Help Sallie Mae is Ruining My Life!

Sometimes we get emails that just break our heart. This poor guy has lost his job due to Sallie Mae’s constant debt collection calls to his employer, and his monthly student loan payment is $1,100, which he just can’t afford:

I was hoping that I could get my interest rate down and also my monthly payments down considerably. Not a chance. They even get belligerent if you dare trying to make payment arrangements. I even tried to send $600 one month hoping they would take it in good faith and they just sent it back. It’s either payment in full, or nothing so they can charge you late fees.

Does anyone out there have some advice for this guy? .—MEGHANN MARCO

UPDATE: Reader D, who seems like he knows what the hell he’s talking about, suggests that those of you having serious trouble with the servicer of your loan contact the Department of Education via the FSA Ombudsman. 1-877-557-2575. D. says this may not solve the problem, but will provide an advocate.

Sallie Mae Is Ruining My Life!

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  1. bokononist says:

    Those f*ckers did the same thing to me when I was talking to them about a loan in deferment. Unfortunately, in most states, the laws that protect you from collector abuse don’t apply to student loans. I’d be a beligerent m*therf*cker with them on the phone. That’s what I did, and it seemed to work well for me.

    I’ve never raised my voice or screamed at anyone on the phone until I had to deal with them.

    Note also that the protections against collectors garnishing your wages also don’t apply to student loans in many states. If you want to negotiate a payment arrangement, perhaps you should start threatening bankruptcy, because that’s really the only option.

    On the other hand, if you live in a state where student loans aren’t exempt from collector abuse laws, calling your employer up is absolutely illegal, and the fact that you lost your job will make for a nice case. Check out http://www.naca.net/ and find a lawyer.

  2. pmm says:

    I may be dense, but what about a lawyer?

    He’s got me worried, I’ve just started paying off my Sallie Mae educational loan…

  3. Scuba Steve says:

    Wow $1,100. Makes my $50 dollar a month payment seem like poor people’s money.

    Must have been out of state, I hear they really screw those guys. One of the reasons I didn’t want to go to MIT.

    *Note to self, take student loan payments extremely seriously.

  4. Big Poppa Pimp says:

    It may have been inappropriate for them to call your employer to collect debts, particularly if you lost your job because of such calls. I would contact a lawyer.

  5. kcskater says:

    he says that legal action is pending. i hope he wins. I have no idea if him losing his job was illegal, but it should be. This reminds me of the RIAA business plan: Screw the customer and then squeeze out whatever is left. It really is heart breaking. I have a monthly payment that’s somewhat close to that, but I got married and have two incomes now, so it helps. From the sounds of it though, they’d probably call up his girlfriend and cause her to dump him. Poor guy.

  6. how much must one accrue to get an $1100 a month payment?

    I’ve got nearly $50K and my payment is less than $200 and I think even at its highest in a few years its still less than $400

  7. brooklynbs says:

    Try writing and/or calling Senator Ted Kennedy. Earlier this week, he asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to look into recent stock sales made by Sallie Mae’s chairman. The two topics are not related, but Sallie Mae is on the Senator’s mind these days.

    Pitch the story to your local newspaper; the Wall Street Journal; the local TV news “I-Team”; the newspaper of the college you attended; publications like InsiderHighEd.com; and, blogs such as FinancialAidNews.com. Get the story out there.

    Here’s the press contact for the person at Sallie Mae who handles media inquiries related to “Planning and paying for college”, including topics like “Repaying student loans” and “Student loan consolidation”. CC her on all of your media correspondences.

    Erica Eriksdotter: (703) 984-5628, erica.eriksdotter@salliemae.com

    Write clearly and without emotion. Concentrate on two issues: 1) Sallie Mae’s deceptive loan practices; and, 2) Sallie Mae’s potentially illegal collection practices.

