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My story: undergrad/grad - borrowed $70,000 (mostly for grad) paid back about $10K..years of underemployment and unemployment and consolidation =105k+ in debt. I am in economic hardship deferment after (harrassing Albert Lord and company) until the end of October as my loan compounds more interest...I make $36K as a sales rep in NYC. I am scared but hopeful - to ROCK Sallie Mae and the like to their knees!!!



I took numerous loans out for the California Culinary Academy April 2003-May 2004 and they were bought out by Sallie Mae. Interest rates were at the highest due to marginal credit history and I am not in the bracket to receive too much of Government aide.
Right now I am in deferment because I owe approximately 1,100.00 a month when, as a chef, we make no where near that for the cost of living.  I am also out of work due to my seasonal job (being of 3 seasons a year). Makes you wonder why you tried to better yourself in the first place.



Without going into great detail, I borrowed money for school in the late eighties and early nineties.  I believe the actual amount I was loaned totaled somewhere in the area of $30,000.  Unfortunately, my loan went into default, and then into judgement.  I am now paying interest only on the outrageous sum of $77,000.  Interest and penalties have practically tripled the principal of the loans and are still accruing daily.  I will probably be paying this off for the rest of my natural born life.  This is the price of education in our fare country.



I am a single mother, currently unemployed.  I have been chased around and abused by the Department of Employment (DOE) and its agents for the past 20 years.  A $40,000 loan has now "grown" to an astronomical sum of $152,000 and I receive letters and phone calls almost weekly threatening legal action and seizure of assets.  This agency is worse than any collection firm I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with.  The worst part:  I do not owe the money, yet DOE refuses to leave me alone.  Here is my story.

I graduated from law school in 1986 with a little over $45K in federally guaranteed student loans.  I moved to Illinois and began making regular payments on my loans as required.  In 1990, I lost my job due to the market crash and began defaulting on my loans.  I requested a deferrment and only got one for a few months.  Without any meaningful prospects of work, I went back to grad school to get another degree and managed to get a lengthier deferrment on my loans.  When I got out of school, the IL. Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) came after me with a vengence.  At this point I was gainfully employed. However, I was working in a low-paying public interest job and was unable to make the full monthly payments.  I tried to negotiate with ISAC and requested a different payment structure.  I told them that I was absolutely willing to repay the loans but given my salary ($32K at the time), and given the monthly loan payments ($1,200/mo. at the time) there was no way I could ma!
 nage.  ISAC wouldn't budge.  I told them they would drive me into bankruptcy if they didn't try to work with me.  Yet, ISAC continued to insist that I make payments that were clearly beyond my capacity to make.  They hounded me with notice letters, called my place of work, threatened wage garnishment, and when they finally filed a lawsuit against me I was forced to file for bankruptcy.  In 1995 I reluctantly filed for Ch.13.  ISAC was paid 10% on the debt and I never heard from them again.

As anyone who files for bankruptcy knows, it's a painful ordeal.  You pay a huge price.  Nevertheless, I worked hard to try to rebuild my life and my credit history.  Six and half years later, I moved to NY and got married.    With a lot of hard work, my husband and I scraped together some money to pay a down payment on a small house.  As soon as I applied for a mortgage, I received a letter in the mail from ISAC demanding payment for the old student loan - now with penalities, interests and collection costs.  The figure was now in the neighborhood of $103,000.  ISAC hired a collection law firm to come after me and they quickly filed a lawsuit in Illinois state court for the collection of the loan.  My former bankrupcy attorney out in IL agreed to handle the matter for me.  He argued the case based on  laches (unreasonable delay) as well as some other technicalities.  Fortunately, and surprisingly, we won and the case was dismissed.  ISAC appealed the decision and again the !
 case was dismissed, with prejudice.

For a short time, I enjoyed a reprieve.  But then the letters started again.  Not surprisingly, when I refinanced my home, I began getting letters and phone calls from DOE and from its collection agents.  They come regularly and in mass quantities now. I have sent them all of the legal documents at least 25 times demonstrating first, that the loan was discharged in bankruptcy back in 1996, and second that the matter was litigated and dismissed in Illinois state court in 2003.  Nevertheless, the people that I am dealing with are non-lawyers, they don't understand the complexities of the argument we are making, and they keep stating that student loans aren't dischargeable - not realizing that, in 1995 when I filed my bankruptcy case the law provided for the discharge of student loans. 

The collection agents working for DOE are agressive, intrusive and ignorant!  They do not do their research.  I have requested copies of my records and they have not been given to me.  The alleged balance on the loan is now up to $152,000.  Keep in mind that the principal balance is only $40,539!  Despite the fact that my attorney and I feel that the law is squarely on our side, I actually tried to negotiate with DOE at one point recently.  I offered to beg, borrow and steal so I could come up with $40K - the principal amount.  I told them that I'd be willing to pay them that amount in a lump sum if they would just go away and call it a day.  They refused.  They have seized my tax refunds and have only applied the proceeds to their collection costs.

At the start of this story I mentioned that I am a single mother.  Part of the reason for my divorce is this issue.  My ex-husband couldn't handle the pressure and the threats of the lawsuit.  He became enraged whenever I received a harassing phone call or notice letter demanding $152,000 in payment.  It was too much for him to take.  I am now a single mother who was recently laid off.  DOE keeps threatening wage garnishment, which is laughable since I have no current income.  And yet, they don't give up.

How do I make this stop????


C. Adams (NY)

I graduated in 1983 with a BA and $7,500 in loans.
Since I was (and am) an actor and musician living in
NYC, I had problems from the get-go with making
payments. I made payments on and off for years, and
eventually lapsed into default.

At some point -- maybe seven years ago -- I went to
great lengths to rehabilitate the loans from default,
get my account back into good standing and repair my
credit. At some point, I also consolidated the loans,
and they're currently held by SallieMae, that bitch,
with the absurd interest rate of 9%. However, I've
still struggled financially (the years since 9/11 ahve
been particularly tough in NY, as elsewhere) and have
had to take numerous deferments and reduced payment
plans in order to keep the account in good standing.
As you well know, all the interest gets recapitalized,
and the upshot is that the loan's new balance is
$16,688.00 -- more than twice the original amount
borrowed. In my 22 years of good-faith efforts to pay
this thing, I've succeeded only in doubling its size,
with no end in site.

Last year I earned less than $20,000.00, and the
future outlook is not bright. At this rate, I stand to
continue exponentially growing the amount due, with
the payments putting a continual drain on my limited
resources, without ever putting a dent in the
principal. I am, literally, paying monthly to increase
the size of my debt. It's an impossible situation.

The Dept. of Ed. has an "Income Contingent" payment
plan whereby the balance outstanding on a student
loan is "discharged" after 25 years of payments.
(Deferments and forbearance terms are not counted.) At
that point, the IRS counts the amount discharged as
income earned, and whacks you with the tax bill. It's
not clear to me whether or not that's a one-time-only
whack , or whether the IRS comes after you with
interest and penalties.

Surely there should be some loan amnesty for poor
bastards like us who have struggled for years to come
to terms with these debts? And who could hardly be
characterized as reckless consumers of luxury debt?


E. T. J. 

I went back to school Sept '00. Left and took career employment Feb '03.

Paid off one student loan early this year.

Applied to SallieMae to consolidate remainder of another student loan, the balance at that time was about $8109.35.  I made one more payment of 130.00 to SallieMae and then I was notified that my loan was transferred to ACS.  My consolidation application was completed Jun 23 '05.  I have a pdf copy of the promissory note, it has an electronic signature.  The loan interest rate after consolidation should have moved from 3.37 to 3.375. When Wachovia transferred the loan to ACS, the interest rate on the loan was listed as 5.3% and the balance ACS listed was $7968.67.  I thought it was a small oversight and called to clear it up.  Little did I realize that my problems were just beginning.

ACS would not fix the rate and suggested that I re-apply for the loan consolidation (of course by then it was way past the July 1'05 deadline).  Didn't take that advice.  Finally, Wachovia sent me a letter that listed a Wachovia customer service number.  Started calling Wachovia in July, sent them pdf of promissory note.  Yesterday SallieMae (not ACS) sent me a bunch of payment stubs and surprise, surprise...

after paying an additional $276.50 to ACS (which should put my balance at somewhere around $7620.00) , I now owe Sallie Mae $8020.00 on this loan.

Well, by gosh who wouldn't want to  be in the student loan business with that sort of math!!!!!

I have spent a ton of time on the phone with Wachovia, ACS and with SallieMae.  I am really sick of this.  Tomorrow, I'll spend some time on the phone with a good lawyer.  May also send this info off to New York State Banking and Insurance and the New York State Attorney General.. who's that guy...oh yes ... Mr. Spitzer.

By the way, I do think that the actions of Wachovia through the servicers is indeed criminal.  Last but not least, I am not in default, but I am betting that it may be arranged via this shell game.



I took out a student loan for my daughter 15 years ago when I had a job with grummans I was hit by a drunk driver and became disabled at this time I was supposed to be absolved because of the disability. now as time went on we sent dr. reports and they said they didnt receive them, we kept sending reports but they just kept ignoring them , now they are garnishing my $550.00 disability check.



