Real Life Student Debt Stories

I got out of the military in 2008 because I wanted to get into filmmaking. I eventually decided to go the Art Institute of Seattle for the bachelor’s degree in Digital Film & Video Production program. I was able in enroll and start school in April of 2009. One of the reasons I liked the school is because they told me that if for some reason you have to leave, all your credits will transfer with you and they are an Accredited college…one of the best filmmaking programs in the U.S.

I was going to go full time using the new Post 911 GI bill program. For the first year or so everything was fine with the school and finances for the most part, except I was one of those people back when the Post 911 GI bill came out that didn't get there housing money for months, so they told us to go to the headquarters and get a $3,000 advancement for housing money. They told us that we did not have to pay it back, that they would take it off the back end of our benefits. Well couple months later, they sent letter after letter telling me I needed to pay $3,000 ASAP (not that this has to do with the school but made it extremely difficult to survive regardless).

So about a year in a half into my program...very close to enough credits for my associates degree...I got a message during one of my classes telling me I needed to go to the finance department. I went and talked to the lady and she told me that I am almost $7,000 in debt with the school and once you reach a certain amount of unpaid debt with them, you will be forced to leave the school till it’s resolved. Well, like I mentioned, I was using the Post 911 GI Bill, a few minor grants and the Yellow Ribbon program...so basically all my school was paid for and no money needed to come out of my pocket. So how could I be $7000 in debt with the school? I called the VA and they said they sent the check to the school; the school say’s they never got anything. This went back and forth for days! In the end I had to leave the school and move out of state with a sister in Arizona (including my girlfriend and our kid). I couldn’t get a job in such short notice of having to leave the school and if you are not attending school you cant get housing money so we were completely broke with no where to go (remember this is in bad times of the recession, jobs were very hard to come by).

Once in Arizona with my sister, my girlfriend got a job temporarily until I got a job offer that could sustain our family in Maryland State, working for Lockheed Martin doing what I did in the military (Avionic). For about a year I had been consistently calling the Art Institute of Seattle and the VA trying to figure out what happened to my $7,000 in tuition. Eventually the school came forward and told me that they think they accidentally threw it away. Basically, each quarter they receive a Fed Ex envelope with all the VA students’ money. They think when they got it, mine got stuck inside envelope and they threw it away. Well, with the VA, it’s not as simple as sending a new check…they have to send out trackers and all this stuff that takes forever. Meanwhile, I cant go to school and I m now on the other side of the U.S. because they screwed up.

So during my time in Maryland working at Lockheed Martin I saw that they had a job opening for Aerial Videographer at the same place I was already at…a perfect job for me! I applied for the job, got the interview and nailed it. About a month later I talked to one of the managers in the video department and he told me they submitted to Lockheed Martin Headquarters that they wanted to hire me for the job…Perfect right? Well, one mother later, I got a note telling me the job has been fulfilled. What the heck! I was told I got the job; well come to find out, Lockheed wouldn’t hire me because I didn’t have my degree, so they had to go with the next qualified person. That was a massive blow to me! How messed up is that, I went to school, got kicked out for money that the school lost and now lost my dream job because I couldn’t get my degree!

So after that emotional blow…I was so frustrated that I decided now I am here in Maryland I will try to transfer to a new school. I couldn’t go to any schools physically because of the location I was at, so I had to go online. I enrolled in Full Sail University because I was a tired of scrapping by not doing what I love and I was hell bent on succeeding in my career I got out of the military for. Enrolling was fine until I had to transfer my credits from The Art Institute of Seattle to Full Sail University. Full Sail would only accept 2-classes worth of credits; nothing else could transfer because of the Art Institute of Seattle. I as very upset, so I tried another school, The Academy of Art University…same thing, only 2 classes would transfer. So now I am still stuck on the other side of the U.S. doing a job I hate and just wasted almost 2 years in college with thousands of dollars wasted from my GI Bill. I now had to start my degree all over!

I decide to stay enrolled at Full Sail University where I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in Cinematography in August of 2014. The problem is…I now owe +$20,000 in school loans because I tapped out my GI Bill my last year at Full Sail, all because the Art Institute of Seattle lost $7,000 of my tuition and told me to leave!

That’s the summed up version of how I was screwed by The Art Institute of Seattle…and I am still paying for that mistake for going there, all this happened because of the Art Institute!

Rob W. Scribner  May 24, 2015

I got out of the military in 2008 because I wanted to get into filmmaking. I eventually decided to go the Art Institute of Seattle for the bachelor’s degree in Digital Film & Video Production program. I was able in enroll and start school in April of 2009. One of the reasons I liked the school is because they told me that if for some reason you have to leave, all your credits will transfer with you and they are an Accredited college…one of the best filmmaking programs in the U.S.

I was going to go full time using the new Post 911 GI bill program. For the first year or so everything was fine with the school and finances for the most part, except I was one of those people back when the Post 911 GI bill came out that didn't get there housing money for months, so they told us to go to the headquarters and get a $3,000 advancement for housing money. They told us that we did not have to pay it back, that they would take it off the back end of our benefits. Well couple months later, they sent letter after letter telling me I needed to pay $3,000 ASAP (not that this has to do with the school but made it extremely difficult to survive regardless).

So about a year in a half into my program...very close to enough credits for my associates degree...I got a message during one of my classes telling me I needed to go to the finance department. I went and talked to the lady and she told me that I am almost $7,000 in debt with the school and once you reach a certain amount of unpaid debt with them, you will be forced to leave the school till it’s resolved. Well, like I mentioned, I was using the Post 911 GI Bill, a few minor grants and the Yellow Ribbon program...so basically all my school was paid for and no money needed to come out of my pocket. So how could I be $7000 in debt with the school?

...more
Rob W. Scribner  May 24, 2015

I went to college cause I was told that was the thing to do. Looking back, I should have never gone. Not because it wasn't great, but because I wasn't really mature enough to understand the consequences. I have $125,000 remaining in student debt, majority of which is private loans, and I've been out of college for 3 years now. I didn't go to a fancy college, just a state school (I happened to be out of state, something I never thought would make a big deal, but it ended up being twice the price). I am currently in a job that doesn't even technically require a college degree, making just enough to pay my monthly loan payments, with some assistance from my family, and all my other monthly bills like rent, food, and an attempt at having a life. I went to college for theater, cause I honestly love being creative and it was the one thing that felt right to me. I have so many things I want to do, that I know I could do and make an impact like writing thoughtful film scripts or acting. I even want to be able to do volunteer activities like helping at an animal shelter or even exploring the world, anywhere. Everything takes time though, and if it isn't going to make the loans disappear, I sometimes wonder what the point in trying is. I realized that I most likely will never be able to buy a house, I can't even process the idea of having kids, and I'll have grey hair before the loans are paid off. I can't even disappear or die, cause someone would still have to pay back the loans and I had to have cosigners to get them. If even something small happens to my car, it's like the end of the world is coming. I even realized recently that my loans might double by the time I'm finished paying them off, like over $200,000, due to interest. The only thing I can ever think, after debating what I want to do with my life, is if I just didn't have loans to pay off, I could follow my dreams. I don't care if everyone knows who I am, I just want a chance to try, cause if you can't even try to do what you want, what's the point in making money to live your life? What's the point in life? Am I even a human anymore or just a cog working through life to pay back some higher financial power for allowing me to go to college? It's like I was tricked and now a bank controls what I do with my life. If only I knew it would be this way before I decided on my college...

Kristin Riopelle  May 20, 2015  Massachusetts

I went to college cause I was told that was the thing to do. Looking back, I should have never gone. Not because it wasn't great, but because I wasn't really mature enough to understand the consequences. I have $125,000 remaining in student debt, majority of which is private loans, and I've been out of college for 3 years now. I didn't go to a fancy college, just a state school (I happened to be out of state, something I never thought would make a big deal, but it ended up being twice the price). I am currently in a job that doesn't even technically require a college degree, making just enough to pay my monthly loan payments, with some assistance from my family, and all my other monthly bills like rent, food, and an attempt at having a life. I went to college for theater, cause I honestly love being creative and it was the one thing that felt right to me. I have so many things I want to do, that I know I could do and make an impact like writing thoughtful film scripts or acting. I even want to be able to do volunteer activities like helping at an animal shelter or even exploring the world, anywhere. Everything takes time though, and if it isn't going to make the loans disappear, I sometimes wonder what the point in trying is. I realized that I most likely will never be able to buy a house, I can't even process the idea of having kids, and I'll have grey hair before the loans are paid off. I can't even disappear or die, cause someone would still have to pay back the loans and I had to have cosigners to get them. If even something small happens to my car, it's like the end of the world is coming. I even realized recently that my loans might double by the time I'm finished paying them off, like over $200,000, due to interest. The only thing I can ever think, after debating what I want to do with my life,

...more
Kristin Riopelle  May 20, 2015  Massachusetts

I am example of someone who fell victim to the "system". The system is: do well in school (elementary through high school) in order to go to a good college. Go to college, get a loan if tuition is not affordable. Get a degree to get a good job. The salary from having a degree, will be enough to pay back those loans. Easy peasy. Well, I needed to have real world experience to learn that I didn't HAVE TO go to college, especially when I didn't know what I wanted to study. After I graduated with a Bachelor's I didn't know where to go. I couldn't find a job, and a college professor suggested I go back to school and get a Master's degree. So I did, and realized after 3 years of graduate study, that I couldn't go on any further. I was so burned out from so many years of working hard at school. I dropped out and now have about $100,000 in student loan debt. I'm full of so much regret. Sure, higher education has its benefits, but it's not for everyone and I wish I had learned that BEFORE going to college and ruining my life with debt. The debt is so large that I don't want to burden anyone else with it. So, I will not get married, I will not have children. I'm very lucky to be one of the few college graduates who found employment, but I'm afraid that I'll be paying off my loans until I die. What kind of life is that?

melody  May 16, 2015  seattle, wa

I am example of someone who fell victim to the "system". The system is: do well in school (elementary through high school) in order to go to a good college. Go to college, get a loan if tuition is not affordable. Get a degree to get a good job. The salary from having a degree, will be enough to pay back those loans. Easy peasy. Well, I needed to have real world experience to learn that I didn't HAVE TO go to college, especially when I didn't know what I wanted to study. After I graduated with a Bachelor's I didn't know where to go. I couldn't find a job, and a college professor suggested I go back to school and get a Master's degree. So I did, and realized after 3 years of graduate study, that I couldn't go on any further. I was so burned out from so many years of working hard at school. I dropped out and now have about $100,000 in student loan debt. I'm full of so much regret. Sure, higher education has its benefits, but it's not for everyone and I wish I had learned that BEFORE going to college and ruining my life with debt. The debt is so large that I don't want to burden anyone else with it. So, I will not get married, I will not have children. I'm very lucky to be one of the few college graduates who found employment, but I'm afraid that I'll be paying off my loans until I die. What kind of life is that?

melody  May 16, 2015  seattle, wa

My name is Michael Thompson and I live in Jeffersonville, IN.

I attended the Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham, a for profit school, from 2010-2012. I attended school late, at the age of 26, seeking a way to get out of my warehouse job that paid me only $11 an hour but caused issues with my back that I am just now being able to afford to go to a doctor to evaluate. The school promised me that all of my loans would be federal and that I would not have to go through private lenders. A year into my program, I was told that I had a hold on my account and could not register for classes. I was in debt to the school $10,000 for 2 quarters of school that I had already completed but was never notified. When I asked why I owed this money, considering that I was told my federal loans would cover the cost of my education, I was then told by a representative of the accounting department that my federal loans were part of a specialized program that has expired and I was only able to use it for 2 quarters by being grandfathered in. None of this information was previously explained to me.

So there I was, $40,000 in debt already and owing another $10,000 for back tuition. My options were to either seek out private loans or stop attending and start paying back $50,000 on my $11 an hour salary with no degree and no better off, so I unfortunately received loans from Sallie Mae and American Education Services.

After graduating, my first job laid me off and I was unemployed for 4 months. Neither of my private lenders would grant me deferments based on my unemployment nor lower my payments. It actually took a year and a half of communication and switching to Navient before Sallie Mae offered me a lowered interest rate and lower monthly payment. American Education Services retains a $250 a month payment and will not lower it.

Those two make up under half my student debt at around $45k with another $50k in federal loans. My federal loans are manageable but with all three payments I'm unable to save and it's hard to pay off debt I incurred while being unemployed. Help.

Michael Thompson  May 15, 2015  Jeffersonville, IN

My name is Michael Thompson and I live in Jeffersonville, IN.

I attended the Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham, a for profit school, from 2010-2012. I attended school late, at the age of 26, seeking a way to get out of my warehouse job that paid me only $11 an hour but caused issues with my back that I am just now being able to afford to go to a doctor to evaluate. The school promised me that all of my loans would be federal and that I would not have to go through private lenders. A year into my program, I was told that I had a hold on my account and could not register for classes. I was in debt to the school $10,000 for 2 quarters of school that I had already completed but was never notified. When I asked why I owed this money, considering that I was told my federal loans would cover the cost of my education, I was then told by a representative of the accounting department that my federal loans were part of a specialized program that has expired and I was only able to use it for 2 quarters by being grandfathered in. None of this information was previously explained to me.

So there I was, $40,000 in debt already and owing another $10,000 for back tuition. My options were to either seek out private loans or stop attending and start paying back $50,000 on my $11 an hour salary with no degree and no better off, so I unfortunately received loans from Sallie Mae and American Education Services.

After graduating, my first job laid me off and I was unemployed for 4 months. Neither of my private lenders would grant me deferments based on my unemployment nor lower my payments. It actually took a year and a half of communication and switching to Navient before Sallie Mae offered me a lowered interest rate and lower monthly payment. American Education Services retains a $250 a month payment and will not lower it.

Those two make up under half my student debt at around $45k with another $50k in federal loans.

...more
Michael Thompson  May 15, 2015  Jeffersonville, IN

My daughter graduated from Florida State University in 2013 with a degree in Meteorology. She got a job right away at a TV station as a Meteorologist. The pay is not very good but she is able to support herself except pay for her student loan. So I am paying her student loan that has interest rates that are almost 7%. My feeling is the interest rates for education loans should not be that high. This is education were talking about. They know the kids from middle class families will most likely go to college and the parents will pay the tuition with loans, cash, loans from 401K, home equity loans. Somehow they will get the money. The cost of the classes/semester is out of proportion and the interest rate makes it worse. Even the Pennsylvania state schools are becoming unaffordable. In the tuition comparison for Penn State University vs Florida State University - except for the travel expenses it was less money to go to Florida State University.

Kathryn fullam  May 14, 2015  Pennsylvania

My daughter graduated from Florida State University in 2013 with a degree in Meteorology. She got a job right away at a TV station as a Meteorologist. The pay is not very good but she is able to support herself except pay for her student loan. So I am paying her student loan that has interest rates that are almost 7%. My feeling is the interest rates for education loans should not be that high. This is education were talking about. They know the kids from middle class families will most likely go to college and the parents will pay the tuition with loans, cash, loans from 401K, home equity loans. Somehow they will get the money. The cost of the classes/semester is out of proportion and the interest rate makes it worse. Even the Pennsylvania state schools are becoming unaffordable. In the tuition comparison for Penn State University vs Florida State University - except for the travel expenses it was less money to go to Florida State University.

Kathryn fullam  May 14, 2015  Pennsylvania

Decided to break the mold in my family by going to school and getting that "Higher Education" that is supposedly highly coveted. Not coveted enough to pay for the cost of such education. Cut hair to put myself through undergrad and then decided to go to law school. Not having a huge educational foundation I could not attend a 1st tier law school so I had to settle for a 2nd tier school. Ended up borrowing approximately $150K in 2002-2005. Graduated in 2005 sat for the CA bar (too many times) was unsuccessful (partially due to a disability) and now can't support my loans because I am not licensed. So I work as a paralegal with paralegal salary caps. I have been paying on my loans for the better part of 10 years at approximately 800$/month (paid in excess of 75K) now ACS (student loan servicing company) claims I owe $222,000. WHaaatt? On what plant does this math work? None. Only on the ACS student loan plant. IBR does not help me as my loans are pre 2008. Bankruptcy doesn't help me- because its student loans. So the only option come June 1, 2015 when my loans go up to$2000/month is to default which is going to cripple me even further... So what do we all do??? I'm now looking to talk to attorneys in various areas of the law as this is obscured and quite frankly fraudulent. I spares you all the details of all the miss-applied payments (by ACS) which resulted in erroneous reporting on my (and my co-signers') credit report which took 2 years to clean up. As well as countless hours on the phone with ACS in the past 10 years trying to get information on MY loans but all to no avail. So now I am out surfing the web trying to find some HELP to stop this insanity as I am against suicide and there truly are NO OTHER OPTIONS for me! I believe that is enough for now about "My Story"- And yes, it is all true and I have plenty of documents to back it up!

Nicole  May 13, 2015  Irvine CA

Decided to break the mold in my family by going to school and getting that "Higher Education" that is supposedly highly coveted. Not coveted enough to pay for the cost of such education. Cut hair to put myself through undergrad and then decided to go to law school. Not having a huge educational foundation I could not attend a 1st tier law school so I had to settle for a 2nd tier school. Ended up borrowing approximately $150K in 2002-2005. Graduated in 2005 sat for the CA bar (too many times) was unsuccessful (partially due to a disability) and now can't support my loans because I am not licensed. So I work as a paralegal with paralegal salary caps. I have been paying on my loans for the better part of 10 years at approximately 800$/month (paid in excess of 75K) now ACS (student loan servicing company) claims I owe $222,000. WHaaatt? On what plant does this math work? None. Only on the ACS student loan plant. IBR does not help me as my loans are pre 2008. Bankruptcy doesn't help me- because its student loans. So the only option come June 1, 2015 when my loans go up to$2000/month is to default which is going to cripple me even further... So what do we all do??? I'm now looking to talk to attorneys in various areas of the law as this is obscured and quite frankly fraudulent. I spares you all the details of all the miss-applied payments (by ACS) which resulted in erroneous reporting on my (and my co-signers') credit report which took 2 years to clean up. As well as countless hours on the phone with ACS in the past 10 years trying to get information on MY loans but all to no avail. So now I am out surfing the web trying to find some HELP to stop this insanity as I am against suicide and there truly are NO OTHER OPTIONS for me! I believe that is enough for now about "My Story"- And yes, it is all true and I have plenty of documents to back it up!

...more
Nicole  May 13, 2015  Irvine CA

While serving in the U.S Navy I went to ITT Tech to get my associates degree. I nearly finished the two year program with only 2 classes to go when I was transferred to Guam where there are no ITT Tech's. I had to put my degree on hold but I was reassured that with the military clause I could hold it for however long I needed and come back and pick up where I left off. Two years later I moved back to the U.S and went to finish my degree when they told me my degree program had been changed. Many of the classes I took were now irrelevant and they were forcing me to take classes to replace those. so instead of 2 classes left, I now had to take 6! I asked if I would be reimbursed for the classes that I no longer needed and they said no. They didn't even attempt to work with me on reducing the cost of the modification THEY did to my degree plan. I told them they won't ever see another dime of my money and I wouldn't be returning. Unfortunately the sad truth is I was left with no degree and 20k in debt (30k now with interest)

I then enrolled in a LEGITIMATE college and they didn't take ANY of my ITT tech credits. Not just them, but no one would. Luckily my GI bill paid for most of my new degree but my current ITT tech loans drowned me for years and still continue to financially burden me even with a well paying job. Thanks to the compounding interest from Sallie Mae I now owe far more then my initial amount and will likely be paying it off the rest of my life. All this because ITT Tech is a scamming, greedy misleading corporation. I hope they all rot in jail for fraud.

Nicole  May 13, 2015  Portland, Oregon

While serving in the U.S Navy I went to ITT Tech to get my associates degree. I nearly finished the two year program with only 2 classes to go when I was transferred to Guam where there are no ITT Tech's. I had to put my degree on hold but I was reassured that with the military clause I could hold it for however long I needed and come back and pick up where I left off. Two years later I moved back to the U.S and went to finish my degree when they told me my degree program had been changed. Many of the classes I took were now irrelevant and they were forcing me to take classes to replace those. so instead of 2 classes left, I now had to take 6! I asked if I would be reimbursed for the classes that I no longer needed and they said no. They didn't even attempt to work with me on reducing the cost of the modification THEY did to my degree plan. I told them they won't ever see another dime of my money and I wouldn't be returning. Unfortunately the sad truth is I was left with no degree and 20k in debt (30k now with interest)

I then enrolled in a LEGITIMATE college and they didn't take ANY of my ITT tech credits. Not just them, but no one would. Luckily my GI bill paid for most of my new degree but my current ITT tech loans drowned me for years and still continue to financially burden me even with a well paying job. Thanks to the compounding interest from Sallie Mae I now owe far more then my initial amount and will likely be paying it off the rest of my life. All this because ITT Tech is a scamming, greedy misleading corporation. I hope they all rot in jail for fraud.

Nicole  May 13, 2015  Portland, Oregon

I went to a FOR PROFIT school called at the time allied college owned by high tech institute it has changed names to try to out run the class action lawsuits now called anthem owned by anthem educ group the school was sold for ONE BUCK back in June 2010. needless to say i owe 70k to the worthless scum bags the classes don't transfer the degree doesn't mean anything i cant even get a job shoveling horse manure with the st louis city mounted police. the thugs at salliemae hired a law firm called john rowatt who sent out letters to financial institutions to seek money i may have that was a joke but not to my poor uncle who is 90yrs old he an old cd in my name he forgot about sallie mae took it now i have been garnished for 5yrs for student loans. no one seems to care or hear me when i say this was consumer fraud predatory lending and that i was not of sound mind or body when i signed. i was thugged into it by a rep at allied called dana kilian and the finance guy named jason hellman these people called restlessly for me to come sign up for classes. i kept telling them i could not my fathers health was failing and he came first but NOOO that didnt mean shit i get calls from job placement manager named cynthia otten reynolds and campus president susan marshall caby. my father did die and these people still didn't care they kept up I SWEAR AS GOD AS MY WITNESS I DID NOT KNOW WHAT I WAS DOING. to this day i have wrote to my senator claire mccaskill attorney general chris kostner president obama anyone and everyone i could think of im now looking into trying the last stand and that is bankruptcy im 50 yrs old i have never or will ever be able to use this so called degree for criminal justice the school was not accredited even though cynthia otten reynolds sent me an email saying it was at some point i will get this taken care of but i may dead by that time. oh and now i have no job so i guess i will get to go live under a bridge lose more of my mind cause God knows if a psychiatrist would evaluate me i would be put away for a long time im sure i have ptsd i cry at ever letter i get about this damn student loan and looking at the payments when it comes out of forbearance those monthly payment will be about $850. thanks for reading

Marie Schalk  May 11, 2015  Missouri

I went to a FOR PROFIT school called at the time allied college owned by high tech institute it has changed names to try to out run the class action lawsuits now called anthem owned by anthem educ group the school was sold for ONE BUCK back in June 2010. needless to say i owe 70k to the worthless scum bags the classes don't transfer the degree doesn't mean anything i cant even get a job shoveling horse manure with the st louis city mounted police. the thugs at salliemae hired a law firm called john rowatt who sent out letters to financial institutions to seek money i may have that was a joke but not to my poor uncle who is 90yrs old he an old cd in my name he forgot about sallie mae took it now i have been garnished for 5yrs for student loans. no one seems to care or hear me when i say this was consumer fraud predatory lending and that i was not of sound mind or body when i signed. i was thugged into it by a rep at allied called dana kilian and the finance guy named jason hellman these people called restlessly for me to come sign up for classes. i kept telling them i could not my fathers health was failing and he came first but NOOO that didnt mean shit i get calls from job placement manager named cynthia otten reynolds and campus president susan marshall caby. my father did die and these people still didn't care they kept up I SWEAR AS GOD AS MY WITNESS I DID NOT KNOW WHAT I WAS DOING. to this day i have wrote to my senator claire mccaskill attorney general chris kostner president obama anyone and everyone i could think of im now looking into trying the last stand and that is bankruptcy im 50 yrs old i have never or will ever be able to use this so called degree for criminal justice the school was not accredited even though cynthia otten reynolds sent me an email saying it was at some point i will get this taken care of but i may dead by that time.

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Marie Schalk  May 11, 2015  Missouri

For the last 2 1/2 years, I've been attending the University of Tennessee. I'm a U. S. Air Force veteran who has been trying to reinvent myself after the economy crash. I've been working for a public library for a few years. I discovered that additional employment opportunities were available if I went back to school. I was accepted to the University of Tennessee graduate program for Master of Science in Information Sciences. Although I live in Las Vegas, NV, I attended the classes online. I had already used up my Montgomery G.I. Bill so I received financial aid to attend this school. During my final semester, I made a mistake that I was not aware of until it was too late. I enrolled in one class for my final semester because I only needed 3 credits to graduate. I didn't realize that by only enrolling in 3 credits, financial aid will not pay my tuition because 3 credits does not meet the at least half time status requirement which is what financial aid requires to pay tuition. This left me with a tuition balance of $3600.00 and the University of Tennessee placed my student account in "Holds" status. This means that I can't apply for graduation. So I have completed all of my required credits and I can't graduate because I mistakenly enrolled in only one course during my final semester. The University of Tennessee has not been understanding of my situation and only suggested that I apply for a personal loan. All attempts to apply for a personal loan have been denied because of my bad credit. My credit score is low because of previous student loans that I haven't paid and an emergency surgery that I needed to save my life. It gets worse. Now that I'm no longer considered a student, the creditors have come calling. They want me to start paying off my student loan for a degree that I never received because the University of Tennessee will not allow me to graduate due to me owing for tuition. I just wanted to point out that our college universities only care about money and are willing to put a person's degree at ransom in order to get the money owed to them. If I had my degree in hand right now, I would have a better job with a better salary that would grant me the opportunity to pay back the University of Tennessee and start paying off my other student loans. But unfortunately I've reached a barrier. Every dime I earn currently goes towards bills and a mortgage that I'm barely able to pay. I don't have additional funds to save to pay my school so that I can graduate. I may eventually lose my house. My only option would then be to relocate out of country to live with my in-laws so that I will have a roof over my head. Our higher learning education system needs to be reviewed.

Johnny P  May 9, 2015  Las Vegas, NV

For the last 2 1/2 years, I've been attending the University of Tennessee. I'm a U. S. Air Force veteran who has been trying to reinvent myself after the economy crash. I've been working for a public library for a few years. I discovered that additional employment opportunities were available if I went back to school. I was accepted to the University of Tennessee graduate program for Master of Science in Information Sciences. Although I live in Las Vegas, NV, I attended the classes online. I had already used up my Montgomery G.I. Bill so I received financial aid to attend this school. During my final semester, I made a mistake that I was not aware of until it was too late. I enrolled in one class for my final semester because I only needed 3 credits to graduate. I didn't realize that by only enrolling in 3 credits, financial aid will not pay my tuition because 3 credits does not meet the at least half time status requirement which is what financial aid requires to pay tuition. This left me with a tuition balance of $3600.00 and the University of Tennessee placed my student account in "Holds" status. This means that I can't apply for graduation. So I have completed all of my required credits and I can't graduate because I mistakenly enrolled in only one course during my final semester. The University of Tennessee has not been understanding of my situation and only suggested that I apply for a personal loan. All attempts to apply for a personal loan have been denied because of my bad credit. My credit score is low because of previous student loans that I haven't paid and an emergency surgery that I needed to save my life. It gets worse. Now that I'm no longer considered a student, the creditors have come calling. They want me to start paying off my student loan for a degree that I never received because the University of Tennessee will not allow me to graduate due to me owing for tuition. I just wanted to point out that our college universities only care about money and are willing to put a person's degree at ransom in order to get the money owed to them.

...more
Johnny P  May 9, 2015  Las Vegas, NV

As a first generation college student, I was very proud of myself for attending medical school. I did everything I could to reduce my debt including applying for numerous scholarships, living with my family when I could, and reducing my debt by about $100,000 by doing an additional year of teaching at my medical school. Now I am finally working at the age of 33, and find that my student loans have increased to over $330,000. I will never be able to pay that amount off as a Family Medicine doctor because with the interest the total will be over $600,000 in 20 years. Despite every payment that I make, I owe more money. All I ever wanted to do was contribute to society by helping people to live the healthiest life possible, but I find myself constantly stressed about money. I am sure my stress shows to my patients, but I do my best because I believe we all have a responsibility to make the world better than the way we found it.

Some of my loans had interest rates of over 9%. The federal government should not allow this! We owe it to ourselves and our country's future to continue to advance through education. We need to join together to stop this from happening to future students!

Sarah  May 7, 2015

As a first generation college student, I was very proud of myself for attending medical school. I did everything I could to reduce my debt including applying for numerous scholarships, living with my family when I could, and reducing my debt by about $100,000 by doing an additional year of teaching at my medical school. Now I am finally working at the age of 33, and find that my student loans have increased to over $330,000. I will never be able to pay that amount off as a Family Medicine doctor because with the interest the total will be over $600,000 in 20 years. Despite every payment that I make, I owe more money. All I ever wanted to do was contribute to society by helping people to live the healthiest life possible, but I find myself constantly stressed about money. I am sure my stress shows to my patients, but I do my best because I believe we all have a responsibility to make the world better than the way we found it.

Some of my loans had interest rates of over 9%. The federal government should not allow this! We owe it to ourselves and our country's future to continue to advance through education. We need to join together to stop this from happening to future students!

Sarah  May 7, 2015

I just turned 47, and feel like I have made a huge mistake with my education. I have a Master's degree in Library and Information Science, and although many people said that this degree was not very useful, my love of research and academic spurred me on. When I rec'd my first Bachelor's degree, I was able to study abroad on a student loan, which was a life changing positive experience for me. I don't regret it at all, even though it left me with $21,000 in debt. When I returned to the states, I graduated and my Bachelor's degree was enough to land me an administrative job. Paid okay, but I wasn't happy. The bills kept coming and I continued working admin jobs, to pay what I could to student loan. Then I decided I'd had enough of admin work, and went back to a Master's program. I had a career counselor at the time, and in the end, I wish I hadn't used her services... she encouraged me to continue with the MLIS program, but my heart became increasingly not into the major. I was now in debt for about $50k and only halfway through the program. I decided to just plug on, and finish, and now I'm $90k in debt, for a fairly defunct line of study and work. I think I was in a panic for a long time, wanting out of admin work. And now, with huge student loan payments coming due, guess where I am? Back in admin work, and this time for much much longer. Feels like a prison sentence of sorts. I'm trying to keep positive, and I will pay what I can, but I fear for all of us lower middle income educated people who have nowhere to turn. In some ways, I wish I had learned a technical trade, and just satisfied my academic thirst on my own, without a college sticker price. When will the government realize that in order to compete on a world economic with an educated citizenry, quality education mandates student loan reform. Otherwise, the result will be increased civil unrest and governmental liability.

Melissa  May 4, 2015  Bay Area, CA

I just turned 47, and feel like I have made a huge mistake with my education. I have a Master's degree in Library and Information Science, and although many people said that this degree was not very useful, my love of research and academic spurred me on. When I rec'd my first Bachelor's degree, I was able to study abroad on a student loan, which was a life changing positive experience for me. I don't regret it at all, even though it left me with $21,000 in debt. When I returned to the states, I graduated and my Bachelor's degree was enough to land me an administrative job. Paid okay, but I wasn't happy. The bills kept coming and I continued working admin jobs, to pay what I could to student loan. Then I decided I'd had enough of admin work, and went back to a Master's program. I had a career counselor at the time, and in the end, I wish I hadn't used her services... she encouraged me to continue with the MLIS program, but my heart became increasingly not into the major. I was now in debt for about $50k and only halfway through the program. I decided to just plug on, and finish, and now I'm $90k in debt, for a fairly defunct line of study and work. I think I was in a panic for a long time, wanting out of admin work. And now, with huge student loan payments coming due, guess where I am? Back in admin work, and this time for much much longer. Feels like a prison sentence of sorts. I'm trying to keep positive, and I will pay what I can, but I fear for all of us lower middle income educated people who have nowhere to turn. In some ways, I wish I had learned a technical trade, and just satisfied my academic thirst on my own, without a college sticker price. When will the government realize that in order to compete on a world economic with an educated citizenry, quality education mandates student loan reform. Otherwise, the result will be increased civil unrest and governmental liability.

...more
Melissa  May 4, 2015  Bay Area, CA

I have recently graduated with my Master of Social Work degree with $100,000 in student loan debt. Between my partner and I, we have nearly $200,000 in student loan debt with a daughter under the age of one. I work part time because the price of child care is completely unacceptable (that's a whole other story). My partner is a corrections officer with the State, so he makes decent money, but not enough to be able to cover a whopping $1000 a month payment to Sallie Mae (that's just his payment, not mine). I make $13.00, but only work 27 hours a week so I do not qualify for the 10 year loan repayment schedule. My IBR is $0, which sounds great, but the reality is I will end up owing nearly $500,000 in 20 years that will have to be claimed on my income taxes. Sallie Mae is determined to get their money, but I know the IRS is much scarier. It has become crippling. We cannot buy a house, we have put off the thought of having another child simply because we cannot afford one. We have even considered moving in with my parents to be able to catch up on something. My partner works at least three overtime shifts in a pay period to be able to help pay his student loan. I find it absolutely disgusting that we have loans at 6.8%, yet banks and auto companies are getting bailed out with taxpayers dollars with a .75% interest rate. This has completely ruined my future, my partners future, and it has potentially ruined my daughters future.

