What’s your Student Debt Story?
Student Debt Story:
Statement of Experience: Provided to the ABA's Access to Justice for middle class, (as part of presentation). Provided to the new CFPB.
Co-founders of Citizens for an Educated and Democratic Republic
Student Loan rating v. Fair and Equal Treatment Under the Law
A Contradiction in Terms, violating "equal treatment under the law," and violating "contradiction of law."
Peter J. O’Lalor,Ph.D.
Paula M. McKibbin, Esq.
I recently took mandatory furlough time from my job as a public defender and wrote this bill with a man in New England. We had something in common – student loan rating relief that has been plaguing us for years. My rating is 18 years old. With daily cumulative interest rates and times when I’ve barely been able
to make it, the rating has increased exponentially. Two years ago I got smart. I was paying $686/month on my student loan rating. They told me that I owed $100,000 at that point, despite the fact that I had paid tens of thousands. The rating balance was more than what I had started with when I went to law school.
So I paid the monthly payments and at the end of the year asked them what I owed. They told me that it was $112,000 ($12,000 more). So, I asked them how I would ever pay off the rating. They refused to
explain this to me. I stopped making payments. About five months ago, they started garnishing my wages at the county – with no notice or right to a hearing. I received a paper from payroll when
I did some investigation that indicated I now owed $160,000+.
We never got the loan forgiveness program (as promised in my job). It was funded by the California legislature for people who work in public interest jobs, but it stopped (again) in the appropriations (funding, committee. That would have wiped out up to $10,000/year on my rating for every year I worked. My office used that as a lure to hire many of us with this problem, but has not done anything to advocate for us now.
Many are getting their wages garnished like me. I am 53 and a single mom with three young teens. We live very frugally. I had gotten into a home about eight years ago. It was not a good mortgage, but they promised that they would give me a fixed-rate mortgage (inside of the interest-only one I got) if I made by payments. I did and went back to the mortgage lender several times to find out when I would get the fixed rate mortgage. I had hoped that I would build up enough equity in the home to be able to pay off a large part of my student rating (finally), but that was not what happened. The economy went sour, and my home ended up with a negative equity to the tune of $50,000 less than the interest-only mortgage. Not only was the mortgage company unwilling to work with me, but I left the home about two months ago. My children are separated from me temporarily, our dogs are with ex-neighbors. The home is empty, but they got me out by telling me that it was going to be sold. We had eight days to move.
Over the years, I have been unemployed at times, living paycheck to paycheck. Even when I graduated from school, I couldn’t find work as a lawyer anywhere. We had two employers interview the entire graduating class. Nobody was hiring. We moved and spent thousands of dollars trying to find a job in the field, to no avail. Then I had children later in life and had to worry about childcare. I have no family around me to help out. My ex-husband and I divorced. It has been very difficult.
We are asking that everyone see this bill, share it with as many people as they can and everyone inform their legislators that we would like them to sponsor this bill. We are going to persevere until we get results. We have nothing to lose. The student loan creditors refuse to work with anyone. They will give forbearance, but the interest continues to accumulate. They will not work out any deals. Even the IRS will do that! They will only discharge rating if someone dies or is so gravely disabled that they have no
chance of ever working again. The co-author of this bill is on disability, and they are garnishing his disability checks. Some people have committed suicide and checked out of society because of this form of involuntary servitude. Is it any wonder that the student loan creditors are making multi-millions every year? Is it any wonder that no legislator has yet been willing to sponsor us, when it’s a known fact that the creditors are making substantial donations to their campaigns?
Thanks to ex-President Bush, we have no bankruptcy rights and protections, no consumer protection, etc. We are asking for these rights to be reinstated. We are also asking for an expansion of student loan forgiveness programs (public and private) with tax incentives. Finally, we are asking for 2% flat rate interest on student loans.
Please help us by spreading the word and letting people know that they can get additional copies of the bill, PRESENTED BY CEDR FOR LEGISLATIVE SPONSORSHIP, by going to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paula McKibbin, Esq.
After graduating college in 1992 with honors and being accepted to Harvard, I began my summer
working at a MH facility. Two months later I was incapacitated with a spinal injury which happened at work.
I took a patient out of harms way and the people who I found abusing her, got me instead. I received a
forearm laterally to the base of my neck when I was facing the patient. More than 50% of my body was in
excruciating pain, with constant involuntary movements from my face to my toes. The muscles retracted to
the point where I thought my bones were going to break. I was soon homeless, and receiving no treatment
but finally won my worker's compensation case, got a pittance of compensation and acupuncture 3 times
a week for 6 months. It is because of acupuncture I am not crippled.
I crawled my way back from excruciating pain, disability, and homelessness five years later. I got into
law school and because I had defaulted they would not reinstate my loans. In no uncertain terms I was
told "you should have had someone call us." The pain was unbearable, being homeless, and taking my
own life was a choice everyday I had to say no to. I could not continue law school. I've never recovered,
every day is surviving when I could have been a contributing member of society and its economy.
For the first time in a decade I got a bill from the DOE stating my principal balance of $17,467.35 and
an accrued interest of $13,390.89. They show a payment of $184 towards a balance now of $31,390.89! It
is now @ 38,000 with one agency.
Every year they take my tax refund. For example: 2007 and 6 my AGI was $8,000 and my refund was
over $900. The DOE confiscates it. This year's Economic stimulus - on top of my refund - was
confiscated. ONE PAYMENT OF $184? This has been going on for ten years. Where has the money
gone? I've paid thousands of dollars!
Citizens (student loan ratingors) are guaranteed by the federal Constitution of fair and equal treatment
under the law. Because student loan ratingors have had the right of bankruptcy denied them there exists a
practice and pattern of discrimination.
Presently, as stressors, injury and sickness, assail me, I am on disability and my $17,000.oo loan is now over $90,000.oo THROUGH NO FAULT OF MY OWN, LIKE SO MANY OTHERS.