Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Unfortunate Sallie Mae Experiences in Illinois and Harassment Violations

Testimonials were obtained from http://studentloanjustice.org/Illinois.htm

Adam

I graduated in 2001 from Northern Illinois University with a BA in Spanish Translation. I have not used my degree in any position I have held, so I know that alone has taken its toll on how much I earn.

As most Americans, I also have other debt. Because my parents, whose combined income was around $60,000, made too much for better loans, I worked full time while going to school full time to pay for school. I racked up credit card debt at the same time, which at one point totaled more than $20000.

While I am more fortunate than others - my total debt to SALLIE MAE is only around 17k, I just don't know when and how I can pay this back, and Sallie Mae doesn't care what circumstances come up.

In 2002, I was let go from a job. THis is something that is never a good feeling, but to have it compounded by Sallie Mae sending me notices that I was close to defaulting on my loan. Despite my repeated calls letting them know I was out of work and my unemployment was minimal at best, they still wanted their monthly payment, at that time around $150. This was tough enough for someone making 30k a year when they were making that much, but when you go to making $150 a week, it is near impossible. To show good faith I sent small payments, but they didn't do what Sallie Mae wanted.

I am now at the point where I am in a 6 month deferral and I am worried when that runs out, what I will do.

After seeing CBS' "60 Minutes" on May 7, I don't feel ashamed or alone. I know there are other people out there who have as much, or more, problem with this system. It is a wrong, badly designed system meant to benefit Sallie Mae and certain politicians. Not the student, who just wanted to learn and better the future of our country and world. I hope I can find a list of politicians who have benefited from Sallie Mae. I don't think I am alone in thinking their constituents would LOVE to know what they have been up to.

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Connie

The loans I am writing about belong to my son.  4 yrs ago my Son, who is now 29 decided that he wanted to go to Culinary School. Before he made his discision he had worked in factories and lived on his own.  He knew he wanted more in life.  With my help we researched schools that we thought were reputable in the Chicago area. I also made a promise to him that his dad and I would help pay he rent and living expenses during this time. We live about 60 miles west of Chicago.  He chose the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago because he could also receive his associates Degree.  It was a two year program.  He took his placement test and was accepted. He was told that he qualified for financial aid.  My son and I both had little knowledge about financial aid and how it works and also student loans.  His school helped him with all of the paperwork.  It took him 3 years to complete the school because he had hurt his back twice during school and was given a three month leave each time to get physical therapy.  I was thrilled that that was an option so he could complete.  

To make a long story short he received $8,000 of financial aid, $30,000 government loans, and $58,000 of private loans. He had no understanding that he was receiving private loans. He received  little of this money towards living expenses but most of it went towards school. We were both in shock when we found out that his loans totaled $88,000.  His lender was Sallie Mae.  It took him about 6 months to find a job as an intern Chef.  His starting pay was $12/hr.  but by them the payments were due.  The interest rate on the private loans were 17.75% because he did not have a cosigner.  When he called them about his payments they said his monthly payment was $1100.00.  He got them deferred for 6 months.  His total due now is $91,000.  I have been helping him so he does default.  I am in shock that he is in debt this much for going to culinary school.  

This debt has depressed me so much.  I feel that this was underhanded  but I don't know who to blame the school or Sallie Mae.  Becoming a Chef takes 3 - 4 years to work yourself up.  He is working hard but these loans will haunt us both for the rest of our lifes.  Also I have been making a payment of $857.00 for a year now and the balance is still $91,000. 

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Wilma

I This is my story;  I was the first member of my family to attend college and my mother was very proud of that fact.  I was married in 1979 and the mother of 2 by the time I made the decision to attend EIU. By the time I reached my 2nd semester my marriage was falling apart and I realized that I would need help to stay the course as a single mom.  So I was directed by the financial aid office at the school I was going to to apply for a Guaranteed Student Loan or GSL. I made an application for 2,500.00 and with my mom as a co-signer I was approved.  I had to work full-time as well as go to school full-time all the while parenting an eight and six year olds.  I soon wore my self too thin to continue with that hectic schedule and made the bad mistake of dropping the wrong thing.  I quit school and tried to make it while working low paying jobs. That was a bad mistake on my part because I now could not meet my obligations with no formal education and working minimum wage jobs. Needless to say I defaulted on my 2500 student loan.  I filled a bankruptcy in 1984 with the belief that my student loan would be included, years later I found out that it was not. At this point I was being charged 9% interest on the 2500 and it had ballooned to over 10,000.00.  I was trying to get back in school and wanted to have my payment deferred until after I was in a better position to repay it.  I tried getting my state senators and congressmen involved and all of my pleas fell on deaf ears.  Well, they finally intercepted their final payment and, in the end a 2,500.00 student loan turned into more than an 18,000.00 repayment. I am outraged when I realize what I went thru over the last 21 years of trying to survive in the world with no education, and by now 3 children and working at whatever job I could get. To my way of thinking I repaid that loan at 5 times the original amount. If this was any other company it would be considered a usury fee and that would be illegal.

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Jill

I was laid off on December 3, 2001.  I knew the company wasn't doing well and already had resumes out (with no response).  My undergrad is in Electrical Engineering and I had a very solid resume with years of experience.  I decided to go back to school for my Masters (while still looking for a job).  Needless to say, I ran up quite a tab but I had to live and I managed not to sell my home.  Now I have a job but owe about $100,000 in student loans.  I'm paying $700 a month and will be doing this until after my retirement.  I'm 41 now.  HELP! :)

I wish there would have been another way or any way at this point in time to get this monkey off my back.  I do realize what I borrowed and am a responsible person with excellent credit.  Oh well, life goes on.

