*As many of us know, the student loan business has become a big, unforgiving, setup for failure. And today, a multitude of college graduates, young and old, continue to struggle with the burden of balances that never get any lower, due to the high DAILY interest rates that eventually become part of the principal. After a while, your loan has become so huge it is unrecognizable to you. Former students have filed bankruptcy in an effort to get rid of the loans. No dice, says Uncle Sam. Bankruptcy does not erase your student loan. And now, one agency in the state of New Jersey wants you to know, not even your murder will release the debt.
Nope. I wouldn’t joke about something this serious.
The son of Marcia DeOliveira-Longinetti was murdered last year. And even amidst her grief, the single mother kept busy helping the police gain access to her son Kevin’s phone and email. She cancelled his subscriptions, credit cards and bank accounts; and arranged his burial in New Jersey.
Thankfully, when she called about her son’s federal student loans, she was met with sincere condolences and a promise that Kevin’s remaining balance would be written off.
This, however, was not the case when she contacted the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority – a New Jersey state agency that had also lent her son money.
In a letter to the grieving mother, the agency wrote:
“Please accept our condolences on your loss. After careful consideration of the information you provided, the authority has determined that your request does not meet the threshold for loan forgiveness. Monthly bill statements will continue to be sent to you.”
Again, this woman’s son was murdered and this is what the agency had to say to her.
Apparently, this agency, which is said to run the largest state-based student loan program in the country, has quite the reputation when it comes to being hard-nosed.
According to the Sacramento Bee, New Jersey’s loans, which currently total $1.9 billion, are unlike those of any other government lending program for students in the country. They come with extraordinarily stringent rules that can easily lead to financial ruin. Repayments cannot be adjusted based on income, and borrowers who are unemployed or facing other financial hardships are given few breaks.
The loans also carry higher interest rates than similar federal programs. Most significant, New Jersey’s loans come with a cudgel that even the most predatory for-profit players cannot wield: the power of the state. New Jersey can garnish wages, rescind state income tax refunds, revoke professional licenses, even take away lottery winnings – all without having to get court approval.
The Authority is also said to have become increasingly aggressive over the years, yet has the audacity to market themselves as having a “singular focus” that is designed “to benefit the students we serve.”
Bankruptcy lawyer, Daniel Frischberg, calls the actions of this agency “state-sanctioned loan-sharking.” And he adds, “The New Jersey program is set up so that you fail.”
Hopefully, the whole student loan debacle will be dismantled if Hillary Clinton takes office. It is, after all, said to be high on her “To Do List.”
Watch a video on this directly below.