Hello. This question is regarding my student loans
I had two Stafford loans with American Education Services (AES). They defaulted, and were sent to Windham Professionals Collection Agency. I entered into a 'loan rehabilitation program' with Windham, and they made automatic monthly withdrawals for 15 months. The last withdrawal was in December, 2012. From what I understood, I entered into this program in order to get out of default.
I was applying for financial aid (I am going to graduate school in July), and they recently informed me that my loans are still in default, which means that I am not qualified for any federal loans, and they recommended loan consolidation.
I contacted Windham, who apparently knew nothing about my account, and directed me to an organization that tells you where you loans have gone. They are now with the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA, which I believe is the same as AES). They told me that, basically, those 15 consecutive payments will have no effect on my default status because I did not sign some letter at the end of or during the program. I never received a letter from them or from Windham updating me on my account. I live overseas, so perhaps there was a mailing problem, but I doubt it. PHEAA says they tried calling but my phone is always busy (which seems very unlikely to me), and that they had the wrong mailing address.
Anyway, I am still in default, and they told me that my only options are a) to pay off the debt in full, b) to enter into ANOTHER 'loan rehabilitation program' for a minimum of 6 months (which means that I would only be eligible for financial aid after those 6 months), or c) do loan consolidation if I want to be eligible for federal loans in time for graduate school.
My question is: is it possible that those 15 months of regular payments I made will have no effect on my default status because of some letter I never signed because I never received it?
And is it advisable to do loan consolidation?