Kate  May 4, 2015  Michigan

I have recently graduated with my Master of Social Work degree with $100,000 in student loan debt. Between my partner and I, we have nearly $200,000 in student loan debt with a daughter under the age of one. I work part time because the price of child care is completely unacceptable (that's a whole other story). My partner is a corrections officer with the State, so he makes decent money, but not enough to be able to cover a whopping $1000 a month payment to Sallie Mae (that's just his payment, not mine). I make $13.00, but only work 27 hours a week so I do not qualify for the 10 year loan repayment schedule. My IBR is $0, which sounds great, but the reality is I will end up owing nearly $500,000 in 20 years that will have to be claimed on my income taxes. Sallie Mae is determined to get their money, but I know the IRS is much scarier. It has become crippling. We cannot buy a house, we have put off the thought of having another child simply because we cannot afford one. We have even considered moving in with my parents to be able to catch up on something. My partner works at least three overtime shifts in a pay period to be able to help pay his student loan. I find it absolutely disgusting that we have loans at 6.8%, yet banks and auto companies are getting bailed out with taxpayers dollars with a .75% interest rate. This has completely ruined my future, my partners future, and it has potentially ruined my daughters future.

Kate  May 4, 2015  Michigan

If I could use the money I am paying toward loans for housing, transportation and durable goods, I would be making a much greater contribution to the US economy. As it is, all my money goes to either bills or banks, which doesn't do very much for other Americans.

Chris  April 30, 2015  Missouri

If I could use the money I am paying toward loans for housing, transportation and durable goods, I would be making a much greater contribution to the US economy. As it is, all my money goes to either bills or banks, which doesn't do very much for other Americans.

Chris  April 30, 2015  Missouri

I recently graduated from Boston University. I'm from a middle class family, and apparently my parents "made too much money on paper" for me to receive financial aid. They never intended to assist in paying my tuition, but I was still required to put their incomes on my FAFSA form. I received VERY little aid to attend BU, a school that costs over $50,000 per year to attend. With about $200,000 in student loan debt, and a degree in the arts, there is no end in sight to paying down my loans. Now I am stuck at home, totally dependent on my parents, working full time at a very poorly paying job, and giving every single paycheck directly to Sallie Mae. I know there are many others like me out there, and something needs to be done in this country about this insane system of robbing students blind.

Kyle  April 30, 2015  Philadelphia, PA

I recently graduated from Boston University. I'm from a middle class family, and apparently my parents "made too much money on paper" for me to receive financial aid. They never intended to assist in paying my tuition, but I was still required to put their incomes on my FAFSA form. I received VERY little aid to attend BU, a school that costs over $50,000 per year to attend. With about $200,000 in student loan debt, and a degree in the arts, there is no end in sight to paying down my loans. Now I am stuck at home, totally dependent on my parents, working full time at a very poorly paying job, and giving every single paycheck directly to Sallie Mae. I know there are many others like me out there, and something needs to be done in this country about this insane system of robbing students blind.

Kyle  April 30, 2015  Philadelphia, PA

I teach GED and other subjects at a small rural Native American College. I needed to be there to teach my people so I went on to get my education. I am a single mom and I don't get paid much as a teacher. I am needed here and I do not want to quit or move. I also take care of my disabled sister. I am coming due on loans that want $5-$600 a month to pay back but I will never have that kind on money. The whole reason I needed my education was to teach here and make a difference. I have no idea what I will do because I cannot make enough to make those kinds of payment. I drive a car that is from the 90's and I do not wear fancy clothes so I don't have any where to make budget cuts. Student debt put people like me in a bad position. We are trying to help others but we end up hurting ourselves!

Bambi  April 28, 2015  Pawnee, OK

I teach GED and other subjects at a small rural Native American College. I needed to be there to teach my people so I went on to get my education. I am a single mom and I don't get paid much as a teacher. I am needed here and I do not want to quit or move. I also take care of my disabled sister. I am coming due on loans that want $5-$600 a month to pay back but I will never have that kind on money. The whole reason I needed my education was to teach here and make a difference. I have no idea what I will do because I cannot make enough to make those kinds of payment. I drive a car that is from the 90's and I do not wear fancy clothes so I don't have any where to make budget cuts. Student debt put people like me in a bad position. We are trying to help others but we end up hurting ourselves!

Bambi  April 28, 2015  Pawnee, OK

I am now approaching my 60th Birthday on May 10, 2015!
I have worked for 23 yrs for not for profit and as a single mother I got through the most challanging years financially. Or so I thought, approx 8 yrs ago I finally took the GED test and earned by GED. I went on to getting my BA in Health and Human Services and the three years ago I began a Masters Program at for Marriage and Family Therapy. I am graduating in a few short weeks!! I am very happy but I have now 118K in student loan debt. I am have health issues as well and I don't see a time I will be able to retire. I will not ever be able to pay back this hugh overwhelming loan and after working my entire life I wanted to retire and work with the disabled, veteran families and others in need of counseling who may not be able to afford it.
How will I ever be able to do this and my life will not ever be what I wanted in my later years. I have quite a few disabilities myself and yet I have to continue working to pay this hugh debt which I worry will keep me from paying my rent and other bills. What are my options - please, as a senior with disabilities I really need some help. There is alredy a $597 payment coming due by June - I need therapy - what did I do? So disappointed and distressed.

Andrea M. Santoro  April 28, 2015  Westchester, New York

I am now approaching my 60th Birthday on May 10, 2015!
I have worked for 23 yrs for not for profit and as a single mother I got through the most challanging years financially. Or so I thought, approx 8 yrs ago I finally took the GED test and earned by GED. I went on to getting my BA in Health and Human Services and the three years ago I began a Masters Program at for Marriage and Family Therapy. I am graduating in a few short weeks!! I am very happy but I have now 118K in student loan debt. I am have health issues as well and I don't see a time I will be able to retire. I will not ever be able to pay back this hugh overwhelming loan and after working my entire life I wanted to retire and work with the disabled, veteran families and others in need of counseling who may not be able to afford it.
How will I ever be able to do this and my life will not ever be what I wanted in my later years. I have quite a few disabilities myself and yet I have to continue working to pay this hugh debt which I worry will keep me from paying my rent and other bills. What are my options - please, as a senior with disabilities I really need some help. There is alredy a $597 payment coming due by June - I need therapy - what did I do? So disappointed and distressed.

Andrea M. Santoro  April 28, 2015  Westchester, New York

My husband and I both went to school at a public University. We thought that going to a public University would be cheaper in the long run but, we were wrong. I have a bachelors degree and half of a graduate degree. My husband has his bachelors and graduate degree. All in all, our student loan totals 260,000 dollars (private and federal). Our annual gross income is about 48,000 dollars. We have a baby that we can barely afford to buy nessisary things for. While our income is average for the place in which we live, our income is just enough to cover our loan payments of nearly 3,000 dollars a month. We are in desperate need of help like many other young adults struggling to pay their student loans. We only live once, and a large number of people in our generation (including my family) will never get to do the things any human should be able to do like eat,raise a family, have a decent place to live or enjoy life.

Kate  April 14, 2015  Illinois

My husband and I both went to school at a public University. We thought that going to a public University would be cheaper in the long run but, we were wrong. I have a bachelors degree and half of a graduate degree. My husband has his bachelors and graduate degree. All in all, our student loan totals 260,000 dollars (private and federal). Our annual gross income is about 48,000 dollars. We have a baby that we can barely afford to buy nessisary things for. While our income is average for the place in which we live, our income is just enough to cover our loan payments of nearly 3,000 dollars a month. We are in desperate need of help like many other young adults struggling to pay their student loans. We only live once, and a large number of people in our generation (including my family) will never get to do the things any human should be able to do like eat,raise a family, have a decent place to live or enjoy life.

Kate  April 14, 2015  Illinois

I graduated with $130K in student loans. I have a very good job that pays the bills, but it is not the career I wanted. I've put my dreams of being a professional pilot on hold, and see no easy of doing what i love for a living. If I continue to make normal payments, I will be 53 years old when my debt is paid.

Mike Beckwith  April 14, 2015  Ashburn, VA

I graduated with $130K in student loans. I have a very good job that pays the bills, but it is not the career I wanted. I've put my dreams of being a professional pilot on hold, and see no easy of doing what i love for a living. If I continue to make normal payments, I will be 53 years old when my debt is paid.

Mike Beckwith  April 14, 2015  Ashburn, VA

Upon graduation in 1989, I owed about 50k in Federal student loans. Due to times of unemployment or underemployment I now owe about 190k. I have had times of making serious payments, but it never got me ahead of any of it. The added on interest is down right criminal.

Thompson  April 12, 2015  Los Angeles

Upon graduation in 1989, I owed about 50k in Federal student loans. Due to times of unemployment or underemployment I now owe about 190k. I have had times of making serious payments, but it never got me ahead of any of it. The added on interest is down right criminal.

Thompson  April 12, 2015  Los Angeles

I owe roughly 98k. My principle amount has surpassed the amount borrowed thanks to interest, unemployment, and a career in a highly competitive and saturated job market (making it ok for employers to pay you as low as possible). My only debt is student loan and car payments.

I'm barely hanging on trying to pay my life expenses and student loans. I live in the cheapest part of town (it's not safe to be outside after dark). For a while I forewent health insurance because I couldn't afford it, held full time and a part time job to help with expenses. I live in a high cost of living city; heavily taxed.

I feel so stressed and trapped in my life, that I often wonder if I would have been better off never going to college.
By the time I pay this off I will be in my 60s. This affects my decision in having children, affects my ability to own a home...

I'm living in an invisible prison.

Amy  April 11, 2015  Los Angeles

I owe roughly 98k. My principle amount has surpassed the amount borrowed thanks to interest, unemployment, and a career in a highly competitive and saturated job market (making it ok for employers to pay you as low as possible). My only debt is student loan and car payments.

I'm barely hanging on trying to pay my life expenses and student loans. I live in the cheapest part of town (it's not safe to be outside after dark). For a while I forewent health insurance because I couldn't afford it, held full time and a part time job to help with expenses. I live in a high cost of living city; heavily taxed.

I feel so stressed and trapped in my life, that I often wonder if I would have been better off never going to college.
By the time I pay this off I will be in my 60s. This affects my decision in having children, affects my ability to own a home...

I'm living in an invisible prison.

Amy  April 11, 2015  Los Angeles

Let me just start by saying this student load debt is out of control!! I graduated college in 1997 with a BA in merchandise management. I went to a private college so my tuition was kind of high. Upon graduation I couldn’t afford my student loan payments as I was just starting out in my field. Initially I could defer with no interest but after a couple of years I had to choose a Forbearance in which I didn’t have to pay but interest still accumulated. Mind you my field was in Fashion so in order to get decent jobs I had to live in cities with a high cost of living (Boston, NYC, and San Francisco). Finally in 2004 after working very hard in my field I was able to start paying on my loans. At this point, over $30K in interest had accumulated and my monthly payment was almost $500 a month for the next 25 years. In 2014 my partner and I moved from the East Coast back to the West Coast so I quit my job to make the move. After paying on my loans for 10 years my principal balance had only gone down about $2K the rest went to interest. While looking for a job the past year I had to put my loan in Forbearance again in which over $6K in interest has accumulated. I now owe more than I did when I started paying them back 10 years ago. That’s over $70K for just a Bachelors Degree!!! I thought about getting my Master’s degree I can’t afford any additional debt. As it is I will be paying on these until I am almost 70 years old!!! There needs to be some real reform and fast!!

D Martin  April 11, 2015  Los Angeles

Let me just start by saying this student load debt is out of control!! I graduated college in 1997 with a BA in merchandise management. I went to a private college so my tuition was kind of high. Upon graduation I couldn’t afford my student loan payments as I was just starting out in my field. Initially I could defer with no interest but after a couple of years I had to choose a Forbearance in which I didn’t have to pay but interest still accumulated. Mind you my field was in Fashion so in order to get decent jobs I had to live in cities with a high cost of living (Boston, NYC, and San Francisco). Finally in 2004 after working very hard in my field I was able to start paying on my loans. At this point, over $30K in interest had accumulated and my monthly payment was almost $500 a month for the next 25 years. In 2014 my partner and I moved from the East Coast back to the West Coast so I quit my job to make the move. After paying on my loans for 10 years my principal balance had only gone down about $2K the rest went to interest. While looking for a job the past year I had to put my loan in Forbearance again in which over $6K in interest has accumulated. I now owe more than I did when I started paying them back 10 years ago. That’s over $70K for just a Bachelors Degree!!! I thought about getting my Master’s degree I can’t afford any additional debt. As it is I will be paying on these until I am almost 70 years old!!! There needs to be some real reform and fast!!

D Martin  April 11, 2015  Los Angeles

Student loans are controlling our lives and family plans. For me, it was not as bad. I did community college (best education I got) then transferred to a University. They offered night classes at reduced tuition so that I could work during the day. Downside is it took me nearly 9 years to get my Architecture Degree. Now I am paying about $565 a month in student loans. My fiance on the other hand, spent 4 years at a University for fashion marketing. She now owes $850/month on the "pay as you earn" repayment plan. The repayment plan reduced her current monthly loan payment but also increased the span of the loan and nearly doubled the overall interest. If she gets a raise or promotion she will pay more toward her loans. We both work 8:30-5:30 and spend 1½ hrs commuting per day from our one bedroom apartment between our two jobs. We can not get a mortgage together because of our debt to income ratio (only college loans and moderate car payments). Yes, in another couple years I will have my Architecture license and (hopefully) get a 20% raise and promotion but we will still be chasing our tails. I would love to start my own business one day but don't know if I can afford my loans and other debt with the initial pay cut (that's assuming I can successfully start and run a new firm at all).

We talk about starting a family after the wedding but realize it is nearly impossible without putting our child in daycare for 9-10 hours a day and still struggling to pay for that. Mom and Dad could help us babysit one or two days a week but that would only increase our commute and take time away from us to spend with our own child. The truth is, I don't see an end to this anytime soon and it is because of student loan debt. She is in a constantly stressed and now says she might not even want kids because she feels she would be depressed knowing someone else will be raising them. I am going to do everything and work every hour overtime, or pick up any side jobs I can to make it easier for her but this is no quality of life for either of us.

Don't get me wrong, we live comfortably, always have food on the table and can go out to dinner or and rent a movie occasionally but I urge young adults looking into college to seriously consider and TRULY understand the cost implications of college. Also consider what you want in life and what they are looking to achieve by going to college. It is too easy for a young adult (like me 10 years ago) to say I want to go to college and all I have to do is get a loan. Parents feel an obligation to encourage or at least not discourage their children from college. College Universities think nothing of raising tuition every year and building the biggest and best, most impressive campuses they can. No one seems to care or understand the effect it is having on this generation. I never realized what I was getting myself into. If I could do it over again, I never would have went to college. I would have joined the military or got a good union job close to home and focused on climbing the ladder or starting my own business.

CJ A  April 9, 2015  New Jersey

Student loans are controlling our lives and family plans. For me, it was not as bad. I did community college (best education I got) then transferred to a University. They offered night classes at reduced tuition so that I could work during the day. Downside is it took me nearly 9 years to get my Architecture Degree. Now I am paying about $565 a month in student loans. My fiance on the other hand, spent 4 years at a University for fashion marketing. She now owes $850/month on the "pay as you earn" repayment plan. The repayment plan reduced her current monthly loan payment but also increased the span of the loan and nearly doubled the overall interest. If she gets a raise or promotion she will pay more toward her loans. We both work 8:30-5:30 and spend 1½ hrs commuting per day from our one bedroom apartment between our two jobs. We can not get a mortgage together because of our debt to income ratio (only college loans and moderate car payments). Yes, in another couple years I will have my Architecture license and (hopefully) get a 20% raise and promotion but we will still be chasing our tails. I would love to start my own business one day but don't know if I can afford my loans and other debt with the initial pay cut (that's assuming I can successfully start and run a new firm at all).

We talk about starting a family after the wedding but realize it is nearly impossible without putting our child in daycare for 9-10 hours a day and still struggling to pay for that. Mom and Dad could help us babysit one or two days a week but that would only increase our commute and take time away from us to spend with our own child. The truth is, I don't see an end to this anytime soon and it is because of student loan debt. She is in a constantly stressed and now says she might not even want kids because she feels she would be depressed knowing someone else will be raising them.

...more
CJ A  April 9, 2015  New Jersey

OK, so I chose to take an online degree program for an Associates and then on to one for a Bachelors. Neither of them are worth anything and I continue to struggle, now more than prior since accruing massive debt.
I seem to finally get a tiny bit ahead in hopes to afford dental work I HIGHLY need. But No, my student loans want my money and I just can't seem to get anywhere. The more I put off the Dental work the more expensive it gets, and it's insane. Why should I have to settle for less Quality of Life because I tried to better myself with a couple degrees that require even more debt to be worth anything. I really need a solution before my health gets worse.

D. Larsen  April 9, 2015

OK, so I chose to take an online degree program for an Associates and then on to one for a Bachelors. Neither of them are worth anything and I continue to struggle, now more than prior since accruing massive debt.
I seem to finally get a tiny bit ahead in hopes to afford dental work I HIGHLY need. But No, my student loans want my money and I just can't seem to get anywhere. The more I put off the Dental work the more expensive it gets, and it's insane. Why should I have to settle for less Quality of Life because I tried to better myself with a couple degrees that require even more debt to be worth anything. I really need a solution before my health gets worse.

D. Larsen  April 9, 2015

Back in 09, I started college at the age of 39. I was a single father of two teens and it was time to make a little more out of myself, set an example. I ended up going to Kaplan University, yeah way too expensive, but accelerated. Working full time, keeping up with a household for three, and attending classes full time. Now still $50k in debt, I'm paying loans that I think have a ridiculous amount of interest. I fortunately work in my field, but that turns out to be a who I know situation. Everyday I see more and more people moving to this country and expect high level positions with high level pay. Most of these people didn't have to pay for their education, their country took care of it., (Correct me if I'm wrong). The US offers breaks to these people trying to start a new life. I served this country to protect the rights of everyone here, including myself. I'm 45, I don't own a house, I drive a used car and I pay student loans. Why are people born in this country paying interest on an education? I'm far from racist,(filipina girlfriend), but why am I paying for something I needed to improve and all can move here and live and go to school on my dime??! Interest is covering the government giving money away! Everyone NEEDS to be on their congress and Senate representatives to remove interest.

Steve  April 7, 2015  San Jose, Ca.

Back in 09, I started college at the age of 39. I was a single father of two teens and it was time to make a little more out of myself, set an example. I ended up going to Kaplan University, yeah way too expensive, but accelerated. Working full time, keeping up with a household for three, and attending classes full time. Now still $50k in debt, I'm paying loans that I think have a ridiculous amount of interest. I fortunately work in my field, but that turns out to be a who I know situation. Everyday I see more and more people moving to this country and expect high level positions with high level pay. Most of these people didn't have to pay for their education, their country took care of it., (Correct me if I'm wrong). The US offers breaks to these people trying to start a new life. I served this country to protect the rights of everyone here, including myself. I'm 45, I don't own a house, I drive a used car and I pay student loans. Why are people born in this country paying interest on an education? I'm far from racist,(filipina girlfriend), but why am I paying for something I needed to improve and all can move here and live and go to school on my dime??! Interest is covering the government giving money away! Everyone NEEDS to be on their congress and Senate representatives to remove interest.

Steve  April 7, 2015  San Jose, Ca.

I have a bachelors degree and 10 years later I still have a lot of debt. I chose to work in the non-profit sector because I'm an idealist and care about helping people. I do help people but I live paycheck to paycheck. I don't want to be wealthy, I just want to be debt free, save a little money, and be able to afford an occasional vacation or save up to buy a home. At this point, I think the best option is to go be homeless in Hawaii! . . . I won't do this but I am being bitter and sarcastic.

Jules  April 6, 2015  California

I have a bachelors degree and 10 years later I still have a lot of debt. I chose to work in the non-profit sector because I'm an idealist and care about helping people. I do help people but I live paycheck to paycheck. I don't want to be wealthy, I just want to be debt free, save a little money, and be able to afford an occasional vacation or save up to buy a home. At this point, I think the best option is to go be homeless in Hawaii! . . . I won't do this but I am being bitter and sarcastic.

Jules  April 6, 2015  California

Growing up it was repeatedly mentioned to me that I must go to college in order to not live in poverty like my parents. I was told over & over again that if I went to college I would get help finding a career job, get a high paying job, be successful, I would become SOMEONE. I graduated in 2010 with a Biology degree, $25,000 in debt, and found out that the science job field is extremely competitive & lacking funding for high paying jobs. The only way I have been able to work in biology is by volunteering my free time for science projects or working for low paying internships that barely pay my living expenses. There is no way I can afford to pay chunks of my loans. I have been getting through life by working housekeeping & other odd jobs that dont require a college degree. Someone I still have hope that if I go to grad school I might become more competitive in the biology job field & be able to score a higher paying job then to pay off my students loans but it seems like an oxymoron to get in more debt to pay debt. I am low income, can't afford grad school so would probably need more loans. We need help, this is not just my story, my friends who graduated from college are also going through the same struggles.

Yesenia Rivera  April 6, 2015  Eureka, California

Growing up it was repeatedly mentioned to me that I must go to college in order to not live in poverty like my parents. I was told over & over again that if I went to college I would get help finding a career job, get a high paying job, be successful, I would become SOMEONE. I graduated in 2010 with a Biology degree, $25,000 in debt, and found out that the science job field is extremely competitive & lacking funding for high paying jobs. The only way I have been able to work in biology is by volunteering my free time for science projects or working for low paying internships that barely pay my living expenses. There is no way I can afford to pay chunks of my loans. I have been getting through life by working housekeeping & other odd jobs that dont require a college degree. Someone I still have hope that if I go to grad school I might become more competitive in the biology job field & be able to score a higher paying job then to pay off my students loans but it seems like an oxymoron to get in more debt to pay debt. I am low income, can't afford grad school so would probably need more loans. We need help, this is not just my story, my friends who graduated from college are also going through the same struggles.

Yesenia Rivera  April 6, 2015  Eureka, California

I watch my debt grow even though I have never once missed a payment. I started making more money, and the loan became hungrier, asking for more and more, and no matter how much i paid when asked, the debt continues to grow, not shrink.

I would like to help the economy by spending, traveling, investing in small business and projects for social change. But my loan holder is too greedy, selfish, uncaring and unjust.

I wish I could pay every penny back at a reasonable rate, in a reasonable time frame, but instead this for profit industry stresses me out and aggravates me every time I see my balance and pay.

Diego G  April 5, 2015  NYC

I watch my debt grow even though I have never once missed a payment. I started making more money, and the loan became hungrier, asking for more and more, and no matter how much i paid when asked, the debt continues to grow, not shrink.

I would like to help the economy by spending, traveling, investing in small business and projects for social change. But my loan holder is too greedy, selfish, uncaring and unjust.

I wish I could pay every penny back at a reasonable rate, in a reasonable time frame, but instead this for profit industry stresses me out and aggravates me every time I see my balance and pay.

Diego G  April 5, 2015  NYC

The biggest regret/ mistake of my life was rushing into law school without trying to apply to more schools and get better scholarship offers. Instead I went to the first decent school I got into even though they had a steep tuition and only gave me about 10k a year in scholarship, which didn't even cover my yearly rent there. I had good grades and a pretty good LSAT score too so it kills me every day that I didn't apply to more schools. I am now close to 2 years out of law school with about $210,000 in student loan debt. I have a horrible interest rate of 7.9 for most of my loans and I do not qualify for Pay As You Earn which would be the best repayment plan for me. When I first got out of law school I took a job at a mid-sized firm paying about $65k a year. I tried to do the 10 year repayment and moved back home. I was paying $2,000 a month for that plan. After I lost my job this past Oct. I had to put my loans in deferment but I've still had to pay about $1,100 a month in interest alone! So i've been funneling all of my unemployment money towards my loans. I have been fortunate in that my boyfriend has allowed me to live rent-free while I don't have a job. But the thing is that I want to be able to afford to pay rent, save money, buy a car, and do normal things that these loans are preventing. I'm 28 and I would like to have the money to get married, have kids, travel and LIVE. My only hope right now is finding a job in public service so I can do public service loan forgiveness. Also IBR has a 25 year forgiveness I think? So that would mean I would be in my early 50's when the rest would be forgiven. It's a really criminal system they have and I hope something changes that helps us all out in my lifetime. Good luck to everyone here.

Emily  April 4, 2015  Brooklyn, NY

The biggest regret/ mistake of my life was rushing into law school without trying to apply to more schools and get better scholarship offers. Instead I went to the first decent school I got into even though they had a steep tuition and only gave me about 10k a year in scholarship, which didn't even cover my yearly rent there. I had good grades and a pretty good LSAT score too so it kills me every day that I didn't apply to more schools. I am now close to 2 years out of law school with about $210,000 in student loan debt. I have a horrible interest rate of 7.9 for most of my loans and I do not qualify for Pay As You Earn which would be the best repayment plan for me. When I first got out of law school I took a job at a mid-sized firm paying about $65k a year. I tried to do the 10 year repayment and moved back home. I was paying $2,000 a month for that plan. After I lost my job this past Oct. I had to put my loans in deferment but I've still had to pay about $1,100 a month in interest alone! So i've been funneling all of my unemployment money towards my loans. I have been fortunate in that my boyfriend has allowed me to live rent-free while I don't have a job. But the thing is that I want to be able to afford to pay rent, save money, buy a car, and do normal things that these loans are preventing. I'm 28 and I would like to have the money to get married, have kids, travel and LIVE. My only hope right now is finding a job in public service so I can do public service loan forgiveness. Also IBR has a 25 year forgiveness I think? So that would mean I would be in my early 50's when the rest would be forgiven. It's a really criminal system they have and I hope something changes that helps us all out in my lifetime.

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Emily  April 4, 2015  Brooklyn, NY

I am currently so far in debt my house payments are 11 months behind, my electric has been threatened to be turned off every month for the past 6 months and I cant seem to keep enough food in the damned house on a weekly bases. Now the stupid government who dont seem to care want me to start paying back my student loans in May at $780.67/Month. Where do they think the money is going to come from...my ass. If their is an answere please let me know. Oh and i'm a disabled veteran that feels like he's been shit on by the very country he served.'

Randy Lahnum  April 3, 2015  Coldwater, MI

I am currently so far in debt my house payments are 11 months behind, my electric has been threatened to be turned off every month for the past 6 months and I cant seem to keep enough food in the damned house on a weekly bases. Now the stupid government who dont seem to care want me to start paying back my student loans in May at $780.67/Month. Where do they think the money is going to come from...my ass. If their is an answere please let me know. Oh and i'm a disabled veteran that feels like he's been shit on by the very country he served.'

Randy Lahnum  April 3, 2015  Coldwater, MI

When I was a high school senior there was no doubt that college was necessary for any youth to be able to get a great job, doing something they were passionate about to start living the American Dream. I feel like college was the worst decision of my life. I graduated in 2011 with my bachelors from a private Boston suburb college with nearly 125,000.00 in debt. Right out of college I have continuously worked 3 jobs one full time and 2 part time in order to meet my monthly college loan payments of nearly 900. I had to move back in with my nearly retired parents after failing to afford to live on my own. Now, I don't see a future. I can't imagine buying a house or having children. I have married my student loans forever and there will never be a way to get out from under the crushing weight of those loans. Student loans can be compared to signing a contract with death himself, because maintaining this lifestyle is not living the American Dream. It's waking up and realizing that you have signed your life away, and nailed the last nail to the coffin. God bless America and its future children because I don't see a future for my generation and we sure won't be able to afford our babies and help the living costs of the elderly and disabled.

Kali C.  April 1, 2015  New Hampshire

When I was a high school senior there was no doubt that college was necessary for any youth to be able to get a great job, doing something they were passionate about to start living the American Dream. I feel like college was the worst decision of my life. I graduated in 2011 with my bachelors from a private Boston suburb college with nearly 125,000.00 in debt. Right out of college I have continuously worked 3 jobs one full time and 2 part time in order to meet my monthly college loan payments of nearly 900. I had to move back in with my nearly retired parents after failing to afford to live on my own. Now, I don't see a future. I can't imagine buying a house or having children. I have married my student loans forever and there will never be a way to get out from under the crushing weight of those loans. Student loans can be compared to signing a contract with death himself, because maintaining this lifestyle is not living the American Dream. It's waking up and realizing that you have signed your life away, and nailed the last nail to the coffin. God bless America and its future children because I don't see a future for my generation and we sure won't be able to afford our babies and help the living costs of the elderly and disabled.

Kali C.  April 1, 2015  New Hampshire

I am 22 and I just finished a 2 year hospitality diploma. I am now flat broke and over $32,000 in student debt. My dream is to travel the world and that is the whole reason I got into this tourism diploma. Ironically, this student debt is going to hold me back from travelling. It's crippling and I feel desperate and hopeless. I wish I had never gone to university. It's not worth it.

Kaitlin R  April 1, 2015  Kamloops, BC

I am 22 and I just finished a 2 year hospitality diploma. I am now flat broke and over $32,000 in student debt. My dream is to travel the world and that is the whole reason I got into this tourism diploma. Ironically, this student debt is going to hold me back from travelling. It's crippling and I feel desperate and hopeless. I wish I had never gone to university. It's not worth it.

Kaitlin R  April 1, 2015  Kamloops, BC

I went to a top public University, UC Berkeley, and it was relatively inexpensive at the time in the late 90s and early 00s. I borrowed only $17,500. However, many, many people I went to school with are stuck in low-level jobs that pay far below a middle class lifestyle. I was/am relatively lucky, in that I have been able to pay consistently on my loans since '04 and now owe less than $10,000 (at the age of almost 36), but this is clearly a huge problem for my generation - and even more so for the generation after mine! Something MUST be done. Tuition at my school has more than tripled in the 13 years since I graduated, and I'm about to tell my 11-year old son just not to bother. We are putting our young people in a TRAP, from cradle to grave. It's shameful!

Kim  March 31, 2015  California

I went to a top public University, UC Berkeley, and it was relatively inexpensive at the time in the late 90s and early 00s. I borrowed only $17,500. However, many, many people I went to school with are stuck in low-level jobs that pay far below a middle class lifestyle. I was/am relatively lucky, in that I have been able to pay consistently on my loans since '04 and now owe less than $10,000 (at the age of almost 36), but this is clearly a huge problem for my generation - and even more so for the generation after mine! Something MUST be done. Tuition at my school has more than tripled in the 13 years since I graduated, and I'm about to tell my 11-year old son just not to bother. We are putting our young people in a TRAP, from cradle to grave. It's shameful!

Kim  March 31, 2015  California

I have 26 years in Federal Service. I recently applied to Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program and was told because of my salary, the Program would not benefit me. The Programs are currently designed to help those who are just entering into the Federal Govt. I decided to pursue a degree later on in life. I know have my student loan debt combined with my daughters, who graduated in May of 2014. Is there any assistance for folks in my situation? Thanks

LaVonne Acty  March 30, 2015  Washington DC

I have 26 years in Federal Service. I recently applied to Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program and was told because of my salary, the Program would not benefit me. The Programs are currently designed to help those who are just entering into the Federal Govt. I decided to pursue a degree later on in life. I know have my student loan debt combined with my daughters, who graduated in May of 2014. Is there any assistance for folks in my situation? Thanks

LaVonne Acty  March 30, 2015  Washington DC

My name is Tiffany Ondich (formerly Tiffany O'Quin). I just read a Department of Justice article entitled: Texas-Based School Chain to Pay Government $3.7 Million for Submitting False Claims for Federal Student Financial Aid dated Thursday, August 22, 2013.

I attended ATI Career Training Center, 10003 Technology Blvd. West, Dallas, Texas 75220-4316 from January 2008 through December 2009. I earned my Associate's degree in Respiratory Therapy and graduated Magna Cum Laude.

After reading the article, my suspicions were confirmed that ATI is a fraudulent company and was scamming its students. I, along with my fellow classmates have been deceived by this company. Even though I was promised job placement upon graduation, I have not been able to find a career in my degree field. We were told by ATI employees that we would easily earn an annual salary of between $50,000 and $60,000. If I am ever granted an interview, which is rare, I am laughed at when they discover where I earned my degree. I now understand the reason why I have not been granted interviews, nor been able to find employment using my degree is because my degree is useless. ATI also assured me and my fellow classmates that our credits earned with them would be completely transferable due to their accreditation. This was again another lie among numerous lies. I have substantial student loans that are accruing interest and are in default because of my inability to pay them due to my inability to find a job. When I enrolled at ATI all I wanted was to make a better life for me and my family and now I am further in debt and worse off from where I started.

I realize that ATI was penalized for deceiving the government but I don't understand why they were not held responsible for the insurmountable debt that was incurred by so many of their students due to student loans. It is my understanding that many of their executives are living very lavish lifestyles while most of their former students are living below the poverty level. This does not seem like justice to me! I would love to be able to do something to help myself and everyone else that has been duped by ATI.

Tiffany Ondich  March 30, 2015  Fort Worth, Texas

My name is Tiffany Ondich (formerly Tiffany O'Quin). I just read a Department of Justice article entitled: Texas-Based School Chain to Pay Government $3.7 Million for Submitting False Claims for Federal Student Financial Aid dated Thursday, August 22, 2013.

I attended ATI Career Training Center, 10003 Technology Blvd. West, Dallas, Texas 75220-4316 from January 2008 through December 2009. I earned my Associate's degree in Respiratory Therapy and graduated Magna Cum Laude.

After reading the article, my suspicions were confirmed that ATI is a fraudulent company and was scamming its students. I, along with my fellow classmates have been deceived by this company. Even though I was promised job placement upon graduation, I have not been able to find a career in my degree field. We were told by ATI employees that we would easily earn an annual salary of between $50,000 and $60,000. If I am ever granted an interview, which is rare, I am laughed at when they discover where I earned my degree. I now understand the reason why I have not been granted interviews, nor been able to find employment using my degree is because my degree is useless. ATI also assured me and my fellow classmates that our credits earned with them would be completely transferable due to their accreditation. This was again another lie among numerous lies. I have substantial student loans that are accruing interest and are in default because of my inability to pay them due to my inability to find a job. When I enrolled at ATI all I wanted was to make a better life for me and my family and now I am further in debt and worse off from where I started.