Going to make this semi-short because so much is the "same" as so many others...and I have not checked for spelling. Back in the 80's I wanted to go to college.  My parents could not afford to send me and I was not eligible for grants (Pel?) because my parents earned "too much" - which at the time was something like 100 more than what they allowed people to earn per year. The only way I could go to college was to get a student loan. I did this three times - one for each year I was in college, for a total of $7,500.

 So college is done and I start to make payments. On a good day (month) I would pay up to 3 payments at once. never one time did I get a "thank you" letter about doing that. On a bad day (month) i might be a week late. The DOE wasted no time in contacting me with threats about "We will report you and that will ruin your credit". Around 1985 or so it got very bad - multiple letters and phone calls with colleciton agencys making threats about ruining my credit and telling everyone they could about how bad I was at making payments. Agian with not knowing what I know now I was freaking oput about all of this and I just sent a nasty letter to them. The ltter was basicly a rant from me syaing that I was tired of being treated as a number, I was tired of calling and being told that none of my letters were "on file" and all that came up was my name on a computer screen saying I did not make payments, that I was tired of not one time ever being thanked for getting payments ahead of time to them but being a day late and getting calls with people making threats. I also said that if I got any more letters or calls I would consider the remaining $2,500.00 paid in full and also report them to the AG of California. Needless to say I got more calls and letters so I sent off a letter saying because they failed to honor my request my debt was now cancelled,  I also sent a copy of all the paperwork I had at the time to the and CC'd a copy to the AG of California at the time...and to this day I have no idea why I actually did that, but I am, glad I did. For the next almost 18 years there were no more letters, no more calls...nothing.

 Than one day I am on a film set. Suddenly the line producer comes out and stops the shoot. She has the really concerned look on her face. She hands me a cell phone and stands there looking so sad. I say hello? and I hear a mans voice ask "is this Dave?" and I say "yes..." and his tone changes and goes into this whole "We are a collection agency and you defaulted on your student loan..." blah blah. I was stunned and chocked and i could barely muster any words...sitting on a set with the entire production being help up because of this phone call. As calmly as I could I had a semi-noir freak out and asked how they got the number and he would not tell me. I told him he had no right to call me on set and hung up. I asked the line producer how, and why, she would stop shooting for that. Well - after she told me what the guy told her I did some back searching. I called my mother and she had gotten a call from an "old friend" of mine who "has some jobs lined up" and needed to get a hold of me as fast as he could. So she gave him the studios production office. They got a call asking for me and told the person I was on a shoot and could not be reached. So the caller tells them there is a serious family emergency and he needed to get a hold oe asap.  So they give him the productions cell number so they can call the set directly. The phone rings and the line producer answers the phone and she is asked fo rme and she sayd I am busy, they are shooting and so on. Now she gets told that my mother is ill and possibly near death and it was of the utmost improtance that he speak with me. By the time I got this whole story together I was shaking and had I known where this collection agency was and the who the person was, and where they lived, I would have done whatever I could have to bring them to their knees in whatever way I could.

 The best I could do is get the guys voicemail and left him a message that he was never ever to contact any member of my family or my emplyers again. That if I ever found out who he was I was going to bring charges agaist him for the methods he used. I never heard from him again. But a few years after that I am married and have a child. The first year my wife and I file and get to use th e"erned income" credit suddenly instead of a return we get a letter saying that the entire amount  was used for a past got it - the student loan. This has gone on now each year for the last 5 years, except I am much wiser and my wife fills out the "injured spouse" form so their amount they take is less than 100%.

 Like someone else posted the IRS on behalf of the DOE has taken more than what was owed to start off with except now, this week actually, my neighbors are getting phone calls from a "Val" at "Van Ru" looking for information about me. She says she is an old friend of mine and needs to speak with me urgently. I have no idea who "Val" is or who "van ru" is - so i do a search and find out "Van Ru" is a collection agency that seems be hired a *lot* by various state and federal agencies for debt collection. They also seem to have long list of lawsuits against them for their methods. Seems they claim I owe $8,000.00 on the loan plus another $52,000.00 in interest and "fees". Keep in mind when the harrasment was going on the first time around I only owed $2,500.00 - seems they upped it a bit...ok, they upped it a HUGE bit.

 Now here is a bit of info on "van Ru" - I contacted the DOE about them and they said they could not help me because Van Ru was not one of their contractors. So I did some searching and found out their contract with the DOE expired in March 2005. Not only that but guess how much "Van Ru" was paid? (or I should say "guess how much our beloved DOE "awarded" them for the contract to go out and collect debts?") $47,029,654.57  yes - you did read that amount correctly.

 So now I have to wonder what the hell is "van Ru" doing? They have not contacted me at all - yet they are contacting all my neighbors asking about me. I did a credit report search and I come up with nothing - as in nothing owed, no debts, no bankruptcy - a clean and good report. But now here is the "fun" part. In the last 12 months guess who has requested to see my credit report? yup "Van Ru". They did it in August 2005.

 So that is where I am at as of today. Waiting for the next shoe to drop. But I now save things, I now keep records. I dod not have any student load records around - I don't have check stubs of copies or even statments. I mean they tell you to keep thing for maybe 5 years....and we are talking over 20 years years now with no word about student loans from anyone for about 18 of those years. So very sad. If I harrased people like some of the Collection places do I would be tossed in jail.  Not only can they get away with it, one look at the stack of lawsuits agaist "Van ru" over the years shows they not only keep doing it but get HUGE govt contracts to do it. 




My story is not nearly as tragic as others, but reading these stories makes my heart absolutely break. currently i am a undergraduate student pounding on debts door. I had never had a problem with taking out small loans and thinking i would be able to make the payment back but now i am so fearful of that future i cant even begin to think if college is worth it.
my college was bought out by a larger more corporate run college which pushed me out to transfer schools. after applying for scholarships grants and any other financial aid i was denied due to " mid semester ransfers dont usually get a lot of aid, so try again".  so after taking out another loan, i saw my debt rise up to 35,000 ( i have been in college almost 3 years but now am at the status of a sophomore). after reapplying for aid, i learned that with the school i go to i can only apply once for grants and scholarships-and thats it! i was told by the financial aid counselor that i would have to just take out loans or my parents could! i remember sitting their explaining to her that my parents can barely afford to take care of themselves, how could they have more impending debt over their head? i was then told to talk to loan execs from sallie mae, who said to just go ahead and take out another 2 years of 20,000 loans.

Thats 55,000 in loans without interest in a career where i plan on making less than about 21,000 a year.and im still in undergrad pending on the fact to have a job that isnt flipping burgers, grad is becoming more and more of a requirement.

though we have not defaulted, many other students are in this same situation with myself. we are caught in this limbo where fafsa says our parents should be able to pay for us but then are paying off their debts and cant! we have to financially support ourselves, working and still not meeting a quota of financial stability. scholarships and grants are becoming more and more difficult to come by, so then we are basically gang hassled into taking out extravagant loans to pay for our educations, because an education is the most important thing. what about being able to go to school and not be floundered in debt? isnt that just as equaly important?

does anyone remember the meetings in college where they talked about your loans? mine included you will have to pay it off, were not sure how much your interest is and have a good day, hope you dont default.

i am so scared of my debted future and even more scared of these loans that pile up so easily.and i know i am not alone.
if anyone out there has any helpful information it would be most appreciated. anything!

i hope everyone here can get past their student loan crisis as best they can
all the luck and help,







IHESC - Higher Education Services Corporation (or the Board of Education) is now garnishing my Social Security Disability Income 15% due to student loans. I am a 63 year old disabled woman. 

HESC and Sallie May and General Revenue Corporation phone me every day of my life to hound me about my student loans of $38,000. And they refuse to cut down or cut off the interest, so that maybe I can get a fresh start before I drop dead sometime after my 64th birthday maybe.

Since my social security income is being garnished 15% (BY HESC), I no longer have funds to pay my monthly bills - electric, phone, medication, food, etc. But Mr. Chronchite of HESC and Mr Bush in his Oval Office, can sit pretty in their offices and not worry about their bills or whether or not they have electricity or food or medication etc.



MY story, I will make it quick.  I sued NYS because the original lending bank and New york state higher education services corporation ripped off the money I had given them. I still have those checks, the court conveniently "lost" one.  Made it disappear.  It is bigger then you think.  These corporations own the courts, thats correct.  Not only did the Attorney General lie, so did the judge.  He chimed in and said my repayments were actually "interest payments".   None of this of course was on their counterclaim, they made it up as the trial proceeded. Check out the court paperwork , you will be amazed.  Nothing was kept according to federal rules of evidence.  When I asked the AG for documents,  the judge threaten me with contempt of court.  And finally, my third attempt through the freedom of information law,  getting my documents from   New York State higher education services, they put it on the xerox machine and "blanked" it all out.  Sons of bitches huh.  Here is the big problem.  The corporations own the courts right now. The judges, AGs etc are just pimps for the industry.  Get em another way.  Follow the CEO,s and show the world how they live, and I bet, you just may get a shot of seeing, the judge and the ceo playing golf together. 



I went to school and never finished because of having a family. Life happened.

