Q: I am been scammed into a parent plus student loan scam.
My minor son in 2013 informed me he has been awarded a scholarship be a college in New York and since he is a minor he need his adult parents to sign the form. I reluctantly signed because their are great colleges here in Maryland. I never heard from him since then.
Last year a student loan servicing company called to inform me “my student loan is due” I argued I don’t have a student loan they called back months later to state the form I signed in 2013 was a parent plus student loan.
I have made efforts to reach my son but to no avail. His mother and myself never had a relationship. The student loan company iasking I arranged to pay the outstanding balance of $49,000. I have asserted to them I never signed a student loan form but they refused to listen.
Please help! I cannot afford an attorney.
A: Do you have a copy of what form you signed? The servicing company will provide a copy if you ask. Once you get it and read it, is it a Plus loan guaranty form? Is it your signature on it? Can you read and write the English language? Did you read the form before you signed it? Did you have the opportunity to read it, even if you did not choose to read it at that time. Did someone put a gun to your head and tell you, "Either your signature or your brains are going to be on that contract in five seconds," and mean it? If it is a Plus loan guaranty form and you signed it, you are likely liable for the $49,000.00 since your child apparently did not repay this Plus loan. So, you funded that child's education to the tune of $49,000.00.
However, there is a bright side. It appears to me that you avoided paying child support (herein "CS") for this child from age 0 to 18. $500.00 per month is a reasonable rate of CS and is $6000.00 per year times 18 years which totals $108,000.00 in CS. If your child funded his/her entire education on the $49,000.00 then it appears you were told the truth at the time of signing. That is, the child figured out how to get the child a scholarship by getting you to sign the Plus loan guarantee and then not repaying the loan, leaving that to you. Pretty clever plan, really. And, you only had to pay $49,000.00 in child support equivalency.
With a few limited "hardship discharge" exceptions, involving your near complete disability and related inability to earn a living at all, student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, The collection tools available to the servicing companies are extensive. So, make arrangements to pay in installments and keep them up until paid in full, or be prepared to be harassed until they file a claim against your Estate to collect the balance due at that time.
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