I realize that ATI was penalized for deceiving the government but I don't understand why they were not held responsible for the insurmountable debt that was incurred by so many of their students due to student loans. It is my understanding that many of their executives are living very lavish lifestyles while most of their former students are living below the poverty level.

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Tiffany Ondich  March 30, 2015  Fort Worth, Texas

I am 61 years old and a single parent of a daughter in college and I work for the State of Florida as an attorney. I paid for my undergraduate and law school education and borrowed $31,000. I consolidated in the 80's at 9% interest rate. I have been paying around $500 month for over 20-25 years and still owe $20,000. One of the main reasons that I cannot retire because I still owe this student loan that seems to never go away. I have never been in default on my loan. I am not eligible for any forgiveness program (although I have already worked for state government longer that currently required for forgivess--because the program does not give older individuals credit for work already performed before consolidation into the right type of loan and before 2007). There should be some way for persons in my situation to have their loans forgiven. I have already paid back almost double what I borrowed but the principal has only reduced by 1/3 in almost 30 years. PLEASE HELP! HASN'T SALIIE MAE MADE ENOUGH MONEY ON ME? I haven't had a raise in over 7 years but I have had pay cuts. It;s time for people in my boat to be given a break. This would not be a "free ride," and some would say. Loan forgiveness is my case is what would be just and fair. I am available to appear in person if needed.

Staci Bienvenu  March 30, 2015  Tallahassee, Florida

I am 61 years old and a single parent of a daughter in college and I work for the State of Florida as an attorney. I paid for my undergraduate and law school education and borrowed $31,000. I consolidated in the 80's at 9% interest rate. I have been paying around $500 month for over 20-25 years and still owe $20,000. One of the main reasons that I cannot retire because I still owe this student loan that seems to never go away. I have never been in default on my loan. I am not eligible for any forgiveness program (although I have already worked for state government longer that currently required for forgivess--because the program does not give older individuals credit for work already performed before consolidation into the right type of loan and before 2007). There should be some way for persons in my situation to have their loans forgiven. I have already paid back almost double what I borrowed but the principal has only reduced by 1/3 in almost 30 years. PLEASE HELP! HASN'T SALIIE MAE MADE ENOUGH MONEY ON ME? I haven't had a raise in over 7 years but I have had pay cuts. It;s time for people in my boat to be given a break. This would not be a "free ride," and some would say. Loan forgiveness is my case is what would be just and fair. I am available to appear in person if needed.

Staci Bienvenu  March 30, 2015  Tallahassee, Florida

I graduated with 100k in student loan debt. With interest, the sum is now 120k. The sad thing is 70k of it is under my mom's name in PLUS loans. I do not even have a job right now, and the ones I can find pay nowhere near the amount I need to begin touching the principal of the loans. I feel guilty and I don't know what to do.

Kyle  March 28, 2015  Austin, TX

I graduated with 100k in student loan debt. With interest, the sum is now 120k. The sad thing is 70k of it is under my mom's name in PLUS loans. I do not even have a job right now, and the ones I can find pay nowhere near the amount I need to begin touching the principal of the loans. I feel guilty and I don't know what to do.

Kyle  March 28, 2015  Austin, TX

I graduated with three degrees and $90,000 in debt. I've paid $40,000 over the last 10 years, but my loan balance is now $104,000. These are federal loans, on IBR, where I am forced to pay interest-only and penalized $3000/year when the loan servicer inevitable misfiles my paperwork after tax season ends. I would not have been able to attend college without student loans, but it is a financial trap and a profit-engine for government and banks. It's not about my education or 'earning potential' which is crippled for life.

Christina  March 28, 2015

I graduated with three degrees and $90,000 in debt. I've paid $40,000 over the last 10 years, but my loan balance is now $104,000. These are federal loans, on IBR, where I am forced to pay interest-only and penalized $3000/year when the loan servicer inevitable misfiles my paperwork after tax season ends. I would not have been able to attend college without student loans, but it is a financial trap and a profit-engine for government and banks. It's not about my education or 'earning potential' which is crippled for life.

Christina  March 28, 2015

I was an excellent student. I earned a National Merit Scholarship which amounted to 5K a year back in 1987. I graduated from Vanderbilt University in four years. I thought when I started school that I wanted to be a physician, and that student loans wouldn't be a problem. I earned a degree in theatre. I went back to school four years later and earned an MFA in theatre (graduating again, on time and with honors) hoping to teach at the university level. I did teach at the university level--adjunct. This was the lowest paying job I have had--20K annually. Within five years, I had two children and my marriage ended. Now I was 50K in debt with two children and no child support. I started teaching public school--Title I schools, poverty schools. I am a public servant--my job is important and my income is very modest 45K. I have married again--my husband is also a teacher. We have two masters degrees in our home and we owe over 50K in student debt. Our combined income is 90K. I still owe 50K. I have been paying the interest on my loans for 20 years. My own children (we have three) are about to apply for college. My best advice to them is to graduate debt free.

Heather Feierabend  March 27, 2015  Baton Rouge

I was an excellent student. I earned a National Merit Scholarship which amounted to 5K a year back in 1987. I graduated from Vanderbilt University in four years. I thought when I started school that I wanted to be a physician, and that student loans wouldn't be a problem. I earned a degree in theatre. I went back to school four years later and earned an MFA in theatre (graduating again, on time and with honors) hoping to teach at the university level. I did teach at the university level--adjunct. This was the lowest paying job I have had--20K annually. Within five years, I had two children and my marriage ended. Now I was 50K in debt with two children and no child support. I started teaching public school--Title I schools, poverty schools. I am a public servant--my job is important and my income is very modest 45K. I have married again--my husband is also a teacher. We have two masters degrees in our home and we owe over 50K in student debt. Our combined income is 90K. I still owe 50K. I have been paying the interest on my loans for 20 years. My own children (we have three) are about to apply for college. My best advice to them is to graduate debt free.

Heather Feierabend  March 27, 2015  Baton Rouge

I have been in a difficult position financially for about three years now. But my son elected to go to college which I fully support, however I explained to him that I was not in a good position financially and as such I could not assist much with his tuition. He understood and asked I could co-sign for his loan. I told him that I would see if they would accept me as a co-signer and I went ahead with the on line process. I was approved as a co-signer for a $40K plus loan instantly on line. Here is the kicker, my earnings for the year were $7,000, I have 0 debt, but have a recent bankruptcy on my record. How in the world do I get approved for this loan, even as a co-signer? Is there any wonder at all as to why we are in the financial crisis we are in as a country? The idiocy of student loans in so far beyond my comprehension. What are we doing to our future? Our future being the young adults looking to enter the work world and live the American Dream...

NPK  March 27, 2015  Upstate NY

I have been in a difficult position financially for about three years now. But my son elected to go to college which I fully support, however I explained to him that I was not in a good position financially and as such I could not assist much with his tuition. He understood and asked I could co-sign for his loan. I told him that I would see if they would accept me as a co-signer and I went ahead with the on line process. I was approved as a co-signer for a $40K plus loan instantly on line. Here is the kicker, my earnings for the year were $7,000, I have 0 debt, but have a recent bankruptcy on my record. How in the world do I get approved for this loan, even as a co-signer? Is there any wonder at all as to why we are in the financial crisis we are in as a country? The idiocy of student loans in so far beyond my comprehension. What are we doing to our future? Our future being the young adults looking to enter the work world and live the American Dream...

NPK  March 27, 2015  Upstate NY

I took out a Parent-Plus loan for my daughter to attend college. It was our plan that she would assume this loan once she graduated or we would share the cost of the repayment. It was a case of the "best laid plans" going awry. The year she graduated, there were very few jobs that paid anything. Also that year, I had a knee replacement surgery that ended in organ failure and an inability to keep the very demanding position I held prior to the surgery. I ended up taking an early retirement and postponing the loans with forbearances which caused them to balloon to twice their size. Now I am on a Income Driven Payment Plan, which has reduced my payments to zero for the time being. I'm very nervous that this will return to ruin me. It still hangs over my credit rating.

Linda M. Anderson  March 27, 2015  Sacramento, CA

I took out a Parent-Plus loan for my daughter to attend college. It was our plan that she would assume this loan once she graduated or we would share the cost of the repayment. It was a case of the "best laid plans" going awry. The year she graduated, there were very few jobs that paid anything. Also that year, I had a knee replacement surgery that ended in organ failure and an inability to keep the very demanding position I held prior to the surgery. I ended up taking an early retirement and postponing the loans with forbearances which caused them to balloon to twice their size. Now I am on a Income Driven Payment Plan, which has reduced my payments to zero for the time being. I'm very nervous that this will return to ruin me. It still hangs over my credit rating.

Linda M. Anderson  March 27, 2015  Sacramento, CA

When I started college I was a non-traditional age student. I worked days and went to community college in the evenings...year round. When I finished my A.A. I received a partial scholarship to complete my bachelor's degree. This time I attended school during the day and worked various jobs in the afternoon, evenings and weekends to make ends meet. I finished by B.A. in two years as Cum Laude. I had the opportunity to continue my college education and so I did. I finished my M.S. in two years and was done.

I have worked at non-profits in positions that put me "hands-on" with individuals who have physical, psychiatric and developmental challenges for the last 15 years.

Prior to going to school, and while attending school, I also worked for a myriad of different agencies and organizations that were non-profits. As a result, I don't make the "big bucks" but none-the-less do important work.
I truly think that those of us that choose to serve the community, and obviously take jobs that do not pay well, should be forgiven our loans after a certain period of time. I have been paying my student loans for approx. 14yrs. and I probably have another 10-12years left. At this rate I will be paying off my loan not much before I file for Social Security! Something needs to change!

DM WALDEN  March 27, 2015  Western Mass.

When I started college I was a non-traditional age student. I worked days and went to community college in the evenings...year round. When I finished my A.A. I received a partial scholarship to complete my bachelor's degree. This time I attended school during the day and worked various jobs in the afternoon, evenings and weekends to make ends meet. I finished by B.A. in two years as Cum Laude. I had the opportunity to continue my college education and so I did. I finished my M.S. in two years and was done.

I have worked at non-profits in positions that put me "hands-on" with individuals who have physical, psychiatric and developmental challenges for the last 15 years.

Prior to going to school, and while attending school, I also worked for a myriad of different agencies and organizations that were non-profits. As a result, I don't make the "big bucks" but none-the-less do important work.
I truly think that those of us that choose to serve the community, and obviously take jobs that do not pay well, should be forgiven our loans after a certain period of time. I have been paying my student loans for approx. 14yrs. and I probably have another 10-12years left. At this rate I will be paying off my loan not much before I file for Social Security! Something needs to change!

DM WALDEN  March 27, 2015  Western Mass.

I work in higher education and meet with students on a daily basis. Many are first gen students that come from families that fully support their education emotionally but cannot contribute money to pay for their child's college degree. My students are graduating with crushing student debt and their hopes and dreams of returning to their communities to work in the non-profit sector are going unrealized as they take jobs that will pay their student debts. We need to stop this insanity of loading debt on our future community members - the thought of purchasing homes, building a good future, and supporting their communities are all 2nd to dealing with their student debt. Something needs to change in a country that bailed out Wall Street, continues to provide tax relief to the very wealthy, but burdens our young people with debt and high interest rates with no hope of reprieve.

Jo Ann Wassenaar  March 27, 2015  Michigan

I work in higher education and meet with students on a daily basis. Many are first gen students that come from families that fully support their education emotionally but cannot contribute money to pay for their child's college degree. My students are graduating with crushing student debt and their hopes and dreams of returning to their communities to work in the non-profit sector are going unrealized as they take jobs that will pay their student debts. We need to stop this insanity of loading debt on our future community members - the thought of purchasing homes, building a good future, and supporting their communities are all 2nd to dealing with their student debt. Something needs to change in a country that bailed out Wall Street, continues to provide tax relief to the very wealthy, but burdens our young people with debt and high interest rates with no hope of reprieve.

Jo Ann Wassenaar  March 27, 2015  Michigan

I am more than $100,000 in school debt. My dream to ascertain a Ph.D in Organizational Behavior and become an Administrator in higher education is no longer viable. With my current student debt so high, I can't afford housing, a reliable car or everyday things like going out to dinner with my girlfriend. This is not the American dream, this is a nightmare. My Mom always told me getting a College degree will increase your earnings potential in the job market. This has not come to fruition. The only thing pursuing a degree in higher education has got me is: saddled in debt and stress. My dream is gone, the thing that remains is the collateral damage called school loans.

robert needles  March 27, 2015

I am more than $100,000 in school debt. My dream to ascertain a Ph.D in Organizational Behavior and become an Administrator in higher education is no longer viable. With my current student debt so high, I can't afford housing, a reliable car or everyday things like going out to dinner with my girlfriend. This is not the American dream, this is a nightmare. My Mom always told me getting a College degree will increase your earnings potential in the job market. This has not come to fruition. The only thing pursuing a degree in higher education has got me is: saddled in debt and stress. My dream is gone, the thing that remains is the collateral damage called school loans.

robert needles  March 27, 2015

My son attended the University of Louisville and obtained his Master's degree in Education. He got a federal student loan to finish his Master's. He to this day has never been able to get a teaching job. We're talking about 8 years now. Since he was just working odd jobs to keep afloat, he had no means to pay back the loan. All this time his loan was passed from creditor to creditor with the same story. A huge fee was tacked on each time. The interest kept piling up. The companies demanded a certain figure that they wanted paid each month and would not accept anything less. Since that was impossible in his job situation, he has defaulted on the loan. He is now 40 and will probably have this debt forever, prohibiting him from ever buying a home or having a decent credit record. Something must be done to stop the insanity!

Jo Anne Feldman  March 27, 2015  Louisville, KY

My son attended the University of Louisville and obtained his Master's degree in Education. He got a federal student loan to finish his Master's. He to this day has never been able to get a teaching job. We're talking about 8 years now. Since he was just working odd jobs to keep afloat, he had no means to pay back the loan. All this time his loan was passed from creditor to creditor with the same story. A huge fee was tacked on each time. The interest kept piling up. The companies demanded a certain figure that they wanted paid each month and would not accept anything less. Since that was impossible in his job situation, he has defaulted on the loan. He is now 40 and will probably have this debt forever, prohibiting him from ever buying a home or having a decent credit record. Something must be done to stop the insanity!

Jo Anne Feldman  March 27, 2015  Louisville, KY

I went to college after getting divorced and graduated in '99. When I graduated I was in debt to SL 40k. I couldn't start paying because I had young children and my husband had 2 spinal surgeries. Then I was in 2 car accidents and after 2009 I was left permanently disabled. I have applied 3 times for a disability waiver on my SL but they keep denying it over silly reasons. Now my loans are over 80k. Interest on Interest. I have to try again to get the waiver. And then I will be taxed on this amount as income. But I am living on 13.5k a year SSD. What sense does this make? This is a true story.

teri  March 27, 2015  Aurora, CO

I went to college after getting divorced and graduated in '99. When I graduated I was in debt to SL 40k. I couldn't start paying because I had young children and my husband had 2 spinal surgeries. Then I was in 2 car accidents and after 2009 I was left permanently disabled. I have applied 3 times for a disability waiver on my SL but they keep denying it over silly reasons. Now my loans are over 80k. Interest on Interest. I have to try again to get the waiver. And then I will be taxed on this amount as income. But I am living on 13.5k a year SSD. What sense does this make? This is a true story.

teri  March 27, 2015  Aurora, CO

I have always been a good student. After graduating from high school, I had my heart set on a private college in Boston. Although I graduated in three years (while working full time) and was given a $13,000 a year scholarship, I graduated from college with over $70,000 in debt. My minimum payments are about $600 a month. Since graduating in 2008, I have been working 2-3 jobs. I am currently working two full time jobs: 1 is a 9-5 in the career of my choice, and the other is at a restaurant in an effort to make ends meet. I am not a lazy person, and I understand the value of hard work, but this schedule I have had for the past 8 years is not reasonable. I feel like I signed my life away at 18, when I had no true grasp of the financial responsibility. How can I live a fulfilling life when I spend over 80 hours of week at work? Even still, I am not getting very far with paying off my monstrous loans. People can declare bankruptcy as a way out of poor financial decisions. I feel as though students are punished for pursuing higher education, with no way out.

Meredith Tansey  March 27, 2015  Boston

I have always been a good student. After graduating from high school, I had my heart set on a private college in Boston. Although I graduated in three years (while working full time) and was given a $13,000 a year scholarship, I graduated from college with over $70,000 in debt. My minimum payments are about $600 a month. Since graduating in 2008, I have been working 2-3 jobs. I am currently working two full time jobs: 1 is a 9-5 in the career of my choice, and the other is at a restaurant in an effort to make ends meet. I am not a lazy person, and I understand the value of hard work, but this schedule I have had for the past 8 years is not reasonable. I feel like I signed my life away at 18, when I had no true grasp of the financial responsibility. How can I live a fulfilling life when I spend over 80 hours of week at work? Even still, I am not getting very far with paying off my monstrous loans. People can declare bankruptcy as a way out of poor financial decisions. I feel as though students are punished for pursuing higher education, with no way out.

Meredith Tansey  March 27, 2015  Boston

I am currently paying nearly $1000/month in student loans for my daughter (as I and my husband co-signed her loans). She obtained a bachelors degree with nearly $100, 000. in student debt. Upon completion of her education, she landed a decent job, with decent benefits for which we all grateful for, but brings in just enough to pay her living expenses as she also has roommates who help with the bills. Sadly, without a college education, she would not have qualified for many decent jobs. AND so, that leaves her parents to struggle to pay for the loans, which we are. Something needs to be done. HELP!

Randi Walter  March 26, 2015  Easton, PA

I am currently paying nearly $1000/month in student loans for my daughter (as I and my husband co-signed her loans). She obtained a bachelors degree with nearly $100, 000. in student debt. Upon completion of her education, she landed a decent job, with decent benefits for which we all grateful for, but brings in just enough to pay her living expenses as she also has roommates who help with the bills. Sadly, without a college education, she would not have qualified for many decent jobs. AND so, that leaves her parents to struggle to pay for the loans, which we are. Something needs to be done. HELP!

Randi Walter  March 26, 2015  Easton, PA

I went to an engineering school for my undergrad and had about $60K in loans by the time I graduated. I knew as an engineer, I would make money! But I graduated at the worst time, and couldn't find a stable job. I worked contract positions to get more experience because everyone wanted 5-10 years of experience or a masters degree. So I decided to go for the masters! After another $50K in student loans, I graduated with 2 masters, and my total with capitalized interest was $117k ($44K was subsidized and the rest was unsub)! I was fortunate enough to lock in a low rate of 2.5% on my loans. But I still wasn't making a whole lot of money to afford daily expenses (rent, food, car, etc.) and pay off the loan in 10 years. I have changed my payment plan so many times, trying my best to at least pay the interest, but I most times I wasn't always able to do that. None the less, I have always made some type of payment. My loans have never been in default. I have been fortunate enough to buy a house and car, and still pay something. I have been making payments for almost the last 10 years, totaling a little over $31K, and guess how much I owe today??? Any guesses?? $117k still!!!!! How can I ever expect to pay off my loans if all it does is cover the interest, and the interest keeps capitalizing? I am currently on a IB repayment plan, but I don't see an end in sight!! If I'm lucky, I will have my loans forgiven after 20 more years, but who knows how much I will actually have paid by then! I feel like I am going to die still owing on my student loans. Something needs to change! How come the banks and auto industries can have a bailout, but I can't?? I mean, come on! I have paid $31K and still owe the same amount as when I first started paying? Where is the logic in this?

R. M. A.  March 26, 2015  Chicago, IL

I went to an engineering school for my undergrad and had about $60K in loans by the time I graduated. I knew as an engineer, I would make money! But I graduated at the worst time, and couldn't find a stable job. I worked contract positions to get more experience because everyone wanted 5-10 years of experience or a masters degree. So I decided to go for the masters! After another $50K in student loans, I graduated with 2 masters, and my total with capitalized interest was $117k ($44K was subsidized and the rest was unsub)! I was fortunate enough to lock in a low rate of 2.5% on my loans. But I still wasn't making a whole lot of money to afford daily expenses (rent, food, car, etc.) and pay off the loan in 10 years. I have changed my payment plan so many times, trying my best to at least pay the interest, but I most times I wasn't always able to do that. None the less, I have always made some type of payment. My loans have never been in default. I have been fortunate enough to buy a house and car, and still pay something. I have been making payments for almost the last 10 years, totaling a little over $31K, and guess how much I owe today??? Any guesses?? $117k still!!!!! How can I ever expect to pay off my loans if all it does is cover the interest, and the interest keeps capitalizing? I am currently on a IB repayment plan, but I don't see an end in sight!! If I'm lucky, I will have my loans forgiven after 20 more years, but who knows how much I will actually have paid by then! I feel like I am going to die still owing on my student loans. Something needs to change! How come the banks and auto industries can have a bailout, but I can't?? I mean, come on! I have paid $31K and still owe the same amount as when I first started paying? Where is the logic in this?

R. M. A.  March 26, 2015  Chicago, IL

I grew up on the reservation my entire life, with my family always supporting my decision to get my education as I would be the first to graduate from my lil family. Unfortunately, we didn't have the money to help with schooling so I applied for scholarships and it still wasn't enough, so I had to take out school loans. I am now a Social Worker, with two children and my husband is a Social Worker and with our salary being in the helping profession we don't make alot, and so we have to pay $800.00 a month on our school loans and thats with Income based payments, so we pay more for our school loans then we pay for our truck loan, phone bill, and electricity combined. We can't keep affording to pay this much, but its the only way to maintain our eligibility for 10 years forgiveness due to our employment field. I could use this money for saving my childrens education so they won't end up in debt. Please support the Forgive student loan debt to stimulate the economy.

Desirae Bear Eagle  March 26, 2015  WA

I grew up on the reservation my entire life, with my family always supporting my decision to get my education as I would be the first to graduate from my lil family. Unfortunately, we didn't have the money to help with schooling so I applied for scholarships and it still wasn't enough, so I had to take out school loans. I am now a Social Worker, with two children and my husband is a Social Worker and with our salary being in the helping profession we don't make alot, and so we have to pay $800.00 a month on our school loans and thats with Income based payments, so we pay more for our school loans then we pay for our truck loan, phone bill, and electricity combined. We can't keep affording to pay this much, but its the only way to maintain our eligibility for 10 years forgiveness due to our employment field. I could use this money for saving my childrens education so they won't end up in debt. Please support the Forgive student loan debt to stimulate the economy.

Desirae Bear Eagle  March 26, 2015  WA

I am one of millions who have a huge student loan debt now with deferments and forbearances, but the interest keeps mounting. I am in a financial hardship where I can barely make ends meet. Trying to keep a roof over my head, food in my mouth and the bare essentials to live. I stay stressed out on a continue basis trying to figure out how I can even BEGIN to start paying these loans back. This is my story

Michelle Clayton  March 26, 2015  Pittsburgh PA

I am one of millions who have a huge student loan debt now with deferments and forbearances, but the interest keeps mounting. I am in a financial hardship where I can barely make ends meet. Trying to keep a roof over my head, food in my mouth and the bare essentials to live. I stay stressed out on a continue basis trying to figure out how I can even BEGIN to start paying these loans back. This is my story

Michelle Clayton  March 26, 2015  Pittsburgh PA

I graduated from medical school with $450,000 in student loan debt and over the past 2 years it has climbed to $507,000 with an interest of $42,000 per year. I make $49,000 per year and work 60-80hrs per week while supporting a family. I can't afford to make even a small payment on my loans. By the time I can start seriously paying on my student loans they will be almost $600,000. I have spent the majority of my adult life in school making no money, not saving for retirement or my daughters college education. I will die in debt on my student loans. Tyson

Tyson Adams60-80  March 20, 2015  Redding,ca

I graduated from medical school with $450,000 in student loan debt and over the past 2 years it has climbed to $507,000 with an interest of $42,000 per year. I make $49,000 per year and work 60-80hrs per week while supporting a family. I can't afford to make even a small payment on my loans. By the time I can start seriously paying on my student loans they will be almost $600,000. I have spent the majority of my adult life in school making no money, not saving for retirement or my daughters college education. I will die in debt on my student loans. Tyson

Tyson Adams60-80  March 20, 2015  Redding,ca

I'm a parent whose child owes $3,000 in student loan debt - thankfully! As a gift I am paying off her loan.

HOWEVER, in conversations with co-workers that are in their 30's I am
stunned at the amount of student loan debt plus 6.75% interest rate they
are required to pay. These are responsible young people who want to
pay back their loans. $700 a month?! Impossible!!!---and with interest the
loans could increases $20,000 or more.

They can't purchase homes, don't drive new cars and are becoming part of the working poor. And yes, they have researched all the ways to defer, etc. their loans - to no avail.

Please tell me how I can help - and, if I am lucky to receive a financial win- fall, I will gladly help them!

Consuelo Hernandez  March 20, 2015  Wisconsin

I'm a parent whose child owes $3,000 in student loan debt - thankfully! As a gift I am paying off her loan.

HOWEVER, in conversations with co-workers that are in their 30's I am
stunned at the amount of student loan debt plus 6.75% interest rate they
are required to pay. These are responsible young people who want to
pay back their loans. $700 a month?! Impossible!!!---and with interest the
loans could increases $20,000 or more.

They can't purchase homes, don't drive new cars and are becoming part of the working poor. And yes, they have researched all the ways to defer, etc. their loans - to no avail.

Please tell me how I can help - and, if I am lucky to receive a financial win- fall, I will gladly help them!

Consuelo Hernandez  March 20, 2015  Wisconsin

I started out at a community college and worked my way up through graduate school to become a social worker. I knew I would not make a lot of money in the field I chose but I never expected to struggle to pay bills as much as I do. Public service loan forgiveness programs exsist but more of these jobs are going to private companies that do not meet the criteria for forgiveness programs. I graduated in 2010 with 63k in student loan debt and now, due to interest, it has ballooned to 75k. I have been paying under an IBR plan and the amount I owe just keeps growing and growing. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. Looking back on my education, I often wonder why I even bothered. I thought that as a single mother, I would be a positive role model to my son by going to college (being the first in the whole family to do so as well) but the only model I have been is a model for debt.

Sharon H.  March 20, 2015  Illinois

I started out at a community college and worked my way up through graduate school to become a social worker. I knew I would not make a lot of money in the field I chose but I never expected to struggle to pay bills as much as I do. Public service loan forgiveness programs exsist but more of these jobs are going to private companies that do not meet the criteria for forgiveness programs. I graduated in 2010 with 63k in student loan debt and now, due to interest, it has ballooned to 75k. I have been paying under an IBR plan and the amount I owe just keeps growing and growing. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. Looking back on my education, I often wonder why I even bothered. I thought that as a single mother, I would be a positive role model to my son by going to college (being the first in the whole family to do so as well) but the only model I have been is a model for debt.

Sharon H.  March 20, 2015  Illinois

I graduated HS in 2002 with the belief that the only option for my future was to attend college or flip burgers. My parents both attended a 4 year university, but never finished. I grew up lower middle class and both my parents worked several jobs just to make ends meet. We had no idea at all about how college finances worked or that other payment options existed. As a result, we took out multiple loans (federal and private). Throughout the next few years, I began to discover there was something "wrong" with me and I went from being an Honors, straight A student, to getting kicked out of college. Eventually, after several more years of therapy and hospital visits, I was diagnosed with a mental disorder. I received treatment and am now recovered and healthy. I returned to school as a promise to myself to finish what I started. I am now a straight A full time student and a new mom. However, I took out loans again (this time only federal). My parents had graciously made payments on my past loans. However, they stopped and the calls of harassment have started again. I tried to talk to several representatives, but they were mean, rude, and even asked me to borrow money from friends or relatives to make payments. I am a year away from my dream of graduating. Regretfully, I am now just researching this financial aid system and am absolutely terrified as now not only am I screwed, but my 10 month old child will suffer the consequences as well. I was so focused on getting healthy and achieving my goals, I didn't understand the rest until now. I am over 80,000 (that I know of) in debt from student loans. I have never owned a credit card and all of my hospital bills are all paid off. There has got to be some kind of solution out there? I am terrified for our future. If my student loan debt was forgiven, I would have a fresh start for my family, and would, most certainly, educate myself more thoroughly. I want my son to be able to have a childhood that wasn't burdened by my mistakes, and hope for a future where if he works hard, he can be and do whatever he dreams. Where is the solution?

Rebecca H  March 17, 2015  Michigan

I graduated HS in 2002 with the belief that the only option for my future was to attend college or flip burgers. My parents both attended a 4 year university, but never finished. I grew up lower middle class and both my parents worked several jobs just to make ends meet. We had no idea at all about how college finances worked or that other payment options existed. As a result, we took out multiple loans (federal and private). Throughout the next few years, I began to discover there was something "wrong" with me and I went from being an Honors, straight A student, to getting kicked out of college. Eventually, after several more years of therapy and hospital visits, I was diagnosed with a mental disorder. I received treatment and am now recovered and healthy. I returned to school as a promise to myself to finish what I started. I am now a straight A full time student and a new mom. However, I took out loans again (this time only federal). My parents had graciously made payments on my past loans. However, they stopped and the calls of harassment have started again. I tried to talk to several representatives, but they were mean, rude, and even asked me to borrow money from friends or relatives to make payments. I am a year away from my dream of graduating. Regretfully, I am now just researching this financial aid system and am absolutely terrified as now not only am I screwed, but my 10 month old child will suffer the consequences as well. I was so focused on getting healthy and achieving my goals, I didn't understand the rest until now. I am over 80,000 (that I know of) in debt from student loans. I have never owned a credit card and all of my hospital bills are all paid off. There has got to be some kind of solution out there? I am terrified for our future. If my student loan debt was forgiven, I would have a fresh start for my family, and would, most certainly, educate myself more thoroughly.

...more
Rebecca H  March 17, 2015  Michigan

My story is not much different from the others posted here. My interest is so high that I can recall one incident when of my payment of $603, $400 went to interest! I've been in repayment since 2010. I applied for one six month forbearance in 2010, due to unemployment and I was given two bills that totaled over $3,000 just for interest!! I had two weeks to come up with the money, so I put it on a credit card that is now maxed out! I'm sick of being a victim of the system that allows tens of thousand of predatory high interest loans to be lent to millions of 18 year olds that have no financial history. If that same teen would've applied for a home or car loan they would've been undeniably denied. Why is the huge student loan lender gorilla allowed to crush students that are trying to lead a decent and honest life? I'm outraged. We were all led to believe we were doing what's right and how we're making the most important financial investment of our lives. What's with interest being collected from the time a freshman takes out a loan? How is this even legal? This country is supposed to help it's citizens so we're empowered and capable of making this a great country. Why is there no hesitation to give billions to other nations in foreign aid, yet when it comes to higher education, there is no money to make it affordable for all. Schooling should be free for all as long as the appropriate GPA is upheld. I encourage everyone reading this to write to your senators, representatives and the Dept. of Education, and write often, until they hear that we're fed up with being trapped. Please act and do whatever you can, we all need to do something to make this problem go away.

Jennifer M  March 16, 2015

My story is not much different from the others posted here. My interest is so high that I can recall one incident when of my payment of $603, $400 went to interest! I've been in repayment since 2010. I applied for one six month forbearance in 2010, due to unemployment and I was given two bills that totaled over $3,000 just for interest!! I had two weeks to come up with the money, so I put it on a credit card that is now maxed out! I'm sick of being a victim of the system that allows tens of thousand of predatory high interest loans to be lent to millions of 18 year olds that have no financial history. If that same teen would've applied for a home or car loan they would've been undeniably denied. Why is the huge student loan lender gorilla allowed to crush students that are trying to lead a decent and honest life? I'm outraged. We were all led to believe we were doing what's right and how we're making the most important financial investment of our lives. What's with interest being collected from the time a freshman takes out a loan? How is this even legal? This country is supposed to help it's citizens so we're empowered and capable of making this a great country. Why is there no hesitation to give billions to other nations in foreign aid, yet when it comes to higher education, there is no money to make it affordable for all. Schooling should be free for all as long as the appropriate GPA is upheld. I encourage everyone reading this to write to your senators, representatives and the Dept. of Education, and write often, until they hear that we're fed up with being trapped. Please act and do whatever you can, we all need to do something to make this problem go away.

Jennifer M  March 16, 2015

I have about 100K in student loan debt. My mom is a single parent and never had much money, and I had to finance both undergrad and grad school. Without taking out loans, I would never have been able to pursue higher education. I barely have enough left over for groceries, gas, and basic living necessities after paying rent and student loans. By the time I pay off my loans, I'll be in my mid 50s. I'll never be able to buy my own home due to the lack of down payment required. I don't have children yet, and how can I plan for a family when I can barely support myself? Because I wanted to pursue higher education, I cannot afford to own a home or have a family. That is what America is doing to my generation.

Grace  March 16, 2015  San Diego

I have about 100K in student loan debt. My mom is a single parent and never had much money, and I had to finance both undergrad and grad school. Without taking out loans, I would never have been able to pursue higher education. I barely have enough left over for groceries, gas, and basic living necessities after paying rent and student loans. By the time I pay off my loans, I'll be in my mid 50s. I'll never be able to buy my own home due to the lack of down payment required. I don't have children yet, and how can I plan for a family when I can barely support myself? Because I wanted to pursue higher education, I cannot afford to own a home or have a family. That is what America is doing to my generation.

Grace  March 16, 2015  San Diego

First in my family to go to college, get a masters degree but I owe over 60K because of it. Due to unemployment and underemployment I couldn't keep up with my loan payments, especially private, and ended up losing my car, credit card and I'm trying to stay afloat. Constantly looking for a higher paying job since new financial challenges sparked by my student loan debt keep showing up.

