Consumer Complaints and Reviews
My student loans were managed by AES. When I sent a payoff for the loans, they cashed the checks and did not apply the payment (of several thousands of dollars). They could not find the payments in their system at first, then they claimed the account number was not on the checks, although I had images of the checks that clearly showed the account number and the checks were accompanied by a formal payoff letter specifying the amounts, name on the loan, and the account number. The employees I spoke with were rude and dismissive, and they did not provide any solutions to the problem. When I asked to log a complaint, the representative hung up on me.
AES keep locking me out of my account and changes my payments monthly, they are deceptive and provide inaccurate information to purposely make people late. AES will not provide information requested. I have been requesting assistance for years and my account issues have gone unresolved. The AES ombudsman has not returned my calls. I'm tired of no assistance and being set up for more fraudulent fees added to my account. AES cooks the books. Department of Education knowingly allows AES to commit fraud on their behalf. Beware they are in bed together. You will never get assistance. This is legal fraud. The student loan debt numbers are not real if you minus the bogus fees and interest most student loans would be paid off 10 fold. The servicing companies are in bed with Dep of Ed. You are better off not going to school in the US. Get a better free education in Europe.
I am very much a responsible borrower. I pay on time and never missed it. This company is not helping students to help pay for student loans. The interest rate keeps increasing after transferring from Bank of America to AES. It keeps increasing ever since I got transferred to AES. This company is making people stressed more. I have never received more than 1 bill statement with Bank of America's account. With AES aka "Hell Education" company, I have received at least more than 2 statements monthly.
MAKING PROFITS IS TRULY THEIR MISSION! It is totally NOT reliable. This company should NOT exist because they are merely making profits out of students who are responsible borrowers/new borrowers. Therefore, they don't deserve any stars. 1 star because it was required! They deserve 0 STAR! This company should be DEAD DEAD DEAD! Or change it to "HELL EDUCATION!
I recently decided to apply for an income based repayment plan after several years of essentially paying interest only on my $22,000 in student loans. As with other reviewers, the amount I owe continues to increase because of the capitalization of interest. I faxed income tax documents to them 4/19 and emailed them a couple days ago because I had not received an update. The gal who responded said my information was received 4/28. Well, if I faxed info 4/19 and they didn't get it till 4/28 exactly where did it go in between those dates? They're not very clear with the process. In prior communication with them I was given a time frame but differing information appeared on their site. It just seems like they make it difficult for customers to enroll in an IBR plan. That is at least my experience so far.
I'd like to remind others who are young and out of college to really understand what they are signing up for. When these folks called me many, many years ago, I really didn't get it - the high interest rate and consolidation of loans. Sounded like a good option at the time. Now that I'm much older and working in a financial institution, I would have made better choices. Please be sure to educate yourselves fully on your options!
I signed for a combined subsidized and unsubsidized student loans to pay for Master Degree in 2006. The loans amount mounted to $23,500.00 at an interests rate of 5.37% for the life of the loans. 5.37% of 23,500.00 = $1,300.00 more or less. I paid $110.00 for ten years = $13,000.00. Not even one cent has been applied to principal. This is usury and plain open and in your face fraud. I called a month ago for a complete payments records from 2006 - 2016 before I Initiate legal action and nothing. This government agency or department needs to be expose to the media. They are doing the same crap to my youngest son who graduated from college two years ago. I am forward to help expose the crooks running this dept. Let me know.
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I have been paying in my loans since 2011 with automatic withdrawals. They stated I would qualify for a cheaper payment. My loans have since gone up because they said I had put my loans in deferment several times over the loan. I asked them why they have reported to the credit union Experian and Equifax for the past 12 years said they weren't sure why. I asked for phone records so I could see supposedly who I was talking to and they said they could not. This company needs investigated.
This company is by far the worst Company I have ever had to deal with. They send threatening letters demanding you pay so much or else they will take further action. Will NOT work with you in arranging payments you can afford and will NOT defer your loans if you are still in school. Total rip off and you will be paying out the ** if you get a loan with this company. They need to be shut down for their practices. If I would have known all of this in the beginning I sure in heck wouldn't have gotten anything through them...
Borrowed 28K. Payments over 20 years totaled 28K plus another $7300 in interest. Lowest balance was $17000 due to 9% interest. Husband died. Lost insurance. Medical Bankruptcy. AES in PA student loans wouldn't adjust terms. Now owe $39,000 at 9%. Lost husband, my house, every cent, my credit and ability to work in some settings since federal government can take salary, social security and Medicare payments I could receive... AES ruins my life more and more every day and should pay ME damages. Unfair Lending Practices. Greed. They got their money back plus some interest. AES is the greedy evil banker Mr. Potter from It's A Wonderful Life. No wonder George Bailey felt desperate but I won't stop fighting these criminal bankers.
