Subject: You forgot something, Alan.
Date: 9/10/2008 6:11:29 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time

Your "The story:" below makes a good point about the uniqueness of a student loan regarding lack of consumer protections, but you outright omit the cause-and-effect relationship between lack of consumer protections and the price-gouging.
Remember? You discovered this relationship "on the fly" when on the air the 1st of two times at Fox.
You also include NEITHER proof of the price-gouging (increased tuition) NOR proof of declining quality of education -but we need to prove to our community NOT ONLY that these exist BUT ALSO the magnitude and scope of the problem.
You rightly identify the problem (rising tuition) and properly propose a solution (bankruptcy protection), but, to repeat my prior point, you never tell us why, exactly, bankruptcy protection would help anyone on a larger scale than the poor bloke who is bankrupt, and, without this cause-and-effect outline, you give the impression that consumer protections would help lazy students get off scot-free from their loan obligations.
See below, where I add into your story to make it complete. To help you out here, I will make additions in red.
PS: I think I may post online "The Story" as modified below -I give you credit.
In a message dated 9/9/2008 7:51:26 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, writes:
Hey guys,
I've gotten a lot of feedback about the Oprah thing.  Hopefully at least one of our submissions will get through to her producers. BTW:  If the link I sent doesn't work, just go to and find the "suggest a story" area to make your submission.
Other than that, I did an interview for a paper in Kansas today, and NPR contacted one of our members for a story.
One thing that's been bugging me:  The stories in the press that have been coming out lately end up being "poor me" stories.  This is not the message that we need to send.  The student loan system in the U.S is predatory by design, where defaults are a preferred outcome for the industry.  This is the core message that we need to send as we go forward.  I am pasting below what I am sending out reporters in the hopes that the real issue will be covered.  I am sick of stories coming out that label us as deadbeats.  I have found that most of us are honorable citizens, but have been caught in a usurious situation where our lives are being completely wrecked by the predatory actions of the lenders who have found a way to legally strongarm us into repaying far, far, far more than we originally borrowed, or relegate us into second class citizenship.  This is clearly not the intent of the 1965 Congress that created the Higher Education Act.
So check out the paste below, and please use it as you go forward in your contacts with journallists, politicians or whoever else you have deemed appropriate to communicate with to make this problem known.  We all have to be citizen advocates in this.  There is no prize for doing this, and the only credit you are likely to receive as a result of your efforts is scorn from the student loan industry.   But that is the battle, and that is reality.  I can say, however, that by speaking out, you are likely to find that your loan holders are a bit more sympathetic to your case, and you definitely will feel better for sticking up for yourself, and for the larger issue.
The story: The Student Loan & Tuition Horror
(Co-written by Alan M. Collinge and Gordon W. Watts. Black font by Alan; Red font, or dark red font, by Gordon -except that all links are in blue.)
Problem: Cost of education -even adjusted for inflation -has increased almost 10-fold, and while pork-barrel spending in colleges and universities has increased (e.g., extravagant salaries for their presidents/staff, useless building/lawn decorations, and unnecessary ‘clubs’), quality of education has decreased -because monies are wasted on pork-barrel perks and nonsense.
Proof of price-gouging: In the 1956-57 school year, a semester of college cost $138, which is $1,093.85 adjusted for inflation, but now, same semester co$ts $10,066, an almost ten-fold increase! (Source: Budgeteer News, By Virgil Swing, May 15, 2008)
Why colleges aren't motivated to stop to this price-gouging: College loans have no consumer protections (like even credit cards do), but even defaulted loans don’t hurt colleges: The government backs the loan.
A common sense solution: Restore bankruptcy protection to college loans, and when colleges realize that exorbitant prices result in defaulted loans -which they (and not the taxpayer) will have to absorb -then they will have motivation to stop price-gouging students and run the schools like a business. Then, and only then, things like standardized testing will be able to gain traction -with proper funding and removal of motives to waste monies on frivolous perks, and America can once again stand tall in the technological marketplace. Plus, while students should *not* be given a free handout, I believe that those students who were overcharged should experience some level of debt forgiveness, so that Equal Protection is not violated in their differential treatment.
Another Problem: Student loans stand alone among all other types of loans in our nations history to have the most basic, standard consumer protections taken away.
This happened since the mid-90's due to a heavily lobbied Congress and
sympathetic executive branch.  Today, Student loans are the only loans in
existence to be exempt from standard bankruptcy protections, Statutes of
limitations, Truth in lending requirements, refinancing rights, and even
Fair Debt Collection Practices. 
At the same time, the student loan
industry convinced Congress to give them mafia-like collection powers
including wage garnishments Tax return garnishment, and even social
security and disability garnishment---all without requiring a court order!
In addition borrowers can be terminated from public employment, and can
have their professional licenses suspended as a result of their student

