Navient

Navient Gave Me Bad Advice That Made My Student Loans Grow Really Big and I Don’t Know What to Do

Written by Steve Rhode

Question:

Dear Steve,

Sallie Mae/Navient student loan fraud.

I was fired from my job in 2009 (b/c I was pregnant, and not illegal in the state of GA) I was paying on my student loan (income based payments) until then.

I had to file bankruptcy but I was told the student loan could not be discharged.

I called Navient on multiple occasions to reduce my monthly payment and was always told that it could not be done. Instead, I had to put the loan on forbearance until I could afford the payments.

I tried to explain to them that I was 2 months pregnant and it would be a while before I was going to be able to work again (complications in pregnancy), but they insisted this was my only option.

I accumulated a ton of interest on the loan. In all the medical doings and going ons I forgot to call them and I became delinquent.

Now I am double what I owed years ago and they are trying to get me to do a federal rehabilitation loan repayment plan that I make 9 payments EXACTLY at the same time each month and then they will sell the loan to someone else that will then decide my monthly payment.

My questions are:

Is there anything that the common person can do to fight the previous misinformation and direction that Navient made me do to accumulate sooooo much extra money that I owe?

What are my options, I don’t work and homeschool my daughter. I am married, but my husband and I can’t afford to pay MY student loans with high payments. He is considering taking out a personal loan to pay it off, but I feel like I should not be held liable for all the extra money that Navient tacked onto my loan in addition to the collection fee of $4000.00.

It has become overwhelming to our family, it is straining our relationship, they have taken his tax refund this year. Can I just pay Navient whatever I can each month without signing an agreement with them? I don’t trust them at all and do not want to agree to anything with them again. PLEASE HELP ME.

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Stephanie

Answer:

Dear Stephanie,

Thank you for reaching out to me for some help and guidance. I’m hoping my advice can set you on a happier path.

I feel your pain for the horrible information you got that exploded your loan balances. I don’t think anyone can be shocked anymore that a student loan servicer person gave bad advice. It happens every single day. It is a reality my debt coach friend, Damon Day and I talk about every day as well.

The examples of bad advice are continuous and horrible.

The opportunity to get your loan(s) into some sort of student loan rehabilitation can stem the damage. However, past added interest from the crappy advice the servicer gave you is not going to vanish. It’s not fair but that is the reality.

Rehabilitation offers you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get your loans out of default.

Rehabilitation has a process. The Department of Education provides the following advice.

“To rehabilitate a defaulted Direct Loan or FFEL Program loan, you must

  • agree in writing to make nine voluntary, reasonable, and affordable monthly payments (as determined by your loan holder) within 20 days of the due date, and
  • make all nine payments during a period of 10 consecutive months.

Under a loan rehabilitation agreement, your loan holder will determine a reasonable monthly payment amount that is equal to 15 percent of your annual discretionary income, divided by 12. Discretionary income is the amount of your adjusted gross income (from your most recent federal income tax return) that exceeds 150 percent of the poverty guideline amount for your state and family size. You must provide documentation of your income to your loan holder.

If you can’t afford the initial monthly payment amount described above, you can ask your loan holder to calculate an alternative monthly payment based on the amount of your monthly income that remains after reasonable amounts for your monthly expenses have been subtracted.”

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It is important to note, “Your loan holder may be collecting payments on your defaulted loan through wage garnishment or Treasury offset (taking all or part of your tax refunds or other government payments). These involuntary payments may continue even after you begin making payments under a loan rehabilitation agreement, but they can’t be counted toward the required nine voluntary loan rehabilitation payments. Involuntary payments may continue to be taken until your loan is no longer in default or until you have made some of your rehabilitation payments.”

But the key to avoiding having your tax refund taken is just to decrease your withholdings to stop getting a refund.

It is curious that his tax refund was taken but you indicated the loans are yours. There is more to this story.

You have a few choices. You can follow the Department of Education advice, ask your current loan servicer for some guidance you can trust, or talk to my friend Damon Day and get a good and honest consultation.

There is hope for this situation. The outcome is not going to be perfect but it will be 300 percent better than what you are living under now.

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About the author

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.

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