 

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Shelley

My student loans were sold to Sallie Mae without my knowledge. Every time I tried to consolidate Sally Mae told me that I couldn't consolidate because I was still in school. Every time another company called me to consolidate my loans, they couldn't do it because I had a single lender (Sallie Mae). Once my loans were sold to Sallie Mae, I couldn't use any other lender.

I was approached by another lender who said they could consolidate my loans this January. I thought i had until June 30 until the changes took effect, but by the time I looked over their contract and called them back two weeks ago (I am still in school), the rule had once again changed, making it so that they could no longer consolidate single lender loans.

I finally consolidated my loans with Sallie Mae.  They offer the incentive of reducing your interest rate if you have a predetermined number (3 years) of payments on time without being late. I asked if the loan would then be consolidated at a lesser rate after the three years, and they told me no. I will still make the same monthly payment, it's just that the loan be paid off earlier ... however, if at any time during the next 30 years my payment is late, it will revert back to the higher interest rate.

This seems very deceptive to me. That is only reducing the interest if I have 30 years of on time payments, not three years. And since it will be done by automatic withdrawl, if it ever doesn't go through on that date, for any reason, even if it goes through the next time it is sent through, I will lose any incentives.

I feel like I am being held prisoner by this financial institution that I didn't even choose.

 

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Kelly

I am originally from a very small town where few people actually get a chance to go to college so when I realized that I could make it happen by getting student aid I thought everything would be great.  I could go to college and then law school and wind up with a great job and would be able to pay everybody back and not have any problems.  I started by just filling out the Stafford Loan papers that the college I chose sent to me.  The college cost $24,000 a year but my first year was completely free due to scholarships and then my parents made payments towards my college for the next ten years.  

I got into a law school with low tuition and filled out more Stafford loans and then finished that degree.  I never really realized how much I was borrowing until the bills started coming in.  Well after law school it was a standard practice for the students to get a bar exam loan from Sallie Mae to help pay for the bar exam, the Barbri study course and living expenses until the student is able to get a job. That loan was for $7,500 and of course I now own well over $20,000.  The problem is that although I did well in college and law school, I have not been able to pass the bar exam and it costs every time I try to take it.  Since then I have struggled to pay back any of my student loans because I have been unable to find a job that pays me enough to do so.  I pay Sallie Mae $100 a month which is quite a bit on my salary.  However, I still owe a place called Enterprise Recovery Systems $3,199.09 from Cornell College and I owe the U.S. Department of Education $72,641.15.  The principal balance is $51,836.67 but the interest is $6,276.25 and the fees and costs are $14,528.23.  Unfortunately after I pay Sallie Mae I don't have much money left over to be budgeted towards student loans and I can rarely pay these companies anything.  Because of this my credit is ruined and I never receive any of my tax refunds because the government gives my refund directly to the Department of Education.  

To make matters worse I have recently had my wages garnished by a company called West Assets Management through the Iowa College Student Aid Commission.  These people are very rude and aggressive and do not return my calls.  They are now garnishing $156 a month out of my paychecks which is not a sum of money that I can just let go of.   

It is all very depressing and terrible.  I do want to pay people back and I realize that my education is not free but at the same time I'm struggling to make money to live off of and 1/3 of my income is going towards student loans!  The idea that I will have to go through this for the rest of my life is very suffocating but I don't see any opportunities for recourse.  I feel ashamed that I have allowed myself to get into this much debt and it makes me feel stupid as though I should have been smart enough to know better.  I don't know where to go from here.

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Tuere

II put myself through undergrad and graduate school and never knew that something this positive would cause this much stress for me later in life.  I borrowed a total of $48,000, but when I wasn't able to find a well-paying job to pay it off the interest crept up on me.  I have been paying my loans for the last 3 to 4 years. I've paid well over $10,000 thinking this will hit hard at the now $68,000, (that's with the accrued interest.

Well it would of, if I had one lump sum payment of $10,000, but all it did was moved my loan down to $65,000.  Well, to make a long story short I will be stuck here for a while. Why, you may ask?  Well, I just had my 2nd child a month ago and I also have a 2 1/2 year old. With this load and not a lot of outside help. I can only afford to work part-time for now.  Which means I'll only be able to pay the interest, if even that.

I don't regret getting my education. I believe strongly in the power of education, but I wish I would've had more knowledge about the interest that would accrue, and about how hard it would be to get a 6 figure income that would allow you to lead a normal life and pay the minimum $749 a month payment that Sallie Mae was requesting of me.

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Mary

My situation deals primarily with the private collection agency (ies) authorized to collect student loans.

In 1990, I enrolled at Columbia University for a docotrat in social welfare and had to take out student loans.  I was enrolled as long as I was working on my dissertion, til 1995, then had to start repayment. 
By 1999, I had paid back about 4500 of my 50,000 debt.  Then, I lost my job and things went downhill from thereon.  Although, I was able to get deferrments, there is a limit of 3 years and that form states that I must agree to accept "any job, at any salary."  The trouble is I could barely make enough to live on.  The 4500 paid went down the drain and my loans went into default due to unemployment or underemployment.

>From 2002 to 2005, I lived in a small town in Nebraska with my husband to help with his elderly ill mother. The job situation was much worse there and we moved back to Chicago in fall of 2005.  Here is waht happened re my defaulted loans.

