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Connecticut

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

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Bill 

I have been unable to reconcile my student loan debt.  Graduating in 1995 with $37,625 in student loans, I have to date paid over $48,500 on those loans yet Sallie Mae claims I still owe $33,250. I can show that I have paid (thus far) over $44,125 in interest and penalties alone, over an eleven year period this works out to over  $4000.00 / year!
Unbelievable. To clarify numerically the above comments;

Original Loan 37,625
Paid 48,500
Owing 33,250
Total Paid + Owing 81,750

81,750 - 37,625 =Total Interest and Penalties Paid of over $44,125
 
The worst part is that there seems to be no end in sight, I didn't consolidate a couple years ago when the rates were low because I couldn't (wouldn't) accept what they were telling me I owed.
Having graduated with a series of loans I found it impossible to reconcile the amounts owing over the years, Sallie Mae is apparently not required to send payment histories and my loans were often transferred between lenders which exasperated the task of tracking payment histories, balances due etc.  It was only after I escalated the issue to the Department of Educations Ombudsman last year that I was finally able to obtain a declining balance spreadsheet from Sallie Mae, of course now I have ten years of fluctuating interest rates and payments histories to pour through to understand where all my money has gone. I've had to hire a CPA to help me and even he can't believe what he is seeing.

Admittedly I was slow off the start in making regular payments having fallen short in the first 3 or 4 years after the loans came due. I attribute this to the fact that I didn't even know who I was supposed to be paying half the time, I've made payments to the Education Loans Servicing Center, U.S.A Group Loan Services, NelNet, Sallie Mae United Student Aid Funds and other collection agencies, at one point a few years ago I had payment booklets from at least three of these organizations at the same time.

Some (but not all) of my loans defaulted in 1998. That's when this Debt Collection Services (DCS) company got involved, my wages were garnished, a payment plan had to be set up to get out of that, needless to say my credit was (and still is) ruined.
The records I was finally able to obtain from Sallie Mae this past year show that I did indeed pay DCS nearly $17,000 as shown below, but my original loan amount was apparently only reduced by about $3,000, so basically I paid DCS over $14,000 in collection costs, fees etc. I have yet to determine the legality of those transactions.

The spreadsheets below show what I've paid thus far, clearly not an issue of failure to pay, my case shows just how ruthless these companies can be, somebody is getting filthy rich while I struggle to support my kids.
SM Summary pg 2 of 2 December , 2005 Company

USA Group $7,478.22
ELSC $2,038.06
Sallie Mae $22,148.87
DCS $16,830.53


Yearly Totals All Organizations
1995 $495.03
1996 $1,543.03
1997 $5,343.02
1998 $0.00
1999 $5,143.27
2000 $5,430.76
2001 $6,166.70
2002 $6,925.00
2003 $6,968.73
2004 $4,892.82
2005 $5,587.32
Total Paid on 37.6 K debt $48,495.68
 
 
Avg Yearly Pmts $4,408.70
Avg Yearly Pmts 1995 - 2000 $2,992.52
Avg Yearly Pmts last five years $6,108.11


As I stated previously, tracking the amounts owing has been nearly impossible.  How can a lending institution the size of Sallie Mae get away with not sending regular payment histories ? This is one of the reasons I was never able to reconcile what was owed, had I seen the balance increasing the way it obviously was I would have done something much sooner.  If you financed a lawn mower at Sears and then a couple months later financed a weed-wacker, you could safely assume that Sears could tell you how much you paid on each of those items against the principal, interest etc. even three or four years down the road.  Not so with Sallie Mae, if they were handling the loans on the lawn appliances we would get something like this  "portions of your loan for the lawn mower were transferred to J.C. Penney for collection, Sallie Mae cannot provide payment histories because they no longer own that loan, your other loans for the lawn mower engine, tires etc. have been transferred to Wa!
 lmart for collection and finally the loan for the weed-wacker is in default and has been sent to a collection agency". Meanwhile you're left standing there with payment booklets from Sears, Walmart and J.C. Penney and a letter from a collection agency indicating they're charging you 25% of the loan amount in penalties !

