The Student Loan Scam: The Most Oppressive Debt in U.S. History and How We Can Fight Back Reviews

The Student Loan Scam: The Most Oppressive Debt in U.S. History and How We Can Fight Back

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Named one of CNNMoney’s financial heroes, Alan Michael Collinge argues that student loans have become the most profitable, uncompetitive, and oppressive type of debt in American history. In an unprecedented analysis of this -billion industry, Collinge covers the history of student loans, the rise of Sallie Mae, and how universities have profited at students’ expense while telling stories of people whose lives have been shattered as a result-including his own

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3 comments

  1. Frederick S. Goethel "wildcatcreekbooks" says:
    33 of 33 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Legalized Loan Sharking Courtesy of Congress, December 27, 2008
    By 
    Frederick S. Goethel “wildcatcreekbooks” (Central Valley, CA) –
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    My daughter is in her senior year in high school and I am trying to learn as much about the various mechanisms available to finance her education as I can. I was really stunned to read about all the problems with student loans and how Congress has given the banks and loan guaranty organizations a free ticket to extract as much money from students as possible.

    Some of the actions of our government include making student loans the only loans available that cannot be discharged through bankruptcy, allowing the loan companies and guarantee companies to own the collection agencies, which provides to them an incentive to allow (and push) the student to default, being able to attach Social Security retirement and disability income for repayment, allowing interest rates to be as high as 29.9% and a host of other goodies.

    The stories in this book will cause you to cringe. The author does name names and lets you know who has been a friend to student’s and their families and who has been bought by the loan companies PACs. In addition, you will learn about the various pitfalls and tricks used by the loan companies to increase the profit margin on these loans.

    While the writing is a little redundant, it generally is a well written book that contains crucial information for anyone who has a student loan or for the families of anyone considering taking out a loan. Read this book and learn the pitfalls that are waiting for you!

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  2. Loyd E. Eskildson "Pragmatist" says:
    26 of 26 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Important Information!, May 19, 2009
    By 
    Loyd E. Eskildson “Pragmatist” (Phoenix, AZ.) –
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    Collinge argues that student loans have become the most profitable, uncompetitive, and oppressive type of debt in American history. This has occurred in large part due to legislation passed since the mid-1990s that removed stand consumer protections from student loans, and allowed for massive penalties and draconian mechanisms to collect these inflated debts.

    Americans borrow almost $90 billion/year to attend college. About 2/3 of college students require loans to make it through, and typical undergraduate borrows leave school with over $20,000 in student loan debt, $42,000 for graduate students. Student-loan holders can garnish a borrower’s wages, tax returns, Social Security, and disability incomes – without a court order. Defaulted loans do not qualify for forgiveness for eg. teaching in under-served areas.

    Federal loan limits, with protections, are $8,500/year for graduate students.

    Fortune magazine called Sallie Mae the second most profitable company in 2005, and its CEO topped the list of highest paid CEOs in D.C. Sallie Mae’s (major student loan provider) fee income increased 228% between 2000 and 2005, while its loan portfolio rose only 82% – the difference was penalties and fees from defaulted loans. As of 2007, Sallie Mae’s top two executives together made more than 500 million. Universities often have “preferred-lender” arrangements with the universities and receive kickbacks. In 1999 Sallie Mae purchased Nellie Mae, followed by USAGroup and Southwest Student Services (nonprofit student loan companies and guarantors).

    The national average interest rate is 12% for private student loans. Student loans are the only type of loan in U.S. history to be non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. They are also exempt from statutes of limitations for collection, usury laws, Truth in Lending, and Fair Debt and Collections. Borrowers wanting to consolidate their loans must use the original lender, if there only was one, giving them an iron grip. Further, only one consolidation is allowed, even if other firms are willing to take over.

    Lenders are also allowed to take up to 25% as collection fees on defaulted loans. Loan guarantors and collection agencies can also seize tax refunds, suspend state-issued professional licenses, and even terminate public employment.

    The Bush II administration strangled the Federal Direct Loan Program to about 19% of the market.

    Important Point: A loan cannot be considered in default unless NO payment, even insignificant, is made for 270 days. Send registered mail!

    There are now about 5 million defaulted loans, with penalties and extra interest running 2X and more than the original loan.

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  3. M. Okada says:
    30 of 32 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    If you can’t afford to go to college, THEN DON’T GO!!!!!, March 1, 2009
    By 
    M. Okada (Pasadena, CA United States) –
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    Readers may already be familiar with Alan Collinge from his website […] or his appearance on “60 Minutes” two years ago in a piece about the student lender Sallie Mae and the way that it has destroyed the lives of many college graduates by burdening them with exorbitant fees and finance charges on their student loan debts. College is the riskiest and perhaps the most foolhardy investment anybody can make, as student loan debts can NEVER be erased with bankruptcy. Warning to parents: NEVER cosign on a student loan. Many parents are facing financial ruin because they cosigned on a student loan for a child. This 150 page book examines the huge student loan industry and how it derives colossal profits by destroying peoples’ lives.

    Chapter 1 – “The Rise of Sallie Mae and the Fall of Consumer Protections” -How Sallie Mae became a vertical corporation with control of all aspects of student loans: issuing loans, guarantees, and collections. In 2002 it purchased Pioneer Credit Recovery, a student loan collection company. It lobbied Congress for laws that permitted huge penalties and fees for defaulted debt.

    Chapter 2 – “Who Benefited” – The huge salaries of Albert Lord, CEO of Sallie Mae, and other executives in the industry. Reveals that Edfund, a “guarantor”–is just another entity that relentlessly extracts money from debtors.

    Chapter 3 – “Collection Abuses” and Chapter 4 “The Borrowers” – Readers may have already heard some of these stories from[…]. One particularly sad story is a graduate of Illinois State University who committed suicide after completing his master’s in chemistry because his student loans had grown to $100,000. Many student debtors report being called several times every day by Sallie Mae loan shark collectors.

    Chapter 5 – “The Oversight Fiasco” and Chapter 6 “Corruption of the Universities” – The most shocking part of the book. Describes how numerous personnel of the Dept. of Education are actually former Sallie Mae officers, and instances where university financial aid officials hold stock in student loan companies such as Student Loan Xpress. Also describes kickbacks, donations, luncheons, and gifts paid by student lenders to universities in return for steering their incoming freshmen to those lenders (such as putting them on “preferred lender lists”). These universities include the University of Nebraska, Johns Hopkins, the University of Texas at Austin, and many others. For example, one financial aid director of Johns Hopkins received $93,000 from American Express and Student Loan Xpress. On many occasions, students who called their universities’ student loan hotlines didn’t know they were really talking to representatives of student loan companies.

    Chapters 6-8 “The Grass Roots Awaken” ,” Solutions”, “Practical Advice for Students” Collinge offers little hope for current debtors –at this time legislation to allow student loans to be discharged in bankruptcy is nowhere close to being passed. However, perhaps the groundwork is being laid for the next generation of lawmakers to revise the laws concerning student loan debt.

    This book about student loans is extremely relevant and timely. We are in the Depression of 2009 and it is obvious that college graduates may not find gainful employment. Sallie Mae and other student lenders don’t care about your problems with unemployment, sickness, a death in the family, or anything else. They will hound you until your debts are paid or until you are resting in your grave.

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