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Monday, December 15, 2014

The Student Loan Saga

I don't like to air my dirty laundry on the internet (OK, that's a teeny bit of a fib), but I want to make sure that everyone understands what we are doing to our young people with student loans. Yes, I know that I am not young. Yes, I understand that I probably should've paid my loans off by now. And yes, I know that ultimately it's my problem if they don't get paid, but when my loans were managed by the U.S. government, they seemed less interested in ruining my life than this private outfit that manages them now. So, here is my whole letter today after my bajillionth letter from Granite State Management and Resources (I hope they google themselves) saying that I need to work with them, despite the fact that every time I call them, they are unwilling to work with me. Enjoy, and pay your bills, kids!

[Note: I am copying the office of my Congressman, Jim Cooper, on this letter. I would hope that since you are a contractor for the federal government and under that contract at the will of the U.S. Congress that bringing his attention to the way you do business will help other student loan borrowers in the future, if not myself.]

Thanks for your letter. I am going to reply by email, which was one of the ways that you suggested contacting you. I appreciate that you are checking in on me and warning me of all the horrible shitty things that could happen to me if I don't pay my student loan. However, I will not be calling you from my office where my co-workers can hear my business to listen to you tell me once again that you are unwilling to work with me on my student loan despite my willingness to come to a solution that works for everyone and your monthly emails saying that you want to work with me (which is zero percent true at this point, but I'm sure the federal government makes you send those out).

First of all, while I have missed several payments this year (which as I explained and you do not care, was due to my roommate not paying her rent for several months leaving me in a very precarious situation), I am now paying you above the minimum payment required every month. Although with the amount that I am in arrears, it will take several months -- if not years -- to get myself back into a situation where I am caught up. I am fully aware of this, but the last person I talked to explained that as long as I made my payments it knocked 30 days off the number of days I was in arrears and as long as I stayed under 365 (which I was well under at the time I had this conversation) that I would not default. However, your current email talks about all the bad things that happens when one defaults, so I am beginning to wonder if this was yet another of your fibs and exaggerations. Or maybe it's just a heavy-handed attempt to milk blood out of a turnip. I'm not quite sure. If you could enlighten me on where exactly we are in that process and if, in fact, I am shaving 30 days off my impending doom in my attempt to catch up, that would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for the newsflash that you are about to trash my credit several months after you have decimated my credit. I could not even get a loan to buy lunch at this point. I pray to God everyday that my car won't stop working, and I live in constant fear that the bank will recall my mortgage due to the rapid free fall of my credit score, and I will be homeless. All because I missed a few loan payments and you refuse to work with me.  I am not asking for debt forgiveness. I am not asking for reduced payments. All I want is a reasonable agreement that will allow me to not be punished for the rest of my life because I fell on hard times for a few months. Literally, this situation has me understanding why people feel like there is no way out and kill themselves over their student loans. Because most days I feel completely and utterly hopeless that I will never be able to overcome this because I don't have $2,400 sitting around. Because I keep sending payments, yet the amount that I am in arrears seems to be growing, not decreasing. And despite that fact that I am now making payments and supposedly decreasing the amount of time that I am in arrears, now I am getting a letter saying I am about to default, which should not be happening if the last person I talked to gave me correct information.

I would love very much to work with you on this. But every single month I call, you tell me there is nothing that can be done. And then every single month you send this BS letter saying that I'm the one who's not cooperating. I send $300/monthly, which is more than what is required, but I cannot afford to send that much extra. And obviously the $300/month is not helping.

Feel free to call me on this issue if you have any ideas on how to fix it besides sending me lip-service letters while ruining my life and my future. I am willing to work with you, but there has to be some give and take on both ends because at this point I am completely drowning and terrified about my entire future due to this situation. And I want to make sure that Congressman Cooper's office knows how the student loan process makes people feel, because I feel like our people deserve better. At least I'm 38 and own my home and vehicle. I can't imagine what it must be like for young kids just starting out to be in this situation.

My cell phone number is [redacted] if anyone would like to contact me.

Laura Richards