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Home > Ask The Get Out of Debt Experts > If I Knew Then, What I Know Now, I Would Have Run Screaming From Sallie Mae. – Rachel

If I Knew Then, What I Know Now, I Would Have Run Screaming From Sallie Mae. – Rachel

“Dear Steve,

I have a loan through Sallie Mae that is the subject of many a sleepless night, and if I knew then what I know now, I would have run screaming and NEVER taken out this loan.

I graduated from a state university not quite a year ago and took out $42,000 to cover school, books, and living expenses. Because this was a second degree, I had to cover all the expenses myself.

Now that I’ve been out in the real world, I can’t find a job to save my life. With two Bachelor’s degrees, I can’t even get a job at Wal-Mart.

I recently called Sallie May to put my account back into forbearance (which I had done once before to the tune of $150). When I got an operator and told him the nature of my call, he immediately told me that Sallie Mae was no longer offering forbearance and that I needed to pay $400+ dollars to bring my account up to date.

As it stands now, I’m a substitute teacher. I make just a little over $10 an hour, but I don’t get paid on days when I don’t get called into work. $400 is about what I make in a month, and the summer is fast approaching. This guy on the phone was adamant that the reason I was upset was because I “wasn’t getting what [I] wanted” and was throwing a hissy fit. Furthermore, he kept reiterating that it’s not Sallie Mae’s fault that I can’t afford the $400 payment (because, I’m sure, the 9.25% interest rate has nothing to do with it…) and that by asking for anything less than $400 a month I was doing a disservice to myself since the interest would “just keep going up” (nice to know that Sallie Mae cares…).

When I once again explained to him that $400 is my monthly income, he asked me what I *would* be able to afford. When I told him that $150 a month would be manageable until I find steady employment, he laughed at me and told me not to bother! That $150 a month wouldn’t do me any good! The nearly $10K in *interest* that’s accrued since I graduated *less than a year ago* has been capitalized and added to the principal, so I now owe them $53K+! I don’t want to shirk my responsibility to repay my loan, but I’m staring a default right in the face.

Honestly, if I were teaching full time, $400 a month would not be impossible, but no one is willing to work with me until I get on my feet. Instead, I get threats and constant phone calls trying to bully me into payments I simply don’t have, and there’s no middle ground. Do I have any recourse or options at this point?

Rachel”

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The Answer

 

Dear Rachel,

You have unfortunately learned the hard way what I have been saying for years, student loans are minefields and not automatically “good debt.”

Sallie Mae is not what I would call, an accommodating lender. While they offer an “income-sensitive” repayment plan you must still make at least the monthly interest payment. In your case, I’m not sure if that is the $400 per month they keep throwing back in your face, but it sounds like it.

To repay your student loans in ten years your payment would have to be around $680 per month. Even if you just made the $400 monthly payment, you would not be reducing the amount you owe one penny.

Student loans also can’t be discharged in bankruptcy, with an exception, a Chapter 11 bankruptcy may discharge certain student loans in some cases.

The student loans have you boxed into a corner that can only be remedied with more income. You will have to do whatever you can to make money and pay the ^@(^#%#@ or face massive collection fees, wage garnishment, and worse.

The only solution I can think of is the student loan forgiveness program for teachers. But you would have to be a full-time teacher for five consecutive academic years in a “low-income” non-profit school, and then you could qualify for a federal loan forgiveness program.

Big Hug!

If I Knew Then, What I Know Now, I Would Have Run Screaming From Sallie Mae.   Rachel
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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • Tabia Beckett

    Sallie Mae is single-handedly ruining my life and I have no control in the matter. What is one to do in this matter?

    http://100000000forstudentslos

  • Tabia Beckett

    Sallie Mae is single-handedly ruining my life and I have no control in the matter. What is one to do in this matter?

    http://100000000forstudentslostindebt.chipin.com/students-lost-in-debt

  • Vicki

    Rachel,

    We weren’t getting anywhere with Sallie Mae either. We called Edufund, and they gave us a solution to try. I don’t know if they could help you but it might be worth a shot. Good luck.

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