This system actually makes it very lucrative for the lending industry when
the borrowers fall behind, and actually makes it far more profitable for lenders when a
borrower defaults on their loans -because of the stiff fees and capitalized interest that accrue when students fall behind or default.  They [these greedy and dishonest lenders] are, in effect, rewarded for confusing the borrower, and their profits become inversely proportional to
the quality of their customer service.

The end result is that decent citizens who fall behind on their payments
(for whatever reason) are strong-armed into repaying far, far, far more
than the amount they originally borrowed.  This often doubles and triples
the debt (or far worse in some instances), and there is absolutely no
recourse.  We have documented thousands of stories from across the country
that include people being forced off the grid, fleeing the country, and
even committing suicide as a result of this predatory activity.

I hope that you might consider doing a story in your local area.  I have
(and would like to send you) many stories from your state, from people who
are willing to be interviewed.  I can also send you thousands of stories
from across the country if you would like to interview them. I could go on
and on here, but I will simply post a couple of examples at the end of this
message for your review.

In the first year of doing this, we ended up being
featured in Fortune Magazine, and also were featured in the top story on 60
minutes in May, 2006.  Sallie Mae, the nations largest Student lender, declined to be interviewed for this story.
Multiple bills have been introduced to address this obvious injustice.  All have been quietly killed, however,  due to massive lobbying by the student loan industry. 
The plight of student loan victims has been largely drown out by the credit crisis in the
student loan industry.  This is why I am writing to you to urgently request
your consideration.  I will paste a couple of facts below for your further
consideration. Also, check out to see more. 
One last request:

Go to for 10 seconds if you have any doubts about
how ruthless this industry has become.  You will see what I am talking
about if you just go there.
In conclusion, how would YOU, my friend, like it if grocery stores and restaurants could charge *you* exorbitant prices for food/water and get away with it -simply because they had Federal backing -and then ruin *your* credit in the process?
What to ask your Federal Lawmakers to do: Restore bankruptcy protection to college loans, and when colleges realize that exorbitant prices result in defaulted loans -which they (and not the taxpayer) will have to absorb -then they will have motivation to stop price-gouging students and run the schools like a business.
Please write me back if you are interested.    I can also put you in touch
with our local "state chapter leader" in your area.

One VERY important "Student Loan Industry" FACT - Proof of declining quality of education:
* U.S. Teens Trail Peers Around World on Math-Science Test, By Maria Glod, Washington Post Staff Writer, Wednesday, December 5, 2007; Page A07
* U.S. falls in education rank compared to other countries, By Elaine Wu (U-Wire) Story posted: 10-04-2005 07:07, The Kapi‘o Newspress
* U.S. slips lower in coding contest: In what could be an ominous sign for the U.S. tech industry, American universities slipped lower in an international programming contest, By Ed Frauenheim,, Posted on ZDNet News: Apr 7, 2005 9:04:00 PM
Other Student Loan Industry FACTS.

1.  Where student loans barely existed in the 70's, the student loan industry has grown to rival the credit card industry
($600 billion outstanding debt compared to $850 billion for credit cards).
2.  Despite false advertisements by the industry that defaults are
dropping, defaults are actually rising- in fact, about 1 in 4 borrowers
will default on their student loans, based on current estimates.

3.  Even the federal government MAKES, not loses, money from defaulted student loans.  According to a 2004 article in the Wall Street Journal (John Hechinger), for every dollar paid out in default claims by the federal government, the Department of Education gets back every dollar in principal, plus almost 20% in interest and fees.
4.  Sallie Mae and other student lenders have been caught repeatedly for defaulting student loans without ever making an effort to collect on the debt.
5.  "Fee income" for Sallie Mae, the nations largest lender, grew by 228%
between 200-2005 (Their loan portfolio grew by only 87% during the same
time period)
6.  The average undergraduate borrower now leaves school with $33,000 in
student loan debt, $42,000 for graduate students

7.  The cost of college has risen at double the consumer price index for
the past 30 years

8.  Student Loans are the ONLY loans in our nation's history to be
specifically exempted from bankruptcy protections, truth in lending
requirements, statutes of limitations, state usury laws, and even fair debt
collection practices.

