Jobless grads rap Sallie Mae over loan fee

<p>Her goal was to have a career in geographic information systems. During college and grad school, Gray took out loans totalling $40,000 from Sallie Mae SLM +0.01% , the company that originates and services student loans. She went to Hunter College in New York and in 2009, she received her master’s degree with honors. </p>

<p>But like many recent graduates, Gray has found it nearly impossible to get a job and is struggling to make ends meet. “It’s excruciating. The job listings these days are full of unpaid internships,” she said. “Aside from unpaid internships and temp gigs … all of the other listings demand seven to 10 years of experience that no new grad has.” </p>

<p>Jobless</a> grads rap Sallie Mae over loan fee - Jeanette Pavini's Buyer Beware - MarketWatch</p>

<p>I thought that this article was interesting in two ways.</p>

<p>1) geographic information systems is a decent major and we've hired several such majors in the past for one of our groups. The major seems applicable to a lot of different kinds of jobs and students in these majors need to be pretty good with math. I also think fairly highly of Hunter College as I used to work for one of their graduates. This seems to me like the story of a good student with a good major in a good field that can't find work.</p>

<p>2) The issue of these nickel and dime fees on student loans. Yes, I'm sure that they are disclosed on the paperwork that students agree to have read but I think that we're all annoyed at little fees here and there that eventually add up to big fees. The bigger issue is making an investment that is unsure (college degrees) while paying for it with debt that is sure.</p>

<p>I've got to think there's more to this person's story than is being presented here. She graduated in 2009 yet still doesn't have a job? Maybe there are some other factors such as unwillingness to relocate, poor interviewing skills, poor responses to the technical interview questions (despite the degree and 'honors'), a UG degree in something not very technically relevant, no internship experience, etc.</p>

<p>I'm not familiar with a "Geographic Information Systems" degree and it sounds much more nichy than a Computer Science degree so that could be a factor as well in limiting her options.</p>

<p>I disagree with the idea of being permitted to perpetually hold off paying back on loans with no penalties since that opens up a lot of abuse. </p>

<p>The bottom line is that people need to be very careful before extending themselves with loans for education or anything else. Maybe this person should have tested the job market when she had her Bachelor's rather than racking up even more debt by getting a Masters.</p>

<p>I had a look at her Linked In page.</p>

<p>She has an AA in PolySci from Broward College on full scholarship 2004-2006.
BA Geography, Hunter College, 2006-2009
Certification, GIS, 2009-2011, Hunter College
MA Geography, 2009-2011, Hunter College</p>

<p>Speaks Russian and has skills in ArcGIS, SPSS, GIS, Cartography, Spatial Analysis, etc.</p>

<p>Work:</p>

<p>Research Assistant, Hunter College, 2007-2009 (work on Russian and Central Asian Geography)
Office Manager, Hunter College, 2009-2010
Adjunct Lecturer in weather and climate, Hunter College 2009-2010
GIS Contractor, Common Cause, 2011</p>

<p>Interesting background and it looks like she did put a fair amount of effort into looking for professional work while studying.</p>

<p>Never heard of GIS, so I googled it and found this:</p>

<p>
[quote]
A good majority of GIS jobs exist in local government…state, province, county, parish, city, territory, village, etc. This statement should not be something new to many of you. If you are looking for a GIS job, local government is a very good starting point. The problem is that you and every other qualified GIS professional knows this same information.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>If true, the explanation is obvious.</p>

<p>It looks like the background is much more 'geography' than 'information systems'. Maybe that's part of the issue.</p>

<p>She only has a certificate; not a degree in it. It does sound like it's a lot more in the geography space than in information systems.</p>

<p>I used to work as a manager in a marketing group many years ago and we provided analysis, including geographical analysis, using SPSS - it was pretty nice for creating regional charts showing how we were doing or the potential impact of price changes.</p>

<p>On the more CS/mathy side, I know GIS majors that build a product similar to Google Earth. These are theory guys; not someone that has just been taught to use industry tools.</p>

<p>I do think that she did test the job market after getting her Bachelors and took what she could get but she's looking for the more-elusive-now professional job. Who can blame her?</p>

<p>Hopefully someone will read this and offer up an interview.</p>

<p>Also hopefully students and parents here will read this article and be more informed about the fees that are charged on this loan forebearance. Wow.</p>

<p>I think that going public with this sort of thing (protest) is the sort of thing that companies don't like to see.</p>

<p>There have been several complaints in the Engineering forum by some grads that haven't been able to find work. We hear in the media that the US doesn't have enough engineers but maybe that should be that it doesn't have enough young engineers or cheap engineers or engineers with specific skills. At any rate, I'm quite interested in this story:</p>

<p>Jennifer Weddel of Fort Worth, Texas, one of the participants in the online video conference, told Obama that her husband, a semiconductor engineer, lost his job three years ago and has not managed to find a permanent position since. She asked Obama why U.S. corporations seek skilled foreign workers when Americans like her husband remain unemployed.</p>

<p>Read more: Obama</a> offers to circulate resume for unemployed engineer at Google+ Hangout  - NY Daily News</p>

<p>I'd like to see whether he gets hired or not.</p>

<p>I wonder how creative this young woman has been in her job search, or how flexible she might be in terms of relocation. I would think there might be opportunities for her in government ... not sure if CIA is hiring these days, but that seems to be an option, as well as some other areas in traditional federal jobs. Of course, that is not the focus of her article. I just wondered.</p>