AES should be investigated by the federal government. They are worse than street loan sharks. Case in point my original loans were approximately $14,000. I have paid over $6500 to them and yet I currently owe close to $18,000!!!!! There is no end in sight. Who regulates this company? Nothing but complaints about them yet they are still in operation! We need a class action lawsuit. I had every intention of paying back my loans but the amounts I actually owe. They are crooks!
I am so incredibly frustrated with this business. I was quoted a monthly payment amount and told if I paid this amount for 10 years, my student loan debt would be forgiven and considered paid in full. The amount I was quoted went from $346 per month to $400 as a state government employee of 20 years. Also, when I asked that the due date be moved from the 8th of the month to after the 16th so I could afford to pay it and stop accruing late fees, they denied my request. It feels like this is designed to keep me in debt and establishing bad credit. I have worked as a mental health counselor for many years and while I make a decent wage, I can barely live off of it because of this enormous payment, no leniency or flexibility. AES is unreliable and shady.
I graduated back in 2007. Was only 17 at the time so I had no clue what I had signed myself up for. I have been paying on this private student loan since 2008. I originally took the loan out for 16,000 I've paid them at total of 18,000 and somehow owe them 20,000. My interest rate is constantly changing. Currently my interest rate is at a 10.9. I pay AES 190 a month which is interest only. I am stuck in this horrible loan that I will never get paid off. If you are planning on getting a loan through them DON'T. Worst loan company ever!!!
It doesn't seem to matter how much education we receive, whenever student loans are the only means of financing our education, we start a losing battle of postponing LIFE as we are supposed to live it. This has been my experience for many years. I borrowed one semester's worth of tuition costs in 1983 in my last semester to be able to graduate. Although I worked full time in banquets at Four Seasons Hotel, together with many other students, our GOOD pay then just didn't cover my final expenses for art supplies I needed to purchase to finish all my projects.
My situation is truly sad since I became disabled right after I graduated at age 46. I suffered trying to keep up with an 8% interest loan while unable to work many times after 10 surgeries to this day. This cloud has some very nice silver linings. I used to be called and threatened, fees added every time the companies changed ownership and my little loan turned into $10 K. I have long paid my loan, but the interest just keeps on going.
I am 73 today, a fairly good painter and I love life, but the treatment of various companies over the years has been horrid. I give AES 3 stars because they were the first to offer me help. I had to fill out a lot of paper work and collected statements from doctors to stop the harassment. I feel truly sad for the many young people forced to take out huge loans just to finance their education since there are no jobs without it. I don't think that the incoming administration has any interest in student hardships. Sorry to assume. It is unforgiving.
The complaint is about a private loan from AES where I obtained a student loan, and they insist on a co-signer. I was told when I apply for the loan the co-signer will be removed after a year which was not true, once I start repayment. I start sending payment for a year when yet they did not remove the co-signer's name. My complaint is the constant mail I received from this institution on a monthly basis, and they realize I am attending college because I notify them by mail. I have sent them a response various times making them aware I am in college and my loans are in deferments, but they ignore that fact. Furthermore, in 2015/2016 I started to send them payments when I can in a small amount of about 40.00 dollars to apply it for my current loan to keep the amount low, however, I am presently in school as a graduate student full time.
I complained to my school and they said they have sent automatic update to them making them aware I am continuously enrolled. In November 2016, they are constantly sending me information for past payment and continuously sending information about higher interest rate and also sending information to my co-signer who happens to be a retired vet which has made him very concern to why they are constantly sending these mails every month to him. In addition, they are sending letters claiming they could not debit my account for the monthly payment because I close my account, and I need to send them payment immediately with another form of payment. That was really strange because I never sent an agreement for debit payment, and they contact the co-signer claiming of miss payments, and he needs to make the payment.
I was absolutely horrified how deceptive AES can be. Please contact them to explain why they are continuously sending deceptive mails and claiming I sent them a debit payment plan which is not true. Furthermore, sending negative report to the credit agencies which is affecting my credit score and in term making it difficult for me to get hired. I have been in search of a job with no success, and I think the negative report on my credit is contributing to these issues. Please help me to solve this problem. These company business practices are not honorable, and I want everyone to be aware of these underhanded practices.