Jonathan  March 15, 2015  NYC

First in my family to go to college, get a masters degree but I owe over 60K because of it. Due to unemployment and underemployment I couldn't keep up with my loan payments, especially private, and ended up losing my car, credit card and I'm trying to stay afloat. Constantly looking for a higher paying job since new financial challenges sparked by my student loan debt keep showing up.

Jonathan  March 15, 2015  NYC

I graduated from veterinary school in 2001 with roughly $250,000 in student loans. My life has been controlled by the repayment of these loans, and I am unable to help my own children with their college expenses. I consolidated all of my student loans in to two loans and because of forbearances and deferments, the total is currently higher than the original balances .... after paying for fourteen years! If nothing changes, the company admitted that I will be paying on these loans until the day I die. I am going to struggle my whole life because I followed my dream of becoming a veterinarian. I have no problem paying back the amount I borrowed, but to pay for the rest of my life because of interest.... it is so unfair!

Margaret Siems  March 14, 2015  Huntingdon, PA

I graduated from veterinary school in 2001 with roughly $250,000 in student loans. My life has been controlled by the repayment of these loans, and I am unable to help my own children with their college expenses. I consolidated all of my student loans in to two loans and because of forbearances and deferments, the total is currently higher than the original balances .... after paying for fourteen years! If nothing changes, the company admitted that I will be paying on these loans until the day I die. I am going to struggle my whole life because I followed my dream of becoming a veterinarian. I have no problem paying back the amount I borrowed, but to pay for the rest of my life because of interest.... it is so unfair!

Margaret Siems  March 14, 2015  Huntingdon, PA

I went to a so called accredited school that gave me $29,000 in loans and has since gone out of business. I am disabled and looking for work but the job market is hard and I'm limited. My loans now are $45,000 and growing. I'll never be able to pay them off and can't get them forgiven even as an amputee which is a permanent disability.

Dave  March 14, 2015  Pennsylvania

I went to a so called accredited school that gave me $29,000 in loans and has since gone out of business. I am disabled and looking for work but the job market is hard and I'm limited. My loans now are $45,000 and growing. I'll never be able to pay them off and can't get them forgiven even as an amputee which is a permanent disability.

Dave  March 14, 2015  Pennsylvania

Coming to this country only 3 years before I started college feels like a blessing and a curse. I mean thank God I didn't come later but I wish I could've come sooner. Maybe if I had been here earlier I would've been able to focus more on school work, get into AP classes, pass my SAT's with higher grades and win scholarships. I spent my whole first semester thinking of everything I could've done better, dreaming of making it as an actor before I finished school and struggling with school work. By the end of the semester I failed one of my classes and got C's on the rest of them; I was put on school probation and a problem with financial Aid had come up because of my legal status in the US . As a US resident you are allowed to be here for two years and then you have to renew your residency for ten more years. My family had sent all the paper work to the immigration people before time was up but it got lost in the mail. That delayed our case. We did get a year extension ,though one of my grant providers wanted a copy of my resident card to prove that I was here legally. Obviously, the one I had was expired and the new one was supposed to be on it's way. They refused to accept the extension letter that authorized me to stay in this country for an extra year, in which the new resident card was supposed to come. Since the new resident card didn't come by the time my grant provider want it, one of my grants for last semester didn't go through so I ended up being almost $5000 short. I couldn't register for any classes until I paid that money and after 6 months of being unregistered for classes every borrower has to start paying what they owe. So now I'm about to start a job at McDonald's, still trying to do what I love and trying to get my life together. I'm trying to payoff what I owe as soon as possible so that I can maybe take some summer classes and trying not to disappoint everyone who believed/es in me. So wish me luck!

Rafael Lozada  March 13, 2015  New Jersey

Coming to this country only 3 years before I started college feels like a blessing and a curse. I mean thank God I didn't come later but I wish I could've come sooner. Maybe if I had been here earlier I would've been able to focus more on school work, get into AP classes, pass my SAT's with higher grades and win scholarships. I spent my whole first semester thinking of everything I could've done better, dreaming of making it as an actor before I finished school and struggling with school work. By the end of the semester I failed one of my classes and got C's on the rest of them; I was put on school probation and a problem with financial Aid had come up because of my legal status in the US . As a US resident you are allowed to be here for two years and then you have to renew your residency for ten more years. My family had sent all the paper work to the immigration people before time was up but it got lost in the mail. That delayed our case. We did get a year extension ,though one of my grant providers wanted a copy of my resident card to prove that I was here legally. Obviously, the one I had was expired and the new one was supposed to be on it's way. They refused to accept the extension letter that authorized me to stay in this country for an extra year, in which the new resident card was supposed to come. Since the new resident card didn't come by the time my grant provider want it, one of my grants for last semester didn't go through so I ended up being almost $5000 short. I couldn't register for any classes until I paid that money and after 6 months of being unregistered for classes every borrower has to start paying what they owe. So now I'm about to start a job at McDonald's, still trying to do what I love and trying to get my life together. I'm trying to payoff what I owe as soon as possible so that I can maybe take some summer classes and trying not to disappoint everyone who believed/es in me.

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Rafael Lozada  March 13, 2015  New Jersey

I finished high school in 1990, and went to Tidewater Community College the following year on my Grandfather's dime. I completed my Associates of Science degree, and decided to stick with the job I had at the time with the city instead of completing the remaining 2 years of schooling. I worked for the city for decades happily until they started doing lay-offs in late 2007, and early 2008.
I honestly did not realize how BAD OFF America had become until I was looking for employment, I had similar issues that I read here, where I applied for dozens of jobs a day, and got maybe 2 interviews a month, followed by the inevitable rejection Emails.
This went on for nearly 2 years, and I finally decided to complete my degree. HUGE MISTAKE, as all I got for my trouble, and effort was a piece of paper that says I am a college graduate, and over $50000 in debt....
I have not seen that having a Bachelors degree make ANY difference in available jobs out there, and I am seriously considering moving out of this joke of a country until we get some REAL leaders who can do some math, and fix this broken nation!!

zlloyd1  March 13, 2015  Virginia

I finished high school in 1990, and went to Tidewater Community College the following year on my Grandfather's dime. I completed my Associates of Science degree, and decided to stick with the job I had at the time with the city instead of completing the remaining 2 years of schooling. I worked for the city for decades happily until they started doing lay-offs in late 2007, and early 2008.
I honestly did not realize how BAD OFF America had become until I was looking for employment, I had similar issues that I read here, where I applied for dozens of jobs a day, and got maybe 2 interviews a month, followed by the inevitable rejection Emails.
This went on for nearly 2 years, and I finally decided to complete my degree. HUGE MISTAKE, as all I got for my trouble, and effort was a piece of paper that says I am a college graduate, and over $50000 in debt....
I have not seen that having a Bachelors degree make ANY difference in available jobs out there, and I am seriously considering moving out of this joke of a country until we get some REAL leaders who can do some math, and fix this broken nation!!

zlloyd1  March 13, 2015  Virginia

Everything imaginable has happened to me since I graduated in 1998. I couldn't afford my 25K student loan debt and pay for my family's basic needs on a teacher's salary. Forbearance was the first option offered to me. Five years later and with the 8% interest added to the original note, I still could not afford to pay the payments. I begged and pleaded for someone to help me. The Sallie Mae representative that harassed me constantly told me that I may as well not send less than $500 per month because it wouldn't even cover the interest of my loan. So I listened and did not send the money that I couldn't afford to send anyway. I heard about the forgiveness of loans for teachers who had taught at a Title I School for at least 5 years. I should have been considered in this plan, but Sallie Mae told me If I had I graduated just one semester later I would have qualified for the program, but since I graduated December of 1998, there was no way I qualified. My wages were garnished from every job, despite the embarrassment, it was cheaper for me to allow Sallie Mae to garnish than to pay the amount that was demanded from the bill collectors. In 2005 I declared bankruptcy due to so much debt from just surviving as a single mother without child support. I worked all the time with second jobs, babysitting, summer jobs, making and selling jewelry at flea markets and craft shows, whatever I could do to scratch out a living. Always, always needing that money that was garnished. I was always researching trying to find a solution to getting rid of my debt and/or get into a satisfactory repayment plan. It wasn't until last year I was able to get out of mandatory garnishment and into a reasonable plan of repayment that would allow me to also live. This is the short story. I also don't know when or if the rug is going to be pulled from under this repayment schedule. It is a noose around my neck choking the life out of me. My nephew who graduated later and borrowed more money than me had his entire loan forgiven. I believe that I deserve to have a house and new car just like every highly educated American does.

Susan Newberry  March 11, 2015  Pryor, Oklahoma

Everything imaginable has happened to me since I graduated in 1998. I couldn't afford my 25K student loan debt and pay for my family's basic needs on a teacher's salary. Forbearance was the first option offered to me. Five years later and with the 8% interest added to the original note, I still could not afford to pay the payments. I begged and pleaded for someone to help me. The Sallie Mae representative that harassed me constantly told me that I may as well not send less than $500 per month because it wouldn't even cover the interest of my loan. So I listened and did not send the money that I couldn't afford to send anyway. I heard about the forgiveness of loans for teachers who had taught at a Title I School for at least 5 years. I should have been considered in this plan, but Sallie Mae told me If I had I graduated just one semester later I would have qualified for the program, but since I graduated December of 1998, there was no way I qualified. My wages were garnished from every job, despite the embarrassment, it was cheaper for me to allow Sallie Mae to garnish than to pay the amount that was demanded from the bill collectors. In 2005 I declared bankruptcy due to so much debt from just surviving as a single mother without child support. I worked all the time with second jobs, babysitting, summer jobs, making and selling jewelry at flea markets and craft shows, whatever I could do to scratch out a living. Always, always needing that money that was garnished. I was always researching trying to find a solution to getting rid of my debt and/or get into a satisfactory repayment plan. It wasn't until last year I was able to get out of mandatory garnishment and into a reasonable plan of repayment that would allow me to also live. This is the short story. I also don't know when or if the rug is going to be pulled from under this repayment schedule. It is a noose around my neck choking the life out of me.

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Susan Newberry  March 11, 2015  Pryor, Oklahoma

I came from a broken family. My sister and I were in foster care for two and a half years when we were younger. My dad a drunk, work construction and would be working as often as not. My mother cleans houses and was the glue that keep us together. We lived on less than $30,000 a year, so we never really had anything. when I had the chance to go to college I saw it as a way to prepare myself so I could proved for them. Got accept to my number one school, went there to play rugby. Even though it was it was out of state they said I would only pay in-state. Got there found out that was a lie, just to get me to go there. I made great friends right away so I decided to stay anyway. Everything was fine till Junior year, I was on track to graduate with a double major (history, and Philosophy) and join the peace corp. That's when I was unable to get a loan, and my parent weren't able to as well. The school let me go for another year before they throw me out for not paying. Now I have over $36,000 in student loan debt, 6,000 to federal loans and the rest I owe directly to school because I wasn't able to get a loan. My Mother had taken out one loan for $30,000. All this and no degree, also I can't transfer. So I destroyed mine along with my mothers, and sisters future. I know that there was many times that I could have change this outcome, and many people have it worst. I didn't write this for pity or sympathy, but as a cautionary tale.

Probst75  March 10, 2015  Fredericksburg

I came from a broken family. My sister and I were in foster care for two and a half years when we were younger. My dad a drunk, work construction and would be working as often as not. My mother cleans houses and was the glue that keep us together. We lived on less than $30,000 a year, so we never really had anything. when I had the chance to go to college I saw it as a way to prepare myself so I could proved for them. Got accept to my number one school, went there to play rugby. Even though it was it was out of state they said I would only pay in-state. Got there found out that was a lie, just to get me to go there. I made great friends right away so I decided to stay anyway. Everything was fine till Junior year, I was on track to graduate with a double major (history, and Philosophy) and join the peace corp. That's when I was unable to get a loan, and my parent weren't able to as well. The school let me go for another year before they throw me out for not paying. Now I have over $36,000 in student loan debt, 6,000 to federal loans and the rest I owe directly to school because I wasn't able to get a loan. My Mother had taken out one loan for $30,000. All this and no degree, also I can't transfer. So I destroyed mine along with my mothers, and sisters future. I know that there was many times that I could have change this outcome, and many people have it worst. I didn't write this for pity or sympathy, but as a cautionary tale.

Probst75  March 10, 2015  Fredericksburg

After my divorce I went back to school to get my BSN. I was a LPN for many years and lived a comfortable life. I graduated in 2010 with my BSN and thought my debt would off set my new earnings. I was fed a lie my entire life. Now in my 50s, my debt is crippling me, like so many other graduates during this time. My income actually went down after graduating and my debt is $556./month. Sallie Mae and her buddies now own me for life. I looked into IBR but at my age, it's not going to help me. Why would I prolong my debt until I die or soon to die. For what? All because LPNs are phased out and I had no choice if I wanted to keep my career but to go back to school?
Fast forward 5 years after graduation. I have never been late or missed a payment on my loans, yet last year I only broke even with my capitalized interest. My interest paid was the same as my payments. This is a nightmare with no time to free myself from debt bondage.
Now I have changed every aspect of my life. I have not had a vacation, I make cheap meals at home, and I don't even have TV access. I live on an extremely strict budget with no room for those pesky dental procedures my insurance doesn't pay. I buy only 2nd hand clothing for my so called professional job, and I will cancel my cell as soon as my contract expires this year.
This is not living! This is debt prison. This is certainly not what a college degree is supposed to look like.
While in college, I worked 2 part-time jobs and tried my best to pay the bills while supporting my daughter 100%.
My plan is to make my budget even tighter, save a few dollars, and put every last cent on this loan. Maybe by the time I am on social security I will have it paid off.

Colleen W  March 8, 2015  Ann Arbor, MI

After my divorce I went back to school to get my BSN. I was a LPN for many years and lived a comfortable life. I graduated in 2010 with my BSN and thought my debt would off set my new earnings. I was fed a lie my entire life. Now in my 50s, my debt is crippling me, like so many other graduates during this time. My income actually went down after graduating and my debt is $556./month. Sallie Mae and her buddies now own me for life. I looked into IBR but at my age, it's not going to help me. Why would I prolong my debt until I die or soon to die. For what? All because LPNs are phased out and I had no choice if I wanted to keep my career but to go back to school?
Fast forward 5 years after graduation. I have never been late or missed a payment on my loans, yet last year I only broke even with my capitalized interest. My interest paid was the same as my payments. This is a nightmare with no time to free myself from debt bondage.
Now I have changed every aspect of my life. I have not had a vacation, I make cheap meals at home, and I don't even have TV access. I live on an extremely strict budget with no room for those pesky dental procedures my insurance doesn't pay. I buy only 2nd hand clothing for my so called professional job, and I will cancel my cell as soon as my contract expires this year.
This is not living! This is debt prison. This is certainly not what a college degree is supposed to look like.
While in college, I worked 2 part-time jobs and tried my best to pay the bills while supporting my daughter 100%.
My plan is to make my budget even tighter, save a few dollars, and put every last cent on this loan. Maybe by the time I am on social security I will have it paid off.

Colleen W  March 8, 2015  Ann Arbor, MI

I always dreamed of a career in Aviation as my grandfather had introduced me to airplanes at a younger age than I can remember. I grew up always being taught when you start something, finish it. When I got accepted into college and began pursuing my Bachelors in Aviation Management, I was the happiest guy on earth (of course I was even happier when I met my future wife while in college too). About halfway through college, I fell into not being able to borrow enough money to pay for my year's tuition as my mother was in a bad financial situation and I did not want to burden her with debt. I opted to borrow from a private student loan lender and unfortunately made the decision to do it again the next year as I was bound and determined to be the first college graduate of my family. I then made a stupid mistake (I take full blame on this one) to buy a car since I had been driving my grandma's car through college and she needed it more and more for doctors appointments and to go to the store. This left me with a $420 car payment starting my last semester of college. That was no big deal until the grace period on my student loans ended. I have $60,000 in student loan debt and can hardly even pay my payments. I started working in my career field after graduation making $10/hr and eventually moved to another job making $12/hr but barely getting even 35 hours a week. I just started a job completely out of my degree field making a salary of about 36k and after running numbers still believe I will be struggling pretty bad. Oh and I live in my future in-laws' basement and will probably have to end up living here even after I get married this year. My student loan payments take up what I would be paying for rent and utilities. In retrospect, there are many times I sit and think "I wish I had not gone to college."

Aaron Williams  March 7, 2015  Indiana

I always dreamed of a career in Aviation as my grandfather had introduced me to airplanes at a younger age than I can remember. I grew up always being taught when you start something, finish it. When I got accepted into college and began pursuing my Bachelors in Aviation Management, I was the happiest guy on earth (of course I was even happier when I met my future wife while in college too). About halfway through college, I fell into not being able to borrow enough money to pay for my year's tuition as my mother was in a bad financial situation and I did not want to burden her with debt. I opted to borrow from a private student loan lender and unfortunately made the decision to do it again the next year as I was bound and determined to be the first college graduate of my family. I then made a stupid mistake (I take full blame on this one) to buy a car since I had been driving my grandma's car through college and she needed it more and more for doctors appointments and to go to the store. This left me with a $420 car payment starting my last semester of college. That was no big deal until the grace period on my student loans ended. I have $60,000 in student loan debt and can hardly even pay my payments. I started working in my career field after graduation making $10/hr and eventually moved to another job making $12/hr but barely getting even 35 hours a week. I just started a job completely out of my degree field making a salary of about 36k and after running numbers still believe I will be struggling pretty bad. Oh and I live in my future in-laws' basement and will probably have to end up living here even after I get married this year. My student loan payments take up what I would be paying for rent and utilities. In retrospect, there are many times I sit and think "I wish I had not gone to college."

Aaron Williams  March 7, 2015  Indiana

I am over $150k in debt from my undergraduate loans and interest that capitalized. My family was not very educated and had no idea the amounts I was asked to pay for education would not pay off in the job market. Right now I pay over $2000 a month in loans alone and last year $10,000 went towards the interest on those loans. I have a job that pays almost DOUBLE the median household income in the US and to show for it I have no car, no home, no investments and no savings. Private loan banks are unwilling to consolidate and my credit takes a hit every time I try to do that, creating a death spiral of crappy credit.

Nick Z  March 6, 2015  Silver Spring

I am over $150k in debt from my undergraduate loans and interest that capitalized. My family was not very educated and had no idea the amounts I was asked to pay for education would not pay off in the job market. Right now I pay over $2000 a month in loans alone and last year $10,000 went towards the interest on those loans. I have a job that pays almost DOUBLE the median household income in the US and to show for it I have no car, no home, no investments and no savings. Private loan banks are unwilling to consolidate and my credit takes a hit every time I try to do that, creating a death spiral of crappy credit.

Nick Z  March 6, 2015  Silver Spring

I am speechless that no one has ever answered my requests, emails, numerous pleas for help etc. How is my son and I supposed to pay $140K in student loans with a monthly payment of well over $1000!!!! Can't be done and until we invest in our own, we are never going to win or compete globally - this is sinful and I am SO ANGRY that my government hasn't done something about it OR RESPONDED TO MY NUMEROUS EMAILS AND REQUESTS!!!!!

Kathy Adkins  March 5, 2015  Rock Hill, SC

I am speechless that no one has ever answered my requests, emails, numerous pleas for help etc. How is my son and I supposed to pay $140K in student loans with a monthly payment of well over $1000!!!! Can't be done and until we invest in our own, we are never going to win or compete globally - this is sinful and I am SO ANGRY that my government hasn't done something about it OR RESPONDED TO MY NUMEROUS EMAILS AND REQUESTS!!!!!

Kathy Adkins  March 5, 2015  Rock Hill, SC

I am a divorced parent. I have never made a great deal of money, but have done my best to support my daughter. My ex-husband brought me to court to pay half of a very expensive private college out of state. Of course I want the best for my child but this was over the top. I was forced by the family court of State of CT to pay in cash the cost of what it would be to send my daughter to UCONN as an on campus student! Have you seen what UCONN's tuition is now! I made only $32,000.00 that year! I am now in my late 50's with 70,000.00 in Parent Plus student loan debt. Retire, really???

Mary  March 5, 2015  Barkhamsted

I am a divorced parent. I have never made a great deal of money, but have done my best to support my daughter. My ex-husband brought me to court to pay half of a very expensive private college out of state. Of course I want the best for my child but this was over the top. I was forced by the family court of State of CT to pay in cash the cost of what it would be to send my daughter to UCONN as an on campus student! Have you seen what UCONN's tuition is now! I made only $32,000.00 that year! I am now in my late 50's with 70,000.00 in Parent Plus student loan debt. Retire, really???

Mary  March 5, 2015  Barkhamsted

I have over $500,000 in student loan debt... What more can I say. The interest on that debt is almost $30,000 per year. I will likely never be out of debt in my lifetime. Funny thing is I'm a doctor and I wont be able to help my daughter get through school. I might never be able to retire. My student loans have been growing faster than I can pay them off. I have started a campaign to make student loan debt 100% tax deductible. I am hoping that if I can make this change I will be able to pay 1/2 my income toward this debt for about 10 to 15 years and get out from under it. If that change doesn't happen I will never pay it off.

Thanks for listening,

Dr Tyson Adams

Dr Tyson Adams  March 3, 2015  Redding,ca

I have over $500,000 in student loan debt... What more can I say. The interest on that debt is almost $30,000 per year. I will likely never be out of debt in my lifetime. Funny thing is I'm a doctor and I wont be able to help my daughter get through school. I might never be able to retire. My student loans have been growing faster than I can pay them off. I have started a campaign to make student loan debt 100% tax deductible. I am hoping that if I can make this change I will be able to pay 1/2 my income toward this debt for about 10 to 15 years and get out from under it. If that change doesn't happen I will never pay it off.

Thanks for listening,

Dr Tyson Adams

Dr Tyson Adams  March 3, 2015  Redding,ca

I entered college in 2001 when there were big promises of a world full of fulfilling careers at the end of four years of hard work. I took out loans and went to a really great university to ensure me my best career options after graduation. In 2005, jobs were scarce and pay was laugh-worthy. I worked part-time as a nanny and fell back on a certification I had earned for my part-time job during high school. It was not what I was led to believe the job market would be like after I earned my B.S.

After a couple of years I found a job in my field of study. I started 8 years ago at roughly $36,000 per year and now still only make $41,000. There is little room for upward mobility and what there is is rarely available because people above me aren't leaving jobs to retire until they absolutely have to. I have approximately $85,000 in student loan debt and approximately 30% of my take-home pay goes toward my payments. I will be done paying them off (paying the minimum, which is what I have to pay given my low income and high payments) roughly when my oldest child goes to college. How am supposed to save for his college? This is going to be a vicious cycle if nothing changes.

Lauren  March 1, 2015  illinois

I entered college in 2001 when there were big promises of a world full of fulfilling careers at the end of four years of hard work. I took out loans and went to a really great university to ensure me my best career options after graduation. In 2005, jobs were scarce and pay was laugh-worthy. I worked part-time as a nanny and fell back on a certification I had earned for my part-time job during high school. It was not what I was led to believe the job market would be like after I earned my B.S.

After a couple of years I found a job in my field of study. I started 8 years ago at roughly $36,000 per year and now still only make $41,000. There is little room for upward mobility and what there is is rarely available because people above me aren't leaving jobs to retire until they absolutely have to. I have approximately $85,000 in student loan debt and approximately 30% of my take-home pay goes toward my payments. I will be done paying them off (paying the minimum, which is what I have to pay given my low income and high payments) roughly when my oldest child goes to college. How am supposed to save for his college? This is going to be a vicious cycle if nothing changes.

Lauren  March 1, 2015  illinois

Private University of Miami, is happy to offer loans, but once you run out of credit-worthy co-signers, you can't afford to register, and finish your degree...
I'd have to take a break and go to work, and save money each year.
it's been 10 years, and i still can't save up enough from part-time Minimum wage jobs to even think of finishing my B.S. in Mathematics/Chemistry. I was duped into thinking that if i held the course, i'd work as an industry lab tech, or focus on research, teaching, or other consulting and be able to hold my own.
I'm 32 and live with my mother still. We rent out a spare room just to make ends meet. Job market in South Florida is very poor and dry, with no skilled work to be found nearby.
My Credit rating is abysmally low, so i will NOT be able to take on any more loans ever again. I'd have to find a decent full-time job and work for years before i can think of continuing. Meanwhile, i try not to let my skills get rusty, but i fear it's a sad depressing situation.
This so called path just simply does not exist. It's a deep unresolved pit, with nothing but greased ladders, or as MLK refers.... someone is stepping on my boots while 'im trying to lift myself up by them.

Neil  February 26, 2015  Miami

Private University of Miami, is happy to offer loans, but once you run out of credit-worthy co-signers, you can't afford to register, and finish your degree...
I'd have to take a break and go to work, and save money each year.
it's been 10 years, and i still can't save up enough from part-time Minimum wage jobs to even think of finishing my B.S. in Mathematics/Chemistry. I was duped into thinking that if i held the course, i'd work as an industry lab tech, or focus on research, teaching, or other consulting and be able to hold my own.
I'm 32 and live with my mother still. We rent out a spare room just to make ends meet. Job market in South Florida is very poor and dry, with no skilled work to be found nearby.
My Credit rating is abysmally low, so i will NOT be able to take on any more loans ever again. I'd have to find a decent full-time job and work for years before i can think of continuing. Meanwhile, i try not to let my skills get rusty, but i fear it's a sad depressing situation.
This so called path just simply does not exist. It's a deep unresolved pit, with nothing but greased ladders, or as MLK refers.... someone is stepping on my boots while 'im trying to lift myself up by them.

Neil  February 26, 2015  Miami

I graduated from a state university in Missouri in May 2009 with my Bachelor's degree in Communications. Growing up, my twin sister and I were always told how important it was to go to college and get a degree. Our parents always struggled to make ends meet and money was especially tight when our father went out on SSDI when we were in 5th grade. He passed away 5 years later, leaving our mom as the sole provider for us and our younger brother. We always assumed that our parents struggled financially because they did not have degrees, and therefore, were always in low wage paying jobs.

When my sister and I graduated high school in May 2005, social media wasn't what it is today. No one was talking about how bad student loan debt really is. Our family dentist actually told us student loan debt was good debt to have. I now know that there is no such thing as good debt. Our first year of college we attended a private school and there was some assistance with grants. With money we received from our father's life insurance, we were able to pay for our first year of college with only the aid of one loan each valued at about $2,500. After our freshman year of college, we decided to transfer to the state university down the street because we switched majors. This turned out to be one of our biggest life regrets but live and learn.

The state university offered few grants, and we ended up having to each borrow about $25k, most of which came from Sallie Mae. Due to my parents' filing bankruptcy when we were in 5th grade, my mother could not cosign any loans for us. She couldn't even get a Parent Plus loan which at the time we were upset about but ended up being a blessing for her. My grandfather cosigned my sister's Sallie Mae loan and my mom's friend cosigned for my Sallie Mae loan.

We worked really hard in college, but I feel like most of the classes I took the first 3.5 years of college were the same as what I took in high school. I didn't really get into the communications classes until my senior year of college. My sister and I lived in poverty while in college. We worked minimum wage jobs at fast food chains at 15 hours per week and we ate most of our food from our jobs because we didn't qualify for food stamps as full time college students. We did summer school every summer we were in college just to try to graduate on time.

After our sophomore year, we were able to obtain in-state tuition even though we live 15 minutes from the state of Missouri and did our freshman year of college in Missouri, we couldn't qualify for the in-state tuition until after we got an apartment and worked during the summer in Missouri. Once we each earned about $2k, then we qualified for the in-state tuition. This was a miracle because then we didn't need any more cosigners for the remainder of our time in college. We still borrowed loans though.

When we graduated in May 2009, the economy was at the height of the recession. The communications program didn't even offer a job fair. We moved back home to our mom's two bedroom rental and worked at a local grocery store for minimum wage. I met my fiance there and moved in with him shortly after. I didn't have a car or any money. If it weren't for him, I would not have survived.

It took me until July 2012 to find an office job that paid $12.75 an hour with monthly bonuses and benefits. Prior to getting that job, I worked in hotels, grocery stores, tempt at a call center and worked in assisted living all for minimum wage and no benefits. I was able to get my loans in deferment until they were exhausted.

Then in 2014 I was permanently laid off from my job. 5 weeks after losing my job I got a job at a durable medical equipment company full time with benefits making $10 an hour. I have a total of $60k in student loan debt and make $1.75 more than Illinois' minimum wage. I work along side people who have GEDs and high school diplomas. My monthly student loan payments are $527 per month. Of that $60k of debt, $19k of it is federal student loan debt. I have that on IBR which is somewhat manageable. I pay Sallie Mae $325 per month, and it kills me every month. It does not make sense to me to make $10 an hour and pay over $500 per month in student loans. I am no where closer to being established in a career now than I was 5.5 years ago. If it weren't for my finance, I would not have a car, food to eat, or a place to live. My sister lives with us because she cannot afford to live on her own. He pays the rent, the utilities, buys the groceries and pays for our entertainment. Everyday I am so thankful I met him because if it weren't for him, I never would be able to pay these loans. Our mom cannot help us at all. She can barely take care of her own finances.

For me the biggest problem with this debt is the high amount of low paying jobs that are out there. Every company wants to hire people with degrees, but then they want to pay them $10 an hour. Either colleges need to be free or companies need to legally pay people more money if they have a degree.

I am currently looking for a better paying job. Over the last 8 months I have applied for close to 48 jobs and cannot even get an interview. The economy is still so bad. I am thankful for the job I have right now but the pay is just so bad all I can do is throw 90% of my income to these loans. My mom's friend has made it clear that she will not pay my loan and I don't blame her. I have taken care of it the last 5.5 years and will continue to do so until it's paid off. It would be nice to have a decent paying job to make it more manageable. People have no idea how bad this is until they are in it. I have no money to save or invest in a 401k let alone go to the movies or buy a new outfit. I see people my age traveling the world, starting families and buying homes. And all I can think is that we have robbed of a good life and future. What's it going to be like when I am 50 and have no life savings because of this debt?

Abby N.  February 21, 2015  St. Louis, MO

I graduated from a state university in Missouri in May 2009 with my Bachelor's degree in Communications. Growing up, my twin sister and I were always told how important it was to go to college and get a degree. Our parents always struggled to make ends meet and money was especially tight when our father went out on SSDI when we were in 5th grade. He passed away 5 years later, leaving our mom as the sole provider for us and our younger brother. We always assumed that our parents struggled financially because they did not have degrees, and therefore, were always in low wage paying jobs.

When my sister and I graduated high school in May 2005, social media wasn't what it is today. No one was talking about how bad student loan debt really is. Our family dentist actually told us student loan debt was good debt to have. I now know that there is no such thing as good debt. Our first year of college we attended a private school and there was some assistance with grants. With money we received from our father's life insurance, we were able to pay for our first year of college with only the aid of one loan each valued at about $2,500. After our freshman year of college, we decided to transfer to the state university down the street because we switched majors. This turned out to be one of our biggest life regrets but live and learn.

The state university offered few grants, and we ended up having to each borrow about $25k, most of which came from Sallie Mae. Due to my parents' filing bankruptcy when we were in 5th grade, my mother could not cosign any loans for us. She couldn't even get a Parent Plus loan which at the time we were upset about but ended up being a blessing for her. My grandfather cosigned my sister's Sallie Mae loan and my mom's friend cosigned for my Sallie Mae loan.

We worked really hard in college, but I feel like most of the classes I took the first 3.5 years of college were the same as what I took in high school.

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Abby N.  February 21, 2015  St. Louis, MO

How securing a future, RUINED MY LIFE…..

Middle child, mid-west girl from a middle class family. My first day of college at the University of Kentucky seems like the door to a better future, a better life. I was born and raised in the south suburbs of Chicago. Neither parents went to a 4 year university, I WAS TO BE THE FIRST. Education, success, security…. Takes money…. Please sign on the dotted line. Now I look back, I was singing my financial freedom away.
Sending their first child to college, my parents were as new to the student loan game as me. They could not afford to pay for my education themselves. “You gotta spend money to make money”. Tuition, living expenses, fees, etc. To keep expenses down I worked all throughout college so I would not be burdened the rest of my life with loans. I was a dormitory admin, working 12 pm- 5 am three days a week, a front desk clerk at a gym and lastly, a clerk for an attorney. So begins, my aspiration to be an attorney. My final year of college consisted of preparing for the LSAT and applying to law school.
I got in, I was accepted to Valparaiso University Law School. I will be an associate, a federal clerk, a Supreme Court justice. The possibilities are endless! The summer before my 1L year, a meeting with counselor, “you should be a joint JD/ MBA student”. This will open so many doors for you and will add to your overall compensation potential. Just sign on the dotted line and you are in. I was beginning my MBA to secure my future. WRONG IDEA. The classes consisted of leadership and international relationships. The program was 3 semesters and by the time I figured out that this was not a good decision I had close to straight A’s and had 2 semesters to go, never give up, and always succeed. I have graduated with my MBA and was officially burnt out. The thought of another 3 years of which were guaranteed to be 3 incredibly difficult 3 years of studying, was overwhelming. I will put law school on hold and get a job.
My first day as a licensed banker with JP Morgan Chase. $37000 a year salary with a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. GO ME! A grand total, well north of $100,000 in student loans and NO idea of how to pay them off. Sadness and regret kick in. I decide to work a year pay off the minimal credit card move home with the parents to save money.
I need something to change, I need to put myself in a better situation. Law School, here I come! This will work. I decide again to do the right thing, work in the day class at night. First year, dean’s list! After 3 years of studying hard, sacrificing time with friends and family and next to no sleep, I am a JD. WHOA! The bar exam, another SUCCESS! An offer is made at a Chicago firm, you want to pay me what to work 70 hours a week!! This has to be a mistake. I then accept a non-traditional legal job (will leave the company name out). Not a bad starting salary. More than most 1st year associates make not nearly as close as BigLaw salary. It is time to work on these loans.
Medical costs, deaths, moving, $20,000 in credit card debt. No savings. I cannot breathe. When I sit and think of my financial situation, I almost pass out. I make too much to be pitied and not enough to make a dent in any of it.
WHAT!!!!!!!!!!! $55 a day has accrued in interest! I am at a total of $370,000 in student loan debt. How did this happen. That is right, I tried to do better for myself. Yes, I went to school, yes I took on the debt, it is my responsibility, I will never dispute that. The interest rates, how this is fair. The government is now making a pretty penny off me. I pay my taxes and all my bills on time but corrupt banks and other industries are not paying these interest rates. What is going on?
PAYE, not an option for me because I do not fit in that small window of opportunity. I am hoping that this year that will change. YAY. So a portion of my loans will be forgiven, but considered taxable income. I could end up having to pay an exurbanite amount in taxes. Great. I am trying my best. I did all of this schooling and took on all this debt to secure my future and not be strapped with debt the rest of my life. I make decent money and surprise surprise, my husband with only a high school degree, makes an amount pretty close to mine. Glad he never went to college.
Through all of this, which is not even close to being over, I have realized that college, yes go for it. I still believe it is incredibly important. As for continuing your education beyond that, make sure you have a full scholarship, your parents are paying for it, or you are going to a top ten school and plan on making all A’s and B’s. If you do not fall into this category, please proceed with great caution. Please take my experience as a cautionary tale, or you can end up like me………….Married, cannot afford kids or a house, with no future. Perfection.