As an employee of University of IL, I had fill out a form that asked if I had student loans in default. On my 3rd day of employment, the collection agency called me at work and continued to call daily.  I agreed that I would make payments that I could afford, but would not know the amount until 1) I got my monthly paycheck 2) got my monthly bills, so I would know my expenses and take home pay.  The guy I was dealing with was in agreement.  The day after I was paid, I called that guy, left a message.  In the meantime another man called and spoke to me as if this was the very first contact by the PCA. I explained the situation.  A few minutes later, I received a call from a woman who began her call by yelling and screamming at me that I was a liar and that she had spoken with payroll to put a wage garnishment in process.  I could not get in a word to ask or explain, she just continued yelling that I lied and had not just started my job, that I had received a promotion and had !
 been here for five years.  I said that I wasn't even in IL for the past 3 yrs. She would not listen.  The woman really upset me, especially when she said that they would take half my salary. 

My situation details the abuse and illegal practices of the collection agencies.  Pioneer Credit Recovery had been harrasing me at work, their employees are the ones that lie.  Several collectors have called me saying at different times, that they are a 1)government agency, 2)a representative of a gov. agency, 3) Sallie Mae, 4)the lender of my loans, 5)the guarantor of my loans, 5) a non-profit agency, and 6) USFunds.  Not once have they identified themselves as a private collection agency. And some say that this is the first call made (to me)from Pioneer  They refuse to send me a detailed statement of my loan and their letters are on USA fund stationery. 

In January, my check was short by $250 and when I checked, found the wage garnishment. Then in sometime in March, I got a notice from UIC Human Resources that I was going to be terminated for "failure to make arrangements to repay student loans.  It turns out, they had no info on my wage garnishment and they wanted "proof."  The 29 ppages that I got from payroll indicate that they processed that garnishment after the 2nd notice that threatened to sue them (UIC) if they did not do it. These papers also had false information, as it stated that they had legal authority for an "Administrative Wage Garnishment." (no court order needed).  The list of agencies that have this authority  were the guarantors and they passed themselves off as such. 

Because I have not been employed for a full year, a wage garnishemnt is not supposed to be processed.  I asked for a hearing on a form provided by the Dept of Education and it turns out, they only grant hearings in cases that involve them as lenders (so I wal told).  I was informed to contatc Pioneer to request a hearing to appeal the garnishment!!! Appeal to the vey garnishers??!!  Then I was told that it wouldn't so any good anyway because the only way to stop a garnishment was by court order and that this takes several months.  I even contacted a couple of lawyers, both of whom might take the case, but did not, in the end. 

I have done extensive internet work on student loans and legislation.  No where does it clearly state that PCA have authority for Adminisrtative Garnisment, it is barely implied.

To make matters worse, my job ends in August, it is a 12-month position and unless I find another-- well another several thousnad down the toilet.

My $50000 is close to $80000 with Pioneer and another 25000 with General.  My tax returns are and will be taken by the governemt and my Social Security funds will also be garnished whne I retire in 10 years.

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Pam

I was a single mother when I decided to go back to school at age 33. I was given a financial aid packet and was told at the collage financial aid office that I had to apply for a student loan in order to get other forms of financial aid. This happened to several of the older students at the time. I went on to obtain advanced degrees and found out I was put into default after obtaining my BS degree because I did not fill out the "proper Forms" and owed substancial interest. Since I was still a full time student I was unaware of any forms that I needed to file. I was not made aware of them.  Later I was unable to get a job because my credit was bad due to the defaulted  student loans and also the prospective employer didnt want the added problems of garnishment. I was honest and told them upfront.  I was unable to obtain a loan to pay them off because my credit was bad. They have refused small payments which is all I can afford to pay now as I am approaching 60 years of age. I  have no health insurance and can not own anything. They call at least three times  a week and keep any income tax refund check my husband receives even though I was not married to him at the time. Yet none of this ever shows up as being paid toward the debt. I now owe three times the amount of the original student loan. I will never in my life time ever be able to pay this. This has been a constant worry and nightmare that has taken a toll on my health. When they call the say" this will never go away and we will never go away until you are dead".

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Greg

I grew up in a family of educators.  My mother was a teacher for 26 years in public school (elementary) and 7 years in preschool.  She was only 4 credits shy of her Master's degree.  My father is a Ph. D and worked at a community college for 25 years.  So the I idea of school and success went always hand-in-hand in my childhood.

I attended High School with the certainty that college would follow.  I attended University of Evansville as an undergraduate and had very small loans which I was able to pay off.

Then I decided to go to graduate school to continue my growth and learning, to add to my picture of "success". 

I CONSIDER CHOOSING AN EXPENSIVE PRIVATE SCHOOL AND BORROWING THE MONEY TO GO THERE THE SINGLE GREATEST MISTAKE I HAVE EVER MADE, AND LIKELY WILL EVER MAKE, IN MY LIFE!

I heard the segment on the podcast of of 60 minutes and felt I should stop by your site.

Basically, it cost 18,000/semester to go to Washington University School of Medicine, Program in Occupational Therapy.  My student loan total was 68K when I graduated.  Unfortunately, in 1999 there were major changes in Medicare, which resulted in 40% of all practicing Occupational Therapists leaving the field or being out of jobs.  I could not find a job for 9 months, being a graduate from the #3 school in the country at the time.  The first job I took I made 38K, living in Chicago, with a $900/month student loan payment (that's 55% of take home pay).  Sure, they let you delay your payments, but your load just grows and grows.  I thought I was being smart in 2000 by consolidating.  Many people like me probably thought the same, locking into 7.25% rates (for 30 years).  Not only do companies like Sallie Mae and Wells Fargo lock you in, but once consolidated you cannot reconsolidate a Federal Loan at a lower rate (like recently when rates were at all time lows).  Seems like extorsion more than anything.  So, now its 10 years later, after making payments for 8 years of that time (on and off due to financial strains/changing jobs/moving, etc), my loan totals are now 103K.  So I paid close to $25,000 over the years and my loans have increased in total by $35,000.