I have had nothing but problems with AES. I am repaying my loans back finally after getting back on my feet and I mailed my monthly payment in prior to the due date December 2016. They are saying they never received the payment and that a late fee of over $300 is being applied to my account and being reported to the credit bureaus. I requested a complete historical trail of my loans. I am in my 50s and the way their processes work, I will never be able to pay back these loans. I am considering a class action lawsuit against them. I want an attorney to review all my loan paperwork first to ensure that I have a case. My rates have gone up without my knowledge and who else knows what they do to keep you enslaved in student debt bondage. If I can get an attorney to help me, I will be sure to inform.
I have paid on time, I am paid ahead on my loan. Originally I had a co-signer on my loan. My co-signer, a relative, committed suicide in a different state and under horrible circumstances. The company continues to pester me and threaten to call my loan due if I do not provide contact information for my co-signer. I am unable to get a death certificate for this person because I am not a first degree relative. I have told the company that. They call, email and send letters constantly. I have been told that they will force me to pay my entire loan if I don't take care of this. No customer service at all. They are getting their money but that's not enough. They want to drive me insane as well. I wish we had the option to refinance and take our business elsewhere.
I have been paying my student loans since 2010. My interest rate has went up 3 times. I borrowed 30,000 and once it is all said and done and paid off I will pay back over 80,000. This is absolutely ridiculous. I have tried to talk to someone several times regarding options that are available and I am told there are none. I feel I am stuck and if I knew what I was getting myself into I would never use a private lender. I would NEVER recommend AES to anyone.
I have had my account with AES since I graduated with my masters degree in 2007. Throughout the time, they have offered absolutely no flexibility or offered any options to help me when I was struggling to find employment or through financial hardships. I tried working with several customer service representatives and was treated like garbage for trying to make payments. Their tone was one of annoyance and I felt like I was bothering them by contacting them proactively and trying to work out other options to be responsible and pay what I can. More than once I was told that the only way that they would be able to "work with me" is if I stopped making payments. I have never been advised by any other loan company to not pay. I find that to be terribly bad advice; I asked to speak with a supervisor and was told the same thing. Some company philosophy!!
When I inquired about making partial payments, I was told, will not satisfy their requirement, and I was told that they will charge me late fees for every month I was unable to make payments in full and get my account into good standing. They also jack up the interest rates on my loans annually, to the maximum amount that they can even though I have made my payments on time as often as possible. In sum, I have never worked with a loan provider that had such bad customer service and poor business practices. Throughout the time that they have been my loan provider, I have felt punished for making payments on time.
I participate in an Education Debt Repayment Program (EDRP) through my employer and am required to demonstrate proof of the amount I have paid to AES during the calendar year in order to get reimbursed for the loan payments. Every October for the past 5 years I have been forced to submit several iterations of the same EDRP lender verification form and hound the customer service representatives over the phone to provide this verification, which invariably takes several weeks. This year I again submitted the same form over the course of one month no fewer than 3 different times and have spent a total of 1.5 hours on the phone trying to accomplish the simple feat of getting a dollar amount and signature on a form.
Last week I was assured by one of their representatives that the completed form was "in the US mail" and was told that they would also be faxing the form to me in up to 2 business days. One week has passed since this conversation and I have yet to receive anything. I am now being called upon by my employer to produce this verification and am unfortunately challenged to find someone in this company that will have any interest in responding to my simple request. I would assign this experience a zero or less if that integer was available.
A couple months ago I decided since I had the money to do so, I would finish paying off the rest of my loan instead of continuing to make payments with a growing interest. My mom and I called about it and asked how I should go about it. We were told the exact amount I owed that specific day but I should pay a little bit extra to account for interest. We were told if I overpaid I would get a refund.
A few days later I check my AES account and realize it's still showing a balance. My mom and I call again, and we're told the balance means I'm owed a refund. I waited two months for this refund and still nothing. A few days ago I checked my AES account again and now it says the balance is $0.00. I sent an email but then I called again, and I'm told this was processed on 9/16/2016 but it takes 30 to 60 days to process. I got a reply to my email a few days ago though saying there is NO GUARANTEE that I will get my refund "now that the balance has been written off." I did everything they told me to do and followed all the rules, and now they're denying me money that is rightfully mine? I feel like I've been lied to and stolen from.
We were scammed into a student loan that was not a accredited institution so we cannot write off the interest. This loans is so bad I owe more than the interest I paid that I been paying for about 10 years now. This is like doing business with the cartel with what they are taking in interest. This loan sucks and I need to get out. Something should be done about the business going on here sucking the life out of people and their children.
