Sallie Mae to Father of Dead Marine: Pay Up!

Ian McVey wanted to serve his country, so he joined the Marines after college. He was supposed to go to Iraq, but died not long before his unit shipped out in a motorcycle accident.

Ian's father, John McVey, had to settle Ian's college loans. He wrote to the lenders, asking the debts to be forgiven and two agreed. The third, Sallie Mae (originally founded as Student Loan Marketing Association in 1972, as a government-sponsored enterprise), decided that it'd rather have the money:

John McVey then wrote a very personal letter to Sallie Mae:

"In the process of his education, Ian amassed considerable loans. But Ian was steadfast in his desire to serve our country rather than begin a life in business where his income would have been double or triple his Marine service payment. Giving to our country was Ian's calling, and we admired and supported his choice of service. He was a good and noble son and better friend.

"We are asking that you forgive Ian's loans as his federal loans are being forgiven on the basis of Ian's choice of service to our country as a patriot and so that our family may not have to bear these financial burdens while we deal with the inconsolable grief over the senseless, tragic and untimely loss of our son. While life has not been fair, we pray that you will be."

Sallie Mae responded with a computer-generated letter that, aside from a "Please accept our condolences for your loss" stuck in the middle, was a demand for $53,144.

There was no name on the letter. John McVey's attempts to get a human being to talk to him about this have been met with computer-generated voices.

Kevin Cullen of The Boston Globe has the story (since the article was published, Sallie Mae suddenly had a change of heart and had forgiven the debt): Link


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I agree with the above posters that the father must have co-signed the loan, otherwise Sallie Mae would have no standing whatsoever as federal student loans are discharged at death. If he did not co-sign, to those of you who think "the family should pay the loan" - if they didn't take it out, no, they shouldn't have to pay the loan. Would you like to be on the hook for a loan your family member took out that you had no part of? If his father co-signed it's trickier, but I think that the son's death should be enough, it isn't like it defaulted. Still, legally, that isn't enough. It's a good reason to think about whether parents should be co-signing education loans and whether our education system needs an overhaul.

P.S. - to those of you wondering why he spent so much and didn't get a degree - read closer. He did. He also WAS an officer - second lieutenant is an officer - a junior officer, but still an officer. chances are he wasn't a Marine that long.
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SparksS,

Don't make crass generalizations, for instance, "Neither I, nor you, know ANY military member that has that attitude." Referring to an attitude of entitlement. Maybe violet does know military individuals with this attitude, because I do. I know others that don't. Some people use their status, be what it may, executive, lawyer, celebrity, to justify what they are entitled to.

You claim that violet hates the military, but she (assuming a "she") merely criticized the father's and others failed logic of entitlement because of one's service. Criticism should not be perceived as hate especially when one asks valid questions. Her phrasing may have been more harsh than appropriate. We may not have parades for clerks, but we do have gay pride parades. I'm sure any organization could get a parade together, its a military tradition to have parades. Off on a tangent I know.

I also resent your assumption that violet is a "freeloader." Well, isn't the father in this article freeloading off of his son's service? It is exploitation and it is wrong.

Yes, you are in fact right that the U.S. military delivers over four billion dollars in aid to foreign countries. Most of it goes to three countries: Israel, Egypt, and Columbia.

You also accuse violet of lying, but she does not. You may have found some of her assumptions misguided, but never did she lie. Your off base attacks to a person criticizing the military are simply ridiculous. I thought they taught manners in the Navy.
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Sparks, Allowing a twit to spit out lies is one of the freedom for which you have fought. Although I think you reacted way too strongly to violet's comment.

I would hate to be in the military or ex-military right now, with all the criticism. It is a tough job.

What's sad is that this guy's parents are exploiting his military status as an excuse to forgive a debt that they incurred. And the fella never even saw combat.

The question is apt - why should he be treated any differently from the rest of the population?
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@SparkS: Hehe, oh I get it now! I feel so gullible.

Your post was actually a teaching metaphor about the inadequacy of mental healthcare for veterans who have suffered profound psychological injury as a result of their service, the amelioration of which sad state of affairs I strongly support. I think it's terrible that the people represented by your cleverly-constructed example are not getting the help they need.

Do you have an organization through which you further engender awareness of this matter, some literature I could look at? I'd love to get more involved. In any case, well-played, sir.
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