YAHOO.COM - Three years after her son's death, a 61-year-old Michigan woman is still on the hook for his student loans - and a Change.org petition she started now has nearly 200,000 signatures demanding the companies forgive the loans and change their policies.
Jermaine Edwards went to college to study music production, and his
mother, Ella, agreed to cosign his student loans to help him attend
school. However, Jermaine died of natural causes in 2009 at age 24,
leaving his mother responsible for the loans.
"That's when American Education Services (AES) and National Collegiate
Trust (NCT) turned my son's dream into a nightmare for me and the two
year old son he left behind," Edwards wrote in the petition.
Edwards had three student loans when he died, two federal and one
private. The two federal government loans were forgiven within a month
of his death. However, the private loan company is refusing to forgive
"He was paying the loan bills when he died, but the balance is still
over $10,000, and if I'm ever a couple days late on a payment, the calls
keep coming until I pay," Edwards told ABC News.
Edwards wrote in the petition that she was so depressed after her son's
death that she could barely get out of bed, and has since been under
doctors' care. She requested an early retirement, but is now back
working. The money is still not enough to cover the bills.
"I am 61 years old and I have been trying to work to make Jermaine's
loan payments…but I simply don't have the money," Edwards wrote. "To
make matters worse, Jermaine left behind a young son whose mother
doesn't have many resources. Therefore, she relies on me to help support
The petition directed to the institutions includes a letter calling for forgiveness of the loan.
"I'm horrified at your institution's practice of hounding a dead
student's family for repayment of student loans he'll never get a chance
to use," to letter reads. "I'm calling on you to do the only humane
thing - let this still-grieving mother mourn the loss of her only son in
peace. I stand with the Ella Edwards family and decent people
everywhere in demanding that you discharge Jermaine Edwards' student
loan debt today."
Edwards told ABC she decided to start the petition to demand a change in
the laws surrounding student loans, and to warn other parents what they
might be getting into if they take out a private loan.
"I suffer every day, and I started the petition because I don't want any
other mom to suffer like I am," Edwards said, through tears. "People
need to be aware these private loan people will come after you like a
shark. I would advise people never to get a private loan until the law
The loan companies have not returned calls for comment.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 12:27 AM EDT2013-05-22 04:27:35 GMT
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