Bankruptcy won't get you out of it and really there doesn't seem to be many options other than work 30 years making student loan payments that cost more that my mortgage payment.

Ask any bank president or executive at any of these student loan companies that if they made decisions at 18 or 21 years old and had to live with them for 30 years what would they say.  The system in America is such that if someone went and robbed a bank they would have less of a punishment than the average college student facing a 30 year student loan.   Honestly I would consider spending 3 years in jail if it would me canceling all my student loan debt.

I hope your site gets enough support that more people become more educated about this issue prior to signing the papers which can outright determine the next few decades of their lives.  I am a supporter of education, maybe the U.S. should look at educating K-12 students about finances or financial management in addition to putting one of the number one priorities of public education as going on to college (and borrowing the money to go). 

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Sherry

My story sounds the same as all the rest.  My loan(s) ended up with Sallie Mae and I was talked into consolidating them...by SALLIE MAE...with the belief that it would be much easier/convenient to have one monthly payment.  I had no idea that that would lock in the interest at 7.75% and that a loan of near $30K would end up at over $58K presently with no end in sight.

I have been told that I've exhausted my income sensitive repayment plan and Sallie Mae would like me to pay them over $423 monthly.  As a college graduate, I'm still in my same position (at a University)and after graduating in 1998, I still make under $29,000 annually.  I have been with the university for 18 years, I might add, and they seem to be as bad as Sallie Mae.  It seems their diploma makes no difference regarding income or positions on campus.

In my estimation, I believed it would be a loan like any other with simply, affordable, monthly payments.  Not something that generates itself like a revolving charge.

The file I have containing correspondence with Sallie Mae, ISAC(IL Student Assistance Commission), various judges, state representatives and congressmen is HUGE.  The only glimmer of light I had was when someone, reluctantly, from ISAC told me to try to contact the Ombudsman of the Dept. of Ed.  Currently, he is supposed to be assisting me with lowering my monthly payments to $260.  This will still be a little difficult as I am unable to have a second job as my mother is elderly and lives about an hour away from me.  I'm there helping her most weekends as she is a widow and I'm the closest sibling to home. 

All in all, there really doesn't seem to be a way out.

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Witheld

I My student loans currently $250,000+ and continues to grow.

The original amount borrowed was less than $50,000.

I am a law school dropout from the University of Chicago.

I however am not a victim.

I have read dozens of the testimonials submitted herein.

Three problem is cooperating with an unjust system. I refuse
to play the game as the others herein have.

First, if you file a chapter 13 bankruptcy you can include your
student loans. I have. Thus for (5) years you pay the federal
Federal bankruptcy court trustee a minimal amount.

And they can not get a dime more.

Second, when they try fax them a copy of bankruptcy discharge
papers and they will disapear. POOF--no more collection calls.

Third, after your (5) years when your bankruptcy in discharged by the court. Note I paid $98.00 a month with a $60,000 income. Period!
Not the outlandish amounts I have read about herein. Like I said
I am not a victim and I refuse to make the fatcats he profit by this un-
just student loan system richer.

I don't know if this testimonial will be allowed, because these unjust
usury laws can be defeated if we stop cooperating with the system.

Notice, every testimonial submitted talks about making arraingements with the bill collectors. WHY?

Once you admit you owe tell them where you are where you work and
bank they own you and your money--forever.

Fourth, if you live off the grid (I didn't say be unemployed) and
don't apply for credit of any time and don't cooperate with bill
collectors you will not make the people at Salie Mae happy...I haven't.

Finally, Americans are in general a very honest people. But only a fool
plays by the rules when the system is unjust and set up to benefit
only the corperate loan sharks.

Wake up stop being victims... File chapter 13 bankruptcy. Stop
coopreating with the bill collectors. Stop applying for credit,
and telling them where you live, work, and bank. You will have more
cash... I do. If you do as I suggest the system will grind to a halt and the Salie Mae's will have to go back to there "bought and paid for legislators" and explain why they need even more unjust student loan laws.

This country was founded on the defiance of unjust laws--REMEMBER!

I have followed the aforementioned advice and not paid them one dime.

Now lets see if you print this testimonial from a --NON VICTIM!

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Hyepod

I feel for everyone; particularly the Austins.  I, too, am a podiatrist.  On "interview day" at the podiatry school, many of us were told that we would be making well over $100,000 within a year of graduation.  In reality, that figure is absolutely absurd.  They did not tell us that established podiatrists pay employee podiatrists very low salaries of $30K or $40K, generally.  Fifty thousand dollar salary is a needle in a hay stack.  I didn't know that, unless I am already wealthy, or have a spouse with a high income, or have a solid co-signer for business loans, I would never be able to open my own office, and therefore would forever be subjected to $40K salary offers.  Graduated with about $120,000 debt, most of it HEAL loan.  I never made enough money to make regular payments, so I used up ALL of my forbearance time.  Now I am forced to pay on my Sallie Mae (and one other) account in a monthly total of $1600.  It is choking me.  I now owe approximately! $215,000, which is a surreal amount, considering that most full time nurses make more than I do.  If I enter default status, what could they possibly garnish?!!  There literally is no more money remaining after my monthly expenses....And these expenses DO NOT include anything self-indulgent or extravagant.

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George

This is a big problem for me and millions of others my age and I don't know what any of us can do about it. You are one of a handful of people who haven't been paid off by the company I'm having issues with.

