Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: Bridgewater State's Back Due Student Loans

Wait until you see who is $crounging around for the dough:

"Bridgewater State goes after loans from decades ago" by Mitch Lipka Globe Correspondent  May 03, 2015

Some 27 years removed from his last college class, Joseph McDonald hasn’t thought about student loans for a long time.

So it came as quite a shock a few weeks back when his alma mater, Bridgewater State College, now Bridgewater State University, told him he owed $1,800 for student loans he believed he had paid off decades ago.

At first, he said, he thought the bill was sent to the wrong person. Then, McDonald said, he thought it could be a scam.

After talking with someone from the billing company hired by the college, he said he knew they had the right person. But he couldn’t understand why he was being charged for a loan he said he knows he paid.

“It’s hard to prove what you paid so long ago when your bank does not even exist anymore,” said McDonald, 50, of Bradford.

Dare I say ca$h grab? It's down to the educational level now?

McDonald has plenty of company. Bridgewater State said it billed 1,900 former students $1.9 million after an internal review found that students “not properly separated” from the school were never billed for their loans.

Well, there will be some lawsuits coming (see link at end).

Both McDonald and former student Luigina Coco, 66, of Bridgewater, who received bills for loans from 1989 and 1993, said they were told if they failed to pay the amount owed, their credit would be damaged. So they are trying to get the school to back down rather than pay old debts they don’t think they owe.

“I believe I paid this bill but, of course, have no records dating back 26 and 23 years ago,” Coco said. “I can’t even remember what bank I was doing business with at that time.”

Both said they’ve had a hard time getting answers. A spokeswoman for the school said the collection attempt has rattled some of its former students but insists the debts are real.

“Obviously, the letters have generated a great deal of surprise given the time lag as well as concern regarding their validity,” Bridgewater State spokeswoman Eva Gaffney said.

Yeah. I'm glad I never qualified for aid, but $ad I blew my life savings getting a worthless degree.

The school has used the same billing company, University Accounting Service, since the 1970s, and the review found no evidence that any of the group of former students had ever been asked to repay the federal Perkins Loans issued between 1984 and 1994, she said.

And they are ju$t finding this now, huh?

“During its own internal review of its financial system, Bridgewater discovered a processing error that resulted in the failure to identify some students to enable timely collection of the loan,” Gaffney said in a written statement. “No funds went unaccounted for throughout the process.”

Yeah, $o? Who$e error is that, and if you don't have proof they didn't pay.... ?????

A letter sent to those the school says must repay loans said a review of the Perkins Loan program was undertaken by Bridgewater State along with University Accounting Service and the US Department of Education. That’s where the discrepancy was found. Bridgewater State stopped participating in the Perkins Loan program last year, the school said.

Oh, LOOK! This is the BANKRUPT FEDS GRABBING FOR CASH anywhere they can get it, all to be poured into the war machine (and by extension Israel), Wall Street, corporate welfare for the well-connected, and to fund lavish political lifestyles. 

Sorry, nothing left over for citizens! It is a fa$ci$t government in the true$t $en$e of the word.

An executive at University Accounting’s parent company, Transworld Systems, did not respond to requests to comment on the situation Friday.

Which is strange because that is the one area where -- I'm told -- the ma$$ media is superior to bloggers. They can command a response from power (and then they print the handout they get in response).

The majority of the loans are in the $500 to $600 range, Gaffney said.

Yeah, they are not being to piggy about it so if you could just fork it over and help this insolvent government so it can continue to prop up banks and pay off investors.... $igh.

She added that 15,000 students had received Perkins Loans since 1958 — meaning that the school has no record of billing close to 13 percent of all recipients of the loans. The school said it would not charge back interest.

Yeah, that's nice of 'em, no back interest! They HAVE NO RECORD! I'd take 'em to court!

Most debts have a statute of limitations attached — generally six years in Massachusetts. But this is a federal student loan, and the statute of limitations does not apply. And the law that applies to Perkins Loans puts considerable pressure on educational institutions to go after unpaid loans.

And yet Obummer has convinced students he's their friend. Wow.

Those who default on student loans face a hit to their credit score if the loan is reported as delinquent. And, because they are federal loans, the government could authorize collecting the owed money by taking tax refunds (state or federal). Collectors also can seek approval to collect by garnishing wages.

(Blog editor's mouth forms into narrow slit)

Still, the idea of coming after people decades after failing to collect on a debt — even assuming the debt is valid — is wrong, said Barbara Anthony, a senior fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, attorney, and former head of the state Office of Consumer Affairs.

“This is ridiculous,” she said. “I think it is grossly, manifestly unfair.”

It's youuuuur federal government! 

You know, the one that loves you so much it lies to you all the time?

A legal doctrine could be argued that so much time has gone by it is no longer reasonable to hold the former students accountable, Anthony said. It is, after all, a problem that dates back more than two decades.

Can I get on that jury?

For those who believe they have paid these loans, Anthony suggests sending to the collection company an affidavit — a notarized letter reciting the facts as you know them. That would include acknowledging the loan and explaining what steps have been taken to try to find records of payment (that involves a call to your bank or its successor no matter how much of a long shot it is).

I thought America was.... AmeriKa, yeah.

Bank records are typically not maintained for more than seven years. The most recent loan being collected on is 21 years old.

Anthony also suggested trying to enlist the help of a federal agency, politician, or consumer group to champion the cause.

Did they get the stolen loot back from the bankers? I mean, all those guys walked away with bonuses intact and never did jail time. But the student owing $500, pay up!

In addition, the US Department of Education has an ombudsman’s office that is charged with looking into payment disputes.


Some of the former students have reached out to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office for help.

I'm sure she will try, but her low-cost loan program went nowhere under Reid.

Warren’s office said it is aware of the situation and is trying to figure out what can be done to help.

We'll get back to you!

Gaffney, spokeswoman for Bridgewater State, said since the notices went out, some have paid, while others have objected. “Certainly, the university is continuing to address individual concerns as they arise.”

McDonald said he vividly remembers paying off the debt because it was the first one he had ever incurred. And he is frustrated that the supposed proof that he and others owe the money is the absence of records.

Okay, I understand the frustration; however, I want you to meditate on this infamous saying by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld when asked about Iraqi WMD: 

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

That make you feel better?

“Right now, it’s their word against mine,” he said, something McDonald noted isn’t comforting.

They win.


Just pay the money and don't leave your kid there.