Today, I started my day by filing a complaint against my student loan provider with the Department of Education.
Every month, they receive an extra payment above what my required minimum is. They have specific instructions on file from me to apply this to loan that has the highest interest rate, in order to prevent interest from accruing. Despite the fact that their own computer system reflects that these instructions are on file, they have been applying these payments as pro-rated across all of my loans, sometimes in the amount of only pennies. This makes my extra payment significantly less effective.
My provider’s office opens at 8:00 AM. I called them at ~8:10. I have been on hold for 54 minutes without reaching a human being. It took me less time to document and file a complaint with the federal government than it did to to even reach a person at Nelnet.
I took these loans out starting in 2002. I started with a $44,000 balance. My balance is now… $42,700. My extra payment of $200/month ends up applying… $32 to the principal balance. At this rate, I’m going to pay off these loans in 111 years and 3 months.
UPDATE: I ended up sitting on hold for an 1h 45m before getting to a human being, who then proceeded to spend the next twenty minutes of the call talking over me, talking down to me, and insulting me because it wasn’t possible that they made the mistake I said they made. No, no. I was “clearly confused” and he was going to explain to me step by step how student loans work because he’s “more technical” than I am.
(My dude. I have an MBA and I work in finance, where my job is literally writing guides for phone reps walking clients through major financial transactions. Get fucked.)
After twenty minutes of arguing with this man, I finally give in and let him spend the next 10-15 minutes explaining my student loans and how payments work, step by step, like I don’t have the brain cells to read a basic table. Until we get to the screen with the breakdown of each of my payments and how it’s been applied. And then to the screen with special instructions for excess payments. Which clearly shows how I’ve set them up to be paid, and which doesn’t match how they have been paid. At all.
So then he got the pleasure of having me lay out point by point, line by line, what was wrong and what needed to be fixed. Bro all of a sudden went from talking to me like an idiot to backpedaling on what his original excuse was for how my required payments are larger than I think they are (which would’ve made their mistake worse??), reassuring me he was filling out a ticket with their accounting department, how it would be handled, that they would fix this, etc. etc. Y’know, like he didn’t just tell me this was all just too hard for me to understand by my wee widdle self!
This problem could’ve been fixed in 10 minutes, including the time to write up a ticket to their accounting team. Instead it took 45, most of which was him just insulting me. And that’s not counting the nearly two hours that I spent on hold. I cannot imagine what this is like for people who don’t have the same background or understanding that I’m lucky enough to have when dealing with this BS, nevermind for people who may have financial difficulties, incompatible hours, or accessibility needs.
Education in this country is so completely fucked, from daycare all the way on up. This entire system is broken, it’s designed that way on purpose to make people give up, give in, and give over every dollar they have, and my level of rage right now could probably power the entire Eastern seaboard for the next three days.