and consider whether it is appropriate to focus solely on the for profit colleges. We feel that it clearly is not. The default rate for community colleges and, yes, four-year institutions are also astonishingly high. This problem is not unique to for profit colleges, it is a systemic, predatory, parasitic lending system generally, and should be acknowledged as such.

Importantly, This problem also transcends the lending system type (FFEL/Direct). In fact the motivation to default loans may be exacerbated under the Direct system, but this is only conjecture at this point that cries out for further media scrutiny.

The American Public was, for decades, exposed to consistent, repeated claims by the universities, student loan companies, and the Department of Education that the default rate was low (between roughly 4 and 7 percent) during the same time period. The fact that the the true default rate was as high or higher than the subprime home mortgage default rate is currently, higher than credit card default rates, payday loans, etc. is information that would have saved the American public hugely, both in real dollars, and other types of damages. Our organization spent two years attempting to convince the higher education media community to cover this this issue. That it took this long is, in itself, a disturbing commentary on the priorities of the media over the past two years

While our conclusions differ somewhat from those that the Chronicle arrived at, we think the Chronicle deserves the highest and best commendation from us, from the borrowers, and most importantly, from the future students (and their families) who otherwise would have been led into borrowing decisions woefully misinformed about the true risk of these federal loans.

We look forward to supporting any and all investigative efforts that arise from this seminal article. The American public deserves to know the true impact of removing standard consumer protections from student loans, and we believe will be very glad to have been presented with the truth, as ugly as it may turn out to be. It is only after understanding the problem without exaggeration or diminution that a suitable solution can be determined and achieved.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


For Questions, Please Contact:


StudentLoanJustice.Org

2123 Mt. View
University Place, WA
98466

justice@studentloanjustice.org
(253) 617 3407

*************************************************

July 19, 2010 at 5:31pm

The Chronicle piece has been picked up by the WSJ and New York Times, among others...My hope is that other organizations dig deeper into what the true default rate is...they will find what we have found, that it is likely 30 percent or higher. The Chronicle is hugely risk averse, and they step lightly on this issue due to their funding sources...that they said what they did in the article is huge...but we need to keep this story alive by getting it to all the major news organizations...I will link the story, and repost our press release below....

Also, if you could please muster a donation for our efforts it would be mucho importante!!


To donate:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm





The article:


http://chronicle.com/article/Many-More-Students-Are/66223/



*************************************************

July 19, 2010 at 7:09pm

Hey Folks,

Below is a larger, and easier to use list of press email addresses you can use.


http://studentloanjustice.org/Press%20email.html


It would be really helpful also if you could help us grow our membership here on Facebook by inviting your various networks to join. This problem is far more widespread than anybody knows...particularly with 1 in three people defaulting on their loans, but it is up to us to spread the word around.

Donations are also critically needed, your nominal support is hugely valuable. http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm



More soon,

Alan

ps. If you have your loans guaranteed by Edfund in California, send me an email. justice@studentloanjustice.org

*************************************************

July 22, 2010 at 12:59pm

This is important analysis that decision makers and congressmen pay attention to. Please comment, and make them feel your pain!!!

http://higheredwatch.newamerica.net/blogposts/2010/default_rates-34662

*************************************************

July 23, 2010 at 11:10pm

For the first time, we were not attacked by even one anonymous pr/spin person...All of the comments were spot on, and squarely on our side. Don't be afraid to pile on...your voice is critically important, and this is a great opportunity to be listened to.

More soon,

*************************************************

July 28, 2010 at 7:54pm

Hi All,

As you know, we go to some lengths to keep our focus trained narrowly on the goal of convincing Congress to return standard consumer protections. This is for good reason, and I doubt that will change much going forward. However, I do want to use this update, here today, to forward a note I received recently from Ryan Bryski. We have come up against this situation numerous times over the years, and I think it deserves some of your attention and support as you engage Congress, etc. in the coming weeks and months.

----------------------------------------------------------

On 7/23/2010 12:40 PM, Ryan Bryski wrote:

My name is Ryan Bryski. In honor of my late brother, I am working with Rep. John Adler (D, NJ) on gaining co-sponsorship for the Christopher Bryski Student Loan Protection Act (H.R 5458). It was introduced to the US House of Representatives on May 28, 2010. We have to have it voted on before the end of this Congressional session.

First I'd like to thank you for all your hard work. I think what you've done over the years has been amazing. I'm trying to follow your lead and effect change too! I learned of your organization and your passion after reading your comment on an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer at http://www.philly.com/inquirer/opinion/20100708_Editorial__Have_they_no_decency_.html and reading the following book The Student Loan Scam: The Most Oppressive Debt in U.S. History-and How We Can Fight Back.

Secondly, I would like to ask for your help. I am trying to gain TV and media attention on this bill which will hopefully bring some consumer protection back to American private student loans! Please visit this link to read media coverage about our bill:

http://chrisbryski.blogspot.com/p/news-articles.html.


We appreciate any help you can provide!


Ryan Bryski and Family

*************************************************

July 30, 2010 at 10:50pm

This piece by Michael Corcoran is really good, compared to every other piece written about this topic in the past 4 months. I appreciate that he sent into detail about the systemic effects that removing bankruptcy protections has, instead of simply saying that we want bankeruptcy because we want to file bankruptcy, as has been generally the case, it anything was said at all.

So regards to Mr. Corcoran, and hopefully other reporters are beginning to comprehend the true size of the problem we face, and the seriousness with which it should be examined and reported on.

I must emphasize, guys, that this is not a done deal by any stretch. The legislation has no identified "vehicle" to attach to in view of current legislation moving through, and this could easily result in it going nowhere, and ending up shelved. Of course, if you guys all got serious about compelling these Congressmen to make this bill happen, without banker weasel wording in tow (This latter point is critically important, as you will see if you read this article).

Please don't be the guy who does nothing. Minutes and hours that you spend focused solely on out mission could easily save you weeks, months, or even years of aggravation, dysfunctional living, and marginalization in the years to come.

Pick up the phone, and make us all the better for it.

Regards,

Alan

*************************************************

August 4, 2010 at 4:46pm

We are interviewed and quoted on CNN today. Please read. thanks to Mike in New York for stepping up for the interview. We are curiously joined in our call to look at the bigger problem by republican Senator Mike Enzi. Interesting.

Also, could you please step up with a donation? We are needing support badly at this time:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

Stay tuned...Here is the CNN link:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/08/04/gao.colleges.deceptive.marketing/

*************************************************

August 5, 2010 at 4:58am

We are in great need of donations. Please help:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

-Alan

*************************************************

August 7, 2010 at 12:06am

Hey Folks,

Busy, Busy week...


Please review and send out the attached press release. We now owe more in Student Loans than Credit Cards, nationally!! This is important, since credit card debt is reported on 15 times more often than student loan debt in the mainstream media. We are breaking this here, with this release. It will not get picked up if we do not push it out.

http://studentloanjustice.org/press_release8-6-10.html

Thanks to Cortney Munna for stepping up for a good Huffington Post piece out today. The story is well researched, but fails to make one critical, critical point that is a crucial element of our argument that the federal student loan system is systemically predatory. I will leave it to you to spot this glaring oversight/omission. Send me a note or post your thoughts on this if you think you see it...

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=news&cd=3&ved=0CEsQqQIwAg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.huffingtonpost.com%2F2010%2F08%2F06%2Fthe-awful-reality-of-amer_n_673742.html&ei=AQJdTJ_4AorCsAPIpeiqCw&usg=AFQjCNEIHpPVhMCiPWYuZFkwmq1_fONQMA&sig2=IoOCjfLhIwWT_3HeIE4XJA

Also, a Public Television entity is seeking recent graduates who have had a hard time starting their careers in the current economic climate. The piece, as I understand it, will be a pretty thorough analysis of your situation, and ideally will include interviews with family members (i.e. parents if you are living at home to make ends meet, etc.). I see this as a great opportunity to point out the injustices associated with student loans, and the burden created by this inflationary debt generally. I hope you will agree, and send me your contact info: please email me at justice@studentloanjustice.org

Finally: Bulletins from this cause are event driven, and are meant to help you in your own struggle to win the return of fundamental consumer protections to student loans. This is a group for activists who need to know of important external developments, and significant progress made by members. When nothing is happening, we do not send bulletins...we have gone multiple weeks with no updates during slow times in the past, but now is not slow. I suspect that the volume of bulletins will remain high for at least the next month, and probably longer. If this annoys you, then I advise you to seek other forums that more appropriately meet your needs. Complaints on these grounds can be sent to me directly. Public postings to this effect are not productive, not appreciated, and will be removed. If you believe in this cause, then you should spend your time typing emails to reporters, congressmen, etc...Not public wall posts designed to disrupt the group's momentum.

Thanks, and please donate so that we can continue this work. If everyone did it, I would not have to ask again for a year if not two years, and the problem should be solved by then, so I would never have to ask again..a highly desirable situation, I am sure we would all agree!!

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

*************************************************

August 9, 2010 at 6:46pm

*************************************************

August 3, 2010 at 10:42pm

Can you please either send this press release to a reporter or editor for the newspaper at your college, or get me any email address for them? If you can only find an email address, send it to me at :

justice@studentloanjustice.org

Also, we are in stark need of donations, and will be bumping along the bottom like this unless the members can ramp up their support a bit. Please use this link for donations (do not use the buttons that link to Public Citizen...we do not receive those):

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

Thanks. Let me know what school you sent it to so I can keep track. Press release below. You can also point them to our link, which is better:

http://studentloanjustice.org/press_release8-3-10.html


----------------------------------------------------------------------------

For Immediate Release August 3rd, 2010
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The True Default Rate for Federal Student Loans



Recently, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that 1 in 5 students graduating in 1995 have since defaulted on their student loans. While we are pleased that this critical issue has finally been examined by credible media investigation, we feel strongly that the Chronicle piece raises multiple related questions that merit further investigation. The True default rate, is clearly far higher than the universities, lenders, and others have led the students to believe, and they need to know about this. It is clear at this point that no one is truly defending the student's interests in Washington D.C., and unfortunately, events demand a well informed student response. Please read the following to understand the current situation and disseminate to your student body. Next, we hope that you will examine this argument to understand the underlying cause of the problem we are faced with, and the most efficient solution to it.

First: Based on Inspector General Data initially reported on by Nick Perry of the Seattle Times, and in view of recent 5-year default data, We are confident that the true default rate across all federal student loans is between 25 and 33 percent (perhaps even greater)- clearly higher than described in the Chronicle article, and higher even than the default rate for sub-prime home loans, payday loans, credit cards, or any other lending instrument in this country. Students and their parents deserve to know this before making college attendance and financing decisions. The failure of government to warn citizens about this alarming default rate over the past decade has caused immeasurable harm. We hope the media will continue to pursue this line of investigation.

Second: The American Public was, for decades, exposed to consistent, repeated claims by the universities, student loan companies, and even the Department of Education that the default rate was low (between roughly 4 and 7 percent) during the same time period. The fact that the the true default rate was likely higher than that for subprime home mortgages, or any other type of loan in the country, had it been communicated to the public by the Department of Education, would have saved a tremendous amount of harm that has occurred in the country due to citizens taking out loans without knowing the risk. Therefore, we ask the media to put additional pressure on the Department of Education to come clean about what the true default rate is for federal student loans, explain why this large rate was never clearly announced as a warning to the public, and investigate the question of why, institutionally, the Department of Education would be inclined to conceal the true default rate. The fact that the recovery rate for defaulted federal student loans is 123 percent (compare this with the 20-30 percent rate for credit cards) should provide a clue.

Third: we ask the media community to consider the facts in an objective manner, and consider whether it is appropriate to focus solely on the for-profit colleges. We feel that it clearly is not. The default rate for four-year institutions and community colleges are also astonishingly high, as the Inspector General study referenced above clearly shows. These data, taken together, prove that we are faced with a predatory,lending system that promotes inefficiency, poor oversight, inflation, and a high default rate. It profits when students fail.... and documented activities by multiple lending companies since 1998 clearly demonstrate their motivations to default loans rather than working with borrowers to keep their loans in good stead.


