Chula Vista, California
Spouse and I were really coerced into the spousal consolidations. We were young and they (Sallie Mae) were bullies. We consistently asked all the questions about being eligible for all programs to assist with payments or if one of us went back to school or whatever. This was in 2004 before the PSLF. They never specifically explained that they would be taking the loan under their private umbrella, we had no idea that Sallie Mae who had been servicing our direct student loans owned it privately after they consolidated. So that is one of my issues - it’s privately owned. Through the years after PSLF program came to be, we questioned them every single time about that program and they assured us we would be eligible for it. They sent us paperwork for it all the time and my husband, who is military always got his filled out and turned in. I hadn’t bothered with it because I was changing departments in state deployment, so it got put on the back burner. But, we constantly got letters about it and also that they had a special military department that we could find out about benefits that were specific to active duty, veterans. That department assured us of the eligibility through the years as well, while looking at our loan, so they could all clearly see it was a spousal consolidation, and I am also pretty confident in saying they could see it was privately owned by them. Navient took it over maybe in 2009? Not sure of the exact dates, but once under that company, (which was actually Sallie Mae just renamed to Navient)they continued to tell us PSLF would apply.
In 2008 I was injured and 2010 I was approved for disability pending a review in 3 years for total and permanent. I had to stop working in 2008. Once I passed that review date I found out about being able to discharge my loans. They fought me on it, saying bc it was a spousal loan, it couldn’t be done, but I continued to push back on that. By 2015, they discharged my full portion. Now it is only my husband’s loans left, but of
course still spousal consolidated.
Now, the past three years we have been trying to push paperwork through for the PSLF program. It would get kicked back saying that we made an error and needed to fill it out again…that happened several times. Then, finally someone told me on a phone call that it was being kicked back because he didn’t qualify. They said he would need to refi the loans to direct loans. So they said to fill that out. We did that three times over the next year and they finally said in a letter that the loans could not be refi’d because it was a spousal loan. But it could be put under the PSLF if I also
completed the work requirements, but since I’m disabled and unable to work, I can no longer complete those requirements to meet the PSLF requirements. So I’ve fought them on that as well. The final answer from them has been : The loans are a private, spousal consolidation, and to be eligible for that it would need to be refi’d but it can’t be refi’d since spousal consolidation is not eligible to be refi’d back to a direct loan. They also said because of the owner of the loan being Sallie Mae/Navient and private, it is excluded from