I had to get a student loan from Sallie Mae to go to art school. Apparently, everything becomes clear when you are done with school and the loans kick in.
I left school early because my loans were getting higher and I know that it was going to be impossible to pay them back once I'm done. The school was also a RIP-OFF because it cost me at least $20,000 a year to attend.
I left school in Sept. 2008, I've been good with sending forms as far as deferments and forbearance is concerned. Since then I have not been able to get a decent job. I've slowly been getting a little bit of income but I am still starving.
To my knowledge, my loans were in deferment. I called Sallie Mae on Nov. 2009 to get an updated status on my loans and when my repayment dates were and I also was planning to get on a payment plan that would work with my income. The rep simply told me not to worry about repayments until March 2010, because my loans were on deferment. I was relieved to find out that I was not past due and it gave me more time to look for a decent job.
I have not been able to find one and to my knowledge I've been past due since March 2010. I take full responsibility for not paying it on time but my statement came in and I had to pay about $980 a month towards the loan. Of course, like any young starving student, I panicked.
It is not August 2010, last week I got served with a $34,000 lawsuit from Sallie Mae. I literally went into panic mode. I immediately called Sallie Mae and the rep did not want to talk to me. He gave me their attorney number and told me to discuss it with them.
I called the Attorney who was on the Summons, Legal Recovery Law offices, Mark D. Walsh. I spoke to a rep and she told that I had 4 defaulted loans and all 4 adds up to a total of $89,000. I asked her what do I have to do to resolve this. She told me to write them a check for $2,500 as a down payment first, then I can discuss a payment plan.
I told her I could not afford to pay that much, I'm barely making enough to eat. If I could sum up my financial situation, I could be considered a bum. I freelance on the side and barely make enough to pay my rent. I explained to her my situation, she was of course not taking it. She then said she could split the down payment in half to make it easier. But I again told her I don't have even that much.
You don't understand, I have never gone over $1,000 in my account ever. I could show proof of bank statements that I barely go over $500 in my account a month.
I told her the most I can afford if I begged around would be $200 a month. She told me to send them a $200 check but it would not cut it.
I went onto Sallie Mae's website and logged on to my account. My loans have sky rocketed to $111,000.00. Half or even more were interest rates and late fees. My last date of school attendance was wrong. It dated July 2008, but I was still enrolled till the last day of Sept. 2008.
I called my school's financial adviser and she was confused on why the dates and numbers don't add up. She was also confused on why the Sallie Mae rep never informed me that I was 5 months past due!
We both went on a conference call together with Sallie Mae and we were thrown around through different "specialist", all did not have the answers we wanted.
I then had to call a number that then gave me 2 more numbers to a collection agency, and the collection agency sent me back to the attorney number.
Both my cosigners and I are being sued for a total of 300k. I got served two more summons with my mom and I, and my uncle and I. My uncle's summon papers have $222,000 as the amount they are suing him and I.
The numbers don't add up, each person I've talked to have different numbers. Sallie Mae did a poor job in explaining or notifying me that my loans were past due even when I spoke to a live rep inquiring about them. I did not know the difference between a federal loan and a private loan.
Sallie Mae should inform students/borrowers that just because we have a loan with them it is not ONE loan. I guess I had 4 private loans with them that they failed to discuss with me.
Now I am stuck with no money for an attorney to help me with this case and I will be in debt forever.