Fair   59.0F  |  Forecast »

Ella Edwards, Ypsilanti Mom, Fights Deceased Son's College Debt

Pushing past the grief of losing her only child, a Washtenaw County mother led a Change.org petition to waive private loan debt in future cases like hers

When Jermaine Edwards, 24, died in March 2009, he left behind $10,800 in student debt – which fell to his mom, Ella Edwards, who had cosigned his private loan.

"When I lost my son, my whole world ended," Ella, 61, of Ypsilanti told Metro Parent. Yet she was pelted by six and seven calls a day from collectors. So Ella mounted a Change.org petition in September of 2012 to get the loan forgiven.

Ella targeted loan owner First Marblehead Corporation and American Education Services. In her plea, she posted a heart-rending letter, to which petitioners signed their name.

"I'm horrified at your institution's practice of hounding a dead student's family for repayment of student loans he'll never get a chance to use," the note said, in part. "I'm calling on you to do the only humane thing – let this still-grieving mother mourn the loss of her only son in peace."

By early 2013, it had topped 204,000 signatures. Luckily, before that point, syndicated radio host Tom Joyner paid off the loan on behalf of Jermaine – who was studying music production and left behind a 2-year-old son.

Despite her personal success, "I'm not going to stop the fight," Ella said to Metro Parent. "There are other parents hurting and suffering. The law needs to change, and people need to know how bad these private loans are."

Jermaine borrowed $10,000 in 2003, Ella says; he made payments from 2004 until his death – and still owed even more.

You can add your name to support Ella's petition at the Change.org site.

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

What to Eat and What to Avoid During Pregnancy

What to Eat and What to Avoid During Pregnancy

Cravings or not, there are some things you just can't indulge in when you're a mom-to-be. Dr. Samuel Bauer of Beaumont Health Systems provides insight and information.

Benefits of Kids Learning an Instrument

Benefits of Kids Learning an Instrument

With many schools eliminating or downsizing their music curriculum, it's still important for kids to be exposed to music.

Mushroom Recipes for a Family Meal

Mushroom Recipes for a Family Meal

Mushrooms can be a tough sell with picky eaters but these dishes will entice them to try a bite – or two!

Tennessee Law Prevents Parents from Giving Child a Hybrid Last Name

Tennessee Law Prevents Parents from Giving Child a Hybrid Last Name

Carl Abramson and Kim Sarubbi mashed together their surnames for their first two kids, but Tennessee law says they can't use the last name 'Sabr' for baby No. 3.

Sticky Fingers Duct Tape Book Offers Easy Bow Making How-To

Sticky Fingers Duct Tape Book Offers Easy Bow Making How-To

Sophie Maletsky's new guide, published by Zest Books, is packed with fun crafts and DIY ideas kids and families can make out of colorful duct tape.

Paper Craft Fun with Handprints, Garland and Kawaii Art

Paper Craft Fun with Handprints, Garland and Kawaii Art

This versatile craft material transforms into an acorn fall creation, decorative ribbon, cute Japanese critters and cool dividers for your kid's closet.

How to Prevent Your Child from Choking

How to Prevent Your Child from Choking

Mealtime can turn from pleasant to panic in a matter of seconds. Protect your child from this mishap with our list of dos and don’ts.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement