I was in banking for 6 1/2 years, and worked as an intern in the corporate legal department of a large debt purchaser/collector during law school. I've seen the other side of it. Usually, the numerous calls will stop if you just answer the phone and have a conversation with them about your willingness and ability to pay. In fact, under the FDCPA, if you answer the phone and tell them to stop calling and that you can't/won't pay, they have to stop calling (other than for certain notification purposes).
Regarding Sallie Mae, I think they provide a much needed service. I couldn't have gone to law school if not for Sallie Mae loans. The real problem is not the lenders who step in to fill the gap, but the extreme cost of a college education that necessitates student loans. But I do not want to engage a political debate on that front.