9.  Between 1995-2005, Sallie Mae set aside $3.6 Billion in stock for its
employees.  This amounts to about $640,000 per employee.

10.  The Sallie Mae CEO bragged to shareholders in the 2003 annual report
that their record profits that year were attributable to collections on
defaulted loans, and other student loan companies report similar trends.

Testimonials from Borrowers


Withheld (Maryland)

I am writing to tell my sister's story.  She is no longer with us...She
took her life a year ago.

My sister was the first in our family to attend college.  She graduated
from Johns Hopkins University and did really well for awhile.  In her early
30s, she became ill (breast cancer) and was unable to work.  I am not sure
how she was paying her loans, but I know the student loan representatives
were hounding her.  I spoke with several on her behalf and little if
anything was ever accomplished.

My sister was out of work for a very long time as "chemo" made her very
ill.  She was repeatedly called by student loan representatives even when
told how ill she was.

I do not want to go into a great deal of detail, but I will say that my
sister took her life as she said she simply did not want to live anymore.
What is interesting is that my sister was not terminally ill.  Her cancer
was in stage 2...and her prognosis were very good.  What ultimately led to
my sister's death is the way she was repeatedly hounded by collection
agencies regarding her student loans.  I wrote to a Maryland Senator myself
and stated that something has to be done about this.  People are being
penalized for going after their dreams of becoming educated.  Does anyone
else see something wrong with this picture?

My sister's life has been an inspiration to me.  I have decided to go back
to school.  I promised her that I would not obtain any student loans...I am
doing it the old fashion way....I am working 3 jobs to finance my
education.  I will be somewhere in my early 40s when I finish, but at least
I won't have to be concerned about being literally worried to death over
student loans....


Gail (Oregon)

This is my son's story so I don't have all the facts but I do know enough
to know it was one of the factors that drove him to suicide.  He was very
depressed because he owed over $200,000 in student loans and saw no end to
ever paying them off.  He had consolidated before the interest went way
down and when he looked into doing it when interest was good he was told he
could only do it once in the life of the loans.  He had gotten his masters
degree and had almost completed his PHD.  Because of this hard line rule it
became overwhelming.  He committed suicide 9/28/05 and the world lost a
beautiful, brilliant person and I lost one of the loves of my life.  I'm
not just saying these things because I am his Mother and loved him.

He was so smart he belonged to MENSA and I am attaching his local obituary.
I keep receiving bills from the student loans even though I have repeatedly
returned them to sender with the message that he was deceased.  When they
kept coming I added the fact that he was deceased in part because of these
bills and when they still kept coming I added that they were rubbing salt
in a wound and were breaking my heart and to please cease already.  Michele
was 39 and had so much to give. His Father is dying of liver cancer but
Michele's death is the tragedy of his life, even more than his own death
sentence.  His wife, his parents and brothers are all victims.    I would
like to see legislation that protects these students and gives them
alternatives if they have a hardship repaying these loans.


David (Texas)

I don't have all the facts and figures about my situation but here's a
synopsis. I graduated from chiropractic school (1989) and defaulted on my
federal student loans (for the same reasons that others have had to
default) that totaled approximately $40,000 (in 1989) and now total
$320,000 (based on a collection agency's claim in 2005).  I can't renew my
license to make a living (much less make payments (they wanted $800 per
month in 1996) on the loans) and have experienced feelings of hopelessness,
despair, no self-esteem, depression, suicide, etc., etc.


The Austins

My husband took out a Heal loan for podiatry school in 1982, 1983, 1984
totaling $39,000. We have paid Sallie Mae over $88,000. In the last three
years due to illness, bad luck and decisions, my husband's work has
declined substantially. He has exhausted his deferments, and now his loan
has accumulated a tremendous amount of interest. This was a $39,000 debt
that now will have cost him well over $223,000 and more. All his government
student loans have been paid in full. This particular loan was originally
obtained by a saving and loan that went bankrupt and then was later sold to
Sallie Mae. It is not considered a federally backed student loan. We have
difficulty, but are able to pay our other debts such as food, clothing, car
payment, credit cards, etc. When my husband stopped paying he was making
payments of $700-800 a month. We presently do not own a home, but plan on
purchasing one soon. He is apprehensive about filing bankruptcy on other
debt that we can pay. Also, you must file a student loan "undue hardship"
separate from a bankruptcy anyways. How do we find a lawyer to do this,
because everyone I have contacted pretty much states "student loans can not
be included in any bankruptcy". Personally I don't think they want to
bother even in legitimate cases. We have made several attempts to work out
arrangements with Sallie Mae, to no avail. Their only recourse is for him
to take out another loan, with of course all this additional accrued
interest. If that is our only recourse, we will be paying $500,000 on a
$39,000 debt. He is now 53 years old and this is getting scary.


