Thursday, November 18, 2010
Anyway, she keeps pressing us to forbear the loan and I'm almost laughing hysterically because there is no way she is going to get me to forbear this loan. Forbearing to not make payments and not making payments because you can't afford it is the same thing to me at this stage - so why delay the inevitable? Plus, the interest is only being accrued at this point, not capitalized. But hey, I'm enjoying the banter back and forth for some strange reason. Then I ask her, "how much is passed due on this loan", she says, "two thousand something something" (again, I tune out after two thousand). At this point, I really do bust out laughing. She makes a final attempt to sell me on forbearance and I tell her no and to have a wonderful day!
I'm enjoying my new sense of empowerment and mental freedom. Now, if I could only get that to manifest in the physical!
Sunday, October 31, 2010
My other issue is if you can make a principal only payment via the mail why doesn't Sallie Mae offer the a corresponding online option? I already know the answer - because the interest will accrue while the payment is in the mail increasing the amount from your payment that would be applied to interest and decreasing the amount that would be applied to principal. Geez - is this not the definition of SCAM or ASSHOLE?!!
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Tonight I'm LIVID!!! I really shouldn't be but I'm really disgusted that Sallie Mae doesn't have a principal only payment option on its website. Before I blow up, let me give you some context. Since I'm finally wrapping my head around my student loan debt, I want to be smart about everything I do with regard to them so I can pay them off and do things like, oh, let's see - afford to have another baby, help the economy out by buying more than 1 pair of brown and 1 pair of black shoes each winter and you know, generally, HAVE A LIFE. So I was trying to figure out how to make principal only payments to pay down the loan quicker.
I decided to conduct my own taste test. Tomorrow my bank will mail a principal only payment in the amount of $75.00 to Sallie Mae. The memo section of the check will clearly state "FOR PRINCIPAL ONLY" and my account number. I'll see 1) how long it takes them to apply the payment and 2) if the payment is applied correctly. I'll post a follow up entry on the results.
I want to know why Sallie Mae doesn't have a "principal only" payment option to allow customers to make principal only payments electronically. I find it truly antiquated that a multi-billion dollar company requires consumers to MAIL IN a principal only payment along with a letter. THIS PRACTICE IS TRULY RIDICULOUS. Additionally, there are MANY reports of customers doing as Sallie Mae instructed and their payments are REPEATEDLY misapplied.
It is clear that Sallie Mae is abusing its consumers and is deliberately trying to keep people in debt. I request that Sallie Mae include a Principal Only electronic payment option on its website. I am aware that this is not the first nor the last request consumers have made regarding this functionality. The question is WHEN will Sallie Mae listen to its consumers and provide this functionality. Thank you.
I realize its not the most legally sound letter, but hey, I was caught up in the heat of the moment. I'm not going to stop here either. I am going to write a letter to each member of Sallie Mae's management team and I hope you do the same as well. I'm working a draft letter now and will post it for you all to use if you want. I am also soliciting content for the letter should you care to contribute. I'm going to channel this anger towards change (either that or a drinking habit).
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
I was surprised to see that former ABA President, Carolyn Lamm, wrote a letter to Congress about the staggering student loan debt and pushing Congressional Bills S. 3219 - Fairness for Struggling Students Act of 2010 and H.R. 5043 Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Fairness Act of 2010. What peaked my interest the most however, was her statement, “relaxing the criteria and provisions of income-based repayment (IBR) and other federal loan programs so more may qualify are all options that would assist students and graduates” found in the second to last paragraph. All that bankruptcy stuff is cool, but I’m really not trying to declare bankruptcy. But I am open to any and all levels of practical assistance to ease my student loan debt burden. If I could qualify for IBR without having to have 6 kids that would be a plus for all involved – me, my husband, child welfare, you and every other taxpayer.
It was sobering to read her statement: “In 2009, the United States' largest law firms suffered the deepest cuts in their attorney numbers in more than 30 years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the twelve months ending in November 2009, the legal industry as a whole lost approximately 42,000 jobs. The current job market makes it difficult for many borrowers to find gainful employment to enable them to pay back their student loans; the number of associates in large firms shrank by almost nine percent last year, and forty-two percent of incoming first-year associates had deferred start dates.” It puts some realistic and depressing numerical context around a profession that has historically been touted for its economic weathering power and high salary prowess. All of that has vanished. POOF! Gone. Lawyers working at Starbucks, moving back home with mom & dad and being unable to pay their student loan bills is becoming the norm not just for new lawyers, but for mid-level and seasoned lawyers as well.
The ABA’s Law Student Division mentioned Lamm’s letter as well in one of their monthly newsletters. Nothing earth-shattering which made me wonder if law students are paying close attention to this issue? Or are they still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed about their ability to repay their student loans and their job prospects. I also wonder if the Law Student Division or the Young Lawyer’s Division is doing anything proactive to build awareness in this area? Seems like student loan repayment is a topic that goes hand-in-hand with employment; both of which are super relevant to both law students and young lawyers. A lot of people talk about the ABA not being relevant, but then I found out that Carolyn Lamm created the Commission on the Impact of the Economic Crisis on the Profession and Legal Needs. Ugh. “Commission” that means a “talk about it tank” which is just one rung below a “think tank” on the Do Nothing Hierarchy. The members of the Commission can be found in this press release, but I wonder if any of them are law students, young lawyers, recently unemployed lawyers or employed lawyers with over $150K in student loan debt like myself. It seemed sooo promising. Hmmm, I wonder how effective and relevant this Commission will be going forward especially since Stephen Zack has taken over the presidency; perhaps it will be downgraded to a “think tank”.
What I found most disappointing was the ABA Journal’s podcast How Law Schools Can Help Next Gen Lawyers Take Gamble Out of Hefty Tuition. I think the title just misled me into believing it had to do with reducing law school tuition…hmmm, don’t know why I thought that. It’s really a couple of academics’ views of how law school tuition got to be the way it is and the incorrect and misleading employment statistics that law schools post. Useless to me and my plight nonetheless. The ABA Journal did have some other articles that detailed the ABA’s “concern” in this area.
- President Lamm Hopes Full ABA Backing Will Help Win Loan Breaks for Law Grads
- ABA Lobbies for Student Loan Relief for Unemployed Attorneys
- Leadership When It’s Needed Most
I’ve exasperated my research in this area and conclude that just like my student loan payments, there are no viable options for me – a working, underemployed attorney. That is, other than to find another job that pays more and well, have you seen the job market lately? I also concluded that the ABA has to go deeper and not just talk about surface of an issue if it wants to be relevant to the profession and its constituents – seriously, go hard or go home isn’t that what I pay my membership dues for? (Well, used to pay b/c now that payment goes to student loans).