Thursday, July 20, 2017

HESAA Task Force...

Make sure you contact the HESAA Task Force...


Senator Sandra B. Cunningham (D) (Majority Whip):

District Office Address:
1738 Kennedy Blvd.
Jersey City, NJ 07305

Phone Number (201) 451-5100
Fax Number (201) 451-0867
Email: sencunningham@njleg.org

Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D) (Assistant Majority Leader)

District Office Address:
166 Bloomfield Ave.
Newark, NJ 07104

Phone Number: (973) 484-1000
Email: SenRuiz@njleg.org

Senator Robert M. Gordon (D) (Majority Conference Leader)

District Office Address:
14-25 Plaza Rd.
P.O. Box 398
Fair Lawn, NJ 07410

Phone Number: (201) 703-9779
Fax: (201) 703-8127


Email: sengordon@njleg.org

HESAA Task Force Needs To Abolish NJCLASS Loans, Defang HESAA

I recently received the following email from a leader in the HESAA reform movement:

"Everyone should write to Sen's Cunningham, Ruiz and Gordon--see the most recent publication:

At least these three are still working on our issues. BUT, if more of us voice our concerns it will let them know they need to work harder--don't let them forget you/us--keep writing, calling, emailing--"

With these opening words I exhort you to contact your state senator and insist that they support reforms and join with Senator's Cunningham, Ruiz and Gordon to abolish NJCLASS loans. According to the above article dated June 19, 2017 the 13-member task force was formed to "study and evaluate the authority's implementation of the New Jersey College Loans to Assist State Students (NJCLASS) Loan Program and to determine whether its current structure as a bond issuing authority has impeded its ability to extend certain program features to borrowers, such as income-contingent loan repayment and loan rehabilitation programs that would ease the burden of student debt and assist borrowers in making timely and affordable loan repayments."

Ok, a few things. Has HESAA's present "structure" prevented it from providing borrowers with income-based repayment options or loan rehabilitation for NJCLASS loans? Of course not. We don't have to study that, just ask anyone already in HESAA Hell. They simply have chosen not to provide these options because they are all about that $$$$$$. They simply didn't have to make these changes because no one forced them. Now it's time to make these basic changes, we don't need to study HESAA we need to fix it. 

Another thing to make clear is if we, the public, don't make it our responsibility to shout loudly on this issue - the new HESAA Task Force (sounds official right?) could make a few suggestions and then walk off into the sunset without any meaningful changes. Remember, the absolute minimum demands of this movement are what is mentioned in the above article, income based repayment and loan rehab for defaulted borrowers in the 9th circle of HESAA Hell. NO ONE should be louder than us in making this a minimum demand, however, we should also make known our longer term demands.

We and only we will bring to this fight the determination to once and for all abolish student loans.That's right - ALL student loans - especially HESAA's - should simply be abolished. No one should be profiting from lending a student money for college because college, like high school, should be free and a right to a free education afforded to every citizen. We do not have to compromise this basic progressive principal, instead we need to push it to the hilt. We have the power to make this an issue for the HESAA Task Force. Further, we should seek reparations for the damage HESAA has done to us, body, soul and bank account. We deserve compensation commensurate with how much they have stolen from us. Think that's going to come up to the Task Force without our input? I think not. Remember the Task Force will study HESAA overhaul, not actually do it. We need to make sure they do it and hear about our solutions.

Here is why there are reasons to be encouraged by the creation of the HESAA Task Force. In the above article, Senator Cunningham, Chairwoman of the State Higher Education Committee said, "If this task force finds it better to phase them out (NJCLASS Loans), then that's what we will move to do."  HELL YES! You read that correctly. We need to make it our job to call for this from the rooftops! ABOLISH NJCLASS once and for all!

Brothers and sisters we need to make it abundantly clear that we see the abolition of NJCLASS loans for current and future borrowers, loan rehab and income-based repayment is the least they could do! The only solution to student loans is to reinstate the grants that were there for decades and fund them generously. We must be unafraid to call for full student loan forgiveness in our state that will set a precedent for every other state. Why should we allow our young people to be saddled with overbearing and life-reducing student loan debt? Because it helps the rich get richer? See if any of these demands are met with applause from the corporate wing of the Democratic Party, not bloody likely, even if millions of their own constituents would jump for joy!

I can hear the shrieks from our tormentors now! "How will people pay for school without us to loan them money?!?" With the absence of a real student loan education many borrowers and students might be persuaded that there is no way to pay for your education without borrowing from some thieving bank or treacherous bond-holder. But the answer to student loans has been there all along. Free tuition and permanent abolition of all student loans should be our end goal. Where will the money come from? Those very same fat cats draining our wallets with school loans that's who. We oppose any tax on the poor or middle classes, it must be the extremely wealthy who pay us back for this misery. So help us God they will pay, because only that would be a worthy and true justice.

We have been suffering in this Hell for too long to put our pitchforks down when we hear them talk about loan rehab, income based repayment or even getting rid of future loans. Anything short of full forgiveness and full free public college would be a huge disservice to the vast majority of people. In the future HESAA should be a benign benefactor, a Heaven if you will, a dispensary of state grants to those who enroll in a free public college. If countries poorer than ours can have this why can't we have this? In the coming years the momentum and power of the movement against student debt will create conditions favorable to far reaching changes. It begins here with us, we must advocate for what is really in our interests, not in the interests of a few at the top. 

So get in touch with these senators, encourage them that the Task Force is welcome but it must get results and we must have these loans and predatory lenders off our backs! Tell these Democrats that you want the HESAA Task Force to transform HESAA from a Hell to a Heaven and completely abolish ALL NJCLASS loans. Talk to them early and often across all platforms. 

Senator Sandra B. Cunningham (D) (Majority Whip):

District Office Address:
1738 Kennedy Blvd.
Jersey City, NJ 07305

Phone Number (201) 451-5100
Fax Number (201) 451-0867
Email: sencunningham@njleg.org

Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D) (Assistant Majority Leader)

District Office Address:
166 Bloomfield Ave.
Newark, NJ 07104

Phone Number: (973) 484-1000
Email: SenRuiz@njleg.org

Senator Robert M. Gordon (D) (Majority Conference Leader)

District Office Address:
14-25 Plaza Rd.
P.O. Box 398
Fair Lawn, NJ 07410

Phone Number: (201) 703-9779
Fax: (201) 703-8127
Email: sengordon@njleg.org


-Mark Hesaa can be reached at hesaahell@gmail.com

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.