B. Napoli (CA)

Q: How does the American middle class dream of affordable
higher education become a nightmare?
A: Default a student loan.


Multiple loans as a graduate student attending Cal State Northridge.
Full-time through 1993 in an approved grad program, no problems, just
sailing along. (received loan in Sp. 1993). Earthquake in Sp. '94, lost
home(apt.) verified by FEMA, dropped down to less than 1/2 time. Put into
default. Wrote numerous letters to CSAC & loan Co. (AFSA), that due to
hardship, I'd be dropping below full-time. To no avail, defaulted. Returned
full-time in Fall '94 thru Sp.'95 full time, sent numerous letters (all
certified mail), "sorry, but can't help." I've been fighting this since
then. Have all documentation, but it's useless.  Every year (thru 1997), I
would ask for a dispute hearing, and was answered with either a garnishment
or judgment.  Finally gave up.

Original loans @26,000, now over 70,000.
Paid over $40,000 in garnish $ tax intercept, lost my
scholarships (PhD), loan forgiveness programs, and chance at
a fellowship.

I actually taught at a low income, inner city school in Los Angeles for 5
years with the expectation that my student loans would be forgiven.  After
5 years, I learned that my loans would not be forgiven due to my default

Made the mistake of contacting Scott Williams & EdFund. I offered a
settlement, also, but no bite.  Edfund, a "non-profit",  has also jacked my
interest rate up to 19%.

I left off of the synopsis all the anguish, the
embarrassment, credit problems, anxiety, etc.( need I go on?)
All I want to do is pay my loans at a reasonable amount, and
get back to my life.



I can only tell you part of my story, because my loans have been passed
around so much that I have no idea how my interest accrued or what the
costs are. Due to a failed business and serious clinical depression, I had
to declare bankruptcy in 2002. I defaulted on my student loans, and now,
after a couple of years of repaying, I am "rehabilitated".  The lapse in
paying back these loans was no more than a year.  My Sallie Mae bill went
from 42,000 to 58,000.  I just rehabilitated another loan (by the way,
these loans should be rehabilitated with 12 straight payments, but somehow,
they "forget" to send them off to another purchaser).  Following the
purchase of this loan by a bank, I received a "paid in full" note.  The
current amount I owe on this note is more than $10,000(remember I have been
repaying for about 2 years now). The amount of my original promissory note?
Less than $4100.  WOW, huh?

I won't bore you with the tales of my other student loans.  All told, I
expect to repay them all by the age of 70, based on the payment schedule.
Well, that's one way of keeping me from retiring and collecting Social
Security.  (These debts were incurred when I was 35 years old, by the way.)

My, would think these student loans would not be given to loan
sharks, but...


Tina (Mississippi)

This is my story and I sincerely hope that someone will read it. My name is
Tina Lutz and I am a 45-year-old Caucasian woman living in Tupelo
Mississippi. I have two children ages 14 and 16. I have been divorced for
10 years and have been rearing my children alone.

I graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1985. During my
college career I incurred $6000 in student loan debt. $1000 was incurred
from Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado and $5000 from the
University of Southern Mississippi. Due to my financial situation over the
years I could not be as diligent in the repayment of my student loans as I
should have been. I have consolidated and defaulted my loans more than once
over the years. It has always been my intention to pay off my loans but
times have been lean over the years. I have had several IRS offsets that
have been applied to the interest of my student loans.

