HELP STUDENTS!  Stop Spending a Billion Dollars on Student Loan Collectors
  • Petitioned Mr. Anthony W. Miller

This petition was delivered to:

United States Deputy Secretary of Education
Mr. Anthony W. Miller
United States Under Secretary
Ms. Martha Kanter
Executive Director, White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Mr. John Wilson
U.S. Secretary of Education
Arne Duncan

HELP STUDENTS! Stop Spending a Billion Dollars on Student Loan Collectors

    1. Linda Locke
    2. Petition by

      Linda Locke

      Antioch, IL

By: Student Loan Counselors at R&B Solutions, Waukegan IL.

With $67 billion of student loans in default, the Department of Education has turned to private debt-collection companies to pursue borrowers. The Department of Education spent a billion dollars last year to collection agencies that collect on defaulted student loans. The reality is that almost no one should default if adequate default prevention and aversion strategies were put into effect.Delinquencies and default rates are rising as indebted student loan borrowers struggle to repay hefty student loans.

Americans are still recovering from the mortgage crisis, which resulted in millions of Americans losing their jobs and homes. Now a new crisis is affecting students as they have large loan debt, and they cannot find jobs or earn a high enough income to repay the debt causing them to default on their loans.  There is a solution though; most students would never enter the collection process to begin with if the Department of Education focused on assisting students with repayment options already available.

 We urge you to sign our petition and share it with everyone you know to protect student loan borrowers from collection agencies by providing students with the assistance necessary to guide them through the loan repayment process.

Sources: Bloomberg, Department of Education, LA Times, NY Times and R&B Solutions

 

 

 

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Student loans are a debt collectors dream come true

      Linda Locke
      Petition organiser

      This story prints a very vivid picture of how the process actually works. Students who borrow as teenagers and whose degrees don’t pay off confront some of the harshest treatment and fewest chances for a fresh start of any debtors, except those owing child support. Lawyers representing federal prosecutors have told borrowers to turn over their cars and cancel their health insurance, debtors said in interviews and court filings. Attorneys have insisted on steep wage garnishments while turning down offers that would have satisfied their obligations over several years.

    2. "We're Making Progress Toward Our Goal."

      Linda Locke
      Petition organiser

      Please do your part by signing this petition. There are reasons to be concerned about student loan debt. The combination of a faltering economy and rising college costs has driven student borrowing to unprecedented levels. Undergraduates who take on loans to pay for college borrow nearly twice as much in real dollar terms as their counterparts two decades ago. And two decades ago, the majority of students didn’t borrow.

    3. “Suicide Among Student Debtors: Who’s Thought About It?”

      Linda Locke
      Petition organiser

      Suicide is the dark side of the student lending crisis and, despite all the media attention to the issue of student loans, it’s been severely under-reported. More people are being forced into untenable financial circumstances as outstanding student loan debt has surpassed $1 trillion. And people simply aren’t able to pay all the money they owe.

    4. Teacher’s Wages Garnished as U.S. Goes After Loan Default

      Linda Locke
      Petition organiser

      Student-loan borrowers who default are being pursued and punished more severely than just about any other kind of debtor, by supporting our petition this can change.

    5. Can Federal Student Loans Garnish Wages?

      Linda Locke
      Petition organiser

      Chances are, you know someone who has some amount of student loan debt. Don't be ashamed to talk about it. Student loans are not necessarily a bad thing, they're how a vast number of us college students pay for our education.

      Starting a dialogue with those around you leads to a better awareness of what's going on, which enables better decision making concerning what will affect you in the future.

    6. Student Loan Debt: Collections Practices

      Linda Locke
      Petition organiser

      A person who received a student loan will owe the debt for the amount of time it takes to pay it off, and it will not go away until it is paid in full. There is no statute of limitations.

      $36 billion of the outstanding student loans are owned by people 60 and over and that's huge.

      A student loan that is in default may not be discarded in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It would take proof of a severe financial hardship to make an exception to this rule.