I was a victim of identity theft and they clean out my account. My bank had to put a temporary stop for all transaction. So, my direct debit for AES got rejected and I was hit with a late fee. I asked them to reverse this due to this incident but they said no. What a heartless, unforgiving company! I was never late once in my payment for 10 years! I regret doing business with this company. They should be ashamed of themselves.
I recently refinanced my loans through another institution. My new lender overpaid on August 2, 2016. I was never late with a payment. I contacted AES to see when my over payment would be refunded. AES's response: 30 DAYS!!! 30 days from 8/2 is 9/1. Here it is 9/6 and I still have a credit balance. BE VERY EXACT WHEN YOU PAYOFF YOUR LOANS WITH THIS ORGANIZATION OR YOU WILL WAIT A LONG TIME FOR YOUR REFUND.
I wish I had read the reviews before I cosigned for my daughter. Her loan was paid in full in October of 2014 and I am getting letters and phone calls from AES every other week. AES is a JOKE and their right hand does not know what their left hand is doing. Steer clear of this company if at all possible!
I called this morning regarding letter received in mail from FSB Education in regards to debt consolidation. I was asking several questions to representative regarding interest they charge and for how long? How long will this loan be for etc? The rep stated, I sounded confused. I advised her this is a major decision and would like to educate myself prior to signing up. This rep stated, I would not be eligible candidate since, I do not believe in what they are doing - then she disconnected the line.
I was very upset and a Bryan picked up and stated he was the manager, and that her name was Miss **. Bryan told me that she stated, they were frauds. I asked him to pull the call, and the recording would show she is a liar. Bryan stated they do not record calls, and that only when you sign up they record calls. THIS is a SCAM. BRYAN is UNPROFESSIONAL such as Ms. **.
I have been dealing with AES for 10 years over a huge college debt that I struggle making payments every month. I have literally called them every year to reduce my payments due to little or no income coming in and raising 4 small children. They refuse to cooperate and do not hesitate to tell you that the full payment has to be made every month. Since these are not federal loans; the government cannot help me. Shame on them!! Come on Washington... What/when are you going to help the poor/middle class past graduates that are trying to survive in this world and build a future when we can't get help with private loans we took out for college. Do you know I have a family of 6, can't buy a house and struggle every month feeding my kids. But AES wants their money first.
Please someone out there file a class action lawsuit against AES. If I had the resources and time to do it I would myself but I would be eager to help any attorney build one against this company. Let's stand up for our rights and pursue this right now. Close down AES for not opening up or improving a/or any program to help graduates live comfortable in today's world with their family.
I consolidated my student loans with my ex husband in 2003. The loan was purchased by SunTrust in 2011 and is being serviced by AES. We are in the process of trying to pay the loan off but I have felt for some time that the balance doesn't seem correct. He paid a large portion of the balance last week (thinking this would be the amount relative to what he borrowed since the balance is not going down despite timely, monthly payments- for years) and the remaining balance is greater than the amount I borrowed.
I called to talk to them about the remaining balance and they wouldn't speak to me because they did not have my birth date on file. They had me email my driver's license to confirm my identity and said it could take 48 hours to get the birth date entered into the computer. In the meantime, I reviewed a copy of my credit report and realized last year (after the balance was slowly decreasing every month) the balance increased by $11,961, in one month, at which point, a higher monthly payment began being made. I immediately contacted them again but they could not provide me with any information because of the birth date issue. So, of course, that left calling today because of the holiday and waiting for the birth date to be applied.
Phones have been down all day for "maintenance" and of course the recording said they are closed and to call back during normal business hours. That was at 4pm EST. This company is a scam and if anyone has any details about a class action lawsuit, I would be grateful to be obtain more information. Customer service has been horrible and the only thing they focus on any time you call is that the loans were consolidated. After reading similar reviews, I do not know how they are getting away with this. Next stop, filing a CFPB complaint.
This company purchased my Chase student loan about a year ago. Ever since that time the loan has been a nightmare to deal with. Most recently, I called to ask when they report to the 3 credit bureaus? I was told by the first rep that she didn't know and couldn't find out. When I asked to speak to a supervisor, the rep took offense and asked why. And then placed me on hold for 10 minutes before I hung up. When I called back I spoke to a rep that flat out lied and told me that Chase reports the information to the bureaus, not AES. So I called Chase, who gave me the number for AES and told me that they are responsible for reporting.