In January of 2002 I was in a repayment program with the Aman Collection
Agency, an instrument of the Department of Education. Aman set up a direct
payment program for $100 per month that was drafted from my checking
account. After 7 months of my repayment program, Aman was to send Sallie
Mae paper work for me to sign to further my repayment program. I was
consolidating my original three loans plus penalties, interest and
collection fees that totaled approximately $14,000. Mysteriously a fourth
loan appeared at Aman in almost the same amount of my consolidation. Upon
receipt of this fourth alleged loan Aman abruptly stopped my consolidation
program citing that I owed approximately $28,000 in total and they could
not continue with my consolidation program until all of the loans were
added together. This was in August of 2002. At that time I tried to explain
that I believed a mistake had been made and the fourth loan was really the
first three loans consolidated into one amount. At one point the note grew
to approximately $33,000 and the DOE had a garnishment order imposed at
that time. I couldn't get anywhere with Aman nor the Department of
Education. These two organizations insisted they were right and I was
wrong. At that point a local attorney started communicating with Aman and
the Department of Education. This attorney has not charged me to date
because he has understood that I didn't have the money to pursue this
issue. Two years later and many threats of garnishment and almost a ream of
documentation the Department of Education has now determined that I owe the
$14,000 that I originally agreed to pay in January of 2002. However, to add
insult to injury I am now being charged a $3600 commission fee owed to Aman
for collection cost in regards to this situation. I feel that this whole
situation is criminal and I have no recourse because the Federal Government
is right and I have been wrong this whole time. I am very frustrated by the
way I have been treated and I am appalled that I have to pay an extra $3600
because of their mistake. I do have the option to take this to Federal
Court at my expense and of course the interest is still clicking away on
these loans at my expense.

In my defense I was attempting to repay this debt in 2002. I recognize that
I did not responsibly address the issues of my student loans in the past,
but I still cannot get beyond the fact that I think that the way I have
been treated is criminal. If I were to do the same things that the Aman
Collection Agency and the Department of Education have done to me I do
believe that I would be criminally charged. My credit has been ruined for
years because of this situation.

I can't help but wonder how many other women are in the same shoes that I
am in. I have been fortunate to have the support of a local attorney to
assist me in this matter but how many other women have not been so
fortunate? If the local attorney hadn't taken pity on me I am sure that I
would be in a forced repayment program, garnishment, exceeding $33,000.

I understand that this is a confusing situation but I do have documentation
to support all of my claims. I would somehow like to get my story told
because I feel like I have been threatened, badgered and unjustly treated
in this situation. I have been in contact with the Aman Collection Agency
in attempt to negotiate some reasonable solution to this issue. However,
neither Aman nor the Department of Education have been receptive. I had
until Feb. 6, 2005 to raise $14,500 or else the garnishment order was to go
into effect. I offered to pay the loan in the same manner that was agreed
upon in January of 2002. I also asked that the duplicated note be taken off
my credit report to which the reply was "it will take at least 3 months if
it will happen at all". I also requested that after 6 months of payment
without any late payments or missed payment that the original note be taken
out of collection on my credit report. All of this fell on deaf ears and
blind eyes (my attorney made these requests in writing). Aman wants their
$3600 regardless of what the situation has been.

Needless to say, I have been a nervous wreck for 3 years and even
considered quitting my job to drop under the radar. That is not an option
as I am rearing two teens by myself.

I would love for you to see the responses for my request of a hearing in
person. I made that request twice and was denied. I have filled out the
hardship paperwork 2 or 3 times at this point. My expenses were computed
against the national averages except in the case that I exceeded the
national averages. In that case my bill totals were lowered to the national
averages. The math used to compute all of this is a mystery to me.

If my story is of interest to you please don't hesitate to contact me.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I truly believe that
someone needs to expose the DOE and their contracted collection agencies to
their practices.


Dave (New York)

Going to make this semi-short because so much is the "same" as so many
others...and I have not checked for spelling. Back in the 80's I wanted to
go to college.  My parents could not afford to send me and I was not
eligible for grants (Pel?) because my parents earned "too much" - which at
the time was something like 100 more than what they allowed people to earn
per year. The only way I could go to college was to get a student loan. I
did this three times - one for each year I was in college, for a total of