Now i'm somehow 40,000 dollars in debt from about 12,000 $ in student loans. My pay is being garnished by both the DOE and HESC. HESC calls me regularly and their agents are verbally abusive and harrassing.

Someone needs to do something. Why can't we file harrassment charges? The loans schedule they use is tantamount to Usury, which last i looked, is illegal. I suppose if it's the government doing it, they can make it legal for themselves.

At this point my credit history is destroyed. I'm considering just quitting my job and working under the table to prevent continued collection.

Isn't there anyone who can help?? Why won't our representatives DO ANYTHING?







I I am neither a typical borrower of Sallie Mae meaning that I have never been in default nor applied for any economic hardship that would have brought about a debt of multiplied initial debt. Nevertheless, SM has grossly inflated and misrepresented my debt, by charging my account with fraudulent loans for which SM could produced no promissory notes to me, by entering loans in my account that were never disbursed to me, and by tinkering with loan documents.  In addition, SM had never issued finance disclosure and repayment schedules to me so that I would understand the total debt and the years of payment I would have been aware of the SM abuses of overcharges. What is more, SM entered me into the first consolidation in 7/2003 for which there was no more debt left over.  SM entered me into the second consolidation in 4/2006 without my consent by fabricating an invalid electronic signature because I refused to sign the promissory note. For this consolidation !
 I never authorized SM to buy Direct student loans from the Education Department because SM had deliberately kept the consolidation interest rate from me, which was against the law.

Having paid off my debt, there was no other loan to consolidate for the 7/2003 consolidation. More outrageous, for the 7/2003 consolidation SM debited my account for $38,000. Alas! As it was, the SM shark would have never stopped devouring my payment-apparently for a never ending life-time entanglement. I was shocked agonizing over the $38,000 consolidation that where did this amount come from? I had to find out the answer, and through only an attorney I got my detailed payment history in 2004 for the first time (before then SM would never provide a detailed account history) that showed loan entries for $18,500 I have never borrowed. Overwhelmingly obscured even for a professional accountant, SM in the payment history made several entries for another $18,500 loan that showed a time period for the disbursement as the fall of 1996 and spring 1997 when I was not even a student and never enrolled in any school, and when there was no loan disbursed to me.

To begin with the SM abuse of my initial debt for $7,250, SM has inflated my initial debt of $7,250 to a debt of $15,550 in 1989 with fictitious loan entries into my account but without promissory notes produced to me to justify this balance. Since then my payment history shows SM has charged me $30,000 for the initial debt of $7,250, and with no history of my being in default and having never applied for economic hardship.  In the absence of promissory notes to justify this initial grossly misrepresented debt, I requested SM furnish me with the promissory notes but SM has never done so despite my several requests.   By 12/ 1996, I had repaid $10,600 for the initial $7,250 initial debt, meaning that by all accounts I owed nothing to SM as of 12/ 1996. In 1996, the only other loan I borrowed through SM was $18,500, and repaid SM $31,000 for this loan as of today.  Since my account was initially conceived in 1982, neither the initial lender Chemical Bank nor SM has issued me d!
 isclosure statements. Deprived of disclosure information, I have had no opportunity to appreciate discrepancies that have occurred in my account in the past several years in order to take necessary action.  Gradually in the recent years I have discovered several discrepancies in my account that have occurred over the years. In spite of large amount of regular monthly payments I have made-and never been in default- a small amount of debt ($7,250) has lingered in my account since 1989 and still not paid off.  Although I have made a total of $31,000 payment for the $7,250 initial debt, SM still showed a $2,500 debt in the year of 2003 in order to enter me in a consolidation.

Being deprived of the promissory notes and finance and repayment schedules I had never received, I never knew the actual amount of debt for the 7/2003 consolidation, which is to say that SM again violated the law for not providing me with the promissory notes, finance disclosure statement and repayment schedule so that SM could conceal outrageous misrepresentation of its overcharges in the multiples of the initial debt blown out of proportions over the years.  For this consolidation SM debited my account for $38,000 in 7/2003 despite the fact that when I must have already paid off my total debt of $25,750 since I had made a total payment of $35,000 to SM by 7/2003. For this amount of debt I have repaid SM $41,000 recorded as of present in my payment history issued by SM.

Since November, 2005 I stopped making monthly payments as SM had taken no action, demanding me to make payments along with late payment charges.  In the present SM is making daily phone calls to my home and sending letters declaring my account is delingquent. So resentful over the SM abuses over the sixteen years that I had made a commitment of repaying my debt, and after a fastidious ritual of monthly payments for sixteen years, I am overwhelmed by the never ending instead grossly growing entanglement with my student loan debt, I feel that I have been grossly abused, bullied and ripped off by SM.

Disgruntled over the recent events of cancelled loans, yet still I have to make my monthly payments while SM has devoured thousands of dollars but never made necessary adjustments and closed my account for the recent cancelled Direct loans, in the present I have made a resolution that I will never pay one more penny to SM, whether or not SM will destroy my credit I have worked all my life to keep in a good stand. I am upset about the SM abuses, because all my life I have exerted a single-minded effort on my student loan debt. I strongly believe I have paid off my debt several years ago already, but grossly mislead by SM about it. As a result, I have overpaid SM for fictitious loans, overcharges for interest payments, and illegal consolidation when I had no debt to consolidate (7/2003 consolidation), and when I had a fraudulent consolidation that SM created by fabricating an invalid electronic signature on an Internet application I left incomplete and then used it as a promis!
 sory not because I had never signed the actual promissory note in an attempt to stop SM entering me into the consolidation of 4/2004 for which never authorized SM to purchase my Direct student loans.

Along with telephone calls in person, a few months ago I sent SM a detailed account of the problems with my account, requested refund and closure of my account but SM has neither provided answers nor solutions to problems I state above. 

My Life in the Present:

In the present I am unemployed with an invalid diploma I have returned to my college and requested refund for the tuition fee, but never received it. I could not talk about this issue in job interviews as I am expected to hold a recent degree, indicating a current training in the field of instructional technology. My course study on the transcript is inconsistent with the instructional technology field I am awarded the degree for, so I can no longer go to job interviews. My college has never paid me back for the tuition fee, nor returned all Direct loans of my account. In other words, my fight with SM is for recovering the tuition fee I have paid over several years with my hard earned money.  I have paid my life fortune to get a good education, but regrettably I am bullied with a bogus diploma, and forced to pay $34,000 more to SM for a fraudulently imposed debt on me. Considering my case, our government, schools, and financial institutions seem to be involved in this crime !
 of shortchanging college students, the workforce of this country. There are three issues in my case: 1) wasted taxpayer dollars on student loans for worthless degrees easy to get but for no jobs exist; 2) a runaway debt multiples of the original debt imposed on students no longer able to repay because of cut and throat repayment practices of loan servicing corporations; 3) legislation that  turn this social issue for college education and professional training of US workforce into a lucrative corporate business in the hands of our law-makers giving a green light to student loan financing corporations who are building fortunes out of misery of financially strapped student borrowers.

I am determent to fight against wasting taxpayers' dollars for bogus degrees, salvaging student borrowers against the abuse of the loan servicing corporations to stop them imposing astronomic finance costs for a life-time involvement of debt repayment, and fighting for legislation that would support financing college education and professional training by guaranteeing financial protection and debt solvency to financially strapped borrowers. Thus, I am very much interested in joining the activists for these causes.



I The following is a letter I wrote last year. I have refinanced my student loans but at a much higher rate than is available because the rate Sallie Mae locked me in at is the rate I have to pay. The laws are crazy.

My name is Kelli  and I live and work in the Adirondacks of NY.  I chose to become an occupational therapist because I desired a career that allowed me to help people, while earning a paycheck. I returned to college at age thirty and received a Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy to fulfill this aspiration.  For the past four years, I have driven over 500 miles a week to deliver these services to developmentally and learning disabled children that reside in the North Country.  I have also been trying to repay my student loans during this time.

Since last May, I have put my student loans into forbearance. I purchased a new Subaru at that time.  It was a necessary acquisition so as to continue providing Occupational Therapy services in Franklin and Essex county schools; my eleven-year-old Honda with 140,000 miles was becoming unsafe. I had to delay paying on my student loans, as I cannot afford to pay both my reasonable new car payment; $270.00 a month for 5 years to pay off $15,000 financed and my unreasonable student loan payment; $470.00 a month for 25 years to pay off $57,000 in Stafford loans.  Trying to solve my own financial difficulties, I thought I could possibly be eligible for a loan forgiveness program as I work in public schools, in a rural, economically depressed area and I work with disabled children.  I found I'm not eligible for the Stafford loan forgiveness program because I'm an Occupational Therapist, not a teacher.  I am however, eligible for forgiveness of my Perkins loans.  The logic used to conclude this is lost on me but I'm wise enough to know logic is not frequently employed by organizations when setting policies and procedures.   

