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The Latest Student Debt Story

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I am a 52 year old career mental health professional who will never own a home, who drives a 13 year old car, who has little retirement savings and still lives so close to the bone all because of my student loan debts. I\'m was raised by a single, working class mother of 5. All but one of us went to college, and we all had to borrow our way through schools. My siblings don\'t have debt- they are lawyers and businessman. I on the other hand, chose a different education and career path. I got a BA in Psychology from a small Catholic college in West Virginia in 1987. For the next 10 years I worked (one as a volunteer with the Jesuit Volunteer Corp, where I received no salary) with the chronically mentally ill in non-profits in the Seattle area; high stress, low pay, but I was dedicated. Wanting to remain in the field of community mental health, I knew I would need an advanced degree to make a decent living. For 10 years, I was barely making ends meet while trying to pay off my 12K undergrad debt, alot of money in the 80\'s when I was only making 12.00 an hour. I applied and was accepted to graduate school in 1993, again, thinking an advanced degree would be my ticket to a decent income in my vocation. It was a mistaken notion. While I received a fantastic education, I also amassed a huge debt, despite working all through grad school. When I graduated with my Masters in Counseling in 1997, my combined student loan debt was $43,000. My loans have been bought and sold no less than 5 times (I think the Zerox Company owns them at the moment...). In my lowest income years after grad school, I was sometimes paying 8% or more interest on my loans. Now, after 17 years of payments, my interest is down to 3.25%, but I still owe 18K!! I am a middle-aged example of what happens to working people who want to go to college, choose a noble vocation, but who are then punished by the debt they have to saddle to \"get ahead\". The irony of course, is that I have never been ahead, and never will be because of my loan debt. My income has never been commensurate with the amount of debt I owe. For me and so many others, grad school, and undergrad for that matter, is an empty bill of goods. We students aren;t making a better living, just getting deeper into debt. I would like to see the DOE forgive older loans (20+ years) like mine. I would also like to see them expand the definition of \"public service\" to include jobs that are private sector but non profit. Thank you, Michele Kimble, Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Author*Michele E Kimble, LMHC, October 23, 2014, Vashon, WA

I am a 52 year old career mental health professional who will never own a home, who drives a 13 year old car, who has little retirement savings and still lives so close to the bone all because of my student loan debts. I\'m was raised by a single, working class mother of 5. All but one of us went to college, and we all had to borrow our way through...

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Author*Michele E Kimble, LMHC, October 23, 2014, Vashon, WA
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