While I try to keep this blog law school focused, or at least legal-field focused, I have been experiencing such a headache with my undergraduate student loans for the past few weeks that I could not resist writing about it here.
Because I graduated in May and do not have a job yet, I called the company that handles my undergraduate student loans and requested an unemployment deferral. Charmingly, the loans go into repayment on your last day of classes, as if that's the day that you will magically have the money to start making payments again. They sent me some forms to fill out, which were simple enough. I faxed them back and it all seemed painless as one could expect.
A few days later, the phone calls began. First, they claimed not to receive my fax. Then, they claimed they only got the cover sheet. Then magically, another page appeared. But still, more than half of my loans were not in deferral-mode. Calmly, I went back to the UPS store and had them faxed again. These are people who essentially send faxes all day, for a living. I think they know how to do it. I informed the company that I faxed the sheets once again, and that should have been that.
And a few days later, the phone calls began again. Apparently no fax was received. This is not rocket science; I used the number on the site, which was the same as the number the service rep gave me. I calmly explained that I have no job, and every time I have to fax something to them it costs money. But, I faxed it again.
Now, the harassing letters have started arriving, threatening to report me to collections for the half of my loans for which the form was apparently faxed into the ether. Collections, after how many days? Really? Just for the cherry on top of the whole situation, I received an email telling me that they received mail back from my address marked as undeliverable. Which is pretty astonishing as I have received mail from them before, at this address. Beautiful.
I'm sending it again today with a tracking number, snail mail. I know that there is nothing remarkable about this story, but here's the thing: My student loans and the knowledge that they are looming over my head is a constant source of anxiety and stress for me. To be bombarded with calls, letters and emails as if I am some sort of criminal deadbeat is very upsetting, especially when I tried to do everything right from the outset and get the loans deferred. It is also a painful, constant reminder that I cannot put this stuff off forever. (A reminder which, believe me, I don't need.) I find it hard to believe that the company has the documents and is lying about it - if I had to guess someone profoundly inept has been receiving them and misplacing them. But these are people who have been hired to handle things that are absolutely critical to people's lives. A little organization is not too much to ask for. But why should I be surprised? This is all par for the course. Prospective students, take note: you could very well be in for this type of humiliation down the road.