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Student Loans: Who Oversees The Collectors?

My student loan – the neverending debt.

So we all come in on the same page

Thirty, perhaps thirty-five years ago, I was attending university and keeping my two daughters in college as well.  I was encouraged to ask for a student loan — they didn’t have to twist my arm — and received a loan of $2,500.  That was a big loan in those days.  Tuition wasn’t nearly as high as it is now.

Inevitably I had to drop out at the end of that semester — my two girls’ education was priority.  I already had skills that supported us and I could afford to postpone a dream.  I paid consistently on my loan until the year I became disabled.  Proper notice was sent and my state’s rehabilitation counselor sent in duplicate paperwork.

Apparently neither set of forms ever reached them and my loan balance of $800 was put in default.  Eventually the government garnished my SSDI check for 18 months.  When they stopped, apparently, because their debt had been satisfied, a lawyer took me to court and I made a payment arrangement.

Fast forward to today

As small as the amount is, it’s all I can afford on a fixed income.  I’m still disabled and have reached the official age for retirement.  I have made my payments faithfully every month and on time for the past 4 years. (Isn’t online pay great?)  I have an opportunity to go back to school and enhance my self-taught skills in graphic design and web design.  I contribute time to a community video coverage of youth sports as the graphic designer/operator.

As of yesterday afternoon, everything was going  smoothly and I had a start date of October 7th.  Yippee!  Then that evening the default on my old student loan cropped up.  I’ve talked to the lawyer’s client, American Student Assistance, who told me it was in the lawyer’s hands.  I called the lawyer, explaining I would continue my payments but that I needed a letter from him to the school to allow me to start classes.

He said “no” before I got the request out.  I explained that I needed to improve my skills so that I would be able to work from home when my mobility issues worsen.  I love his response, “I’m not here to get you back in school; I’m here to get money.”  Basically, I’m –picture wood, a screw, and a screwdriver — need I say more?

Senior, disabled, and no where to turn

I’m discouraged but even more I’m outraged.  An $800 debt has become $1600 and is still growing with interest and fees.  This is just wrong!  I’m not dodging my responsibility, I’m acknowledging and paying on my debt and a thirty-year old debt is keeping me from helping my mom keep a roof over  our heads.  I want so badly to rattle some cages, maybe even turn them upside down, but that won’t help so I seethe quietly.

This hurts so badly, I had to get it off my chest.  Maybe this article will serve as a ‘what not to do’ guideline for others.

That’s my point of view.  What’s yours?

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