I have loans from Sallie Mae. It started at about $60,000 worth. I got out of school less than six months ago and it's already at $78,000 with interest. I make less than $500 a week before taxes and that's more than most people I know right out of school.

Sallie Mae essentially will not work with me at all. Despite hearing they offered income sensitive repayment, they tell me that's not an option for a private loan. Essentially, unless I get a co-signer with perfect credit (which isn't going to happen; no one I know is willing to co-sign for something this big and I don't blame them), they want over $1,000 a month from me. This is for 30 years, which estimated comes out to over $300,000 before I'm 55... I could be wrong, I'm a bit too distraught to properly do math.

Quite simply, I cannot afford this and live anywhere but in an alley. I need a place to live, I need to eat, I need to pay for basic things. If I get any other better paying job I'm currently offered, I will need a car with insurance.

I also have federal loans to pay back, although Citibank was actually sympathetic and managed to get it down to $140 a month consolidated for 20 years without a cosigner. When I asked for help with my plight over the phone with Sallie Mae, I was given a woman with a zombie-like attitude and an offer to save $50 a month if I chose "Option 2". Who knows what cost that comes at in the long run, given their other practices.

It's not just me: how is anyone making even less than I do going to afford this? We're told to go to college because an education leads to the best jobs, but when you cannot even get most of these without years of experience you're suddenly in this hole. I don't even know what to do anymore and I really believe a lot of it has to do with the fact that Sallie Mae has basically gone above and beyond what any company should legally and morally be allowed to do.

I'm not asking for this amount to disappear. However, I really think something has to be done to get this set up in such a way that people can pay this without being left in a life on the poverty line. If I pay this, that's where I am going to be. If I don't get a cosigner, and am stuck paying $1000+ a month... well, then I'm even worse off than that. If I could pay something I could actually afford now and have it raised when I can actually pay it in the future, then so be it. In talking to them, I was basically told "too bad".
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Sharon

I am An Undergaduate Student at Webster University Since 1999. I have an Associate Degree from Southwestern Illinois College since 2001. I Can not get my B.A. Degree in Education from Webster University. I have an debt of 50.000 and Can not get a job with out the Degree, transfer schools or move out of this mess. I lost my job a year ago at the same time I was diagnosed with breast cancer.I am not using the poor me or any other excuse to get out of debt, but If you invested as much time and effort and money in your education and were misadvised, taken advantage, and needed your Degree what would you do? I have so much evidence against this university to give to go up against these places and no one to do it with me. My cousin has four degree's for 50.000 and I can't get one.
Please give me a way to solve this matter so I can achieve my goals and be able to do the thing I Love the most. teach. P.S. I was advised to take the classes that did not count toward my degree.They since have started making me get a signature loan debt, so I just let it sit.
If there is a suggestion anyone can give I'd appreciate all I can get.

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Ed

IN 1994 MY STUDENT LOANS WERE $30,000.  TODAY, AFTER DEFERMENTS AND FOREBEARANCE THEY ARE $100,000. 

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Dioneshia

 I went to DePaul University - three years - obtaining a loan for each year - $2,300, $2,300 & $3,400, adding up to $8,000 in 1995.  ISAC took me to court without notice, mentioning they did not have to notify me equaling a total judgement of $25,000.  Now in 2000, I write to everyone, ISAC in Deerfield and DePaul to find out how much I have left to pay.  DePaul goes to their archives to tell me I only borrowed $4,900.  ISAC in Deerfield will not answer my letter.  So I forward it to Senator Durbin, which he then forwards it to Washington.  Washington response was I owe $50,000.  In their letter they refer to the three loans plus four notes (the copies of the notes look the same for one note, still these amounts are not shown on the DePaul letter.  I then forward the Washington letter to DePaul, to date still no response. 

I then contact my employer, City of Chicago, asking the same question, how much longer on my guarnishment.  Well, I completed my guarnishment of $25,000 in June of 2005 but now somewhere and somehow unknown to the City  but now I have an additional $20,000. 

No one will help me clear this up.  Please be advise, the ISAC has receivend all tax returnes from State and Federal and have reported the wrong interest paid to the IRS every year, leaving me to file an appeal each year with the IRS.

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R.

My wife and I have been poor for over 15 years and have had no money to
pay our student loans.  I have wondered over the years if there were
other people in our position.  We are at the point that our student loan
is unpayable and we no longer answer our phone for the past 7 years. 
Our combined debt was well over $150,000, 4 years ago and we are both
disabled.  I have searched the net for years looking for an indication
of others like ourselves.  At this point our life is pretty much over. 
No credit. Very little chance of getting a job with disability( yes
Virgina they still discriminate against the disabled...and sitting in a
wheel chair makes it quit obvious), and a dismal credit score.  At this
point I'm not sure I want to post and get on the government/IRS/Sallie
Mae radar.  I think I've come to terms that in my life i will live poor
(already been homeless for 2 years), never able to get credit, a car, a
house, medical, vacation or what most people would consider any level of
living.

I truly commend you for creating this site.  At least it confirms the
fact that others like our selves are out there.  My wife and I tried all
the traditional routes to work something out, though maybe its just come
down to paranoia, is the government so corrupt that there is little
chance of changing this?  Our own letters to news agencies, politicians
and legal organizations went no were.  This debt is the only debt in the
country that is permenent, yet corporations can bankrupt billions and
everyone walks away clean.  I can only guess the people of status
realize the poor can not represent them selves and like children have no
rights.       Maybe one day when I can get enough energy and movement to
type our own lengthy sorted story.... I doubt it will ever go any
further then this site and I truly believe the government will not
correct this because there are many like ourselves whose debt would have
to be forgiven..... too many corporations (and who knows how many
politician's) have a large vested interest to make huge profits with
government backing..... guaranteed for life!