  8. timmus says:

    Last week my wife tried to get Sallie Mae to send a statement showing how much she owes, as she’s been paying for years but they’ve stopped sending any statements. She called, and the guy (obviously in India) began a high-pressure pitch to sell her a mortgage.. she had to hang up. She has sent a letter.

    Sallie Mae is clearly a bunch of bastards.

  9. A relative of mine who worked for Sallie Mae was in charge of marketing their loan systems to colleges and universities (and quit in the 90’s when ethics apparently no longer mattered to the leadership). While his lessons won’t help the person above post facto, one very important lesson applies to anyone considering getting a student loan: you are under no obligation to get a loan from Sallie Mae. Based on arrangement a school makes with a lender, the school will make it seem like you are obliged to use the school’s preferred lender. But you are not. Instead, get your federal loan from a different private lender, for example Access Group.

    The reasons Sallie Mae is such a bastard of a company are in large part historical: they used to a be a quasi-federal agency (in fact, Sallie Mae is the nickname for the original “SLMA,” the Student Loan Marketing Association), and thus upon its founding, federal laws protected its business so they could offer low-interest loans (an example of this protection: Sallie Mae is allowed to own its own collection agencies). However, when Sallie Mae was privatized in the 90’s, those protections didn’t disappear. The company is a racket, pure and simple.

  10. timmus says:

    Oh wow, look at this (Wikipedia):

    [Sallie Mae Corporation CEO] Albert Lord recently attempted to purchase a major league baseball team with wealth he has extracted from defaulted borrowers (his compensation since 1999 was $225 million, not including appreciation of his stock). Collectively, Albert Lord and CEO Tim Fitzpatrick have taken about $367 million from the company since 1999. Since 1997, Sallie Mae has registered $3.6 billion in stock for offering to employees. Sallie Mae CEOs regularly top the list of highest paid executives in Washington, D.C.

    A “60 Minutes” segment (originally aired May 7, 2006) examined Sallie Mae, including its business practices.

  11. Also, 60 Minutes did a brutal story on Sallie May last spring…fortunately, the transcript is available:
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/05/05/60minutes/main15

  12. kimdog says:

    Here’s how I got rid of Sallie Mae. I defaulted. Not intentionally… but I was going through a bad time, and let things slide. Since my loans were guaranteed Stafford, they went back to the state which has it’s own loan service management.

    I was able to enter into a “rehab” program with them, and when the payments were too high (mine are $650 per month, I was able to work out a payment arrangement. And the people there have been pretty cool. They really want to help you…

    The bad part of this is that I incurred some major delinquency fees. The good part is that if I can pay the loan off in full, they will drop all of those fees.

  13. wikkit says:

    I owe ~$50k for my engineering degree, and my monthly out-of-pocket totals ~$310. To owe $1,100 per month you must either 1) owe a ton, or more likely 2) have a combination high APR/short-term loan.

    Having just graduated and gone through this in the past couple of years, my advice is consolidate all of your loans into a fixed-rate 30 loan. If you end up with a high interest rate and have the means to make higher payments, pay it of in 10 years. If you don’t have the means, take the full time in paying it off. It’ll keep the debt collector away at least. If the interest rate is low, bank the difference and earn interest on it.

    Unless you’re a doctor or a lawyer you’re going to drown on $1,100/month. I’d fix that instead of fighting Sallie Mae for retribution.

  14. char says:

    Wow. I’m going to give my parents a call and thank them for the saving they did for my college education. Then I’m fowarding this to my GF, who’s looking into grad school later this year.

    Finally I’m going to pay it foward to my eventual kids, and make sure they don’t have to go through this. That’s absolutely insane.

    Char

  15. wikkit says:

    Oh, and I had a small student loan with Sallie Mae. They truly are bastards.

  16. kenposan says:

    Damn that sucks. Glad I didn’t use Sally Mae for my loans.

  17. acambras says:

    Is it possible for this guy to get his loans/payments consolidated through another lender? Or did he already do that and $1100 is the end result of that?