Emily  February 20, 2015  Dallas

How securing a future, RUINED MY LIFE…..

Middle child, mid-west girl from a middle class family. My first day of college at the University of Kentucky seems like the door to a better future, a better life. I was born and raised in the south suburbs of Chicago. Neither parents went to a 4 year university, I WAS TO BE THE FIRST. Education, success, security…. Takes money…. Please sign on the dotted line. Now I look back, I was singing my financial freedom away.
Sending their first child to college, my parents were as new to the student loan game as me. They could not afford to pay for my education themselves. “You gotta spend money to make money”. Tuition, living expenses, fees, etc. To keep expenses down I worked all throughout college so I would not be burdened the rest of my life with loans. I was a dormitory admin, working 12 pm- 5 am three days a week, a front desk clerk at a gym and lastly, a clerk for an attorney. So begins, my aspiration to be an attorney. My final year of college consisted of preparing for the LSAT and applying to law school.
I got in, I was accepted to Valparaiso University Law School. I will be an associate, a federal clerk, a Supreme Court justice. The possibilities are endless! The summer before my 1L year, a meeting with counselor, “you should be a joint JD/ MBA student”. This will open so many doors for you and will add to your overall compensation potential. Just sign on the dotted line and you are in. I was beginning my MBA to secure my future. WRONG IDEA. The classes consisted of leadership and international relationships. The program was 3 semesters and by the time I figured out that this was not a good decision I had close to straight A’s and had 2 semesters to go, never give up, and always succeed. I have graduated with my MBA and was officially burnt out. The thought of another 3 years of which were guaranteed to be 3 incredibly difficult 3 years of studying,

...more
Emily  February 20, 2015  Dallas

Just to give you a little background on me, I graduated from Jenkintown High School in June 1998. After taking a year off, I went to college in hopes of gaining that higher education. I went for the next 2 years and realized that I was just not ready at that point in my life, so I entered the workforce. Not having a college degree really limited my options, but I was able to make it work for the next 8-9 years. That 8th and 9th year I started attending the Community College of Philadelphia part-time with the assistance of my employer. The timeline to complete an undergraduate degree was 11 years at the rate I was going and I realized I would be 41 at that time. Taking into account the time, effort and finance it would take to go back full-time, I made the conscience decision to go back as a full-time student to Community College of Philadelphia and then Drexel University.
The last 3+ years I have been working extraordinarily hard in order to complete my program and earn my Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration as well as working several part-time internships. I understood the financial impact I would incur during those 3+ years living on student loans, credit cards and meager wages from internships to help pay for rent, bills, and other financial responsibilities. What I did not realize is the insurmountable debt that I am facing overall and the amount I am facing each month, not only for a mortgage, bills, groceries, and other financial responsibilities, but now a hug monthly sum for all my student loans. I am not complaining about the student loans, I knew I would have those, but look at the amount I needed to borrow in order to survive and the unreasonable standard rates that not only lenders charge but our government charges in order to complete a degree in higher education.
I recently graduated in December with my BSBA in Marketing from Drexel University with just over $100k in debt. I am fortunate enough to have landed a full-time role with a company and start next week to help knock down my debt, but the unfortunate fact is that I may not be able to meet my financial responsibilities because of my monthly payments for these student loans. It is just sad that I have worked so hard and may not be able to reap those rewards because of this.
Growing up I was told that in order to be successful you needed a college degree. The facts are this…without a degree and working I had no debt whatsoever. Now with a college degree, I have over $100k in debt and little to no wiggle room to make sure I get by each month. The very thing society told me I needed, is the very thing that is shackled to me with no hopes of relief.
The reason for telling my story is with the hopes of making changes. This cannot go on. Society makes it nearly impossible for a person to succeed without a college degree and once they get that degree they have even less chance of surviving the debt. It is not a “Catch 22”, it is a system error and this system needs to be changed. My hopes are that this changes and soon in order for future students to have a fighting chance.

Daniel Feldman  February 18, 2015  Philadelphia, PA

Just to give you a little background on me, I graduated from Jenkintown High School in June 1998. After taking a year off, I went to college in hopes of gaining that higher education. I went for the next 2 years and realized that I was just not ready at that point in my life, so I entered the workforce. Not having a college degree really limited my options, but I was able to make it work for the next 8-9 years. That 8th and 9th year I started attending the Community College of Philadelphia part-time with the assistance of my employer. The timeline to complete an undergraduate degree was 11 years at the rate I was going and I realized I would be 41 at that time. Taking into account the time, effort and finance it would take to go back full-time, I made the conscience decision to go back as a full-time student to Community College of Philadelphia and then Drexel University.
The last 3+ years I have been working extraordinarily hard in order to complete my program and earn my Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration as well as working several part-time internships. I understood the financial impact I would incur during those 3+ years living on student loans, credit cards and meager wages from internships to help pay for rent, bills, and other financial responsibilities. What I did not realize is the insurmountable debt that I am facing overall and the amount I am facing each month, not only for a mortgage, bills, groceries, and other financial responsibilities, but now a hug monthly sum for all my student loans. I am not complaining about the student loans, I knew I would have those, but look at the amount I needed to borrow in order to survive and the unreasonable standard rates that not only lenders charge but our government charges in order to complete a degree in higher education.
I recently graduated in December with my BSBA in Marketing from Drexel University with just over $100k in debt. I am fortunate enough to have landed a full-time role with a company and start next week to help knock down my debt,

...more
Daniel Feldman  February 18, 2015  Philadelphia, PA

I had to work full time and go to school as that was the only way college was an option. Even though I moved out of my parents home at 18, I still had to provide their income to try and receive financial aide. They made to much to qualify but not enough for any grants. I worked full time career jobs while attending college courses in the evening. I lost my job, became divorced, lost my house and still have 1 year of college left which is not going to happen. I am 55,000 K in debt and do not even have my degree!! I cannot afford the monthly payments as I am in default and its over 450 dollars a month to bring it current. I had to go through bankruptcy and of course your loans are dismissed which I WOULD LOVE TO PAY however I cannot. Where is the help for people who tried to do the right thing in life? The ones who tried paying their debt back to society but fell onto terrible hard times. I am exhausted with this ongoing battle. Help those who are trying to help themselves!

Sarah Marie  February 17, 2015  Detroit Suburb

I had to work full time and go to school as that was the only way college was an option. Even though I moved out of my parents home at 18, I still had to provide their income to try and receive financial aide. They made to much to qualify but not enough for any grants. I worked full time career jobs while attending college courses in the evening. I lost my job, became divorced, lost my house and still have 1 year of college left which is not going to happen. I am 55,000 K in debt and do not even have my degree!! I cannot afford the monthly payments as I am in default and its over 450 dollars a month to bring it current. I had to go through bankruptcy and of course your loans are dismissed which I WOULD LOVE TO PAY however I cannot. Where is the help for people who tried to do the right thing in life? The ones who tried paying their debt back to society but fell onto terrible hard times. I am exhausted with this ongoing battle. Help those who are trying to help themselves!

Sarah Marie  February 17, 2015  Detroit Suburb

I am in debt of about $100,000. I went to school for photography in which changed into photojournalism as I learned that appealed and suited me most. After college, I was lucky to have a stringer position for a paper...I didn\\\'t get paid much at all, not even for gas - I just got paid per photo. Then a reporter position opened up and I took it.

This all sounds wonderful; I have a full-time job that pays my debt and making things work for myself with an art degree. But I am suffering several different dilemmas. Through my college experience and the experience I have in the real world, I really am unsure if journalism is right for me. I am an unusually empathetic person and hyper-aware of people and their problems. I almost feel like I should have been a counselor of some kind, or maybe even an art therapist. But that\\\'s out of the question for me now...I can\\\'t go back to school and take on more debt. And reading these testimonies of others who studied for a very well-paying in-demand job are stuck paying loans for most of their lives. It\\\'s more of a prison than an actual prison...there is no progress of the individual\\\'s life as far as gaining independence and being able to invest in things we need to live in our society; a working car, internet/computers/software, a house...I would be happy with my own apartment, but I don\\\'t know when I will see the day, unless I move up in my field and get a raise...but I would be wasting time feeling like I\\\'m half-living and not pursuing a career that is more fitting for me. I wish there was affordable or free education, because how often does everyone get it right the first time with a career? Twenty-somethings as myself are still trying to get it together and we screw up because we are still learning about ourselves...wasn\\\'t much of a chance in high school with the pressure of figuring out what you want to do, but how do you know without experience and opportunity? That happens more so in college, when you are paying for it and it\\\'s too late...it\\\'s like a maze and you keep running into walls and turning around to run into more walls, what is the solution here?

Amy  February 17, 2015

I am in debt of about $100,000. I went to school for photography in which changed into photojournalism as I learned that appealed and suited me most. After college, I was lucky to have a stringer position for a paper...I didn\\\'t get paid much at all, not even for gas - I just got paid per photo. Then a reporter position opened up and I took it.

This all sounds wonderful; I have a full-time job that pays my debt and making things work for myself with an art degree. But I am suffering several different dilemmas. Through my college experience and the experience I have in the real world, I really am unsure if journalism is right for me. I am an unusually empathetic person and hyper-aware of people and their problems. I almost feel like I should have been a counselor of some kind, or maybe even an art therapist. But that\\\'s out of the question for me now...I can\\\'t go back to school and take on more debt. And reading these testimonies of others who studied for a very well-paying in-demand job are stuck paying loans for most of their lives. It\\\'s more of a prison than an actual prison...there is no progress of the individual\\\'s life as far as gaining independence and being able to invest in things we need to live in our society; a working car, internet/computers/software, a house...I would be happy with my own apartment, but I don\\\'t know when I will see the day, unless I move up in my field and get a raise...but I would be wasting time feeling like I\\\'m half-living and not pursuing a career that is more fitting for me. I wish there was affordable or free education, because how often does everyone get it right the first time with a career? Twenty-somethings as myself are still trying to get it together and we screw up because we are still learning about ourselves...wasn\\\'t much of a chance in high school with the pressure of figuring out what you want to do, but how do you know without experience and opportunity?

...more
Amy  February 17, 2015

I struggled my way through college and graduate school for 7 years under the false belief that my hard work would pay off. I fought through an abusive relationship throughout the duration of my education, often studying in my car, in closets or where I could find to avoid the disruptive abuse. It was not easy, but I managed to graduate in 2011. I was so proud of myself for having endured and overcome so many obstacles and kept my promise to my grandfather to become the first person in our family to earn a graduate degree. Looking back, I have nothing but regret because I am one of the millions who can not find a job that pays a living wage even with a master\'s degree. I now have student loan providers who want their money back but I have nothing. I am 28 years old with a toddler and another child on the way with no job prospects and I have lost hope of every living anything close the the dream I was spoon fed as a child. I never wanted much; I simply wanted to have enough. I wanted to have enough to provide for a family and to live securely. As it stands, I am living below the poverty line and I never know from one day to the next where I will find the next dime. This is not what I had in mind when I started college. How can I teach my daughter that she needs to get an education in order to be successful when I no longer believe this is true? Without all of this debt, I could work at a minimum wage job and at least survive. However, I am overqualified for every minimum wage job and under qualified for everything else because my MA in psychology is now useless. With my student loan payments being $1000 a month, how will any job every pay enough to survive on? It seems hopeless to me. Something needs to change because I for one feel that the American dream is nothing more than an American trap!

Nichole Hall  February 16, 2015  Michigan

I struggled my way through college and graduate school for 7 years under the false belief that my hard work would pay off. I fought through an abusive relationship throughout the duration of my education, often studying in my car, in closets or where I could find to avoid the disruptive abuse. It was not easy, but I managed to graduate in 2011. I was so proud of myself for having endured and overcome so many obstacles and kept my promise to my grandfather to become the first person in our family to earn a graduate degree. Looking back, I have nothing but regret because I am one of the millions who can not find a job that pays a living wage even with a master\'s degree. I now have student loan providers who want their money back but I have nothing. I am 28 years old with a toddler and another child on the way with no job prospects and I have lost hope of every living anything close the the dream I was spoon fed as a child. I never wanted much; I simply wanted to have enough. I wanted to have enough to provide for a family and to live securely. As it stands, I am living below the poverty line and I never know from one day to the next where I will find the next dime. This is not what I had in mind when I started college. How can I teach my daughter that she needs to get an education in order to be successful when I no longer believe this is true? Without all of this debt, I could work at a minimum wage job and at least survive. However, I am overqualified for every minimum wage job and under qualified for everything else because my MA in psychology is now useless. With my student loan payments being $1000 a month, how will any job every pay enough to survive on? It seems hopeless to me. Something needs to change because I for one feel that the American dream is nothing more than an American trap!

...more
Nichole Hall  February 16, 2015  Michigan

Went to beauty school 30yrs ago, got out just to make minimum wage, which at the time was 5.50. Of course I couldn't pay my student loan, was then in a car accident and never cut hair again. I owe over $80k and will never ever be able to own anything. And like your article said I wouldn't allow my kids to go to college because we weren't poor enough for grants but not rich enough for them to go without loans. I get phone calls everyday harassing me to pay.I can barely afford to survive how am I supposed to pay off that kind of debt.

oldschool  February 14, 2015  usa

Went to beauty school 30yrs ago, got out just to make minimum wage, which at the time was 5.50. Of course I couldn't pay my student loan, was then in a car accident and never cut hair again. I owe over $80k and will never ever be able to own anything. And like your article said I wouldn't allow my kids to go to college because we weren't poor enough for grants but not rich enough for them to go without loans. I get phone calls everyday harassing me to pay.I can barely afford to survive how am I supposed to pay off that kind of debt.

oldschool  February 14, 2015  usa

If my loans were forgiven I think I'd finally rest easy. I worry about the day when I have to pay them back, as I'm only graduating this year, but I've been in and out of college since 1997. My debt isn't as high as some - I think mine is going to be around 70,000 once I finish up, however, that doesn't include interest and all. My first payment is supposed to be over 400...how am I meant to pay that and still live and support my family? My husband is disabled and my children - I have 3 all under the age of 7 - have special needs so I'm the only one that can work and support them. I've already started to freak out over how I can pay for everything. I'm already on antidepressants for my panic attacks that I suffer because everything is on my shoulders. If my loans were forgiven, I'd probably cry for a week from gratitude. Then once I cleaned myself up, I'd start putting away a little money at a time to help my kids pay for college so they don't ever experience this feeling.

Toni  February 14, 2015

If my loans were forgiven I think I'd finally rest easy. I worry about the day when I have to pay them back, as I'm only graduating this year, but I've been in and out of college since 1997. My debt isn't as high as some - I think mine is going to be around 70,000 once I finish up, however, that doesn't include interest and all. My first payment is supposed to be over 400...how am I meant to pay that and still live and support my family? My husband is disabled and my children - I have 3 all under the age of 7 - have special needs so I'm the only one that can work and support them. I've already started to freak out over how I can pay for everything. I'm already on antidepressants for my panic attacks that I suffer because everything is on my shoulders. If my loans were forgiven, I'd probably cry for a week from gratitude. Then once I cleaned myself up, I'd start putting away a little money at a time to help my kids pay for college so they don't ever experience this feeling.

Toni  February 14, 2015

It's simply this, I was ini the middle of a nasty divorce, and my oldest (of 3) son was accepted into college. Although he qualified for some scholarship funds, not enough to cover his annual fee plus books and food. I took a loan out to cover the excess. Still going through my divorce, my ex quit his job and all financial responsibilities became solely mine. I had my house foreclosed on (see Court documents), a car nearly repossessed and medical bills. To date, I have not recovered. Please help.

Gwen  February 13, 2015  Ft. Lauderdale

It's simply this, I was ini the middle of a nasty divorce, and my oldest (of 3) son was accepted into college. Although he qualified for some scholarship funds, not enough to cover his annual fee plus books and food. I took a loan out to cover the excess. Still going through my divorce, my ex quit his job and all financial responsibilities became solely mine. I had my house foreclosed on (see Court documents), a car nearly repossessed and medical bills. To date, I have not recovered. Please help.

Gwen  February 13, 2015  Ft. Lauderdale

If my student loans were forgiven I would be able to breathe a little easier. It would be one less stress and worry because I have medical problems (neurological, spine, brain) that have thrown me on my rear end. Unlike some who say they would finally be able to get medical care, my medical care became more important since my health knocked me out of the job I liked and had plans for a future at. I became a liability and a danger to myself and others around me when my health took a turn. I don't even drive very much because of my neurological conditions. Now I have mounting medical bills plus the student loans to stress over.

Judy M.  February 13, 2015

If my student loans were forgiven I would be able to breathe a little easier. It would be one less stress and worry because I have medical problems (neurological, spine, brain) that have thrown me on my rear end. Unlike some who say they would finally be able to get medical care, my medical care became more important since my health knocked me out of the job I liked and had plans for a future at. I became a liability and a danger to myself and others around me when my health took a turn. I don't even drive very much because of my neurological conditions. Now I have mounting medical bills plus the student loans to stress over.

Judy M.  February 13, 2015

If my student loan debt was forgiven, my emotional health would vastly improve due to stress relief and the ability to see possibility in my life that school once afforded me (though I can't afford the loans). I could also eventually buy a house and start working on finding a way to retire.

KD  February 12, 2015  Louisiana

If my student loan debt was forgiven, my emotional health would vastly improve due to stress relief and the ability to see possibility in my life that school once afforded me (though I can't afford the loans). I could also eventually buy a house and start working on finding a way to retire.

KD  February 12, 2015  Louisiana

If student debt was forgiven I would be able to have a wedding with my would be husband I have been with for over 10 years, we would then get a house and have a child (unable to have kids as we are stuck living with family). Life has been put on hold while time still ticks on...the nightmares and worries would go away.

jen w  February 12, 2015  nh

If student debt was forgiven I would be able to have a wedding with my would be husband I have been with for over 10 years, we would then get a house and have a child (unable to have kids as we are stuck living with family). Life has been put on hold while time still ticks on...the nightmares and worries would go away.

jen w  February 12, 2015  nh

When the economy failed in 2009, our income was reduced greatly. That was the year our daughter gratuated from Brooks Photography School. The plan was for us to split the loan she would pay half. Figuring $500 per month. but due to the financial climate, i had to defer payment. The Bank was always happy to give forbearance. all along the interest was growing. My daughter could not find work to sustain any loan payments and now I am in a bind due to less money coming in. we had to file for bankruptcy in 2010. Now just trying to keep our house, and difficulties with the bank next was super storm sandy in 2012, which left our house unlivable. in the meantime the student loan has groan to $230000. $100000 is just interest. I feel that is ridicules. I don't mind paying a loan, but she is not a doctor , for this education and it grew to this level with circumstances beyond my control. The monthly payment is impossible, like a mortgage payment. I would like someone to help me with this interest, remove some of it and the payment would be more palatable. I have no home, and this crazy loan for my daughter. Someone please help. I will retire in 5 years. then what will I do. I haven't had a raise at work in 6 years. Help!!!!!

Patricia Ward  February 8, 2015  New York

When the economy failed in 2009, our income was reduced greatly. That was the year our daughter gratuated from Brooks Photography School. The plan was for us to split the loan she would pay half. Figuring $500 per month. but due to the financial climate, i had to defer payment. The Bank was always happy to give forbearance. all along the interest was growing. My daughter could not find work to sustain any loan payments and now I am in a bind due to less money coming in. we had to file for bankruptcy in 2010. Now just trying to keep our house, and difficulties with the bank next was super storm sandy in 2012, which left our house unlivable. in the meantime the student loan has groan to $230000. $100000 is just interest. I feel that is ridicules. I don't mind paying a loan, but she is not a doctor , for this education and it grew to this level with circumstances beyond my control. The monthly payment is impossible, like a mortgage payment. I would like someone to help me with this interest, remove some of it and the payment would be more palatable. I have no home, and this crazy loan for my daughter. Someone please help. I will retire in 5 years. then what will I do. I haven't had a raise at work in 6 years. Help!!!!!

Patricia Ward  February 8, 2015  New York

I would be able to finally afford health insurance and start saving for a house. Being unemployed trashed my debt to income levels, and I would be able to get out of debt within a year or two at the most. My family would be able to see me since I would not need 3 jobs

scott  February 5, 2015  Pittsburgh

I would be able to finally afford health insurance and start saving for a house. Being unemployed trashed my debt to income levels, and I would be able to get out of debt within a year or two at the most. My family would be able to see me since I would not need 3 jobs

scott  February 5, 2015  Pittsburgh

My story is probablly one you have heard a million times before. That in itself is a problem. I went to Indiana State and graduated in 2011 after 5 years. Four of those years were paid for by Sallie Mae, with each loan at least 10% interest or higher. I borrowed more than i should have to compensate for room and board and the crime of over priced books. After college i was face with $120,000 dollars in debt when my actual cost of tuition was not even 20% of my actual debt. Not being able to find a job right away out of college, moving back with parents for a short while, will take a toll on your self confidence. Eventually i found a job, and was able to pay on my interest through the help of rate reduction plans. Worked my way up through the company and gained some experience. Now in my new position with a different company i make $38,000 before taxes. This a very good wage for small town Indiana. But with cost of rent, and student loan payments at $1200 a month i do not see any of the benefit. 58% of my take home income is going to my student loan reduction. After all that is said and done it really boils down to "earning" less than minimum wage. I went to college to better myself. Granted, i have opportunities through my degree that i wouldn't have had otherwise, but if had to do it all over again, i wouldn't.

Lew  February 5, 2015  Indiana

My story is probablly one you have heard a million times before. That in itself is a problem. I went to Indiana State and graduated in 2011 after 5 years. Four of those years were paid for by Sallie Mae, with each loan at least 10% interest or higher. I borrowed more than i should have to compensate for room and board and the crime of over priced books. After college i was face with $120,000 dollars in debt when my actual cost of tuition was not even 20% of my actual debt. Not being able to find a job right away out of college, moving back with parents for a short while, will take a toll on your self confidence. Eventually i found a job, and was able to pay on my interest through the help of rate reduction plans. Worked my way up through the company and gained some experience. Now in my new position with a different company i make $38,000 before taxes. This a very good wage for small town Indiana. But with cost of rent, and student loan payments at $1200 a month i do not see any of the benefit. 58% of my take home income is going to my student loan reduction. After all that is said and done it really boils down to "earning" less than minimum wage. I went to college to better myself. Granted, i have opportunities through my degree that i wouldn't have had otherwise, but if had to do it all over again, i wouldn't.

Lew  February 5, 2015  Indiana

I earned my natural science Ph.D. in 1984. I held a full-time job in the automated clinical chemistry and cytometry instrumentation field during my last year of study, working for one of the leading firms in the field. However, less than a year later, my position was eliminated during a mass termination that halved the staff in this firm's advanced research department in February, 1985. The firm was preparing for a leveraged buyout orchestrated by (felon) Michael Milken. In the intervening 3 decades, I have been unemployed or underemployed for at least 20 years. My modest amount of student debt necessary to complete my graduate degree has ballooned to over $60,000.00 I recognize that greedy economic elites manipulated the supply of STEM Ph.D.s via the obscure 1976 "Eilberg Amendment," which was then cited as legislative precedent for the Immigration Act of 1990, which created the controversial H-1B Visa program. My story was profiled by a number of media outlets in the 1990s. I testified twice in the U.S. House of Representatives and twice to the National Academy of Sciences regarding the harms of the H-1B Visa program. I have researched and written extensively about how these policies target the American middle class. At age 63, I hold a subsistence-level part-time position without benefits. Stacey Patton, Ph.D. wrote an article, "I fully expect to die with this debt" in the April 15, 2013 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Unless these harmful policies are reversed, sadly, this article title will apply to me.

Gene Nelson, Ph.D.  February 5, 2015  San Luis Obispo, CA

I earned my natural science Ph.D. in 1984. I held a full-time job in the automated clinical chemistry and cytometry instrumentation field during my last year of study, working for one of the leading firms in the field. However, less than a year later, my position was eliminated during a mass termination that halved the staff in this firm's advanced research department in February, 1985. The firm was preparing for a leveraged buyout orchestrated by (felon) Michael Milken. In the intervening 3 decades, I have been unemployed or underemployed for at least 20 years. My modest amount of student debt necessary to complete my graduate degree has ballooned to over $60,000.00 I recognize that greedy economic elites manipulated the supply of STEM Ph.D.s via the obscure 1976 "Eilberg Amendment," which was then cited as legislative precedent for the Immigration Act of 1990, which created the controversial H-1B Visa program. My story was profiled by a number of media outlets in the 1990s. I testified twice in the U.S. House of Representatives and twice to the National Academy of Sciences regarding the harms of the H-1B Visa program. I have researched and written extensively about how these policies target the American middle class. At age 63, I hold a subsistence-level part-time position without benefits. Stacey Patton, Ph.D. wrote an article, "I fully expect to die with this debt" in the April 15, 2013 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Unless these harmful policies are reversed, sadly, this article title will apply to me.

Gene Nelson, Ph.D.  February 5, 2015  San Luis Obispo, CA

I owe more on my student loan than I do on my house...after six years of graduate school and all that money I don't even make fifty thousand a year...my saving grace last year was the income based payment program...I hope I get it this year too...especially since I just filed bankruptcy...was all this debt work worth it??? I don't know...I wish there was more support for social workers...thanks

jeanine aubertin  February 5, 2015  frederick maryland

I owe more on my student loan than I do on my house...after six years of graduate school and all that money I don't even make fifty thousand a year...my saving grace last year was the income based payment program...I hope I get it this year too...especially since I just filed bankruptcy...was all this debt work worth it??? I don't know...I wish there was more support for social workers...thanks

jeanine aubertin  February 5, 2015  frederick maryland

If my student loans were forgiven I could invest in buying a home that I could share with my elderly mother, a simple gesture in my opinion since she and my father (who has since passed away) gave me so much while growing up. I'd also take a vacation (something I have not been able to do as a working adult who has about 200 hours of accrued vacation time that I've never really seen the point in using since I can't afford to go anywhere).

Terrance  February 4, 2015  Wisconsin

If my student loans were forgiven I could invest in buying a home that I could share with my elderly mother, a simple gesture in my opinion since she and my father (who has since passed away) gave me so much while growing up. I'd also take a vacation (something I have not been able to do as a working adult who has about 200 hours of accrued vacation time that I've never really seen the point in using since I can't afford to go anywhere).

Terrance  February 4, 2015  Wisconsin

I am an attorney and my husband is a Psychologist. Between the two of us we have around $300,000 in student loans. At the rate we're going, my loans should be paid of by the time I'm 78, I'm 33 now.

If my loans were paid off tomorrow, I would live a normal life. My husband and I would have cars that work consistently, a comfortable home, savings, retirement plan, maybe a vacation here and there, and maybe even kids. None of which we can afford now because we pay around $3,000/month in student loan payments.

Erin Schmidt  February 4, 2015  Alabama

I am an attorney and my husband is a Psychologist. Between the two of us we have around $300,000 in student loans. At the rate we're going, my loans should be paid of by the time I'm 78, I'm 33 now.

If my loans were paid off tomorrow, I would live a normal life. My husband and I would have cars that work consistently, a comfortable home, savings, retirement plan, maybe a vacation here and there, and maybe even kids. None of which we can afford now because we pay around $3,000/month in student loan payments.

Erin Schmidt  February 4, 2015  Alabama

I graduated in 2013 with over $150,000 in student loan debt. This last year has opened my eyes to this growing issue and knocked me on my ass. Thankfully, I having a supporting family and a full time job (~34k a year) so I have been able to keep my head above water, all be it barely.
I frequently ask myself how I got so far in debt, here is what I have concluded: The cost of college is extreme, the Federal government and private student loan providers determined what they could charge me. The resulting cost was simply what my parents and I had to pay if I wanted a higher education. We were both sold on the belief that it would pay off in the end. It hasn't yet and I fear that it never will.
In the end, my family and I will have to make extreme sacrifices to our personal lives and finances before I can attempt to pursue that American Dream.

Ethan  February 3, 2015  Upstate New York

I graduated in 2013 with over $150,000 in student loan debt. This last year has opened my eyes to this growing issue and knocked me on my ass. Thankfully, I having a supporting family and a full time job (~34k a year) so I have been able to keep my head above water, all be it barely.
I frequently ask myself how I got so far in debt, here is what I have concluded: The cost of college is extreme, the Federal government and private student loan providers determined what they could charge me. The resulting cost was simply what my parents and I had to pay if I wanted a higher education. We were both sold on the belief that it would pay off in the end. It hasn't yet and I fear that it never will.
In the end, my family and I will have to make extreme sacrifices to our personal lives and finances before I can attempt to pursue that American Dream.

Ethan  February 3, 2015  Upstate New York

When I entered the University of California at Berkeley in 1962 there was no tuition. There was an incidental fee for Cowell Hospital and Student Union fees of $86.50 per semester. When Ronald Reagan was elected governor of California in the 1970's, he instituted a tuition program for the first time in the University's history in spite of vociferous public opposition. As of last year direct costs were $27,386 ($12,972 tuition/$14,414 rm & board) plus bks, etc. =$32,168 per year. This is obscene! Education should be a right not the privilege of those who can afford it. As the GI Bill demonstrated, for every $1 the government invested in education after WWII, $4 were added to the US economy. Investing in our young people makes financial sense in terms of future economic growth.

Eli Hruska  February 3, 2015

When I entered the University of California at Berkeley in 1962 there was no tuition. There was an incidental fee for Cowell Hospital and Student Union fees of $86.50 per semester. When Ronald Reagan was elected governor of California in the 1970's, he instituted a tuition program for the first time in the University's history in spite of vociferous public opposition. As of last year direct costs were $27,386 ($12,972 tuition/$14,414 rm & board) plus bks, etc. =$32,168 per year. This is obscene! Education should be a right not the privilege of those who can afford it. As the GI Bill demonstrated, for every $1 the government invested in education after WWII, $4 were added to the US economy. Investing in our young people makes financial sense in terms of future economic growth.

Eli Hruska  February 3, 2015

I thought I did everything right. I went to college. Got my bachelor's degree in Business Management. Decided to give back to my community by joining Americorps right out of college for two years. Went back to graduate school to get my M.Ed. and right before finishing my Master's, I went to South Korea to teach English. What was supposed to be just a year there, turned into over 6 years and while I did delay my graduate studies, I was finally able to receive a Master's degree in Education with a specialisation in adult education and training.

The plan was to use these new credentials to teach at the college level in South Korea, but like most things, these plans changed when I met someone. She was from Canada, and I thought that this was it. I thought that she was the one for me and that we were going to start a life together in Canada, so even though she had to leave early while I finished my contract, we both decided that I would come to her and work on immigrating to Canada while living with her.

Here's where things started taking a turn for the worse for me. I had some savings, but not much since I spent a number of years aggressively paying off some of the debt that I did have. She and I both thought that the application process would last at most 6 months; however, we were shocked when after handing in our application and paying the fees, that the process would take 12-14 months. Since it's illegal for someone with my status at that time in Canada to look for work, I was unemployed for 10 months. It was devastating having to go from someone who was independent to someone who needed support from her. It put a strain on the relationship and as the months went by, I was depressed because I couldn't do anything.

Then from out of nowhere she handed me a letter while we were both in our kitchen. The letter read like a formal cover letter and in it she basically said that she wanted to end it, that she wasn't happy, and with that, I was no longer someone she had to think or care about. Within about four days, I was on a plane back to the states with no money and no job prospects.

It was hard putting so much trust into something working out only to have it completely fail. It's been less than a month since this has happened to me and I have no idea what I'm going to do with my life. It's frustrating applying for jobs and when they take a look at my experiences they feel that I'm overqualified. I'm proud of my achievements, but now I feel pathetic since I don't have a car, I am relying on friends for a place to stay, and I'm trying to get buy on less than the poverty level.

I used to have my M.Ed. diploma in a nice picture frame that hung on the wall at the house I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life in with my ex-Canadian partner. Now that diploma and the Bachelor's degree that I have are in a basic envelope inside a suitcase in the room that my friend is letting me use. It's a pretty dark period of my life and I'd be lying if I didn't say that there are times where I have contemplated suicide. I feel like such a loser.

Erik Kaufhold  February 2, 2015

I thought I did everything right. I went to college. Got my bachelor's degree in Business Management. Decided to give back to my community by joining Americorps right out of college for two years. Went back to graduate school to get my M.Ed. and right before finishing my Master's, I went to South Korea to teach English. What was supposed to be just a year there, turned into over 6 years and while I did delay my graduate studies, I was finally able to receive a Master's degree in Education with a specialisation in adult education and training.

