On Student Loan Absurdity

Several years ago, I consolidated my student loans — Perkins loans, Stafford loans, all into one gooey loan ball.

Since then, every few years, my student loans change servicers. At one time, I sent my payments to New York State. Then, Mississippi for a few years. For the past two years, they went to Pittsburgh. A month ago I received a letter &mash; now my payments go to Montana after May 1st.

So far, so good. I mailed off my last payment to Pittsburgh, a week later the check cleared, everything was good…

Then more mail arrived.

According to my new servicer I was delinquent. My next payment wasn’t even due for a month.

There was a website address to check. I tried the website, but it wanted account information that I didn’t have, mainly because I hadn’t set up an account. It was mildly annoying, but just mildly.

More mail arrived. And more. Computer generated form letters that I was delinquent in my payments, that they were going to turn my student loan over to collections, et cetera and so forth.


Wednesday, I dropped my May payment in the mail. (I have a system. I write the check in advance, I put it in an addressed envelope with a date when it can be mailed — always a Wednesday before Friday’s payday — and I don’t think about it. It’s in a spot on my desk in the office, and that’s how I do it.)

Yesterday, I received another angry computer-generated form letter.

I put the letter in my bag and I planned on calling the new servicers when I got to work. “What’s your major malfunction? Why can’t you send out any mail that isn’t assholish?” But then I let it sit, and my temptation to call them and go off went away.

In the afternoon, I fished the letter out of my bag. I decided to try the website. (Mainly, though, I wanted to see if this servicer had been reported to the Better Business Bureau for being, well, stupid. Alas, I found nothing of the sort.)

And this time I got something useful. The first time I tried the website, it assumed I had an account I could access online. This time, it took me through the steps to set up my online account.

Once I did, and once I could look around the site and examine my account, I had no cause for concern. No, the payment I’d mailed on Wednesday, obviously, hadn’t arrived in Montana or been credited. But the account wasn’t showing as being delinquent, it showed that I had the May payment (that I expected) due in two weeks, and I saw that my April payment was credited (which was the last one sent to Pittsburgh). My hunch was that that payment somehow hadn’t caught up with the account when it was in the middle of being moved.

Therefore, I’m going to keep on doing what I’m doing, and I’m going to ignore any mail they send me (until January, anyway, which is when the tax forms will arrive) because any mail from them is likely going to be 1) based on wrong information and 2) an assholish form letter. I’ll just check the website a week after mailing the payment, and that will tell me that everything is hunky-dory. :}

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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