  18. coraspartan says:

    My advice would be to consolidate the Sallie Mae loan with his other federal loans (assuming this is possible). I had Sallie Mae loans and when I graduated from law school I consolidated all of my loans except for my Perkins loans (because those have such a low interest rate). The federal gov’t will let you forbear. The current payment on my $80,000 loan is $535 (over 30 years), but I am only able to pay a little over half of that, so that’s what I do under an agreement I have with them. Every 6 months I apply for a loan debt burden forbearance in which I willingly increase my payment by another $25 a month and this seems to keep them happy. I have been doing this now for over 5 years with no problems. Yes, my loan is only increasing because interest is accruing, but I am able to feed my family and put a roof over our heads. I hope this will work for this guy. What a nightmare! If that fails, he should lawyer up.

  19. royal72 says:

    sue and possibly file bankruptcy, which may actually help your case.

  20. Sam Glover says:

    He says he has talked to consumer advocates, but it surprises me that they have told him they can do nothing. He should look up a consumer attorney on naca.net who has experience with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to find out what his options may be.

    This may not be an FDCPA case, if Sallie Mae is collecting the debt themselves. Still, this might be a powerful defamation and invasion of privacy case.

  21. The Walking Eye says:

    SallieMae issued all of my original loans, but right after I graduated I got consolidation letters from every type of company.

    I consolidated through Citibank, have a $156 a month payment where I pay extra each month (not anymore cause I’m back in school).

    My advice would be to consolidate to another company over 20 years at half the interest (which is what I got) if that’s still an option for loan takers out there. Should cut your payment in half doing that.

    I’ve had great service from them. No hassles on deferring due to hardship or going back to school, have online paying and statements. They’re at studentloan.com.

  22. royal72 says:

    sadly you are not alone…
    http://www.consumeraffairs.com/finance/sallie_mae.html
    also check out this law firm that is investigating complaints against sallie mae and i’m guessing is gearing up for a class action lawsuit…
    http://www.lieffcabraser.com/sallie-mae.htm

  23. misskaz says:

    Dammit, my student loan recently got sold to Sallie Mae without my consent. This makes me nervous.

  24. Frank Grimes says:

    OK…hate to be contrarian but my wife and I have had nothing but good experiences with them. Very professional with us, easy to deal with and when she consolidated her loans a few years ago was able to secure 3.75% which will drop to 2.75% in a few years since we auto debit the payment. Her loans were low interest because she borrowed when rates were a joke and maybe because she’s a medical professional? To help lower your rate they will immediately drop .25% if you have the money automatically deducted from a checking account and then if you make 48 payments without being late another 1%. I feel for the guy but every year he had to sighn TIL statements and must have known he was burying himself.

  25. phrygian says:

    My husband had a “smallish” loan with Sallie Mae. When we got married, paying it off was a priority because it was our only major debt. At first, we just paid the monthly amount (~$200), but then started paying a little extra each month. Every few months, they would send us new payment booklets that displayed a new, lower monthly amount – eventually getting as low as $30/month. we kept paying the original monthly amount (plus some) and eventually Sallie Mae stopped sending us payment booklets at all. That made it very difficult to track how much of the loan was left, but eventually we were able to get them to sent us a letter stating how much was left on the loan and we paid it off. But, we’d still be paying (7 years later) if we’d fallen for the lower amount per month. We’d just rather have no school loan debt than a small, long-term one.

  26. kcskater says:

    only federal loans are able to be consolidated. Private students loans, ie loans issued directly by the private lender, are not able to be consolidated. Your FAFSA determines your max federal loans. Any gaps have to be filled in with private student loans through orgs like Sallie Mae, Citibank, et al. Those private ones are high interest (mine were over 7%, my wife’s as high as 9.5%) and can’t be consolidated.

  27. coraspartan says:

    Filing bankruptcy won’t help him. Student loans aren’t dischargeable.

