I'm a working class girl from a working class family. I worked my way through college with no loans. Then someone suggested I go to law school in 1990. When I got there, there were all kinds of loans available - they couldn't wait to give me their money and I was urged to 'take out more than you think you need'...with promises of the big lawyer salary I will one day get as a justification for not worrying about paying it off.
I unexpectedly had to leave law school in my last year for personal reasons, and when I finally was in a personal place to return to finish my degree my deadline had expired. I went to NYC in 1997 and started working as a legal secretary to engage in the NY apprentice program..I did that for a few years and took the bar in 2000. At some point, I worked with Dept of Ed to get my loans in repayment...although the payments were always more than I could afford on a legal secretary salary. I could not keep up, it was either that or the rent/food.
I didn't get admitted to the bar, so started working as an executive assistant and tried to make payments - but when I got laid off after 9/11 I had to go to forbearance (or whatever its called). In 2002 I realized that somebody got a judgment against me for the private student loans - I was never notified or allowed to defend myself. I hear its called "gutter service". I began being stalked by the collector (an attorney).
In 2004 I was forced to file bankruptcy, I couldn't find another job. I was told by the bankruptcy attorney that the judgment would be discharged according to the hearings we were having.
I worked temporary jobs just to keep a roof over my head until a permanent job in a law firm came in 07. Immediately, I was contacted to begin making payments -- the amount of which was far too much for me to afford. I tried my best to make payments. Then the economy tanked...by the end of 08 and into 09, my firm had laid off over 1000 people. in 09 I was laid off yet again. I put the loans back into forbearance, but this time I lost my apartment and moved around and around. Apparently they slid into default...all I could focus on was finding another job and a roof over my head. in 2010 I found a job and worked for a year, trying to catch up on everything else. Then in 2011, I was hit in a car accident and injured and unable to work. I spent 2012 in rehab...and live every day in pain. I have been uprooted, moved from place to place and life is generally sucky.
Then...CONSERVE came calling. A collection agency apparently hired by the Dept. of Education. They found my private cellphone number from a random webpage I had made years ago...and began the campaign of stalking me - calling day and night weekdays and weekends.
THEN...they found me on facebook...and somehow got the name of some friends and started calling...they called a woman I had just met two weeks ago who was a very successful business owner who I had just friended (in my quest to network and find a job).... and I was mortified when she told me they called looking for me, asking all kinds of questions about me. Clearly she knew it was a collection agency, I the embarrasment I cannot tell you.
I spoke with a lawyer who said this is all ILLEGAL activity...and she recorded the call when I called them back...I was verbally manhandled by a man who tried to strong arm me into making payment arrangements...I laughed in his face. I'm broke, essentially homeless and don't even have a bank account. I have had to erase whatever is online about me, disable my facebook...and I live in fear now of being stalked.
How is this the American Dream? How is this right? My original 70K is now 150K because of the exhorbitant interest rates charged. the fact that I have even tried to be a taxpaying citizen and work should give me some kind of ability to forgive these loans. My government should give me loans Interest free...better yet: educate those of us for free who WANT to be productive in the workplace. My life is a living hell. A burden I cannot get out from under...I am 50 and I will never see a day of peace or get to zero. I wish I knew then what I know now...I would never even try to better myself and take those loans. Its sad when your only salvation is the hope that you marry a man with enough money to pay them off for you, cuz a single person doesn't stand a chance. There has to be a way so we don't have to contemplate suicide or becoming an expatriate to live a peaceful life free from the burden of this debt. I tried....that should count for something.
I'm a working class girl from a working class family. I worked my way through college with no loans. Then someone suggested I go to law school in 1990. When I got there, there were all kinds of loans available - they couldn't wait to give me their money ...more