The plan was to use these new credentials to teach at the college level in South Korea, but like most things, these plans changed when I met someone. She was from Canada, and I thought that this was it. I thought that she was the one for me and that we were going to start a life together in Canada, so even though she had to leave early while I finished my contract, we both decided that I would come to her and work on immigrating to Canada while living with her.

Here's where things started taking a turn for the worse for me. I had some savings, but not much since I spent a number of years aggressively paying off some of the debt that I did have. She and I both thought that the application process would last at most 6 months; however, we were shocked when after handing in our application and paying the fees, that the process would take 12-14 months. Since it's illegal for someone with my status at that time in Canada to look for work, I was unemployed for 10 months. It was devastating having to go from someone who was independent to someone who needed support from her. It put a strain on the relationship and as the months went by, I was depressed because I couldn't do anything.

Then from out of nowhere she handed me a letter while we were both in our kitchen. The letter read like a formal cover letter and in it she basically said that she wanted to end it,

...more
Erik Kaufhold  February 2, 2015

I graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in May of 1992 and the Emory University School of Public Health in May of 1994. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Public Health with a concentration in Behavioral Science and Health Education. I have always and will always have a passion for improving the health status of America and population based public health prevention.
I studied and have been working in the public health arena for more than two decades because I care for people and not to become rich. To make a long story short, I have been paying on my student loans (on-time and have never missed a payment) for 20 years (I have paid back approximately $120,000 on a $57,000 loan)! Originally, I had a student loan balance of $57,000 with an 8% interest rate. That was the “standard” rate at the time and what I would consider predatory lending (especially for young college graduates, whose parents couldn’t afford to pay tuition) and I am locked in at that rate for the life of the loan.
I was completely thrilled when President Obama enacted the student loan forgiveness program in October, 2007. I immediately signed up and continued to pay my bills on time every month (via auto draft to save .25% interest). I was recently told that I make too much money to qualify for the program (I have yet to find the income cap requirements for this program on the US Department of Education’s website) and they recently told that I signed up for the wrong income repayment plan, I needed to sign up for a “standard” plan, which would increase my monthly payments from $502.00 to over $1,000.00 and start the 160 payment requirement all over again (according to the original guidance, I have made 88 payments toward the 160)! My balance is now $61,000 and I’m beginning to think that I will have to pay $500.00 a month for the rest of my life . My parents were teachers and worked hard to improve the lives of Americans. They are now retired and my father developed dementia at the age of 57 and had to drain all of his retirement for his care. He is in a nursing home and we all support him, doubling my student loan payments in not an option. I have a few questions for you and I hope you can help me in finding a way out of this financial hole.

Stacey Jenkins  February 2, 2015  Atlanta, GA

I graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in May of 1992 and the Emory University School of Public Health in May of 1994. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Public Health with a concentration in Behavioral Science and Health Education. I have always and will always have a passion for improving the health status of America and population based public health prevention.
I studied and have been working in the public health arena for more than two decades because I care for people and not to become rich. To make a long story short, I have been paying on my student loans (on-time and have never missed a payment) for 20 years (I have paid back approximately $120,000 on a $57,000 loan)! Originally, I had a student loan balance of $57,000 with an 8% interest rate. That was the “standard” rate at the time and what I would consider predatory lending (especially for young college graduates, whose parents couldn’t afford to pay tuition) and I am locked in at that rate for the life of the loan.
I was completely thrilled when President Obama enacted the student loan forgiveness program in October, 2007. I immediately signed up and continued to pay my bills on time every month (via auto draft to save .25% interest). I was recently told that I make too much money to qualify for the program (I have yet to find the income cap requirements for this program on the US Department of Education’s website) and they recently told that I signed up for the wrong income repayment plan, I needed to sign up for a “standard” plan, which would increase my monthly payments from $502.00 to over $1,000.00 and start the 160 payment requirement all over again (according to the original guidance, I have made 88 payments toward the 160)! My balance is now $61,000 and I’m beginning to think that I will have to pay $500.00 a month for the rest of my life . My parents were teachers and worked hard to improve the lives of Americans.

...more
Stacey Jenkins  February 2, 2015  Atlanta, GA

I went back to school at the age of 50 after raising my daughter and working a lot of low end jobs. I had a BA from a previous life , which I was never in a position to use . I had no idea just what mess the student loan business is . That original BA was paid for by a scholarship and support from my parents. I have a huge debt now for the acupuncture masters .I want to be able to help others with their health challenges , like I have been helped . My intention is to pay the debt . The issue is is that like others I am buried in Student Loan debt . I really think our students , including myself , who are willing to help others , should be given opportunities for debt forgiveness that are reasonable . I also think our country should use the example of some other countries in how they educate their population with the knowledge that it will be returned financially through productive people who will offer worthwhile services to help their communities. With our current medical crisis here in the USA I am in a perfect position to do this kind of work!

Taraz Martinez,LAc, LMT  February 2, 2015  Denver , CO

I went back to school at the age of 50 after raising my daughter and working a lot of low end jobs. I had a BA from a previous life , which I was never in a position to use . I had no idea just what mess the student loan business is . That original BA was paid for by a scholarship and support from my parents. I have a huge debt now for the acupuncture masters .I want to be able to help others with their health challenges , like I have been helped . My intention is to pay the debt . The issue is is that like others I am buried in Student Loan debt . I really think our students , including myself , who are willing to help others , should be given opportunities for debt forgiveness that are reasonable . I also think our country should use the example of some other countries in how they educate their population with the knowledge that it will be returned financially through productive people who will offer worthwhile services to help their communities. With our current medical crisis here in the USA I am in a perfect position to do this kind of work!

Taraz Martinez,LAc, LMT  February 2, 2015  Denver , CO

I was a mother when I graduated high school and was determined to go to college. I worked full time for the majority of my time in college, at $7-8/hr, living at home because I could not afford to get my own place. When I graduated with a bachelors in 2011, I quickly found out that there were no jobs in the field that paid more than a little over minimum wage. I ended up getting a job in a mail room, and went on to get an MBA hoping that would give me some help in the job market. I moved in with my fiancé after I had completed the program, still unable to find a decent job. I spent 2 years scraping by, relying heavily on credit cards to supplement my income, because I had no other choice. I now have a halfway decent job, but the majority of my paycheck is going to pay for the debt I accumulated during and after college. This year my husband and I had to file taxes married filing jointly, so we did not end up owing money, however, it completely screws up my budget the rest of the year because now both of our incomes and loans will be combined in our repayment plan. He's been on the standard repayment plan for 7 years, but now because I have to be on the IBR, he does too. I currently owe 94k in loans, which I always say might as well be 94 bazillion because there's no way I'm going to be able to get it paid off. I hope the pay as you earn plan is extended to include my loans, that would make a big difference for us.

Noelle  February 2, 2015  Ohio

I was a mother when I graduated high school and was determined to go to college. I worked full time for the majority of my time in college, at $7-8/hr, living at home because I could not afford to get my own place. When I graduated with a bachelors in 2011, I quickly found out that there were no jobs in the field that paid more than a little over minimum wage. I ended up getting a job in a mail room, and went on to get an MBA hoping that would give me some help in the job market. I moved in with my fiancé after I had completed the program, still unable to find a decent job. I spent 2 years scraping by, relying heavily on credit cards to supplement my income, because I had no other choice. I now have a halfway decent job, but the majority of my paycheck is going to pay for the debt I accumulated during and after college. This year my husband and I had to file taxes married filing jointly, so we did not end up owing money, however, it completely screws up my budget the rest of the year because now both of our incomes and loans will be combined in our repayment plan. He's been on the standard repayment plan for 7 years, but now because I have to be on the IBR, he does too. I currently owe 94k in loans, which I always say might as well be 94 bazillion because there's no way I'm going to be able to get it paid off. I hope the pay as you earn plan is extended to include my loans, that would make a big difference for us.

Noelle  February 2, 2015  Ohio

I started college because I wanted to be a successful artist and work for good companies as well as sell my art online. Well when I graduated all I got was a 70K college debt and having to sell just about everything I own just to cover my rent. I am a sculptor, mold maker, painter, illustrator and can do many other things but so far nothing. Now I am considering going back just to be a teacher but how long will it take me to pay off my debt which will end up being over 100K most countries would never think of charging that much for college. WTF is wrong with the USA?

Vincent Chiantelli  February 2, 2015  Stevenson Ranch, CA.

I started college because I wanted to be a successful artist and work for good companies as well as sell my art online. Well when I graduated all I got was a 70K college debt and having to sell just about everything I own just to cover my rent. I am a sculptor, mold maker, painter, illustrator and can do many other things but so far nothing. Now I am considering going back just to be a teacher but how long will it take me to pay off my debt which will end up being over 100K most countries would never think of charging that much for college. WTF is wrong with the USA?

Vincent Chiantelli  February 2, 2015  Stevenson Ranch, CA.

I am now 49 years old. In 2008, I was laid off from my job of 15 years in real estate as a paralegal. When I applied for unemployment I was told I was considered a "displaced worker" because my job was outsourced. I was encouraged by the government to go back to school, get a degree and in doing so continue unemployment as long as I was full time and maintained a 2.0 or "C" average.

I decided to go to college, received my Associates and Bachelors degrees and was preparing to start on my Masters when my husband of 10 years was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer. He went through chemo, radiation and surgery but sadly, the cancer returned and he passed away July 2013. I was unable to continue with my Masters in order to get a job in my future field and I now have $60,000 in student loans.

Not being able to pay back the $800 month payment once the 6 month grace period was up, I consolidated the loans to reduce the payment based on my income but every year I have to re-certify. The interest continues to accrue and after 25 years, if I make all the payments on time, the balance will be forgiven.

I never had below a 4.0 all the time I took classes. I remained a full-time student the entire time I cared for my husband, never missed a class and the day my husband had surgery which took 19 hours, I was working on school in the waiting room. I had plans and goals but sadly, the cancer won and my husband passed away in July 2013. I no longer could afford to continue on which college so I work as a full time Nanny to 3 beautiful children. Not quite the career I was working towards but bills have to be paid.

I regret going to college now and having this debt on my shoulders. When I needed help with the monthly payments, I felt like I was a criminal who got caught stealing and placed under a microscope. I was required to provide extensive medical documentation of my husband's cancer, his treatment, his care, his surgery, his hospice records and eventually his death records, I was and still am mentally spent. It took me 3 months to finally provide all the documentation to consolidate. I was told I should have just put my husband in a nursing facility so I could continue school which simply makes me sick. I am sure in a few months when I have to re-certify again my income they will find a reason to raise the payments. I feel like the harder I try to dig out of this debt hold, the more I sink.

Christine  February 1, 2015  New York

I am now 49 years old. In 2008, I was laid off from my job of 15 years in real estate as a paralegal. When I applied for unemployment I was told I was considered a "displaced worker" because my job was outsourced. I was encouraged by the government to go back to school, get a degree and in doing so continue unemployment as long as I was full time and maintained a 2.0 or "C" average.

I decided to go to college, received my Associates and Bachelors degrees and was preparing to start on my Masters when my husband of 10 years was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer. He went through chemo, radiation and surgery but sadly, the cancer returned and he passed away July 2013. I was unable to continue with my Masters in order to get a job in my future field and I now have $60,000 in student loans.

Not being able to pay back the $800 month payment once the 6 month grace period was up, I consolidated the loans to reduce the payment based on my income but every year I have to re-certify. The interest continues to accrue and after 25 years, if I make all the payments on time, the balance will be forgiven.

I never had below a 4.0 all the time I took classes. I remained a full-time student the entire time I cared for my husband, never missed a class and the day my husband had surgery which took 19 hours, I was working on school in the waiting room. I had plans and goals but sadly, the cancer won and my husband passed away in July 2013. I no longer could afford to continue on which college so I work as a full time Nanny to 3 beautiful children. Not quite the career I was working towards but bills have to be paid.

I regret going to college now and having this debt on my shoulders. When I needed help with the monthly payments, I felt like I was a criminal who got caught stealing and placed under a microscope.

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Christine  February 1, 2015  New York

I became a mother very early, in high school in fact. I didn't stop with school, I was too smart. I went on and graduated on time with wonderful grades, while working and being a mother. I followed high with immediately starting college. I knew I was completely capable of taking on a child with a job and being in college. I began college 2 months after I graduated high school. I went online so I could be with my son, and work. Without a break, I went for 4 years. I didn't stop until I had achieved my Bachelor's in Accounting, as I told myself I would do before I would stop. I did it in the four years, I stayed on top of my work, I did well in all my classes and with distant learning, I was able to discipline myself enough to sit down and do my work instead of doing other things, while having a young child and buying myself and him a home for us to live in. I was then going to school full time and working two full time jobs. I spent every other moment I had with him to teach him and raise him in church, and be a kind, loving mother. I worked every moment of every day. I was so happy to graduate. However, I missed walking the line for graduation due to having to work. I missed out on so much with my son. I thought...if I go to school and get my degree while my baby is young, he won't remember how much I am away working to pay for this house, our food, the things he wants and loves to play with. It turns out, I would have been better off to work without going to college. I thought I was doing everything right. I went to school, I got a 4 year degree but now I have had a degree for almost 4 years and I have never been able to get a job with it. I have put in for several jobs, and interviewed.. everyone wants someone with a CPA or many years of experience. I cannot get that experience because no one will even give me a chance. I cannot go back to college for a CPA because I have a $55,000 college debt hanging over my head and I cannot add to that. I have been making payment every month on my student loans for 4 years and have never even touched the principle because the interest rate is stacking more on than I can afford to pay monthly. I am now married, with a second son, and my same house, we are all cramped in, because I can't afford anything else. My husband is a veteran with PTSD and I am surrounded by college debt. How are people suppose to live this way. I cannot find anyone to refinance my house to lower the interest on it so I can get it paid down because of my student debt. No bank wants to help me lower my interest rate to help lower what I am paying monthly on my home. I can't afford anything and I am sitting on a useless Bachelor's degree that cost an increasing amount of $55,000. I thought I had done everything I was suppose to in order to make a good life for me and my kids...turns out, my college degree got the last laugh...and I have nothing but worry, and anxiety and continue to pay monthly on a debt that I will never be able to touch the principle amount on.

Kailoni  January 29, 2015  Tennessee

I became a mother very early, in high school in fact. I didn't stop with school, I was too smart. I went on and graduated on time with wonderful grades, while working and being a mother. I followed high with immediately starting college. I knew I was completely capable of taking on a child with a job and being in college. I began college 2 months after I graduated high school. I went online so I could be with my son, and work. Without a break, I went for 4 years. I didn't stop until I had achieved my Bachelor's in Accounting, as I told myself I would do before I would stop. I did it in the four years, I stayed on top of my work, I did well in all my classes and with distant learning, I was able to discipline myself enough to sit down and do my work instead of doing other things, while having a young child and buying myself and him a home for us to live in. I was then going to school full time and working two full time jobs. I spent every other moment I had with him to teach him and raise him in church, and be a kind, loving mother. I worked every moment of every day. I was so happy to graduate. However, I missed walking the line for graduation due to having to work. I missed out on so much with my son. I thought...if I go to school and get my degree while my baby is young, he won't remember how much I am away working to pay for this house, our food, the things he wants and loves to play with. It turns out, I would have been better off to work without going to college. I thought I was doing everything right. I went to school, I got a 4 year degree but now I have had a degree for almost 4 years and I have never been able to get a job with it. I have put in for several jobs, and interviewed..

...more
Kailoni  January 29, 2015  Tennessee

I've spent many years trying to get help from Sallie Mae, now Navient. I was a stupid 17 year old once and trusted my parents when they told me it would be ok to sign they read everything, and they would pay 50% of my tuition. I got stuck with $16000 in private loans and over $13000 in federal. I've spoken to Mike, Erica, Nicole, Christina, Bob, Dawson, Brian, Sheila, Linda at Navient and all of them have given me different answers, I'm in tears because they won't help me. I work two jobs and net $14000. They want $600/mo from me for loans. Someone please tell me this is illegal!?!?! I have spent months of their customer service lying and messing up. I've documented every name and figure they've told me and they still have made no changes. This company can't be touched so a laywer is a bust. I'm so mad my parents cosigned on these because they are ailing and can't afford it, but neither can I. It's going to ruin my relationship with them, it's going to ruin my credit, and ruin my chances at a better job if I wind up in garnishment. I've tried to do the right thing. I've taken every gift I've been given and sold everything liquidateable to be able to keep up my loans, but I have nothing left. If I default, they can garnish next to nothing from me, but the interest rates, oh god. And then they'll garnish my disabled parents. I'm so upset I was so stupid and didn't know any better back then. But how is it right that there is no checks and balances on these private loan companies? They are completely exempt from everything like federal, except statute of limitations, but come on, the ball busting company of Navient/Sallie Mae is NOT going to wait 6-7 years to take legal action to hope on Statute of Limitations. They can take 50% of my income, or ruin my whole life and relationships. Those are my choices. I hate them. They won't work with me even to lower my payments to $380 a month. I offered them that since that's what I was barely making payments of before they raised it. They told me no.

Melissa  January 27, 2015  Saline, MI

I've spent many years trying to get help from Sallie Mae, now Navient. I was a stupid 17 year old once and trusted my parents when they told me it would be ok to sign they read everything, and they would pay 50% of my tuition. I got stuck with $16000 in private loans and over $13000 in federal. I've spoken to Mike, Erica, Nicole, Christina, Bob, Dawson, Brian, Sheila, Linda at Navient and all of them have given me different answers, I'm in tears because they won't help me. I work two jobs and net $14000. They want $600/mo from me for loans. Someone please tell me this is illegal!?!?! I have spent months of their customer service lying and messing up. I've documented every name and figure they've told me and they still have made no changes. This company can't be touched so a laywer is a bust. I'm so mad my parents cosigned on these because they are ailing and can't afford it, but neither can I. It's going to ruin my relationship with them, it's going to ruin my credit, and ruin my chances at a better job if I wind up in garnishment. I've tried to do the right thing. I've taken every gift I've been given and sold everything liquidateable to be able to keep up my loans, but I have nothing left. If I default, they can garnish next to nothing from me, but the interest rates, oh god. And then they'll garnish my disabled parents. I'm so upset I was so stupid and didn't know any better back then. But how is it right that there is no checks and balances on these private loan companies? They are completely exempt from everything like federal, except statute of limitations, but come on, the ball busting company of Navient/Sallie Mae is NOT going to wait 6-7 years to take legal action to hope on Statute of Limitations. They can take 50% of my income, or ruin my whole life and relationships. Those are my choices. I hate them. They won't work with me even to lower my payments to $380 a month.

...more
Melissa  January 27, 2015  Saline, MI

I owe approximately $140K in student loans with about $30K being private. It\'s bothered me for a very long time, but I encourage everyone on this site to focus on the positives. Yes, we were uneducated and made irrational decisions to only regret them later, but life is so wonderful. Rather than avoid the reality, tackle the truth and it will make you feel better. I looked into options such as IBR payment plans. I now have over $100K in loans that and only pay $500 per month because they can\'t take more than 15% of my AGI - 150% povert line. I also may fairly good money with great benefits working for a 501c3 non-profit. That means, after 10 years those loans will be forgiven and I only have to worry about the private. Not too mention, my 403b is growing astronomically. In 10 years, I\'m going to have paid about $55K and have the rest wiped out tax free with approximately $200K in my retirment. That means, 10 years from now my LIFE will be different. Stay strong, be positive and find ways to live your future. All will be ok. God bless.

Andrew  January 27, 2015  New York

I owe approximately $140K in student loans with about $30K being private. It\'s bothered me for a very long time, but I encourage everyone on this site to focus on the positives. Yes, we were uneducated and made irrational decisions to only regret them later, but life is so wonderful. Rather than avoid the reality, tackle the truth and it will make you feel better. I looked into options such as IBR payment plans. I now have over $100K in loans that and only pay $500 per month because they can\'t take more than 15% of my AGI - 150% povert line. I also may fairly good money with great benefits working for a 501c3 non-profit. That means, after 10 years those loans will be forgiven and I only have to worry about the private. Not too mention, my 403b is growing astronomically. In 10 years, I\'m going to have paid about $55K and have the rest wiped out tax free with approximately $200K in my retirment. That means, 10 years from now my LIFE will be different. Stay strong, be positive and find ways to live your future. All will be ok. God bless.

Andrew  January 27, 2015  New York

This past week I was faced with the reality that I am not educated on the terminology of student loans and I do not fully understand how my student loans work. I was given poor advice from a financial adviser on how to repay my loans, along with forgetting to submit paper work on time for my income based repayment plan by 3 weeks and was penalized with $9000 being added back to my principle. I spent most of last year paying as much as I could each month trying to chip away at the giant loan I have from Physical Therapy school so to hear that all my hard work just went down the drain and now my loans would be accruing more interest each month was DEVASTATING for me. After pleading for forgiveness after an honest mistake I was told there was “nothing they could do,” but I would like to think there is still something. This is not okay. I am in a health care profession, serving my community, underpaid and working hard. This truly is a crisis that we are in the midst of. I hope that it ends soon, but for now please check your student loans, make sure you understand your repayment plan, and remember to advocate for student loan forgiveness. I plan to write to my senator and continue to work towards becoming more educated on how these loans work, as it seems that no one really does! Here's to $176,000 + $9000 in student loans.

Kelsey  January 25, 2015  Seattle, WA

This past week I was faced with the reality that I am not educated on the terminology of student loans and I do not fully understand how my student loans work. I was given poor advice from a financial adviser on how to repay my loans, along with forgetting to submit paper work on time for my income based repayment plan by 3 weeks and was penalized with $9000 being added back to my principle. I spent most of last year paying as much as I could each month trying to chip away at the giant loan I have from Physical Therapy school so to hear that all my hard work just went down the drain and now my loans would be accruing more interest each month was DEVASTATING for me. After pleading for forgiveness after an honest mistake I was told there was “nothing they could do,” but I would like to think there is still something. This is not okay. I am in a health care profession, serving my community, underpaid and working hard. This truly is a crisis that we are in the midst of. I hope that it ends soon, but for now please check your student loans, make sure you understand your repayment plan, and remember to advocate for student loan forgiveness. I plan to write to my senator and continue to work towards becoming more educated on how these loans work, as it seems that no one really does! Here's to $176,000 + $9000 in student loans.

Kelsey  January 25, 2015  Seattle, WA

This past week I was faced with the reality that I am not educated on the terminology of student loans and I do not fully understand how my student loans work. I was given poor advice from a financial adviser on how to repay my loans, along with forgetting to submit paper work on time for my income based repayment plan by 3 weeks and was penalized with $9000 being added back to my principle. I spent most of last year paying as much as I could each month trying to chip away at the giant loan I have from Physical Therapy school so to hear that all my hard work just went down the drain and now my loans would be accruing more interest each month was DEVASTATING for me. After pleading for forgiveness after an honest mistake I was told there was “nothing they could do,” but I would like to think there is still something. This is not okay. I am in a health care profession, serving my community, underpaid and working hard. This truly is a crisis that we are in the midst of. I hope that it ends soon, but for now please check your student loans, make sure you understand your repayment plan, and remember to advocate for student loan forgiveness. I plan to write to my senator and continue to work towards becoming more educated on how these loans work, as it seems that no one really does! Here's to $176,000 + $9000 in student loans.

Kelsey  January 25, 2015  Seattle, WA

This past week I was faced with the reality that I am not educated on the terminology of student loans and I do not fully understand how my student loans work. I was given poor advice from a financial adviser on how to repay my loans, along with forgetting to submit paper work on time for my income based repayment plan by 3 weeks and was penalized with $9000 being added back to my principle. I spent most of last year paying as much as I could each month trying to chip away at the giant loan I have from Physical Therapy school so to hear that all my hard work just went down the drain and now my loans would be accruing more interest each month was DEVASTATING for me. After pleading for forgiveness after an honest mistake I was told there was “nothing they could do,” but I would like to think there is still something. This is not okay. I am in a health care profession, serving my community, underpaid and working hard. This truly is a crisis that we are in the midst of. I hope that it ends soon, but for now please check your student loans, make sure you understand your repayment plan, and remember to advocate for student loan forgiveness. I plan to write to my senator and continue to work towards becoming more educated on how these loans work, as it seems that no one really does! Here's to $176,000 + $9000 in student loans.

Kelsey  January 25, 2015  Seattle, WA

I wanted a job as a physical therapist. The job requires that you get a doctorate now (this however does not mean you make more money as its field that pays based on years of experience). So I owed $167,000 in unsub and $47,000k in sub loans at graduation. The interest at 7% has accumulated to about $40,000-so I owe over $230,000. I am on IBR repayment and pay $600/month. The interest that accures every month is over $1000. So everytime I pay $600, $400+ gets added on to my loan. I will never be able to touch my principal at this rate. Why is my hard earned money going into someones pocket and making them rich instead of paying off my debt that I so desperately want to get rid of? Why am I being punished for trying to have a career and help the economy? Which max I may make $65k/yr in take home. Why is my boyfriends mortgage interest rate only 3.75% and I have 7% on my student loans? These equations just don't add up. I'm working towards public service loan forgiveness but now I understand that the amount forgiven may be capped, so the light at the end of my tunnel is disappearing :/

Geanna  January 24, 2015  Salt Lake City, UT

I wanted a job as a physical therapist. The job requires that you get a doctorate now (this however does not mean you make more money as its field that pays based on years of experience). So I owed $167,000 in unsub and $47,000k in sub loans at graduation. The interest at 7% has accumulated to about $40,000-so I owe over $230,000. I am on IBR repayment and pay $600/month. The interest that accures every month is over $1000. So everytime I pay $600, $400+ gets added on to my loan. I will never be able to touch my principal at this rate. Why is my hard earned money going into someones pocket and making them rich instead of paying off my debt that I so desperately want to get rid of? Why am I being punished for trying to have a career and help the economy? Which max I may make $65k/yr in take home. Why is my boyfriends mortgage interest rate only 3.75% and I have 7% on my student loans? These equations just don't add up. I'm working towards public service loan forgiveness but now I understand that the amount forgiven may be capped, so the light at the end of my tunnel is disappearing :/

Geanna  January 24, 2015  Salt Lake City, UT

I wanted a job as a physical therapist. The job requires that you get a doctorate now (this however does not mean you make more money as its field that pays based on years of experience). So I owed $167,000 in unsub and $47,000k in sub loans at graduation. The interest at 7% has accumulated to about $40,000-so I owe over $230,000. I am on IBR repayment and pay $600/month. The interest that accures every month is over $1000. So everytime I pay $600, $400+ gets added on to my loan. I will never be able to touch my principal at this rate. Why is my hard earned money going into someones pocket and making them rich instead of paying off my debt that I so desperately want to get rid of? Why am I being punished for trying to have a career and help the economy? Which max I may make $65k/yr in take home. Why is my boyfriends mortgage interest rate only 3.75% and I have 7% on my student loans? These equations just don't add up. I'm working towards public service loan forgiveness but now I understand that the amount forgiven may be capped, so the light at the end of my tunnel is disappearing :/

Geanna  January 24, 2015  Salt Lake City, UT

I wanted a job as a physical therapist. The job requires that you get a doctorate now (this however does not mean you make more money as its field that pays based on years of experience). So I owed $167,000 in unsub and $47,000k in sub loans at graduation. The interest at 7% has accumulated to about $40,000-so I owe over $230,000. I am on IBR repayment and pay $600/month. The interest that accures every month is over $1000. So everytime I pay $600, $400+ gets added on to my loan. I will never be able to touch my principal at this rate. Why is my hard earned money going into someones pocket and making them rich instead of paying off my debt that I so desperately want to get rid of? Why am I being punished for trying to have a career and help the economy? Which max I may make $65k/yr in take home. Why is my boyfriends mortgage interest rate only 3.75% and I have 7% on my student loans? These equations just don't add up. I'm working towards public service loan forgiveness but now I understand that the amount forgiven may be capped, so the light at the end of my tunnel is disappearing :/

Geanna  January 24, 2015  Salt Lake City, UT

I have a Master's and a job that doesn't make it feel like my education was nearly worth it.

I have right at $100,000 in debt. And that was the last time I checked. I don't know what the added interest is yet this year because I haven't checked since the interest has acrued while I have been on income based repayment for one set of loans and paying what seems like just the interest on a private loan.

Why is the higher education system such a joke when it comes to how things are paid for in this country? I can't even think about things I want to do with my life like get an apartment or buy a house because I barely make enough to pay my bills and make my loan/car payments. Thank god for people that like me and treat me just like their family when things like a new car have to happen. I basically live with my family still right now.

So stressful. How are you all not exploding from this yet?? I can't wait to see some sort of change happening soon.

Nikki  January 23, 2015  Illinois

I have a Master's and a job that doesn't make it feel like my education was nearly worth it.

I have right at $100,000 in debt. And that was the last time I checked. I don't know what the added interest is yet this year because I haven't checked since the interest has acrued while I have been on income based repayment for one set of loans and paying what seems like just the interest on a private loan.

Why is the higher education system such a joke when it comes to how things are paid for in this country? I can't even think about things I want to do with my life like get an apartment or buy a house because I barely make enough to pay my bills and make my loan/car payments. Thank god for people that like me and treat me just like their family when things like a new car have to happen. I basically live with my family still right now.

So stressful. How are you all not exploding from this yet?? I can't wait to see some sort of change happening soon.

Nikki  January 23, 2015  Illinois

Upon graduating high school, I was just excited to go to college. With two college educated brothers, a parent working on her bachelors and another parent working on his associates, I was confident that this was the right choice. I had people doubting my capability to be successful, because my prior educational achievements (or lack there of) would say otherwise. Fortunately, I was accepted to 3 different institutions. Entering college, I had very little knowledge about what loans were, the burden I was taking on, where to access scholarships, and other options besides being a traditional 18 year old at a highly residential 4-year university.

Fast forward 4.5 years and now I am on the brink of finishing my Masters degree. As I finish, I am plagued with thoughts of repayment and how I expect to afford to pay my college student loans, a new car, and rent. Luckily, I have a fiance and we can support each other financially, but as an 18 year old (and throughout most of college), I didn't quite understand what I was doing. It wasn't until I took the time to do my exit loan counseling, after graduating, that I realized that I was going to be paying on loans forever.

I left college with nearly $30,000 of student loan debt and took out more loans in graduate school. I've considered pursuing another masters and/or getting my doctorate, however I am also concerned about how I will pay for that education while sustaining a life outside of work/school.

In summary, this is how my life has played out thus far. Went to high school, graduated and decided to go straight to college (4 year university) to pursue my bachelors. Little did I know that my education was being funding primarily on direct loans and parent plus loans (no free money). And now I'm tens of thousands of dollars in debt with no going back. Additionally, I have a college degree in social work and I'm stuck working at a job I hate, because it was the only place that'll hire me and I'm really not making much money. Above poverty? Yes. But not where I want to be. Now, my best hope is to work in a non-profit and hope for loan forgiveness, but until then, I have a lot of thinking to do.

It's hard for me to not spend many days thinking to myself about how much of a waste college was. How I should've done PSEO in high school. How I should've gone to a community college for 2 years first. How I should've attended a different graduate school. How I wish I was interested in math and/or science to do a job that was more lucrative and paid more, but now I'm here, 22 years old and stuck with a mediocre job that doesn't pay very well and anticipating the day where my 6 months are up and I'm spending hundreds of dollars paying down my loan debt.

Jerad Green  January 21, 2015  Kansas

Upon graduating high school, I was just excited to go to college. With two college educated brothers, a parent working on her bachelors and another parent working on his associates, I was confident that this was the right choice. I had people doubting my capability to be successful, because my prior educational achievements (or lack there of) would say otherwise. Fortunately, I was accepted to 3 different institutions. Entering college, I had very little knowledge about what loans were, the burden I was taking on, where to access scholarships, and other options besides being a traditional 18 year old at a highly residential 4-year university.

Fast forward 4.5 years and now I am on the brink of finishing my Masters degree. As I finish, I am plagued with thoughts of repayment and how I expect to afford to pay my college student loans, a new car, and rent. Luckily, I have a fiance and we can support each other financially, but as an 18 year old (and throughout most of college), I didn't quite understand what I was doing. It wasn't until I took the time to do my exit loan counseling, after graduating, that I realized that I was going to be paying on loans forever.

I left college with nearly $30,000 of student loan debt and took out more loans in graduate school. I've considered pursuing another masters and/or getting my doctorate, however I am also concerned about how I will pay for that education while sustaining a life outside of work/school.

In summary, this is how my life has played out thus far. Went to high school, graduated and decided to go straight to college (4 year university) to pursue my bachelors. Little did I know that my education was being funding primarily on direct loans and parent plus loans (no free money). And now I'm tens of thousands of dollars in debt with no going back. Additionally, I have a college degree in social work and I'm stuck working at a job I hate, because it was the only place that'll hire me and I'm really not making much money.

...more
Jerad Green  January 21, 2015  Kansas

It all started spring of 2014, after spring break, my stepfather tells me i need to get a job because he wont let me stay with home for the summer. I freak out try to find a job i get one and neglected my school which I understand was my fault and i sucked and failed classes and my financial aid was taken from me. I couldnt appeal i want to go back but i cant due to all this amouns of money i owe. i just want to back in school but im so poor and in debt with school and no stuid bank will loan money to a low income student like myself. Its all my fault though it really is but damn this sucks. I just want to be in school again working at my crappy job made me realized that.

Sergio  January 21, 2015  Merced CA

It all started spring of 2014, after spring break, my stepfather tells me i need to get a job because he wont let me stay with home for the summer. I freak out try to find a job i get one and neglected my school which I understand was my fault and i sucked and failed classes and my financial aid was taken from me. I couldnt appeal i want to go back but i cant due to all this amouns of money i owe. i just want to back in school but im so poor and in debt with school and no stuid bank will loan money to a low income student like myself. Its all my fault though it really is but damn this sucks. I just want to be in school again working at my crappy job made me realized that.

