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Louisiana

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

 

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Margaret

Hi, I'm in the New orleans area in one of the most devastated parts and I can tell you Sallie Mae doesn't care. I went to school in 1994 as a single mom. I was already on disability but I was doing well at the time and wanted to get off of disability and support my family. I had a 4.0 Gpa and was doing well. I originally borrowed less than $5,000 but when my illness prevented me from going to class I had to quit school. Being on SSI there was no way to repay student loans so I got a deferment. When the deferments ran out I went into default. There was nothing I could do.
I finally got a decent job working for a major medical school and soon had a garnishment against my salary for one loan and was getting ready to have another garnishment for the second loan. I immediately started making payments on the second loan. Then Katrina hit.
I lost everything and as a renter who could not afford renters insurance, I had no hope of getting it back. We had no phone or mail service for months and months and no stores available for about 40 miles. Life was not grand. I was laid off from my job because a medical school cannot function without a hospital but Sallie Mae still found me and I had to start paying again. I am back on disability because the stress got to me and I get about $600 a month from SSI. From that I have to pay the loan people $117 a month.
After several months of paying I realized that the loan and interest amounts changed by only pennies. I called and it was explained to me that most of my payment was going to fees. After my 9 months of paying steadily my loan would be sent to a new loan agency and they would re-negotiate my loan and then I would be paying on the actual loan and interest. Its been 11 months of payments and I'm still waiting to hear. I now owe about $18,000. At age 65 your loan is forgiven. I'm 55 now so I'll be paying until I retire or die which ever comes first. I can't wait to see what the new loan company's minimum payment is ... I probably won't be able to afford it and will go back into default. These loans are like the old "catch 22" in the army. No way to win.

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Ronnie

In 1996 myself and my wife graduated from college, got married and now have 2 kids. My wife and I borrowed approximately $45,000 together to complete our educaton. Like every family we have our share of bills but live a very modest life style. We have tried hard to repay our student loans, it's our debt, I borrowed it but how does $45,000 turn into over $100,000 and growing. (Does this sound like the MOB) This is impossible. Unless I win the lottery my family will be burdened with this debt for the rest of our lives. Please give us some kind of relief. I'm willing and able to partcipate in any legislation, class action suit, whatever it takes.


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Kathy

My story certainly doesn't compare to the others.  I feel for those who can't make their payment.  My experience with that was fortunately brief. I was able to begin paying back my loan before the forebearance was up. It appears however, that my good faith effort has still resulted in penalties.  I've managed to pay my student loans religiously since graduating in December 1998.  What I find interesting that seems to possibly be the icing on an already over-iced cake is that since consolidating my loans in 2002, they don't seem to go down much at all, even when I pay more than what is required.  Additionally, I never asked for any forebearance as a result of Louisiana's being hit with 2 hurricanes this past summer.  However, I was placed in a forebearance status according to Sallie Mae without my permission.  I was fortunate enough to not need any forebearance status and I have requested twice to be removed from that status and to have any fees associated!
  removed...we ALL know that such "graciousness" is certainly not free.  I've over-paid to the extent that I don't owe another payment until March, 2006.  However, I have paid regardless and NONE of it has gone to principal.  I cannot get any response as to what penalty I'm assessed as a result of their assumption that I be placed in forebearance either.  Quite a market they've accomplished with privatization of Sallie Mae.  Too many fat wallets in Washington and in state legislators' pockets. 