We agree that the Direct Lending system is architecturally a more efficient lending system, and applaud President Obama for making this change. Unfortunately, this problem persists- it transcends the lending system type (FFEL/Direct), and may even be worse under the Direct system. This predatory environment problem is directly linked to the removal of bankruptcy, statutes of limitations, Truth in lending requirements, and other fundamental consumer protections over the years, along with the creation of collection powers that know no equal. Serious inquiry will reveal that the poor government oversight of the system, the inflation that has run rampant through our colleges and universities, and (arguably) the laundry list of conflicts, illegal activities, and other misdeeds discovered in recent years are also closely linked to this astonishing removal of consumer protections. Removing bankruptcy and other protections was an experiment, and an extremely harmful and costly one.

We commend the Chronicle for this work. Clearly, the free press at our nation's colleges and universities must take its public service duty seriously, and dig more deeply into this issue. Students will be very glad to have been presented with the truth surrounding these questions, as ugly as it may turn out to be. It is only after understanding the problem without exaggeration or diminution that a suitable solution can be determined...and based upon 5 years dedicated to this problem, I would say that only by the students standing up and fighting for their rights will the solution be achieved.

We look forward to supporting these efforts.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


For Questions, Please Contact Alan Collinge


StudentLoanJustice.Org

2123 Mt. View
University Place, WA
98466

justice@studentloanjustice.org
(253) 617-3407

*************************************************

August 11, 2010 at 9:16pm

Hey Folks,

We've broken two stories in the past two weeks. One was extremely critical (The Chronicle Piece showing clearly that the TRUE default rate is significantly higher than 20 percent), the other piece (that established that student loan debt is now greater than credit card debt nationally) is not nearly as important as the default story, in terms of establishing our credibility, but is cascading across the media with little or no help from us.

Regardless, I am really pleased overall with where I now see the media going. We are, by far, in the strongest position we have ever been in, so let's use it, not squander it. If you are as tired of your loans disrupting your life, then the prospect of having them dealt with fairly, and moving on should be its own motivator. I'm not going to bark the same advice for action again...you all should have a very clear idea at this point...if we continue to push the press to do serious inquiry, then it is only a matter of time before the truth we fight for comes out, and the citizens...even those who don't need loans for college- will inevitably arrive at the obvious and simple solution for this condition.

2 quick requests:

1. If you live around Madison and want to be interviewed, email me at justice@studentloanjustice.org

2. Thanks again to Michele, Cortney, etc for making these stories happen and stepping up to be interviewed.


Finally, we are still perilously close to insolvency. If you want this work to continue and haven't supported us yet, then this is the time. Year to date we have received $3,600 in funds from about 150 members...so if you harbor any suspicions abiout my sincerity, frugality, etc, I hope this alone answers them. The links is:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/ pac.htm

*************************************************

August 19, 2010 at 2:30pm

Folks,

I need people to donate at:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


Thanks,

Alan

*************************************************

August 20, 2010 at 8:30pm

We are mentioned today in the Kiplinger Report.

Can you please send us a nominal donation? We cannot function without your nominal support.

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


Thanks-

*************************************************

August 24, 2010 at 7:23pm

We are in the most critical need of donations that we have ever found ourselves in.

It is ironic that this is in the month where we broke two of the most important stories to be published on this issue, but it is what it is.

Donate now, please.


http://WWW.STUDENTLOANJUSTICE.ORG/pac.htm


Thanks in advance,

Alan

*************************************************

August 25, 2010 at 11:29am

Hey Folks,

So the bankruptcy bills for private loans are not moving. I will be talking with the Bill sponsors, Sen. Dick Durbin, and Rep. Danny Davis in the coming week, and I hope to get some guidance there as to how best to deploy to get things moving, but in talking with the legislative lead at the senate HELP committee, Luke Swarthout, who see's no vehicle in the foreseeable future to attach this legislation to, I am worried.

Luke's advice was to convince a republican or two to cosponsor the bills, which (politics notwithstanding) should be easy, based on the merit of the legislation proposed, and free market principles. The politics will surely get in the way here, though, so it will be a challenge, but I think the best thing that you all can do right now is to call a republican legislator, and make it clear to them that they must fight to restore this most fundamental mechanism that is part and parcel of any free market system. Making the linkage between the absence of this fundamental consumer protection, and the tuition inflation that has plagued academia for decades is critically important here.

Do this. Don't just sit there and expect others to carry the weight. If you don't do it, nothing will happen.

And keep us posted as far as results go. We need something to brag about here beyond the press we have been generating. Congress is where the rubber meets the road, folks, and nothing happening there will make all of the media we've gotten done useless.

Regards,

Alan

*************************************************

August 26, 2010 at 12:43pm

http://www.foxprovidence.com/dpp/rhode_show/wildcard_93/collegebound-student-loan-debt-overtakes-credit-card-debt


Even though we technically broke this story and don't get the credit (Mark Kantrowitz provided the data that confirmed our initial press release, so he rightly gets the credit for validating our claim), at least we know!! (Thanks again to Michelle Bisutti for making the original story happen with the WSJ). We did get a favorable mention in this TV segment on Fox on the East Coast.

The story is getting out. That's a great thing.

*************************************************

August 25, 2010 at 11:29am

Hey Folks,

So the bankruptcy bills for private loans are not moving. I will be talking with the Bill sponsors, Sen. Dick Durbin, and Rep. Danny Davis in the coming week, and I hope to get some guidance there as to how best to deploy to get things moving, but in talking with the legislative lead at the senate HELP committee, Luke Swarthout, who see's no vehicle in the foreseeable future to attach this legislation to, I am worried.

Luke's advice was to convince a republican or two to cosponsor the bills, which (politics notwithstanding) should be easy, based on the merit of the legislation proposed, and free market principles. The politics will surely get in the way here, though, so it will be a challenge, but I think the best thing that you all can do right now is to call a republican legislator, and make it clear to them that they must fight to restore this most fundamental mechanism that is part and parcel of any free market system. Making the linkage between the absence of this fundamental consumer protection, and the tuition inflation that has plagued academia for decades is critically important here.

Do this. Don't just sit there and expect others to carry the weight. If you don't do it, nothing will happen.

And keep us posted as far as results go. We need something to brag about here beyond the press we have been generating. Congress is where the rubber meets the road, folks, and nothing happening there will make all of the media we've gotten done useless.

Regards,

Alan

*************************************************

August 26, 2010 at 12:43pm

http://www.foxprovidence.com/dpp/rhode_show/wildcard_93/collegebound-student-loan-debt-overtakes-credit-card-debt


Even though we technically broke this story and don't get the credit (Mark Kantrowitz provided the data that confirmed our initial press release, so he rightly gets the credit for validating our claim), at least we know!! (Thanks again to Michelle Bisutti for making the original story happen with the WSJ). We did get a favorable mention in this TV segment on Fox on the East Coast.

The story is getting out. That's a great thing.

*************************************************

August 27, 2010 at 4:43pm

There is a really impressive 20 year old college student, Zac Bissonette, who not only found a way go to college without taking loans, and without significant familial help...He's actually written a book that does a good job detailing the minefield that awaits the students who must borrow.

I must admit that I am digressing here (for the second time this month) on our sole focus of convincing Congress to return standard consumer protections to student loans by plugging this book, but I think its worthwhile to support public voices who tell the truth about this issue...something that is disturbingly hard to find in the media today.


http://www.amazon.com/Debt-Free-Outstanding-Education-Scholarships-orMooching/dp/1591842980

*************************************************

August 27, 2010 at 4:45pm

There is a really impressive 20 year old college student, Zac Bissonette, who not only found a way go to college without taking loans, and without significant familial help...He's actually written a book that does a good job detailing the minefield that awaits the students who must borrow.

I must admit that I am digressing here (for the second time this month) from our sole focus of convincing Congress to return standard consumer protections to student loans by plugging this book, but I think its worthwhile to support public voices who tell the truth about this issue...something that is disturbingly hard to find in the media today.


http://www.amazon.com/Debt-Free-Outstanding-Education-Scholarships-orMooching/dp/1591842980

*************************************************

September 2, 2010 at 12:20am
Hey Folks,

Couple of items:


http://www.collegescholarships.org/research/student-loans/

1.If you want a nice graphic that shows how the lack of consumer protections turn the student loan system predatory, there is a good graphic at the link above.

2. Hat's off to Cindy and Kyle in California who are leafletting at two locations this week. If you are in the Bay area and want to participate in their activities, just email Cindy..you can find her through the website. She is state lead for the state of California.

3. We are doing alot of interviews lately...the story we broke about student loans eclipsing credit card debt is spreading like wildfire. Unfortunately, the other story we broke, about the true default rate, is really far, far more important.

4. Please donate. Our last appeal raised approximately $400...about half of what is needed. I truly hate asking, but it is what it is.

To donate, use the link through the website:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


Thanks-

Alan

*************************************************

September 3, 2010 at 10:27pm

Ron Lieber certainly works fast. This is the piece I was talking about yesterday. Thanks to all of you who stepped up to be interviewed for this piece. Its not a hard hitting piece (Lieber is proving to be a pretty gentle writer), but it does further our cause.

There is alot of media coming around for us. I've done a ton of interviews this week, and will be taping for NPR on Tuesday...

Please donate if you like what we are doing over here. It is greatly needed and useful...

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

Thanks,

Alan

*************************************************

September 9, 2010 at 9:11pm

See note below...if this is you, please send me your contact info...

justice@studentloanuistice.org

Hi Alan,

I'm working on a story for XXXXXXX about the increasing difficulty of paying for college and am wondering if you can help. Any relevant statistics showing changes in the past year or two would be helpful. And I'd also like to speak with either a current or recently graduated student who had to take on more loans while in college because of the impact on their situation from the financial meltdown of 2008.

Is that something you can assist with?

*************************************************

September 14, 2010 at 7:27am

Decision makers read this site...comments here are great.

Also, I forgot to mention that we are also interviewed this week in the Detroit Free Press

http://www.freep.com/article/20100910/COL07/9100373/1318/Student-loans-debt-rose-25-in-09


There are a ton of other Articles emanating from the Student Loan greater than credit card story that we broke, but I'm not going to list them all...there are too many.

I do hope that you all will point reporters to the other story we broke about the true default rate. This is much more important. Also, keep underscoring the need for Congress to pass not merely the current bankruptcy legislation, but also legislation that returns bankruptcy protections to federal loans.

This is where our energies should be focused, and our case is the strongest it has ever been. Keep us posted about your progress in getting reporters to do stories. If you do nothing, nothing will happen. If everyone does something, then everything will happen.

And please donate if you can...everyone donating small amounts keeps us afloat, and allows us to spend our time on what is important...not fundraising!!

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


Thanks,

Alan

*************************************************

September 15, 2010 at 7:14am

Once again, we are up against the wall, and your donations are needed. Our last push netted us about $600, and so far this year we have taken in about $4000. I can't stand this fundraising bullshit. It takes up alot of time, and is really aggravating and stressful to everyone...most of all me! But as long as it keeps trickling in like it is, this is what we can look forward to.

See the website if you have forgotten what we've accomplished just in the past month if you have any doubts about the value of the work that we are doing.

Help out. Particularly if you have not done any worjk to further this cause, and have not donated previously.


http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

Thanks...


ps. Still awaiting the markup of the bankruptcy bill it is on the schedule for today, apparently, so we shall see what happens with that.

*************************************************

September 15, 2010 at 6:26pm

We have two television pieces coming out in Florida where the news stations are looking for people affected by the student debt crisis.

We also were contacted by a reality TV show yesterday looking for recent grads who are unemployed.

The Florida pieces are the most pressing though, so if you are in either of these two areas, and are willing to be interviewed, then send me your contact info ASAP. EMAIL ME!!! NO FACEBOOK...EMAIL!!!

justice@studentloanjustice.org


Thanks, and please donate:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

*************************************************

September 17, 2010 at 1:28am


Hey Folks,

Sorry for the lateness of this post. I am a bit surprised to report that the bankruptcy legislation sponsored by Steve Cohen of Tennessee (instead of Danny Davis of Illinois) passed a vote out of a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee. There are a couple of details I am chasing down now, but the important thing is that the language passed the vote with no amendments (aka "weasel words", such as a multiyear repayment requirement, non-profit lender exemption, etc). So this was encouraging, but there is a long ways to go on this, and many shoes to drop, potentially. I am expecting, and am already seeing an increase in press coverage of this bill. We are really busy on this end with interviews on both this issue, and the other related stories that are moving on student loans...I would say that the next month or so is a critical window for us to make sure the truth about this issue gets out. This means you.