  28. Josh Smith says:

    I have been trying to consolidate 3 of my wife’s federal loans away from Sallie Mae for over a year.

    Sallie Mae’s Incompetence
    http://www.imjosh.com/salliemae

    I have a good deal of company info on the site, as well as my troubles, and company misdeeds.

    I hope the info can help someone! I am sending out several letters in the hope that Sallie Mae will let go of these loans to my consolidation company, I will post copies for reference.

    Please tell everyone you know to avoid this company like the plague, although since loans can be sold by the holding company; you, like us may end up at Sallie Mae without any say in the matter.

  29. alicetheowl says:

    To those of you proposing filing for bankruptcy: that doesn’t apply to student loans. You still have to pay those back after filing.

    It’s the only thing that kept me from filing for bankruptcy several years ago, when my debts were at their worst.

  30. jendomme says:

    Student loan payments, as with any other loan, is a function of the outstanding balance, duration, payment frequency and interest rate.

    My graduate business school loans total about $1400 per month. The loans are from a variety of sources, so there are a variety of interest rates. However, my loans will be paid off in 8 years and I will have paid very little in interest over the life of the loan. Interest is what really gets you. You’ll likely pay more than in interest than what you’ve borrowed if you stretch your payments out too long.

    In many cases, tuition, and hence student loans, are a function of the expected pay upon graduation. MBAs, JDs and MDs usually have large student loans because the schools charge high tuition because there are well paying jobs waiting for us after graduation. The age old mantra is never borrow in total more that what you can expect for your first year’s earnings. For business school folks, this means that we were advised not to borrow more than $145,000. This is all fairly straight forward stuff folks.

  31. QTex says:

    “perhaps you should start threatening bankruptcy, because that’s really the only option.”

    Student loans cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. Bankruptcy Code § 523(a)(8).

  32. Falconfire says:

    I have had to do all my loan payment with them through the website, otherwise they dont send any statement books and dont even tell you when you have paid back more than you owe.

    They also routinely lower your payment ammount in a effort to get the maximum amount of intrest out of you.

    Nothing but problems with my credit thanks to them, the only black marks on my credit report all dealing with them trying to get me to pay back my loan before I was out of school when their own agreement says they wont. Went back and forth for over 6 months before finally I just gave up and payed back early. At least the government will remove them if you default on your loan and then make good, Sallie Mae refuses to and by their own agreement I NEVER DEFAULTED OR MISSED PAYMENTS!

  33. I actually have had a fine experience with Sallie Mae, they were helpful with a forebearance when I was broke and I ended up consolidating through them.

    weird, I’m usually the one who gets the crappy service, not the good service

  34. Josh Smith says:

    You can consolidate your private loans, though you don’t get all the benefits of a Federal consolidation. Also fewer companies offer private loan consolidation and it is harder to get. In many cases your debt to income ratio may be too high, so look for a co-signer now!

  35. thrillhouse says:

    Consolidation is the way to go here. Note that this is different from debt consolidation – this is just for student loans. Also, student loans no longer can be discharged in a bankruptcy. And yes, they can also garnishee your wages without a court order. Near as I can see, death or disability are your only ways out without paying – ie, they are going to get their money.

    College Loan Corporation is someone that Dave Ramsey recommends for this and it wouldn’t hurt to give them a call to see what they can do for your specific situation.

    After that, do yourself a favor and pay that sucker off ASAP. Many people will talk about this “good debt, bad debt” theory, with student loan debt being right there on the “good” list. I’m sure you’re feeling pretty “good” about them right now, whether you subscribe to that theory or not, J. As you’re seeing, debt is debt, and the borrower truly is servant to the lender.

  36. juri squared says:

    To the people recommending consolidation: in his article, he says that he doesn’t have a cosigner, so this is obviously something he’s considered before.