Currently, I am being held hostage by Sallie Mae and under false pretenses on their part. I feel I was lied to during the consolidation process.  Sallie Mae's website and the agent I spoke with promised me a quarter percent reduction of my interest rate by signing up to have the money automatically paid out of my checking account.  It was also stated that I'd receive a two percent reduction of my interest rate after making payments on time for a period of two years.  Both of these criteria I fulfilled long ago, yet I pay almost eight percent interest because Sallie Mae refuses to honor their promises as featured on their website and as stated by their representative over the phone that day, when I consolidated my loans with them.  I have been informed that I consolidated during a six month 'window of time' where I am not eligible for these reductions. 

I do not have the option of reconsolidating with any number of independent student loan consolidation companies offering interest rates in-line with banks, the Federal Reserve and most other financial institutions, because the federal laws of this country allow me only one consolidation.  So here I am, stuck with an astronomical interest rate and increasing gas prices, while I try and eke out a living in the rural North as a civil servant.  During this time, NPR reports that Sallie Mae's father company; Nellie Mae's executives are under investigation for financial misconduct.  It's no wonder they need the higher interest rates.  Then, there is the millions of dollars in corporate welfare given away yearly but the federal government is going to garnish my wages and ruin my credit because I am having a difficult time paying off a $57,000.00 student loan, while I drive myself silly trying to improve the lives of children.  All because I wanted a career that allowed me to help people and attended college in order to do that. 

I want to be considered for Stafford loan forgiveness, as I feel anyone qualified to approve an individual for forgiveness would reasonably conclude that I meet and exceed these qualifications. If it is determined that I do not meet the forgiveness criteria, then I want the option to refinance my loans with another institution offering interest rates in line with the federal economy.  I am more than willing to repay my student loans and have demonstrated that BUT I am not willing to pay more than a fair interest rate and no longer wish to pay this to Sallie Mae. 

I am becoming increasingly frustrated with this situation.  I would like your and all of Congress' consideration in changing these laws so rogue institutions such as Sallie Mae cannot hold people hostage at unreasonable interest rates. I would have severed my relationship with Sallie Mae long ago, had the federal laws allowed me to do so. I'm sure I'm not the only one in this situation and feel Congress and the Federal Government should put the money where their mouth is.  I've heard for years American government values education, yet the laws and federal funding demonstrate the exact opposite.  I'll reserve any comment on 'No Child Left Behind.'
Thank-you for your time and consideration on this matter, I look forward to any insight you can offer me as to how to remedy this situation.



I went to a trade school (Katharine Gibbs) to receive an accelerated 2-year degree in 2002/3. I, and everyone else in my class, was told by the school that we would only be required to repay $50/month beginning 6 months after the date of graduation. Tuition was 31K so, based on the repayment information that the school had given me,  I took a 26K private loan from Sallie Mae and a 5K federal loan from Citibank. At the time, I was not fully informed about the difference between a private and federal loan, etc.

I was shocked when I received my first bill of over $400 in 2004 from Sallie Mae. I was engaged to be married in a few months and this was going to be a BIG problem for us, being that I expected a bill of $50. I called to see if there was a payment plan that would be attainable for me but they were "unable" to help. My repayment amounts have quickly grown every few months to about $500/month, it's current amount. My original loan was for 26K but by the time I'm finished in another 10-15 years or so, I will have paid 79K. While I'm able to pay the $500/month because I've removed all other debts, I fear that in a few years, the payment will be so high that I will be unable to manage it.

I have tried to get ahead by paying more than the amount needed for each month but instead of the principal decreasing, Sallie Mae simply applies my payments to the next month. For example, my current payment is $500/month. If I could pay $1,000, they would simply apply the second $500 to next month. Unlike with credit cards, it seems that overpaying doesn't make a dent.

I would like to do something to stop Sallie Mae and any other company from taking advantage of students the way that they have. It may be too late to do anything on my own behalf, but maybe someone else will benefit from my story.



I am also a victim of student loan disaster.  I filed bankruptcy because of illness and unable to maintain a job.  Then I filed for disability later after several surgery, during which time I was not able to contact physicians due to death or geographic disaster and with new laws hospitals and/or doctors offices have a limitation on how long they have to retain medical information.  Therefore, I have not been able to have my loans forgiven.  So I am still fighting to find a way to pay student loans.  I loved going to college (even though I couldn't finish}.  I wanted my kids to go college, and they did, unfortunately, now they are battling to pay extreme amounts of money, because of interests and whatever else.  Just like me no credit, mostly due to student loan reports.  Unless we get lucky and win the lottery or create a successful business. I feel very sad for all of us.  To try so hard to come from the bottom of the social system with pride and yet be destroyed mostly because you wanted more out of life.  I don't wish that the rich fall, because their are some decent rich at the top, however, my dream is that our government would wake up and realize what this county is suppose to stand for and what made it great, starting with morality.  And allow those that want to be apart of a great nation to do so and put forth a honest misson to sincerely help us.  And stop underhanded greedy secret tactics to discredit and hinder the "trying to get up have-nots" out of fear of who might get up and how many.  Either because they want to have and be in control of everything and everyone and their ability to do, be or live in freedom and have the ability to share the power to make positive changes for the less fortunate that want to do all they can to make the world a better place, especially, here, at home in our land of the free and home of the brave.



I made a mistake and had two children without being married. Single mothers like me are vilified in this culture anyway, but I wanted to be different so I went back to college when my daughter was 2. I graduated law school in 2003 and passed the bar a year later.
I financed my entire education with student loans. I had to take the bar exam twice so I took out a sallie mae law student loan to exist and support two children while i took three months off to study. When I finally passed I couldn't find a job and I have been living pretty much by the skin of my teeth for four years now. My beef with Sallie Mae is the fact that my student loans have already increased by $20,000 in the past three years. I have explained that I have no job and no steady income and offered to pay a smaller amount than the $450. they were demanding a month (as much as my rent). I said I would try to pay $150, to just pay somethihg, but they turned their noses up at that. After going around and around, they were willing to give me a deferment, but you have to pay for it, a $150.00 "processing fee".   I told them that I receive food stamps, which is pitiful enough, but they don't give a crap and call me probably 8 times a day, as well as harrassing my mother, my cosigner, who is 76 years old and lives on her social security. And are they rude.  I try to keep in regular contact with them because I intend to someday pay them back, but everytime I call them or answer their calls their people are so shockingly rude it makes my heart pound.

I am willing to pay back the money I borrowed, but Sallie mae doesn't need to make us feel like criminals for not getting Ken Lay's job right out of college. Their bullshit fees are killing me slowly.  Like Ellen from NC says, I may as well just realize that this deck is stacked against me, I am never going to win this game, no matter how smart I am, or how hard I try.  I fully expect to die with Sallie Mae standing next to me, waiting to pick my bones and garnish my 15 year old car.

They absolutely have us all by the nuts, and it seems like it is going to be a generation of us drowning under the tide of student loan debt.  Do they want us to succeed or not? Do they want to help us help ourselves, or not? Sallie Mae just called my mobile phone, I kid you not.
I hope there is some way that we can all band together and make this problem known.  I for one intend to write the Attorney general regarding Sallie Mae and their collection practices.



It had always been my dream to go to film school, and I was ecstatic when I got accepted into my first-choice school.  It was way beyond my ability to pay, and my parents didn't make enough money to give me much financial support.  Despite roughly $15,000 in scholarships and grants from the school, I still needed to borrow about $20,000 a year.  I had been religious about staying out of debt through college -- always paid off all credit card bills, etc, and was sure I could do the same for student loan bills. 

I graduated in 2001... And was living in New York.  When 9/11 happened, I lost all three jobs I had been working.  I searched desperately for new work -- but businesses were shutting down, and no one was hiring.  It was like the Great Depression had hit New York.  No one who had a job would leave their jobs, and people with far more experience than I had also lost their jobs.  I got a brief respite for six months, but interest was accruing.  When I tried to explain the situation, I was told there was nothing they could do.  I started being hounded about my student loans, and was given no cooperation or alternate repayment option when I explained my situation.  If 9/11 doesn't qualify as unforeseen special circumstances, I don't know what does.

My loan has since doubled, from about $60,000 to over $100,000 (this, in just five years).  No one is able to offer any protection, since Sallie Mae is so protected by the law...  There is  no reasoning with them, there are no lawyers who are willing to try to fight them, and there is no governmental help at all, to get even a second look at your case.  They act as judge, jury and executioner.

The government needs to stop taking payouts from Sallie Mae and ignoring who they really work for -- the citizens of this country.