I have spoke to a number of individuals who have had similar experiences with Sallie Mae. The press has given a lot of attention to banks issuing credit cards to college students at a very low rate and then tripling or quadrupling those rates after a missed payment or two, that issue pales in comparison to what Sallie Mae is getting away with on student loan debt repayment.

Based on the numerous articles I've read recently, it appears to me that this behemoth lender is accountable to no one, some type of legislation must be enacted to hold these loan sharks at bay.  Right, I'm sure the government officials who receive millions from these companies will jump right on it.

What would happen if I just stopped paying ?  Immigrated to Canada and never came back ?  Well it appears they would garnish my Social Security checks, I'm 47 now, if I stopped paying the loans today, in another twenty years the amount owing would be well over $125,000, if I get $100.00 / month in Social Security... Bon.

Bonjour Mon Ami.  JE DEMENAGE A MONTREAL POUR APPRENDRE LE FRANCAIS ET JOUER LE HOCKEY. LA BIERE EST MEILLEUR AUSSI !!!

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Tuesday 

I waited to go to school until I was in my 30's.  I have a family (2 children in high school now) and a husband.  We could not afford to pay for a decent college education for me, so we borrowed $48,000 to pay for my education.  I graduated in 2000.  I had to refinance my loans to a 30 year payoff as my original payment expected was over $400 per month.  Now I am paying 250 per month (when I can afford it).  At this time I am 2 months behind schedule.  This amount is crippling for us.  I am trying very hard to be compliant and on time, but sometimes I have to choose between groceries and gas for the month, or my student loan.

Now I am concerned that this will effect my son, a high school senior who is preparing to go to college in the fall.  We can not afford to send him to a good college right now, so he will be attending community college.

If this continues, I don't know how middle class America will be able to afford to send their children or themselves to college to better their future.  I went to school because I wanted a career, not a job.  I wanted my children to see that if you work hard at something, your dreams are possible.  Now I feel like I have screwed my family and might have just been better working a job!



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Witheld 

I originally took out 2 loans, one for 7500 in 1994 and one 10,000 in 1995.  I finished my degree in 1997 and due to financial hardship defaulted on my student loan in 2003. I entered into rehab on my loans just after receiving the default notice. I was whacked with 18.5% in collection fees and interest. I paid the 12 months I was told to pay but I was never fully told exactly what "Rehab" was. The collection agency made it sound like it was just a payment plan for Sallie Mae and it was never explained the loans would be "Sold" after the end of the rehab period, interest capitalized into new principle etc.  And who do you think "Bought" the loan after rehab.......why Sallie Mae of coarse.  They never told me I had to fill out new paperwork to have my auto-debit from my checking account continued. I thought it would just continue because all along I thought I was still dealing with Sallie Mae.

Well the payments weren't continued and I ended up going late again. I ended up getting a forebearance which was supposed to cover June 2004 through April 2005. I had just had a baby and had complications after the birth so I was out of work longer than expected so I thought forebearance would help me get back on my feet.

In Feb. 2005 I was sent a letter stating my payments would be resuming. I requested a lower payment option for 2 years and this amount was close to the $150 I had been paying in rehab. I filled out the auto-debit form again. I didn't notice the payment didn't come out in April and in June I received a notice that I was late. I once again filled out the auto-debit paperwork.

My Mom and son were critically injured in a car accident in June 2005, just as my payments were supposed to start again. I filled out the autodebit request for a third time along with another forebearance form and sent them back.  To be quite honest most of the next 4 - 5 months are a blurr of ICU vigils and helping take care of my dad who also has health issues along with taking care of my own 3 children and trying to work.  I noticed the payments weren't coming out but thought, given the circumstances I was granted another forebearance. I was wrong......

In April 2006, just when I thought my supposed forebearance was ending I received notice that I was about to default on my loan. I called Sallie Mae (Of coarse they have NO record of this call) and I was told the forebearance request was never received but send another one and they would cover the aforementioned time period but I would need to start repayment. I said fine and once again filled out and mailed the forebearance request and another auto-debit authorization form.

The next contact was a letter from the collection agency.....You are in default......pay us now.......pay us another 22% in collection fees.......pay us DAILY COMPOUNDING INTEREST......Pay us $43,000 for the original $17,500 you borrowed. You can't consolidate while in default.....you can't rehab because you've done it once.......

