Asking Sallie Mae to Forgive Student Loans

by on July 17, 2011 in Contacting Companies

Okay, let me just state right up front that I know this is a long shot. A super, duper, really long shot. But, I have to try.

I wrote and asked Sallie Mae to forgive the remainder of my student loans.

I realize that Sallie Mae pretty much never forgives loans unless you’ve been in repayment for 25 years or more, but I felt like I just had to ask.

I’ve been learning a lot about asking for help recently, and when you decide to make major life changes, sometimes asking for help can bring about unexpected results.

During the 2nd adoption we recently completed, I asked the adoption agency to review the fees they wanted to charge us and reconsider the amounts, based on some paperwork we had been given the first time around. Just asking for that review saved me $3500.00 because they agreed to discounted fees.

I even write emails and letters to companies and ask for coupons and discounts on things I need. Often they respond and provide the assistance I inquire about.

So, it can work.

I’ll be honest…I’m not flat broke. I’m not unable to pay my monthly student loan payment. I’m not even unemployed. But, I do need to find a way to reduce my overall debt so that I can continue on the path that I believe God has put me on: being a stay at home Mom.

The only way I can quit my part-time job is to have zero debt beyond my mortgage. I already sold my car (just this week!), but still need to pay off my credit card (that’s how we financed adoption #2), and my student loans. Only then can I stop working outside of the home.

So, I figure it’s time to start asking for help, and going right to the loan company is my first step.

I wrote Sallie Mae Friday night, July 15th, 2011 and this is what I said:

Dear Sallie Mae,

I am writing to ask a question that most customer service reps who read this will not be able to answer, so my initial request is that this be passed higher up the chain of command.

I am writing to ask if you will consider forgiving all or a portion of the remaining balance on my student loan.

Please do not reply and offer to discuss ways to pay it off, or different repayment plans, unless it will reduce the total amount we owe. I am asking for forgiveness of the loan, not assistance managing my payments.

Here’s why:

I graduated from my Master’s program in 2000 and had an original principle loan balance of $–,–.–. Since that time I have never missed a payment, and I only have $–,–.–left to repay.

We have adopted two beautiful children in the last 2 years. One was planned, and one was not planned. Regardless, we have embraced these children with open hearts and an open home, knowing our entire lives will be (and have already been) changed.

We have a dream for me to be a stay at home mom. I have been able to reduce my work hours to part-time but can not quit my job because of the remaining loan balance and day care for the children, because I must work.

We have worked hard to pay back these loans for my education and living expenses during college and graduate school, but we have new dreams now. Ones that we will be able to realize if we can eliminate this portion of debt from our life.

Can you please help us?

Will you forgive the remainder of my loan, or at least a portion of it?

Feel free to contact me by phone to discuss my request.

Thank you
Charity M.

I omitted the amounts, because that’s pretty personal, but I will say that I’ve repaid $20,000+ of my original loans, but still owe over $10,000. If they don’t allow forgiveness of any portion, I will not default on the loan. I just have to buckle down and figure out how to save even more money each month, hoping to pay it off sooner rather than later.

I’m not sharing my story to get sympathy. I’m sharing it because I really do believe that asking for help is what we must do sometimes. Too often we think we can just fix it ourselves, and right now…I can’t fix it myself. So, I’m asking for help.

Have you ever had to ask for help? Were you surprised by the results? I’d love to hear…


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy July 17, 2011 at 12:54 pm

I so admire your bravery!

I owe so much on my student loans and I too have them from a Master’s Program.

In my case I ended up leaving my program though, toward the tail end of it in 2007, because of an ongoing (and still battling it) case of major depression plus my concerns about employment (I was doing an M.A. in History with an eye toward Library Science).

My total amount owed is so much that we’ve been doing forbearance ever since I left.

We have to start making payments next year and I’m already trying to figure out which will be our best option, and in the meantime we’re working to pay down the debts I brought into our relationship, and we’re getting closer to the finish line with those. Fortunately my dearly beloved is 100% debt-free.

Right now I’m not employed because of my ongoing depression/anxiety issues, but my dream since I left school and my job two months ago is to write/blog/be a good homemaker and I’m slowly but surely working on the writing/blogging part as I try to battle my anxiety/depression.

So, I applaud you for standing up for your dream to be a stay-at-home mom and I hope Sallie Mae reads your letter and is inspired by it, because it takes a lot of courage to do something like that!

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2 Charity July 22, 2011 at 10:53 am

Well, they said no…but at least I asked. If your depression and anxiety prevents you from working, is medical disability an option? That might be a way to be released from the loans…not sure.

Good luck to you, too!!!

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3 mark September 25, 2012 at 7:25 am

dude. Sallie Mae is a business. They’re private, not part of the government.
It would be like asking Bank of America for forgive part of their loan to you. The only way that they will cut you any slack is if they think you’re in danger of default and that they run the risk of not getting ANY of their money.

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4 Charity November 21, 2012 at 8:34 pm

dude. I think you missed the point. It was about ASKING, not about who they are and what they do. The point is that if you never ask, you never know.

