Tonawanda News — In Andrew Prior’s case, in addition to a federal loan, he had three outstanding private student loans at the time of his death. The companies that owned two of these loans, Discover Student Loans and Education Empowerment Fund, worked expeditiously with the Prior family to discharge the loans and ensure that this family’s credit was not negatively affected.
However, up until mid-February, over two years after Andrew’s death, the third private loan had not been forgiven. Schumer said the loan servicer is reported to have hounded the Prior Family for payment and even threatened to take away their home and car.
Many private loan providers, such as Sallie Mae and Wells Fargo, have established programs to forgive debt in the event of the student borrower’s death, just as federal loans do.
But the practice must become universal, Schumer said.
Private student loans make up less than 15 percent of total student debt outstanding as of Jan. 1, 2012 and contributed less than 7 percent to the estimated $112 billion in total student loans originated in 2010-11.
Andrew Prior was a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston, who majored in American sign language and English interpretation. In November 2010, just months after his graduation in May, Andrew was riding on his Vespa scooter and was tragically killed by a hit-and-run drunk driver in an SUV. He is survived by his parents and his two brothers, John and Mark.