Sunday, April 13, 2008

Student Loan Update

Below was a particularly important reminder for me because I got a nice little email from Sallie Mae explaining how important my online security is to them. I'm sure there is a reason for this. Lord knows, I wouldn't want someone STEALING my student loan debt, still accruing from the debacle of a Ph.D. program run by people who claim to be educators and experts in social sciences but are law breakers and leeches on humanity. Oh. Is my attitude coming through again?

Here's the issue, folks. Prior borrowers continue to have no consumer protection from unethical schools. Many of these schools are obviously out of regulatory compliance not in petty ways but in ways that seriously impact students and tax payers. I've given examples before, but it warrants repeating: schools that disregard the American with Disabilities Act and get away with it; schools that lie to potential students in order to increase admissions quotas; schools that fail to deliver what was promised; schools that receive monies to endorse particular lenders; schools that promote high interest loans and/or extensive loans to students who obviously can never pay back those loans; lenders that target vulnerable populations, offering the dream of higher education by burdening students with excessive debt; etc.

The loans I've described above are no different from predatory mortgages, credit cards, payday loans and pawn loans. Congress, however, has bought into the lending business. Accreditation agencies overlook egregious business and systemic patters in the institutions they are supposed to oversee. And students end up losing for a lifetime.

If this describes you, please write to your local Congressperson. Write to the Department of Education. Write to your lender, your Attorney General, your school's CEO, your Governor, the Justice Department and anyone else you can think of.

Our generation and those before should be allowed to live productive lives, not chained to banks and schools that only care about the bottom line.

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Alan Collinge sent a message to the members of Student Loan Justice.Org.--------------------Subject: Checking in, April 10, 2008April 10th, 2008--------------------------------------------

-------Hey Everyone,It has been three (long) years now since StudentLoanJustice.org was started. However, I have to say that I am proud with what has been accomplished to date. With almost no funding, and a heavily beleaguered membership, we have been written about in nearly every major newspaper in the U.S., been featured on 4 television programs including top story on 60 Minutes, been featured in 4 books, and written one of our own, and also been aired on dozens of radio shows across the country.

We've also been featured in 3 magazines, and have grown to comprise roughly 3000 members. We also formed a political action committee, toured the country, and have formed state chapters for 40 states.

We also served as a basis for an ongoing Senate investigation, and are credited as being the reason that the Student Borrower Bill of Rights was created in 2006.

Still and all, there has been little progress on the legislative front, and this is really what matters.

I hope you will be encouraged by this to get out and do your part to make sure that Congress realizes what an absolute scam the student loan industry has become. If you don't stand up, no one will stand up for you.

Recent News:

1. Lynn O'Shaugnessy thanks us in her new book: College Solution.

2. I was a guest last Monday on the Armstrong Williams show: Take Back America

3. Congress is again bending over backwards for the banks. In my view, this is a travesty. These are the same banks that lobbied for, and got the removal bankruptcy protections for private loans, and then proceeded to wrecklessly lend as much as possible- and at as high of an interest rate as possible- to students. Now, with the economy turning, and these students defaulting on these predatory loans (predictably), they are crying for help. Again, the citizens are taking a back seat to the banks. This will continue, particularly in light of TERI, the nations largest guarantor of private loans, filing for bankruptcy. Ironic that they can file for bankruptcy protection, but not the students who are now saddled with these usurious loans.

That's it for now. Keep us updated on your progress. We need something to brag about for the next update!--------------------

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