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Marlon

I am not a defaulted borrower, but I understand the pressure that we are all under to pay back these student loans. I have about $60,000 in loans with Citibank,$26,000 with Educaid and $6,423 with Sallie Mae. This is all accumulated debt from Bachelor's through Master's degree. Unfortunaley, I have not been able to start making any payments on any of these loans. I have been granted numerous forebearances which, defer principle but add the unpaid interest to the priciple of the loan. With principle payments of $1,100, there is no way that I can make these payments. I have been doing a juggling act to stay out of default for about 7 years now. I have never been able to earn more than $28,000 a year and I have a wife and 2 kids. I don't even want to talk about her loans. Anyway, I am in the works to try to consolidate all of these loans into one payment with a lower locked in interest rate. Unfortunately, my Sallie Mae loans are not government backed so they cant be consolidated into the same package. In fact Sallie Mae didnt even bill me to tell me that I was out of my grace period and tagged my credit report. When I called them to see what was going on they told me that THEY E-MAILED A (1)bill to me, and didnt send anything to me by mail. I am still fighting the negative credit reporting. When, I told them that I need time to be able to start making payments,they charged me $100.00 to put the loans in forebearance, which I was told would not go toward principle. Not to mention that they bought the loans from Stillwater, a company that they own. I got my bachelor's from Grambling State University, a historically black university. Without student loans, no one would be able to go to a black college. Loans are promoted as the only way to pay tuition, and when you get your big job, you pay them back. Most of these students, including myself, cant afford to pay tuition. This problem is prevelent in my community as far as higher education is concerned. It is the only way to get out of the "hood" and make it. Being poor,like many other black students, one has to finance their entire schooling experience with loans. Most black colleges rank very high for students graduating with the highest amount of student loans debt. Not only for the aforementioned reason but because students due to economic burdens among other things seem to stay in school longer than 4 years for a four year degree. Today, with about $100,000 in student loans debt and a job (that I like) making about $25,000/year with a family of four. I cant really see my way out. I am about to be out of forebearance this month on my Citibank Loans and am unsure what I am going to do if they don't give me another forebearance. But I am a fighter and somehow I will pay off this debt. I encourage everyone to keep on fighting. Sometimes things get worse before they get better.

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S.

Hi, I am both relieved and disgusted to find this forum. Relieved because there has been an incredible lack of negative info on the web regarding Sallie Mae and disgusted to see that my worst fears are true and millions are getting the shaft. This is in regards to my husbands debt. When we met, he had just started making payments. It wasn't until we wanted to buy a house that the first red flag was raised. Sallie Mae had double reported on the citing a 48,000 debt. This prompted me to search his records. Even by their estimates, he only owed 24,000 but upon further review, I could only account for 17,000. SFA reports confirmed that amount and all records I could find confirmed it. I found no less than 3 duplicate loan and payouts on his reports that when subtracted gave us 17,000. I thought this was simple enough and called to have it corrected. Not only was this denied, Sallie Mae is the only provider of this info after 2 years! I called the feds to get !
 their amount and they directed me back to SM. The keep no records! My husband went to UNO (new Orleans) and you can not reach them so now there is NO recourse and we are responsible for their accounting errors, unbelievable. They have also not credited payments and have been very fishy in handling our payments. Is there no recourse? We are not in default.


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James

I defaulted on my loan in my senior year because my course load got too low.  I had moved 3 times in my last 2 years of college and I guess I didn't update my current mailing address with the college.  2 weeks before graduation I was informed that my student loan was in default and I was expected to pay the whole thing off at once.  The collection agency that bought my loan added 25% to the amount I owe right off the get-go.  I've paid about $220 a month for the last 6 years and the amount I owe now is more than when I started payments.  I think they've got the APR up to about 20-25 percent and it's fixing to go to a variable rate APR so I know it going to go up.
Oh yeah, I don't have access to my transcripts for the degree I got with the student loan so I'm essentially a permanent high school graduate and nothing more.

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Michelle

I started out with a $14,000 Student loan in 1992. It is now over $40,000.
In 1996 I birth to a child with disabilities.  I was unable to work and tried everything to work with my loan provider to make affordable payment arrangements. Unable to pay due to a very low income my loan was deferered but with the interest at over $6000 a year and an income of only $11000 a year I will never catch up on this loan and it will burden me and my child.  If I go back to work full time I will unable to afford to live, pay for child care and my student loan. By the time my son is 18 my loan will be over $80,000.

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K.

I received a student loan to obtain a degree in Education.  When I graduated, my student loan total was $25,000.00.  Today, my student loan total is $73,000.00 and growing.  When I started teaching at a private school, my student loan payment was more than my monthly salary.  So, that began a cycle of default.  The original student loan was sold to Direct Loans.  This only made matters worse, because Direct Loans is owned by the federal government.  Again, the monthly amount due was more than my per month teaching salary.  Every year, I have to ask for a forebearance or deferment or some other way to put off the loan for a year because I cannot afford the monthly payments.  All this does is continue to add interest upon interest to the loan.  I will never, in this lifetime, be able to afford the monthly payments.  The interest charged is outrageous.  It is a nightmarish cycle of phone calls and letters.  I have written a letter to the federal government a!
 ddressing this situation only to receive a nasty letter back reminding me of my obligation to pay a debt owed.  In my situation, it is not that I do not want to pay back the loan, it is that the loan payment is so high I cannot afford to pay it back.  Now, I will have this black cloud with me for the rest of my life.  So many times, I wished that I would never have attended college.  The majority of teachers do not draw a large salary as it is.  $1,000.00 month student loan payment is more than any teacher can afford.  It is cruel to tell our students that they need to go to college to be able to get a good job making a decent salary.  Most high schools focus strongly on a college bound curriculum.  When students get to college, the tuition is so high and the university's financial aid department makes it so easy to get a student loan, that most students only option is a student loan.  I think that the universities are as much to blame as the federal government.

