Sixty-one year old Ella Edwards wants to retire, but with a grandson to provide for, she can’t.
Plus, she’s making payments on her dead son’s student loans.
When Jermaine Edwards started college to study music production, his mother agreed to co-sign his student loans. When Jermaine died of natural causes at the age of 24, he left behind a son and three student loans. The two federal loans were forgiven within months of his death.
The private loan, however, refuses to forgive the debt.
Now, the Michigan grandmother’s petition on Change.org has nearly 200,000 signatures, all demanding that the company forgive the loans and change their policies.
“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,” Edwards reportedly told ABC News.
It was only months after he died that the loan company began pestering Edwards for the money. “That’s when American Education Services (AES) and National Collegiate Trust (NCT) turned my son’s dream into a nightmare for me and the two year old son he left behind,” Edwards wrote in the Change.org petition.
Edwards wrote in the petition that she was so depressed after her son’s death that she could barely get out of bed. She has since been under medical care. While she works, the money is “not enough to cover the bills.”
“I am 61 years old and I have been trying to work to make Jermaine’s loan payments…but I simply don’t have the money,” Edwards wrote. “To make matters worse, Jermaine left behind a young son whose mother doesn’t have many resources. Therefore, she relies on me to help support Jermaine’s son.”
Jermaine’s son was two years old when his father died.
The petition directed to the institutions includes a letter calling for forgiveness of the loan.
“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 letter reads. “I’m calling on you to do the only humane thing – let this still-grieving mother mourn the loss of her only son in peace. I stand with the Ella Edwards family and decent people everywhere in demanding that you discharge Jermaine Edwards’ student loan debt today.”
Edwards comments, “I suffer every day, and I started the petition because I don’t want any other mom to suffer like I am. People need to be aware these private loan people will come after you like a shark. I would advise people never to get a private loan until the law changes.”
Do you think that the loans should be forgiven?