  37. Asherah says:

    I’m not the biggest fan of Sallie Mae, my primary problem being that they voluntarily extend the repayment period without asking, upon consolidation. (In my case, giving me 20 years repayment versus the previous 10.) I’m sure that’s where most people get screwed, by not paying attention to how long they will have to pay if they stick to those bare minimum payments.

    However, I have not had any problems with them whatsoever in the management of my loan (approx. 10K for undergrad) and can view of all my information on their site (current balance, interest accrued, etc.) so I’m not sure why individuals would have issues getting their loan details. Also, I’ve consolidated with them and locked in 3.375%.

  38. weebmac says:

    Oh man, I feel this pain. Sallie Mae was generous enough to lend to me at a rate between 14% and 16%, over the course of my schooling (I didn’t have a solid cosigner by the time my second round of financing came due and I didn’t want to drop out).

    My monthly payments for my private loans are a zesty $975 per month. Basically my only hope is that my career moves fast enough that I can afford to pay that amount before my forbearance period runs out. I’ve got about eleven months left to make some magic happen.

    I accept my responsibility for taking out loans for education. I’m glad I got the education I did. But Sallie Mae’s practices are both predatory and dangerous to students. Someone needs to take these guys down.

  39. griffin911 says:

    Most of the loans he is talking about are private student loans as opposed to federal subsidised and unsubsidesed loans which do not have the same benefits and protections that the federal loans do.

  40. opsit says:

    At what point in your college career did you actually sit down and evaluate your financial situation? To clarify, you mention you’re starting out with a generic 30,000/annual salary. I don’t know how much you borrowed to achieve this salary goal, but where did you draw the line? Is all of this education that you have racked up on credit really going to pay out? What is your future earning potential? It seems like you got in over your head without looking out for your financial future. It seems like from your post that you were looking for ways out of the loan before you thought about how much you owed and how you would begin to pay it back.
    It sounds like they did pull some things over on you, but how do you justify letting it get to the point that you did?
    When was your first payment due and have you actually paid anything towards the loan? Were you making any payments as required when they started to call your employer?

  41. kcs says:

    Student debt makes me sad. My roomate racked up $160,000 in private student loans (interest rates between 8-10%). Most of them are with Sallie Mae. Now it’s time for him to start paying it back and the payments total $2100/mo. And he is an aspiring screen writer who makes shit at the moment so, he’s pretty much f*cked. Additionally, his parents (who don’t make a lot of money) are co-signers so if he defaults, his parents will be on the hook.

    Sad Sad Sad Sad.

  42. Ran Kailie says:

    Sallie Mae is the devil, I got the same crap from them, I eventually got a loan with my credit union and paid them off. They still hounded me claiming the payment was .02 short even though my CU got the amount verified over the phone.

    My CU fought with them thankfully and got me off the hook. But he really should try to get another loan to pay it off.

  43. Falconfire says:

    and can view of all my information on their site

    thats the biggest problem with them, most people dont want to use a website for loan management and Sallie Mae these day pretty much requires it to get any info out of them.

  44. oudemia says:

    Falconfire — Sing it, sister. This past November, Sallie Mae reported to all the credit agencies that in 2002 I was “more than 90 days” delinquent on my student loans. This was demonstrably false, as I was a full-time grad student at the time and my loans were all in deferment. Despite the fact that I had incontrovertible proof (via my enrollment and loan status records from my grad school and Sallie Mae itself) that I could not have been delinquent then, Sallie Mae — while telling me on the phone that everything was fine and there were contacting the credit agencies to rescind their negative comments — insisted to the credit bureaux that their information was correct. It took many, many calls to Bengaluru to fix this. (And yes, it is fixed now — Sallie Mae took it all back and my credit report is correct.)

    I’m actually wondering if their action wasn’t in some way punitive. Why did something that supposedly happened in 2002 get reported in 2006? The very same month that I moved the loans I had with them over to another lender?

  45. Gopher bond says:

    When people ask my advice on college I always say the same thing. Avoid loans like the plague. Not just to avoid Sallie Mae but for your financial well-being. Pay cash for community college for as long as you can and find a university that has a mutual agreement to accept transfer credit.