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Katherine

I ATTENDED SOUTHEASTERN LA UNIVERSITY FROM 1990-1997.  I RECEIVED A MASTERS DEGREE IN COUNSELING AND CURRENTLY WORK AS A COUNSELOR FOR THE STATE OF LOUISIANA IN THE CHILD PROTECTION ARENA.  MY SALARY IS MINIMAL (33,000)!!! 

I HAVE TRIED TO SEARCH FOR OTHER JOBS BUT THEY OFFER LITTLE TO NO BENEFITS OR STABILITY.  NOW I LIVE/WORK IN A POST KATRINA PARISH WHICH WAS DEVASTATED AND ALL I CAN DO IS APPLY FOR ECONOMIC HARDSHIP DEFERMENTS OR FOREBEARANCES.  THERE IS NO WAY I CAN PAY $792 PER MONTH.  MY PARENTS ARE ELDERLY AND NOW HOMELESS--PERMANENTLY DISPLACED BY THE HURRICANE AND MAY HAVE TO MOVE IN WITH ME. 

I AM THE PROUD MOTHER OF AM ALMOST 12 MONTH OLD BEAUTIFUL BABY GIRL AND AM NOW EXPECTING TWINS IN SEPTEMBER OF 2006.  WITH CHILDCARE AND THE CARE OF MY PARENTS-----THIS STUDENT LOAN MAY HAVE TO BE PUT OFF FOR A FEW YEARS???

OVER THE YEARS IN SCHOOL, I BORROWED THROUGH UNIPAC, NELLIE MAE, BANK ONE AND SALLIEMAE A TOTAL OF:
 I CONSOLIDATED IN 1999 SO I WOULD ONLY HAVE ONE LOAN NOTE AS IT WAS SOOO CONFUSING:

Loan Number: 1-07   Disbursement Date: 10/19/2001 
Original Balance: $67,002.27   Capitalized Interest: $17,669.18 

Loan Number: 1-08   Disbursement Date: 10/19/2001 
Original Balance: $33,950.82   Capitalized Interest: $3,945.58 


Original loans=100953.09 as of consolidation in 2001----so it was actually less than that what i borrowed through 1997.
I think my original loans were less than 85,000.  I didnt even realize I had borrowed that much when I was in school!!!!

Total now outstanding: $124,322.09  

I PRAY THERE IS AN ANSWER TO THIS GROWING PROBLEM!  THIS DEBT IS OVERWHELMING TO SAY THE LEAST!

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T.R.

I found your website via CBS 60 Minutes program 5/7/06 about Sallie Mae and student loan horror stories.

The US Dept. of Ed. has now garnished my meager salary, and I know, from the looks I get from our management, that I would be fired if not for our union, which has no contractual provision for firing workers if they are garnished.  In other words, I can tell that my bosses all think of me as A STUDENT LOAN DEADBEAT.

This is very unfair in several ways.  First, I borrowed my way through a bachelor's degree and a master's degree and a master of fine arts degree and paid it all back - multiple school-direct and Sallie Mae loans.  A case could be made that I am very, very responsible in paying back student loans down through the decades, if anyone cared to look at the record.

Second, I only ran into trouble paying back student loans after my doctoral work at Ohio State University (Lender, Bank One).  I had been there a couple of years, and I had finished all my class work for the doctoral degree, when my main teacher/thesis advisor started yelling at me in front of all his other students, and telling me things in my lessons, for instance, "You know, you'll never get a job in an orchestra, and you'll never get a college teaching job, and so I just don't know why you're even here."  And he gave me a C in a course I had with him.  So I dropped out of the program (even figuring in the C he gave me, I still had a 3.8/4.0 grade average on all my doctoral work - however he was my thesis advisor, so I knew it wouldn't fly).  At the time I thought, well, these things happen (especially in the arts).  You just buck up and keep going (albeit now with a bunch of loans).  I hit the audition circuit, and about 1 1/2 years later, when I had just been hired here, one of my fellow students from Ohio State U. came to town and called me and came over for a visit.  She brought the interesting news that after I left, my teacher at Ohio State (also her teacher) started mistreating his other students as he had done me.  About a year after I left, his students all got together and went to the head of the department demanding relief.  It turned out that the teacher ended up in counselling for alcoholism, and he started treating his students with respect, and everybody, pretty much, lived happily ever after.  Of course, there is the little matter, of concern to no one except me and my family, that I have an outrageous credit report, which looks to be permanent.  If I had the doctoral degree, I could at least apply for higher paying jobs in colleges and universities.  There are quite a few of my fellow students around who could verify my teacher's alcoholism problem.