So I called AES a third time and got the same rep who told me to call Chase. She finally did her job and checked on it. She was instructed not to divulge the information. So told her that I didn't need to know the actual day. I just needed to be sure that if I made a payment that day, it would be processed in time to be reported to the credit bureaus. The reason I asked this is because it takes AES 3 to 5 days to process payments and I needed to make sure that I would be able to pay my bill before they report. When I explained my reason, she told me that my bank held the money for 3 days. This is a flat out lie. How do I know? Because I called my bank and asked them. As well, I have loans with two other companies whose payments show up as pending on my bank account on the same or next business day.
So, you guessed it, I asked to speak to her supervisor. I spoke to a gentleman who told me that regardless of when they report to the credit bureaus, it could take the bureaus 30 to 45 days to update my information after AES reports to them. This was also a LIE. How do I know? Because I called Transunion, and Equifax and was told that credit information is updated within 48 hours of receiving the reports from creditors. Anyway, I eventually realized that I was transferred to another phone rep not a supervisor! I asked if he was a supervisor and after he lied and said yes, I asked him again and he admitted that he was not a supervisor.
So, again I asked (for the third time) to be transferred to a supervisor. And I finally (1.5 hours after my first call) was transferred to an actual supervisor. The supervisor admitted that I was given incorrect information and then told me that he could not tell me when AES reports to crediting bureaus because it is company policy. However, it was 4 days before the last day of the month and after about 15 minutes of arguing he told me that they had not yet reported to the crediting agency. Seriously? Is this even legal?
I have a parent loan through them since long. Overall experience is good but watch out if you set up automatic payment from your bank account. Once in a while some random amount is deducted from your account. It happens to me yesterday and last year too. When I called them they say they don't have the record so be careful.
AES is the worst company ever. I pay extra every month and yet the principal still hasn't gone down. Plus they are constantly calling my cosigner about payments. The customer service is horrible.
For some time now, I have been researching the private student loan market. Back in 2007-08, prior to becoming totally, permanently disabled in January of 2009, I was rushing to finish up secondary graduate degree, but my health was failing, and when I was within one term of graduating, I just could not handle it, or my job either. My employer gave me some options: they could lay me off to allow me to seek employment elsewhere, or allow me to apply for in-company positions that would not cause me as much stress as the job I did have was causing, or they would allow me to go on six months of company paid disability, allowing me time to heal or to determine whether or not it was time for me to consider ending my career life permanently, as I had been working with my disability issues for about two decades by that point.
I decided my best option would be to accept the six months of paid disability in order to remove myself from as many of the stressors that affected my PTSD condition as possible, and just play it by ear. Before long, working with my psychiatrist, we determined that my best course of action would be to apply for Social Security Disability Benefits. This, I did. I handled all of the paperwork process for disability application myself, with the help of my psychiatrist, although it was extremely stressing. All the same, both my psychiatrist and I evidently handled things correctly because the Social Security Administration was able to approve my disability application request within 4 months of my having submitted it. That was sheer luck, because my disability benefits began the same month my company sponsored disability benefits ceased.
Being new to living on a very much lower income (a year 30% of my job income), it did take some time getting used to this change in fortunes, and by 2010, my husband and I knew we would need to petition for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. That went smoothly, and our bankruptcy discharge was granted in February of 2011. I did not need to worry about my outstanding Federal Student Loan debt, because the Department of Education forgave my balance in full with very little issue. However, our bankruptcy lawyer, back in 2010, was very reluctant to attempt to bring discharge of my private student loans. It was really poor judgment on my part to have taken out those private student loans in the first place, because I still had enough Federal Aid left to have used that instead of going for the private type of student loans.
What did win me over in trying to decide how to fund the remainder of the expenses associated with obtaining my second grad degree involved several considerations. First, word was out that Federal Student Loan interest rates would be going up to something over 6%, and because of our then very good credit, I could obtain these private student loans for 4% interest rate. I had worked out a budget for paying off these loans, and determined that I could do so in five years, which would be five years before my normal expected retirement date.
Plus, these particular private student loans advertised being able to send the loan fund proceeds directly to me, at my home address, rather than my having to deal with the 'red tape' issues of involving what the lenders called 'the third party', the third party being my university of attendance. Plus, these lenders advertised, they could send me a full year's loan amount (or more) all at once, so that if I found I needed to replace a computer or etc., I wouldn't have to petition my school to release the funds I would need in order to make such a purchase. I found that appealing, because I could imagine having a computer go dead, and missing online courses and assignments while awaiting a release of funds that would allow me to replace my now dead computer. This too seemed convenient.
Further, these lenders advertised that with these private student loans, I would be totally free to determine how to apply the loan funds as needed. All this seemed so appealing and positive. That is, until the unthinkable and unexpected happened and my health took a sudden dive causing me to be unable to either effectively perform my job, or effectively complete my graduate coursework any longer. After leaving both my job and the educational institution at which I was within one quarter of graduating, I fell into an even deeper state of depression for a number of years.
