Congress, Don't Let Student Loan Companies Harass Families of the Deceased

Sallie Mae is showing it will not forgive a student loan no matter what. Even if the student dies.

Law student Andrew Katbi was killed in a car pile-up on his way back to Duke University from a camping trip. Afterward his parents sent copies of his death certificate to three lenders - Citi, Discover and Sallie Mae. All but the latter forgave the loan.

Instead Sallie Mae went after Andrew’s family with harassing phone calls and letters, rolling over the balance to his mother, who had co-signed the loan.

Reports say It wasn’t until Andrew’s sister Olivia exposed Sallie Mae’s ruthless tactics on Twitter that it backed off and began working with the family.

Part of the problem is that federal law doesn’t require all private student-loan lenders to forgive loans when deaths occur. The law also makes it difficult to get loans discharged with bankruptcy.

Olivia says she believes these laws should be changed, and public outrage will help. We should all express our outrage and demand student loans be forgiven in cases of hardship or death.

We, the undersigned, say Congress should step in and stop all ruthless lending practices, especially involving  college loans.

Many students, former students and their families can attest to just how burdensome college debt has become. And even when a student becomes disabled, some college lenders will argue with a Social Security determination of disability and continue to harass disabled students, as well as families of deceased students and those dealing with bankruptcy.

Isn’t it shameful enough that a country as wealthy as the United States even allows students to be buried under heavy debt in the first place, without placing these extra ruthless burdens on students and family members?

Reports say that Andrew Katbi had given back to society already with his work in the Ohio Public Defender’s Office on death row cases. Lenders and fair government laws should make sure that colleges are able to send more educated people into society who will make a difference as Andrew did during his short life.

We ask Congress to change laws that allow student loan companies to harass disabled students, families suffering financial hardships and families of the deceased.

Thanks for you time.

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