Jubilee

My student loans were forgiven today!!! That is 135k wiped clean under the PSLF program!!! This is an answer to prayer to bring justice to an unjust situation.

I was repaying under a variation of IBR (Income Based Repayment.) Under PSLF, if you work for a non profit and your loan is owned by the government, your loan can be forgiven after 10 years or 120 “qualifying” payments.

I made payments for 15 years because my loans were under PHEAA. Under PHEAA, only 1-2% of people trying to get forgiveness were granted forgiveness after 120 payments. Many sources said PHEAA mislead people into going into forberance and deferment, stalled on paperwork, and weren’t clear about the requirements of the program, but I discovered that it was much more sinister than that; that PHEAA was actually corrupt and dishonest.

I didn’t discover this until about 3 years ago. Up until that point in time, I trusted the student loan company to keep track of my payments. I didn’t bother to save my bank account receipts or any proof of payments. However, I began to discover many, many inconsistencies in regards to what actually constituted as a “qualifying” payment, and what was once qualifying later wasn’t. I began to notice that after so many years of making payments, so few payments were counted. That seemed mind-boggling. I maybe missed a few when I would forget to reapply on time certain years and therefore my affordable payments would instead turn into $500 or $1000 something payments which I couldn’t afford, but I would quickly get myself back on track again. (I found out today that they purposely didnt notify you so they could kick you out of the program…links to this info are at the end.) Otherwise, I always had my payments automatically deducted from my bank account that was only used for that purpose, and the funds were always there since they were automatically deposited from my pay checks. So it just didn’t make sense that so few payments were counted. I then began to keep track, but discovered my credit reports and PHEAA’s information weren’t always aligned, and not only that, but PHEAA seemed to arbitrarily change what payments they counted. I figured out that entire years were wiped away!! Unfortunately, I had changed banks, and by then, it was too late to get bank statements proving otherwise because they only went so far back, and they especially didnt want to help you if you were no longer with them. I created an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of my current payments and figure out my past payments, but I ended up with 4 different columns of evidence that contradicted one another, so it was very confusing and complicated – a headache, to say the least. Then, I started to save downloads of what they considered “qualifying payments” towards loan forgiveness, but within a year, you couldn’t download it anymore. How convenient for them, eh? Then, I took photos of my computer screen. I discovered clear proof that they were changing records arbitrarily. I couldn’t manage to get a lot of examples, but I got a few that were clearly changed. What I discovered is that past payments that were counted were now disqualified because they said I was in “forbearance or deferment,” Therefore, it didn’t count. First of all, if I was in forbearance or deferment, why would I have made a payment???

Honestly, though, I felt kind of powerless against a huge cooperation. I really didn’t think writing them and pointing out the inconsistencies would do any good because it seemed deliberate versus accidental. Why would a corrupt company suddenly start to be honest? I didn’t have the kind of money to bring a lawsuit against them. However, I was still thankful I was under the PSLF with a chance at forgiveness, so I just prayed about it and continued my documentation the best I could. I prayed for justice.

When PHEAA ended its contract, and Moella took over partly because of the corruption (they just didn’t know how bad), I knew there was NOW a chance to hope for justice. I decided to write them about the issue and included what documentation I had: credit reports, downloads of payments made (when it was available), contrasting with screenshots of those same payments not counted later, etc. Honestly, nobody wrote me back, but I later noticed changes to the PSLF program. Additional waivers were added so they could count payments before 2011. That alone finally brought me much closer to forgiveness. I have been making payments since 2007 or 2008. They also decided that any payments in forbearance or deferment for a year or longer would now be qualified, and any deferment for over 37 consecutive months (I think) would now count towards payment. This would give me credit for at least 2 more years of payments, but now I already qualify, so I’m not sure it matters for me, anyway. That won’t even be calculated until July 2023. I’m not sure I would qualify for a refund since I was paying a reduced amount to begin with, plus with the payment pause, but still, I had to make 5 extra years of payments!

Of note, I borrowed 30K for grad school. I owed 135k right before my forgiveness today. That’s 105k in compounded interest!!! That’s because when they put you on deferment or forbearance, they can compound your interest. Thats one of the biggest reasons they do it, and also to keep you paying longer. They took past payments and, without my consent, said they were in forbearance and then charged me compounding interest. Do you see the problem with this? The problem is not so much that people are lazy and want handouts or not to repay their loans (that could be the case with some people), but the real problem has been that the whole system with for-profit colleges/universities and student loan servicing companies has been corrupt and predatory for a long time.

You can read about some of PHEAA’s problems here: Elizabeth Warren tries to hold PHEAA accountable.

Here’s another story similar to mine, but much worse here, explaining in better detail about the corruption.

You can read here about a class action lawsuit against PHEAA.

Here are more complaints about AES and PHEAA, and how they handled people’s accounts from 2017.

Also, you can read a previous account about my student loan story here. Scroll through, and it’s somewhere in the middle in italics. Also, I talk about prophetic signs and wonders and other reasons why I think we’re going into a season of Jubilee and justice.

The bottom line is that this is a Jubilee. I see it as a prophetic sign for what’s about to happen to many others in the body of Christ. Also, we’re coming into a time where justice will be served. However, I had a role to play in this. I had to wake up, pay attention, and actively pursue justice. It feels good that I not only created justice for myself, but for others since now, there are reforms addressing the very issues that were causing problems. I can be quite certain that I wasn’t the only one who wrote and complained, but collectively, our voices were heard. What would have happened if we all stayed silent???

Published by creativecassandra7

God-lover, artist, writer, art therapist, dreamer, minister. I see life as an adventure of overcoming and bringing light to dark places. I have overcome extensive trauma and sexual abuse and now I share my testimony and teach/preach what God has to say about the recovery process through both logos and rhema words. I love nature, dancing, worship, and all creative expressions. I have a heart to see families restored, curses reversed, and generational blessings released.

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