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Sallie Mae, the nation’s biggest provider of student loans, said Thursday that it would forgive the debts of a Marine from Weston, Mass., who was killed in an accident last summer shortly before he was scheduled to be deployed to Iraq, The Boston Globe reported Friday.

The Globe wrote that Sallie Mae officials said that they learned about the plight of the family of 2nd Lt. Ian McVey in a column published Thursday by the paper.

McVey, 23, was killed when his motorcycle was hit by a car near Camp Lejeune, N.C., where he was awaiting deployment with the Second Combat Engineer Battalion of the Second Marine Division.

John McVey, also from Weston, had written three lenders who held his son’s college loans, asking them to forgive his debts, the paper reported.

Two agreed, but Sallie Mae refused, according to the Globe. The agency responded with a computer-generated letter that demanded that John McVey, as cosigner, pay the $53,144 debt. The letter was unsigned.

McVey told the paper that his attempts to call were thwarted by computer-generated answering machines.

Sallie Mae officials told the Globe that the letter should not have been sent.

McVey told the paper that Jack Hewes, a former Marine and Sallie Mae’s chief lending officer, called him Thursday. He said Hewes told him he had been a Marine and understood the sacrifices military families make before adding, "Ian’s debt is paid."

"I was overwhelmed with what he said, and how he said it," McVey said. "I told him all I wanted to do was be able to talk to someone who would listen."


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