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Marcie

I currently owe about $62,000 in private student loan debt. The interest rate rises about twice per month. It started at 8 or 9% and is now 10.5%. My $430 payment only actually takes about $15 off the principal. I started out with Sallie Mae and then consolidated to American Education Services (Keybank). I had a baby six months ago and am still paying all of the hospital bills so that along with all my other expenses have made it extremely difficult in paying my student loan payment. I called the lender and was told they could not help me in anyway. They do not give forbearances or deferrments. THey also do not stretch the payments out. I am to the point where I feel like I am going to be in this whole the rest of my life and have actually contemplated suicide so that I wouldn't have to worry about it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I know, pathetic isn't it? Take your life just because of money??? Basically, I have no options. I feel like what was the point of going to college when I make next to nothing and all that I do make goes to the student loan companies??

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Jo

1987-1989 Student loans for AS
1990-1995 Student Loans to become a Chiropractor.
Totaling 86,000 when graduated in Aug 1995 percentage 9%

Spent 1996 passing the 5th of 4 boards and state boards -
1997 worked as a temp for Manpower during the day 
attempted to open a practice in the evening hours....
It didn't work.

I applied with MANY!!!! Chiropractors - NO ONE wanted me!

Maxed credit cards - din't have any business savy or money or support from Alma mater.

Deferred loans and paid loans

Year 2006 I owe $240,000.00 I am unemployed, I have no license, I am depressed.

To top off my story - I have been receiving ba-zillions of emails and letters asking me to "consolidate for a lower percentage."

I never answered any of these people - I did SPEAK with ONE!

He has (without a promissary note) paid off Sallie Mae and now claims to hold my Student Loans.

To make matters worse - I am a FULL BLOODED AMERICAN - I buy american products, cars, union labels the works - This new loan company is from Germany -


ah! The American Dream.............

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A.R.

I cannot tell this without crying.

In 1995, I transferred from a downstate school to another in Chicago. Less than a month after arriving in Chicago, I was contacted by ISAC and told that my loan was due. I told them that it was in deferrment and that I had documents to porve it. I told them to send me a statement and I would send proof of deferrment. They never sent a statement but called and harrassed me constantly. When school started that fall, I contacted the original lender, sent in another deferrment request and asked if loan was due. I was told by the lender(AFSA) that the loan was still deferred. But ISAC continued to call and never send statements. Being that I was in school and had to work two jobs to pay tutition, I just let ISAC keep calling since they would not send proof or statements and the lender said that the loan was not due. Additionaly during this time, the AFSA gave me another loan.

At the end of the Spring semester, ISAC sent me a demand to pay $11,000 in full! (the orignal amount was $7,500) When I contacted the lender and asked them to help get ISAC off of my back, I was told that ISAC should not be contacting me and it would be taken care of. However, it was not and I could not return to school that fall because ISAC put a hold on my student AID. So I had to sit out for a year going back and forth with ISAC, AFSA, Bank of America, IDAP. AFSA told me that the loan had been sold to ISAC and ISAC sold it to IDAP. IDAP would not hear of deferring or foreberance even though I was no longer working and had no income. So the loan continued to grow, even though AFSA screwed up when they sold the loan and knew that they had approved deferrement, even after I had transferred schools.

So I started temping and found a permenant job. I contacted every agency in good faith and wanted to start paying so that I could get them off of my back and return to school. While bouncing back and forth in phone calls and letters, ISAC, IDAP, and AFSA said that they did not hold the loan, but none of them would tell me who did. An AFSA agent did admit that the loan had been sold although it should not have been and told me about a repurchase program. I sent in the information they asked for and waited. During this time, ISAC began calling again but would not speak to me. They would transfer me to IDAP. When I called AFSA on the progress of the repurchase, I was told that my loan had been repurchased and that I would recieve notice in the mail shortly.

Nearly six months later, I recieved a letter from AFSA saying that they had not repurchased the loan and to never contact them again regarding it.

Even worse, I was contacted by DCS, a collection agency. When I was told by DCS that my loan had defaulted and that status could be removed if I made six consecutive payments, I jumped at the deal because I wanted to go back to school. After making two payments (on time) and writing the third check, my employer contacted me and said that my next check was being garnished! I stopped paying DCS and contacted them about this and got pseudo names and contacts! I then contacted ISAC to complain and one agent told me, "next time you should stay on their cases" and another outright laughed at me!

So from then on, I have never made a voluntary payment because my wages and taxes were being garnished and I could barely afford the commute back and forth to work, not even pay other bills!

These heartless bastards have been harrassing me for eleven years, never admitting their mistake. And worst of all, they are now claiming that the reason my loan went into collection early was because I dropped out of school in 95, when they not only know I transferred, but AFSA gave me a student loan for that same year that they claim I withdrew! I pointed this out to them and get no response. If I had withdrawn, my loan would have been delinquent and I would not have been eligible for the second loan. Also, there is a minimum six month grace period if I had withdrawn before collection could begin. But they began collecting one month after I arrived in Chicago.

I have given them everything by the book and it feels like I am being raped by someone I trusted. The second loan that I recieved from AFSA was paid off in 2002, without any late payments and never went into default. But how can they place one loan in default and knew I was in school and had deferment statements? The original loan for $7,500 has been completely paid also, but through garnishments and liens. The loan is now with Allied and was once with OSI, DCS, IDAP, ISAC, and AFSA. The new amount is over $14,000.