This is insane. Someone needs to do something about this. It's the student loan mafia and sadly it's all perfectly legal.......while the CEO of Sallie Mae makes MILLIONS I will be struggling to pay this debt. I have never tried to not repay but I wonder since Sallie Mae has their hand in all the pies, lender, guarantor, collection agency, if they don't do this sort of thing on purpose so people will default and they can triple, quadruple etc the amount you owe. It's SICKENING!!!!!!!!!

If it's one thing I have learned through all this it is my children will NEVER take out a student loan......especially with any company affiliated with Sallie Mae.......sadly I will still be paying this loan back when it's time for my children to go to college limiting my ability to provide assistance for their education....

Maybe that's Sallie Mae's ultimate goal.....to produce a generation of borrowers who can't ever begin to repay their enormous debts so their children will also be enslaved into student loan debt......Someone please help stop this, before our children suffer the consequences of not being able to go to college or spend the rest of their lives paying down debt to predatory lenders like Sallie Mae!!!!!!!!!!!!

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G.W. 

I am glad to see I am not the only one in this sinking boat!  Unfortunately i am not alone and these loans continue to drive all of us insane.  I have recently completed/received my Master in Architecture, and unlike what most people think...this job is strictly for the love of the practice, not for the love of money.  Looking at my loan balance you would think i was a millionare, unfortunately i am on the opposite end of that pay scale.  My father just recently mentioned to me that "60 minutes" had completed a story dealing with Sallie Mae and those (like us) trying to create a life while living under the shadows of these student loans...i was unable to catch the story but did google it and found out just how bad this subject is or has become. 
I am from a family of two brothers, both of which are around the same age range...meaning we where all in college around the same time =ifficulty for my parents to finance the individual situations.  Regardless, they worked  extremely hard to help as they could, but understandably the cost burden is way too much to bare.  Dont get me wrong I am extremely thankful for what has been given to me, but not going to college was not an option.  All of us (brothers) were forced to deal with some lending agency to "help" with our college tuitions.  In my case...  i seemed to pick up the largest tab.  lucky me...
5 years of undergrad work + 1 year or post grad work =according to Sallie Mae & AES) approx. $185,000.00.  How is anybody ever supposed to get out of this debt?  Please give me an answer....somebody?!  anybody?!  and this balance is as of today...5.12.06   This amount does not even take into account the money paid over the 5 years.  I began paying my undergrad loan 6 months after i graduated in 2000.  then completed my Masters in 05'and have been paying for both since.  So needless to say...I am still living paycheck to paycheck.  My monthly loan payment is right around $700-800...it will be more when and if i decide to make a little extra on each paymnet.  Go figure!  How do these companies get away with it.  I know Sallie Mae was primarily identified, but there are many many more.  AES ( American Eductaion Services) is another...  at least Sallie Mae let me defer my balance while i was back in school.  TRYING TO BETTER MYSELF...  AES on the other hand continually demanded payment, every month while trying to go to school full time.  I havent mentioned, but i attended school in Boston, MA.  The cost of living is not inexpensive.  Countless calls to AES and Sallie Mae, proved absolutely worthless.  The time and breath i wasted on waiting to reach an operator has surely taken a few years off my life.  And of course the Number one answer to all my questions was always "there is nothing else you can do sir."  "you still must continue to make your payments sir"  (at least they tryed to be polite)
I dont know if this will help anybody cope or understand the hell of student loans, but for my sake....i needed to write something.  Hopefully somebody will hear these pleas.  I am a grown-up, although i may not sound like one when speaking to any lending institutions rep., and i do understand the concept of making a buck.  Capitlaism is a wonderful thing.  But the way these companies and completely taking advantage of the concept...is just insane.  And it is driving the all of us insane. I understand that i have a loan out.  I understand that i should be held to pay for it.  But for a company to take a loan of say $30,000.00 and turn it into 100,000....I just dont get it.  Interest? sure no prob...  but COME ON PEOPLE.  Does nobody (that can make a difference) see the issue here?
I guess im done rambling...whining....whatever you may call it.  I hope these testimonials make a difference someday....hopefully someday soon!!  My loans say ill be paying until im juuuuust about 60 years old.  WOW...  I think we all need to continue to state our issues with these institutions.  Our voices cannot be ignored forever....can they?  Until then good luck to everybody dealing with this hell.  I feel the pain of each one of you.  We must continue to fight this.  Good Luck all!!!