If you are burdened badly by private student loans, it would be worth it to do whatever you need to do to get a reporter to do a story on this legislation. I summarized our main points on this issue earlier, pretty simple stuff, but you have to know it in order to speak effectively to reporters:


-Bankruptcy should have never been removed from private loans. Lenders promised to lend to lower tier borrowers if bankruptcy were removed, and that was about the only argument they made. The rest was brute force used by John Boehner, Buck McKeon, and other House members who controlled that body, along with the lending industry's lobbyists doing what they do. It is important to note that 2 years after passage, it was shown that they never fulfilled even this unimpressive promise - a study of Sallie Mae and another large lender around this time showed that the average FICO scores of private loan borrowers did not go down as one would have expected...it stayed the same.

Important point to make about our motivations: We aren't fighting for bankruptcy protections so that everyone can "skate" on their debt (bankruptcy doesn't work this way anyhow) ..We are fighting for bankruptcy because it provides a critical and essential mechanism for keeping the lenders interests aligned with the interests of the students (if the students win, lenders win, and ...conversely). Removing bankruptcy upsets this relationship, so that the lenders have no incentive to work with the borrower, and instead work against them.

-The absence of bankruptcy protections also has an inflationary effect in the case of student loans, where the students have very limited ability to make wise, and well reasoned decisions about how much, and whether to borrow for school, and thus follow the guidance of their schools and the lenders most of the time. In this environment, the schools gain a freedom to raise tuitions and fees almost at will, and the record is clear that the schools have not hesitated to take advantage of this freedom.

-Everyone was shocked that bk protections were removed in 2005, and most expected it would be quickly corrected by the new congress in 2007...After two failed attempts, this is the time for congress to vote with the citizens instead of the banks for the first time in well over a decade. To fail to rectify this obvious injustice now, and thus cede additional ground to the banks would be a huge error by Congress. I think they will do the right thing this time.

Do not forget to emphasize the two other points we made in our letter to the Judiciary committee members a couple of months ago:

1) There can be no repayment period requirement if this legislation is to be at all useful. Telling a legitimately distressed borrower to "strap it on", and pay his loans faithfully for 4, 5, or more years if he wishes to seek bankruptcy protections is not only not helpful, it is cruel. The bill should not be passed, or even considered with this sort of giveaway to the banks. They have profited immensely over the past 5 years, and destroyed hundreds of thousands of lives and familiies...or more during this time. They should be quite happy to go back to pre 2005 conditions, with the unearned wealth they have extracted from misfortunate citizens in tow.

2) There should be no special exemptions for non profit private lenders...These entities function almost identically to for-profits in terms of what they are making on loans...except that they pay no federal income tax!! Sure they toss out a few crumbs in scholarships now and then, but this is a tiny price to pay for this significant advantage they enjoy over for-profit lenders in this market. They need no exemptions from the bankruptcy laws.


I have a couple of other items, but they can wait until tomorrow. Call a reporter.

*************************************************

September 17, 2010 at 6:26pm

Warren and the Office for Consumer Protections

September 17th, 2010

In 2006, Dr. Elizabeth Warren appeared in a watershed segment on 60 Minutes that examined the effect of removing fundamental consumer protections from federal student loans. The piece showed pretty conclusively that the system had turned predatory as a result. This was underscored by the fact that the nation's biggest lender refused to show up for an interview, and punctuated by a classic Warren synopsis that the students "are served up like turkeys at the Thanksgiving dinner"

Today, more than 4 years after that broadcast, bankruptcy and other protections remain as absent from these loans as they were then, and to my astonishment, neither Obama nor Warren have even mentioned bankruptcy and federal student loans in the same sentence since before the president announced his intention to run for the executive office.

What is more painful to note: federal student loans, which cry out for consumer protection louder than any other type of lending instrument- is specifically exempted from coverage under Warren's office.

I suppose it makes some sense, since the new offices's mission is to enforce consumer protection laws, but for federal student loans, there really are none- not bankruptcy, not statutes of limitations, not truth in lending requirements, weakened Fair Debt Collection Practices, no state usury laws, and no refinancing rights...are there any left?

On the positive side, their silence is just that. Neither has come out against returning consumer protections to federal loans.

But still and all, their silence on this important issue exacerbates and frustrates millions of borrowers who want to repay a fair amount on their loans, but have been railroaded into a federally sanctioned trap where they must repay triple, quadruple, or more than they originally borrowed, or face a life (along with their family) of marginalized, second class citizenship.

The problem has grown far worse since 2006...and it turns out that the default rate for these loans was never low as reported in that 60 Minutes piece. In fact, they were over 25 percent...higher, even, than the rate for subprime home mortgages...easily pushing them into "exploding toaster" range, and well beyond.

But Warren will be in a position insulated from this problem, despite the name of her office. I guess she will act like all DC bureaucrats do on this issue, and point us down the hall when we plead for justice? Or could it be that she and President Obama might show a flash of good-government brilliance, and simply fix the defect in the system before the politics can stop them?

*************************************************

September 18, 2010 at 5:25pm

I know there are at least a half dozen collection/counseling company people in these groups attempting to find clients. We have been propositioned multiple times in many unique ways. I do not know all the names, etc, since many are quite unassuming. I am posting this message to the group to be sure that all are reached for this important message:


You need to leave the group.


Do not attempt to engage me in a contract, offer compensation for referrals, etc. We will never do business with any entities making income based upon the same unjust laws that we aim to delete. I am sure there are more than a few "poverty pimp" organizations around who would be interested, but we are not and will never be. Even as financially tenuous as this organization is, we will never be even remotely tempted to entertain these sorts of offers.

We also will never take money for advertising, and never feel compelled to accommodate such businesses should they donate to the group. . In other words, there is absolutely no interface that we wish to have with you, and you waste your time by pursuing such goals.

So please leave now, and thanks in advance for the understanding.

*************************************************

September 23, 2010 at 2:23am

http://studentloanjustice.org/argument.htm

This is our core argument for the return of consumer protection, updated to reflect the new evidence published by the Chronicle recently. Read this before you engage with congressional staff, reporters, etc. Of course, criticism is welcomed and encouraged.

*************************************************

September 23, 2010 at 9:53pm

Here is a handy fact sheet for sending to reporters, legislators, etc. Its pretty good if you need talking points at your fingertips too:

Word Document: http://studentloanjustice.org/press-fact-sheet.doc

Webpage: http://studentloanjustice.org/press-fact-sheet.html

Also, see our updated (again) argument:

http://studentloanjustice.org/argument.htm


-Alan

*************************************************

September 26, 2010 at 10:46am

Hey Folks,

This is interesting. I shun national politics in the context of this group as much as possible, but I've been thinking about ways the middle class can counter the Tea-Party Movement. Judging from the elitist money that brought the movement into being and other factors, I believe this to be not much more than a pre-emptive attempt by nervous, wealthy entities to steal thunder from the middle class. I say nervous because they know full well what they orchestrated against us through predatory lending, wage stagnation, legislative piracy, governmental corruption, technology, the media, and other means.

This "soft robbery" became less soft as the years progressed. By 2005 the student loan industry actually pulled off the removal of bankruptcy from private student loans...an astonishing feat...and have managed, to my great disappointment, to keep this removal the law of the land well into a democratically controlled Congress.

Of course we all saw the culmination of this in 2008, with The Treasury Secretary/Goldman Sachs CEO emeritus Henry Paulson informing the nation that it had no choice but to pay trillions for Wall Streets excesses...we, the malinformed, unwashed middle/lower class citizens (I am lower class, I realized recently) are now only beginning to feel the true meaning of this action...and while many of us don't know who to be angry at, we do feel the anger...and we're beginning to be able to see through the bullshit that is showered upon us through every portal of modern media (including this one!!).

So with five years under my belt fighting bare fisted against sophisticated, expensive, and serious media campaigns designed to bend, blunt, blur, and neutralize truth, I can tell you without a doubt that while the Tea Party has attracted some honorable and honest citizens with legitimate concerns, it is still, at its core, an attempt by elitists to distract, intimidate, demoralize, and demotivate the citizens that they stole (and continue to steal) from for so many years...

The government, media, and the corporations who pay them would have us believe that we will not react to this humiliation and degradation...they would have us believe that the wealthy are being dealt with, that the economy is recovering, and we should be thankful...not angry, and this is all buttressed by fear laced speech, much of which is routed through this Tea Party bullhorn.

I pretty much always say what I feel, and so I apologize in advance for the vulgarity coming your way...but the bottom line, is that no American fucks another American the way we've been fucked and gets away with it. The elite have a serious ass kicking coming their way. They are going to learn the hard way that there are some things you just can't buy your way out of, and there is nothing that they, their media, or the dishonorable, unpatriotic sell-outs they hire to do their bidding can do about it.

They try to convince us that we are getting over the hard feelings, that we've had our backlash, and now its time to move on.

I say they have not even tasted a tiny fraction of our pain. The other shoe has not even started to come down. The wealthy elitists will not dominate this country or its citizens. They will not force us to live in a state of struggle, poverty, and fear. Not in my country, and hopefully not in yours, either.

Don't ever forget that we absolutely hold the power, and by a huge margin. We ARE the country. We ARE the student loan debt, for example...if it became apparent that this debt has crossed the line beyond what is fair, just, and civil, we could delete this debt from existence overnight. So the longer they fuck us around, the more meaningless legislation they pass and call it a remedy for our injuries, and the more corrupted our Congress becomes to corporate interests, the closer we come to having clear license to exercise this power. Its funny to me how we are so badly underestimated by those who think they can wipe their feet on us as if we were a carpet...when in fact we are the very ground on which they stand...

So the reason I am writing to you today:


Robert at the forgiveness group brought up a rally being called by John Stewart of The Daily Show. Here is the link:

http://www.rallytorestoresanity.com/


As dumb as it sounds. My senses tell me that this is something much bigger than advertised. This is our first chance to flex, and remind the rich and their monkeys who holds the real power in this nation.

I am all about it. and I proudly stand with the other group in encouraging all of you who can to participate. I am working a couple of angles on this end that could help legitimize this rally, but will report more when there is something to report.

In the meantime, let me know your thoughts, because I know there are alot of cool ideas that I'm not thinking of. Tell me if you have one...and be ready to back it up with the effort required to carry it out. I don't need lazy, pollyannish ideas from people playing puppetmaster...give me workable ideas that you are willing to work to achieve if necessary. Are you hearing what I'm laying down here? We have a month or so to plan, so time is not exactly on our side...


One last point: I am dependent on you, financially, to be able to even make the trip in the first place, and so if you cannot/will not attend, then pitch something in to cover me:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


We may also want to do an event, group action, etc that will cost something..so I'm letting you know now rather than later...

The more I think about this, the more it resonates...


There are multiple other items I wanted to cover, but I will save those for my next update.



Regards,

Alan

*************************************************

September 26, 2010 at 2:11pm

Our California members are planning a T-shirt giveaway at UC Berkeley next month where they will give Studentloanjustice.org T-Shirts and literature to students, and encourage them to take their activism to the next level by adopting our argument.

This is important because they have a good thing going, but unless they can intelligently voice a compelling argument going forward, they will be written off as "spoiled college kids" whining that prices are too high.

This is what we have...but we have to get through to them.


So for the next 7 days, every donation of twenty dollars or more will trigger a t-shirt being sent down to them. If you would like to support this effort, please go to our donation link at:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm
,

Or if you are in Northern Cal and want to help pass them out, please contact me and let me know!!

We need your support, guys. Make this thing happen!!

*************************************************

September 27, 2010 at 10:31am

This is a pretty narrow media request: Has anyone got big medical debt issues that was incured while in college? Please send me your contact info:

email is best: justice@studentloanjustice.org

*************************************************

September 30, 2010 at 7:14am

Hi Folks,

We are passing out T shirts at UC Berkeley later this month and these will be accompanied by all the relevant info necessary to give the students there a viable agenda to fight for as they carry out their activism this schoolyear. It is really important that the students get energized around this issue, and this is probably the smartest way to go about this, in my view.

We need your support guys. For every twenty dollar donation, a shirt and flier will be passed out on campus, and we expect to eventually meet with student leaders there, so that they will be informed, and will have a credible agenda that the school must respect.

