Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Struggle Aide
I received the results of my FAFSA registration Monday afternoon. To my shock, I discovered that the status of all my undergraduate educational loans is "default." I have been making consistent, on-time payments for years - with the exception of March. I didn't make a payment that month of some of the repairs I've had to have done on that damn car. I made a double payment in April and I thought that would be all right. Turns out it's not. But it's also not the reason my loans are in default.
I didn't know that once your federal financial aid loans default, they never un-default. I thought years of making payments on time woud have corrected that. No.
The reason my loans are defaulted is from long ago. When I was first supposed to start repaying them, the organisation that was over-seeing my payment wanted almost $200 a month. I was screen-printing tee-shirts at little better than minimum wage and paying rent, and there was no way. I started writing to the organisation asking if I could negotiate a lower monthly repayment. Their response was to send a form. A form with no letter, directions, instructions, or explanations. A form I didn't understand and couldn't see what it it had to do with getting a lower monthly payment. I continued to try and get an explanation. If anyone ever responded it was just with a standard "You are legally obligated to repay these loans."
Eventually I got the loans transferred to the Department of Education and began repaying directly through them, but by then it was too late.
If I make six payments on time I can apply for more aide. March screwed that up, even though I made it up in April. They don't count that as being on time, you see.
And even if I make the six payments on time and get more aide, apparently I can't get a deferment on the old loans for being in school again.