8/3/11 This Movement/Petition is officially named: THE SAGA (Students & Graduates Act)
This petition is to amend the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act. The purpose is to modify current & future repayment and loan forgiveness terms for student loan holders who have sucessfully graduated from a private or public secondary educational institution. These revisions/amendments will apply to both GOVERNMENTAL AND PRIVATE STUDENT LOAN LENDERS and includes how colleges and secondary education institutions charge for tuition. Let’s act now to help current student lien holders. My proposal/plead & story is as follows:
1. CLEAN the SLATE: Current student loans that are older than 10 years receive automatic forgiveness of the outstanding balance. If it’s been 10 years, and the graduate/lien holder still cannot afford to repay loans, forgive that loan. Loans that have been on financial hardship deferment >10 years will qualify for full loan forgiveness. This forgiveness will be for student loans both from governmental lenders and private student loan lenders.
2. When a graduate is in deferment for financial hardship, stop the interest from accruing. When a graduate is having a hard time paying the original principal balance, how is it going to make it easier to pay a larger balance in the future?
3. If a graduate becomes permanently disabled, this should qualify for automatic loan forgiveness of the outstanding balance.
4. Percentage rates applied to repayment terms should be based on “net income after reasonable living expenses”, not “gross income”. There is a big difference between net income and gross income. My lender repayment term is 20% of my gross income, but what I actually bring home is A LOT less than what my gross income indicates. Federal, Social Security, and Medicare taxes must come out first, then health, and dental, insurances. THEN, I have to pay rent, electric, water, phone, gas, and food. By the time I get to my student loan payment, my NET income is negative.
5. Based on the differences between net income and gross income, the: Financial Hardship” deferment should be better defined to include: Unemployed, and Employed with negative disposable net income.
6. Colleges/Educational Institutions need to stop gouging students. Across the board, make tuition rates reasonable and fair. It shouldn’t matter if you go to a private school, or a public school. The cost for ONE semester at a private college is the same price for a whole two year degree at a public college. THIS IS GOUGING. I’m sure this topic could be a petition in itself…
I’m sure my story is like thousands of others. I graduated from a private college with student loans that totaled over $40,000 plus interest, which was 11 years ago, and to this day I have not been able afford to make the enormous monthly payments. The lender required monthly payments are not affordable, as the job I got after graduation is not the same field I went to school for, but was the only job I could find. I couldn’t wait around to find a field of study related job, because I needed work immediately. I work 40 plus hours a week and pray that my lender grants me deferments.
The loans originated through Sallie Mae, but after graduation, the loans were consolidating through a private bank that handles student loans. I have postponed repayment by requesting a “financial hardship deferment” while I was looking for work. Most lenders allow a maximum of 3 years of financial hardship deferment, and then I asked for a “Lender Option Deferment”, which leaves a person at the mercy of the lender. If the lender decides that you make enough money to afford your loan, and you still cannot pay, then the loan goes into default. When a person defaults on a federal student loan, the government can garnish wages, garnish tax returns, garnish social security and disability income, suspend professional licenses, terminate public employees, deny security clearances, destroy credit, and possibly sue for future earnings. So, basically, obtaining a student loan can possibly destroy your life, and stay with you for the rest of your life...imagine turning 65-years-old and having your social security check garnished. Or, even worse, if you are disabled and have no other way to support yourself except through disability income...THIS IS WRONG!
The new provisions approved in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act will help future students after July 2014, but what about those of us unable to make payment and face default or those of us under or unemployed that can never get ahead on the loans. I know I am not alone; there are thousands of graduates out there that are DROWNING in student loan debt and WE NEED HELP NOW!
I thought we lived in a country where people are encouraged to prosper, succeed, and better ourselves. I always thought of education as a “human investment”; a stepping stone for a better life and a lifetime of returns. I never imagined getting an education might ruin my credit, cause additional financial distress, keep me in debt for the rest of my life, and possibly sue for future earnings. Furthering your education has become a nightmare unless you have $50,000+ cash of expendable income.
Let’s take action together to change how student loans are handled, how much colleges can charge, and HELP CURRENT STUDENT LOAN HOLDERS DROWNING IN DEBT! Please sign this petition, and let’s change these laws!