Thursday, March 16, 2017

UPDATE For HESAA Reform Legislation Call This Man

Below is an update regarding HESAA legislation. Please contact this man and tell him you need HESAA to change now, this bill would give income based repayment to NJClass loans. 

We wrote to our legislative Senator regarding the status of S2573/A4084 See the email below for the response.

I cannot preface to you ALL how important it is for us to band together and contact Assemblyman Speaker Vincent  Prieto's office--by phone AND email and literally beg him to get this bill on the floor.   Here is his contact information:  
DISTRICT OFFICE ADDRESS:1 Harmon Plaza
Suite 205
Secaucus, NJ 07094
 PHONE NUMBER: 201-770-1303

Email:  AsmPrieto@njleg.org

Please Contact These Legislators Re: Bill #S2573

Below is a post from a friend of the growing movement for HESAA reform. Please follow up with these people who pretend to "represent" us. If they don't hear from you the money from HESAA will continue to deafen them to our plight! Drop what you are doing and hit them up now!

I hope all is well. I wanted to update you all on the status of the bill regarding income based repayment and loan rehabilitation. Unfortunately, it seems that the bill is not moving along like it should be and there is a possibility that it will not.

Now, I know it is exhausting and upsetting to hear this news as we were all hoping for light at the end of the tunnel. This bill is extremely important and necessary for most of us and if this bill is not passed, there will not be any relief for current borrowers. 

I am asking you today to reach out to the primary sponsors via phone to question them and ask them why this bill is not moving along and to tell them you are in dire need of relief. They need to know that this bill is of an urgent matter.

I know it might be difficult as office hours are typical business hours and it might not be easy for some to make these phone calls but every call will make a difference. They need to feel pressured to helping the majority. This truly is the last chance at reviving this bill. As time moves forward, there is a lesser and lesser chance that this bill will be voted on. 

Legislators are not writing new bills to help NJCLASS loan borrowers; therefore, this bill is the only bill that will help us. 

If you receive any news or information from your conversations with the offices, please let me know or if you need help on knowing what to ask please feel free to reach out to me. 

Below you will find the contact numbers.

Bill #S2573

Senator Sandra B. Cunningham
(201) 451-5100

Senator Robert W. Singer
(732) 987-5669

Senator Robert M. Gordon
(201) 703-9779

Bill #A4084

Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer

Assemblywoman Mila M. Jasey
(973) 762-1886

Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson
(609) 631-0198

Assemblyman Raj Mukherji
(201) 626-4000


2016 Pulling on the Devil's Tail...HESAA Takes a (Small) Loss

2016 was a banner year for push-back against HESAA! This is really encouraging news and they must continue to be put in the spotlight by us debt slaves ...err "borrowers." Below are a smattering of informative articles about HESAA worth looking at before you involve yourself with these thieves. For those of you who already are, this should be encouragement to join in the fray and put yourself out there. This "Authority" needs to be abolished or at best reformed to administer grants only.  Enjoy!


This joint Propublica/New York Times article hit the web in July 2016 and helped galvanize a movement for HESAA reform. The follow up articles are also just as good, exposing HESAA for LYING to when we call them and not telling about ways to ease your pain while in repayment.

https://www.propublica.org/article/new-jerseys-student-loan-program-is-state-sanctioned-loan-sharking

https://www.propublica.org/article/new-jersey-student-loan-agency-to-staff-dont-tell-borrowers-about-help-unle

https://www.propublica.org/article/new-jersey-will-no-longer-collect-loans-from-families-of-dead-students

I encourage you to read Waldman's full coverage of last years struggle against HESAA that ended when state lawmakers made a token reform. Allowing parents of dead children not to pay back HESAA was a huge step forward however it only helped a small population climb out of HESAA Hell ....and then the whole issue was dropped. I'd like to think this humble blog played a part in this landmark win but...we need real reform! Such as full loan forgiveness or at very least some kind of income based repayment program, not years of default madness, creditors and destroyed lives. 

https://www.propublica.org/site/author/annie_waldman


One of the best pieces of journalism exposing HESAA, this is a must watch, thanks to NJTV News (I see you used the redacted document I made...)


http://www.njtvonline.org/news/video/nj-students-find-hesaa-loans-unforgiving/


Below are a smattering of other articles I've collected around the web. 

