Private Student Loan Ombudsman

I just saw the news a few days ago that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has officially launched its complaint system for private student loans. Prior to a few weeks ago, if you had problems with your private lenders, you had no place to go. Now you do! If you have private student loans and your lenders have been unreasonable or treating you unfairly, use this contact form!

Federal Loan Consolidation Progress

Our records show that due to your recent consolidation loan, the account listed above is paid in full…We appreciate having been able to serve you and hope that your educational experience has been a good one.

What an excellent way to start out my day! It appears that all my federal loans have been successfully consolidated. That means I’ll immediately see lower payments and I’ll have 7 fewer open accounts. I’ve got to admit, it feels good! Hopefully, the lower monthly payment (yes, just one payment!) combined with having so many fewer open accounts and marking the other loans as paid in full and in good standing will start to help my credit rating.

The situation with Wells Fargo is still basically at a standstill. My congressman’s staff keeps playing phone tag with Wells Fargo, and I actually received a phone call from the executive director of the Wells Fargo Education Financial Services division a few weeks ago, letting me know they had received my letter and are looking into my account. I addressed the letter to the Director herself this time, instead of sending it to the anonymous CSR named Cody. The last time I talked with him, he said they hadn’t received any of my letters, so I thought I’d try someone higher up. Nothing is resolved yet, but I’ve at least gotten some people’s attention. Hanging on to hope.

Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012

Earlier today, I signed a petition for the passage of the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012, and I’d like to encourage you to do the same. The bill, introduced by Michigan representative Hansen Clarke, is designed to help struggling student borrowers.

Here are some key provisions of H.B. 4170:

o The bill would create a new “10-10 standard” for student loan forgiveness. If you make payments equal to 10% of your discretionary income for 10 years, your remaining federal student loan debt would be forgiven. If you have already been making payments on your student loans, your repayment period would likely be shorter than 10 years. The amount you have already paid on
your student loans over the past decade would be credited toward meeting the
requirement for forgiveness.

o The bill would ensure low interest rates on federal student loans by capping them at 3.4%.

o The bill would reward graduates for entering public service professions like teaching and firefighting. It would also provide incentives for medical professionals to work in under-served communities. It would reduce the Public Service Loan Forgiveness requirement to 5 years from its current 10 years.

Most importantly to me,

o The bill would allow existing borrowers whose educational loan debt exceeds their income to break free from the crushing interest rates of private loans by converting their private loan debt into federal Direct Loans, then enrolling their new federal loans into the 10/10 program.

I can’t begin to tell you how much that would help me (and thousands of others like me). I hope you’ll take a minute and add your name to the signon.org petition urging the passage of this bill.

Marketplace

The episode of Marketplace Money in which I make an appearance aired yesterday. Of the 15-20 minutes we spoke on the phone, only about 5 minutes of it made the air. If you want to listen, click here and fast forward to about the 16 minute mark (requires iTunes) or click here to read the article and listen in your browser. My segment is called “The Perils of Private Student Debt”.

I hope a lot of parents are listening in this week!

Radio Help

I got a response from the folks at Marketplace Money about my student loan story. They’ve invited me to chat on the phone with them this afternoon, so hopefully I get some good answers to my student loan situation. I’ll be sure to post the results of that conversation. Let’s get this thing resolved.