Monday, June 8, 2015

Student Loans: No choice in who profits from your education

Recently I received an email informing me that my student loans would be transferred from my current loan company to another company called Navient. That was odd, since I had just read the day before about how Navient was a part of the same company as Sallie Mae who has had a history of unethical and possibly criminal activities. This upset me, I trust my current loan provider and don't trust my new loan provider. My undergraduate loans are with ACS and will not transfer to Navient, and I would like to keep my loans together as one big happy family.

Recently I have seen a lot in the news about student loans, but I haven't seen anything about how you completely lose any choice in who carries your loans. For most borrowers that means they are paying tens of thousands of dollars to a company, but they have no choice in which company all this cash goes to. I originally took out a loan with Wells Fargo, but shortly after completing my education license this was sold to ACS-Education.

So in my angered state I penned a letter and sent it off to my senators [Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar]. However since I have seen little discussion on this issue I thought I would post my letter publicly.

To the office of Sen. [Franken/Klobuchar], 
I am writing in regards to something that has disturbed me about my student loans. I went to graduate school to get an education license, and when I took out my graduate student loans I was able to choose which bank I would use for my student loans. Shortly after I finished my graduate school my loans were sold from Wells Fargo to ACS-Education. At the time I was a little upset that my choice was undone, and there was nothing I could do about it, but at least my undergraduate loan was with ACS, so I was happy to have all my loans together under one roof. 
Recently I received an email informing me that my graduate loans had been sold to a company called Navient. This was very odd, since I just read an article about how Navient was closely related to Sallie Mae, and had a history of criminal practices in student loan collections. 
So I started out as a consumer, with a choice of where I spent my money, and who would profit from my student loans. Now I am being forced to pay a student loan company who I don't trust, and probably employs many people who participated in criminal actions carried out by Sallie Mae. 
Somebody is able to profit from my student loans, otherwise why would people buy and sell them. But I am unable to control this. Under our current laws is there any way for me to vote with my dollar? If I were wealthy I could chose where I spend my money (by paying off my loans and investing in the companies that I support), but since I am not I am denied my "freedom of speech" if financial transactions are a form of speech (as Citizens United might suggest). 
If there is a way to keep my loans together with a company I trust, I would appreciate any information on how I could do this. Otherwise I ask you to fight for students, and people fighting loan debt, to have the right to make a choice as to which companies we will allow to profit from our loans.  
Thank you greatly for your time, and I look forward to hearing a reply. 
Erik Sevre