Thanks for the opportunity to speak to this issue- it has been plaguing me for years. 
   I am almost 65 [this September I will be].  I went back to school in 1981 [when I was 440] and graduated in '85 at 44.  I had grants and loans.  AT THE SAME TIME however, I had very tragic family issues.  I was divorced and had a son who was terminally ill.  He eventually passed on 4/6/83 at eight and in my junior year.
   A year after I graduated, since I was no longer in school, of course "they" wanted their money.  I was in  the stranglehold of post traumatic stress disorder [ after years of pure hell] and had no way of working  or  repaying...I remember speaking with one representative and told him that I could send my can and bottle money but that's all I could do.  His sneerring reply was "Unacceptable.  I will put this matter in federal judgment."  He sure did. Immediately. And that began my nightmare. 
   It was not until 2000 that I had stable employment and could make regular payments.  In 2003, I had a medical emergency and I have been on deferment/forbearance since then.  As I write this, I was terminated from my job [of nearly five years duration] and my unemployment , while decent, is not sufficient to meet all my expenses and loan repayment.  The good thing is I left the Sally Mae system years agoand have been with Direct Loans for some time now.
   The fact still remains that Whatever income I have won't be sufficient to meet basic needs AND loan repayment.  I am diabetic and have no health insurance because I "make too much" unemployment.  I can't retire until 5/28/07.  I don't want to take retirement now because my monthy pension will be SUBSTANTIALLY reduced.
   The anxiety and general uncertainty is affecting my health badly.  I wish there was a way to find a middle ground with the government.  I am literally sick over this.
   If there  were a way to "forgive" the loans [ now- with all the accrued interest  I owe $93,000.  I would be happy to do some community service work or whatever creative, constructive  alternative. 
   I see so much government waste and fraud ging on and yet there is no forgiveness for this student loan mess. 
   I NEVER intended to default or defraud.  My circumstances were such that I was physically and emotionally unable to begin repayment and have had to stave off the "devouring lion" all these years.
   Is there any real help out there?
   Do you need anyone to testify?  I will be HAPPY  to lend my pen and voice!



I had taken loans of about over 150,000 to go to medical school. I have graduated from med school in 2002. I have not yet found a residency. I have gone into default. I recently did consolidate my loans with Salliemae, since I had borrowed from them originally. It is hard to find a residency and with the way things are I may not every find one. The cost of applying every year is increasing and very discouraging. I have a family to support and my wife has been trying to help me, but it is very hard to keep up with the payments. I need help!!!
Please assist me in any way you can. Thanks



Let me begin by stating that I firmly believe in and support this great country of ours.  I am a first generation American whose parents and grandparents struggled to ensure that I would be given opportunities that they were not afforded in their native homelands.  Opportunity unfortunately has come at a great cost.  I was given the opportunity to attend undergraduate school and I earned a BS as well as going on to become a chiropractor.  The great cost I speak of is the staggering debt my education has put me in.  My loan balance is approximately $180,000.00 which $26,000.00 is interest.  My current monthly loan payment is $950.00.  The aforementioned loans have been consolidated.  I have another student loan that I received from the private sector which totals $18,000.00.  Securing a position in my field of chiropractic has been difficult; to pay my bills I took a position as a NYPD officer.  My NYPD take home is approximately $2000.00 a month.  

I have  been blessed to earn 2 degrees and cursed with student loan debt of 10 years of education.  Our country is truly great; however, it is disheartening and shameful that this great country cannot find a remedy to secure the future of its greatest resource.  That resource would be us.  Every young person with the true desire to contribute positively to our community only to be struck down by a government who drops billions of dollars in to our war chest fighting wars that are not ours, pursuing and fighting phantoms and nuclear threats that are unfounded, who is in bed with the oil nations who will never have our interests (only our purse strings)...  My solution is that the government pay for all undergraduate degrees as our allies on the other side of the pond do and also, forgive a percent of debt based on income and or previous years W2 as well as paying off debt by doing certain approved community service, repayment of loans based on a sliding scale and lowering the interest.  The American Dream is just that a dream.  It is a dream my parents and grandparents believed in and now because of high student loan debt that dream is just something I'll keep in the furthest reaches of my mind because I know I'll never become debt free and our government unfortunately will not help or provide support or solutions.



I've borrowed close to $90,000 for undergraduate and graduate education.  Although I'm not in default, I agree that the student lending business is fundamentally crooked and structured to take advantage of, rather than assist, students and graduates.  My list of gripes has no end, but here are a few takes on this business that don't come up often:

1. What is a university's or academic department's responsibility for looking out for its students, and putting an appropriate price tag on a degree program based on its graduates' salaries?  In other words, how can a department of social work let its students naively borrow up to $80K on the assumption that they'll be able to pay that amount back without suffering a great deal of hardship, or buying their way into the very services they intended to deliver to others with their training?  I was shocked at the level of ignorance and indifference exhibited by the director of my program regarding the financial straits his students were creating for themselves. 

2. The consequence of this convenient ignorance is a reduction in the quality of the program's offerings in two ways: 1) Students who don't seriously approach education as a cost/benefit problem are not as likely work as hard to wring every possible penny of value from their program, and 2) academic departments are more likely to offer stale or otherwise lousy courses that don't provide real value to their students.  In other words, the easy availability of loans to students who don't know what they're getting themselves into, and professors who don't care how their students are paying them, ends up subsidizing bad curricula that might otherwise be phased out by more demanding students. 

I was one of those students who got into a fancy ivy league college and believed naively that any price tag was acceptable.  Then I took a finance course and felt a large pit in my stomach when I finally applied the lessons from that course to my personal circumstances.  Overnight, I became a far more demanding and critical "customer."  Academics especially hate to think of their students in that way because it implies a "student is always right" ethos--a grossly oversimplified and ignorant take, but one that persists among a class of supposedly advanced thinkers. 

But that's really the problem.  In fact, they (universities) are doing their programs and their students a disservice by completely divorcing any evaluation of their offerings from the cost to the consumer. 



I come from a very poor family, a divorce mother who raised me by herself. There was never any money to go to college, so I worked most of my life. I married and divorced and raised a child by myself as well.

In my forties, with only a high school education and sick of holding down minimum wage jobs with no hopes of advancement or of a decent wage, I decided to go to college. Of course, being poor, I had to borrow the money to attend college. I completed my BA in Business Administration and went on to complete my MBA, all by borrowing money because I could not possibly pay for a college education without borrowing.

Living in New York State, a State with an extremely high tax rate and cost of living, good jobs are extremely rare. After graduation, I worked a series of clerk jobs, paying no more than $8-$10 per hour. During the time after graduation in 2002, I became sick and unable to work, and when I was periodically feeling well enough to work, I got laid-off from two jobs. The period of time I was out of work due to illness and/or losing jobs was a total of 11-months. During that time, I lived on my charge cards, what little money came in from unemployment (disability was impossible because I expected to return to work in a short period of time and could not afford the expensive medical tests to confirm my diagnosis), I accumulated a great deal of debt. My student loans were in forebearance because I never made enough money to pay them. Luckily, two and a half years ago, I secured a decent job and my goal became to pay down the large amount of debt I had incurred. I had been doing that and my loans remained in forebearance for about 4 years, all the while submitting proof of my income and my debt load.

Then my student loans were aquired by CitiBank and all hell broke loose. It seems that now the qualifications for forbearance are so circumscribed that unless you are on Welfare, or Social Security, or paying at least 20% of your Gross income in Student loans, you cannot have a forebearance. I have given Citi a list of my debts (some of them with CitiBank), and wrote them a letter listing my debts and my income, and showed them how, at the end of the month, I was in a deficit situation and had to borrow from relatives and friends to stay afloat. Additionally, I advised them that I needed $5,000 worth of dental work; was told that I need a new roof on my house to the tune of approx $7,000; have medical expenses and prescriptions to buy; am driving a 13-year old car that keeps breaking down and I will have to get a new used car, etc. I wrote them a letter, listed my expenses, who I owed, how much my payments were, etc. What I got back was the standard Hardship Forebearance form, for which NO QUALIFICATIONS MATCHED MY SITUATION. I cannot understand why these qualifications are so strict and so circumscribed as to not take into consideration other situations in life which lend themselves to financial hardship. Additionally, I cannot understand why they figure in the Gross income -- I don't get that money; a good chunk of my paycheck goes to taxes. How can CitiBank count that as expendable income is totally beyond me.

I am at a loss as to what to do. The only action I can do is, again, resend the letter, restating my financial position. I don't want to default on the loans (PS I am already paying on another student loan at the tune of $100 per month. This one held by that relentless stalker, Sallie Mae). CitiBank wants $259 per month, so that makes $359 per month in student loans. That amount doesn't equal 20% of my salary, but I have so many other expenses, credit card payments, prescriptions, dental, food, living expenses (like everyone else), that I'm not sure what to do. If they refuse my forebearance, I can send them possibly $50 per month in a 'good faith' effort, but there is no way I can send them $259 plus pay the other $100 to Sallie Mae.

I cannot understand in a country such as the United States, I am being persecuted to pay loans that I cannot afford at this moment in time. I don't know what my options are. I often think of filing Bankruptcy, but I would rather pay everything off and get clear of all debt. However, I think that the payment of this student loan to CitiBank is going to push me right over the edge, mentally and financially. I don't have any answers and if someone could help me, I would appreciate it.



My story is very like the others, but please add me to the list. If there is ever a class action against these monsters I would like to be included in that as well.

