Monday, June 21, 2010

JS Can't Pay A Student Loan & Sallie Mae Is Taking Her Tax Refund


I went to school back in 2005. I attended Lehigh Valley College, during second semester found out that they were going to forcefully shut down or be sold due to money scams with Sallie Mae to get more money from students and the courses not being creditable. I have my student loan through Sallie Mae. At the end of 2nd semester i stopped attending. I have been unemployeed since the end of 2008 and have three children under the age of three. I have not been able to make my loan payments and Sallie Mae has already took my total tax return from last year. Was just wondering if there is anything I can do cause I really can't afford to pay my loans. I can't even get a job cause i don't have a car and where I live we need a car. I was planning to buy one with my tax return so I could go back to work but Sallie Mae had taken the whole return. I don't know if there is anything I can do, and if so how I go about doing it. Thank you and I appreciate any info you have. Thank you JS


Dear JS:

Thank you for writing to me.

Unfortunately you are in a difficult situation. Sallie Mae has the right to collect on the loan using every legally available means. You should consult with an attorney or a non-profit legal services organization regarding your allegations of fraud involving Lehigh Valley College and Sallie Mae.
These are some of your options:

• Contact Sallie Mae and enter into a forbearance or reduced payment agreement. You can request that they stop all collection efforts until you find a suitable job. Once you do find a job then you can ask for reduced payments. You can ask Sallie Mae not to take any future tax refunds. Of course, if there is an agreement it must be in writing.

Please try this link to learn about different options for repayment:

• Normally bankruptcy does not discharge a student loan, however there is an exception to discharging student loans. A student loan can be discharged if there is a provable undue hardship. Undue hardship is defined as the permanent physical inability to work. You must prove in bankruptcy court that:

o You’re physically unable to work
o You’re likely to be unable to work for most of the loan term
o You’ve made a good faith effort to repay the debt
o Paying it would prevent you, your spouse, and your dependents from maintaining a “minimal” standard of living.

You need to consult with a qualified bankruptcy attorney to see if you can qualify.

• There are also loan forgiveness programs. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program was created to encourage individuals to enter and continue to work full-time in public service jobs. Under this program, you may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on your eligible federal student loans after you have made 120 payments on loans under certain repayment plans while employed full time by certain public service employers. You can go to this link to learn more.

So stay strong. I believe something will work out for you.

Thank you.

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