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/new-jersey-mom-paying-murdered-son-student-loan-debt-article-1.2709759

http://www.nj.com/education/2016/08/nj_senate_to_probe_states_student_loan_program.html

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/education/nj-legislators-take-first-step-to-revamp-predatory-student-loans/article_396f196c-5daa-11e6-9c74-0ba4734737ed.html

http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2016/08/_letter_2.html




Is there a part 2 jbrad?

https://www.buzzfeed.com/jbrad/part-1-a-tale-of-caution-student-loan-hell-110c2?utm_term=.bf8ZnrbDQ#.gm35E6JK7

Repost of one of my posts from a year or so ago. 

http://www.lehighvalleyvanguard.org/single-post/2015/01/30/Why-Student-Loans-Arent-Entirely-Your-Fault

Saturday, March 4, 2017

A Few Things New Students Should Know Before Signing Off On HESAA's Garbage NJCLASS Loans

This is for all the students who want to go to college and think student loans are the only way to pay for it. Well, for many of us who are not independently wealthy, it IS practically the only way to pay for it! Here's a little advice before signing on the dotted line.

-Know Who You Are Dealing With.

Despite HESAA's history as a state agency with (often rude) employees paid by your tax dollars to dole out TAG grants and other awards, the NJCLASS student loans side of HESAA is run just like any other business, arguably worse. They don't care about your ambitions to go to school, despite what their propaganda filled with happy students claim. They care first and foremost about making a buck from you the "consumer" aka average person who wants to better your life. Call HESAA and ask about interest rates, find out how they will make you pay. As such the first thing they will want from you, no matter what your actual financial status or credit worthiness is a cosigner.


This isn't like your phone bill where the worst thing that can happen is they turn your phone off, this is potentially a financial rip off so monumental that you could be stuck paying your loans off - and a shit-ton of interest - well into your adult life. So I advise think twice before you take these loans (as my whole blog should really help you see.)

I was going to make this an enormous rant but I need to hear from more of you. Send your own rant to me, Mark, at hesaahell@gmail.com

Friday, November 18, 2016

HESAA: Stop Bribing Kids To Lie To Me!


As I logged in to pay my monthly pound of flesh to HESAA I noticed something different...a three star Google rating? What?! Has HESAA decided to enact "self reform" and lower interest rates for struggling borrowers? Has HESAA offered standard bankruptcy protections? Has HESAA decided to "do the right thing" and disband itself on moral grounds? Of course not! They are bribing their new suckers - err young students who don't know any better yet - into posting love letters to HESAA.

That's right. Your warden in hell is using the few extra dollars they have lying around after fleecing you to spend on brand new flash drives for students they will suck dry for the next few decades, all because the borrowers in repayment rated them 1 star on Google for their god-awful practices. 

How do I know they are bribing people? It's right there on each and every five star post, the following message states from "the owner": "Thank you for reviewing our customer service. In appreciation of the time you took to write this review and sending us a screenshot of it we have sent you a flashdrive to assist your studies."

If by customer you mean "unsuspecting rube" or by service you mean "we pretty much can take all your money and not help you in any way whatsoever" then this would be a tad more accurate. Moreover, this is clearly a ploy to polish their image online at our expense. (Annie Waldman over at ProPublica wrote about this here: https://www.propublica.org/article/new-jersey-student-loan-agency-getting-good-reviews-giving-free-stuff)

I have a modest proposal, get over to Google and look at each one of those glowing posts and flag that review. Google will ask for your email, then they will ask for the violation type, which in this case is clearly "This post contains a conflict of interest." Nobody is hurt in the end, all the students had to do was take a screen shot of their positive review right? 

Let me now address the good young people who are accepting TAG grants or (please don't for your own good) NJClass loans from HESAA and then rating them five stars on Google:

Ok, I get it, it's a free flash drive. I was a poor student once and I gleefully slurped cheap noodles and hit every event that offered free pizza, hung out in dining halls ect. But sometimes in life you have to ask yourself "is what I'm about to do potentially harmful to others?" I know, I know, that sounds a bit much but hear me out. Those hundreds of thousands out there who have consistently rated HESAA one star, might actually have a point. You may never have had to pay a student loan back, but if you borrow from these people you will pay... and pay... and pay. Trust me, I'm one of the many, many people who owes so much after borrowing so little. So please do the right thing now. After you get your flash drive (I'm not made at you for the free swag) head back to the post you wrote and delete it. If anybody asks you why, just tell them there's a good person just like you out there who may actually avoid a lot of suffering because they were properly warned before they signed away their financial soul. 



Sunday, March 13, 2016

Ray of Hope: A Class Action Lawsuit Against HESAA?