When I began receiving calls from the private student loan lenders, I explained my situation and was given about three years of forbearance during which time I did not need to make any payments at all. What I did not realize in my reduced mental state was that during all that time, interest continued to accrue on the loans. What had been a $10,000 loan debt became a $14,000 loan debt, and so on. These lenders got into the habit, once this forbearance period had passed, but my income certainly hadn't increased to the point where I could afford loan payments, of calling me several times a day, every day of the week, including Saturdays and Sundays, starting at 8 AM, and calling over and over until 9 PM day after day.
I would at first answer the calls, only to be told never mind I'd become disabled. I had taken out these loans, hadn't I, and now I needed to repay them. I would reply with the question "With what do you expect me to repay these loans? I do not have the funds, nor do I any longer have any property on which liens can be placed in order for you to obtain repayment should I sell said property."
You see, our bankruptcy lawyer had been able to arrange our remaining in our home, continuing to make monthly mortgage payments on our home, but he did not have us sign a reaffirmation of debt on our home. Evidently, in my discussions of this issue with both our lawyer and our mortgage holder, what this means is that if we do pay off our mortgage debt, the home is ours, but if we do not or cannot continue our mortgage payments, we are free to walk away from the property without owing anything to the mortgage holder. This, our lawyer told us, would place us in the best position possible to prevent remaining lenders from placing liens on our property, and should we find the mortgage expense untenable, we would also be free to walk away without incurring a foreclosure cost or record of foreclosure on our credit reports.
Soon thereafter, the private student loan lenders ceased their never ending calls to us. Except for Sallie Mae. I had written to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to complain about Sallie Mae's ceaseless calling, and the CFPB was able to force Sallie Mae to send me paperwork to complete about my disability that Sallie Mae could submit to its insurance company for a disability determination status. Curiously, when I had enquired of Sallie Mae earlier about this possibility, I was simply told they did not offer any means of disability related debt discharge.
So I completed and submitted the paperwork received from Sallie Mae, to their lender, Minnesota Life, and after several months, received a response that Minnesota Life agreed I was too disabled to continue responsibility for loan repayment. The catch to this was that the full responsibility for repayment of the loan now fall entirely on my co-signer, who is my husband. Since my husband and I have joint incomes and joint living arrangements, the outcome of only removing my responsibility for loan repayment did us little good.
This was when I began looking into whether or not others were experiencing similar problems, and in my research, I came across a rather lengthy document authored by the head of the company called Finaid.org. That company exists, I understand, to provide advice to students about the world of student loans, and indeed its website does provide a great deal of helpful information for students in order to guide them through the universe of student loans. One particular document, as stated, authored by the head of Finaid.org really caught my attention. It is titled "Limitations on Exception to Discharge of Private Student Loans in Bankruptcy." This seemed to be something I needed to spend time studying, and I am very glad that I did.
My complaint, now that I have reviewed the details of that document, which cites in great detail the law regarding student loans, when loans do or do not qualify as educational loans, and most importantly, when they DO NOT qualify as educational loans, making them fully dischargeable in bankruptcy, even if that requires reopening a previous bankruptcy in order to add an adversary hearing about debts that should have, but were not, included in the discharged bankruptcy. That is where I now stand. To provide a synopsis of why I think my particular private student loans are NOT true "qualified educational loans," please allow me to cite some of the verbiage from the document.
1) BAPCPA amended the US Bankruptcy Code to include "qualified education loans" within the scope of the exception to discharge for education loans. Private student loans which are not school certified generally do not satisfy the requirements to be considered a qualified education loan." and "Private student loans that are not school certified often deliberately circumvent these requirements in order to lend money to students beyond the limits permitted by 26 USC 221 (d) (1) or for purposes not allowed by 26 USC 221 (d) (1). For example, the overaward regulations at 34 CFR 673.5 require colleges to treat the amount by which a private student loan in combination with other non-need-based loans exceeds the expected family contribution (EFC) as a resource, reducing eligibility for need-based aid.
This is my situation. As I stated previously, these lenders sent the loan fund proceeds directly to me at my home address, allowing me to deposit the loan proceeds into my personal bank account, without my university ever knowing I had received these funds. As an additional note, the last time I spoke with an AES representative about the outstanding debt I have that I have not made payment on since October, 2014, the representative said, and I quote; "But we allowed you to be able to use those loan funds any way you wanted!" I replied to this representative "And therein lies the problem, because qualified educational loans cannot be used in that manner." I have not had a repeat call from an AES rep since I provided that response nearly three months ago now.
Let me add: on another occasion, before I understood the BCAPCA student loan law as well as I do now, an AES representative contacted me, and I told him too, "I simply no longer had the means, nor did my husband to make any payments on these loans. So if you are going to issue a lawsuit, please understand, I will respond by obtaining from the court a Slow Pay Motion, and if I do that, the judge may well determine that I cannot pay." The rep responded by saying "Now, now, now, we don't have to go down that road do we?" I replied by saying it was the only road left to go down.
I have not heard again from that rep in over six months. I have to wonder whether if these lenders were called into court, and I provided the information I now have about the probability that these loans are not true student loans, that these lenders' attempts to use the new 2005 bankruptcy non-dischargeability law to apply to loans that weren't qualified educational loans at all from the onset.
2) The Higher Education Act of 1965 as specified in sections 471, 480 (j), 428 (a) (2) (C), 428H (c), 428H (d) and 443 (b) (4). Section 471 (20 U.S.C. 1087kk) defines financial need as the difference between the cost of attendance and the expected family contribution and estimated financial assistance. Most federal student aid programs are capped at financial need. Section 480 (j) (1) defines estimated financial assistance as including education loans:
For purposes of determining a student's eligibility for funds under this title, estimated financial assistance not received under this title shall include all scholarships, grants, loans, or other assistance "known to the institution at the time the determination of the student's need is made," including veterans' education benefits as defined in subsection (c), and national service educational awards or post-service benefits under title I of the National and Community Service Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12571 et seq.).
Although non-school-certified loans generally do not satisfy the requirements to be considered qualified education loans, it is important to evaluate whether each individual loan satisfies those requirements on a case-by-case basis. An education loan that is not school certified could still be a qualified education loan if it did not exceed the limits of a qualified education loan "and was not disbursed for expenses outside the scope of a qualified education loan."
Here again, my university of attendance was not told of my receipt of the funds I did receive, totaling in amount close to $90,000 which is far above educational need, I have since learned, as well as having since learned that educational loans MAY NOT be used for any given expense a student deems desirable. It is UP TO THE LENDER to ensure that the school of attendance is made aware of loan disbursements.
3) Some of the more common ways in which an education loan may fail to satisfy the requirements of a qualified education loan include (abridged): Use for costs not included within the definition of cost of attendance or in excess of the expected family contribution (or cost of attendance minus aid received); Use for rental or purchase of equipment, materials or supplies that are not required by the institution; Use for purchase of a computer without obtaining an adjustment to cost of attendance from the college for the cost of the computer.
4) In order to be considered a "qualified education loan", an education loan must satisfy all of the following requirements (abridged): The debt must be "incurred solely to pay qualified higher education expenses", per 26 USC 221 (d) (1) by cross-reference from 11 USC 523 (a) (8) (B). Mixed used loans, such as credit card debt or home equity loans, are not eligible, per example 6 of 26 CFR 1.221 - 1 (e) (4). "Even education loans are not eligible if they are incurred to pay for expenses other than qualified higher education expenses"; The debt must be used to pay "qualified higher education expenses", per 26 USC 221 (d) (1) by cross-reference from 11 USC 523 (a) (8) (B). This term is defined by 26 USC 221 (d) (2) as the "cost of attendance" as defined by section 472 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 USC 1087ll) as in effect on August 4, 1997, reduced by educational expenses paid certain other programs.
5) If an education loan was incurred to pay for a computer without the college approving an increase in the cost of attendance corresponding to the cost of the computer, the loan is not a qualified education loan. Likewise, if an education loan is incurred for purposes not permitted by the cost of attendance, it is not a qualified education loan. For example, equipment must be required by the institution to be considered part of the cost of attendance under section 472 (1) of the Higher Education Act of 1965. If an education loan is incurred to purchase a cell phone, iPod, calculator, camera, PDA or other equipment that is not "required of all students in the same course of study", the loan is not a qualified education loan."
6) "Thus a private student loan that is funded by a nonprofit institution should be excepted from discharge, but not a private student loan that is guaranteed or insured by a nonprofit institution." This statement is interesting because my private student loans have changed loan debt ownership several times. I no longer know who the originator of the loan was, and I've had difficulty obtaining original documentation from the lenders to this effect, making it possible that the original documentation has become lost due to the many transfers of ownership over the years since the 2007-08 loan originations. This might also be a point in favor of having these loans deemed dischargeable; but I am no expert in that area. I do know that in the case of AES, there was a corporate bankruptcy of the original lender, but whether this impacts the status of my loans is unclear to me.