1980- single Mom with two children, limited skills, limited child support. I decided to get a loan and go to college to better our lives. $4700. student loan.  I attended school and worked until 1983. It was so difficult (financially) I dropped out of school and worked two or sometimes three jobs at a time. We were living in upstate New York at that time and the unemployment rate was one of the highest in the country. My jobs ended. I could not get hired to save my life and we lived on aid to dependent children/welfare. That nightmare went on until 1988 when I got a good job. I attempted to make some kind of payment arrangements with New York State Higher Education services, but was told I could not until my account was up to date. I do not recall the amount but believe it was around $800. I, of course, did not have that kind of money. We were living pay check to pay check after so many years of ADC, etc. NO savings. (This was the first of three or four times I have tried over the years to deal with New York State Higher Education Services). Each and every time I have talked to these people they have been rude, sarcastic, threatening, with almost a gloating attitude. This first time I was surprised by their attitude, I mean I thought they would be happy to work with me. LOL

After that impossible conversation I did not contact them again for awhile. We moved downstate and around 1990 I had car problems. I used my rent to pay for the repairs to the car-so I could work and made an agreement with my landlord to pay rent with my tax refund check. New York State Higher Education Services took my $1500. earned income head of household refund and we wer evicted. I was a good tenant, but that kind of catch up was just not possible. New York State Higher Education Services continued to take refunds for years. I stopped any efforts to work with them and resigned myself to the fact, I'd never see another refund. Just the fact that I qualified for earned income credit seems to me to indicate that I didn't earn very much.

In 1998 I got training as a nursing assistant. Again, I tried to work out a payment plan-again they would not talk to me until I paid by this time I think around $900. I never had that kind of money. I believe they also around this time suggested I refinance for I think $9000. I mentioned what about all the refund checks-"Oh, those don't count. See, we are like credit cards", I was told.

In 2003 I got hurt on the job. I collected workman's compensation and worked light duty. New York State Higher Education, decided that this would be a good time to garnishee my reduced income. On August 1, 2003 they began taking my weekly income from my $8.50 an hour job. They did this until Sept. of 2004 when I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, arthritis, and live in chronic pain. I was declared disabled in February of 2005 and now receive Social Security Disability.  New York State Higher Education sent me several letter stating that they were going take income tax refunds etc. I sent them a copy of my award letter from Social Security and explained I can not work. They stated that I need a letter from a doctor- or if I die I guess they might leave me alone, thank God there is no co-signer.

Last week I received two letter from DCS-Diversified Collection Services, who have given me thirty days to pay them $10,083.59. They are working on behalf of New York State Higher Education Services.  I am sixty one years old. I live in chronic pain, I can not work.  I saw the CBS report on SallieMae and I don't think anything has made me as happy as seeing someone at last take on these monsters. My favorite question was when Leslie Stahl, interviewing one of the SallieMae guys, said something like, " It is really better for you if people don't pay
isn't it?  I had thought that same thing for the longest time, but to hear it stated and see the smirky face of the SallieMae guy was wonderful. It is clear to me, they did not want me to pay back, they made it impossible.

I thank you for your site and your efforts. I doubt it will do any good these creeps are in bed with the law, but I live in hope.



I defaulted because guidance counselors in public schools were being laid off which was what I was trained for.  However, I paid off the loan in full but they kept adding interest without any explanations even though I went to their office four times to get an explanation without success.  They refused to meet with me.  Now that I am a senior, they kept taking out over $156. a month to pay off the interest.  This went on for three or four years, until I got them to lower it to $50./month.  However, the stress create by trying to make ends meet each month from the deductions caused so much stress that I developed an overactive thyroid condition (caused by stress) that I now have to take daily medication which adds to less money in my pocket once again.



I was over 200K in debt from my undergrad and law school degrees.  I struggled to pay every month but usually failed to make the minimum payment.  My loan balance continued to grow.  I felt like the guy in the Johnny Cash song.  Another day older and deeper in debt.  Finally I just walked away from it all.  Moved overseas.  My life is a hundred percent better£”  Now I can even think about getting married, having kids, saving for retirement instead of lining the pockets of corrupt Sallie Mae execs and vile Senators.



I am a 49yo never married white female, with $140,000.00 of student loan debt to have earned my Master's in Social Work(2002) and almost (9 credits short) of a Master's in Sociology. During my struggles, I needed to be on both Public Assistance, and was on Social Security Disability for 7 years (1997-2002). I chose to go into the field that helped me to get my life together, and now I do not earn enough to live and have to work a second job just to make ends meet (and not EVEN be able to pay my student loans). They want $660./month for just the interest, and $1,400./month for the payment. I was with sallie Mae in forebearance for 3 years which are now up, so I just recently reconsolidated with Department of education, and they are not allowing me financial hardship, even though I have reviewed, over the phone with customer service, that I can't even swing thew interest. I have worked so hard to get off disability, and now I'm so fearful that "they" (meaning student loan company) will garnish my small salary that I won't be able to survive, and I don't want to have to be shamed and let me employer know my personal business.

I have looked for 3 years for a lawyer that may help me, due to the frailty of my disability, I'm fearful I will not be able to work and lose everything (meaning car, condo, furniture, etc) because I'll need to go back on disability. The copayments on my medications each month are $350.,not including office visits.

I feel hopeless, as I have never worked on the books, and have no retirement, I am 49 and very afraid that when i hit 65,even if I'm still working, that I won't be able to financially care for myuself, because of all the things I shared.
If anyone knows of a lawyer in NY, I am desperate because the student loans are, with all the interest over 20 years (meaning if I could work to age 69) a grand total of over 260,000!!!!!!!.

Please help!!!   I need someone to tell me who to turn to for help.



I am a recovering alcholic who defaulted on my student loan while I was drinking. I have been sober for over five years and employed for over four years. I have a garnishment on my pay, and the solutions for removing it are beyond my means. I would really like some help getting this loan out of default and the garnishment removed. Can anyone help?



I am 24 years old, I work as a supervisor at a organization called Verland. I make 28,000 a year. Previous to that, I spent my first year out of college with a great job as a case worker for Big Brothers Big Sisters, making a misly 20,000 a year.
Now I of course have a car (car payments), live in an appartment, make insurance payments and I have a cell phone.
Where I work now, Verland, is amazing, it's a home (campus) for Profound MR adults. I take care of these adults, and make sure the main people that take care of them are doing their job. It's a Great job, very rewarding. I get thrown up on, I have to bath them, I feed them, I wipe their behinds after a Bowl Movemnt, I don't get paid enough to survive!! NOW don't get me wrong, it's not Verland's fault, it's the bussiness, My passion to take care of these adutls and children with disablities, where most people would not be able to do what i do, and I can't aford to pay my bills. Sallie Mae wants my first two children in return. (ok not really, but they mise well as for them!!) They sent me a letter saying, my payments would be 400 something a month. WHAT!!!!!!!!! I can't believe it, how the hell am I gonna do that??? I work 40 hrs a week, sometimes more becuase I volunteer to do over time, and I still can't bank any money!!!!






I borrowed 37,000.00 I now owe 79,000.00 Sallie mae refuses to settle the loan amount for anything less than what is owed. They are rude and they want me to pay 600.00 per month while tacking on over 1100.00 in interest per month. This is crazy!!!


Without going into a lot of detail, let me start with the bottom line: I am on the threshold of 70 years of age and presently owe almost $135,000 to Sallie Mae, originally for 2 loans that have since been consolidated. The total amount of those loans were approximately $50-60,000 (like so many of you, I have not been able to get an accurate account history of those loans). I starting applying for the first loan in 1989 as a returnee for my baccalaureate, and then again when I entered the CUNY graduate school.

I stopped working this past June and applied for an unemployment deferral, which is due to end in March. According to Sallie Mae's payment schedule, I will have to pay close to $1,000/month through the year 2038 where the total amount to be paid will be almost $400,000 and I will be 100 years old!

I thought I was all alone with this problem, but after reading your stories on this website, I realize this is a very big issue and involves more people than I had ever imagined. We have to band together and change the system, not only to get this monkey off our backs, but to call out for justice for our kids and grandkids who will innocently and naively become caught up in this web of corruption that is going on in the field of education. Some of us ideally wanted to help others, and wound up making less money than Sallie Mae demands. Is that a crime? Those who work for nonprofit organizations should be lauded for their selfless, dedicated work, not punished. But Sallie Mae dictates that we should be making more money so we can pay them back.

Sallie Mae gives kickbacks to the schools to ensnare our youngsters into taking out loans that may saddle them with debt for the rest of their lives. I didn't realize that interest on the loans was compounded daily when I took out those loans, and I'm sure students of today are in the same ignorant boat. By the way, that is done deliberately by minimizing and concealing the real payback terms.

I don't want to make this note any longer, but I strongly believe it is imperative that each of us work as hard as we can, individually and together, to rectify this situation. My life and the lives of many of us are being shortened by the government-sanctioned Sallie Mae loansharks. I mean, how come Sallie Mae is immune from bankruptcy laws, can attach Social Security checks, and can harass defaulters illegally with impunity? We all know the answer - the majority of reps and senators in the Education Committee continue to be well-paid for their complicity. We have to move on this corruptive scheme designed to defraud good U.S. citizens, whose only intent has been to work hard and pursue a higher education, which can only help our nation. Why are we being forced to pay back 3 and 4 times the amount we originally borrowed?

I have plenty more to say, but I don't want to overburden anyone with too long a speech. We all know what is going on from the wonderful work accomplished by those who organize and maintain this website. By the way, if it's not already in the "Media" section of this site, we should add the November 17, 2006 article from the Washington Post entitled "Kennedy Targets Sallie Mae's Role".



