05 April, 2011

Loan woes

A few years ago, in an effort to celebrate my newly discovered independence, I decided it would be a great idea to go to school!
I applied at a school a few friends had previously gone to (without asking their opinion), was accepted, and promptly given a slew of loans from Sallie Mae.

It is this point in my life that I would return to in a time machine to warn my younger self, if given the chance.
*poof* A strange machine appears. Young Shannon stares in awe and wonders if this is a new form of art in downtown Seattle.
Slowly, the doors open. Young Shannon backs up slowly, watching the doors warily.
Smoke wafts out of the open doors and a figure appears... there's something familiar...

Familiar figure: Greetings.
Young Shannon: Uh... hi.
FF: Don't apply to AiS.
YS: Wait... w-what? You look so familiar...
FF: Don't apply to AiS... don't take a loan with Sallie Mae. You'll regret it forever! They'll haunt your life until you die... then they'll haunt your children!!!
YS: ... like me... only... fatter...are we related?

Yeah... knowing me, I wouldn't have listened anyway.

So for the last several weeks, I've been trying to get all my loans caught up and placed into some sort of deferment or forbearance, or whatever it takes to keep their demands at bay. This company demands more than my monthly rent per month to keep the account current. Estimated payoff date? 10 years from now.
I don't imagine I'll actually ever be in a position to pay them more than my current rent per month... so I suppose I'll continue to put my loans into forbearance for the next several years - and I'll be in debt up to my eyebrows for the rest of my life. For what? A (school)year and a half of basic 101 and 102 courses that I aced because I had learned the material in high school - but were required to get credits toward my degree program.

Less than two years of institutional education at a non-accredited school (which means that my year and a half of basic 101 and 102 course credits do not, i repeat not transfer to any other college or university in any nation, unless the school is affiliated with my original school's franchise). Wasted education. Isn't that nice?

Today, I received a voicemail from an account manager saying he wanted to help me get my account current and so forth.
For the past 3 weeks or more, I have been trying desperately to get in contact with Sallie Mae over my private loans (which is another thing!!! when I was applying for loans for school, it wasn't really me applying for them - i told my needs to the school counsellor, and they applied for loans on my behalf and just told me to sign paperwork and that everything would be ok in the end!! Looking back, all i can think is WTF?!) but have not been successful. Why? Because each and every time I call them, I am told I'm being transferred to the correct "department" and then the line cuts out and I've been hung up on. In one day, a day where I felt especially vigilant, I called and re-called Sallie Mae TWENTY-TWO times and each time, I was hung up on. Around call 18, I started begging the person who answered not to hang up on me. Or alternately, if they had to transfer me, to walk the phone over to the person I needed to speak with...
Finally, I decided to call the Department of Education and guess what! They helped me sort everything out in one phone call. Everything, that is, except my private loans through the devil himself  Sallie Mae.
That day, I was done with being on the phone. Emotionally, I just couldn't take it anymore. I didn't even answer the phone if my friends called me for the following two days.
A few days later, and a few times a week since then, I've tried to reach Sallie Mae to figure out my private loans. I emailed them. I called them. I tried having someone else call on my behalf. I went online...
So I call the number I was given in the voicemail I received and lo and behold! An actual person!
After speaking to this person though - i realized that she was one of the devils minions  decidedly unhelpful, as she was rude, inconsiderate, pushy, nosy, and just plain nasty. She refused to transfer me to the person who left the message stating he was away from his desk and I'd have to call again later. She lied to me and tried to trick me into making a payment and saying that forbearance was no longer being offered to me. She tried to make decisions on my account on my behalf to which I had to remind her that this was my account and it was ultimately my decision to put the loan into forbearance again or not. At one point, she asked a personal question in such a nasty way that I wanted to reach through the phone and smacked her in the head. Instead, told her that my personal life was none of her business and hung up on her.
I called right back and was transferred correctly to the person who had left me the message (apparently he wasn't really away), who helped me place my accounts into forbearance yet again.

In closing, I regret ever going to school. If anyone happens to have $30,000 they'd like to donate to my cause, I would happily pay off my Sallie Mae debts with it and get a tattoo on my head in their honor.

*ETA* In order to put private loans into forbearance, one has to pay $50 per loan with a cap of $150. I have two loans. TWO private loans.
The bastards took $150 in fees to put my TWO loans into forbearance!!! AHHHH!!!! I HATE THEM!!!


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