Furthermore, we need support in order to attend the "Restore Sanity" Rally in Washington D.C. later this month, and I will discuss this in my next update.

We have stories working in multiple newspapers, 3 Television pieces, and a couple of magazines as well as Voice of America, which I believe is a radio broadcast. We interviewed with NPR a couple of weeks ago, but they never aired the piece...keep an eye on NPR, by the way...I am suspicious of their editorial agenda, based upon the horrible questions they asked me and the other guest, Cryn Johannsen...questions that focused only on our personal situations, to the exclusion of the issues we had anticipated would be discussed...Please also keep monitoring editorials that come out on this issue, and forward them to me, as I may not catch everything, and there is alot being written on this issue, particularly since we broke the news about student loan debt surpassing credit cards nationally.

But seriously guys, PLEASE DONATE. When I say that our existence is tenuous due to the lack of donations, I am as serious as I have ever been. If everyone pitched in twenty dollars, we would be absolutely kicking ass, and would probably never need to ask again..certainly for two years or more based on our current expenditures.

On the other hand, we will disappear within the next month or so in without your support. Its really not up to me at this point...

I think our accomplishments over the years, particularly in the past couple of months, speak for themselves. If you take this issue seriously, and I can only assume that you do since you are here, then you gotta support this effort. Our current goal is $1000. This will cover us for the trip to DC, and also pay for the T shirts at Berkeley. We have other immediate expenses as well, but I just want to focus on these right now. And for those of you who do step up...THANK YOU=

Here is the donation link:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org./pac.htm

*************************************************

October 2, 2010 at 10:22am

We have received donations good for 14 shirts to be handed out at Berkeley later this month for a total of $287 . This puts us toughly 1/3 the way to get us where we have to be to be able to meet expenses for this months activities. So please...if you have not donated, please do so at:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


Remember what I said about if everyone donated RIGHT NOW, I would NEVER have to ask again?

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm



Thanks,

Alan

*************************************************

October 4, 2010 at 3:07am

Hello All,

There is one day left in our effort to get as many shirts/fliers passed out at Berkeley this month. We've received donations sufficient for two additional shirts since my last note. This puts us at 16 shirts, and keeps us at about one third of the way towards raising the funds needed for this month's activities. Are you one of the 3000 members of this cause who has done nothing for it besides joining? Please turn over a new leaf, and pitch in for this one, because unlike credit card perks that claim to be saving animals or some such every time you borrow money from them, Oil company intimations that make you feel like you are saving the environment every time you fill your tank with their gas, etc., we actually ARE doing the work necessary to achieve what we seek: winning justice for the predatory student loans that are plaguing this country. So don't be fooled by large corporations who want to trick you into an immobile, paralyzed state with feel-good nonsense.

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


Also: I am planning on having a phone conference later this week with a key decision maker at the Department of Education. The goal, here, is to get some payback for the past 10 years of abuse that we have suffered at the hands of the Office of Federal Student Aid...and I won't enumerate the examples here, but suffice it to say that the list is long, and these will be coming out in the press with increasing frequency looking ahead. Regardless of the outcome of this conference, you all should really take the advice we give nearly every update: Call a reporter. pick up the phone. Make a story happen, large or small.

Don't forget: We have everything we need, now, and our argument is rock-solid. Recent press that we made happen (ie the true default rate, and the relative size of our national student loan debt vs. credit card debt) give us currency RIGHT NOW. I would say there are about 20 people out of our combined 8000 members who are actually doing anything. Why don't you make it 21? Or would you rather just sit there and do nothing while predatory lenders suck your future out from under you?

And keep us posted as to your accomplishments. We need good news from around the country to brag about...and donations to simply exists at this point, I need to repeat.

Thanks,

Alan




*************************************************

October 5, 2010 at 5:10am

Hey Folks,

This is the last day to support the t-shirt/flier giveaway at UC Berkeley this month. Donations of $20 or more will cover 1 shirt to be given out to an interested student, along with a flier explaining why returning consumer protections is so critical for controlling college price, ensuring "good government" oversight, and of course, for ensuring decent treatment of the borrowers at the hands of the system.

Currently, we are at 19 1/2 shirts...If even five percent of the people getting this note chipped in, we'd be close to 400 shirts...more than our 3-4 volunteers could manage. Not too mention it would totally satisfy our funding needs for 5-6 months.

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


-Alan

*************************************************

October 8, 2010 at 7:29am

I need volunteers to step up for us on something that won't take more than a half an hiour or so. :


See the link:

http://studentloanjustice.org/press%20release7-20-10.htm


This is the clinching piece of our argument I discussed earlier.

Then send this press release to the congressman or Senator of your choice. Include a personal letter or phone call saying that the "old guard" at the Office of Federal Student Aid have no defensible explanation for why they neglected to tell the publiv that the true default rate for student loans was higher than 20 percent...perhaps much larger! i Think they should be fired immediately, and possibly sued under E and O law, but you can obviously come to your own conclusion.

They must be held to account, and that is actionable right now...I was hoping the press might have stormed them on this issue by now, but the press is really over extended, confused, and not doing their best work right now in terms of following stories that matter to the citizens...

So its on you all. Are you going to lay down, and give them a pass for effectively waving us over a bridge that they knew had a high chance of collapse, and then blamed us for the mayhem, and tried to charge us to repair the thing?

I hope not. I sincerely hope not.

This is go time, guys. You all need to step up and direct your anger.distress, etc to who gave it to you. It will make a difference this time if you make it so.

Tell me when you get it done, and let me know who you contacted so I can follow up, etc.

CLEAR?

*************************************************

October 9, 2010 at 5:54pm

Hi Folks,

We are still significantly short on fundraising for the trip to DC at the end of the month. I hope that you can help. There is every reason to support us now, particularly if you have not yet supported our efforts. Our funding requirements are not large given the many significant stories we have broken in the recent, and distant past...and particularly in view of the current bankruptcy legislation we have going currently, and also in the significant stories that really have not been emphasized enough in the press to this point.

I hope that you understand our needs, and that there is a strong inverse relationship between your support, and our pleas for that support...ie. we wouldn't be pestering all the members all the time if even a small fraction of us would throw in a few bucks from time to time!

Thanks, and I hope your weekend is going well.

Alan

*************************************************

October 10, 2010 at 8:27am

Hey Folks,

I have to ask you all to please make a donation. The link is:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


Also, please see our latest piece:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/captured.html



Thanks,

Alan

*************************************************

October 12, 2010 at 7:09am



Please sign this petition, and post wherever you can. Alot of the stuff we have produced has gone viral lately, like the article about student loan debt surpassing credit cards, and the graphic produced in the Consumerist...but that was all largely the mainstream media making those go. We haven't really done anything as a g...roup...and this is a perfect candidate for launch...

Change.Org has been a great ally on this, and hopefully will be there with us down the road when we tackle federal loans...but let's make this one go, guys...take a half hour out of your day, and post this link wherever you can think people will see it, and sign it:

*************************************************

October 13, 2010 at 7:13am

This is an exceptional piece on this issue. Apparently, there are still local papers that take the time and space to get a story right. But you can judge for yourself...

Thanks to the members who stepped up to be interviewed for this piece. This is the journalism that we have been needing badly for a long, long time, and so I hope you will spread this like you spread the petition yesterday...and if you are aware of similar, local publications of a similar calibre anywhere in the country, talk to them...

http://www.valleyadvocate.com/article.cfm?aid=12585

*************************************************

October 15, 2010 at 8:44am

Folks,

We are not even halfway to our modest fundraising goal for the month, and alot depends on whether we meet this goal. If you have never donated, please do so now. Our progress depends upon your action, and your support.

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm



Thanks,

Alan

*************************************************

October 16, 2010 at 4:28am

Thanks go out to the 6 people who have contributed to help us make our fundraising goal for this month, particularly Kelly in California, whose $250 donation put us over the half way mark. We now have a little over $500 to go...I hope that those of you who have not done anything, and never donated will step up for this cause.

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

There are a couple of other items I need to mention, but I will save those for the next update.

=Alan

*************************************************

October 17, 2010 at 9:05am

Folks,

Please sign this petition, regardless of what type of loans you have. This is important legislation for all of us...and call your Senator (ahead of your House Reps), and tell them to pass this legislation.


http://www.change.org/petitions/view/tell_congress_protect_private_student_loan_borrowers

Right now we are at 500 signatures. We can do far, far better than this.

*************************************************

October 20, 2010 at 9:06am

Hey Folks,

Couple of things:

1. The Rally to Restore Sanity Rally is coming up in ten days. The student loan sub-rally will be meeting at 10:30 am on the south side of The Freer Gallery (Independence Ave). The closest Metro stop is The Smithsonian. Chris Rouse ( http://www.facebook.com/rouseclnf ) will be there to lead everyone on the walk over to the far eastern end of the National Mall, between 3rd Street and 7th Street, known as East Seaton Park and Henry Park, where the rally will be held. As it stands now, I will not be able to be there, but we will have a point person there with SLJ T-Shirts, etc. If you have any other events you would like to do as a part of this rally, please let me know ASAP so I can forward to the members in a timely manner.


2. I spoke with the new Education Undersecretary last week on the subject of corruption within the Department of Education. The point of the conversation was to "light a fire" to compel the new administration to clean house at the Department of Education's Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA). Quite frankly, the citizens deserve some major payback after the past decade of secret deals, revolving doors, and out-and-out illegal activities that have benefited corporate interests rather than our interests.

I can only hope for their sake that I was listened to, because as of now, I am pushing the press to report on the cumulative effect of these "bad-government" activities. I had hoped the Obama Administration would have taken it upon themselves to clean house long ago, but it has been nearly two years now, and we haven't seen anything. So please have a look at:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org.captured.html/

Forward this document to as many reporters as you can now, and particularly after the forthcoming election. We voted for President Obama because we wanted better government, not more government, and it is our duty to take him to task on this important campaign pledge, particularly in this area, which has hurt so many of us.

3. I will be speaking at the University of Washington on October 28th in the evening. Please contact me via email for more details. justice@studentloanjustice.org

4. Our fundraising remains critical:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


If we do not receive nominal support from the members, then we will cease to function, and an important voice on this issue...the ONLY voice calling solely for the return of standard consumer protections like bankruptcy rights to ALL student loans will be lost. This is why it is so important that you step up.


Thanks,

Alan

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October 20, 2010 at 1:11pm

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October 27, 2010 at 5:03pm

Folks,

A national network is flying a film crew out to spend the day with me tomorrow. They are doing an hourlong documentary on the issue. They are a fairly conservative business oriented show, which is exactly the audience that we need to reach to get anywhere. You can bet that as always, I will hold nothing back, point the finger where it needs to point, and offend wealthy and powerful individuals and entities in the process, regardless of the consequences to me personally.

But I need you to help. I can't do this without it. Here is the link:

Studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


Step up.

*************************************************

October 29, 2010 at 11:02am

Hi. We need your financial support. We will be gone and this organization will be done without it. I really can't put it more plainly than that, folks. I've been busting my ass on this end, and I really don't think asking the members to pitch in $5 -$10 is asking alot. I have spent everything I can spend on this effort...to the point where I am absolutely insolvent and without assets, and there is nothing left. So if you have not done anything for this issue, and have not donated anything, then buck the fuck up, or get the fuck off of this group. We don't want you here if you have nothing to bring to the table.


http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


I'm sick of the deadweight. Clear?

To everyone else in this group who have taken real actions and made real accomplishments on this issue, or who have donated anything to the cause...thank you, and let's keep going. Sorry for the bad language.

*************************************************

November 5, 2010 at 9:10am

I will be shutting down our Facebook Cause and Group at the end of the year. I could not be more disappointed with the lack of activity and support, and also the sabotage that I witnessed here. You people need to quit allowing facebook to paralyze you, by telling you you're an activist by clicking your mouse. It will be the surest path to bondage for us all, and I do not say that lightly. You also need to not be mislead by anonymous, fake characters on Facebook, particularly hired PR hacks who want only to shut groups like this down.

For those of you wishing to be TRUE activists on this issue, I invite you all to come to the website, submit your story for the record, join or volunteer to lead your state chapter, and we can go from there.

Those of you wishing to see this organization continue, generally, are encouraged again to provide us with nominal financial support. I've spent my last dollar on this group, and now literally cannot afford even food at this moment because of the sacrifice I made for us.

