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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My son Donte was murdered, and the bank refuses to forgive his student loans

My son Donte was murdered, and the bank refuses to forgive his student loans. Please sign my petition asking for the loan to be forgiven.
Sign My Petition

Every time the bank calls me about my son's student loans, I relive the day I found out he was murdered. Donte was on a trip to visit his college town when a police officer called to tell us that he had been shot by the side of the road.
Then the calls started -- not condolence calls, but from debt collectors demanding we pay back Donte's student loans. All of a sudden my family not only had to deal with the police investigating Donte's murder, but with collectors constantly calling and reminding us of his death.
Before my husband Bruce cosigned Donte's loans, we asked the lender to explain the terms. They never told us that we would be forced to take on our son's debt even if he died, which federal loan agencies don't force families to do. 
Every month for the past four years American Education Services calls our home and sends us letters demanding loan payments. My family can't afford to pay them, so all these calls do is remind me of the short life my son lived and the future he will never have.Of his love for football, the high school team he coached. The son he will never meet because his fiancee was pregnant when he was killed. 
These loans have become a huge financial hardship for my family -- the debt now shows up on my husband's credit report, and can seriously affect his job and career. We have pleaded with First Marblehead to forgive the loans, but so far they have refused. 
This issue doesn't just impact me -- it affects countless families who lose a son or a daughter too soon. That's why I'm calling on First Marblehead to forgive my son's debt, and to adopt a policy of debt forgiveness when a loan's primary borrower dies. 
Thank you for your support.
- Angela Smith
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