My wife and I both borrowed to finance our education. We married in 1998, years after both of us graduated. My wife graduated in 1985 with a B.A. in Psychology. I graduated in 1986 with a B.A. in Government and International Relations, served four years in the Navy, then entered law school and received a J.D. in 1993.

I am employed as an attorney. A great deal of my practice involves representation of indigent criminal defendants, and I am paid for that at a rate set by statute. I earn approximately $50,000 per year. My wife works in the human services field and earns approximately $15,000 per year.

My wife has one child, who is 18, from her first marriage. We have two children, an 8-year-old son and a 1-year-old daughter. Our son has profound psychiatric needs. He has been diagnosed with ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Intermittent Explosive Disorder, and his psychiatrist is considering a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder as well. It is to the point where even something as mundane as getting him through a day at school without a major incident is difficult. Needless to say, we pay a great deal for psychiatric treatment and medication.

I borrowed approximately $70K, mostly for law school (I went through college on a NROTC scholarship) and my wife borrowed about $10K. With interest, my student loan debt is now over $150K.

We filed Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in 1999, discharged in 2003. Because of some financial setbacks encountered after that (job loss), I had to file another Chapter 13 case in 2005 to save our house. Meanwhile, while I'm in Chapter 13, ECMC, who holds my wife's loans, began administrative garnishment proceedings against her. I've considered filing for discharge of student loans on the basis of undue hardship, but everyone I've talked to tells me I don't have an undue hardship because I make too much money and am capable of working. It seems to me that if that's the case, the meaning of "undue hardship" has been grossly perverted by the Bankruptcy Courts.

I really don't know what to do. It's at the point where the student loans are threatening my marriage. I've even thought of suicide, since the student loan people are sending me the message that I'm worth more dead than alive, but I realize that would hurt my children far worse than any financial benefit they would receive from the student loan discharge.

This has gotten beyond way out of hand. Something needs to be done about it. Hopefully, the new elections have brought a Congress that will be more willing to work with borrowers.



Though I was born into a blue collar family in a typical midwestern state, my parents always pushed me to make something of myself. I did fairly well in high school and was admitted to the state university with a full scholarship and to an ivy league school, Cornell University. Foolishly, I chose to reach for the top and attended Cornell with no scholarship. All my life I had been told by my parents, by teachers, and by the media that I should attend the best school I can and that everything would work out. 4 years later I was graduating with $80,000 in debt and a degree in hotel management. I had been bamboozled by charlatins selling a dream that didn't exist.

The only jobs that were available to me paid far below what I needed to cover living expenses and pay back my loans so one again I took the advice of others and entered law school. Student loan companies have no shame, they bombard students like myself with huge loans and empty promises. They are no better than drug dealers, giving you a taste when you are desperate for something more to life and then taking away everything. Graduating from law school, I was in debt to the tune of over $200,000. I thank god that I at least attended a state school, New York Univeristy, instead of making the same foolish choice I did with my undergraduate school. Nevertheless, my debt is an absolutely mamoth amount. My parent's home was purchased for less than this and here I was, 25 years old with nothing to show for my years of work but debt. I took a job in New York City and can not see the day when my debt will be gone. Thanks to the "generous" consolidation scheme from the student loan company, I will be able to repay the loan over 30 years at nearly 1700 per month. My life is now a nightmare. My law degree barely brings in $12000 per month. With taxes taking nearly half that, thanks Bush, and my apartment costing $3000 a month, I am barely able to meet daily living expenses. By the time I have repaid my loans, 30 years thanks to a "generous" consolidation from the loan company, I will be 55 years old. This is pure madness. These people sold me a dream and I bought it hook line and sinker.



I have had the good fortune of avoiding default (so far). I attended law school from 2000-2003 and graduated without a job and with approximately $45K in private loans (I also have the full Staffords and a loan from the law school.) While I was unemployed I took 6 months of deferrment on my private loans. I then began paying them when I landed my first job (at $15.00/hr with no benefits).

When I first started, the payments (again, just the private loan) were only approximately $275/mo. I have made payments every single month for the past 3 years and have doubled my salary. Despite the approximately $11,592.00 I have paid on the privtae loans, the loan balance has not changed in these 3 years, but rather has increased a few hundred dollars. The minimum payment has also grown to where I now pay $369/mo. Of that $369 approximately 90% goes to principal and 10% goes to interest.

And, although my salary has doubled (to around $65k - I work for the government), it has really only meant that instead of just paying my private loan I am also paying back my Stafford and school loans. My loans are essentially growing faster than my salary. I am afraid that in a year or two I will be unable to pay the loans. Nevermind that the heavy debt burden keeps me from putting more than 3% toward retirement or paying $100/mo for enough disability to cover me (and my loans) should I get disabled.

It's a scary way to live. Knowing that one setback will throw me under the bus.



MA promising high school student, I began to look at my choices for college in my sophomore year. I grew up in the Marble Hill projects in the Bronx, NY. By my senior year I had been to numerous college campuses for campus tours and overnight visits. The dream was actually happening for me, an immigrant to the United States from the Dominican Republic. I finally decided on Ithaca College. All this time that I was looking at colleges and universities I neglected to consider financing as a major issue. I knew that I had to pay for it somehow, but I didn't really think about it because I was wrapped up in filling out form after form. I knew that my parents wouldn't be able to help much with this expense as they had with elementary and high school.

At the time, the cost of attending Ithaca College (including room, board, books, and other nominal expenses) was close to $25,000 per year. I was awarded some scholarships and financial aid. I also took on some loans that originally did not seem too large. I don't know how much I borrowed, truthfully. All I knew back then was that I was going to college. I was convinced that the degree would pay for itself. Through the years, the scholarship and financial aid money dwindled and I borrowed more as the cost of attending Ithaca College rose. Now I stand with about $50,000 in debt for a B.S. in Economics. I don't know how much I have repaid because, truthfully, I fear my student loan debt. Even when I was a financial counselor telling my clients that the first step to resolving debt issues is to open up and look at their bill statements I was not able to really look at my student loan debt.

I'm now back at the Marble Hill projects. I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Economics and I regret that I now have to question whether I was naive to have believed in the value of education.



My original loan was for $8,200. I received two deferments as the city was letting go guidance counselors, not hiring them. I was late in starting, but paid them the entire amount due, but Sennet & Krumholtz, who were in charge of collecting the money would never meet with me even when I went to their office three or four times to get explanations of their accounting practices. Neither did the New York State Higher Education Dept. cooperate. They started confiscating income tax returns, checking and savings accounts, and for over three years took $157. out of my social security checks (I am now a senior). Finally, through a senior advocate lawyer I got them to reduce this amount and I have to send them $50/month. They tried to again raise it to $100. The entire amount they want will amount to $48,000 if it was paid today on an $8,200 loan. That's
supposed to be helping students deal with this nightmare?



Iwent to a community college and took a 5000 dollar loan. A few years later the loan became due and I started paying back Citi Bank. I could only afford a 50 a month payment. I found out that only 30 dollars of the 50 was being applied to the balance. I thought I had a low interest loan. They tell you 8% or 6% when I got the loan. I then fell on hard times. I couldnt find work and I had medical problems for a few years. This is when i defaulted . As soon as I defaulted, all kinds of money was being added to my balance. Its not funny when a collection agency calls you twice and sends you two letters then tacks 800 dollars on to your balance. Thas when i refused to be taken advantage of. I had to declare bankruptcy. The judge who just errased 75000 dollars in credit card dept to the guy who went before me barked at me that they just changed the law 3 months ago. So I couldnt get it discharged. Time went by. I didnt know what to do. I now have a balance of13,000 dollars.

8 months ago I said to myself I better start paying these people back. A collection agency called the CBE group took my loan over. When I first called them The guy wanted me to wire them 500 dollars right away. I could only do 100. So I made a verbal agreement with them to pay 100 a month. What a mistake I made. Ever since I started dealing with these fools they call me at home and at work bothering me. They want me to sign papers to sell the loan to their partners in crime sale mae. The last 5 years they been taking my tax return and the money never goes to the balance. My tax return just vanishes. So far i payed them 800 dollars in the last 8 months and they only applyed 300 to my balance. I tryed to contact a few lawyers about the matter. No one wants to fight these crooks. I think I am just going to stop paying. Let it go to 100 grand. Its only a number.They will never get a dime out of me. If they come after my pay...I'll quit and find another job. Then it will take them another year to find out where i work. This can go on forever. I refuse to be ripped off by anyone. By the way... I hear a loan is discharged when you die. To death do us part.