    If, before you enroll, you learn that loans are no way to put yourself through college, then you’ve learned more than the majority of college students.

  46. -J- says:

    Jerkwheat – That is a fantastic Idea actually. I will permanent marker some private information on the most recent bill, scan a copy of it to .png and upload it to flickr or something so you can all see it.

  47. packofwildhobos says:

    For everyone saying pay off your student loans right away I have about $20K in loans (engineering school) and was able to consolidate at under 3% for 20 years. I make 5% on my money market alone, why would I ever pay off more than the minimum on my loan? That is the definition of good debt.

  48. wildhobo says:

    testicles,

    You are 100% wrong about loans not helping some people. I come from a military family with 3 children. My parents told me they would help the best they could with college and the rest was up to me. I didn’t work during college except for summer’s and borrowed $20K. I went to a state school to keep costs low and fun high. I graduated with an engineering degree in 3.5 years, got a job with one of the largest defense contractors in the country, and pay less than $150/month for my consildated 20 year loan with a 2.5% interest rate that goes down another percent in 6 more months. I make over 5% interest on my money market account. Without loans my family could NEVER have afforded for my let alone my brother and sister to all graduate form college.

  49. wildhobo says:

    Drat “for me, let alone my brother and siter, to graduate from college.”

    Not that you could tell from my grammar.

  50. wildhobo says:

    SISTER!

  51. Gopher bond says:

    wildhobo,

    I didn’t say loans can’t help anyone. I said to avoid them like the plague (which is to say if at all possible). I took out a loan myself. I worked all through college and invested most of it at a rate higher than my loan. When I graduated I was able to payoff my loan with one fat check, around $30K.

    That’s not the point, the point is that, obviously, most people have no idea what they’re getting themselves into. 21 years old, a degree in liberal arts, and $120K in debt is no way to start life. If they’re asking me for advice, then they don’t need to be taking huge loans so they go somewhere they think will be more fun.

  52. -J- says:

    acambras- I tried, but no one I can find will touch my now $64,000+ loan ammount unless I have a co-signer which I do not have as my credit has been all but ruined by artificially deflating my credit score and showing the account in delinquency. Even if I forbear with sallie mae one more time to make it “current” they still wont approve me unless I have a co-signer.

    coraspartan- Where did you happen to go to consolidate your loans? Before I went to school I had excellent credit with this loan issue the only mark on it even still.

    I really would like to try to explore all avenues before taking legal action. Even though they have been violating the act and I have documented proof of that, I still did use a portion of the original loan and owe at least the original amount I agreed to.

  53. Her Grace says:

    I’m feeling ridiculously lucky that all of my loans are federal, and will total only about $27,000. I only had to pay for grad school–THANK YOU, MOM!–and hope to be able to pay off the debt within 10 years of working (we’ll see, of course).

    It makes me sad that I can look at a debt in the tens of thousands of dollars and feel comparatively good about it, knowing how much others spend. It’s my only debt (credit card rarely used, paid of full when I do use it), and I’ll be consolidating it down to a low-rate single loan (rather than 3 semester loans) once I graduate. I hate being in debt, but I’m glad I did it.

  54. superbmtsub says:

    Burn in hell Sally Mae! God Im so glad I never took Sally Mae.

  55. TechnoDestructo says:

    I may be looking at running up oh, 30-70,000 in debt for law school starting this year.

    Alright…so Sallie Mae is bad. Who is good? Who can I trust, and how can I make sure they can’t screw me?

