Anyone with a kid in college knows tuition isn't cheap.
Even at in-state public schools.
So when Karl Drewno's daughter, Margaret, was accepted to postgraduate veterinary school at the University of Illinois, he knew he could not pay for everything upfront.
To help ease the financial strain, Margaret obtained two Stafford Loans from the federal Department of Education, both of which were serviced by Great Lakes Educational Loan Services Inc.
The interest rate wasn't spectacular — 6.8 percent — and in an attempt to avoid accruing interest charges, Drewno made two online payments Jan. 29.
The first, for $5,271.55, paid off one loan. But when Drewno hit "send" to complete the transaction, the Web page froze.
He logged off and pulled up the Great Lakes website again.
"There was no record of it," Drewno said of his first payment attempt.
So he retyped $5,271.55 and hit "send."
The second attempt appeared to go through, so Drewno pulled up the second loan and paid an additional $2,000, essentially cutting in half the amount he owed on that account.
He clicked off his computer feeling good, thinking he had saved himself quite a bit in interest charges.
Instead, he had bought himself a financial headache.
Although the website had frozen during Drewno's first attempt, the payment had, in fact, gone through. So instead of paying $5,271.55 on the first loan, he accidentally paid $10,543.10.
The double payment put Drewno's bank account well below zero, but only temporarily. The next day, Great Lakes credited back one payment.
But for reasons Drewno can't fathom, Great Lakes took out another $5,271.55 on Feb. 1, again sending his bank account into negative territory. Adding insult to injury, the loan servicer also deducted a second $2,000 — creating a combined overpayment of $7,271.55.
Confused and upset, Drewno called Great Lakes and asked for the overpayment to be refunded.
"I have been told that this issue will not be resolved for 30 to 45 days," Drewno said. "They just keep withdrawing money for no reason and it's really screwing up my checking account."
Unable to make any headway on his own, he emailed What's Your Problem? on Feb. 4.
Drewno said the effect of the overpayment has been huge because he's out of work.
Although he has an overdraft line of credit, his bank charged him a fee when it kicked in.