Mom seeks student loan forgiveness for dead son

Jermaine Edwards (Photo: change.org)

Jermaine Edwards (Photo: change.org)

The mother of a Michigan college student has launched an online petition to have her deceased son’s $10,000 student loan forgiven because she says she cannot pay it back.

According to WLS-TV, Ella Edwards’ only child, Jermaine, was 24 when he suddenly passed away in 2009 while studying music production in college. He left behind three student loans. Two of them, both federal, were forgiven but, according to Edwards, American Education Services is refusing to dismiss its private loan to her son.

Edwards says the lenders have “turned my son’s dream into a nightmare for me.”

Since the petition was launched three months ago, more than 190,000 people have signed their names in support. Edwards is asking for about 8,600 more signatures before she sends the petition to Daniel Meyers, CEO of First Marblehead Corporation and James Preston, CEO of American Education Services.

Edwards says she had no idea that cosigning her son’s loan would mean she would still be held responsible for it in the event of his death.

“I am trying to pay off Jermaine’s loan,” she wrote on the petition site. “But I simply don’t have the money — and because of my crushing depression, I am barely able to work at all.”

Making things even more financially difficult is the two-year-old son Jermaine left behind.

“Jermaine left behind a young son whose mother doesn’t have many resources. Therefore, she relies on me to help support Jermaine’s son,” Edwards wrote.

The letter addressed to the companies’ CEOs accuses American Education Services of “hounding a dead student’s family for repayment of student loans he’ll never get a chance to use.”

“Jermaine never had an opportunity to use his education and I can’t use it either,” Edwards wrote. “I need help to get this loan forgiven and to change policies that will protect students and parents after the death of a student.”

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