Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) Assistance Request

Because the Department of Education is not complying with the Freedom of Information (FOIA) request, I have to contact other agencies.

The latest FOIA request is a recent event. However, this case has been going on for over 5 years. This is an internal record making dispute that is not based on student loan lending and borrowing transactions. Instead, the dispute is based on internal records that were created after I graduated from college.

Because the dispute is not based on student loan lending and borrowing transactions, and because of wrongdoings that the Department of Education and its business partners have engaged in, every step of the way, the Department of Education has lost the dispute and they will keep losing, over and over again. Taxpayer money is meaninglessly wasted in the process, but the people at the Department of Education do not seem to care about this.

The Department of Education does not close the case, because why bother? There is no actual oversight of the Department of Education and there is no motivation for the employees there to admit and to address their own wrongdoings. Further, people there get paid for handling cases like this one. So, everything is just fine.

  • The letter published below was delivered to:
  • Nikki Gramian, Deputy Director, Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), USPS Delivery Confirmation EL778989578US

Nikki Gramian, Deputy Director

Office of Government Information Services (OGIS)

National Archives and Records Administration

8601 Adelphi Road

College Park, MD 20740-6001

Dear Ms. Gramian,

I am asking for help regarding a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request number [XX-XXXXX-XX] that the Department of Education is unwilling to fulfill.

Please note that this letter is part of a process that is being documented on StopExtortion.org.

I submitted the request on 06/19/2017. I received a response dated 06/26/2017 with tracking number 17-00079-PA. The response acknowledged only one of the two areas addressed in the request. The response did not acknowledge request for Pell Grant and work-study financial aid related information.

As of today, I have not received any actual information that I requested.

I have submitted FOIA requests in the past as well. The Department of Education has never sent me absolutely any of the requested items. The reason is simple – apparently, none of the requested items exist. That being the case, we need the Department of Education to admit honestly that the requested documents simply do not exist. Such honest admission could help to move this case toward closing it.

In general, my objective is to either get validation that the alleged student loans actually do exist, or then have the Department of Education officially state that the Department of Education will not under any circumstances make any further demands regarding the specific previously claimed alleged debt, and will not authorize any individual, company, organization or institution to make any kinds of further demands regarding the specific previously claimed alleged debt.

For the sake of background information I will add that I came to the in 1989 as a political refugee from the Soviet Union. I attended state owned Rhode Island College between 1990 and 1996 as an honors student.

According to publicly accessible sources the in-state cost of tuition to attend the state owned Rhode Island College from 1990 to 1996 ranged from $1,703 to $2,838 a year.

I did fill in and sign financial aid applications as a student. Based on these financial aid applications I received Rhode Island College Honors Scholarship, Pell Grant and work-study financial aid that covered the cost of my attending Rhode Island College as an undergraduate student.

The Department of Education insists that I also borrowed $46,354.00 as student loans from Fleet National Bank. This alleged loan principal is about 20 times higher than was the cost of the relevant average annual tuition. I did not live on campus. Further, as far as I know, as a student I did not qualify for bank loans because I was in the U.S. on a temporary visa when I first attended college, and then on Green Card until graduation, without any credit history, co-signer or collateral. Further, initially I did not have any US work experience and work history either. While I was a student my income was extremely low and did not support borrowing from a bank tens of thousands of dollars.

Thus, considering the amount of tuition, the alleged loan principal that the Department of Education has in its records is unrealistically high. Similarly, no credible explanation has been provided on where the allegedly borrowed money went to or how it was allegedly used.

By nature, this is an internal record making dispute, because the Department of Education's claims are not based on actual student loan related lending and borrowing transactions. Instead, the Department of Education's claims are based on internal records that were created after I graduated from college by the guaranty agency, a third party, and the Department of Education, a third party.

So far this internal record making dispute has revealed that the alleged loans simply do not exist. No lending and borrowing transactions and documents exist, no records exist that as a student I received any of the alleged loans either directly or indirectly, as tuition support, and all of the "proof" of debt was created by third parties after I graduated from college.

Regarding the FOIA requests, the mistake that I made in the past was that I requested too many categories of information all at once. Thus, Department of Education sent me partial copies of financial aid applications that I filled in and signed between 1990 and 1996, internal documents which seem to have been generated after I had graduated from college in 1996, computer screen snapshots of records that seem to have been generated after I had graduated from college in 1996, copies of my previous correspondence with the Department of Education and other material that is completely irrelevant to the information and documents that I actually requested from the Department of Education FOIA Office.

By doing so, Department of Education could claim that it had fulfilled my request, even though that was not true.

This time I requested two categories of items:

  • Copies of the signed lending and borrowing transactions documents that demonstrate that one or more banks lent me money as student loans and I borrowed money as student loans from one or more banks while I attended Rhode Island College from 1990 to 1996 as an undergraduate student.
  • The reason, why I asked for these documents is that without lending and borrowing transactions student loan debt cannot exist either.
  • All the information that the U.S. Department of Education has or is able to obtain from the guaranty agency and other relevant sources on my receiving Pell Grant and work-study financial aid while I attended Rhode Island College as an undergraduate student from 1990 to 1996.
  • The reason, why I asked for these documents is that the Department of Education has refused to send me this information, which obviously is related to my receiving financial aid as a student. So, it seems to be the case that the Department of Education has something to hide here and we have to find out, what the Department of Education is hiding and why they are hiding this information. After all, both Pell Grant and work-study financial aid are federal financial aid and the Department of Education is obligated to provide this information to me. Yet, they refuse to do so.

Thus, I am asking for your help with obtaining this important information.

Attached is a copy of my latest FOIA request.

Thomas Eklund

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