Alleged Fraud at Sallie Mae & Student Loan Xpress: Paid Recommendations for Best Student Loans Provider

Apr 11th

It is easy to evangelize some ideas.

  • Here is another meme on why blogging is good and important.

  • Education is great. Everyone should have a chance to be formally educated.
  • I love my God and country. etc.

These types of campaigns work so well because we all need to believe in something, and there are cascading layers of fraud baked into society telling people what to believe in. In some cases the fraud is little white lies, while in other instances powerful institutions collude with other powerful institutions to keep their plot in tact. Rich Skrenta recently pointed to an excellent Mark Tarver article about college titled Why I am Not a Professor OR The Decline and Fall of the British University :

Which brings us to the students - the supposed beneficiaries of this new egalitarianism. For them, the new system has brought debt and degree inflation, since the new degrees are undoubtedly not equivalent to the pre-1990 degrees as measures of ability and learning. They pay more for less quality than their mothers and fathers received and they have little contact with the lecturers because the lecturers are too busy filling out forms and chasing money. This is the Cultural Revolution of the new century and it has left the same desolation behind it.

The situation in the United States isn't much better either. Universities are actively and openly engaged in fraud:

So far, six schools -- the University of Pennsylvania, New York University, Syracuse University, Fordham University, Long Island University and St. John's University -- have agreed to reimburse students a total of $3.27 million for inflated loan prices caused by revenue sharing agreements, Cuomo said. The schools will return money to students who took out loans during the time the revenue sharing agreement was in effect. Students will be refunded based on the amount they were loaned.

And that doesn't even take into account that at some univeristies 96% of enrolled students never get a degree.

This is why I don't like automation and efficiency when pulled out of context. Eventually efficiency for one party comes at the expense of defrauding anther. If so many schools are actively involved in fraud, how much can a degree be worth? How many other businesses operate with large subsidized hidden costs?

Google sells virtually unmarked ads and The WSJ sells advertorials. And nobody knows why the media is broken. It's not just the internet.

When cash and influence rich industry leaders push things so far it forces some people to commit fraud just to keep pace with the marketplace. Yet nobody seems to connect the dots. Why?

Published: April 11, 2007

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Comments

tejal
August 11, 2007 - 4:40am

is everyone still itching for a lawsuit against the student lending companies...i'm a lawyer based in NY investigating a class action lawsuit against these goons...if you're interested in being a plaintiff class member, please reply to my email...

Jackie
June 12, 2007 - 6:06pm

I have had numerous problems with Sallie Mae. I just wanted to let everyone know there is a law firm investigating Sallie Mae's business practices. The link is- http://www.jameshoyer.com/problem_SallieMae.html

Jim Moore
April 15, 2007 - 4:21pm

if there are any parents out there who want to join me a class action suite, please respond.

I am in contact with AG's office and trying to get him to dig deeper into thier private laon pratices.

concerned parent
April 15, 2007 - 7:58pm

Can we even trust companies like www.studentloanxpress.com and www.salliemae.com? If we can't then the odds are working against the average working family, trying to make it, only to fall for a scam. Do these people have no shame?

Cheryl Cotterill
April 24, 2007 - 3:10am

>When cash and influence rich industry leaders push things so far it forces some people to commit fraud just to keep pace with the marketplace. Yet nobody seems to connect the dots. Why?

No one is forced to commit fraud, they choose to commit fraud. Those people who choose to commit integrity instead will be the real winners in the end. After all, some things are more important than keeping pace with the marketplace.

April 24, 2007 - 3:13am

Hi Cheryl
Nice theory, but if you go public and under-perform the crooks they get to buy you out and make you a crook too.

esmeralda paladines
June 7, 2007 - 5:50am

i Been getting screw by salliemae count me in with the law suit//enp

esmeralda paladines
June 7, 2007 - 5:51am

i Been getting screw by salliemae count me in with the law suit//enp

Sara
August 28, 2007 - 12:53am

I'm itching for a lawsuit! I went to NYU and live in NY, lets get this going!! Its about time.

michelle shuman
July 11, 2007 - 7:02am

sallie mae is not honoring deferment agreement with me. please tell me about lawsuit. need help badly.

Joseph
July 12, 2007 - 4:15am

there are so many of us whose lives are being ruined by the deceptive practices of Sallie Mae.