    7. Reached 500 signatures
    8. Borrowers Confused, Frustrated by Student Loans

      Linda Locke
      Petition organiser

      Submit a complaint to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

      The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published nearly 2,000 comments on private student loans last Wednesday from students, parents and school administrators across the country. The CFPB launched a student loan complaint system to assist borrowers confused and/or struggling with their student debt. The Bureau plans to use all of the comments to craft specific regulations to help consumers navigate the private student loan industry without unnecessarily burdening the lenders. Consumers submitted comments over the past few months either online or through the mail, relaying their complaints about any and all aspects of the industry. The overwhelming conclusion: the private student loan industry is extremely confusing.

    9. Grieving Father Struggles to Pay Dead Son’s Student Loans

      Linda Locke
      Petition organiser

      Another story about the relentless collection tactics used by student loan collection agencies.
      It's possible to have your student loan debt discharged (canceled) or reduced, but only under certain specific circumstances:

      You die or become totally and permanently disabled.
      Your school closed before you could complete your program.
      For FFEL and Direct Stafford Loans only: Your school owes your lender a refund, forged your signature on a promissory note, or certified your loan even though you didn't have the ability to benefit from the coursework.
      You work in certain designated public school service professions (including teaching in a low
      Death Discharge

      Cancellation because of the borrower's death (or, in the case of PLUS Loans, the death of the student for whom the parent borrowed) is based on an original or certified copy of the death certificate submitted to the school (for a Federal Perkins Loan) or to the holder of the loan (for a FFEL or Direct Stafford Loan).

    10. Default: the Student Loan Documentary

      Linda Locke
      Petition organiser

      This documentary will provide you with insight into the student loan program.

    11. Some Student Loan Thoughts.

      Linda Locke
      Petition organiser

      If you were confused and not clear about this petition, read this article and it will put things into clear perspective for you.

    12. Student Loan Servicing Horror Stories

      Linda Locke
      Petition organiser

      Tax dollars should not reward collectors who abuse borrowers, break debt collection laws, or who
      fail to inform borrowers of their options under the Higher Education Act.

    13. Student Loan Debt Collectors

      Linda Locke
      Petition organiser

      This story brings awareness in a broader scope to our petition, and why we must continue to be diligent in getting our voices heard.

      Making matters worse, when people are late on their loan payments, they often are subjected to huge penalties that make it even harder for them to pay off their debt, which transforms them into prime targets for aggressive for-profit debt collectors.

    14. Reached 250 signatures
    15. Student Loan Blues

      Linda Locke
      Petition organiser

      Americans can't get on with their lives because they're still paying for college years after graduation.

      "Student loan debt is now no longer isolated to young people," said Rich Williams, a higher-education advocate at U.S. Public Interest Research Group. "It's now across the board."

    16. Reached 100 signatures
    17. Taxpayers Fund $454,000 Pay for Collector Chasing Student Loans

      Linda Locke
      Petition organiser

      The loan program “is enriching collection agencies and undermining a goal we all want for society. “We don’t think anyone working on our behalf should put personal profit ahead of serving the best interests of students,” Justin Hamilton, a department spokesman, said in an e-mail. “Much of the loan-collection work carried out by guaranty agencies is defined by congressional statute. Some of those policies deserve a second look and we welcome a conversation with Congress about how they can help us with that.”

    18. National Consumer Law Center Paints Bleak Picture of Student Loan Collectio

      Linda Locke
      Petition organiser

      The picture is clear, effective oversight over the student loan collection process is strongly needed by the Department in order to help borrowers with their debt.

      The Department of Education hasn't had a chance to read it yet, but the National Consumer Law Center has released a 25-page report detailing the issues, as they see it, with the private debt collection contracts the Department is using. "By contracting out its defaulted loan portfolio and failing to provide effective oversight," the report opens in its Executive Summary, "the Department has abdicated its responsibility to uphold the borrower protections in the Higher Education Act." The report doesn't necessarily get any better from there...