We all have to unite and start making changes in our government instead of waiting for some one else to do it for us. After reading all of these nightmare stories I am very sadden about how Salle mae and other federal loan programs are destroying peoples lives. Hillary Clinton has attempted to pass laws allowing foreign immigrants the previlage of getting a free education, yet if you are a U.S. citizen you have to pay back your student debt several liftimes over. What is wrong with this picture! If they could allow immigrants the opportunity for a free education, why mustI pay my student debt with compound interest? There is something teribly wrong with this system. I went to college to become a doctor,my $70 thousand dollar loan is now $225 thousand dollars. Unfortunately, because of shoulder problems and carple tunnel syndrome I am unable to practice my profession. So I went into teaching, making less money and in worse off shape than what I started with. My monthly, payments for student loans are now $1400 per month with $1300 going towards interest. Only $100 dollars is applied to my principal balance. In 30 years if I make each and every monthly payment my original $70 thousand dollar loan wil have accrued to $594 thousand dollars. Wow, with that kind of money I could have bought a house, gone on vacationor actually lived a little bit. Compound interest is killing me and yet those letters from direst student loans keep on coming. How many people would serious like to start organizing a class action suit agaist the federal government? Maybe we should collaborate and see if we could make a change?



The original amount I borrowed was $150,000 for my law school education, which was from 2001-2004. I now owe approximately $240,000. I was unemployed for a year after graduating and accrued interest which was capitalized. I mostly repay the interest now, which isn't financially prudent but is the only payment plan I have enough money to pay, a payment plan which obviously is very lucrative for Sallie Mae but also obviously screws me royally, to put it mildly. This seems to be Sallie Mae's chosen business model.

I am very saddened by the stories of those who have committed suicide in part because of their debt. I can understand how those poor people felt as I understand from my own case how crushing, depressing, and demoralizing having this kind of large debt is. I was very depressed about my debt while I was unemployed and felt extremely hopeless, and entertained some very dark thoughts. All of my life it had been my poor family's dream for me to become a professional. My mother is a nurse and my father is a laborer. My mother counselled me, when I would call her distraught about my increasing debt, that everything would work out somehow, and to just take things one day at a time.

Thankfully, I was able to refrain from suicide, but I experienced a year of deep depression. I currently pay over half of my salary to Sallie Mae. I barely have enough left over for rent. It is wrong that the CEO of Sallie Mae is living off of $300 million year while others are living in despair because they made the mistake of being poor and taking out loans to pursue an education. Albert Lord is pure greed, and has no soul. He is a disgusting excuse for a human being. He, his wife, and his two children, as far as I am concerned, are all disgusting greedy pigs.



My story is that I moved to New York when I was 20. I was on my own, niave, kind of screwed up and really broke but was managing to survive. Trying to better myself I enrolled at marymount
college. After almost three semesters of school. I had a break down. I couldnt make enough money to pay rent, utilitities ect. and was being evicted by my lanlord. Well sooooo dpressed i had a complete breakdown. Ended up in the hospital at St. lukes. One of my teachers called at the hospital to see how I was doing. I was in an outpatient program for six years after that while I tried to just pay rent. I moved once. Went back to the school to visit but nobdy explained anything about the loan. I really didn't and couldnt comprehend or understand that I was going to go into default. I figured I would pay it back monthly when I got back on my feet. And go back to school.
But it took awhile. Then one day in 2000 I recieved a call from a collection agency. Saying that
I had to pay the loan in full or else I would be taken to court. Terrified I explained the story.
Then he said I could do the rehab or consolidation loan. I was like OK. But right before I signed.
I realized that my loan would double. It was originally 15,000 and after I signed with the rehab
contract and paid the nine months then the us department would take my loan out of default
and re-sell it at that time to Sallie Mae. My loan would then double from capitolizing on the
original interst. which would take my loan up higher to 45,000.while making huge payments
I cant afford. Of course I was like no way and refused to sign the rehab plan. They threatend
harrased, and have passed my loan from one agency to the next for the last 6 years. I talk
to at least three diffrent agencys per year and my interest on the oringinal has come up to
11,000 which now makes my principal $35,000. If I pay them all at once which is what Im
trying to do It would probally be 25,000 to (settle). If i do rehab now. My loan under a ten year
plan again will go up to 55,000. So I'm holding back. I dont really know what to do. I feel
that I would pay my loan monthy if it was directly to the us department of education or any other
instituton with a fair repayment program. But the USD told me (AGAIN)that they no longer hold my loans after I get It out of deault and that the only way to pay my loan off would have to be through the lender who they would sell my loan to. SALLIE MAE. The US Department of Education and Sallie Mae are corrupt. Sallie Mae owns the very collection agencys that the us department
hires to collect money. That in itself is a violation against my civil liberties. And there should be one huge filed suit against the both of them......Bear with me.. the other thing is that when you
recieve your rehabilation repayment plan. They mislead you and do not tell you that your loans
will be sold. your interest are capatalize on and there are hidden fees and penaltys. It is not stated in the agreement out of default. so far I HAVE HELD OUT. My intrest now is about $100 a month recurring. It would be double and growing now have I signed.



I borrowed 32,000, which is now up to 67,424.78. I don't know exactly how much I have paid--a few thousand in 1993, including one of the loans in full. This year I have paid I earned a PhD, but there were no positions in my field after graduation. Wanting to work in my field, I continued to do so by applying for and receiving research grants and teaching as an adjunct; I worked full-time sometimes (and started paying the loans); worked part-time sometimes (and this is where too many deferments came into the picture). I finally got a full-time academic job 9 years after receiving my degree and I consolidated with Sallie Mae, but my salary and the relocation dislocation meant that I could not pay more than just under 200.00. There were some periods in which the interest and penalties really accrued because I had not applied for new deferments soon enough. It is a mess. I am 60 with, as you can imagine, not very much money saved for retirement. I wanted to pull out of Sallie Mae and move to WD Ford, which forgives loans of borrowers who reach age 70, but I just learned that that is impossible.

I understand the only way I can get out of my relationship with Sallie Mae is to default on the loan.

No one who has worked this hard to be a productive member of society through teaching and advising, whether full or part time, should be forced to face these years as a slave to Sallie Mae's fees and penalties. Frankly speaking, these loans should be forgiven; another possibility is to forgive the loans in part and to provide ways of working off the loans through service, an option made possible for high, middle, and elementary school teachers, and medical doctors, but not for PhDs.



I came to USA at 17. I did my GED, and was very appreciated by my GED teachers who thought that i was the most hard working student they had met. I started college at the age of 18. At that point I was an immigrant, that had been in the country for 1 year. Dealing with issues that come with cultural shock and trying to keep up with my studies, it was a no brainer that it was going to take me more than 4 years to finish the bachelors degree in computer engineering in a tough engineering institution such as Polytechnic University. I understand that even though I was 18, I was old enough to understand that the loan I was taking out had to be paid back...and I did have the full intentions to do so.. I still do, if a miracle happened and my pay became from a mere 46,000 a year to 100,000 a year. I was from a poor family, and our financial situation seemed to have no end in sight. I just knew that no matter what happens, I wanted to finish my education, which I did.... in 7 years. I had capitalized $60,000 in student loans, by dropping some classes while in school, working 2 jobs to afford the book costs and transportation. As soon as college ended, it felt like someone had woken me up from the sleep. Interest started to pile up... I was looking for a job but interest wasn't waiting on that. WHen i found a job, my loan had hit a whopping 80,000. In short, I felt paralized.... I still do. My loans are increasing what seems to be exponential rate. I need help. I can't begin to describe... Just how many nights I go to sleep crying, because I didn't spend that money on drugs or drinks or even smoking. I have NEVER even set a foot in any club. All I did was try try and try to finish my education, but it seems like it was of no use.



Hi my name is Laurie, I too have a horror story, I took out a loan and graduated in 1994 with all the hope that i would have a great carear, Well in 1995 I broke my neck and have had numerous operations. I broke c1/c2 and have a rod drilled into my skull and am fused to c5, I can not turn or hold my head up for long periods of time and in 1999 I was dig. w/ Multiple Sclerosis with this I have a difficult time I am fatigued and often have trouble walking. I have sent in numerous disablility forms that both my neurosurgeon and my MS dr. have filled out to declare me perm. disabled, I did try to work once just because I was going nuts and I had to at least try, I couldn't do it and quit, the thing is I worked at a company where my family was friendly w/ the boss so they made special accomodations for me, but I had to quit, well after sending the all the info ( i had at least 35 different disability forms) that have decided that i need to pay 10k, I collect social security disability and have since 1995, I don't know what to do has anyone heard of this new site called, thats who made the decision based on what I wasn't told but I requested from them the info the had in my "file" and never recieved anything. It's never ending, HELP>>>>



I have two student loans, one held by American Education Services, and one held by Sallie Mae. When they both came due the AES loan was a good deal bigger yet my payments for it were less, a lot less. 160 versus 300+, it is now at 400+. Checking into it, I find out the AES loan has an interest rate of 2.75 percent, while the Sallie Mae loan is a whopping 18 percent!! The Sallie Mae loan was originally 14 thousand; the principal is now at 23 thousand and growing. I don't have the money to pay it, so it just keeps growing. My lawyer said to let them garish my wages as they can't take anywhere near the 400+ they are asking but they don't do that, instead content to just sit there and let the loan keep growing while harassing me non-stop. Like money is just going to magically appear from one day to the next. They call just about every day, most days two and three times even. I have requested they not call me at work but they still do. I have tried reconsolidating but no one will touch the Sallie Mae loan. I am at a lost of what to do, it's cause me no end of stress to think I will be dealing with this for the rest of my life with little to no recourse.

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