. the horror stories are everywhere..

but the main story is why Sallie Mae is allowed to be so deceptive...

we've heard about quite a few law firms who have filed or are investigating class action law suits against Sallie Mae.. do I think Sallie mae cares? They are fighting Congress.. they aren't afraid of fighting a law firm representing people they consider to be stupid dumb idiots who went to college.

I think the way to the solution is to somehow figure how to convince all the stock holders in SM to develop either a conscience or intelligence and sell their stock in the name of humanitarianism.

everyone recommends looking into Jameshoyer.com as a law firm for potential class action against Sallie Mae.. I contacted the law firm and someone from the firm does sent me an email saying someone will contact you soon.. can't wait till "soon" comes.. it's been a long time coming.

If I could raise the money to finance a documentary the kind Michael Moore makes.. or find a writing/research partner to compile a book on the stories about Sallie Mae.. that might be something college counselors, high school counselors, politicans, might be interested in.. especially if the publication contains the names of the politicians who take campaign funding money from Sallie Mae.

What good is it doing us who have been victimized by Sallie Mae ..for Sallie Mae to pay a 2 million dollar fine to Andrew Cuomo's Education fund? That 2 million isn't helping my daughter or me as a co-borrower who thought we were taking out federal student loans with 8% interest.. didn't know we were signing papers with Sallie Mae for interest rates up to 18% ( we didn't find this out until she graduated from college)

thousands of similiar stories.. so far ZERO solutions

Beaver Cleaver
May 20, 2007 - 3:38am

The criminality rests with the banks that never wrote off small delinquent loans for students who never graduated due to hard ship and financial burden, sold those loans to collection agencies and allowed interest rates to accumulate, while personal attorneys were advising students that default and no degree translated as a "dead issue" for recovery....and now yrs later a 2500 dollar balance suddendly looks like 9000 dollars....and the student loan corp. thinks this is fair practice! Sue the lawyers who misinterpreted lending laws,and offered financially destructive advice and then hold the student loan corp. accountable for charging interest on a "dead issue", and assuming you are making a living, when no job security , no degree, and mounting debt are the reality! Who are these fu&#^$ing people to assume you would pay for the shiny new porsche you were promised but never received? The answer is....big banking business and governent bureaucracy! The rest of us are just drop out white middle class trying to survive! And this was called opportunity.....right!

Beaver Cleaver
May 20, 2007 - 3:39am

The criminality rests with the banks that never wrote off small delinquent loans for students who never graduated due to hard ship and financial burden, sold those loans to collection agencies and allowed interest rates to accumulate, while personal attorneys were advising students that default and no degree translated as a "dead issue" for recovery....and now yrs later a 2500 dollar balance suddendly looks like 9000 dollars....and the student loan corp. thinks this is fair practice! Sue the lawyers who misinterpreted lending laws,and offered financially destructive advice and then hold the student loan corp. accountable for charging interest on a "dead issue", and assuming you are making a living, when no job security , no degree, and mounting debt are the reality! Who are these fu&#^$ing people to assume you would pay for the shiny new porsche you were promised but never received? The answer is....big banking business and governent bureaucracy! The rest of us are just drop out white middle class trying to survive! And this was called opportunity.....right!

Beaver Cleaver
May 20, 2007 - 3:41am

The criminality rests with the banks that never wrote off small delinquent loans for students who never graduated due to hard ship and financial burden, sold those loans to collection agencies and allowed interest rates to accumulate, while personal attorneys were advising students that default and no degree translated as a "dead issue" for recovery....and now yrs later a 2500 dollar balance suddendly looks like 9000 dollars....and the student loan corp. thinks this is fair practice! Sue the lawyers who misinterpreted lending laws,and offered financially destructive advice and then hold the student loan corp. accountable for charging interest on a "dead issue", and assuming you are making a living, when no job security , no degree, and mounting debt are the reality! Who are these fu&#^$ing people to assume you would pay for the shiny new porsche you were promised but never received? The answer is....big banking business and governent bureaucracy! The rest of us are just drop out white middle class trying to survive! And this was called opportunity.....right!

Blake
April 12, 2007 - 12:58am

Good job on the URL removal. ;) Look forward to more relevant comments under great posts.

Kirby
April 12, 2007 - 1:52am

>When cash and influence rich industry leaders push things so far it forces some people to commit fraud just to keep pace with the marketplace. Yet nobody seems to connect the dots. Why?