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm



It really is too bad that Facebook turned out to be such a joke for activism purposes.

*************************************************

November 11, 2010 at 12:59am

This article is good, but not nearly as good as it should have been. The government has been making, not losing, money on student loans for many years. I demonstrated this with the reporter, and even had a lengthy email debate on the question with an expert on the other side, and prevailed. Nevertheless, the editor for the piece , according to the reporter, chose not to include this.

Thanks to those who stepped up to be interviewed on this.

*************************************************

November 11, 2010 at 6:59pm

Please read this very important update regarding the bankruptcy bill:

http://studentloanjustice.org/checkin11-11-10.html

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November 12, 2010 at 3:39pm

CNN is looking for students who left school without graduating due to financial distress. If this is you EMAIL ME:

justice@studentloanjustice.org

Include your contact info, and a brief summary of your story. Thanks.


Alan

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

*************************************************

November 15, 2010 at 4:39am

Already, moves are underway to continue the theft from the student loan system using people holding themselves out as student advocates, when in fact they are nothing of the sort. The College Board (The entity that administers the SAT) is going to bat against the students on this particular attempt. The target is the "in-school" subsidy.

Ask why the College Board would even care about this issue. I have not a clue...I've never looked really hard at the organization, I only know that they were actually selling student loans for a time, and would still be were it not for public outcry, and some legal issues. I do know that these sorts of actions nearly always coupled with funding requests/ political appointments/ etc.

This is a good research project for someone...

http://higheredwatch.newamerica.net/blogposts/2010/in_the_cross_hairs_again_the_in_school_interest_subsidy_on_federal_student_loans_is_i

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November 15, 2010 at 12:34pm

This is the type of greed, and excess that we enable with the predatory loans forced upon us.

We have crossed a threshold, folks. Where yesterday you were ashamed, intimidated, and overwhelmed, tomorrow you should be angry, assertive, and demanding. These are your loans, and only by you understanding exactly what is going on will you transition from passive to active on this issue. Trust me, you will certainly wonder, in hindsight, why you laid low for so long. Doing so only enriches and emboldens the predators who have seized control of this lending system.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40182356/ns/us_news-life/

*************************************************

November 16, 2010 at 5:30pm

This is the national screening, FINALLY, for the documentary that Aurora and Serge have worked so hard on, and for so long...FOUR YEARS I've watched them toil under similar circumstances as us.

These people deserve your attention, and support. This film is the sole surviving documentary effort on this topic, and believe me, more than a few documentarians attempted to do this subject including Michael Moore, and others. So their perseverance alone is something to be thankful for.

Now there is a significant funding need, here: There is a national network willing to broadcast the film, but Aurora and Serge need to digitally remaster the piece, and this can only happen at a cost of several thousand dollars and more.

We need to help them on this, guys. You all know how broke I am nowadays, and I am giving them ten bucks. Im also going to spend as long as it takes to make sure that everyone I can think of knows about this film. This is time extremely well spent, for me, because like you, I have debilitatingly large and unmanageable student loans. So I'm not only willing to help. I'm EAGER to.

Here is the link again:

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=107026229365633


This is part of a coordinated effort, btw. A couple of additional shoes will be dropping before Congress leaves. Stay tuned...and get motivated.

*************************************************

November 18, 2010 at 3:00pm

There is a lot of work to be done between now and the end of the year, Your help is required.


http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm



Thank you.

*************************************************

November 20, 2010 at 2:58pm

Hi all,

I've been invited by the International Socialist Organization to speak on a panel being held at UMass Amherst on December 2nd. All politics aside, this organization published a very good paper on the topic recently, and I am happy to attend the conference. Unfortunately, we are on our own to cover the cost for traveling to the conference, so it is up to you the members to fund this or not. Frankly, I think the chances of us being able to come up with the money necessary to cover this trip are low, but I do want to make an effort nonetheless. You can donate at the website, or just go to:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

Thanks for your consideration.


Also, if there are people in the Washington DC. area who would like to be interviewed, the Georgetown newspaper is doing a story presently on the topic and is looking for interviews. Please email me your contact info, and I will send it along.

Keep Fighting!

Alan

*************************************************

November 21, 2010 at 7:42pm

http://www.nasdaq.com/aspx/stock-market-news-story.aspx?storyid=201011171059dowjonesdjonline000338&title=nelnetother-lenders-to-pay-578-million-to-settle-rate-allegations

This is just one example of the corrupt activities and people that have wormed their way into the highest eschelons of the Department of Education, and persist to this day. The people who orchestrated this are the very same kind of people who are running default collections at FSA: former executives from student loan... companies who have little or no regard for the public good. Soon, our work will be putting them in the spotlight. For instance, they will be asked very soon why over years and decades, they failed to warn the citizens that the default rate was roughly 1 in 4. This is one of the key points that after two years of our effort, is now public knowledge...but the critical question has yet to be asked.

Regards,

Alan


Please donate: heep://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

*************************************************

November 24, 2010 at 3:54pm

Hey All,

These are the things I am working on currently. Hopefully you will see and understand how they will move us forward and force the national conversation to go toward exposing truth, not hiding it or obscuring it.

1. After years of begging, the Chronicle finally looked at the TRUE default rate, and while they wouldn't guess as to the actual default rate for student loans, they did report, at LONG LAST, that the government had been "vastly undercounting defaults", and that of 1995 graduates, fully 20% had defaulted as of today. (see the article on the main page of our website).

This is good, but the natural question that the press should ask now, is WHY the Department of Education failed to warn the public that the default rate was so high. This is a totally legitimate question to ask, but to date, no reporter has actually asked this question to my disappointment. There are people withing the Department of Education who must be held accountable for failing to warn the public, and surely millions of people needed to know this, and were caused significant harm in ignorance of this fact. I would have liked to know this fact. Wouldn't you have liked to know the true default rate before taking out loans?

I am like the waves at the ocean to reporters at this point...people other than me need to call reporters, show them the Chronicle piece, and ask them to ask this very critical question. The answer will shed much light on true problem, but it has to be asked, and you guys are the ones who have to pick up the phone, and get a reporter to do this.

2. The next key point that MUST be reported widely is the fact that the Federal government has been MAKING, not LOSING money on defaulted federal loans for years. In fact, they clearly make MORE money when loans default than if loans remain in good stead. I have proven this by comparison with general defaulted debt, and you can see an explanation at:

http://studentloanjustice.org/defaults-making-money.html

This is very, very important. Do you see why? If B of A was making money on defaulted subprime home mortgages, making MORE money than if the loans never defaulted, in fact, don't you think the press would consider that to be important? I do. So shouldn't reporters be interested in this? Yes, they should. #2 comes first, but I'm not picky. Both in one piece would be even better.


3. I believe that the republicans controlling the House need to seize this issue, since they are supposed to be about free markets, and against big government and all that entails. Furthermore, John Boehner and his colleagues really do not want this thing blowing up on them, since they get credit for much that went on with student loans that brought us to this point. They should use this issue to prove that they are serious about truly embracing those ideals, and return bankruptcy protections to student loans. How can you make them understand this? I'm simply calling them and saying that. I don't know of a better way. Do you?

4. We shouldn't be here. This problem should have never happened. The established student loan advocates who have the ear of Congress, make excellent salaries, and claim to be fighting for students should have spotted the obvious problem associated with removing bankruptcy protections from student loans long ago, and fought tooth and nail to make sure this sort of injustice would never stand. They didn't. They slipped. To this day, I cannot get a straight answer from the PIRGs, National Consumer Law Center, TICAS, USSA, or other people calling themselves student advocates as to why they have so grossly and obviously neglected to fight for the immediate return of bankruptcy protections to ALL student loans, not just private loans. They are, after all, STUDENT ADVOCATES. Not lending companies, not lending lobbyists, not Federal government advocates, not higher Ed advocates....they are STUDENT Advocates. Why they have abandoned us I do not know. They had a role to play. They blew it. They could have done the digging I did to see that the true default rate was high, and alerted Congress. But they didn't. And Congress STILL doesn't know, I am pretty sure. They could have noticed and pointed out that the FED was making, not losing money on defaulted FFELP loans, but they didn't, and Congress hasn't heard this.

You people should be mad at them for letting you down. We have, in effect, been forced to attempt to do their job, a job for which we are ill suited, reluctant to even try, and in general have a sinking feeling about from the get-go seeing as how we largely don't see ourselves as being appropriate for that role..and don't have a salary to entice us...only a debt. Yet...here we are.

When you get pissed in the coming months about how hard your situation is. These are the people, along with the people within the Department of Education, who neglected to play their appointed role, and thus perpetuated this injustice. Lenders are slime, and they act like slime. Schools are pompous and fat, but we know that, and they act like that. Student loan advocates are fighting for students interests we assume, but have they acted like student loan advocates? No. This is a critical difference. between the advocates, and the other players.

Please ask them to explain this, and do not rest until you get a straight answer from them. I literally have absolutely not a clue. I would really like to know. Can you ask them please? Let me know if you find out.

That's basically it right now. In the continued absence of the advocates, I'd sat we need state chapters forming so that the politicians cannot run or hide from their responsibility to return bankruptcy protections at a minimum to student loans. FACEBOOK DOES NOT WORK FOR THIS. Looking electeds and their staff in the eyes, and talking to them on the phone does seem to work. FACEBOOK DOESN'T.

That requires a bit of leadership, and some work. If you are as sick of Facebook as I am , and you really want to get these loans under control, then you need to consider this. Come to the website and see what we have now, and what you can do. Send me an email if interested...and use your real name with me.

Ok, Guys, and don't get distracted by Facebook BS.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Alan


http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

*************************************************

November 27, 2010 at 6:10pm

Hey All,

Don't forget, there is still time to see the documentary online...from now till midnight, I encourage all of you to go to:

defaultmovie.com


And thanks (and please donate) to Aurora and Serge for making this happen!

*************************************************

November 30, 2010 at 11:47am

http://www.credit.com/blog/2010/11/student-loans-in-support-of-bankruptcy-protection/


Dudes, we have one month. This is a trade mag read by decision makers. Please weigh in, and make your point. make them feel your pain, and be sure to tear apart the PR spin people hired to neutralize us on the net. Do it with facts, not personal stories. I know many of you should be able to easily do this by now. Take a break next month. not this month !!!

Thanks,

Alan

Please Donate: http://studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

*************************************************

November 30, 2010 at 9:17pm

I rarely post on issues not directly related to student loans, but there was an exceptionally good interview by Charlie Rose today with a film maker named Charles Ferguson, who documented the subprime meltdown, and its aftermath:

http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/8647

I have arrived at uncannily similar conclusions to those of Mr. Ferguson, only applied narrowly to the student loan issue. If you follow this issue closely, you will likely agree, I suspect.

Mr. Ferguson's major, macro conclusions are also absolutely clear and self evident to me, and I have to join him in saying that citizens are in a very delicate position currently, and absolutely must find a way to join forces on the critical economic issues that most of us are faced with and fight through the obvious attempts by the media to divide us by strategically injecting gay, gun, religious, and other controversial social issues into the debate at key moments.

There is no doubt that these issues are very important, but when there are millions of citizens being thrown into the street, student borrowers fleeing the country, financial scams being perpetuated against decent citizens by other citizens who are willing to completely abandon basic civil values that this society was built upon, then the citizens must act quickly, forcefully, and with a unified voice, not be tricked into complacency, and debt, etc.

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December 3, 2010 at 9:04am

We can't do this without you...


http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

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December 4, 2010 at 8:17am

This piece by Jennifer Rowley is significant. Please read the quotes towards the end of the article:

http://finance.yahoo.com/college-education/article/111460/is-the-college-debt-bubble-ready-to-explode


Also: Please donate:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


Thanks,

Alan

*************************************************

December 4, 2010 at 5:58pm

All,

We have a gentleman incarcerated in Indiana who has written multiple times to us requesting a copy of the book. Apparently I did not receive his first letter over a year ago, but today cannot even fulfill this nominal request, unfortunately. I feel badly about this. If you are in a position to get a copy of the book to him, please send me an email, and I will get you his address.

