Kevin DeOliveira-Longinetti was an honors student and talented athlete
when he enrolled at the University of Vermont in 2009. According to CBS
News, his goal was to become a doctor.
But in January 2015, Kevin was found dead in his Burlington apartment.
He had been shot in the head.
Marcia, Kevin’s mother, was overcome with grief, anguish, and sadness
– as well as the rest of the state. Electric bills and gas bills
were forgiven, and even the federal government wiped out her son’s
Stafford loan debts.
However, the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA)
– the source of almost $19,000 in additional
student loans – didn’t follow the rest of the state’s actions. Despite
the tragedy, the HESAA wrote to Marcia that monthly bill statements will
continue to be sent to her.
Reports about HESAA
An investigation conducted by The New York Times and ProPublica looked
at HESAA and quoted an attorney who likened it to “state-sanctioned
loan-sharking.” ProPublica interviewed dozens of loan borrowers,
including a cancer patient who lost his job and couldn’t repay his
loans which resulted in a lawsuit by HESAA for $266,000. It appears the
affected families felt misled or tricked, since these borrowers believed
that the state took advantage of them, as opposed to helping them.
HESAA executive director Gabrielle Charette said on “CBS This Morning”
that of the 62 requests over the past four years, 47 were granted because
of financial hardship – totaling at about $500,000. She also claims
that the agency does forgive loans if a student dies while enrolled in school.
“Why don’t you have just an automatic discharge policy in the
event of death?” CBS News correspondent Michelle Miler asked.
“We are a small state agency using public money and we need to be
as judicious as possible so that we can help those who truly need it,”
Despite being a public agency, HESAA’s loans are not financed by
state funds, but through the sale of bonds to investors. Marcia said she
is willing and able to pay the principal on her son’s loan, but
anticipated a break on the interest since it almost doubled the total
Unfortunately, Kevin’s murder is still unsolved.
If you are interested in
loan modification or require legal presentation regarding a creditor dispute in Illinois,
contact our Chicago consumer attorneys at
Sulaiman Law Group, LTD today.