Because it is a time honored tradition that has become woven into the fabric. In many cases, those that commit fraud to keep up have weighed the risk to benefit and decided to move forward anyway. For those universities, it was worth the risk, and probably worth the penalty.

For the WSJ, there is little to no risk. Same with Google.

Having played behind the scenes, I'll tell you that it's not broken. It is working as designed. What is skewed is the public perception and expectation of fairness and ethics.

Patrick
April 12, 2007 - 7:36am

Hey Aaron, I couldn't agree more, that college is a piece of bull, but where did you get the 96% from? Doesn't seem to be backed up by your surce, where #1 has around 60%?

In case you haven't read it, yet, you might want to check out: college the biggest gamble of your life (that was a discussion topic at SEWatch).

http://www.michaelrobertson.com/archive.php?minute_id=226

It doesn't affect me that much, as Im in Germany where we didnt have to pay for college until last semester (and now still significantly less than in the US), but college professors are still playing microsoft here by pushing their own books to the student base (making them mandatory to read), when those books suck a$$ and there are W A Y better books out there.

Sometimes, I wonder, if it hadn't been more efficient for me to never go to school, set 10 hours a week aside for studying the important things (lets admit it 80-90% of the material we did in class was a waste of time - I still remember having the line 'school is rape of my brain' in my head..) like reading, writing, foreign languages, maths (how about some real life maths like statistics instead of theoretical stuff you'll never use and thus forget anyways?) and had used the rest of the time, that I wasted in school and on homework/memorizing phonebooks to work - how much money would I had? I once did the maths and it's like 2-3 grant...

But then again children shouldn't work...I agree, that kids shouldnt do physical work in mines, but I probably would have preferred doing some non-physical work instead of sitting in school..its not like sitting in school for hours counting the seconds waiting for it to finally be over is lots of fun, either.

Forgive me the rant, but I needed to get this off my chest ;-).

Richard
April 12, 2007 - 11:57pm

Here in the UK the fraud in Universities - in my personal experience, and comments from a couple of people I know - extends to helping students pass exams by telling them the questions and the answers in the most blatant cases, and dropping massive, massive hints on the questions for exams in less blatant cases.

It is prevalent as well in further education i.e. once you leave school, institutions depend on student numbers and also on students getting good grades and do the same sort of thing again in my personal experience.

Market forces, never talked about in the U.K. but very widespread, get your students through the course with good grades, makes you look good, keeps your job alive

danny
April 13, 2007 - 7:09am

Yes - I have kind of a jaded feeling about higher education myself. I live near a university. The conversations I tend to overhear from students rarely focus on anything related to 'learning'. Usually, it's just a question of how can I pass this test with the minimum amount of effort?

Also, from the perspective of a business owner - I can say that some of the most productive employees I've ever had did not finish a degree.

But - one major problem is that - the current systems really disadvantage people in life if they haven't gone through the process. If you want to immigrate to a the US - you'll have much better prospects if you have a degree... of if you want to get a professional job at a major corporation - most places won't consider even talking to you, unless you have a degree.

It's a real plain fact that there's so much waste around us everywhere - but, sometimes there really doesn't seem to be a better way - if you're thinking about how to best educate massive amounts of people.

SLE
April 14, 2007 - 4:58am

The traditional media has gotten this student loan 'scandal' all wrong.

Most of these schools (like NYU and UPENN in particular) cut great loan deals with major banks. The loan products provided to the students at those schools were among the best priced in the industry, and on top of that, the banks gave money to the school's to be used for additional financial aid. In what sense is that fraud and/or corruption?

It isn't, of course, but the NY Attorney General is scoring some cheap political points and everyone else is buying it. It's a shame, really.

It is fascinating, though, that everyone has bitched and moaned about these loan deals and NO ONE has asked the real question - were the loan products that these companies were selling better or worse than a standard, off-the-shelf student loan? The answer is better, which means this is all smoke and no fire.

April 14, 2007 - 6:14am

If they were better then you wouldn't think they would need to pay the schools to be recommended, would they?

September 23, 2007 - 8:52pm

hey tejal write me at bvergy@netzero.com i,ll join a lawsiut or start one against sallie mae...bill

May 15, 2009 - 10:43pm

I would like to know more about how the law suit went. I am currently disputing my account with Sallie mae.

