graduated med school in 1991 with
132K in debt. deferred during
four years of residency. loan
increased several thousand dollars.
another consolidated loan for
about 60k same story.
curently-- our sallie mae balance
is 232K because of compounding
interest. We have paid close to
100K in payments over the past
11 years and still the loans increase.
it's just not fair!!
We are to pay 1700. monthly, but
are unable to do this. so i pay
what i can each paycheck-- 300,
I've written to senators, congress,
president, hell even oprah, but
i have goten NO response from
anyone on how to stop the compounding
so I can pay my damn debt. any
advice always taken :)
I want to thank you for telling
your story on 60 Minutes.
I've a feeling that doing so has
helped ease the pain of many people
in this type of situation.
I owe probably 12k, a figure that
has ballooned over the years.
From time to time, I've had to
ask for forbearances; in particular,
right now, I'm unemployed and,
well, it's been a rough few years
for me, including having filed
bankruptcy (thanks to the Bush
In any event, once you use up
so many weeks of forbearance,
that's it. They won't give
you more. Then, you have
to essentially beg for unemployment
deferments and other things that
don't really help.
All the while, your interest collectively
capitalizes, resulting in a more
ballooned amount owed.
It's a trap.
I don't recall whether my community
college pushed me in any specific
lender direction, but it would
be interesting to find out.
You should consider posting up
a community BBS using phpBB or
something somewhere - I might
be able to help out, I do UNIX
admin and build Internet servers
for a living (DNS, Web, UNIX,
Short of any new legislation,
I feel pretty helpless to do anything
about it. And all the while,
my credit report will inevitably
be damaged further - and what
can you do? Nothing.
Frankly, it really pisses me off
that SallieMae can get away with
any of this.
I had a run-in with them recently,
where I was badgered to give them
my phone number (I refused, and
told them I didn't have one).
The nature of that is they use
that to harass you (and they do
so continually). I have
a private number, and I intend
to keep it that way - however,
under these circumstances, they
have refused to answer any of
my written correspondence (even
sent via certified mail).
Anyway, I'm sure there are more
people out there with worse circumstances
- but I wanted to again thank
you for sharing your story - and
let you know that you're not alone!
2000 I decided to finally go to
college at the age of 26. As an
independent student who did not
make a lot as a waitress I qualified
for the maximum amount of federal
loans for a freshman- $2625 in
subsidised loans (government pays
the interest in a deferment, whether
an in school type of deferment
or economic hardship/unemployment
deferment) & $4000 unsub.
where the interest accrues from
day one. While no payments are
required on the unsub portion,
you can pay the interest as you
go, which prevents it from compounding
when you get out of school. No
one told me I was signing for
a variable rate loan, but they
would have if I had asked. Honestly,
I didn't care. I wanted the money
to go to school & student
loans aren't collateral based-
no one can come repo your education
if you don't pay & you don't
need credit to get the loan, so
I was pretty grateful. I declined
the unsub money, since I was only
attending part time, the subsidised
portion paid for tui!
tion and books. While it
would have been great to take
all that was offered & not
work as much (or use the cash
for a spring break trip) I understood
that SOMEDAY I would have to pay
it back because it was a LOAN.
In 2001 I became very ill &
thought I had to have brain surgery.
When I told the college they encouraged
me to say in school & take
private loans from my lender (rates
can go as high as 21% & there
is no interest subsidy) but I
decided not to because I knew
I would financially drown &
that would make my health and
hope for a future worse. So, I
stopped attending & 6 months
later my loans went into repayment.
I had only attended for a full
year, so my payment was more than
$50 but less than $100 a month.
I was harly making any money &
was totally on my own in the world,
so I struggled to pay the bills
I had and chose to drive a cheap
car rather than finance a nice
one, I cooked at home rather than
ate out, I took vacation in Maine
rather than the Bahamas, etc..
In 2003 I had a miscarriage and
lost my job and could not pay
anything to anyone, as I had $0
income. I did not call my student
loan company because I didn't
see the point. I couldn't pay
them. When they called me I decided
to be an adult and I told them
what was going on rather than
hang up on them. They explained
that student loans have built
in options so that people don't
default. They explained that if
I was out of work because I was
having health issues & not
able to even look for work, I
could request an economic hardship
deferment. All I had to do was
fill out 1 piece of paper &
sign another that states I have
$0 income (or submit pay stubs
if I was working and not making
enough). If I was out of work
(or temping) but looking for full
time work I could request an unemployment
deferment. That involved filling
out 1 piece of paper & registering
w/ an employment agency, such
as monster.com. Because I only
borrowed subsidised money my interest
would not grow or compound !
while I was in a deferment.
If I didn't qualify for a deferment,
but needed to put off payments
because I wanted to buy my family
Christmas presents instead of
paying my student loans, I could
fill out 1 piece of paper to request
a forbearance from my lender.
Interest in that situation would
accrue, but I could pay the $15-$20
interest a month to avoid having
it added to the principal balance
when my forbearance was over.
Had I avoided discussing my issues,
or decided to buy a $30,000 car
instead of driving something reasonable,
I would have probably defaulted.
Federal loans don't defualt until
300 days past due, which is almost
a year of not making payments.
I don't understand how people
think they can take out thousands
of dollars in loans & not
pay them ever, and nothing is
going to happen. Or they take
out $100,000 in loans (with a
10 year repayment term) and think
their payment should be $50 a
month. I've seen people with a
$10 monthly payment default then
freak out because their tax return
is seized. I bet those people
are paying a cable bill &
maybe even smoking cigarettes
at almost $5 a pack.
I'm sure this won't get posted
because I'm not sympathetic to
the cause, but seriously.. the
girl with cancer could have requested
loan forgiveness if she just filled
out a piece of paper. My x-boyfriend's
mom did it. When the loan company
called they may not have been
able to discuss the options with
the sister becuase of privacy
Help is out there if you take
steps to help yourself. The money
was availble for you to borrow
because the generation before
you paid their loans. If no one
paid the $ back, how would tomorrow's
children be able to borrow for
their eduation. There is not a
limitless supply of cash.
I have to say though, I don't
think it should be legal for Sallie
Mae to put in a claim to the government
then collect on the loan. That
must be one of those legal loopholes
that no one thought about when
they put the system in place.
Maybe someday we can change that
law. I know that if I'm in a car
accident & my medical bills
are paid by my health insurance
company I cannot go and sue the
person who hit me for the cost
of those bills, only for pain
and suffering, lost wages, etc
associated with the accident.
Collecting claims in any other
situation should be the same.
If Sallie Mae collects from the
borrower they should have to return
the money to the government. Are
we sure this doesn't happen. Can
you picture our government just
letting them keep that money?
decided to pursue a Master's
Degree after I completed my
undergraduate degree. My original
amount owed was $40,000 for
undergrad. I taught for three
years overseas and repaid about
$12,000. Then, three years later
I entered graduate school. The
amount was $29,000. In the end,
it was said I owed $90,000.
However, just recently I viewed
my profile and it is $116,178.
I make payments, but they are
minimal because that is all
I can afford. As an educator
I wonder if I ever will be able
to pay them off in this lifetime...Probably
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