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Dadio

Not the WHOLE Picture on 'Collection/Credit/Squeeze the Blood from US'
ask me about 1 or 2 late chargez to cause me to get [not a 2nd mtg] another 1st mtg to get freakin' Chase [which cards I don't have] from RAPING me BTW - CHASE bought my SallieMae Visa acct. and Absconded w/ $$$$$ 18 mos ago [ causing me to RE-CONSOLIDATE ]   oh well  BBaW

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Estelle

I have not defaulted on my student loans, but I started paying SLOWLY when I graduated from college.

Long story short...I have never missed a payment nor payed late. I was in deferment a few months after college, then I went to grad school. A couple of years after grad school, I was paying a couple hundred dollars a month (on a consolidated loan totalling about $47,000). These payments only went towards the interest.

Before I had a steady job, I consolidated my loans 3 times, making it impossible to even keep track of my total. I started out with my orginal loan from school, and am now borrowing through Sallie Mae.  I have been continuously paying off my student loans for over 4 years now.

I am a preschool teacher, making less than $25,000 a year. I am 30 years old, and cannot afford to buy a house because of my student loan payments. My only debt is my student loan from Sallie Mae. I can't afford to have children.

I am now paying over $300 a month at an interest of over 6%.

The below statement is taken directly from the Sallie Mae website about my current student loan. I think it is interesting that I am pretty much paying 100% interest because they are allowed to compound it. This angers me because my only debt is through trying to get an education. I don't have credit card debt or even a car loan.


 
Current repayment information about your education Loan(s) starred (*) below is as follows:

  NUMBER OF PAYMENTS PAYMENT AMOUNT DUE DATE
  289 $317.67 10/11/06
  1 $306.27 11/11/30

  Current Principal Balance $46,887.18
  Accrued Interest to be Capitalized $0.00
  Total Principal to be Paid $46,887.18
  Estimated Amount of Interest to be Paid During Repayment $45,225.72
  Estimated Total Amount to be Paid $92,112.90

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Phil

I can not honestly tell you how much I originally borrowed. I can say that I currently owe over $350,000. Most of this amount is accrued interest. I have read these stories and I feel fortunate to be able to make a $2600/mo payment. What I am angry about are the lies and the abuse that has led up to my loan balance.

When I went to dental school in 1984 I was told to study hard and not to worry about the tuition because there was ample funds to be borrowed. But try not to borrow too much..lol Sign here and you will get the money you need after a 2% reduction for fees. Oh by the way you need to pay that back and the interest is accruing right now at 15%. You could drop out now, but you still would have to pay us back. Just study hard. Oh and our student loan officer was fired for taking kickbacks (finders fee etc.) from the bank for steering borrowers their way.

I worked as a dentist for four years and then I returned to school to specialize in orthodontics(I wanted to but also had to). When I was working as a general dentist I paid my loans (over 1000.00/mo) only to get a year end statement showing that I owed more principle at the end of the year than at its start. I called the lender and was educated in negative amortization. "These are really horrible loans" the sympathetic rep told me. Why do I have one of these??

Well as I mentioned I returned to school. Hey that's great but the interest...tick ...tick. Oh and I'll need more money for two years. No problem!! Mom and dad helped out. After school I worked for a year prior to buying the practice. Did I mention that I now have 2 kids and a mortgage. I signed for the practice. A good one, but it was in decline and needed building. Bam! (thanks Emeril) 1.3 mil in debt. No problem...and yet another forbearance was signed for. Do I pay my student loan, my practice note or my mortgage?

Practice paid for, I consolidated my loans. Something that could not be done previously. I write checks. Big checks...but very little goes to the principle? I call..."well you need to pay the interest first." I will say that I didn't always make my payment exactly on the due date, but I always paid each mo. My last payments were made on time but no reduction in principle. I call..."I need an accounting breakdown of my payments". They send me nothing.

My friends, I am a lucky person. I am blessed with 4 great children and a loving wife. I am also being ripped off royally. I pay my mortgage and the amount goes down. As does my car loan, my office note, but not my student loan. And this is legal??



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