By Malissa Babe (Contact)
To be delivered to: American Student Assistance
For 20 years, I have worked in public service, teaching underprivileged youth in low income districts. I received my B.A. in Secondary Education, then my graduate degree in addition to an Elementary Education certification. My total borrowed was $17,000 in federal student loans during my undergraduate years. The rest I paid out of pocket.
When I married, my then-husband and I consolidated my $17,000 undergraduate loans and his $117,000 loans. As a couple, consolidating our loans gave us a lower interest rate and lower monthly payments. But, in 2005, we divorced, splitting everything between us -- everything except these consolidated loans, which are illegal to split.
For years since my divorce, I have contacted the company owning the loan and finally ASA (once they acquired the loans) about deferments and forbearances, only to be given the run-around. Continually, ASA habitually “lost” or “never received” my paperwork. Later, ASA informed me that both my ex-husband and I had to defer for the exact same reason or the deferment would be denied. Since I had very limited contact with my ex, coordinating to file paperwork for us to defer for the same reason was impossible. Later when I contacted ASA, I was informed that since my ex-husband was listed as the primary holder on the account, no information could be divulged to me personally without his permission, even though I'm equally responsible.
My ex-husband stopped payment on this consolidated loan years ago and ASA was not sending any mail to me, which caused the loan to default in both our names - a loan that had grown, with added interest and penalties, to almost $300,000. Since the default, my once-perfect credit score is now destroyed and over $1,000 a month is garnished from ONLY my paycheck; yet, ASA refuses to even discuss the loans with me. To date, I have paid over $13,000 toward our joint student loans. Additionally, despite the fact that it’s MY wage being garnished, ASA sent my ex-husband the 2012 1098-E, as if HE were the one paying on the loan. ASA continually refuses to give me information for an account that I pay for and, even though there have been multiple efforts on my part, I cannot get any information to allow me to fix the situation.
I am a single mother raising two teen daughters. I have tried desperately to work with my lender to separate this student debt, to negotiate, or to offer any sort of relief. Now I am asking for your help. Please help me reach 50,000 signatures to be delivered to ASA demanding they separate my consolidated loan. I was granted a divorce eight years ago. Shouldn't our loans be separate, too? I am asking that these loans separate so I can move on and help support my two daughters with their college careers now and in the future.
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