 So college is done and I start to make payments. On a good day (month) I
would pay up to 3 payments at once. never one time did I get a "thank you"
letter about doing that. On a bad day (month) i might be a week late. The
DOE wasted no time in contacting me with threats about "We will report you
and that will ruin your credit". Around 1985 or so it got very bad -
multiple letters and phone calls with collection agencies making threats
about ruining my credit and telling everyone they could about how bad I was
at making payments. Again with not knowing what I know now I was freaking
out about all of this and I just sent a nasty letter to them. The letter
was basically a rant from me saying that I was tired of being treated as a
number, I was tired of calling and being told that none of my letters were
"on file" and all that came up was my name on a computer screen saying I
did not make payments, that I was tired of not one time ever being thanked
for getting payments ahead of time to them but being a day late and getting
calls with people making threats. I also said that if I got any more
letters or calls I would consider the remaining $2,500.00 paid in full and
also report them to the AG of California. Needless to say I got more calls
and letters so I sent off a letter saying because they failed to honor my
request my debt was now cancelled,  I also sent a copy of all the paperwork
I had at the time to the and CC'd a copy to the AG of California at the
time...and to this day I have no idea why I actually did that, but I am,
glad I did. For the next almost 18 years there were no more letters, no
more calls...nothing.

 Than one day I am on a film set. Suddenly the line producer comes out and
stops the shoot. She has the really concerned look on her face. She hands
me a cell phone and stands there looking so sad. I say hello? and I hear a
mans voice ask "is this Dave?" and I say "yes..." and his tone changes and
goes into this whole "We are a collection agency and you defaulted on your
student loan..." blah blah. I was stunned and chocked and I could barely
muster any words...sitting on a set with the entire production being help
up because of this phone call. As calmly as I could I had a semi-noir freak
out and asked how they got the number and he would not tell me. I told him
he had no right to call me on set and hung up. I asked the line producer
how, and why, she would stop shooting for that. Well - after she told me
what the guy told her I did some back searching. I called my mother and she
had gotten a call from an "old friend" of mine who "has some jobs lined up"
and needed to get a hold of me as fast as he could. So she gave him the
studios production office. They got a call asking for me and told the
person I was on a shoot and could not be reached. So the caller tells them
there is a serious family emergency and he needed to get a hold one ASAP.
So they give him the productions cell number so they can call the set
directly. The phone rings and the line producer answers the phone and she
is asked of me and she said I am busy, they are shooting and so on. Now she
gets told that my mother is ill and possibly near death and it was of the
utmost importance that he speak with me. By the time I got this whole story
together I was shaking and had I known where this collection agency was and
the who the person was, and where they lived, I would have done whatever I
could have to bring them to their knees in whatever way I could.

 The best I could do is get the guys voicemail and left him a message that
he was never ever to contact any member of my family or my employers again.
That if I ever found out who he was I was going to bring charges against
him for the methods he used. I never heard from him again. But a few years
after that I am married and have a child. The first year my wife and I file
and get to use the e"earned income" credit suddenly instead of a return we
get a letter saying that the entire amount  was used for a past
got it - the student loan. This has gone on now each year for the last 5
years, except I am much wiser and my wife fills out the "injured spouse"
form so their amount they take is less than 100%.

 Like someone else posted the IRS on behalf of the DOE has taken more than
what was owed to start off with except now, this week actually, my
neighbors are getting phone calls from a "Val" at "Van Ru" looking for
information about me. She says she is an old friend of mine and needs to
speak with me urgently. I have no idea who "Val" is or who "van ru" is - so
i do a search and find out "Van Ru" is a collection agency that seems be
hired a *lot* by various state and federal agencies for debt collection.
They also seem to have long list of lawsuits against them for their
methods. Seems they claim I owe $8,000.00 on the loan plus another
$52,000.00 in interest and "fees". Keep in mind when the harassment was
going on the first time around I only owed $2,500.00 - seems they upped it
a bit...ok, they upped it a HUGE bit.

 Now here is a bit of info on "van Ru" - I contacted the DOE about them and
they said they could not help me because Van Ru was not one of their
contractors. So I did some searching and found out their contract with the
DOE expired in March 2005. Not only that but guess how much "Van Ru" was
paid? (or I should say "guess how much our beloved DOE "awarded" them for
the contract to go out and collect debts?") $47,029,654.57  yes - you did
read that amount correctly.

 So now I have to wonder what the hell is "van Ru" doing? They have not
contacted me at all - yet they are contacting all my neighbors asking about
me. I did a credit report search and I come up with nothing - as in nothing
owed, no debts, no bankruptcy - a clean and good report. But now here is
the "fun" part. In the last 12 months guess who has requested to see my
credit report? yup "Van Ru". They did it in August 2005.