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5 Angela September 24, 2013 at 2:02 am

I usually try to not be negative but I think your request was ridiculous. I can appreciate one being brave in asking for something. At the end of the day, the worst that can happen is that you’re told no. However, what makes you think they’re going to forgive your loan so that you can be a stay at home mom? Don’t forget the people who are actually reading the request are at work. I’m sure the Sallie Mae managers would love to stay home too, but they have to go to work so they can pay their own debts. So you really thought they were goiing to just let you walk away scott free? Lots of people would love to stay home, but you first have to be able to afford it. Sorry, but again, your request was ridiculous. I could see if you told them that you adopted two children who would’ve ended up in the child welfare system and your bills have piled up. But to stay home? Give me a break!

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6 Angela September 24, 2013 at 2:10 am

These people loaned you money to get an education. Now they expect you to use that education to get a job and pay them back. You’re not even talking about an associates degree, you earned a masters. And you think they’re gonna forgive your loan to let you sit at home all day rearing children? That’s not asking for help. That’s asking for favors. That’s taking liberties. There are a lot of people in a worse predicament than you who could do with having their loans forgiven. Go with your original plan and figure out a way to buckle down and pay it off sooner than later.

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7 Charity September 24, 2013 at 7:56 am

Hi Miss Angela. Thanks for your rude comments. I think you’ve missed the point here. I did graduate (in 2000) and I did get a good job. I no longer have debt of any kind except my house and my car. And as far as raising children? That’s our families choice and that is now my career. I don’t “sit at home all day” like you imply. Far from it. The point here was that my family did EVERYTHING possible to reduce and eliminate our debt so that I would be able to stay at home and raise my children. Part of doing everything was asking for help. Which I did. I do not regret it, and I’ve been at home for over a year now – again, with my student loans fully paid off.

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8 Furby December 10, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Angela is absolutely correct. You are a big part of the “Gimme” entitlement generation and the audacity of your request must have been met with cackles of laughter.

Apparently your amnesia kicked in the moment after you signed the loan agreement papers. Couldn’t remember your obligations.

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9 Charity February 24, 2014 at 10:30 am

If I couldn’t remember my obligations, I wouldn’t have paid every payment on time or paid the loan off in full, which I did in 2012. There’s no “gimme” here, only a desire to explore EVERY option that was possibly available to me…which I did. If you never ask, you never know what’s possible!

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10 Kari February 11, 2014 at 1:47 pm

I understand you Charity, I was just searching the web to find Sallie Mae’s address to send a forgivness letter, now I might not send it afterall. But I have the same feeling as you, ask and you shall receive. I’ve been prayin a lot to find ways to help my husband, Im staying home with our two kids, and we’r haveing a hard time for his income is not over 30,000. I thought asking them to forgive his loan was one way I could help him out. I will continue to search for help, if you have any ideas plesae share with me.
Do not be conformed to the mind of this world, we’r called to live a free life, including debt.
Kari

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11 Christy April 9, 2014 at 9:48 pm

Hi charity, I just wanted to say I understand your bottom line for this post and completely feel the same way. It’s amazing what God can provide if we only ask. I have been a stay at home mother of two and full time student for the past 7 years. I just graduated BA this winter and have had so much blessings come to me and my family. Now I’m a very independent person and being a young mom at 19 I didn’t want people to see me asking for help. So I just prayed and asked for help in any form it came and it came. Thanks again for the reminder that all we need to do is ask. And good luck on your goal.

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12 karen May 3, 2014 at 12:26 pm

I stumbled upon this looking for help for myself. I present owe 104K. I borrowed about 60K, and have been paying back for sometime, but you know anytime you have a life event in this economy you wind up getting a forbearance or deferment. We had many, I was dx with cancer and had major surgery with a long recovery, my disabled child had brain surgery, my husband was extremely sick, we both lost our jobs (both were very secure) I graduated at the top of my class and have my masters, my career was hot until… Now I do the same work for the same pay a HS grad gets. My husband had only borrowed 16K, we paid back 8 immediately after he graduated. He has been paying back that 8 for about 20 years now, and now he owes 12K. That is insane. I am a public servant but I can’t afford to refinance my loan at a higher rate, I don’t trust that my job is secure for 5 years and I am already 58. At the present moment I have to work till I am 86 to pay off my loans. Mind you, I have not taken a vacation in 14 years. My home is very small and needs a ton of work, my car is old, my wardrobe sucks, my lifestyle is pathetic. I wish I could get some good advice, but my plan is to keep paying the way I am. (My current rate is 3.5%) and sock away as much as I can for retirement because these bastards are going to take money from my social security and whatever else they can.

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13 Mrs. Catherine Cooper May 26, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Hello, I just stumbled across your letter in which you were basically, saying you have not because you ask not. I get it. I have a daughter who is trying to get into yet another school to finish her higher learner. Unfortunately, she got caught up in the viscous cycle of private student loans. She owes more than someone’s six figure salary, and to date doesn’t have her degree and believe me it’s not for lack of not trying it’s because Sallie Mae took advantage of a young inexperienced young woman. It is sad that these people tell young people to go to college and you will have the great american dream that is so, not true. So, yes I get if you don’t at try ans ask you will never know the outcome. Bottom line “Nothing ventured nothing gained”

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