Mom Hounded for Dead Son's Student Loans Deserves an Apology

Rant 52

checkThe worst thing I can imagine is losing a child. So I can't even wrap my head around what it would be like to lose your son at the age of 24 -- and then spend the next 3 years being hounded to repay the student loans he never even got to use. But that's exactly what 61-year-old Ella Edwards is going through right now: Her 24-year-old son Jermaine passed away 3 years ago from natural causes, leaving behind a 2-year-old son -- and the three student loans his mother co-signed for him to study music production in college.

Two of the loans were from the federal government. These were forgiven within a month of his death. The third loan was from a private loan company, which refuses to forgive the debt.

"He was paying the loan bills when he died, but the balance is still over $10,000, and if I'm ever a couple days late on a payment, the calls keep coming until I pay," says Edwards. Who, by the way, was forced to come out of an early retirement taken for health reasons and go back to work in order to keep up with the payments.

Of course that makes no difference to the loan company. To them, Jermaine Edwards was just a number. They don't care that his ailing mother can't pay the bills because she has to help care for her now-fatherless grandson. They don't care about anything, period.

"I'm horrified at your institution's practice of hounding a dead student's family for repayment of student loans he'll never get a chance to use," the petition letter reads.

So, apparently, are the thousands of people who've signed Edwards' petition on Nearly 200,000 outraged petitioners have signed so far, demanding the company let Edwards off the hook AND change their policies. And I hope they do.

Look, I get that Edwards is techinically "responsible" for the loan, as a co-signer. But the freaking government managed to show some compassion here -- can't the loan company muster up some common decency and do the same?

Do you think Ella Edwards should have to pay her late son's student loans?


Image via Scott Waldron/Flickr

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bills... billsfan1104

Yes I do. She unfortunately co-signed a loan guaranteeing that she would pay, if he didnt. If a loan company did that for every single person, they would be out of business. It sucks, but her name is on it. It has to be paid.

divam... divamomtjcj

theres has to be a law against them hounding her. i feel so bad for her

RMT1995 RMT1995

I think they should at least give her a break ... jeez, AES, have some compassion for the woman! As someone else on the petition board said, the college should reimburse the company the money, if anything, since he didn't get a chance to complete his education!

nonmember avatar Michele Hall

I feel for her but she should pay the loan. She co-signed, she should have taken out a life insurance policy on her son. It's not something fun to think of (losing a child) but it is responsible. She could have found a very affordable policy for her 20 something son to cover that amount. All that being said, the daily calls are horrid.

nonmember avatar Carolyn

I have heard it recommended if you co sign a loan that you should take out a life insurance policy on the person receiving the loan just for this reason. A policy for $10,000 would not be that expensive.

nonmember avatar Rachel

First of all, if he didn't use the money, then he wouldn't have been paying it back because there'd be nothing to pay back. Second of all, she co-signed. She agreed to pay it back if her son couldn't and that includes death. Third of all, why should the loans be forgiven for her? There are countless people burdened my student loans and struggling to make payments for one reason or another. I doubt she's even the only parent to lose a child and inherit their loans. They, however, are honoring their promise and paying it back.

bills... billsfan1104

She is not ailing, she is depressed from her sons death. Her son did go to school and was unable to complete school, because of his death.

I feel bad, but she is responsible. She can talk to them and work out a settlement.

Texas... TexasGirl512

Carolyn's right. That's why I have life insurance - so my husband isn't stuck with bills he's half responsible for if I die and vice versa.

bills... billsfan1104

She also admits that she has to help support the grandchild, so didnt come out of retirement to pay the bill

nonmember avatar MO Mom

I absolutely agree that she shouldn't have to pay. Her son is dead, he didn't use the money. Its bad enough that she had to lose a child. Let her raise her grandson in peace.

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