First off, prepare for a mild rant:
My first two semesters (2003-2004) at Monroe Community College went off without a hitch, besides mediocre Grades. More importantly though, there were no tuition issues that I didn't know about. Everything was covered by loans.
The following two semesters, I go through assuming there is no problem. I register for each semester, and recieve no word that there is any problem. At the end of the spring semester, I recieve notification that I have a balance due for both semesters. My fafsa "hadn't been filled out". I recieve this notification as I am attempting to transfer to another school, which costs 10 times more, but is a "real college". I cannot transfer without a transcript from my college, and I cannot get a transcript unless I pay my remaining balance. Therefore, I assume that I will be able to pay my existing balance with an additional loan that I will have to take out in this upcoming semester. That means that I will resultantly be unable to transfer to the new school until the spring semester. I count that as a calculated loss, and make plans to attend the same community college this semester.
Last week, however, I recieve a notification from my school telling me that in 5 days, my account will be sent to collections. The letter is dated 8/5, postmarked 8/9, and I recieve the letter on 8/12. So, the letter was writtten on 8/5, sent on 8/9, and recieved on 8/12. So, if you were to do the math, my 5 days was up 2 days before I recieved notification. The only notification I recieved mentioning collections was that letter.
Not knowing what really to do about it, I admittedly do nothing. Much of this could have been dealt with had I been quicker with making calls, and being proactive about it all, but I never knwe it was as serious as it's apparently become.
Anyway, I recieve a call today from the collections agency notifying me that they want a balance of $4021.50, up from $3021.50 including a $1000 collection fee.
So, I can't go to my school this semester, as the semester starts in like 8 days, and I'd have to come up with 4k in order to register, and THEN take out an additional loan for the upcoming semester, which would total $1500.
So, I'm trying to figure it all out at this point. In the scheme of things, $4000 isn't THAT much money when you're talking college dollars, but unfortunately the only way I can get the money is through the very institution I'm barred from attending because I owe them in the first place. Altogether, it has ground my college plans to a complete halt.
Anyway, just thought I'd rant about it and see if anyone else has any student loan horror stories they feel like venting about.
I was once paying $100/month, but I called them up and said:
"Yo G, this be too much cheddar off mah grill! I gotta hook me up wit some fine threads to get the 4-1-1 on my skanks. Gotta keep it real! Nah'sayin? Don't be straight ig'nant and throw salt in my game!"
So they allow me to pay only $50/mon. I hear you can get it even lower!
In other words: If it's a government loan, you can have the payment deffered. The government is flexible when it comes to paying back student loans. Or, take out one of those cheap credit cards with 5,000 instant credit and use that to pay off all your loans! You'll have to pay off the card but you'll be able to go back to school.
Edit: Sorry jason
Last edited by CaptainInsano; August 30th, 2005 at 01:40 AM.
Is this normal practice? I thought collection agencies took a portion of collected debt as payment, rather than tacking on a fee.Originally Posted by PaulGanguly
I guess you have a couple of options:
-borrow the money from somewhere, like with a loan or credit card. Then you will owe the new people, but it will at least help with the school problem.
-ask to work out a payment plan. The collection agency will pretend that they don't want to do this, but will probably give in if you can convince them that this is the only way they can get anything out of you. They would rather get the money slowly than not at all, i.e."you can't get blood from a stone." GET THIS IN WRITING IF THEY AGREE TO THIS.
I don't know if this will solve the problem of getting the school to release your transcript, however.
-ask if they will take a settlement. You can say, "I can give you $2,000 right now if you'll settle the whole thing." Again, they will pretend this is unacceptable, but they would rather get something than nothing. If this works, it will show up on your credit report as "settled" rather than "paid." "Settled," of course, is not as good as "paid," but it's a whole lot better than "unpaid." ALSO GET THIS IN WRITING IF THEY AGREE.
I'm sure there are debt-collectors who are good people and just trying to do their job, but unfortunately a lot of them are really scummy. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act says what they are allowed to do and not do, i.e. they can't threaten or harrass you.
You can read more about it here:
Ah, I noticed this on the webpage:
I don't know if this is allowed in your state or not--you may want to check.collectors may not:
* collect any amount greater than your debt, unless your state law permits such
I must repeat again: GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING. Many collectors can be really terrible.
I'm sorry this happened to you. Though you admit you could have been more proactive, it seems much of it was out of your control. I hope you're able to get things worked out.
I wasn't bothered with paying back loans till I get out of college. And it's strange they ask so much for collecting fees. Did you signed up through the agency? what kind of loan is it? I took loans from government, and all the agency letters I got claim they can reduce the payment, not adding crazy fees.
Perhaps there's finance advisor in your college that can help you?
I live in NYC myself, but I had neevr heard anything good about Monroe College, in the entire time I'd been living in this city. I'm just curious, didn't you hear or read any of the bad things that had been reported about Monroe before you decided to attend?
Monroe Community College is a 2 year community college in Rochester NY, which is roughly 6 hours northwest of NY City. I'm not entirely sure you're talking about the same place. Granted, Monroe Community College is mediocre, but I'm not sure I know what you're talking about as far as bad reports go. Additionally, this isn't the kind of school you decide to attend, so much as attend out of necessity. It's exceptionally cheap, and the credits that you get there can transfer anywhere.
Anyway, thanks for that link, as well as the advice, Emily G. It sounds like you might've dealt with this before? It's definitely a pain in the ass, and I'm not entirely sure what all my options are at this point, but I know that a great many collections agencies are shady.
The more I think about it, the less it appears to be an insurmountable problem. It's just at the present, it throws my plans off by several months.
Paul, I obviously mistook the name, but it still sounds like a tight pinch you're in regardless. If you've got any of the original loan documentation that you signed, I'd seriously look over the fine print, especially the payment clauses as far as what you agreed to. That should help you get a better handle on this problem.
I've got to agree with look though. It doesn't sound like you got any of the more common student loan types, since they usually send notice as much as 90 days after you stop attending college and don't expect payment in full, but rather monthly payments. And that's usually after monthly letters making sure to keep you up to date on your obligations, whereas this just came out of the blue expecting payment in full from you. As you're dealing with a collection agency at this point, stop having any further over the phone dialogue with them as it's not going to really help you one way or the other. Any dealings you have with them should be in written correspondence exclusively, if possible.
Heh, luckily I haven't, but I am highly interested in financial matters and have spent a lot of time studying the subject.Originally Posted by PaulGanguly
Glad to hear you feel you can get a handle on it. Best of luck to you.