<p>speaks Russian and has experience in GIS?</p>

<p>... there is an entire federal agency that deals with geography stuff and they pay bonuses (and actively seek) to people who can speak Russian. How hard is this person looking? Someone send her to <a href="http://www.nga.mil%5B/url%5D"&gt;www.nga.mil&lt;/a> She should've been all over their summer intern program when she was in school. Admittedly NGA doesn't get the public press that the CIA gets, but NGA is at the forefront of this field... everyone looking for that kind of job should have NGA on their radar. They are the ones that look at the pictures from satellites, drones, etc.</p>

<p>That said, I know DOD and the IC are facing budget cuts, but she should be able to get in with that skill set. If she is actually intelligent... they only take intelligent people.</p>

<p>kelsmom... the CIA gets 10,000+ applications a month. I'm sure they are hiring some, but not a lot. That said, they actively seek Russian speakers also.</p>

<p>Is NSA part of CIA? If not, that is another avenue to pursue. Agree that the Russian language would be a huge bonus in job-seeking.</p>

<p>The NSA isn't part of the CIA - they're two different entities.</p>

<p>A note on the intelligence agencies - one can't simply join them. They need to not only be qualified and competitive, they also need to pass a rigorous background security check which some people fail. I don't know why this individual is fluent in Russian but if it's because her family is from there then that makes any security check much more difficult. Of course, they also need to want to work there and apply in the first place.</p>

<p>The petition she started on change.org seems to have made some impact on way the "good faith" fee Sallie Mae charges is applied (eventually anyway):</p>

<p>
[quote]
Ms. Gray, who has paid $300 to Sallie Mae in forbearance fees, had another $150 due for January. (Although she has four loans, she said, the top Sallie Mae fee is $150.) She did not pay the fee, and this week her loans became delinquent. </p>

<p>On Thursday morning, wearing a cap and gown and accompanied by Molly Katchpole, 22, the nanny who started the Bank of America petition, Ms. Gray visited the Washington offices of Sallie Mae to hold a news conference and deliver the petition, which had attracted 77,000 signatures. </p>

<p>Thursday afternoon, Sallie Mae blinked. </p>

<p>“We have been giving careful consideration to our policy for some time, and we are changing it to apply the good-faith payment to the customers’ balance after they resume a track record of on-time payments,” it said in a statement.

[/quote]
</p>

<p><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/03/education/sallie-mae-to-change-forbearance-fee-policy.html?_r=1&utm_source=action_alert&utm_medium=email&alert_id=LSWmiAiAjQ_zicfKjQoiF&me=aa%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/03/education/sallie-mae-to-change-forbearance-fee-policy.html?_r=1&utm_source=action_alert&utm_medium=email&alert_id=LSWmiAiAjQ_zicfKjQoiF&me=aa&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>BCEagle91--just because she has it on her Linked In doesn't mean it is true....</p>

<p>I read about this woman on another site. Some people there knew quite a bit about these loans she had. The one loan in particular is not a typical student loan and works more like a credit card so she is making minimum payments on that and getting nowhere....just like you would if you made minimum payments on a maxed out credit card. People need to be weary when they take out private loans. </p>

<p>I also have very little compassion for people that take out huge loan amounts like who are selecting majors with high unemployment rates. GIS was all the rage....10 years ago. Also, a GIS career is very regional. There are centers that employ most GIS people and if you are not willing to relocate, forget getting a job. There is a huge Data center in Sioux Falls, SD that almost always has openings for GIS...did she apply there?</p>

<p>Not familiar with GIS, or this particular woman, but permit me to comment broadly on one comment the Op has reported. Apparently the new grad complains: "all of the other listings demand seven to 10 years of experience that no new grad has." Are we to believe that this is a brand new condition? When she entered college with this major, no experience was required of grads, but suddenly it changed to a min. of 7 yrs experience while she was in school? Personally I doubt that. If a person sees 7yrs exp is req'd before one enters schooling, then one bright enough to graduate w/ honors must grasp that employment right after graduation is going to be hard to come by.</p>

<p>And to mncollegemom: "People need to be weary when they take out private loans". This is so funny. A very clever use of the wrong word! Excellent word play, well done.</p>

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<p>The numbers that I saw on new grad unemployment rates were pretty high for a lot of areas that are considered good employment bets. Engineering new grad unemployment is around 7%.</p>

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<p>I do not have access to that information.</p>

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<p>How many high-school seniors read help-wanted ads when they are choosing their majors? I certainly didn't. Did you?</p>

<p>I often see the request from high-school students asking what will be hot in four years. My crystal ball is generally better on the performance of publicly traded companies. I usually tell them that I can't tell the future.</p>

<p>Can you tell the future?</p>

<p>BCEagle91--point being, we don't have access to that information either and believe it or not, newspapers have been known to sensationalize stories :) . Suing someone for your own mistakes is just not the way to deal with this. In the past almost 3 years she couldn't find ANY job anywhere doing anything??? Personal responsibility goes a long way in helping you get ahead in this world.</p>

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<p>Non-requiter.</p>

<p>If you know the particular aspects of reporters sensationalizing this story, point them out. If not, then it's irrelevant speculation.</p>

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<p>It seems to me that she did a lot of things right but still doesn't have the job in the area where she was trained. That happens to a lot of people these days. I suppose that one can feel morally superior if they have a million dollars in the bank, professional employment, a good work ethic and are faithful to their spouses. But bad stuff does happen to people that play by the rules.</p>

<p>My kids already know the unemployment rates of their prospective majors in college...they are juniors. They know what they will need to complete their degrees, etc. as well. Why WOULDN'T a high school kid know this...or even a college sophomore getting ready to declare a major. I would HOPE they do some research into this before they decide to major in something.</p>