I also find it baffling that they would sell the loan for a few pennies on the dollar to another agency and will not do the same with you to settle the loan. Is this an intentional tool of poverty? I have not worked in four years because of the economy, possible credit checks and embarassement of having these jerks call my new job for garnishments. I have had to see a psychiatrist and psychologist consecutively because this depresses me, causese extreme anxiety, and an unbelieveable distrust in people. I hope that this isn't one of those sites that just lists complaints or mocks people in my situation. I personally know four others in similar situations. One recently passed away with this on his mind. One deals drugs to get by. Another is a homeless street peddelar. And the last is a stay at home mom because she can't go back to school and her lenders won't negotiate a payment plan within her means. She was recently evicted from her apartment and she and her two children sle!
ep on a relative's basement floor.

We are all otherwise intelligent people who want to make an honest living and pay back our debts, but these greedy agencies make it impossible to do so.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Archie

I'm not sure you want a lot of detail now so here is a quick synopsis of my story. I borrowed school loans from Chase Manhattan Bank while attending Podiatry School at Barry University in Miami Shores, Fl starting the fall of 89. Chase claimed that my student loan was delinquent for the fall 1989 semester in the following spring 1990. I was still attending Podiatry School with all appropriate Loan documents and registration verification in order including deferments for my undergrad loans. Note also the fact that I was dispersed my spring semester loan money over a month before I got the delinquency notice that March 1990.At the time I was assured by Chase that this was a mistake on their part. In the summer 1990 I decided not to borrow any money and wait until the fall to borrow any money and pay for summer semester out of that. After applying and expecting a loan for fall 1990 I received a Defalt notice and my dreams of becoming a Doctor were over. Let me point out something else here, Chase gave me (2) separate loans for the same time(fall 89 and spring 1990) they had to know I was in school! To make a long story short I found an attorney in Miami John Elias whom filed a complaint against Chase and USA funds to no avail. Every time I've tried to work with the loan companies I've been lied to and taken advantage of. Between my undergrad and Podiatry School loans I originally borrowed $30,968 and now I owe to the best of my knowledge $121,579. I've paid $5620.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Aretha

I attended a trade school in 1987-88. I initially took out 2 loans for $4,000 each. I made monthly payments for about two years and stop, because I was laid off from my job. I did however take out a second loan for another $4000 for classes that was promised at the beginning of the 1987 school year. When I found out that same week that my classes were not available I dropped the class, stopped going to the school and did a withdraw. (at least I thought I withdrew). I was young and didn't follow up and didn't realize how crucial it was to keep up with paper work. So, over the years I've paid the loans off and on and didn't realize that I was being penalized for all four loans. My taxes were taken in 1993 ($2500), I made arrangements in 1995 with a company that wasn't working with the department of education, when I found out I had already gave up hundreds of dollars. In addition to that I started to working again in 1997, filed bancruptcy and started paying back an amount of (at that time) $9,000. I understood that since the loans had defaulted interest accrued so I agreed to pay back $9,000. I lost my job and worked different jobs since. This year 2006, I filed taxes, my taxes were taken again for the amount of $2,400. Now this other company (out of Ohio) has got in contact with me and informed me that I now owe 21,000 dollars! I've been in contact with the school and no one has given me the answers I need. I've been in contact with Taylor Business Institute for over 5 years to get my transcripts and first I was told there was no record of me. Then when I inquired about the loan all of sudden they have me owing for more than two years of Loans. How is that possible when I only attended one year? Please considered that this school had relocated over 3 times and had a fire about a year or two after I left and have changed over administrations constantly.

I've have been in contact with Florence Davis she informed me that she will contact me by the end of each day I call her. To no avail I haven't heard from her, only when I call anonymous she answers the phone.

So as of right now I believe to have paid at least $7000 and from my understanding none of this money was applied to my loan? What can I do?


____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Aretha

Your testimonials have helped me a great deal. Thank you for sharing them.

I went into the military to get money for college. I used tuition assistance and went to school part time while on active duty. It was hard enough getting through my BA and MS degree programs without having to worry about amassing a pile of debt along the way.

Now my concern is my 19-year-old son who is attending the Columbia School of Art in Chicago for a degree in "traditional animation" that in all likelihood will not pay much when he finishes school.

I got a divorce when my children were toddlers and since my ex-wife has full custody and I live many miles away, she has the "home court" advantage when it comes to giving advice. Her advice is for our son to follow his dream. I understand how important it is to do what you are passionate about, however, the feeling will not be there if you are hounded by debt-collectors, or if you are deprived of a decent standard of living due to having to pay $1,000 per month in student loans.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Elizabeth

I am a recent college graduate. I finished college with a large amount of student loan debt. I have federal loans and private loans. I can manage the federal loans, which I have consolidated. They are under control and I feel that I can pay them off without causing significant hardship. My federal loans are $43,000 after capitalized interest and I am paying a $250 per month in order to pay them off in 20 years at an interest rate of 3.25%.
The major problem lies with my private student loans. They are causing me great trouble and I cannot even make the monthly payments as they are set out now. I took out $36,600 in private loans to help pay for college. I regret this decision, but it was my only option at the time. I received no grant money because the income of my parents was taken into consideration. My parents offered me no financial support because I have other siblings in school and was going back to school. I was only 22 years old, so even though I was independent, they based my eligibility to pay for college on my parent's income. My only option, until I was 24 years old, was to take out private loans. I realize now, that my financial aid office was less than efficient in explaining exactly what I was getting into. This loan was taken out with Sallie Mae through SLM Education Finance Corp and SLM Educational Credit Finance Corp. My financial aid advisors never mentioned to me that I would be signing on to such a high interest rate. They offered this as the only optioned to cover tuition. They offered me the security that this was normal procedure and that private loans were an appropriate way to cover tuition.


