Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Public Memo to Sallie Mae - You can't get blood from a turnip!

So, the financial fall out continues. Despite claims that we're in "recovery" (who the hell are they fooling?), more of our supporters are writing frantically about their free fall into Lending Hell. I've plucked one quote that has made my heart and chest ache - no, it's not a heart attack. At least not yet. It's anguish. (President Obama, I realize you've been on important business in China, but I hope your administration reads these desperate notes).

Who will listen? Who (shaking my clenched fists)? It honestly makes me feel like I've failed our supporters, and that kills me . . .

One poster wrote a few minutes ago, "[I] just painfully got off the phone with Sallie Mae to pay on [a] past due payment . . . for the sake of protecting my credit. I could have used [the money] for groceries and investing in updating my equipment for a better creative studio. Sallie Mae is ruthless. I can't stand the nasty private loans! Sorry guys, I had to vent while sipping some straight Jim Beam."

In response to that post, another supporter chimed in: "Wow, P. I too called Sallie Mae today only to be told 'there is nothing else you can do.' I lost my job. I haven't got the money . . . I [asked]: 'there is NO way you can work with me on this? And that was her answer. My credit is pristine and I was trying to protect it.I am close to giving up. . . . this single mistake in my life (Full Sail) is going to ruin everything."

Each day, I receive more messages from people who are pleading with me to help them, help them, help them!

You know what I have decided? I propose this type of (in)action to those who wish to send their children to school next year or plan on going themselves: IF YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE OUT ANY LOANS, DO NOT DO IT! DO NOT, DO NOT GO PURSUE ANY TYPE OF HIGHER EDUCATION. If you know what is on the other end, you will NOT go. I say we BOYCOTT higher education until the student lending crisis is resolved. This suggestion comes out of the mouth of a person who was close to becoming a professor. That is the last thing you would expect to hear, but the system is ruthless (there are so many interconnected institutions culpable, where to begin?), and at this point, NO ONE, NO ONE, but this group cares.

I am a person who, for better of worse, cares deeply about human beings (regardless of their foibles). This inability to help them is killing me. 

Well, elections are around the corner, and I think a lot of constituents aren't pleased by the way things have turned out . . .

"The crows seek out the young, vulnerable, and already dead for endless peckin' fun."


SCG said...

It's criminal. Sallie Mae: first against the wall for the firing squad.]

Unknown said...

How about the impact on the parents! I was out of work during the 2002-2003 "phony" recession and my credit was ruined. When I finally got back into the work force, 2 of my kids were in college. In order to keep the student loans as low as possible I paid as much tuition as possible and ignored the credit debt. The DOD in 2008 revoked my clearance for debt and I am now unemployed again. Since I have only worked for the DOD I do not see any employment in the future. I am not able to help my children any further. To top it off, I lost my job in 2002 while working at the Raytheon Corporation for informing them that their Patriot IFF radar was not working. In April 2003 this fact was proven by the deaths of 4 pilots and destruction of 3 jets by the Raytheon Patriot Missile System's IFF radar. I have had to put up with a vengeful Raytheon Corporation since then since only in the movies to they really call you back and say "you were right!!".

Cryn Johannsen said...

Thomas - I definitely feel for the parents. Did you see my earlier blog about parents?

Many thanks for sharing, and I'm sorry to hear that you are unemployed.

spencer d.b. said...

while we're on the s.s. sallie mae complaint boat, i have to say that my experiences with them over the spring/summer of this year were equally frustrating and very similar to paul and kristi's (their comments were posted on FSLD's facebook page earlier this evening). after six months of fruitless searching for full-time work in tucson, arizona, i moved to tempe in an emotional/financial state of complete desperation. things weren't any better, though, and despite applying just about EVERYWHERE, i only managed to get three interviews from june through september (making it the first time in my life that i had to even submit more than two applications before getting hired somewhere). of course, sallie mae continued calling two or three times a day, seven days a week, and i quickly found myself explaining my whole situation to complete faceless strangers over and over again. very humiliating. acknowledgements of understanding from a representative were rare, and human compassion in any form was all but nonexistent. some would even ask that i borrow money from friends or family, which was insulting to me, considering just about everyone that i know struggles on a daily basis to keep themselves fed.


as much as it hurts to trample upon the dreams and career aspirations of others, i've been tempted to tell anyone and everyone who asks my opinion to stay as far away from college as possible. it's a debt trap for the lower and middle classes, designed specifically to keep them at the bottom and leave them without any real future for themselves or their families. IN THE CASE OF STUDENT LOANS, THE BORROWERS ARE LITERALLY SIGNING THEIR LIVES AWAY AND SHOULD BE PREPARED FOR INDENTURED SERVITUDE. THERE ARE NO RIGHTS OR PROTECTIONS, JUST HARASSMENT AND HEARTACHE. i've been roughly five or six classes away from graduating for the last three years, but i just can't seem to justify the notion of borrowing thousands more for a degree in graphic design (from the art institute of illinois at schaumburg). i already owe more than 50k at this point, and i feel as though the training i've received isn't worth half of that. and now, thanks to sallie mae, my school, and a broken system that doesn't care, i will probably end up paying three times the original amount when all is said and done -- unless i die first.

please don't make this mistake -- the poor should not be exploited/penalized for wanting to learn, but they most certainly are in this country. i did something i thought was right and now my life is over. it sounds stupid, but my thoughts are so consumed with regret and anxiety surrounding my indebtedness that i can hardly smile or laugh about anything anymore.

Cryn Johannsen said...

Spencer- thanks so much for sharing. Your experiences are just as frustrating to hear, and I am so very sorry that this corporation has so much power over so many millions of people like you. Call me a Pollyanna, but why did we decide to hand over so many rights to a corporation at the cost of individuals in this society? How dare they even suggest you ask to borrow money from friends or family? Disgusting.

I am in total agreement with you about my advice about going to school. Several young people have asked me lately, and I have come to the same conclusion: DON'T DO IT. That's sad considering how much I value education, but not the economic side of it.