7) Finally, there is the undue hardship provision allowing loan discharge. Indeed, because I lost 70% of my income when becoming disabled, my husband and I certainly did incur undue hardship circumstances. The legal verbiage is as follows: USC 523 (a) (8) allows any education loan to be subject to discharge if excepting such debt from discharge "would impose an undue hardship on the debtor and the debtor's dependents". Most court cases cite Brunner v. New York State Higher Education Services Corp. [October 14, 1987, #41, Docket 87-5013] for a definition of "undue hardship". That decision adopted the following three-part standard for undue hardship: That the debtor cannot both repay the student loan and maintain a minimal standard of living; That this situation is likely to persist for a significant portion of the repayment period of the student loans; That the debtor has made good faith efforts to repay the loans.
The only issue for me in this is that no, I am no longer attempting any good faith effort to make payment on the AES loans. Why? Because when my Federal Student Loans were formally forgiven, that caused my AES account access to be terminated, and after repeatedly complaining to AES management that I simply could not access my account any longer to make any sort of payments, I simply gave up trying to make "good faith" payments because in my opinion, AES had stopped making a "good faith" effort to provide me access to my personal loan account with them.
As for the Navient (formerly Sallie Mae loans) that shifted responsibility solely to my husband, he is doing his best to make payments, but my God, it is about killing us, given our other expenses, most notably, my medical out of pocket expenses which in this past year alone, exceeded $15,000. And now, with the outrageous cost of health insurance, along with the massive increases in copayments, we are stretched about beyond the limit to be able to make payments owed. We do not have any credit card debt. We have housing debt, medical debt, student loan debt, and vehicle payment debt.
And while I can remember how, back in the mid 90's, when I was working a job that paid me approximately the same annual income as I now receive in Social Security Benefits, and at that time we had a mortgage payment similar to what our payment is now, and we had vehicle payments, credit card payments, etc., we were nowhere near as broke month after month as we are now. In fact, back then, we could even afford meals out, and without needing a loan to do so, we were able to replace our home's entire carpeting without undue hardship.
Costs have just simply become untenable in all areas, not just these student loans, but I'd bet that if we'd had these loans back in the '90's, back when we weren't paying so much for all other typical consumer expenses and services, these loans would not have been the problem they are now. In the '90's I do not recall having to think twice or three times before deciding whether I could afford to see a doctor for a given illness or not. Back in the '90's I do not recall having to agonize over whether or not to purchase a second can of beans at Walmart. Back in the '90's we still took annual vacations. No more of any of that.
We have not been on a vacation since 2007, and we have not yet this year had a meal out even at a fast food restaurant. This notion of supply side economics is ruining Americans who are not super wealthy, and our situation is a prime example. My Social Security Benefits are $1569/mo. Off of that has to come my Medicare premiums which, where we live reduce my Social Security Benefits every month by $218/mo. How, I ask, is someone supposed to survive in the second decade of this new millennia on $1300 a month that is supposed to cover all medical copays, costs for shelter, utilities, food, gas, clothing, transportation? I mean, this is nuts!
We MUST stop giving away needed citizen majority benefits as tax breaks to the wealthy. If America's citizens cannot maintain reasonable health, reasonable living situations, reasonable healthy food, and all the rest, we as a nation will crumble under the weight of the power tripping greedy overlords who have bought and paid for the government meant to serve the people but now serves the corporations and wealthy (who fixed that little problem by getting their corporations called "people too.")
If there is a lawyer willing to take the time to review, and then is willing to see how likely my case would be to win in court without out of hand dismissing any and all student loan court cases because so few have been winnable so far (but wants to help me change that), PLEASE contact me. Oh, one other thing. In 2010, the BACPCA law was slightly revised to force private student loan lenders to HAVE to interact with a student's school before any private student loan funds could be issued. BUT... this occurred AFTER the time I took out these "alleged" student loans which, in reality, I believe or more properly defined as "direct to consumer unsecured loans" because based on the provided attachment, THIS is what these loans truly seem to be.
Thank you for allowing me to state my case and possibly help me (and maybe open the doors for others) to be done with lenders who falsely sold consumer loans as student loans in order to avoid any possibility the loans could be discharged in bankruptcy. Please, let's help average Americans for once instead of only helping the rich and powerful continue either by legal or not so legal means to continue to accrue a majority share of America's wealth.
American Education Services Company Profile
- Company Name:
- American Education Services
- 1200 North 7th Street
- Postal Code:
- United States