Mark, 50

In 2007, I went back to school on OSAP. I worked a bit on the side, and was supporting three children. At the close of the school year, so much happened. My part-time work had vanished and my marriage was ending. I had to leave school and get better-paying work. When the loan came due, it was only going to cost $180/month for ten years. I could find a way to afford that, and get back to school a few years down the road. Well, every time I submitted my paperwork, the National Student Loan Centre claimed to have not received it. The fourth time this happened, the supervisor I talked to at the Centre explained to me that they were so backlogged they were often unable to process all the paperwork on time. You see, the paperwork comes with a deadline (one month). If not processed by them before that expiry date, they count it as not received. When I got my fifth set of paperwork, I sent it in right away. They would have weeks to process it. Days before that expiry date, I was called and asked why I had not submitted my paperwork. That was an interesting discussion. They sent me another set, and I mailed it registered and also faxed it. You know what’s coming, right? They claimed to have not received it again. I told them to go find it. Instead, they sent my account to collections. In collections, the federal payment was pegged at about $400. As I was self-employed, The Province of Ontario wanted the entire amount due paid in 90 days. By the time they told me that, there was only 63 days remaining. I could not afford either of those terms. Certainly not both together. My reply? “Give me my original terms, and I will pay it off. Else, you get nothing.” I still get collection calls weekly, but I’ve never paid. They hold back tax returns and the like, but haven’t tried anything more aggressive. Still, what incompetence. All over an incomplete education of no benefit to me or my kids. My credit rating was hit hard, so I live without credit. I can't afford tuition, and can't borrow money to return to finish my degree. That entire school year was wasted. All over red tape.

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