Third, because I have been very successful in my field of endeavor (classical music performance and pedagogy), I feel it is unfair that I have done so well in my field yet I have not made enough money to allow the payments Sallie Mae demanded, thus the garnishment.  I am principal clarinetist in the Shreveport Symphony and I teach clarinet at Centenary College.  When I got these jobs, over thirty clarinetists showed up from around the world to audition, from as far away as China, and from such high-calibre US schools as Rice U., Julliard and Cleveland Institute of Music.  I feel that if I had overcome the same amount of competition in any other field, I would be making big bucks.  As it is, I currently make about $17,000 gross.  When I first took the job, 16 years ago, I was bringing home less than $800/mo, and Bank One wanted over $450/mo for my student loan, non-negotiable (back then I owed about $18,000 through Sallie Mae, plus several smaller direct-to-school loans to Ohio State).  By the time two years ago when they garnished my salary, the total was more than $41,000 from Sallie Mae (I paid all the smaller ones).

So there is the unfairness of student loans as well as an aspect of the unfairness of just being a student.  It is impossible for me to separate these two kinds of bad luck in my mind.  If a doctor leaves a clamp in your stomach after surgery, there is legal recourse.  If a university teacher leaves you with outlandish student loans because of alcohol abuse, tough luck. 

I don't have any debts at all except for the US Dept. of Ed.  At this point, I just hope Sallie Mae hasn't figured out a way to follow my spirit to the next life. 

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Fletcher

Since I have been associated with Sallie Mae, I have been lied to, overcharged in my interest rates (and they admit it but will do nothing to change it) and I have requested documents from them that they will not supply to me.  Unfortunately, I consolidated my loans with them.  I was told that I could drop my interest rate 3 points.  Instead, I am paying more interest that I would have been paying if I had left them alone.  Recently I heard that I could move my loan away from Sallie Mae.  When I tried to do so I was informed that the movement date had been closed as of March 31, 2006.  I began to investigate this.  In calling a couple of government agencies such as the Federal Loan Consolidation Center, I found out that Congress had passed a bill that allowed people to move there load away from Sallie Mae, whether or not it had been consolidated with them, from December 1 of 2005 till June 30 of 2006.  The Department of Education decided that it would cancel this Congressional Bill in March of 2006.  I also questioned one of the Supervisors at Sallie Mae and asked her why Sallie Mae had not notified its borrowers that they could move the loan.  I was told that Sallie Mae had been too busy to notify the borrowers about this.  Under the law, which seems to mean nothing to Sallie Mae, a lender has a fiduciary responsibility to notify the borrower of anything that affects the terms of the loan.  When I told the Supervisor this, she said that Sallie Mae just supposed that other loan companies would contact the borrower and let them know.  My question is twofold:  Who gave the Department of Education the right to override Congress, and since when is Sallie Mae above the law?

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Niki

I borrowed $23,123.98 and i owe $28,966.97. that's my portion. My ex-husband borrowed 40,970.27 and he owes $42,648. the total estimated amount of interest to be paid during repayment is $103,169.31 and the outstanding late fees is $357.00 and other charges is $70.00. when my ex-husband and i were married, we consolidated our debts and little did i know he had no intention of repaying them. we are divorced and sallie mae will not unconsolidate the loans. they told me that once consolidated, they cannot unconsolidate. they expect me to pay $77,796.53 by 12/15/2006 or i will go into default. The estimated total amount to be paid is $174,784.42. we are divorced and i feel i have nowhere else to turn. i told them that i don't have a problem paying my portion of the loan and that i am not paying a penny until they separate us. they still did not heed to what i said. i need help.

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Sandra

In 1992 I took out a Sallie Mae sudent loan. Over the next couple of years they totaled 6,800.00. I did not graduate until 1/1997. I started recieving my bill in 6/1996. I called and showed proof of being a full time student until 1/1997. During this time I accrued late fees and interest. I now have a balance of 4,800.00 14 years later. I have payed 6,000.00 in accrued interest. ???
I have called several times and told thats correct. Is it?



 

 

 


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