I am with you. I am an RN who put myself through school until I reached a baccalaureate degree. I did so, mainly, as a single mother of two special needs children. My federal funding ran out about halfway through my program when I began to take out loans from Sallie Mae, not realizing how predatory, unreasonable, and protected the loans are. The ones I have all have variable interest rates, so inflation has caused an insanely high interest rate increases. I work full-time with some overtime.
My spouse has MS and I cannot afford what they are asking for. I am currently following the guidance of several organizations, some local. I’m unsure where you live, but contacting one of them may lead you down a road to better understanding the path ahead. CCCS (Consumer Credit Counseling Service) offices are nationwide. They have been wonderful to deal with. EdCapNY specifically provides guidance for student loans, predominantly federal, but also private to a certain extent. You may want to contact them to see what is available locally. Additionally, you can file a complaint against Sallie Mae with the Federal Exchange Commission & the Attorney General for your state.
As far as my personal circumstances go, I have literally turned over my life savings to Sallie Mae TWICE. This has endangered my family, especially given the medical needs involved. When I fell ill and was on leave of absence from work, I notified them. They didn’t help me and, instead, took my credit score from a 750 to a 580 over the course of three months.
I cannot personally advise you, but I would strongly suggest you start getting in touch with reputable organizations that understand the laws surrounding these predatory loans. My current path forward is this - I am not paying Sallie Mae one more damn dime (advised by an attorney). They have already destroyed my credit despite my best efforts. They will then harass me and any person listed as next of kin (they already reached out to an elderly member of my family to find me). I will not respond to them in any way, shape, or form. They will ultimately turn over my “debt” to a collections agency who will then be receiving a cease and desist letter. I plan to be sued by Sallie Mae and I plan to go to court to make my case. Though 90% of cases like this don’t get dismissed/discharged, I have been told that I may be one of the 10% that does and I feel ethically and morally obligated to protect my family as much as possible. I have been told that even if the “debt” isn’t discharged, that the negotiation process mediated by a judge is typically far more reasonable and logical than any that Sallie Mae will ever offer. I hope I was able to help in some small way.
Stay strong. I know how hard this is and I have personally needed to seek mental health assistance for the amount of stress they have caused. Don’t let the bastards bring you down. EVER. They don’t care about you. Their CEO makes nearly $8 million a year while we scrape by. Eff them.