My name is Ella Edwards. My only son, Jermaine Edwards, was a wonderful young man and the light of my life. When he went to college to study music production, I was happy to cosign his student loans -- he dreamt of making a better life for himself and I wanted to help him do that. But then Jermaine died suddenly in 2009 at just 24 years old. That's when First Marblehead Corporation and American Education Services (AES) turned my son's dream into a nightmare for me and the two year old son he left behind.
Jermaine had three student loans when he passed -- two from the federal government, and one private loan. The federal loans were forgiven within a month of his death. But First Marblehead is refusing to forgive the loan.
Jermaine was my only child, and after his death, I was so devastated I could barely get out of bed in the morning. I requested an early retirement from my job, losing much needed retirement benefits. Since my son's death, I have been under doctors care. I am 61 years old and I have been trying to work to make Jermaine's loan payments. I am trying to pay off Jermaine's loan, but I simply don't have the money -- and because of my crushing depression, I am barely able to work at all. To make matters worse, Jermaine left behind a young son whose mother doesn't have many resources. Therefore, she relies on me to help support Jermaine's son.
Nobody told me when i cosigned the loan that I would be forced to pay them back even if my son died. Jermaine never had an opportunity to use his education and I can't use it either. I need help to get this loan forgiven and to change First Marblehead's and AES' policies to protect students and parents after the death of a student.
- CEO/Chairmain, First Marblehead Corporation
- Managing Director, First Marblehead Corporation
- CEO, American Education Services
- VP Public Affairs, American Education Services
- Compliance, First Marblehead Corporation
James M. Thompson
I just signed the following petition addressed to: First Marblehead Corporation and American Education Services.
Forgive Jermaine Edwards' student loan
I'm horrified at your institution's practice of hounding a dead student's family for repayment of student loans he'll never get a chance to use.
Your actions 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. So why won't First Marblehead and AES?
I'm calling on you to do the only humane thing -- let this still-grieving mother mourn the loss of her only son in peace. I stand with the Ella Edwards family and decent people everywhere in demanding that you discharge Jermaine Edwards' student loan debt today.
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