As I consolidated my federal loans, I began to research options for these private loans. The things I have found out have baffled me. My interest rates on these private loans are 18.125%. This was never explained to me while in school. I had no previous experience with interest rates, short of small credit cards. I entered repayment on these loans in February. The capitalized interest (on a loan of $36,600 to cover tuition) is $15,312. This still needs to be explained to me. That means the capitalized interest was 40% of the principal balance. I thought 18.125% was outrageous, but 40% is insane. My total loan, before I entered repayment was now $54,596 at an interest rate of 18.125%. I borrowed only $36,600 to cover cost of tuition. This means for me a 20 year monthly payment of $860. Combined with my federal student loan payment, I will be paying $1100 per month on student loans alone. I assumed that there would be options to help me deal with student loan debt. No one encourages you not to go to college. Even Oprah refers to student loan debt as the only good debt. I realize now that private loans, to cover tuition, should be avoided at all cost. Had I known what I know now, I would not have gone back to school until I was 24 years old.


I have just finished college and I am trying to land a job in my career field. In the meantime, I have been working as a waitress at night and nanny during the day. With working 2 jobs, I still cannot afford to pay my student loans alone with my entire monthly budget... I received a BFA in Fashion Design from the International Academy of Design and Technology, Chicago. I have been offered entry level positions in my career field in New York City. I cannot even pursue my chosen career path because I can't afford any of my basic needs because of student loans. I am currently living at home with my family. I know that I can't expect to live at home, rent free for the next 30 years while I pay on student loans. 
I feel like this is a form of loan sharking, where financial aid offices and higher education institutes are pushing students into beginning a life of debt, where the student is under the assumption they are bettering their quality of life by obtaining a degree, which in this particular case, I will never be able to use. What I find really interesting is that this private loan seems to be created, never to be paid off. I am only billed for $700 per month. After calculations I realize, $700 doesn't even cover the monthly interest on this loan. Therefore, I am not even touching the principal with this payment. I may be naïve, but I assumed that any "student loan" would be legit. I have also realized that after 20-30 years of devoting my entire income to paying these loans, I will have paid over $104,000 in interest alone to Sallie Mae for this private loan. I will have paid a total of $140,872.92 upon borrowing only $36,600 to cover my tuition. It should be illegal to prey on those that are trying to get an education. I have made the monthly payments on time and have not defaulted on this loan. Therefore, there is no reason that I would be deserving of such high fees. When I have tried to contact my lender, I am placed to call centers in India. These people have no access to help me with my problems. They are just Sallie Mae's ploy to dodge their customers. Most people give up on this hotline that offers no support. I have been diligent and still have received no answers

.
Worse yet, I have contacted every service I can find advertised that helps with debt. I met with a counselor who told me my only option was to file bankruptcy. I met with a lawyer who told me student loans could not be discharged through bankruptcy. Another counselor told me to work three jobs and eat beans for dinner. These are the answers I have received, which is better than the services that just tell me that they don't work with student loans, or private student loans.


If I had occurred debt to gain material items, such as through credit cards or loans, there are many ways out of that debt and many credit counselors ready to help. In my particular situation, there is no one to even offer advice. I called the Federal Aid office, which is a government program to assist with student loans, I asked to be directed to a government office that could offer me advice or list my options in this situation. I was told, "There is no such government office."


My parents have even offered to put their home on the line. They are willing to take out a home equity loan to pay off these private loans. They told me I had one stipulation, I would have to negotiate the capitalized interest. They are willing to take out some, but refuse to pay the total capitalized interest. I hate for them to put their house up for me and I understand their stipulations. I have spent hours on the phone, begging and pleading with Sallie Mae. I have offered to make the principal plus some reasonable interest. They would be willing to put even $5,000 towards capitalized interest, but not $15,000 (which is more than 40% of what I borrowed). Though these negotiations are valid with credit card debt, they have not worked with student loan debt. Sallie Mae claims to help finance your educational goals. They are actually keeping me from reaching my educational goals. 
I refuse to believe that I am the only person in this situation. Every twenty- something I know has some form of student loan debt. Most is manageable, though several I know have even defaulted. I am trying to keep my credit in good standing. I take full responsibility for the total amount that I took out to fund my education. I have every intention to pay back what I have borrowed. I am swimming in debt due to interest rates and capitalized interest. I haven't been able to afford medical or dental insurance for over 4 years now. I have no quality of life and am severely depressed, which is the least matter of importance at this time.

7 comments:

Freebird said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

In 2005 I graduated and Like many of the folks who have posted on this blog, I watched as Sallie (the killer pimp) Mae Jacked my loan from 3% to 13% compounded DAILY. I was outraged and mortgaged my home to satisfy the egregious loan sharks! Then 90 Days after payoff Sallie Mae informs me I still owe them money!! NOT!! I have been fighting them now for 7 years. If this happened to you write me. Lets get together and seek legal protection under the law for unjust enrichment and harassment. It’s time to put a stop to these predatory lenders and their wrongful practices! wjc@q.com

Strength IN Numbers said...

In 2005 I graduated and Like many of the folks who have posted on this blog, I watched as Sallie (the killer pimp) Mae Jacked my loan from 3% to 13% compounded DAILY. I was outraged and mortgaged my home to satisfy the egregious loan sharks! Then 90 Days after payoff Sallie Mae informs me I still owe them money!! NOT!! I have been fighting them now for 7 years. If this happened to you write me. Lets get together and seek legal protection under the law for unjust enrichment and harassment. It’s time to put a stop to these predatory lenders and their wrongful practices! wjc@q.com

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