Student debtor stories submitted by the 99%

Email Subject: *MEDIA ADVISORY* 23-Year-Old Grad in Cap and Gown Will Hand-Deliver Sallie Mae 75K Petition Signatures

February 2, 2012

William Winters, Change.org, (202) 684 2552, press@change.org



  • Gray’s explosive petition on Change.org asks Sallie Mae to stop “unemployment penalty” for borrowers seeking forbearance

  • Stef Gray will deliver signatures to Sallie Mae’s Washington, DC office on Thursday.

NEW YORK – Stef Gray, a 23 year-old recent college graduate who launched a popular petition campaign on Change.org in protest of Sallie Mae’s “unemployment penalty” fee, will hand-deliver more than 75,000 petition signatures to Sallie Mae’s Washington, DC office on Tuesday. She will be joined at the event by Molly Katchpole, who recently won landmark victories over Bank of America and Verizon using Change.org petitions.

When: Thursday, February 2nd, 11am
Where: Outside of Sallie Mae’s office at 701 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC. Gray will greet reporters at the building entrance near the metro and the 701 Restaurant.
What: Stef Gray and fellow recent graduates will deliver more than 75,000 petition signatures to Sallie Mae.
Visual: Stef will be wearing a college graduation cap and gown and carrying a poster of her most recent student loan letter from Sallie Mae. She will be carrying a large box full of 75,000 petition signatures.

Gray’s campaign protests what she calls Sallie Mae’s “unemployment penalty,” a fee charged to borrowers seeking a forbearance due to financial hardship.

“Sallie Mae is holding my future hostage over a $50 per loan fee,” said petition creator Stef Gray. “They don’t charge this fee to their federal loan customers, and they shouldn’t charge it to their private loan customers, either.”

Gray says she chose to confront Sallie Mae directly after a spokeswoman dismissed the fee as a “good-faith deposit.”

“It’s important for me to make it clear that this is not a deposit,” said Gray. “It’s a fee designed to pad Sallie Mae’s bottom line by squeezing the most vulnerable borrowers.”

Gray will be requesting a meeting with Sallie Mae officials for the time of the delivery.

Live signature totals from Stef Gray’s campaign: http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-sallie-mae-stop-the-unemployment-penalty

Wall Street Journal coverage of Stef Gray’s campaign:

Journalists interested in contacting Sallie Mae should try:

Patricia Nash Christel, Spokesperson, Sallie Mae


(302) 283-4076

Martha Holler, Spokesperson, Sallie Mae


(302) 283-4036

For more information on Change.org, please visit:
Change.org is the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change — growing by more than 500,000 new members a month, and empowering millions of people to start, join, and win campaigns for social change in their community, city and country.


December 5, 2011

For immediate release

At a time when young people should be planning their lives, many now are faced with inescapable lifelong student debt which sucks away most of their disposable income.  Many in our generation wake up every morning and realize that we will never be able to afford a car, a home, health insurance, or even to start a family. The American Dream?  Gone.

Since 1978 college tuition has skyrocketed
over 900% while, simultaneously, funding for grants continue to be slashed. The result?  Students are forced to mortgage their futures with non-dischargeable student loans. Since 1999, student debt has increased by 511%, nearing $1 Trillion. 

To make matters worse, at least 1 out of 5 students currently DEFAULT on their loans, resulting in devastating consequences, including: exorbitant fees and penalties, exploding and usurious interest rates, destroyed credit ratings, possible suspension of driver’s licenses, possible suspension of professional licenses, and more. 

We stand in solidarity with everyone that is fed up with this predatory lending system.  We are OccupyStudentDebt.  This is why we occupy.  We are the 99%!

Join us: OccupyStudentDebt.com

Contact: Kyle McCarthy

Email: Usury@OccupyStudentDebt.org

Twitter @OWSstudentDebt