Monday, October 27, 2014

The HESAA/NJClass Catch 22


Hi, Mark.  Love your site.  I have my own, strange story to tell:
I took out roughly $38,000 for 4 years through HESAA prior to graduating in 2008.  I was keeping up on the payments, and then in 2009, I went through a separation and subsequent divorce.  During this time, I had moved out of the house, and had no real permanent address (mostly sleeping on couches and staying with my parents) for about 9 months.  During this time, my (now) ex-wife would just throw out my mail, which included the bills from HESAA.  I figured it was an annoyance, but not a problem.  I could just call and check my account, right?
Wrong.  By the time I had found out about a delinquency on my FEDERAL loan, I made a call to HESAA to see if I was delinquent.  I was, and they said I could enroll in a program to get my account back on track and amended as if I hadn't missed a payment.  Turns out, they were only talking about the Federal-guaranteed loan, because when I was supposed to get a tax refund from NJ a few months later, THAT'S when I started getting notices from the Law Office of Russel Goldman that I owed money and had to pay immediately.
Fortunately, I was able to get another local attorney, Veitengruber Law, to bargain on my behalf.  Instead of my normal $98/mo payment, I went to $250/mo to $400/mo and now have to pay $500/mo.  Also, after 3 years of paying this arrangement, I'm being forced to apply for loans to pay off the balance that I know I'll get rejected for JUST so I can show that I'm trying to get them their money.  Every month, I have to show a new rejection and get another mark against my already low credit score.  $13,000 left to go, and I'm still looking at a 2-year repayment period.
It's very Catch-22. I get rejected for loans because of an outstanding delinquency, which is what I need the loan to repay.