September 28, 2007 - 1:47am

Yes sallieMae is a huge problem
please contact me @
expressionsetcetera@yahoo.com
I am looking for a lawer - oh let me count the thing they have done so far!
talk about a prolems! The school i went to was a frad also
just read on to learn about BROOKS COLLEGE (NOW CLOSING)
To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to you today to inform you of a very costly lesson I have learned, in hopes that I might be able to detour other recently graduated High School Students from making the same disappointing mistakes I have. To tell you a little bit about myself, I am now 23 years old and fifty thousand dollars in debt because of an attempt to go to college and make a name for myself. To tell you a little bit about how I was, I wanted to go to college, get a degree and make money. I come from a low income family who moved out to North Fork to start a small shop and raise their kids away from the city life. As a 19 year old know it all I chose to go out on my own, and instead of going to a simple junior college, or city college, I looked into an ever promising private college. I was instantly sent a packet which promised a great education in fashion design, endless job possibilities and a multitude of internships available through the school to ensure a clean start for the recently graduated individual. The packet seemed promising so I made an appointment to see the school in person. The person who represented Brooks College of Sunnyvale seemed nice enough, but looks can be deceiving. I was told that Brooks College is such a great college, he even has a sister who goes to the one in Long Beach and is thrilled with all that she is able to do. He also agreed with me when I said that if I wanted to go on and get a four year degree that this was a great stepping stone (I later found out that none of the credits from Brooks College were transferable). Then, when I inquired about the price of the college I was told it would be about 26 thousand, which really isn’t that much because of the amount of money I would be making, I would have no problems paying back the loan. Considering my source, a guy who keeps his job by bringing in new college students, I now know I should have researched the college a bit further.
The first thing to do he said, was to write a letter stating why I wanted to go to college. As he handed me a blank piece of paper and pen, I informed him that my hand writing is very sloppy, and I can’t exactly spell all that well, so it might be better if I went home and typed out a letter worthy enough to be accepted into their college. He smiled and said, that I could just write a short paragraph, it wasn’t anything to make a big deal about. Later I found out that Brooks College has a 100% acceptance policy, meaning they will accept you if you have a pulse. When I asked my parents to co-sign the loan for me they said absolutely not, and warned me about the college. Had I been smart and listened to the ones who raised me, instead of a For-Profit College, I might not be in the mess I am today. But, never-the-less, I went back to the school and told them that I couldn’t have a co-signer and they said not to worry we will try our best to get you in, and that they did. My first loan was for approximately 26 thousand dollars. I’d love to say that I went to school, got my degree and had a rewarding carrier in fashion design, but no. I went to a school where the library was just about always locked, teachers were late (but mind you we could never be late) the attendance policy was changed just about every semester, and oh yah, you had to search for your own internship. This may sound a bit jumbled but I will try my best to explain. When the class quarter began we would receive a syllabus stating what we would learn in that class. By the end of the eight weak class I would have a passing grade, but feel as if I hadn’t learned enough, sadly not only I had this sinking feeling. Some of the classes I took over again just to make sure I had learned the material properly, others I felt that I knew more then the other students moving on, so I decided to move on also. Soon, the financial aid department called me in (a total of four times) to explain that I needed more money to go to college, because the course price had been changed and also because I had taken a few classes over again. Again they assured me that it I would be able to pay back the loan, the loan company would work with me, and that the main thing was to finish college. The last draw came when I had about half a year left and they told me they would need an additional ten thousand dollars to finish going to Brooks College. At the time I was at about forty-two thousand dollars in student loan debts, and had come to the realization that Brooks College wasn’t a good name in the fashion industry. In fact, no one really cared that I went to Brooks College at all. I couldn’t even find a job to get started in the fashion industry (they said they would help with jobs) the jobs that they offered through brooks were sales associates, post office, fed ex etc. The types of jobs Brooks offered where essentially jobs I could have looked up from the paper; which was yet another thing they lied about. When I signed up with Brooks College they told me that they were getting job offers left and right so a Brooks College student would be able to work in the industry immediately. Another thing they lied about – they said that they provide internships – no – as a student you have to find one. To make matters even worse, when I first started going to Brooks, all the teachers said - what a good choice you made, Brooks College is the one thing you need to make it in the fashion world. Then as the courses changed, those same teachers would say, its hard to get into the industry, you have to be the best at everything just to be noticed, and it’s so hard, even with a degree most people don’t even get a chance to use their talents unless they have a big break. Oh and did I mention that there was a wonderful pattern drafting teacher who didn’t know anything about computers; she taught one of the computer illustrator classes – (we as students had to teach her how to use the program). This issue was brought to the Department Chair of Fashion Design: Kathy Evens; who in return, told us students to be easy on the pattern drafting teacher it was her first time teaching this particular class- you can guess how much we learned that semester.
To make a long story short, I spent over a year at a college trying to get a degree that was extremely hyped up, and way too expensive to even be able to support myself after I graduated. I stopped going to Brooks College when my student loans were at 40,000 dollars, there are some students who graduated and now owe 70,000 just to have a degree. Most of the graduates from brooks are not even in the fashion industry, they are working regular jobs just to try to pay their bills and make ends meat. This college is one of 86 colleges governed by the Career Education Corporation also known as the CEC. If I may let me quote them “We are a dynamic educational services company committed to quality, career-focused learning and led by passionate professionals who inspire individual worth and lifelong achievement. Since our founding in 1994, we have progressed rapidly toward our goal of becoming the world’s largest on-ground provider of private, for-profit postsecondary education and have a substantial and growing presence in online education. Our schools, which are segregated into two reporting segments, prepare students for professionally and personally rewarding careers through the operation of 86 campuses, including two online campuses, located throughout the United States and in France, Canada, and the United Kingdom.” I do not believe that they really believe that, from the campus in Sunnyvale I have noticed that they are hungry for money, and will lure recently graduated students into a life long battle of debt and self loss. I also found the CEC stating “Our CSU segment schools typically experience a seasonal increase in enrollment in the fall, traditionally when the largest number of new high school graduates begins postsecondary education.” Please read for yourself, I took both quotes from the CEC’s annual report found at http://biz.yahoo.com/e/060306/ceco10-k.html. I ultimately want Brooks College of Sunnyvale and the CEC to have a thorough investigation brought against them. They are backed by an organization that ultimately wants to make money, and doesn’t care who can and can’t pay off their loans.

