Sending hellos and solidarity from the UK where I live with my partner, and somewhat COVID-stranded after completing my PhD (uncertain if I will ever make it back to east coast US). I took out a Sallie Mae loan in 2013 for my MA at a UK uni (which led to the PhD, and I was able to make a few payments at the beginning of 2015 with my PhD stipend), but since 2018, have been in forebearance (as was full-time in studies, and couldn’t refinance when I actually had some semblance of income) and now graduated, have to deal with this again, and presently in COVID-forebearance (where I have to call Sallie Mae EVERY MONTH to request this).
The last call to renew the forebearance doesn’t appear to have worked, so I think I’m about to default on payment this month, and nerve-wrecked by that… all of this is also being managed with a time difference, exchange rates, money-transfers and google calls with stomach-heart in my mouth speaking to some cool-toned rep. I’m trying to work out whether I can have a rate reduction plan at all OR what happens if I don’t pay because I can’t. My US bank accounts are nearly emptied (there were a few auto-debits that happened without my knowdge earlier this year) and visa application stress adds to the pile.
I don’t know who else has some expertise in what to do (besides breathe), and who else is also dealing with a US loan whilst they are living abroad (as a freelancer in COVID times, I’m simply glad I’m able to get food on the table and a clean place to stay). Have been thinking that sometimes having a buddy in this is the only way to stay sane, and courageous, so glad to find this community, but also uncertain whether there’s any interest in actually helping advocate for each other with lenders, or …? (whether the collective is resolutely against communication/negotiation with lenders??)