Since 2014 a few brave souls have toiled in the bowels of HESAA HELL trying to echo the chorus of howling voices suffering in silence. While there has not been enough on the ground or legal action to back up our collective tales of woe that may soon be coming to an end - at least on the legal front. It all starts with our continued commitment to getting the word out about this important issue in NJ state politics and in the national political landscape. 

You, dear reader, should contact Mr. Larry Sarlo if you want to take part in the first ever class action lawsuit against HESAA. As he related it to me, this particular suit (there could be more to follow) rests on the idea that HESAA provided you what's called "false service" kind of like false advertising. According to Sarlo: "Anyone who has been served a lawsuit either through HESAA or any private student loan servicer should contact me via email," which is LSARLO@comcast.net.

He also said that the lawsuit is still in it's beginning stages and the lawyers he is working with are still setting up parameters for who will qualify for the suit. When you email him, prode some details about the suit you have been served with from HESAA and be sure to include your contact information. Other details to provide the lawyer are the circumstances under which you took the loan and the information you were provided about the loan, if any. Sarlo said if a borrower feels "their loan was provded in a way that it was never affordable in the first place or they thought they were dealing with state government rather than a private student loan" service, they should get in touch with him. I suspect there are many, many of you out there so send that email now to LSARLO@comcast.net.

This is a start to a long battle that we must take on ourselves because clearly the politicians like Sweeney and Christie are not on our side. The more people who think they qualify and get in touch with him the better. The significance of this, provided there are enough people in the suit, is that HESAA may at some time in the future be made publicly accountable for their horrible practices that stifle the productivity, suck the life energy and deplete the bank accounts of a generation. Like all movements, ours is starting slow but with time it will pick up the necessary steam to change these predatory student loan practices once and for all.

Never give up the fight and email this guy at your earliest convenience!


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Over My Dead Body! If This Evil Letter Isn't Everything Wrong With Student Loans Then Nothing Is

There is so much rotten in the State of New Jersey. Yet few things stink to high heaven as badly as this letter sent to grieving parents regarding their deceased son's NJClass student loans. The student has died, his education and the prosperous future that loan was supposed to have purchased is tragically gone forever. But even the Grim Reaper won't stop HESAA's demons from relentlessly pursuing his parents to pay back the loan. Saddest of all, due to unconscionable legal protections for predatory student loan lenders and a lack of public outcry, there's nothing Mom and Dad can do about it. To their great credit they took the step to share this letter with the rest of us slaving under the HESAA student loan yoke. 

In this grossly hypocritical letter, devilish HESAA boss Teresa B. Gervasio attempts to offer the parents "condolences on your loss" - before she pile-drives them head first into the financial pavement. What follows is simply a reiteration of what has been quietly on the books for a long time. Even your untimely death will not prevent the relentless maw of HESAA Hell from devouring your family's peace of mind and whatever is left of their financial security after laying you in the ground. 

Gervasio's macabre letter states the facts in a monotone legalese, "In accordance with the terms and conditions of the loan note, there is no discharge of an obligation when a student is deceased, unless (emphasis added) the student is the sole borrower of the loan." That sentence exemplifies everything that is wrong with HESAA because they always require a co-signer, usually a parent. In short, this loan sharking "Authority" just like any Mafioso, will strong-arm your family to pay off nefarious student loan debts. All this for an education that is free in other countries, like K-12 (for the time being) still is here.

The letter goes on to contradict it's previous sentence by saying "A surviving party," like, for example, these poor distraught parents, are "only released from repaying the loans on an exceptional basis based on financial need." I'm sure when burying their baby the first thing they thought was "I hope our modest earnings are exceptionally low enough not to have to pay off any student loans!" HESAA in it's cold calculation reopens their wound, telling them: "After careful consideration of the information you provided, the Authority has determined that your request does not meet the threshold for loan forgiveness. Monthly bill statements will continue to be sent to you."

The living, flesh and blood person who typed this letter had to know that "the Authority" regards students, borrowers and cosigners, living or dead, simply as a means for fattening the coffers of the State of New Jersey. No matter how "legal" under the law, throughout any age, the action described in this letter was understood as a crime, whose offense is rank and smells to heaven. Be warned, dear reader, of the level of Hell we are dealing with in this so-called "Authority." In time, they will answer to a higher Authority, one who suffers no thieves or suited criminals - and who will inspire an organized army of borrowers coming to reclaim a free universal education for all.