Meet Stef Gray, a recent graduate of a public college who took out private student loans through Sallie Mae before the credit crunch. Despite her school's relatively low tuition and her full-time job, she still needed the extra help in order to pay for rent, utilities, and groceries because her parents had passed away. Sallie Mae loaned her money with a 9.75 percent interest rate because she didn't have anyone who could co-sign She graduated in May with honors, but even with an advanced degree in a technical field, she still hasn't found full-time work. She's doing everything she can to avoid defaulting on her loans, but Sallie Mae has charged her hundreds of dollars in extra fees because she's had to delay her payments (called forbearance). Federal loans allow the unemployed to defer payments without any fees, so the same kindness is not too much to ask from America's largest private lender.
Since May, Stef has already had to pay $300 to Sallie Mae in "forbearance fees." ($50 per loan for every 3 month block. Consolidation is not an option.) Not a dime has gone to her loan principal. Meanwhile, the interest on her loans keeps growing -- meaning that Sallie Mae will cash in two times -- once with the extra fees they're charging her, and again when she pays the interest that accrues as she looks for work. As an unemployed person looking for work, Stef needs every extra dollar she has to pay for rent, electricity and groceries. But Sallie Mae is preying on people like Stef and cashing in on the fact that those in the same boat as her need more time to find work before they can repay their student loans.
If she doesn't find full-time work before the end of November, Sallie Mae is going to her another $150 in "forbearance fees" -- while her total debt continues to grow by $500.
Please join Stef Gray in asking Sallie Mae to stop double-dipping. Sign her petition calling on Sallie Mae CEO Albert Lord to stop charging a $50 forbearance fee on the unemployed who cannot make a loan payment right now.
Once you sign Stef's petition, be sure to share it to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or any other profile you might have. Then. . .
Together, let's make student loan debt a major issue of the 2012 campaign!