Tell Sallie Mae: Stop the Unemployment Penalty demands a Change.org petition by Stef Gray, a recent public college graduate who borrowed at 9.75 percent to pay college costs.
I graduated in May with honors, but even with an advanced degree in a technical field, I still haven’t found full-time work. I’m doing everything I can to avoid defaulting on my loans, but Sallie Mae has charged me hundreds of dollars in extra fees because I’ve had to delay my payments (called forbearance).
While federal loans let the unemployed defer payments without fees, Sallie Mae charges $50 per loan every three months, writes Gray, who has three loans that can’t be consolidated. Meanwhile, interest is accruing.
If I don’t find full-time work before the end of January, Sallie Mae is going to charge me another $150 in “forbearance fees” — while my total debt continues to grow by approximately $1,200.
Please join me in asking Sallie Mae to stop double-dipping. Sign my petition calling on Sallie Mae CEO Albert Lord to stop charging forebearance fees to unemployed students wishing to avoid default.
Sallie Mae spokesperson Patricia Christel described the fee as “a good faith deposit that acknowledges the importance of and commitment to resuming payments in the future,” reports the Chronicle of Higher Education.
“When I pay a deposit on my apartment, I get my money back at the end of the lease,” Gray responds. “If this were a ‘deposit,’ borrowers would either get their fees back at the end of the forbearance or the money would be applied to the loan’s balance. Neither of these is true.”