-Alan justice@studentloanjustice.org

*************************************************

December 4, 2010 at 6:01pm

All,

We have a gentleman incarcerated in Indiana who has written multiple times to us requesting a copy of the book. Apparently I did not receive his first letter over a year ago, but today cannot even fulfill this nominal request, unfortunately. I feel badly about this. If you are in a position to get a copy of the book to him, please send me an email, and I will get you his address.

-Alan justice@studentloanjustice.org


Donations: http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

*************************************************

December 7, 2010 at 11:12pm

This is pretty much the best short article I have seen on this subject. Glad I spent the time for this one. Thanks, and hat's off to Jane Bryant Quin for telling it like it is (although she didn't quite nail the "government is making, not losing money" angle that I have been pushing very hard.


http://moneywatch.bnet.com/investing/blog/make-money/7-things-they-dont-tell-you-about-student-loans/690/


And although every other message from me contains an urgent plea, the urgency persists nonetheless. If everyone donated a small amount even one time, I'd never ask, but instead its always a tiny trickle that barely keeps us floating...not lamenting, just explaining here, folks.

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


The website is under construction btw...so please be kind for the next week.

AND MAKE AL FRANKEN FEEL YOU, I MEAN REALLY FEEL YOUR PAIN!!


Thanks,

Alan
*************************************************

December 7, 2010 at 7:41am

Tax cut extension for high income citizens will cost about $700 billion, whereas total Federal student loan debt is about $600 billion.

I make this comparison after seeing Senator Franken's speech on the Senate Floor. '

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVURyaA9UWY


Call and email him, people. Point out this fact, and tell him to fight for bankruptcy, if not forgiveness altogether! The numbers really compel inclusion of the more radical solution into the discussion!!

See my prev. message for contact info for Sen. Franken and his staff...

*************************************************
 December 8, 2010 at 6:37pm

Hey all, we are looking for people in Vermont who want to share their stories...send me your contact info if so.

And folks, please consider a donation if you can. Nothing against cleaning lint off of cave walls, shelter dogs, and the like... but I've seen alot of fluff sucking all of the wind out of efforts like this one. Please help out.

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

*************************************************

December 10, 2010 at 5:16am

Guys,

It is up to us to get this bankruptcy bill through before the end of the session. Do you have private loans? Are you distressed? How much is that worth to you?

How much does it cost you in time, effort, reputation, etc, to call and write to Senator Franken, and make him or his staff feel your pain, and therefor understand why they need to get this regulatio through?

It doesn't compare. You cannot do nothing, and watch the problem disappear Everyone always does that, and here we are, 6 years after this organization began, and not one consumer protection restored.

Anyways, I do appreciate those of you who are putting effort into this, and salute their accomplishments, as you should also.

We have about 10 days, give or take to get anything out of this Congress. I'm very likely absolutely right when I say that you haven't done anything but think about the problem, and maybe click a few mouses, and worried, and wallowed about your own personal situation. When is that gonna end?

Could you at least donate something? This organization has broken all of the important stories in higher ed this year. Our research and conclusions have always been lambasted, ridiculed, and otherwise torn down by many, including the Advocates, the Wall Street Journal, and many, many others.

Nonetheless, with the exception of not considering debtors prisons when titling my book (which technically was correct, but which I admit I hadn't considered), I have never puclicly claimed or predicted anything which did not come true, or prove to be true.
Not ever on anything of significance.

And so when I say that the Department of Ed has been MAKING, not LOSING money on defaults, I'm not some drunk at the bar, I'm telling you what I strongly believe, and can show, is true. And if this hasn't been widely reported yet, it absolutely needs to be.

This is not my problem any more than it is yours. I'm not a guy who cares about getting credit...I said long ago that the goal was to see this problem fixed immediately so I could go back to building some sort of life for myself...and I maintain that now. I want others like me to step up, and start pointing to the truth and not allowing anyone to shout me down with bullshit.

That's the whole point. if everyone is up to themselves, has all the same information, then anyone can do what I, or the other active people ( like 25 or so) are doing. That you are not, but continue to sit here, day after day, watching others work, is personally insulting to me, and you should feel ashamed of yourself. No tale of woe, almost, gives you any license to be lazy. None. If you send me an email describing why you should be expected to do anything, I will point to your email as evidence that you are lying, wrong, and lazy.

Not to go on folks. Don't amuse yourselves. Get up, get out, and get something done. That's the ONLY WAY that we will get Congress to fix this problem.

And we are completely without funds. So far this year we've taken in approximately $7000. This pays for all the press work we do, all the political work I do, all the research, outreach, etc. Plus it pays for me to eat, pay rent, and live. I'd say that's pretty lean, and its borderline impressive I still have electricity and haven't been evicted (I'm currently just starting to work on last month's rent).

So if you do have understanding of the significance of the work we do, the results we are getting, the risks, costs, etc, that we are taking on on this end, please consider a nominal donation if possible. even small amounts add up tremendously when everyone participates, so please do.


http://studentloanjustice.org/donate.htm



Lots of news coming up. Stay tuned.

*************************************************

December 12, 2010 at 8:37pm

Hey Folks,

This week is important if the democrats are going to do anything for us before they leave their leadership posts in the House.

I hope you will contact Sen. Al Franken as I suggested last week (see my previous updates for contact info.

Next week (Dec 21), me and a couple of our members will be featured in an extended documentary produced and aired on a well known national network. This piece, despite the conservative bent and business oriented reputation of the network, should be a dagger that goes directly to the heart of the investor class. I will have a more formal announcement of this shortly.

In the meantime, I would appreciate very much your stepping up to support our organization. Wish I didn't have to ask. Wouldn't if everyone gave a pitifully small amount:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


Regards,

*************************************************

December 13, 2010 at 11:09pm

I'd say we have about a week to make our case here, guys. I'm doing my part. Here is my most recent letter. I'm hoping to get an opinion piece published somewhere. If you have private student loans, and you've never done anything on this issue, then you owe it to yourself and future students to spend some serious time and effort on this. I estimate that there are something like 1500-2000 of our members fall into this category. Which means that we should by all rights be deluging Sen. Franken's office by now.





-------- Original Message --------
Subject: The bankruptcy bill for private student loans
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2010 23:02:25 -0800
From: Alan Collinge <justice@studentloanjustice.org>
To: jake_schwitzer@franken.senate.gov


Jake,

I must impress upon you at this late date the urgent need to pass the bankruptcy legislation for private student loans. We, the citizens I represent, who have been harmed greatly- and for years- by the predatory lending environment that was created by the removal of this important consumer protection, feel strongly that Senator Franken is the right man to make this happen, given both his sponsorship of the bill, and his relatively fresh perspective in the U. S. Senate.

I appreciated Sen. Franken;s remarks following the tax cut extension debate, and feel strongly that he has, uniquely, the power to call for what we seek.

Remember that this protection should have NEVER been removed from private student loans. There was no compelling basis for it, and the promises the lenders made in the legislative process, namely, that they would make loans to less creditworthy applicants as a result of bankruptcy being removed, were never kept.

This bad law passed in 2005 should have been the first wrong righted when the Democrats retook the Congress in late 2006, and this should have been followed by similar legislation for federal loans. Yet here we sit, four years later, and absolutely nothing...NOT ONE THING...has been accomplished that returned even one of the many consumer protections that were taken away from student loans generally.

This is causing real suffering, Jake. Families are being torn apart by this debt. Grandparents, parents, and other well meaning relatives of misfortunate borrowers are literally losing their life savings to pay off these exploded, predatory loan instruments due ultimately to the absence of bankruptcy protections (and this is not because they want to or would file, but rather because throughout the life of the loan, the lenders know that this power does not exist, and therefore have no reason to exercise restraint in the administration of fees, penalties, and also are happy to saddle the students with a a larger debtload from the outset).

We are an unpaid, volunteer organization, Jake. I, and our members, have far better things to do with our time and effort than lobby Congress. If you think about it, don't you agree that the fact that we have been put in a position where we are forced to beg for the right to do something as reprehensible, distasteful, and shameful as filing for bankruptcy is just a little bit absurd to begin with?

We would not be here if this was not a desperately serious problem, and it really is time for someone in Congress to stand up for common sense, whatever the cost. Hillary Clinton did this in 2006, and I would say she was the last one since.

I hope you will pass these comments on to Senator Franken. I stand at the ready to give the Senator a briefing based on my research on the issue to defend our claims, and also enlighten him about some dirty secrets that the lenders, schools, and even the Department of Education bend over backwards to avoid discussing...and that go well beyond the bankruptcy bill currently at issue.

Please call,

Alan

*************************************************

December 14, 2010 at 8:23am

Hey Folks,

We are asked...

"Do you happen to have a borrower in your database who would like to go back to school to get a marketable skill--say, at a community college, but can't because he or she has exhausted all federal aid going to a for-profit? "

If this is you, send me your contact info. This is a national media piece by a reporter I know and respect based on previous work.

Please don't FB me. It is a hassle for me to message that way. Instead, please EMAIL ME at

justice@studentloanjustice.org

Regards,

Alan

ps. we are still in need of donations to cover our base costs through year's end.

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

*************************************************

December 15, 2010 at 10:25am

Hey Folks,

It's now public, so I can announce that we will are featured interviews next tuesday 6 pm pacific time on a CNBC special on student loans. I was skeptical about the likelihood of our getting a fair hearing for this network, and may still be unpleasantly surprised, but I suspect that the producers did an honest job of addressing the topic, and with luck, they may break the one news item that we still have yet to get the national press to cover...that the federal government has for years been MAKING, not LOSING money on defaults. This is the most critical and important news that we have dug up to date, and so fingers are crossed.

If you don't understand why this is so important to the larger debate, please go to the website, and read our argument carefully.


Two other items...

1. -If you went to a for profit school, and are now retired, but getting your social security income taken due to your student loans, send me an email:

justice@studentloanjustice.org


2. Could you all please spare me, and you, and the agony between us, by simply donating a very small amount to fund our operations? I cannot express how much I dislike spending all this time and effort asking for support from you all...all this does is piss everyone off, and inject useless distraction and, often, hard feelings that sap my energy and yours. I'd rather have my eyes on the prize, not on the nickels and dimes that keep this go kart on the racetrack!

If even half of you simply tossed in enough for a starbucks coffee, I would likely never have to mention this disgusting subject ever again, and we'd all have one less distraction to contend with.

Those of you without income don't need to explain yourselves. pick up the phone and call a reporter instead...on balance, that is probably way more valuable anyhow...but those of you who do have income can do it, and so do it already, so we can move forward.

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


More soon,

Alan

*************************************************

December 19, 2010 at 10:36am

Folks,

Its down to the last opportunity for us to get the private loan bankruptcy bill pushed through...Notice the Democrats pushing other legislation through? Well that could be us if we only actually made the effort...EACH ONE OF US...to make them feel our pain! We have 8000 people, that is probably enough if EVERY ONE contacts Sen. Franken's office, and does the same with Sen. Durbin, and whatever other action is appropriate given your unique skills talents, networks, etc...

I will paste all of my letters to Franken below. Use those if you wish. And contact the media as well...whoever you know, or think of that makes sense.


Jake Schwitzer (Franken's staffer) can be reached at: jake_schwitzer@franken.senate.gov (202) 224-5641

Durbin's phone is: (202) 224-2152


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Bill
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 2010 23:13:34 -0800
From: Alan Collinge <justice@studentloanjustice.org>
To: jake_schwitzer@franken.senate.gov


Jake,

I hope you will convey to Senator Franken the urgency with which we request the Senator to get the Student Loan Bankruptcy bill to a vote before the current Congressional session is up.

We will be a part of a television documentary on the subject this Tuesday, 6pm pacific time. This is on the CNBC network.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: The bankruptcy bill for private student loans
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2010 23:02:25 -0800
From: Alan Collinge <justice@studentloanjustice.org>
To: jake_schwitzer@franken.senate.gov


Jake,

I must impress upon you at this late date the urgent need to pass the bankruptcy legislation for private student loans. We, the citizens I represent, who have been harmed greatly- and for years- by the predatory lending environment that was created by the removal of this important consumer protection, feel strongly that Senator Franken is the right man to make this happen, given both his sponsorship of the bill, and his relatively fresh perspective in the U. S. Senate.

I appreciated Sen. Franken;s remarks following the tax cut extension debate, and feel strongly that he has, uniquely, the power to call for what we seek.