Regarding my loans, Sallie Mae is the lender and they are the ones that have lent me the loans throughout the time of going to Brooks College. I have told them about Brooks College in hopes that they might look a little further when they lend money to recently graduated high school students, but they told me that the quality and type of college was my problem not theirs. I am now considered delinquent in my student loans – but what Sallie Mae is not being clear about is the type of loan I have. They tell me I have a private student loan, and I have to pay – it’s a federal offence. When I started looking further into different types of loans, I found that federal student loans can be put on an income contingent repayment (ICR) program. This program takes 10% of your monthly earned income for up to 25 years. When I asked about that program they said they have heard nothing of the sort, and they would dock 25% of my income if I don’t start paying. I informed them that I have moved back with my parents and am not working because of complications in my pregnancy. They said that they could put me on a forbearance program for $150 and not have to pay for six months, I asked to be sent the paperwork and I would get back to them. They sent me the paper work, and it stated I would still be charged about $260 interest each month, but the amount would be rolled back into the loan. They stopped calling me for about three months, and I have to admit it was nice. But they are calling me again telling me that I have to pay the forbearance or else they will start docking 25% of my wages. They are also telling me that my forbearance would cost $300 because I already received one forbearance (I never authorized). The also said that once I do this forbearance I would have to pay my loan for one month before I could qualify for a forbearance again. My monthly payments are about $825 with an interest of about 18%, when I asked if I could refinance my loans they said that I would have to pay my loans for a certain amount of months, and then either get a co – signer or have exceptional credit to make a difference on my monthly payments. I informed them that there is no why I could pay my loan, rent, car insurance, and for my food, again they said – not our problem. I would be ok with the ICR program but everything that they offer isn’t remotely helpful for me. Even if I beg my parents for the $300 to do the forbearance program, I am still adding on to my loan, making my payments get even higher in next three to six months. My credit is already destroyed, and on top of Sallie Mae, demanding money, Brooks College says I still owe them over $6000.00, haven’t they gotten enough money? All this because I chose to go to a fast talking private college. If there is any way you might be able to help, I would appreciate it.
If you have any questions regarding this letter please contact me at:

expressionsetcetera@yahoo.com

Oh and if it makes a difference, I have a copy of my actual acceptance letter - it states that I was told brooks college had a 97% graduation rate, and is hand written just like my letter stated above- I also have copies of actual job postings while I was going to school there.

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