09/23/2013 11:06 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

My Daughter Went to Culinary School and Sallie Mae is Chasing My Husband

Huffington Post Reader Question

Dear Steve,

Sallie Mae student loan was co-signed for by my husband for my daughter. She is unstable, cannot keep a job, diagnosed as bi-polar etc. Lives in shelters, never completed culinary school.

Sallie Mae came after him. Been making payments for six years now, but the debt keeps going up instead of down. Was told that at one time I requested that I pay only interest. Not True. Payment made by bank money order in 6/2012.

Sallie Mae said they never received it..sent copies from bank showing that it was posted to an account, not sure if it's Sallie Mae.

Cannot get an answer from them after numerous requests if it was ever received and posted to account. Cannot get any answers from them at all.

Husband has advised them by phone numerous times that I handle household business and they can discuss case with me. Nothing. Have copies of numerous letters sent to them asking for info.

How can I get a true accounting of all money received and how posted. How can I get them to talk to me at all?


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Dear Maria,

We actually have a number of issues going on here and we need to knock them down one-by-one.

1. Billing - Sallie Mae has an online portal to access the accounts. Your husband, as the account holder, should request online access. He could then share his login information with you and that would give you access.

2. Bankruptcy - Since your daughter went to culinary school it is worth checking to see if the school was accredited at the time she attended. If not, then the loans would be easily discharged in bankruptcy. Read this article. Once discharged I've not seen Sallie Mae go after the co-signer.

3. Your Daughter - It sounds as if your daughter might be totally disabled as a result of her underlying mental health situation. In that case she should apply for a total and permanent disability discharge of her loans. Contact Sallie Mae and ask for the appropriate forms and process.

4. Missing Payment - It's just not clear from what you shared who received the money order and cashed it. It's possible that it became misdirected in the mail. If the bank provided you with copies of the front and back of the money order it will provide more information on the back about the account it was deposited into.

Bottom Line

I can hear your frustration in your question but it seems you are fighting this battle in such a way it leaves you with no wins.

It's unclear if these loans are federal or private and that makes a big difference. See this guide. Just because Sallie Mae is servicing a loan you can't assume it is not a federal loan. And if it is a federal loan then there are great options for dealing with this situation.

You are absolutely free to do whatever you want and follow whatever path you desire to try and reach a resolution here but forgive me if I might presume you could use some help to walk your way through these weeds.

In that case I would suggest you contact a very talented debt coach who I have helped train and I trust, Damon Day. He can guide you step-by-step to a resolution. It just seems as if you could benefit from some hand holding through this process.

I'm concerned you might be wasting time and money here with so many possibilities that could take care of these loans once and for all and Sallie Mae isn't going to do it for you.

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