Sergio  January 21, 2015  Merced CA

I attended college as a single father with two young sons. I took out student loans while in college to help raise my sons. I used the money to pay for rent, utilities and groceries. That was over twenty years ago. I graduated with approximately $62000 in debt. I offered to make affordable monthly payments but the amount that I could afford was not enough for the lenders. They put my loans in default and began garnishing my wages. Since that time, more than 18 years ago, I have paid back over $130,000 on my $62000 debt and I still owe nearly $60,000. It is criminal what they do to us. I have made a student loan payment every two weeks (albeit a garnishment) for the last 18+ years. I teach at a community college and make an average living as a result of my education. I am thankful for what my education has afforded me, but my loans remain in default because I cannot afford the payment that they expect. It is a helpless feeling, one of being completely trapped.

Bruce Myers  January 20, 2015  Illinois

I attended college as a single father with two young sons. I took out student loans while in college to help raise my sons. I used the money to pay for rent, utilities and groceries. That was over twenty years ago. I graduated with approximately $62000 in debt. I offered to make affordable monthly payments but the amount that I could afford was not enough for the lenders. They put my loans in default and began garnishing my wages. Since that time, more than 18 years ago, I have paid back over $130,000 on my $62000 debt and I still owe nearly $60,000. It is criminal what they do to us. I have made a student loan payment every two weeks (albeit a garnishment) for the last 18+ years. I teach at a community college and make an average living as a result of my education. I am thankful for what my education has afforded me, but my loans remain in default because I cannot afford the payment that they expect. It is a helpless feeling, one of being completely trapped.

Bruce Myers  January 20, 2015  Illinois

I attended college as a single father with two young sons. I took out student loans while in college to help raise my sons. I used the money to pay for rent, utilities and groceries. That was over twenty years ago. I graduated with approximately $62000 in debt. I offered to make affordable monthly payments but the amount that I could afford was not enough for the lenders. They put my loans in default and began garnishing my wages. Since that time, more than 18 years ago, I have paid back over $130,000 on my $62000 debt and I still owe nearly $60,000. It is criminal what they do to us. I have made a student loan payment every two weeks (albeit a garnishment) for the last 18+ years. I teach at a community college and make an average living as a result of my education. I am thankful for what my education has afforded me, but my loans remain in default because I cannot afford the payment that they expect. It is a helpless feeling, one of being completely trapped.

Bruce Myers  January 20, 2015  Illinois

I attended college as a single father with two young sons. I took out student loans while in college to help raise my sons. I used the money to pay for rent, utilities and groceries. That was over twenty years ago. I graduated with approximately $62000 in debt. I offered to make affordable monthly payments but the amount that I could afford was not enough for the lenders. They put my loans in default and began garnishing my wages. Since that time, more than 18 years ago, I have paid back over $130,000 on my $62000 debt and I still owe nearly $60,000. It is criminal what they do to us. I have made a student loan payment every two weeks (albeit a garnishment) for the last 18+ years. I teach at a community college and make an average living as a result of my education. I am thankful for what my education has afforded me, but my loans remain in default because I cannot afford the payment that they expect. It is a helpless feeling, one of being completely trapped.

Bruce Myers  January 20, 2015  Illinois

I took a 18 month deferment on my college loan when I first got out of college to afford to live on what I was making at the time. By doing that my total owed was at 32K. I started to pay 269.00 a month from 1992 until 2013 where I was able to re-finance my loan at 218.51 a month... the problem was my loan amount was still 32K!!!!! I did my calculations and paying 269.00 a month since 1992 until 2013 shows I have paid 67K towards my loan and even at 9% that it was in 1992 I only owed 60K... so why is my loan amount owed still what it was in 1992? What can I do to get my loan listed as completed and paid? Or is this just the biggest SCAM on earth????

Thomas Wilson  January 19, 2015  Houston, TX

I took a 18 month deferment on my college loan when I first got out of college to afford to live on what I was making at the time. By doing that my total owed was at 32K. I started to pay 269.00 a month from 1992 until 2013 where I was able to re-finance my loan at 218.51 a month... the problem was my loan amount was still 32K!!!!! I did my calculations and paying 269.00 a month since 1992 until 2013 shows I have paid 67K towards my loan and even at 9% that it was in 1992 I only owed 60K... so why is my loan amount owed still what it was in 1992? What can I do to get my loan listed as completed and paid? Or is this just the biggest SCAM on earth????

Thomas Wilson  January 19, 2015  Houston, TX

I got a 4 (5) year degree from a Wisconsin state school and my debt was around $20,000 (this was 1999). My wife and I ended up merging our loans and for a time everything was fine.

Then came our first child followed a couple years later by me getting Leukemia. I lost my job and we had another child shortly thereafter. Since I was unable to work it was followed by a house foreclosure, bankruptcy, and divorce. Now I am stuck with her bills and mine (consolidated under my name only somehow and she won't make payments).

After remission I was able to go back to school for teaching thinking I could get a job again. I was able to sub for one year and teach for another before the jobs dried up. Since then my debt has ballooned to about $70,000 and I have deteriorating health but I don't qualify for disability. I have 50/50 custody of the kids but I can barely make ends meet and certainly can't afford my almost $900 a month student loans. I was able to successfully get out of default on my second student loan, while in deferment on the other, but now again I'm unable to make any payments. When I do find employment it usually doesn't last long as my health starts to affect my ability to work. It's a never ending cycle of difficulty and staring at me still waiting to get paid are the student loans on top of everything else.

It's soul crushing knowing that even if I can turn this health thing around and find a decent job that I'm still beholden to this much debt that I can't see ever getting above in my lifetime, part of which should not be mine. I just don't see how this will ever get better and my kids deserve better then what I can provide for them as this is going on.

Jim  January 16, 2015  Minnesota

I got a 4 (5) year degree from a Wisconsin state school and my debt was around $20,000 (this was 1999). My wife and I ended up merging our loans and for a time everything was fine.

Then came our first child followed a couple years later by me getting Leukemia. I lost my job and we had another child shortly thereafter. Since I was unable to work it was followed by a house foreclosure, bankruptcy, and divorce. Now I am stuck with her bills and mine (consolidated under my name only somehow and she won't make payments).

After remission I was able to go back to school for teaching thinking I could get a job again. I was able to sub for one year and teach for another before the jobs dried up. Since then my debt has ballooned to about $70,000 and I have deteriorating health but I don't qualify for disability. I have 50/50 custody of the kids but I can barely make ends meet and certainly can't afford my almost $900 a month student loans. I was able to successfully get out of default on my second student loan, while in deferment on the other, but now again I'm unable to make any payments. When I do find employment it usually doesn't last long as my health starts to affect my ability to work. It's a never ending cycle of difficulty and staring at me still waiting to get paid are the student loans on top of everything else.

It's soul crushing knowing that even if I can turn this health thing around and find a decent job that I'm still beholden to this much debt that I can't see ever getting above in my lifetime, part of which should not be mine. I just don't see how this will ever get better and my kids deserve better then what I can provide for them as this is going on.

Jim  January 16, 2015  Minnesota

I have been working with SallieMae since 2001. I graduated with a BS in Anthropology from SUNY Plattsburgh in 2005. I have asked SallieMae to work with me for years on repaymemt agreements. About four years ago I got an email from them stating that for the next three months my bill was going to be $5800.00. I was schocked! I didnt (and still dont) make that much in a month. I ended up calling my senators office and they looked into it for me. Due to those payment two of my loans had been payed off! Navient called me last night and told me that i needed to pay 13,880. By the end of the month or they woukd take me to court. When I told Navient that I could not pay that they then told me that they could reduce to 7400 and that that was being very generous. I again advised them that I could not afford that and they told me that if I put 20% down and payed 100 a month then they could take care of it and did I agree? I told them that I could not agree until I knew what the 20% was. I was told that it would be 2700. I still can not afford that!...i make decent money for the area that i live in. I just dont knkw what to do!

Kati Jo  January 16, 2015  New York

I have been working with SallieMae since 2001. I graduated with a BS in Anthropology from SUNY Plattsburgh in 2005. I have asked SallieMae to work with me for years on repaymemt agreements. About four years ago I got an email from them stating that for the next three months my bill was going to be $5800.00. I was schocked! I didnt (and still dont) make that much in a month. I ended up calling my senators office and they looked into it for me. Due to those payment two of my loans had been payed off! Navient called me last night and told me that i needed to pay 13,880. By the end of the month or they woukd take me to court. When I told Navient that I could not pay that they then told me that they could reduce to 7400 and that that was being very generous. I again advised them that I could not afford that and they told me that if I put 20% down and payed 100 a month then they could take care of it and did I agree? I told them that I could not agree until I knew what the 20% was. I was told that it would be 2700. I still can not afford that!...i make decent money for the area that i live in. I just dont knkw what to do!

Kati Jo  January 16, 2015  New York

I am 24 years old and am $70,000 in debt. I'm currently getting my Master's degree. Both my undergrad and my graduate school are rated as some of the cheapest schools in Texas, yet my loans, coupled with medical bills already have me in the debt of a small house! I haven't even had a job outside of the restaurant industry. Horrible.

Heather DeElena  January 15, 2015  Brownsville, TX

I am 24 years old and am $70,000 in debt. I'm currently getting my Master's degree. Both my undergrad and my graduate school are rated as some of the cheapest schools in Texas, yet my loans, coupled with medical bills already have me in the debt of a small house! I haven't even had a job outside of the restaurant industry. Horrible.

Heather DeElena  January 15, 2015  Brownsville, TX

I once believed that getting a good education would be the way to prosperity. Nobody in my family ever attend college and no one thought I could get an M.A., even myself. However, before I attend school I was debt free, money in the bank, car paid off. Now, I live with my parents, I'm almost 40. I have debt in the tune of 400,000 dollars and growing. I borrowed a fraction of that (Sallie Mae). I went to bankruptcy court and have postponed full payment to these savage lenders. No chance for a family.. is life even worth living? Education for me was a negative choice and I wish I could turn back the clock, cause I would NOT have decided to make this devastating life choice that ruin not only my life, but my family. We need immediate change.

Dave  January 13, 2015  Georiga

I once believed that getting a good education would be the way to prosperity. Nobody in my family ever attend college and no one thought I could get an M.A., even myself. However, before I attend school I was debt free, money in the bank, car paid off. Now, I live with my parents, I'm almost 40. I have debt in the tune of 400,000 dollars and growing. I borrowed a fraction of that (Sallie Mae). I went to bankruptcy court and have postponed full payment to these savage lenders. No chance for a family.. is life even worth living? Education for me was a negative choice and I wish I could turn back the clock, cause I would NOT have decided to make this devastating life choice that ruin not only my life, but my family. We need immediate change.

Dave  January 13, 2015  Georiga

I started college because I wanted to escape poverty. My father raised me alone, and I saw the struggle I was in for without a college degree. I am intelligent and had most of my associates degree finished before I graduated high school, all the while working part-time. I made the decision to go to an instate cheap school that I had received financial aid for. I was there for 3 years, and then my father was very ill. I came back home to help support him and had to transfer schools. When I transferred, I lost almost a years worth of credits that "didn't count" towards the new school. The second semester at my new school my father lost his home, and I was forced to look for an apartment. I made little money 9$/hr at a hotel part time. I picked up a second job, working more than full time to support myself and an apartment. My roommate quit his job right around finals, and I picked up more work to make ends meet. I was unable to finish the semester (homeless or school? what would you choose), and although all of my professors knew what was going on it was too late to withdraw so I ended up with extremely poor grades and am required to take yet another class (that I must pay for) about study habits (any tips on studying while working over full time and having no help? I don't think so.) an hour and a half away from where I live on the main campus before I can return to full time status. Up until that point my grades were awesome, not that it mattered. I decided to take a semester off to regroup, at which time my loans required repayment. They expected me to pay 270/month, so I ended up with 3 part time jobs, as I could not find full time work, and still couldn't pay the loans. When I did finally find full time work, I made 8$ an hour as a dishwasher. This is with a spotless resume, spotless record, and 80+ college credits. Not to mention I have not been jobless since I was 15 years old. I applied everywhere sending in 10-15 applications a week and finally 6 months later I was hired for a job in my field, 45 minutes away. I now make enough to rent from family, pay the loans (missed two months and then deferred), and sometimes buy groceries. I must maintain a car for my job, but my clunker has finally died with 220,000 mi on it, and I was denied a car loan for 5000$ to get a used vehicle because I didn't make enough money to make payments. So I am pretty much screwed. I have paid everything else ontime for the rest of the year, but my credit has been ruined by Navient, who lied and said nothing had been reported to my credit agency. I consolidated my loans, hoping that this would help my credit by cleaning the slate, however the day they were disbursed I received 5 unexplained transactions and 2 late fees. Great. Navient denies I had late fees posted as I was in deferment for the consolidation process and also I paid the amount in full anyway, so I sent them the copy. It has been a month and there is still no explanation and every email I get just says they are looking into it, there shouldn't be late fees, it wasn't reported as late etc. Yet it is clear in my transactions that someone posted 106.00$ to my account under late fees and there are 5 other unexplained adjustments, yet nothing has been solved and no questions answered. I am already paying an additional 15,000$ just from interest because I cant afford 270 a month and consolidated to get lower payments. Its a dance with the devil. They have no problem calling your friends, family, and work 15 times a day, but when you need help it takes longer than a month for them to even admit something isn't quite right. I have contacted the BBB, and will be contacting a lawyer, and because I received an email saying I most definitely had nothing reported to my credit over this, they better hope that's accurate when we check. Anyway, I can't return to school because I have to buy a car with cash to keep my job, car insurance, have to pay student loans, would like to eat, have rent and utilities, must have a phone for work, and I do this all on my own and have been since I was 16. I am now 23, no degree, associate equivalent, and work as a direct care worker for 11.50 an hour. Honestly, I would have fared better being unemployed single parent of 3. At least then I would have benefits and not work my ass off just to have it all taken away. Not to mention how determined and excited I had been to get a degree. Now I can't finish, will never be financially stable, and will probably lose my job and screw my credit even harder. Outlook is fairly grim... and illegitimate fees are making my life even harder. Tell your kids to go ahead and have babies, its more lucrative than a quest for higher education if you are poor. Its better than never being able to afford a car, marriage, family, health insurance, or even a date because there's no more room for anymore hands in your pockets when student loans have their balled up fists in there.

Ali  January 7, 2015  Maryland

I started college because I wanted to escape poverty. My father raised me alone, and I saw the struggle I was in for without a college degree. I am intelligent and had most of my associates degree finished before I graduated high school, all the while working part-time. I made the decision to go to an instate cheap school that I had received financial aid for. I was there for 3 years, and then my father was very ill. I came back home to help support him and had to transfer schools. When I transferred, I lost almost a years worth of credits that "didn't count" towards the new school. The second semester at my new school my father lost his home, and I was forced to look for an apartment. I made little money 9$/hr at a hotel part time. I picked up a second job, working more than full time to support myself and an apartment. My roommate quit his job right around finals, and I picked up more work to make ends meet. I was unable to finish the semester (homeless or school? what would you choose), and although all of my professors knew what was going on it was too late to withdraw so I ended up with extremely poor grades and am required to take yet another class (that I must pay for) about study habits (any tips on studying while working over full time and having no help? I don't think so.) an hour and a half away from where I live on the main campus before I can return to full time status. Up until that point my grades were awesome, not that it mattered. I decided to take a semester off to regroup, at which time my loans required repayment. They expected me to pay 270/month, so I ended up with 3 part time jobs, as I could not find full time work, and still couldn't pay the loans. When I did finally find full time work, I made 8$ an hour as a dishwasher. This is with a spotless resume, spotless record,

...more
Ali  January 7, 2015  Maryland

Your Story*My name is Michael Hackman. I am a medical doctor working the Sacramento region and am 32 years old. I practice general medicine and have medical school debt totaling nearly $230,000. In order to pay off my loans in ten years, about 35% of my discretionary income goes to paying off my student loans, which in my opinion (and probably the opinion of most people on this website) is quite discordant to the philosophies of our American Heritage. I have seen the burden of student loans interfere with the ability of many doctors to perform their work adequately secondary to emotional stress, while incentivizing the overcharging of patients in order to make loan payments. In addition, there were thousands of dollars of late fees that accrued while I was in residency (in forbearance) that Navient is unwilling to remove from my account. I explained to them that such excessively greedy behavior would not look good in the eyes of any third party, especially with the recent class action lawsuit that was won against them for overcharging military members on their student loans. Other prior precedents include the reversal of many excessive bank fees that were reversed after the financial crisis. I have sent them communication that I am unwilling to make any further federal loan payments unless those fees are removed, even if it means the garnishment of my wages. To conclude, I believe that the best way to move forward is twofold: First we must unify the victims and organizations that believe in our cause as this will only strengthen our position, and second is to hold more physical meetings where we can discuss unifying actions and goals moving forward. It has become unfathomable how the greed in a subsection of our society has become so great that they not only have managed to steal money from their peers (ie during the financial crisis) but from a future generation as well. Those of us who have recently graduated from school are in a sense becoming the leaders of the current generation and have more power than corporate America will lead us to believe.

Sincerely,
Michael Hackman

Michael Hackman  January 3, 2015  Sacramento, CA

Your Story*My name is Michael Hackman. I am a medical doctor working the Sacramento region and am 32 years old. I practice general medicine and have medical school debt totaling nearly $230,000. In order to pay off my loans in ten years, about 35% of my discretionary income goes to paying off my student loans, which in my opinion (and probably the opinion of most people on this website) is quite discordant to the philosophies of our American Heritage. I have seen the burden of student loans interfere with the ability of many doctors to perform their work adequately secondary to emotional stress, while incentivizing the overcharging of patients in order to make loan payments. In addition, there were thousands of dollars of late fees that accrued while I was in residency (in forbearance) that Navient is unwilling to remove from my account. I explained to them that such excessively greedy behavior would not look good in the eyes of any third party, especially with the recent class action lawsuit that was won against them for overcharging military members on their student loans. Other prior precedents include the reversal of many excessive bank fees that were reversed after the financial crisis. I have sent them communication that I am unwilling to make any further federal loan payments unless those fees are removed, even if it means the garnishment of my wages. To conclude, I believe that the best way to move forward is twofold: First we must unify the victims and organizations that believe in our cause as this will only strengthen our position, and second is to hold more physical meetings where we can discuss unifying actions and goals moving forward. It has become unfathomable how the greed in a subsection of our society has become so great that they not only have managed to steal money from their peers (ie during the financial crisis) but from a future generation as well. Those of us who have recently graduated from school are in a sense becoming the leaders of the current generation and have more power than corporate America will lead us to believe.

...more
Michael Hackman  January 3, 2015  Sacramento, CA

I graduated from University of Maryland with a bachelors degree with over $65,000 worth of debt. Luckily, I just recently found entry level salaried based career that I have always wanted. I also recently got engaged and started looking for places we could rent. However just found out that my loan repayment plan will be over $900 which is basically half of what I make a month. Turns out there is no way I can afford rent, and a wedding. So why not live with my parents until im 30?

Zach  January 2, 2015  elkton,md

I graduated from University of Maryland with a bachelors degree with over $65,000 worth of debt. Luckily, I just recently found entry level salaried based career that I have always wanted. I also recently got engaged and started looking for places we could rent. However just found out that my loan repayment plan will be over $900 which is basically half of what I make a month. Turns out there is no way I can afford rent, and a wedding. So why not live with my parents until im 30?

Zach  January 2, 2015  elkton,md

I graduated from University of Maryland with a bachelors degree with over $65,000 worth of debt. Luckily, I just recently found entry level salaried based career that I have always wanted. I also recently got engaged and started looking for places we could rent. However just found out that my loan repayment plan will be over $900 which is basically half of what I make a month. Turns out there is no way I can afford rent, and a wedding. So why not live with my parents until im 30?

Zach  January 2, 2015  elkton,md

I graduated from University of Maryland with a bachelors degree with over $65,000 worth of debt. Luckily, I just recently found entry level salaried based career that I have always wanted. I also recently got engaged and started looking for places we could rent. However just found out that my loan repayment plan will be over $900 which is basically half of what I make a month. Turns out there is no way I can afford rent, and a wedding. So why not live with my parents until im 30?

Zach  January 2, 2015  elkton,md

These stories are very heartbreaking and very familiar. I had student loan debt in the neighborhood of $25,000 when I left college 20 years ago. Although most of it was from a federally backed lender, the part that was privately underwritten went to collectors who were very deceptive. I think I paid $4500 for a $1900 loan due in full only three years after graduating - very sketchy practices.
Anyhow I did manage to pay the loans off. It took about 10 years, (No car payment - I drove a $600 car, lived at home) I made ok money (I believed it good money, it really wasn't.) I really don't have anyone to blame, I just didn't understand how the whole thing worked. I believe that way too many people are like me on this one.
The result is unfortunately that I have become more embittered over my school days than I would like to be. My friends who have been to College think it was great, I really don't like to think about my days back there.

Anon  January 2, 2015

These stories are very heartbreaking and very familiar. I had student loan debt in the neighborhood of $25,000 when I left college 20 years ago. Although most of it was from a federally backed lender, the part that was privately underwritten went to collectors who were very deceptive. I think I paid $4500 for a $1900 loan due in full only three years after graduating - very sketchy practices.
Anyhow I did manage to pay the loans off. It took about 10 years, (No car payment - I drove a $600 car, lived at home) I made ok money (I believed it good money, it really wasn't.) I really don't have anyone to blame, I just didn't understand how the whole thing worked. I believe that way too many people are like me on this one.
The result is unfortunately that I have become more embittered over my school days than I would like to be. My friends who have been to College think it was great, I really don't like to think about my days back there.

Anon  January 2, 2015

These stories are very heartbreaking and very familiar. I had student loan debt in the neighborhood of $25,000 when I left college 20 years ago. Although most of it was from a federally backed lender, the part that was privately underwritten went to collectors who were very deceptive. I think I paid $4500 for a $1900 loan due in full only three years after graduating - very sketchy practices.
Anyhow I did manage to pay the loans off. It took about 10 years, (No car payment - I drove a $600 car, lived at home) I made ok money (I believed it good money, it really wasn't.) I really don't have anyone to blame, I just didn't understand how the whole thing worked. I believe that way too many people are like me on this one.
The result is unfortunately that I have become more embittered over my school days than I would like to be. My friends who have been to College think it was great, I really don't like to think about my days back there.

Anon  January 2, 2015

These stories are very heartbreaking and very familiar. I had student loan debt in the neighborhood of $25,000 when I left college 20 years ago. Although most of it was from a federally backed lender, the part that was privately underwritten went to collectors who were very deceptive. I think I paid $4500 for a $1900 loan due in full only three years after graduating - very sketchy practices.
Anyhow I did manage to pay the loans off. It took about 10 years, (No car payment - I drove a $600 car, lived at home) I made ok money (I believed it good money, it really wasn't.) I really don't have anyone to blame, I just didn't understand how the whole thing worked. I believe that way too many people are like me on this one.
The result is unfortunately that I have become more embittered over my school days than I would like to be. My friends who have been to College think it was great, I really don't like to think about my days back there.

Anon  January 2, 2015

I attended a private college during the 1989-1990 school year and it was EXPENSIVE! The tuition for both semesters was almost 30K! I got government student loans, grants and one private loan directly from the college for $2500. I never attended college again so for the next 20 or so years I struggled to pay off these loans working one crappy job or another. When I could not afford to make payments my meager paychecks were garnished and every tax return refund I received for 15 or more years was taken as well. Finally in 2009 all of the loans were paid. THEN in 2013 I started receiving calls and bills in the mail from this college which is now an accredited university. I still owed them $2500 and they wanted their money NOW! The bottom line is I AM NOT PAYING THEM! If I added it up I would bet that the money they have spent to print up all the bills they have sent me would be very close to what I owe them. I called the school and told them that are wasting their time and that they just need to leave me the EFF alone about a loan that was given to me 25 years ago!! I know that if I DO make one payment...even if it's a dollar, they can THEN submit that loan to the credit agencies as a current debt. HOW DO I MAKE THEM LEAVE ME ALONE??

Frank J  January 1, 2015  Dallas, TX

I attended a private college during the 1989-1990 school year and it was EXPENSIVE! The tuition for both semesters was almost 30K! I got government student loans, grants and one private loan directly from the college for $2500. I never attended college again so for the next 20 or so years I struggled to pay off these loans working one crappy job or another. When I could not afford to make payments my meager paychecks were garnished and every tax return refund I received for 15 or more years was taken as well. Finally in 2009 all of the loans were paid. THEN in 2013 I started receiving calls and bills in the mail from this college which is now an accredited university. I still owed them $2500 and they wanted their money NOW! The bottom line is I AM NOT PAYING THEM! If I added it up I would bet that the money they have spent to print up all the bills they have sent me would be very close to what I owe them. I called the school and told them that are wasting their time and that they just need to leave me the EFF alone about a loan that was given to me 25 years ago!! I know that if I DO make one payment...even if it's a dollar, they can THEN submit that loan to the credit agencies as a current debt. HOW DO I MAKE THEM LEAVE ME ALONE??

Frank J  January 1, 2015  Dallas, TX

In 2001 I enrolled at ITT. Private and federal loans. Half way through my first semester, I had to switch courses due to falling behind and just not getting it (the math was too much for me to grasp). I went from electronics to Computers/Network Administrator. About a year and a half into the new course, I was called into the Deans office. I was greeted by the Dean, assistant dean, and the bursar. I was told that my completion rate wasn\'t where it should be and was told I should have never been enrolled in the coming semester…. I was told that I needed straight As in ALL of my classes…. and oh, yeah… had to pay $7,000 up front, right now, if I wanted to continue going to school there. I have ASD….. Autism Spectrum Disorder… in my technical classes I excelled - Even to the point where the Windows 200 teacher had me teach the class for him….College Math I had tried 5 times and failed. I was told by the school administration that I needed to provide paper work that I have a disability…I did not have health care at the time and couldn\'t provide the paper work they requested. I did provide paper work from initial diagnosis from the 80\'s… I was told it was too old. In essence, I was forced to leave the school WITHOUT an education. And I feel very strongly that I should not have to pay the loans back!! Over the years I\'ve had a plethora of collection agencies call and harass me. I\'ve been tormented and harassed to the point I ended up in the hospital due to panic attacks. My loans are through Sallie Mae and Naviant.

Aaron  December 30, 2014  LocationNew York

In 2001 I enrolled at ITT. Private and federal loans. Half way through my first semester, I had to switch courses due to falling behind and just not getting it (the math was too much for me to grasp). I went from electronics to Computers/Network Administrator. About a year and a half into the new course, I was called into the Deans office. I was greeted by the Dean, assistant dean, and the bursar. I was told that my completion rate wasn\'t where it should be and was told I should have never been enrolled in the coming semester…. I was told that I needed straight As in ALL of my classes…. and oh, yeah… had to pay $7,000 up front, right now, if I wanted to continue going to school there. I have ASD….. Autism Spectrum Disorder… in my technical classes I excelled - Even to the point where the Windows 200 teacher had me teach the class for him….College Math I had tried 5 times and failed. I was told by the school administration that I needed to provide paper work that I have a disability…I did not have health care at the time and couldn\'t provide the paper work they requested. I did provide paper work from initial diagnosis from the 80\'s… I was told it was too old. In essence, I was forced to leave the school WITHOUT an education. And I feel very strongly that I should not have to pay the loans back!! Over the years I\'ve had a plethora of collection agencies call and harass me. I\'ve been tormented and harassed to the point I ended up in the hospital due to panic attacks. My loans are through Sallie Mae and Naviant.

Aaron  December 30, 2014  LocationNew York

In 2001 I enrolled at ITT. Private and federal loans. Half way through my first semester, I had to switch courses due to falling behind and just not getting it (the math was too much for me to grasp). I went from electronics to Computers/Network Administrator. About a year and a half into the new course, I was called into the Deans office. I was greeted by the Dean, assistant dean, and the bursar. I was told that my completion rate wasn't where it should be and was told I should have never been enrolled in the coming semester…. I was told that I needed straight As in ALL of my classes…. and oh, yeah… had to pay $7,000 up front, right now, if I wanted to continue going to school there. I have ASD….. Autism Spectrum Disorder… in my technical classes I excelled - Even to the point where the Windows 200 teacher had me teach the class for him….College Math I had tried 5 times and failed. I was told by the school administration that I needed to provide paper work that I have a disability…I did not have health care at the time and couldn't provide the paper work they requested. I did provide paper work from initial diagnosis from the 80's… I was told it was too old. In essence, I was forced to leave the school WITHOUT an education. And I feel very strongly that I should not have to pay the loans back!! Over the years I've had a plethora of collection agencies call and harass me. I've been tormented and harassed to the point I ended up in the hospital due to panic attacks. My loans are through Sallie Mae and Naviant.

Aaron  December 30, 2014  LocationNew York

In 2001 I enrolled at ITT. Private and federal loans. Half way through my first semester, I had to switch courses due to falling behind and just not getting it (the math was too much for me to grasp). I went from electronics to Computers/Network Administrator. About a year and a half into the new course, I was called into the Deans office. I was greeted by the Dean, assistant dean, and the bursar. I was told that my completion rate wasn't where it should be and was told I should have never been enrolled in the coming semester…. I was told that I needed straight As in ALL of my classes…. and oh, yeah… had to pay $7,000 up front, right now, if I wanted to continue going to school there. I have ASD….. Autism Spectrum Disorder… in my technical classes I excelled - Even to the point where the Windows 200 teacher had me teach the class for him….College Math I had tried 5 times and failed. I was told by the school administration that I needed to provide paper work that I have a disability…I did not have health care at the time and couldn't provide the paper work they requested. I did provide paper work from initial diagnosis from the 80's… I was told it was too old. In essence, I was forced to leave the school WITHOUT an education. And I feel very strongly that I should not have to pay the loans back!! Over the years I've had a plethora of collection agencies call and harass me. I've been tormented and harassed to the point I ended up in the hospital due to panic attacks. My loans are through Sallie Mae and Naviant.

Aaron  December 30, 2014  LocationNew York

I am a 28 year old female who graduated in 2008 with my bachelors degree. At this time my private loans were not required to be paid, so I made minimum monthly payments. I did was I could barely having a teaching job paying 300 a month which was the minimum for my private loans, which totaled $102,000. Due to the inability to find a full time teaching position without having a masters degree I went back to school for my masters in curriculum, instruction. Taking out additional federal loan money now having a total of 64,000 in federal loan debt.

Fortunately, my federal loans are on an income based repayment and working in a low income school with hopefully provide me with some aid. I am incredibly distressed as I recently called my private loan lender only to find out that next year the 400 a month payment I have been making on my 102,000 loan will jump up to 800 a month.

It is overwhelming to think of trying to provide for myself, my house and household bills with an $800 a month payment.

Something needs to be done. It seems like each job wants you to have more education, more background yet the cost of college is not going down thus creating a rat race for the American adult attempting to create a life for themselves.

Chaitra McCarty  December 20, 2014  MA

I am a 28 year old female who graduated in 2008 with my bachelors degree. At this time my private loans were not required to be paid, so I made minimum monthly payments. I did was I could barely having a teaching job paying 300 a month which was the minimum for my private loans, which totaled $102,000. Due to the inability to find a full time teaching position without having a masters degree I went back to school for my masters in curriculum, instruction. Taking out additional federal loan money now having a total of 64,000 in federal loan debt.

Fortunately, my federal loans are on an income based repayment and working in a low income school with hopefully provide me with some aid. I am incredibly distressed as I recently called my private loan lender only to find out that next year the 400 a month payment I have been making on my 102,000 loan will jump up to 800 a month.

It is overwhelming to think of trying to provide for myself, my house and household bills with an $800 a month payment.

Something needs to be done. It seems like each job wants you to have more education, more background yet the cost of college is not going down thus creating a rat race for the American adult attempting to create a life for themselves.

Chaitra McCarty  December 20, 2014  MA

My husband and I both have large student loans, and we are trying to learn the best repayment program we can qualify for, and we also want to comment on how the policy affects us.

We both completed our Master's Degrees in the mental health field in 2003. With no parental support through college, and since we had unpaid internships and were therefore able to work a few hours a week, we relied on student loans to get us through school. We didn't like accumulating debt, but figured it was the only way we could complete our degrees and we would be able to pay it back once we graduated and got "real jobs".

However, with changes in the economy, it took us many years to find full-time work. We worked part-time or contractual positions for years, often totaling less than 40/hours/week combined between the two of us. Then in 2009 my husband was laid off completely and was unemployed for over a year while I was able to find only part-time work for myself of about 10 hours/week. This eventually led us to lose our home to foreclosure and to file bankruptcy, but our student loans were exempt from discharge.

My husband has since found a good job working for the State of Michigan as a foster care worker, and I am self-employed part-time while I raise our children. When we learned about the Income-Based Repayment Program and Public Service Loan Forgiveness, we switched to those programs. Unfortunately, my husband had already been working in public service for over a year before we learned about PSLF, and he had to transfer his loans to the Dept. of Ed. from Sallie Mae, losing over a year of eligibility.

While we are now in a more stable position, our finances are still tight and even our reduced student loan payments are a burden. In fact, due to my unemployment deferments and unsubsidized loans my student loan balance is larger than it was when I graduated! I like what I have heard about the new Pay-As-You-Earn program, in which the payment is 10% rather than 15% of our discretionary income, and the repayment term without PSLF (for myself) is 20 rather than 25 years. However, we may not qualify since we are not new borrowers. Also, my loans are still serviced by Navient (was Sallie Mae until earlier this year, and was the only option when I consolidated my loans), and I think I would have to transfer them to the Dept. of Ed., which would "reset the clock" toward 20-year loan forgiveness (I have been in repayment for 10 years already).

