iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Charlie Preston

Charlie Preston

Posted: February 22, 2010 12:26 AM

College Debt: Watch Out For Private Lenders (VIDEO)

What's Your Reaction:

I'm a medical resident with $250,000 of medical student debt. Having so much debt is scary. But even more frightening is the callous and ruthless behavior of my private lender, which has made a bad situation a whole lot worse.

Medical student loans are a special kind of student loan and when you get to residency, where salaries are very low, the loans qualify for deferment until residency is completed.

The difficulty with my lender started when they mistakenly approved what should have been a medical student loan as a graduate student loan. That this happened is baffling to me because I was never in graduate school. And although it seems like a subtle mistake, it is causing major problems for me. Graduate student loans don't qualify for residency deferment.




Now that I'm in residency, my lender harasses me daily, demanding that I make payments on the loan, even though I'm still a resident and simply can't afford it. The worst part is that I've spent the last year trying to get the situation resolved, through countless hours of phone calls and multiple letters to higher-ups in the company, without any resolution.


To this day, I get a collection call at 10 p.m. every night, including both weekend nights, asking me why I haven't made any payments. But I haven't heard one peep from management about my particular case and what can be done to fix it, even though their customer service officials assure me that my letters to management will be answered. Meanwhile, late fees and penalty charges keep piling up, my credit deteriorates, and I am left feeling completely powerless over a mistake that my lender bears responsibility for.

My lender should never have approved a graduate student loan for someone who was not in graduate school. I can promise you, they do not approve loans indiscriminately. Why mine? Because calling in a loan is beneficial to them, and they couldn't care less about what is right by their clients. It will take me twenty years to pay them back, and they will profit handsomely off the interest. I finish residency in little more than a year. What my lender should do is grant me residency deferment until then.

These financial companies are completely out of control, and their predatory lending practices take advantage of millions of students just like me, who are trying to finish training, and be productive members of society. To all the students who are thinking about borrowing from private banks, be very careful, and most importantly, demand ethical behavior.