Student loan borrowers are furious at Sallie Mae. The largest provider of student loans in the U.S. charges a $50 forbearance fee to unemployed borrowers. Those who can’t pay the $50 are put into default.
The unemployment fee has college grads and students fighting the system with a popular petition. With 50,000 supporters in all 50 states, the campaign at Change.org has the country listening.
Stef Gray, a student loan borrower through Sallie Mae and a recent grad from a public college, heads the campaign at Change.org.
“What Sallie Mae is doing is wrong,” Gray said. “My loan already grows by more than $1,000 in interest every three months when it’s in forbearance, and I pay almost 10% in interest because my parents weren’t alive to cosign my loans.”
She became upset and fought back after she was slapped with the fee when she requested forbearance.
“For Sallie Mae to tack on these extra fees just to pad their profits is to kick people like me when we’re already down,” Gray continued. “Charging a forbearance fee is wrong, and more than 50,000 people who agree are standing with me.”
Her online petition has the media’s attention and, with an increase of support, it will likely get Sallie Mae’s attention too. While the company tries to constantly expand its student loan business, a backlash like this could have them thinking twice about charging pesky fees.
“What Stef has accomplished in just a few weeks is remarkable,” said Change.org Senior Organizer William Winters. “She’s obviously tapped into an issue that a lot of people feel strongly about, especially with student debt rising steadily amid high unemployment among college grads. Change.org is about empowering ordinary people to take action on issues that matter to them, and it’s been incredible watching Stef’s campaign take off.”
Click here to tell Sallie Mae to stop the unemployment fee.