The 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 Change.org. 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