 So that is where I am at as of today. Waiting for the next shoe to drop.
But I now save things, I now keep records. I dod not have any student load
records around - I don't have check stubs of copies or even statements. I
mean they tell you to keep thing for maybe 5 years....and we are talking
over 20 years years now with no word about student loans from anyone for
about 18 of those years. So very sad. If I harassed people like
some of the Collection places do I would be tossed in jail.  Not only can
they get away with it, one look at the stack of lawsuits ageist "Van ru"
over the years shows they not only keep doing it but get HUGE govt
contracts to do it.


Trevor (New York)

I went to school and never finished because of having a family. Life

Now I'm somehow 40,000 dollars in debt from about $12,000  in student
loans. My pay is being garnished by both the DOE and HESC. HESC calls me
regularly and their agents are verbally abusive and harassing.

Someone needs to do something. Why can't we file harassment charges? The
loans schedule they use is tantamount to Usury, which last i looked, is
illegal. I suppose if it's the government doing it, they can make it legal
for themselves.

At this point my credit history is destroyed. I'm considering just quitting
my job and working under the table to prevent continued collection.

Isn't there anyone who can help?? Why won't our representatives DO


Mark (MN)

I Borrowed about 60,000 through law school. Defaulted on loans. Was
encouraged to consolidate even though I told them I was unemployed.
Defaulted again. Current loan balance of 170000. Was advised to get on
income contingent repayment. Told that if I filed taxes separately, that my
wife's income would not be used to calculate repayments. Found out that is
not true. Waiting to see what my monthly payment will be. I think a lawsuit
against Department of Ed and various credit agencies would be appropriate.


Nancy (Oklahoma)

My name is Nancy.  I am a graduate with a Masters degree in Public Health
from the University of Oklahoma.  I decided to go back to school in my
early 30s hoping by getting my bachelors and then my masters I could have a
better life for myself.  By the time I got out of school I owed $27,000 to
Sallie Mae.  I was paying that loan back, but only through forebearance
because I could not afford the astronomical payments they were wanting me
to pay.  I work for the state and even with a Master's degree, I still only
made $40,000.00.  The state of Oklahoma does not pay much, but at my age
the benefits were good and I have been able to start a program for the
state that no other state is doing.  I consider my career a success,
however, I have had to struggle to make ends meet.  I have taken care of an
ill partner who did not work for a year and I have taken care of my mother
for 5 years who is in complete renal failure.  She is in a nursing home,
but I supply all of her palative needs to assure she has some dignity to
her life.  My father was in the nursing home with her for two years.  He
died of Alzheimers.

Last year I was unable to make any payments on my loan.  I kept calling and
asking for them to work with me and could I make lower payments.  The
representatives that I would talk to were rude and would yell at me,
belittle me and treat me as if I was some dog on the street.  I would
occasionally send a payment when I could, but with my partner not working
and taking care of my mother, I just could not make the payment every
month.  Now they have put me in default are threatening to garnish my wages
and have informed me that I owe them $59,430.13.  They have told me that I

am being charged collection charges of 22% of the outstanding principal
while in default and are demanding payment in full.  I graduated in 1990, I
had absolutely no idea that I would be owing this much money at the age of
54.  I can retire from the state in 5 years, yet with this loan I don't see
how I can do it.  If they can take my social security how will I survive?
I have written the default collection agency and made them an offer of a
little lower offer than what Sallie Mae wanted, but I don't know if they
will take it.  I am seriously considering leaving the country once my
mother passes and telling them to go FUCK themselves.  The home I own is
mortgaged all the way up, so there is nothing for them to take from me.  It
will be the greatest day of my life when I do leave this country and can
tell them that.  This country is so out of control and our government is
screwing us all as we bend over and watch them between our legs.
What I don't understand is why a class action suit has not been filed.  I
can guarantee that if one person started the action that THOUSANDS would
get involved.  I know I would personally show up for the hearings.  Someone
has to start doing something about this and I know there has to be enough
people out there who can gather the financial means to do this.  Our
government has to be shown that we are the ones in control, it is our
country, when are we going to stop letting them beat us down?
You may publish my story.  I will answer any questions you have.  I will
talk to anyone you want me to talk to.
Thank you for listening.

Now, go grab a Red Bull, a 5-Hour Energy, and/or a Coffee and Donuts, get charged up -and RE-READ this again -from the top: Get Amped Up, and call your lawmakers and news media and "politely ask for" change (or, politely "demand" change, depending on your communication style).
co-signed: Alan M. Collinge
Please Donate to the PAC, go to
co-signed: Gordon Wayne Watts /
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