Dear Mr. President,
I am among the many graduates out there that are suffering from the enormous amount of student loan debt. My specific case is unique in regards to my school of choice and degree. However, what has disturbed me the most is my current Sallie Mae Loan. At the age of 19, I had agreed to financial aid. You don't really understand what your actually requesting in those offices. All you see is that a guidance counselor says here is what you apply for, and here are your courses. If I had known that I was getting into a debt that would forever haunt me, my family, and every ability of my life I would have sought out a better solution immediately.
The original amount is $44,000. Today that debt is $70,676.28 with an interest rate of 13.12%. I have been unable to find work in my field because the degree from my school is not from a accredited/recognized university. While attending the university in Florida, the school had lost it's accreditation due to lack of student enrollments. Sallie Mae still approved my school's request for my personal student loans despite the school's now changed accreditation, and no one informed the students. Two years later, in my senior year, came the first time I had discovered that the school had temporarily lost accreditation while trying to apply for an NCIDQ qualification. I decided I would try to transfer to accredited school, yet as a senior I would lose my senior course credits and would be required to re-enroll in classes, further delaying a graduation date, and moreover adding to financial aid and student loan debts. I stayed, graduated, and hoped for the best.
Nearly 5 years later the growing student loan is now an impeding debt that affects much of my life. Settlement companies call forcing me to settle the loans. Demanding money, in the amounts of $50,000, or $40,000, and require you pay a good faith payment in the amount $2400 that needs to be collected within 48 hours and is not applied to any principal balances. My growing concern is the ultimate threat I have received to have wages garnished. Even if I was able to make the monthly payment of $700, $650 is interest, and $50 dollars is applied to the principal amount. I ask, how is that fair? Reasonable? My loan has nearly doubled in the last four years despite my having always done the best to make the minimal small payments every month to Sallie Mae, or enter into repayment programs.
With student loans being able to be claimed in bankruptcy, without any bank willing to extend different loan options with lower rates or reduced payments, or at the very least finding myself unable to qualify for a loan to pay the settlement offer. I find myself wondering how on earth am I suppose to get out from underneath this? How is any of this fair? How can I, a responsible citizen, living off of $28,000 a year resurface again? How do we stop Sallie Mae and other student loan providers from allowing unreasonable interest rates and unattainable repayment plans? How do we control the schools that qualify for students to obtain student loans? What is the back up plan when things go wrong, and how do we as individuals free ourselves from debt?