Remember that this protection should have NEVER been removed from private student loans. There was no compelling basis for it, and the promises the lenders made in the legislative process, namely, that they would make loans to less creditworthy applicants as a result of bankruptcy being removed, were never kept.

This bad law passed in 2005 should have been the first wrong righted when the Democrats retook the Congress in late 2006, and this should have been followed by similar legislation for federal loans. Yet here we sit, four years later, and absolutely nothing...NOT ONE THING...has been accomplished that returned even one of the many consumer protections that were taken away from student loans generally.

This is causing real suffering, Jake. Families are being torn apart by this debt. Grandparents, parents, and other well meaning relatives of misfortunate borrowers are literally losing their life savings to pay off these exploded, predatory loan instruments due ultimately to the absence of bankruptcy protections (and this is not because they want to or would file, but rather because throughout the life of the loan, the lenders know that this power does not exist, and therefore have no reason to exercise restraint in the administration of fees, penalties, and also are happy to saddle the students with a a larger debtload from the outset).

We are an unpaid, volunteer organization, Jake. I, and our members, have far better things to do with our time and effort than lobby Congress. If you think about it, don't you agree that the fact that we have been put in a position where we are forced to beg for the right to do something as reprehensible, distasteful, and shameful as filing for bankruptcy is just a little bit absurd to begin with?

We would not be here if this was not a desperately serious problem, and it really is time for someone in Congress to stand up for common sense, whatever the cost. Hillary Clinton did this in 2006, and I would say she was the last one since.

I hope you will pass these comments on to Senator Franken. I stand at the ready to give the Senator a briefing based on my research on the issue to defend our claims, and also enlighten him about some dirty secrets that the lenders, schools, and even the Department of Education bend over backwards to avoid discussing...and that go well beyond the bankruptcy bill currently at issue.

Please call,

Alan



-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Bankruptcy Bill for Private loans in the LD session
Date: Mon, 06 Dec 2010 07:22:23 -0800
From: Alan Collinge <justice@studentloanjustice.org>
To: jake_schwitzer@franken.senate.gov


Jake,

Hi. My name is Alan, I"m with a citizens group called Studentloanjustice.org.

We sent you a book and letter some months ago, and I hope Sen. Franken got a chance to look at one or both...

With Boehner coming up in the House, the chances of the Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Bill moving next session is likely zero...I was hoping I might find a bold Democrat somewhere in Congress who would be willing to rally support to get this bill through by the end of the session. There are hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people whose livelihoods actually hang in the balance...I know a couple thousand, and after four years of opportunities, I can say that they are petrified at the thought of what the next session might bring in terms of stronger collection activities, increased predation, and all that goes with that.

I really hope you might consider this, and consider that this language was slipped into the bankruptcy bill in 2005 and many experts were shocked that the banking lobby could be so brazen and shameless. It should have never been allowed in, and the Democrats utterly failed to undo this most obvious wrong over the four years they held power in both House and Senate.

I think Al Franken would do well for himself and his State to at least make some kind of stand before the session is over to get this bill attached, or otherwise through the process with an amendment (if needed) to take away the exemption for non profit lenders.

Please let me know what you think. Look forward to hearing from you-

-Alan








-Alan Collinge

*************************************************

December 19, 2010 at 6:18pm

Hey Folks,

I came up with this OPED this afternoon. Please check it over and let me know if any egregious errors.


http://studentloanjustice.org/oped12-19-10.htm



More importantly, send this around to the editorial department of your local newspapers, big and small. Change a few words and put your name on it, not mine, if you want. That is more than cool with me. Whatever. But please let's get this published in as many places as possible over this week. If they need an exclusive, and they're a big paper, like the NY Times, WSJ, etc., we can do a rewrite for them.

*************************************************

December 20, 2010 at 4:15pm

Hey Folks,

I will be on the Norman Goldman Radio show today at 5pm Pacific Time. This is usually on the a.m. dial, but check your local radio listings for more

Sorry for the late notice-

*************************************************

December 21, 2010 at 4:16am

Democrats: Protection for College Students Needed Before You Go

December 20,2010

In 2005, language was slipped into the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act which effectively removed bankruptcy protections from private student loans. The brazenness of this action shocked even the most jaded experts on the Hill (when it was discovered). After all, this amounts to the same thing as stripping bankruptcy protections from credit cards, or any other type of unsecured, free-market debt. Make no mistake: there are large injustices with the student lending system generally, but this move set a new low.

The banking industry and their lobbyists promised increased loan availability to disadvantaged students in return for the wholesale removal of this critical, free-market mechanism, but never delivered, the record now clearly shows. What they did deliver were tens of billions of dollars in outrageous loans that would make a subprime mortgage broker blush, with APRs as high as 28%, dropped onto the backs of unsuspecting students through deceptive and corrupt marketing techniques for which there simply is no comparison (consider that often, students would call their school's financial aid offices, and unbeknownst to them, at the other end of the line was a student loan marketer pretending to be a university employee, and this point is proven, but we could go on at length here).

It was assumed by all that at the first possibility (i.e. when the democrats recaptured one or both houses of Congress), this grave injustice would be quickly righted. So in 2007, when Democrats swept both Houses, this painful period for the citizens was clearly at an end. Or was it? The democrats, to their credit, did introduce legislation to reverse this robbery, but didn't put their back into it, evidently. The first attempt the legislation was quietly killed. A second attempt was narrowly defeated in a House vote thanks to the Blue Dogs cooperation with republicans like Howard "Buck" McKeon, and others. The third attempt, introduced last Spring, was on a slow road to passage, and would have been fine, but for an inconvenient election in November.

Surely the banking lobbyists charged with keeping this beach head were richly rewarded for their efforts. After all, a leaked Sallie Mae strategy memo that surfaced around the time the Democrats took power in Congress put preserving the current bankruptcy laws as the 2nd highest priority. And over four years, the record is clear that this mission was accomplished.

Consider, however, what is lost to this dangerous and predatory lending system. While we won't be seeing them marching on Washington anytime soon, former students by the hundreds of thousands are currently reeling, devastated by this toxic debt. Their cosigning parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles who wanted only for their loved one to get a college education now face financial ruin, and that is absolutely not in any way an exaggeration. And for what? So Sallie Mae can reap excessive profits from predatory loans made on a hyper-inflated commodity, which is higher education?

Ironically, the entities who so cleverly led the students into these monstrous debt situation are the same people now chastising the students about not reading the fine print. They now dispense belated words of wisdom on borrower responsibility from on high, effectively insulating themselves from all blame. But the ironies do not end there...the democrats who were so quick to rush to the financial aid of the financial industry (including Sallie Mae, and the other student lenders), have gone quiet on this final attempt at returning the bankruptcy protections that should have never been taken away, it seems. And where are the beltway advocates? It seems, that the only ones left in this fight are the citizens, and the Congress elected to represent them. Oh..and of course the banks with their money, expert advice, and threats designed to protect their profits no matter the public cost.

Democrats: Do what is critically needed right now, and return at least this obvious critical protection to the consumers before this term expires.

*************************************************

December 21, 2010 at 8:44am

Thanks to Kyle, and Chris/Emily for stepping up for this piece.

I didn't realize NBC was going to pick up the story, but that makes sense...weak piece fact wise, but emotionally, it was strong...

Hopefully the CNBC thing will push the envelope and address the tough points that we make...


http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/#40765072

*************************************************

December 23, 2010 at 8:51pm

I hope you all saw the piece on CNBC. It was a strong piece, but they pulled a couple of punches, one being their failure to mention the bankruptcy legislation currently before Congress.

Please send the Editorial below to every newspaper you can think of. We have only a few days to get any action on this bill before the term expires.

And please...send us a small donation. We need it, and you know I would not ask if we didn't.

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


---------------------------------------------------------------------



Democrats: Protection for College Students Needed Before You Go

December 20,2010

In 2005, language was slipped into the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act which effectively removed bankruptcy protections from private student loans. The brazenness of this action shocked even the most jaded experts on the Hill (when it was discovered). After all, this amounts to the same thing as stripping bankruptcy protections from credit cards, or any other type of unsecured, free-market debt. Make no mistake: there are large injustices with the student lending system generally, but this move set a new low.

The banking industry and their lobbyists promised increased loan availability to disadvantaged students in return for the wholesale removal of this critical, free-market mechanism, but never delivered, the record now clearly shows. What they did deliver were tens of billions of dollars in outrageous loans that would make a subprime mortgage broker blush, with APRs as high as 28%, dropped onto the backs of unsuspecting students through deceptive and corrupt marketing techniques for which there simply is no comparison (consider that often, students would call their school's financial aid offices, and unbeknownst to them, at the other end of the line was a student loan marketer pretending to be a university employee, and this point is proven, but we could go on at length here).

It was assumed by all that at the first possibility (i.e. when the democrats recaptured one or both houses of Congress), this grave injustice would be quickly righted. So in 2007, when Democrats swept both Houses, this painful period for the citizens was clearly at an end. Or was it? The democrats, to their credit, did introduce legislation to reverse this robbery, but didn't put their back into it, evidently. The first attempt the legislation was quietly killed. A second attempt was narrowly defeated in a House vote thanks to the Blue Dogs cooperation with republicans like Howard "Buck" McKeon, and others. The third attempt, introduced last Spring, was on a slow road to passage, and would have been fine, but for an inconvenient election in November.

Surely the banking lobbyists charged with keeping this beach head were richly rewarded for their efforts. After all, a leaked Sallie Mae strategy memo that surfaced around the time the Democrats took power in Congress put preserving the current bankruptcy laws as the 2nd highest priority. And over four years, the record is clear that this mission was accomplished.

Consider, however, what is lost to this dangerous and predatory lending system. While we won't be seeing them marching on Washington anytime soon, former students by the hundreds of thousands are currently reeling, devastated by this toxic debt. Their cosigning parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles who wanted only for their loved one to get a college education now face financial ruin, and that is absolutely not in any way an exaggeration. And for what? So Sallie Mae can reap excessive profits from predatory loans made on a hyper-inflated commodity, which is higher education?

Ironically, the entities who so cleverly led the students into these monstrous debt situation are the same people now chastising the students about not reading the fine print. They now dispense belated words of wisdom on borrower responsibility from on high, effectively insulating themselves from all blame. But the ironies do not end there...the democrats who were so quick to rush to the financial aid of the financial industry (including Sallie Mae, and the other student lenders), have gone quiet on this final attempt at returning the bankruptcy protections that should have never been taken away, it seems. And where are the beltway advocates? It seems, that the only ones left in this fight are the citizens, and the Congress elected to represent them. Oh..and of course the banks with their money, expert advice, and threats designed to protect their profits no matter the public cost.

Democrats: Do what is critically needed right now, and return at least this obvious critical protection to the consumers before this term expires.

*************************************************

December 27, 2010 at 2:56am

Hope all is well for you these holidays...


As most of you know, CNBC ran an hourlong documentary on student loans last week, where they did successfully report that the TRUE default rate is far, far higher than what is officially reported, to their credit..

But what they didn't report were key points of my article on the website : http://studentloanjustice.org/defaults-making-money.html

1. The Federal Govt. is making, not losing money on defaulted FFELP loans.
2. The Federal Govt. is making more money on defaulted FFELP loans than non-defaulted loans.

Conclusion, the Federal Govt. has a clear incentive for FFELP loans to default, rather than to remain in good stead. (FFELP are the vast majority of student loans currently being held by the public, if you don't remember). This predatory. This is wrong. This explains the inexcusably horrible oversight the Department of Education has displayed over the past years and decades. This incentive probably extends to Direct Loans (and may even be worse), but I am not yet ready to say this beyond a shadow.

In view of the fact that Congress will likely do absolutely nothing to return standard consumer protections to student loans, it becomes a duty to make sure the public knows about this widely, and hopefully quickly.

This is where my energy will be focused during the next congressional term. I do need your financial support:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

Please help, and please help spread the word about this important news item.

Regards,

Alan

justice@studentloanjustice.org

*************************************************

December 28, 2010 at 6:01am

Good Morning, Folks

2 things:

1. Congress has until Jan 6th to get the private loan bankruptcy bill passed, so our ability to influence that process is at its end. If you have not yet called Congress, you have to do it now. Same thing for sending our OPED out to your local newspaper.

Don't let distracting distractors distract you!! If you have private loans, this has everything to do with you and your loans, and nothing to do with them.