  56. medusasbedhead says:

    I used to work for Direct Loans, which is a gov’t student loan company. Seriously, they’re VERY easy to work with payment-wise, will work w/you no matter WHAT your financial situation is, and are basically a dream. This guy (and anyone else having a hard time at the hands of Sallie Mae and other predatory private lenders,) can consolidate his student loans w/Direct Loans via this link–click the button that says “Application Home” in the upper right hand corner to get started: http://loanconsolidation.ed.gov/

    Also, the cap interest rate on Direct Loans is 8.25% for Stafford, 9% for PLUS loans, if memory serves correctly. Last year, a friend of mine was going through a nearly identical situation to this guy (only at the hands of Citibank,) and now that she’s had Direct Loans buy out her loan, her payment is affordable, the lender will work w/her no matter what her financial status, and she doesn’t have that hanging over her head anymore. Plus, you cannot declare bankruptcy on student loans. Doesn’t happen. Frozen, yes. Discharged, no. Bankruptcy threats won’t faze Sallie Mae, or any other student loan lender in the US, for that matter. Feel free to call them w/any questions on repayment plans, terms/conditions, etc. beforehand. Good luck!

  57. Sallie Mae is SATAN. My husband’s loans are with them. Mine are with Citibank Student Loan Corporation (I reccommend them, TechnoDestructo), which is far and away easier and more pleasant to deal with. They appear to actually want me to be able to pay off my loans.

    As noted, bankruptcy won’t discharge student loans. Your only options are death, permanent disability (more or less along SSI definition), or defaulting and fleeing the country. Which I actually had a friend from college do. He decided it would actually be easier to spend the rest of his life in Bolivia than pay back his loans.

    “The age old mantra is never borrow in total more that what you can expect for your first year’s earnings. … This is all fairly straight forward stuff folks.”

    That’s really dismissive. Life is what happens when you’re making other plans. Such as those of us in my law school graduating class who came in when salaries were $125k and rising and the market for lawyers expanding like crazy, and between starting and graduation, the market absolutely and utterly tanked becuase of the tech wreck and because of 9/11. There were still high-paying jobs out there, but not nearly in the numbers before. This was a top-10 law school and people were unemployed for MONTHS after graduation and many ended up taking jobs that paid $40,000 to $60,000 rather than the $125,000+ they had expected — and taken out loans for.

    There are all kinds of reasons people end up with more student loans than they can pay off, and “borrowed too much” is only one of them.

  58. silverlining says:

    There might be exceptions because this loan is with Sallie Mae, or because it’s a student loan, but I understood collectors can’t refuse an offered payment.

    This sounds incredibly abusive. Have you contacted your state Attorney General’s office yet? I know this isn’t the case in all states, but in my state, the AG consumer affairs staff are absolutely excellent. If they can’t handle the issue themselves, they can at least give you an idea of how to proceed, and it’s free.

    Give it a try, and best of luck.

  59. isadora says:

    I just have to give a second to Direct Loans. I consolidated with them after college and they’ve been a dream to work with. They’ve helped me through lay-offs and other struggles and have never called me or bothered me in anyway!

    Their website is easy and painless and affords me the opportunity to change my payment plan with a click of a button! I owe about $20k today and my payment options are nearly endless and I can change them easily! LOVE THEM.

    I probably took too much out in loans (though I wasn’t that smart–I used credit cards to fill in the gaps) but I also grew up poor and wanted better for myself so loaning up was my only option to get out (at least it seemed that way at the time). It was either that or deliver y’all really bad customer service as a waitress or a check-out gal at TJ Maxx!

  60. snobum says:

    I had really high student loan payments as well that I really couldn’t afford. I went to a company called Education Finance Partners and I was able to consolodate my private student loans. The loan period stretched out to 30 years which significantly lowered my payments. You may want to check them out!

  61. reynog says:

    I’ve borrowed $20k and I’ll be graduating in May,07. If I pay off this amount prior to graduating, will I have to pay interest?

  62. Jackie0011 says:

    I have had numerous problems with Sallie Mae. I wanted everyone to know that there is a law firm investigating Sallie Mae’s business practices (and you do not have to live in Florida to participate). The link is-

    http://www.jameshoyer.com/problem_SallieMae.html