More than 50,000 people have signed a petition on the online advocacy platform Change.org calling for education financer Sallie Mae to stop charging fees for late student loan payments, Change.org announced.
The campaign’s leader, Stef Gray of Brooklyn, N.Y., argues that the education-focused financial services company unfairly charges a fee of $50 per loan for every three-month delayed payment time period, which unemployed college graduates can’t afford.
Gray states that since jobless federal student loan borrowers can defer payments with no penalty, Sallie Mae student loan borrowers should be awarded the same leniency if they can’t find work. She said she's been unemployed since graduating from a public college in May 2011 and has since paid Sallie Mae $300 in late fees.
Sallie Mae is linked to around 500 credit unions via its student loan referral program, Smart Option Student Loan.
"My loan already grows by more than $1,000 in interest every three months when it's in forbearance," Gray said. "For Sallie Mae to tack on these extra fees just to pad their profits is to kick people like me when we're already down."
Change.org Senior Organizer William Winters backed Gray, stating, "She's obviously tapped into an issue that a lot of people feel strongly about, especially with student debt rising steadily amid high unemployment among college grads."