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UPDATE: Senior citizen doesn't owe decades-old student loan

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According to FMS, Caswell owes $1,400 in interest, $87 for some kind of penalty and an extra $362 for fees and costs which comes to $1,938. (Source: 3TV) According to FMS, Caswell owes $1,400 in interest, $87 for some kind of penalty and an extra $362 for fees and costs which comes to $1,938. (Source: 3TV)
Ralph Caswell was stunned to receive the collection notice. (Source: 3TV) Ralph Caswell was stunned to receive the collection notice. (Source: 3TV)
(Source: 3TV) (Source: 3TV)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Ralph Caswell is a Navy veteran who served his country back in the 1960s and eventually went to college to earn a degree.

But today, nearly 50 years later, the student loans he took out to get that degree are haunting him. 

"I didn't know what to do," he told 3 On Your Side. "I thought it was a scam, but instead, it was a series of glitches."

Caswell is talking about a letter he recently received from a collection agency called FMS.

In a previous 3 On Your Side report, Caswell acknowledged taking out three separate school loans totaling $2,500. He also said he paid off those loans in full decades ago.

Regardless, that collection agency was after Caswell for allegedly defaulting, and was demanding more than $1,900 or proof he paid off the loans.

[RELATED: Collection agency pursues 50-year-old student loan]

At the time, Caswell wondered who saves documents from nearly 50 years ago.

"I didn't know what to do, so I talked to you, Gary Harper at 3 On Your Side," Caswell said.

3 On Your Side contacted FMS, which said Caswell's debt was simply forwarded to it by the U.S. Department of Education.
 
3 On Your Side asked the Department of Education to look into the matter, and it did.

After weeks of investigating, the agency wrote us an email apologizing to Ralph Caswell, saying it " ... thanks KTVK for bringing this issue to our attention. The Department has researched Mr. Caswell's case and determined that no outstanding debt exists on the account ..."

Caswell said that's great news because he knew he had paid off the loans, and he certainly doesn't have $1,900 to make a collection agency go away.

In the end, he says nobody would listen except for 3 On Your Side.  

"And I just didn't know who to turn to, and I remember seeing 3 On Your Side, and I know you have helped a lot of people," he said. "I don't owe anything because everything was paid off many years ago, and it's a really good feeling because that is a lot of money."

The U.S. Department of Education was great to work with. 3 On Your Side appreciates the agency looking into the issue and resolving it.

Copyright 2016 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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