    19. Complaints Soar Over Student-Loan Collections

      Linda Locke
      Petition organiser

      Over the past five fiscal years, the number of complaints filed against agencies collecting on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education has grown by 45 percent, according to data obtained by The Chronicle," the Chronicle of Higher Education reports. "The Federal Trade Commission, which oversees the entire industry, received 142,743 complaints involving debt-collection companies last year, though only some involved student loans.
      Consumer advocates blame the rise in complaints on weak federal oversight and corporate greed. They complain that the federal government doesn't do enough to curb abuses generally, and that the Education Department's pay structure encourages collection agencies to demand stiff payments even when the debtor qualifies for a lower amount.
      The critics support efforts by the government's new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to step up federal supervision of the debt-collection industry. And they want the Education Department to...

    20. It is against the law for collection agencies to harass student borrowers

      Linda Locke
      Petition organiser

      The amount of student borrowing crossed the $100 billion threshold for the first time in 2010 and total outstanding loans and exceeded $1 trillion for the first time last year. The reason: Students and workers seeking retraining are borrowing extraordinary amounts of money through federal and private loan programs to help cover the rising cost of college and training. In many cases, parents responsible for the student loans are in or near retirement years and facing repayment demands.

      Although educational borrowing is up for every age group over the past three years and young people still carry the biggest student loan debt burden, borrowing has grown far more quickly for those in the 35-49 age group, according to an analysis by the credit score tracking site CreditKarma. That age group saw its school debt burden increase by a staggering 47 percent, the reason for this increase is obvious: the tough economy has pushed more more people to seek mid-career training and education.

    21. Education Department's Collection-Agency Complaint Systems Need Improvement

      Linda Locke
      Petition organiser

      Debt collectors working on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education do not maintain accessible complaint systems and sometimes ignore the department's minimum requirements for handling borrower grievances, according to a new report by the National Consumer Law Center.

      The report, which is based on the center's review of collectors' Web sites and conversations with the agencies, says that official complaint reports underestimate the scope of the problems borrowers are having with debt collectors. The department contracts with 23 collection agencies to collect on federal student loans.

      The report accuses the department of failing to protect student borrowers and of creating financial incentives that encourage collectors to put profits first. It recommends that the department make it easier for borrowers to lodge a complaint; change its evaluation and commission systems to reward contractors for quality customer service; and increase its oversight of the agencies.

    22. Reached 50 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Tammy Cooper GREAT LAKES, IL
      • almost 2 years ago

      Education is important but so is the student's ability to pay. In this economy finding a job that will pay enough to offset what the monthly payment for student loans are is why so many students (ex) aren't paying! Many of the students don't even realize the amount of debt they will accumulate by the time they receive a degree. Taxpayer dollars can definitely be used elsewhere.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Tia Hinton STOCKBRIDGE, GA
      • almost 2 years ago

      As a parent with a college aged student, and student loans of my own I am fully aware of my responsibility to repay both my and my daughters student loans. While I am current on my loans I am signing in support of the millions of college students saddled with loan debt and no prospects for jobs in this economy. I believe student loan collectors are needed, as with other bill collectors; however, since the revenue they generate is from government funds I believe this industry should either be regulated and their payments capped or these jobs should become government employee jobs. I will do my part to spread the word!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • DARLENE HALAS OXFORD, CT
      • almost 2 years ago

      It's extortion - unbelievable!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Barbara Bell STAUNTON, VA
      • almost 2 years ago

      Because I was laid off in 2010; still can't find a job and I owe both private loans to Sallie Mae and Federal loans to US. I am also a veteran and senior citizen. Although I am not in default yet, this looks like a hopeless situation as I have exausted all of my emergency money and still unemployed. This is so depressing and hopeless.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Tina Hollingsworth MILWAUKEE, WI
      • almost 2 years ago

      I owe about 57,000 in student loan debt, my federal loans are fine but i have two private loans that are ruining my credit and life. I'm trying to get a job and have been for about 2 years and nothing. If i could work, i would have no problem paying. This sucks!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the Change.org API to develop your own organising tools. Find out how to get started.