After Christopher Bryski died in 2006, his student lender, Key Bank, started going after his dad for loan payments. Christopher's brother Ryan and his family tried for nearly 6 years to have the loans forgiven -- and for nearly 6 years, Key Bank said no. That's when Ryan started a petition on Change.org calling on Key Bank to forgive Christopher's loans. In less than a week, more than 80,000 people joined his campaign and Key Bank finally forgave Christopher Bryski's student loans. In addition, Ryan's campaign pushed Key Bank to change its approach to student borrowers who die, exploring loan forgiveness on a case by case basis instead of routinely denying forgiveness requests.
On June 17, 2004, my brother Christopher Bryski sustained a severe traumatic brain injury in a tragic accident. He remained in a persistent vegetative state for two years before passing away on July 16, 2006. That's when the calls began.
You see, our dad cosigned Christopher's private student loans with Key Bank. When Christopher died, Key Bank came after my dad to get their money back. Our dad has had to come out of retirement to make the monthly payments. When Christopher died, my family didn't just lose a loved one -- we inherited debt for an education that will never be used.
Key Bank's action's are dramatically out of step with the status quo. The federal government and even large private student lenders like Sallie Mae and Wells Fargo all forgive student loans once the borrower dies. But over the years, Key Bank has ignored our calls to take this humane step.
In the years since Christopher's death, my family has tried to keep others from facing what we have. We've worked with members of Congress to pass "Christopher's Law," which would make sure student borrowers and their families know exactly what could happen if they die or become disabled, and we've started a website about our efforts to get Christopher's Law passed (http://chrisbryski.blogspot.com).
This work has been meaningful and important. But it doesn't change the fact that every month we're reminded of my brother's death in the worst way every time dad puts a check in the mail to a heartless bank. That's why I'm asking Key Bank to relieve my family of this terrible burden and discharge my brother Christopher's student loan debt.
Ryan Bryski and Family
U.S. Air Force Veteran