Our OPED:

http://studentloanjustice.org/oped12-19-10.htm


Key Senate Contacts

Dick Durbin: (202) 224-2152 email: lexi_saudargas@durbin.senate.gov
Al Franken: -5641 email:jake_schwitzer@franken.senate.gov



2. Bloomberg article-

This is an effective article by John Hechinger. I am disappointed to see the Department of Education playing fast and lose with their default collection numbers, claiming that they get back only 100 percent on defaulted loans, when in fact they get back 123%, and that is a matter of public record, so they are gaming the numbers in some way.

This also flies in the face of an earlier article Hechinger wrote when he was with the WSJ (see our media section to read this)

Nevertheless, the real stories portrayed in the piece of real people- most or all our members, btw- were compelling, and John thanks us for that.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-28/for-profit-college-slump-converging-with-student-life-debtors.html

So thanks to all of you who stepped up to be interviewed for this piece.


Finally, as the year winds down, your nominal financial support is still our sole source of financial support, and is critically needed:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/donate.htm


Our year end wrap up, which I'll be sending out next, will show what we have accomplished on your behalf this year, how much we took in, etc, and I'd say you'll be impressed.

-Alan

*************************************************

December 29, 2010 at 1:00am

http://studentloanjustice.org/defaults-making-money.html


At this point, I've received no word that the democrats intend to pass the bankruptcy bill by the end of the current congressional term.

Therefore, we must move forward, and aggressively, to make sure this story gets the media coverage it deserves. It is the most important story I have discovered since studying this issue.

*************************************************

December 30, 2010 at 6:52am

This is the most important news item we have broken. More important than the WSJ story about student loan debt surpassing credit card debt, and more important than the default undercounting story. By far, I would say, and I would hope that most of you realize that I never exaggerate on this issue.


http://www.studentloanjustice.org/

To help you understand the significance of this story, Consider for a moment the subprime home mortgage crisis that we now face. All would agree that there was large banking malfeasance involved with this, as well as horrible government oversight, etc.

Well, imagine if it came out that Bank of America and Citibank were actually making, not losing money on these defaulted loans. In fact, imagine that the banks were actually making more on these defaulted subprime loans than they would have had the loans remained in good stead. That would be a big news story, right?

...Now, imaging that not only was this occuring, but that even Fannie Mae, and the Federal Housing Administration were, astonishingly, MAKING money on these defaulted loans...and making MORE money then if these loans had remained healthy, and on time.

Think that would be a big story? I think there would be riots in the streets, and bankers and government staff being dragged from their homes if this turned out to be happening.

Well, this is precisely what is happening with defaulted student loans. Read the piece. Take it seriously. Spread the word. Ask me the hardest questions about it.

I have never been wrong, or even inaccurate with any significant claim I have ever made on this issue. This is no different.

But please stop writing to me on Facebook. My email address is:

justice@studentloanjustice.org


...and please, send in a token of your support:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

*************************************************

December 30, 2010 at 1:49pm

Y'all can hold off on the story I sent earlier. I think we have it covered and we have an exclusive. In the meantime if you need want to help, please send out our OPED. There is still value in getting this printed, if only to remind democrats of what they DIDN't do over the past four years!

*************************************************

December 31, 2010 at 7:19am

Hey All,

I have to push the year end wrap-up back by a few days...the year isn't technically up yet, and I'm expecting a big item to hit the wires.

So hang tight.

Alan

*************************************************

January 1 at 7:09am

Please shoot us a donation, guys. We are on the verge of something important, but I can't say more at this time. BTW> I will be appearing on Al-Jazeera (English) later today. I will let you all know when I find out airtime, etc.

But please, don't drop this- we need you:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

*************************************************

anuary 1 at 10:31am

The TV broadcast will be live today at 3pm. I think most cable companies carry Al Jazeera, but its probably a ways up there in the channels...

...and...you know...

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

*************************************************

January 4 at 7:04am

Happy New Year Folks,

We are still in a holding pattern pending a media item going live, so please be patient regarding our Year End Wrap-Up.

In the meantime, please go to the website, and push the Green Button:


http://www.studentloanjustice.org/


This will help us in our transition back to using the website as our primary platform.


Regards,

Alan

*************************************************

January 4 at 8:20pm

Well,

This is the piece I was waiting for. Unfortunately, the piece was spun beyond all comprehension, and the reporter didn't appear too concerned about it.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704723104576061953842079760.html

How anyone can take a rock-solid story about how the government is MAKING, not LOSING money on defaulted student loans (and in fact making more money than when loans remain in good stead)- and turn it into a story about how the government "isn't losing that much money" on defaulted loans, is beyond me.

By this article's logic, it costs the Department of Education about $35,000 to collect on a $122,000 defaulted loan.

$35,000.

It is well established that for general bank loans (ie home, car, boat, credit cards, etc), collection costs are about 3% of the amount ultimately recovered. So for the same case, it would cost about $3500.

How the spinmeisters pulled this out is beyond me, like I said.

Read my report at the main page of the website to get the straight and skinny.


Ridiculous. We have alot of work to do.


Please do something, or donate something. If you do not, then nothing happens. And we lose.


http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

*************************************************

January 5 at 10:20am

Hey Folks. It is with a bitter taste in my mouth I bring you this year-end wrap up. I had hoped to have great news to finish the year with, but was disappointed by sub-par journalism at the WSJ Dow Jones. So I'll keep it short and sweet.



The Good:



We were featured on more TV shows, and newspaper/Magazine articles this year than in an previous year, including the year we made top story on 60 minutes.

We broke the two most significant/popular media pieces on the subject of student loans in the entire nation this year. The most significant story was the fact that the government had been vastly undercounting defaults (Chronicle of Higher Education). The most popular story this year was the piece about Student Loan debt surpassing credit card debt nationally. This was originally reported in the Wall Street Journal. I do not toot my horn often, but I will say that I am proud to have discovered, and broke these important pieces, and that this should continue in the immediate future, recent disappointments notwithstanding. You can see these stories at the website, front page.

We also bent over backwards to get the bankruptcy bill through. We sent personal letters to all members of the Judiciary committee, along with copies of the book. We developed a petition with Change.org, we called, harassed, begged, and otherwise pressured Congress in every way we could think of.

The Documentary was finished this year, which will pay dividends soon. We wrote a joint letter with Ralph Nader to Sec. Duncan. We traveled to Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, and all in between giving talks, interviews, etc in support of our mission to restore standard consumer protections to student loans.



The Bad:

John Boehner was chosen to lead the House in 2011. I am non-partisan...but John Boehner is a bad guy...THE bad guy on student loans.


Our democratic Congress ended a four-year reign of both House and Senate, during which time NOT ONE consumer protection that was taken from student loans (both public and private) was returned.

Student debt grew to about $900 billion, easily blowing past the nation's credit card debt.

The default rate climbed. I estimate that people are now defaulting at greater than 1-in-three. We could well be approaching forty percent currently.

Groups we had expected to support the return of standard consumer protections, like TICAS, USPIRG, NCLC, USSA, showed their true colors by failing to take a stand on bankruptcy protections for federal loans, choosing instead to champion silly repayment programs that the American public was expected to accept as a cheap substitute.


Even grassroots groups we thought had sound leadership, like Robert Applebaum's group, turned out to be negotiating deals with collection agents working for the Department of Education. ( http://www.facebook.com/DefaultMovie/posts/139164282807429 ) Definitely one of the most negative developments this year, and a warning to us all to HOLD OUR LEADERS ACCOUNTABLE. If they lack the courage of their convictions, we should have known better in the first place. Particularly on Facebook where things often are not as they appear. Judge by actions if at all possible, not words, and that goes for me doubly. I would expect nothing less than a massive schelacking if I turned out to be doing you guys dirty...or even thinking about it for that matter. This is too important, there is too much at stake.

The Wall Street Journal screwed the pooch badly on what should have made a trifecta of news items supporting our mission this year.

That's enough on the bad side. There is more, but that's enough...



The Money:



We accomplished all of this with member donations that totaled $11,037 . This paid rent/food/travel for me as well as internet. I have no car, no cell phone, no gas, no insurance, etc. So our overhead was also very low this year. It was tough and I will not say it wasn't. But I did appreciate the help from Kelly and Michelle in particular, but there were hundreds of others who donated generously according to their capabilities, and that is not a small thing.


http://studentloanjustice.org/pacincome2010chart.JPG


We do not allow advertisers on our site. We do not make deals with the Department of Education, or its collection agents. We make no money on book sales as of yet, we make absolutely no money outside of what you, the members, donate to us.

I hope we can make a better effort on this next year, respectfully. I have made a resolution to cease using profanity this year, and I always keep my resolutions. I hope that assuages some of you...but I make no promises with regards to the spoken word ;-)

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


All in all, it was a great year for us, don't get me wrong, but next year is going to be an absolute nightmare, I predict, without stronger support, more people, and more effort by us all, including me.



Please donate to get the year off to a better start:


http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm


Thank you, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!


-Alan



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January 5 at 3:08pm
Pretty good piece by Zac Bissonette. I wish he had pointed out that where a generalized bank loan collection of $122,000 incurs collection costs of about $3500, where according to the WSJ article mentioned in the piece, a similar student loan collection would incur costs of about $37,000, and this without legal fees, repossession costs, storage costs, liquidation costs, lien enforcement and other legal costs that come with standard bank loans. Still and all, a good piece.

ps...please donate. We are launching a two week fundraiser tomorrow. The goal is to raise $12,000 so that we can spend the rest of the year doing what we need to be doing. Getting the fundraising out of the way early will save all of us a ton of headache, and hard feelings.
Thanks.

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

-Alan

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January 6 at 6:13am

Hi Folks....we are doing all of our fundraising for the year now...between today, and Thursday, January 20.

This is for two reasons.

1. I cannot stand fundraising, and you can't stand being incessantly hit up for money

2. There simply is no other credible group anywhere in the country fighting...and winning this battle. This is a sad truth, but it is nonetheless, the truth. We worked long and hard to break three critical stories that are shattering the myths of student loan debt as we speak. See the front page of the website, and see how we have moved the national conversation in just the past four months.


This will also give us all two weeks to reflect, and see what the new Congress is likely to do for us, if anything. If I see real hope that the House/Senate might actually do something this time around, that will point towards one kind of year.

If not, this will point towards a dramatically different year, and one that is likely to be significantly radicalized. I don't know about you all, but I quite literally will not spend another year of my life under the oppressive weight of predatory, state sanctioned debt.

So we will see what Congress, the President, The Department of Education, and the "student loan advocates" do over the next two weeks, and have a very clear picture from there. Of course, I invite your thoughts and opinions, and strongly urge those of you who are bold, smart, unafraid, and pissed off to step up to lead your states. Your leadership is going to be needed this year, and of that there is no doubt. If this is you, send me an email. Tell me more.


Quick update: The WSJ article was crap, but others have done a better job. Here is a related piece by Zac Bissonette:


http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=news&cd=1&ved=0CC4QqQIwAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dailyfinance.com%2Fstory%2Fbad-news-defaulted-student-loans-dont-cost-the-government%2F19787152%2F&rct=j&q=student+loans&ei=jMwlTa2OLYa8sAPyleSDAg&usg=AFQjCNEe2jh5xFd5_NBm8RHjZ7UOlmuTVQ&cad=rja


Its actually worse than this...See my report:

http://studentloanjustice.org/defaults-making-money.html


OK GUYS. Let's get er done, and be done with it.



http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

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January 6 at 8:40pm

Thank to those of you who helped us kick of our first day. We raised a total of $200 from ten people.

Please consider pitching in to help...these are your loans, this is your problem, and if everyone simply kicked in $5, we'd blow our fundraising goal out of the water...by triple...and would have significant funds with which to get creative, and expand our reach. But it starts with you.

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/pac.htm

ps. If you are unfamiliar with our group, please go to:

http://www.studentloanjustice.org/history.htm


to understand where we've been, where we are, and where we are going.

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January 7 at 7:46am

I hope those of you who defaulted on federal loans will take the time to comment on the WSJ Article. The story left out an important element...the huge increases, and massive amount ultimately paid by the borrowers.

So if you think your case illustrates this dramatic increase, please weigh in:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704723104576061953842079760.html#articleTabs%3Dcomments

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