My comment or request for help is that the rules be written so that older borrowers like myself qualify for better programs like PAYE, and that we don't lose our years of repayment toward loan forgiveness under another servicers when we switch to the program.

Jennifer Bobicz  December 19, 2014  Milan, MI

My husband and I both have large student loans, and we are trying to learn the best repayment program we can qualify for, and we also want to comment on how the policy affects us.

We both completed our Master's Degrees in the mental health field in 2003. With no parental support through college, and since we had unpaid internships and were therefore able to work a few hours a week, we relied on student loans to get us through school. We didn't like accumulating debt, but figured it was the only way we could complete our degrees and we would be able to pay it back once we graduated and got "real jobs".

However, with changes in the economy, it took us many years to find full-time work. We worked part-time or contractual positions for years, often totaling less than 40/hours/week combined between the two of us. Then in 2009 my husband was laid off completely and was unemployed for over a year while I was able to find only part-time work for myself of about 10 hours/week. This eventually led us to lose our home to foreclosure and to file bankruptcy, but our student loans were exempt from discharge.

My husband has since found a good job working for the State of Michigan as a foster care worker, and I am self-employed part-time while I raise our children. When we learned about the Income-Based Repayment Program and Public Service Loan Forgiveness, we switched to those programs. Unfortunately, my husband had already been working in public service for over a year before we learned about PSLF, and he had to transfer his loans to the Dept. of Ed. from Sallie Mae, losing over a year of eligibility.

While we are now in a more stable position, our finances are still tight and even our reduced student loan payments are a burden. In fact, due to my unemployment deferments and unsubsidized loans my student loan balance is larger than it was when I graduated! I like what I have heard about the new Pay-As-You-Earn program,

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Jennifer Bobicz  December 19, 2014  Milan, MI

Growing up I was told by my parents, teachers, and guidance counselors to go to college because it would give me a better life. I graduated in 2013 with a Master's Degree in English with the hopes of being a teacher myself. There are no teaching jobs in high schools or colleges and I owe over $100,000 in student debt. I now work a job that doesn't even require a degree, and was turned down for a mortgage because my debt to income ratio was too high. Not a day goes by where I don't think about my debt. Some days I wonder what the point of life even is. I understand now how some people choose taking their own lives when debt is unmanageable.

Danielle  December 18, 2014  Charleston, SC

Growing up I was told by my parents, teachers, and guidance counselors to go to college because it would give me a better life. I graduated in 2013 with a Master's Degree in English with the hopes of being a teacher myself. There are no teaching jobs in high schools or colleges and I owe over $100,000 in student debt. I now work a job that doesn't even require a degree, and was turned down for a mortgage because my debt to income ratio was too high. Not a day goes by where I don't think about my debt. Some days I wonder what the point of life even is. I understand now how some people choose taking their own lives when debt is unmanageable.

Danielle  December 18, 2014  Charleston, SC

Growing up I was told by my parents, teachers, and guidance counselors to go to college because it would give me a better life. I graduated in 2013 with a Master's Degree in English with the hopes of being a teacher myself. There are no teaching jobs in high schools or colleges and I owe over $100,000 in student debt. I now work a job that doesn't even require a degree, and was turned down for a mortgage because my debt to income ratio was too high. Not a day goes by where I don't think about my debt. Some days I wonder what the point of life even is.

Danielle  December 18, 2014  Charleston, SC

Growing up I was told by my parents, teachers, and guidance counselors to go to college because it would give me a better life. I graduated in 2013 with a Master's Degree in English with the hopes of being a teacher myself. There are no teaching jobs in high schools or colleges and I owe over $100,000 in student debt. I now work a job that doesn't even require a degree, and was turned down for a mortgage because my debt to income ratio was too high. Not a day goes by where I don't think about my debt. Some days I wonder what the point of life even is.

Danielle  December 18, 2014  Charleston, SC

I left graduate school back in 1992 with about $50,000 in student loans, along with a $10,000 loan from my sister so I could focus on school and not have to work all the time (I did work part-time).

After relocating and finally getting a job, I began paying off the loans to my sister and planned to start paying back my student loans too… until the mother of my twins hit me up for child support – we were not a couple, our pregnancy was a “surprise,” and she promised me at the time she would never ask me for any money. All of that changed when I moved across the country to co-parent with her (in the same city) and got a job.

Instead of paying back my student debt I paid child support… while the loan and interest mounted. There were times I was suicidal about my debt load until I realized it was completely out of my control, and I chose my own life and a proper perspective instead of doing anything drastic.

In the 2000’s, I was laid off from four different jobs and was forced to file for bankruptcy.

Today, with my kids are in college, I no longer pay child support, but the loan has now ballooned to an astronomical $240,000. Thankfully, the debt collectors have respected the law and stop harassing me when I tell them to. And I’ve continued to choose “life over debt.”

It would, however, be nice to get this monkey off my back.

Todd  December 17, 2014  Los Angeles

I left graduate school back in 1992 with about $50,000 in student loans, along with a $10,000 loan from my sister so I could focus on school and not have to work all the time (I did work part-time).

After relocating and finally getting a job, I began paying off the loans to my sister and planned to start paying back my student loans too… until the mother of my twins hit me up for child support – we were not a couple, our pregnancy was a “surprise,” and she promised me at the time she would never ask me for any money. All of that changed when I moved across the country to co-parent with her (in the same city) and got a job.

Instead of paying back my student debt I paid child support… while the loan and interest mounted. There were times I was suicidal about my debt load until I realized it was completely out of my control, and I chose my own life and a proper perspective instead of doing anything drastic.

In the 2000’s, I was laid off from four different jobs and was forced to file for bankruptcy.

Today, with my kids are in college, I no longer pay child support, but the loan has now ballooned to an astronomical $240,000. Thankfully, the debt collectors have respected the law and stop harassing me when I tell them to. And I’ve continued to choose “life over debt.”

It would, however, be nice to get this monkey off my back.

Todd  December 17, 2014  Los Angeles

When I graduated high school I was in the top percentage of my class. I was selected as a candidate from my school for a prestigious scholarship award known in my area through the Knight foundation. I won scholarships and had a bit set aside by my parents. I still needed $5,000 a year that came out in student loans. Even though people thought I would apply to Ivy Leagues I never did because I knew I was not prepared to pay out of state tuition. While in school my loans were sold to other companies because the original one somehow was suddenly out of the picture. When I got out of school my Cum Laude status won me an exhausting summer working and interning, but even though I loved working at a prestigious museum I barely could afford my living. I would pay the rent, have one shopping trip for the month, a little gas money and I knew once I got to the second week I would have no money left. My loan payments were $250 and I have never been able to shrink them. When I couldn't afford it at all my account went delinquent. My parents did not graduate from college and I felt I had to deal with this, even though I had no idea what I really needed to do when I felt completely overwhelmed. I was terrified by these looming payments that apparently don't shrink the principle. I have been working in educational institutions that I love, but my "consolidated" loans only seem to be four loans held by one company and haven't been able to be lessened so I pay them all at once. I would go delinquent, have a stressed out long phone conversation, pay and fix it, have it deferred while I could, feel the strain of the debt weighing more heavily or the respite period running out, pay, then do the dance again. Last year I couldn't do it anymore, so I just deferred it for the year based on low income. Now my amount is $37,119.36. My payments are supposed to resume January 6th with $370.36 due each month. Even when I worked a basically full time schedule at the museums, only shy of it by a few hours often because if all the employees were "full time" they would have to get coverage, I couldn't afford $250 payments. Now I am a temporary instructor for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. It is very part time, work days are not assured and I only can work 10 months out of the year. I can't put it off another year and even though I want to pay it off I can't make $370 payments. I honestly barely worked this last pay period, I got a bit over $100. Next time I will get about $500, big variations. I am working on making my own business now. Because for someone who loved learning and made being a good student my life, well working in that system, and being burdened by it, isn't giving me much of one.

Catherine Berendsohn  December 16, 2014  Miami Florida

When I graduated high school I was in the top percentage of my class. I was selected as a candidate from my school for a prestigious scholarship award known in my area through the Knight foundation. I won scholarships and had a bit set aside by my parents. I still needed $5,000 a year that came out in student loans. Even though people thought I would apply to Ivy Leagues I never did because I knew I was not prepared to pay out of state tuition. While in school my loans were sold to other companies because the original one somehow was suddenly out of the picture. When I got out of school my Cum Laude status won me an exhausting summer working and interning, but even though I loved working at a prestigious museum I barely could afford my living. I would pay the rent, have one shopping trip for the month, a little gas money and I knew once I got to the second week I would have no money left. My loan payments were $250 and I have never been able to shrink them. When I couldn't afford it at all my account went delinquent. My parents did not graduate from college and I felt I had to deal with this, even though I had no idea what I really needed to do when I felt completely overwhelmed. I was terrified by these looming payments that apparently don't shrink the principle. I have been working in educational institutions that I love, but my "consolidated" loans only seem to be four loans held by one company and haven't been able to be lessened so I pay them all at once. I would go delinquent, have a stressed out long phone conversation, pay and fix it, have it deferred while I could, feel the strain of the debt weighing more heavily or the respite period running out, pay, then do the dance again. Last year I couldn't do it anymore, so I just deferred it for the year based on low income. Now my amount is $37,119.36. My payments are supposed to resume January 6th with $370.36 due each month.

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Catherine Berendsohn  December 16, 2014  Miami Florida

I owe just under 100k in student loans. I am thankful for the opportunity to have earned my Masters. Without the loan this would not have happened. I graduated with honors and work in the non-profit world. This allowed me to sign up for a program through FedLoan where if you work for a qualifying agency after 10 years of income based payment you dont have to pay the rest. Sounds fantastic right. Lower payment. Not really. They dont take into account cost of living. See when I lived in a state where the cost of living was less the payment was less. I re-located to a state where the cost of living was higher so my income was slightly higher. When I called they said well the income went up so the income based payment went up. Despite that I had no disposable income that could contribute to the increase, they said nothing could be done because it's government rules. They suggested forbearance. Each time I did this the loan increase. Causing my 75k loan to increase to just 100k because I could not afford the payments. Now I have no more forbearance left and was told that by a rep on the phone, "Everyone has a choice of where to live so if you want the payment lower you should re-located to a cheaper state." I struggle to make these payments every month and quite honestly am not sure how much longer I can.

Oliver  December 12, 2014  MA

I owe just under 100k in student loans. I am thankful for the opportunity to have earned my Masters. Without the loan this would not have happened. I graduated with honors and work in the non-profit world. This allowed me to sign up for a program through FedLoan where if you work for a qualifying agency after 10 years of income based payment you dont have to pay the rest. Sounds fantastic right. Lower payment. Not really. They dont take into account cost of living. See when I lived in a state where the cost of living was less the payment was less. I re-located to a state where the cost of living was higher so my income was slightly higher. When I called they said well the income went up so the income based payment went up. Despite that I had no disposable income that could contribute to the increase, they said nothing could be done because it's government rules. They suggested forbearance. Each time I did this the loan increase. Causing my 75k loan to increase to just 100k because I could not afford the payments. Now I have no more forbearance left and was told that by a rep on the phone, "Everyone has a choice of where to live so if you want the payment lower you should re-located to a cheaper state." I struggle to make these payments every month and quite honestly am not sure how much longer I can.

Oliver  December 12, 2014  MA

I went to college in the early 90's. I was also in the Army National Guard. The government didn't seem to have any idea how to help me pay for school so I used Federal Student loans. I graduated in 1998 and have never made enough money consistently to pay the loans off. I now owe more than I did when I graduated even though I retired from the military after 30 years. I went to war and was discharged honorably. Many other soldiers who enlisted after 9/11 were handed a full ride through college if they served for a couple of years. I served until 2011 and can't get any assistance.

Paul Bennethum  December 12, 2014  United States

I went to college in the early 90's. I was also in the Army National Guard. The government didn't seem to have any idea how to help me pay for school so I used Federal Student loans. I graduated in 1998 and have never made enough money consistently to pay the loans off. I now owe more than I did when I graduated even though I retired from the military after 30 years. I went to war and was discharged honorably. Many other soldiers who enlisted after 9/11 were handed a full ride through college if they served for a couple of years. I served until 2011 and can't get any assistance.

Paul Bennethum  December 12, 2014  United States

I went to college in the medical profession to help others. In my Junior year of graduate college Reagan eliminated the student loan I was going to college on with no grandfather clause. I already was in debt with student loans, so it didnt make sense to quit without the degree. I had to take out personal loans AND different fed student loans. I graduated in '93 and back then one was not allowed to consolidate the loans and they were not tax deductable. So I struggled to pay off 3 different loans and the interests associated with them. I managed to pay off 2 of them, but the third- the supposid low interest fed loan I had to take to replace the one Reagan nixed- well turns out the low interest is compounded daily and becomes principle. After paying $500 a month for 4 years I owed almost double the original loan amount. I spoke with various accountants and lawyers and they all said "you will never be able to pay this off no matter what you do" So, I decided to leave the profession I was not enjoying and try out another one. That one didnt pan out and I ended up unemployed and homeless. After several years and much struggle I finally landed a job that pays barely above min wage, but I was feeling hopeful. I was no longer living in my vehicle and had income coming in. I actually felt happy. Thats when the govt decided it needed not only to keep the paltry $300 I should have gotten back from taxes, but also to garnish my wages. I dont even have plumbing where I live. I dont have any money in the savings account and live pay check to paycheck hoping my car doesnt die. I dont have health insurance and cannot get obama care because of my student loans and financial situation. And yet the govt thinks it should garnish my wages. There is no point in having a job. I may as well go back to being homeless. There is absolutely nothing I can do to resolve this mess. I dont trust the govt anymore, dont trust the creditors and cannot afford to hire some one I might be able to trust. I thought loan sharking was illegal. and I thought poverty was not a crime. Obviously I thought wrong.

Amos  December 12, 2014  NY

I went to college in the medical profession to help others. In my Junior year of graduate college Reagan eliminated the student loan I was going to college on with no grandfather clause. I already was in debt with student loans, so it didnt make sense to quit without the degree. I had to take out personal loans AND different fed student loans. I graduated in '93 and back then one was not allowed to consolidate the loans and they were not tax deductable. So I struggled to pay off 3 different loans and the interests associated with them. I managed to pay off 2 of them, but the third- the supposid low interest fed loan I had to take to replace the one Reagan nixed- well turns out the low interest is compounded daily and becomes principle. After paying $500 a month for 4 years I owed almost double the original loan amount. I spoke with various accountants and lawyers and they all said "you will never be able to pay this off no matter what you do" So, I decided to leave the profession I was not enjoying and try out another one. That one didnt pan out and I ended up unemployed and homeless. After several years and much struggle I finally landed a job that pays barely above min wage, but I was feeling hopeful. I was no longer living in my vehicle and had income coming in. I actually felt happy. Thats when the govt decided it needed not only to keep the paltry $300 I should have gotten back from taxes, but also to garnish my wages. I dont even have plumbing where I live. I dont have any money in the savings account and live pay check to paycheck hoping my car doesnt die. I dont have health insurance and cannot get obama care because of my student loans and financial situation. And yet the govt thinks it should garnish my wages. There is no point in having a job. I may as well go back to being homeless. There is absolutely nothing I can do to resolve this mess.

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Amos  December 12, 2014  NY

How many people do you know have defaulted on seven (7) private student loans? How many of you once had a credit score in the 700's drop to the 560's? How many of you know the shame, self-disappointed, self-hatred, and struggle of living with bad credit and poor decisions?

Not a day goes by where I don't think about my student loan debt, both federal ($52,000+) and private ($82,000+). Is today going to be the day, the week, the month, or the year in which I get sued?

With no car, no driver's license, and limited public transportation routes, I'm not able to do temp jobs, substitute teach, nor work at social service agencies. I am fortunate to have a part-time job near where I live. My income is so low that my wages can't even be garnished!

What's going to happen when my parents die? Who will co-sign for an apartment for me? How am I going to be able to qualify for a car loan on my part-time income?

Jeff  December 11, 2014  Roanoke, VA

How many people do you know have defaulted on seven (7) private student loans? How many of you once had a credit score in the 700's drop to the 560's? How many of you know the shame, self-disappointed, self-hatred, and struggle of living with bad credit and poor decisions?

Not a day goes by where I don't think about my student loan debt, both federal ($52,000+) and private ($82,000+). Is today going to be the day, the week, the month, or the year in which I get sued?

With no car, no driver's license, and limited public transportation routes, I'm not able to do temp jobs, substitute teach, nor work at social service agencies. I am fortunate to have a part-time job near where I live. My income is so low that my wages can't even be garnished!

What's going to happen when my parents die? Who will co-sign for an apartment for me? How am I going to be able to qualify for a car loan on my part-time income?

Jeff  December 11, 2014  Roanoke, VA

I was lured into a for profit Trade school. I was worse than broke, I was working at Walmart! I saw a TV commercial for Wyotech Motorcycle School in Daytona, FL. I went down, toured the facility and spoke to a sales rep and they talked a good game, made promises of job placement \"Guarantees\" so out of desperation I signed up! I went through the Core training and completed 2 specialties graduating at the top of my class with a Nation Technical Honor Society Award earning me a spot representing Ducati North America at the Moto GP in Indianapolis that year. After that I submitted over 1800 resumes and to this day not one interview! So I went back to doing handyman work and odd jobs and I still don\'t make enough to live on my own, and to ad insult to injury it\'s been so long since I got out of school that my education is no longer considered valid and no one will hire me in my field! So here i sit with $40k in debt and about a $7k yearly income!.

Daniel Siler  December 9, 2014  Guerneville, Ca

I was lured into a for profit Trade school. I was worse than broke, I was working at Walmart! I saw a TV commercial for Wyotech Motorcycle School in Daytona, FL. I went down, toured the facility and spoke to a sales rep and they talked a good game, made promises of job placement \"Guarantees\" so out of desperation I signed up! I went through the Core training and completed 2 specialties graduating at the top of my class with a Nation Technical Honor Society Award earning me a spot representing Ducati North America at the Moto GP in Indianapolis that year. After that I submitted over 1800 resumes and to this day not one interview! So I went back to doing handyman work and odd jobs and I still don\'t make enough to live on my own, and to ad insult to injury it\'s been so long since I got out of school that my education is no longer considered valid and no one will hire me in my field! So here i sit with $40k in debt and about a $7k yearly income!.

Daniel Siler  December 9, 2014  Guerneville, Ca

This is not my story but a friends. Last year my friend had died unexpectedly only a few months after his graduation day. He had owed well over $100,000. government gladly waved his student loan debt, but his family was required to still pay the taxes on it totaling about $20,000. (art school is expensive) It was sicking when we found this out. His family had to add 20,000 on top of their sons death expenses.

Ashlee Swallow  December 6, 2014  Manchester NH

This is not my story but a friends. Last year my friend had died unexpectedly only a few months after his graduation day. He had owed well over $100,000. government gladly waved his student loan debt, but his family was required to still pay the taxes on it totaling about $20,000. (art school is expensive) It was sicking when we found this out. His family had to add 20,000 on top of their sons death expenses.

Ashlee Swallow  December 6, 2014  Manchester NH

I went back to college to try and pursue a nursing degree. I already had a Human Services AAS degree payed for by WIA. I wanted to make more than $15 an hour part time. I was not accepted into the nursing program after two semesters of pre requisites. I had to redo many classes, because my past associate degree classes did not qualify. Example sociology 102 was not on the degree list. I had to take Sociology 101. There were many more like that. I was not able to continue and apply the next semester due to divorce, and becoming a single mom of 3. My loan was a total of $16,000 after two years. I made payments until 2008, and became chronically ill. I had to defer for a while, but then once my two older kids left the home, I no longer qualified. I tried contacting Sallie Mae, and never got through during the recession. I tried contacting on their website to make payment arrangements, meanwhile my loan went into default. My chronic illness has caused me to change the job I could physically do , but lower my income even more. I have continued with default, and trying to pay what I could. My loans then Double to $34,000 with fees and interest. I am not being garnished, because they said I they did not receive my paperwork for my financial disclosure statement. I had major neuro surgery, and now cannot afford to see my doctors or pay for medications. I have tried to remain working through my illness, but now think I should have gone disabled. I want to pay my bill, but I cannot afford the monthy amount they want me to pay, and pay rent, car, insurance, electricity, phone, medical needs...etc. The decision to go back to school was the worst one of my life.

Mary  December 3, 2014  Mesa, AZ

I went back to college to try and pursue a nursing degree. I already had a Human Services AAS degree payed for by WIA. I wanted to make more than $15 an hour part time. I was not accepted into the nursing program after two semesters of pre requisites. I had to redo many classes, because my past associate degree classes did not qualify. Example sociology 102 was not on the degree list. I had to take Sociology 101. There were many more like that. I was not able to continue and apply the next semester due to divorce, and becoming a single mom of 3. My loan was a total of $16,000 after two years. I made payments until 2008, and became chronically ill. I had to defer for a while, but then once my two older kids left the home, I no longer qualified. I tried contacting Sallie Mae, and never got through during the recession. I tried contacting on their website to make payment arrangements, meanwhile my loan went into default. My chronic illness has caused me to change the job I could physically do , but lower my income even more. I have continued with default, and trying to pay what I could. My loans then Double to $34,000 with fees and interest. I am not being garnished, because they said I they did not receive my paperwork for my financial disclosure statement. I had major neuro surgery, and now cannot afford to see my doctors or pay for medications. I have tried to remain working through my illness, but now think I should have gone disabled. I want to pay my bill, but I cannot afford the monthy amount they want me to pay, and pay rent, car, insurance, electricity, phone, medical needs...etc. The decision to go back to school was the worst one of my life.

Mary  December 3, 2014  Mesa, AZ

My daughter was told early on that college is a must. What a huge mistake. She is over $50,000 in debt with student loans and a service fee of another $14,000 has been added in under 3 years of graduating. The school she attended did not offer enough semester classes to graduate in 4 years. We are now in a nightmare life. Our government system has fallen apart and we a re just waking up to the fact that we are owned by the government - more so now than ever before.

Julie Gail  December 3, 2014  West Virginia

My daughter was told early on that college is a must. What a huge mistake. She is over $50,000 in debt with student loans and a service fee of another $14,000 has been added in under 3 years of graduating. The school she attended did not offer enough semester classes to graduate in 4 years. We are now in a nightmare life. Our government system has fallen apart and we a re just waking up to the fact that we are owned by the government - more so now than ever before.

Julie Gail  December 3, 2014  West Virginia

I am 65 years old. I started grad school in my early 30s as a single mother, and though I got full tuition and stipend paid, I could not live with other students in a dive; I had to make a normal life for my child, in a decent 'hood and school district. So I took out maximum loans, which only amounted to $30k over my five years in the program, which at the time seemed like a responsibly small sum. Thirty years later, I have now paid $48k, and still owe about $25k, at 9% interest. This just seems obscene to me, and I cannot imagine trying to face it as a young person today; the situation is wholly egregious, particularly in light of the gazillions of dollars being hoovered up by the gazillionairres. What does it say about a country - a people, hell, a species! - that refuses to educate its young?

Lynn LeSueur  December 2, 2014

I am 65 years old. I started grad school in my early 30s as a single mother, and though I got full tuition and stipend paid, I could not live with other students in a dive; I had to make a normal life for my child, in a decent 'hood and school district. So I took out maximum loans, which only amounted to $30k over my five years in the program, which at the time seemed like a responsibly small sum. Thirty years later, I have now paid $48k, and still owe about $25k, at 9% interest. This just seems obscene to me, and I cannot imagine trying to face it as a young person today; the situation is wholly egregious, particularly in light of the gazillions of dollars being hoovered up by the gazillionairres. What does it say about a country - a people, hell, a species! - that refuses to educate its young?

Lynn LeSueur  December 2, 2014

At 56 years of age, I will be paying off my student loans until I’m 76. Don’t get me wrong, I earned, yes EARNED, a wonderful education, but now instead of following my passion to teach, I’m grudgingly working in a mind-numbing profession, earning a six figure salary that barely affords me the opportunity to live minimally, pay off my loans, and all but negates the likelihood of owning my own home, or setting aside any extra money for my unlikely retirement.

If earning a higher education degree equals little more than unending debt, marginal living, and diminished dreams, then is it any wonder that our educated and qualified workforce is shrinking … why bother … let’s finally pass the torch of economic stability and world class power to countries who truly financially support the education of their society, OR remove the current and unfair crushing debt from the shoulders of our students who possess student loans, and then finally develop a truly functional system of educational support and attainment that engages, encourages, and supports our students, instead of simply sees them as cash cows of interest debt.

G. Lantz  November 25, 2014  Chicago, IL.

At 56 years of age, I will be paying off my student loans until I’m 76. Don’t get me wrong, I earned, yes EARNED, a wonderful education, but now instead of following my passion to teach, I’m grudgingly working in a mind-numbing profession, earning a six figure salary that barely affords me the opportunity to live minimally, pay off my loans, and all but negates the likelihood of owning my own home, or setting aside any extra money for my unlikely retirement.

If earning a higher education degree equals little more than unending debt, marginal living, and diminished dreams, then is it any wonder that our educated and qualified workforce is shrinking … why bother … let’s finally pass the torch of economic stability and world class power to countries who truly financially support the education of their society, OR remove the current and unfair crushing debt from the shoulders of our students who possess student loans, and then finally develop a truly functional system of educational support and attainment that engages, encourages, and supports our students, instead of simply sees them as cash cows of interest debt.

G. Lantz  November 25, 2014  Chicago, IL.

SallieMae was unwilling to consolidate my private student loans when I stopped going to school in 2005. There were no programs that they would offer to reduce the amount they required per month. So instead they had me pay fees to put the loans on hold for 3 months. These fees did not go towards my loans. I was struggling for two years when I decided to go to school part time at a junior college to keep from making payments everymonth. This lasted till 2010 when SallieMae contacted me regarding making payments now that my in school deferment time was used up, and they were now in possession of my federal loans. The federal loans would be put aside while I made payments everymonth, but they had to be reduced amounts since I was still at a low paying job. Now that its 2014, SallieMae has contacted me stating that my federal loans are over 300 payments past due, and there in nothing they can do to help me since I couldn't afford to pay private and federal student loans. So now, I'm in the Administrative review phase with New York Higher Education, who is now in possession of my federal loans. Meanwhile, SallieMae/Navient has me on an automatic electronic transfer from my checking account every month and I am on medical leave receiving workman's comp payments twice a month. It's still not enough to pay the bills. I'm down to almost zero in the bank depending when bills need to be paid. I'm scared, and have reduced my food funds drastically. I only buy gas when I really need it, and medication, and health care is now extra expense. I have tried going back to school to finish my degree, but I may not be awarded the remainder of my federal loan allowance for the next semester depending on what the decision is from the Administrative Review.
I just want to finish school, get the degree, and get a better paying job.

Naomi Meyers  November 24, 2014  San Jose, CA

SallieMae was unwilling to consolidate my private student loans when I stopped going to school in 2005. There were no programs that they would offer to reduce the amount they required per month. So instead they had me pay fees to put the loans on hold for 3 months. These fees did not go towards my loans. I was struggling for two years when I decided to go to school part time at a junior college to keep from making payments everymonth. This lasted till 2010 when SallieMae contacted me regarding making payments now that my in school deferment time was used up, and they were now in possession of my federal loans. The federal loans would be put aside while I made payments everymonth, but they had to be reduced amounts since I was still at a low paying job. Now that its 2014, SallieMae has contacted me stating that my federal loans are over 300 payments past due, and there in nothing they can do to help me since I couldn't afford to pay private and federal student loans. So now, I'm in the Administrative review phase with New York Higher Education, who is now in possession of my federal loans. Meanwhile, SallieMae/Navient has me on an automatic electronic transfer from my checking account every month and I am on medical leave receiving workman's comp payments twice a month. It's still not enough to pay the bills. I'm down to almost zero in the bank depending when bills need to be paid. I'm scared, and have reduced my food funds drastically. I only buy gas when I really need it, and medication, and health care is now extra expense. I have tried going back to school to finish my degree, but I may not be awarded the remainder of my federal loan allowance for the next semester depending on what the decision is from the Administrative Review.
I just want to finish school, get the degree, and get a better paying job.

Naomi Meyers  November 24, 2014  San Jose, CA

“In the event of your passing, your loan balance would be discharged. No one else would be responsible for your debt.”
The above was in response to my question to my new loan servicer Navient as to why I was still paying on a school loan from 1987. I am almost 63 years old, have worked in the Public Service sector since 2001, and have never defaulted on school loans. I have paid back more than double the original loan amount. In fact, I have been paying on this loan for so long Sallie Mae/Navient has been unable to locate the first 19 years of records for my loan payments.
Sallie Mae did send records that showed that I have paid $46,440.44 since 2006. I have worked in the Public Service sector since 2001, as a teacher in a state Correctional Facility for Serious Juvenile Offenders and the last three years for the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. I will not be able to retire since I just received a letter that I have 166 more payments of $327.96 on my school loan balance.
I am despondent and depressed. I completely understand the hopelessness felt by those who have committed suicide due to an eternal debt foisted on me by the greed of others. The fact that I repaid my debt many times over, never defaulted, and am still required to send monthly payments stuns me. The fact that there is no accountability required for loan servicers to verify and document nineteen years of payments is shameful. The fact that loan servicers are able to package up people’s debt and resell it at 15 cents on the dollar is criminal. I am not the only elderly person in this situation. There are many others who will have their paltry social security checks garnished. Our only comfort is that when we die, our children will not inherit this travesty.

Geralyn McGee  November 23, 2014  Wisconsin

“In the event of your passing, your loan balance would be discharged. No one else would be responsible for your debt.”
The above was in response to my question to my new loan servicer Navient as to why I was still paying on a school loan from 1987. I am almost 63 years old, have worked in the Public Service sector since 2001, and have never defaulted on school loans. I have paid back more than double the original loan amount. In fact, I have been paying on this loan for so long Sallie Mae/Navient has been unable to locate the first 19 years of records for my loan payments.
Sallie Mae did send records that showed that I have paid $46,440.44 since 2006. I have worked in the Public Service sector since 2001, as a teacher in a state Correctional Facility for Serious Juvenile Offenders and the last three years for the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. I will not be able to retire since I just received a letter that I have 166 more payments of $327.96 on my school loan balance.
I am despondent and depressed. I completely understand the hopelessness felt by those who have committed suicide due to an eternal debt foisted on me by the greed of others. The fact that I repaid my debt many times over, never defaulted, and am still required to send monthly payments stuns me. The fact that there is no accountability required for loan servicers to verify and document nineteen years of payments is shameful. The fact that loan servicers are able to package up people’s debt and resell it at 15 cents on the dollar is criminal. I am not the only elderly person in this situation. There are many others who will have their paltry social security checks garnished. Our only comfort is that when we die, our children will not inherit this travesty.

Geralyn McGee  November 23, 2014  Wisconsin

I have a student loan (sign for my children) and now the bills are arriving. FedLoan is requesting a monthly payment of 2,025 which I can\\\'t afford. I have been unemployeed for three months and found a job not permanent yet. I have to pay a place to live, food, utilities, gas to commute to work, etc, etc, etc. and then when they compute the payment they do it based on gross income. They do not take in consideration all other costs that comes from the same salary. How can this change.

Ricardo  November 22, 2014  California

I have a student loan (sign for my children) and now the bills are arriving. FedLoan is requesting a monthly payment of 2,025 which I can\\\'t afford. I have been unemployeed for three months and found a job not permanent yet. I have to pay a place to live, food, utilities, gas to commute to work, etc, etc, etc. and then when they compute the payment they do it based on gross income. They do not take in consideration all other costs that comes from the same salary. How can this change.

Ricardo  November 22, 2014  California

I have been in default 14 years. Not because I did not want to pay my loans; I simply could not afford to. I borrowed a little over $49, 000 and have paid $52,635 in garnishment and tax offset. The servicer, USAFunds, Sallie Mae, and Pioneer Credit still hold that I owe $181,746. This means that none of the money that they have taken was ever applied to the principle which I thought was the law. Any garnishment is supposed to be used to elleviate the debt owed. What interest rate makes a $49,000 loan turn into $181,746 after with over $50,000 already received from the victim. I don't even own a house worth !81,000. I can not afford it. I own little or nothing and yet I owe all of this money. This is usury and I am wondering why this type of exhorbent interest is tolerated and upheld. It is not constitutional.

Marcia A Garrison  November 21, 2014  Springfield, Ohio

I have been in default 14 years. Not because I did not want to pay my loans; I simply could not afford to. I borrowed a little over $49, 000 and have paid $52,635 in garnishment and tax offset. The servicer, USAFunds, Sallie Mae, and Pioneer Credit still hold that I owe $181,746. This means that none of the money that they have taken was ever applied to the principle which I thought was the law. Any garnishment is supposed to be used to elleviate the debt owed. What interest rate makes a $49,000 loan turn into $181,746 after with over $50,000 already received from the victim. I don't even own a house worth !81,000. I can not afford it. I own little or nothing and yet I owe all of this money. This is usury and I am wondering why this type of exhorbent interest is tolerated and upheld. It is not constitutional.

Marcia A Garrison  November 21, 2014  Springfield, Ohio

My wife took out college student loans for my daughter and son and put the loans in my name. She may not of realized the full consequences of this and we are now left with $260000 in student loan debt in parent plus loans. We are living pay check to paycheck, not making all our payments and have had to put the loans in deferment pending a consolidation. I have 8 years left in my job and my wife who is older has 4 and half years left. We have a mortgage of $273000 and $52000 in credit card debt we are trying to pay off. The interest rates and payments from the student loans are crushing. My daughter says she cannot afford to help me and my son changed his major and received a liberal arts degree witch may not help him get a job. I am a law enforcement officer with almost 18 years of service find the public loan forgiveness does not help me much as I only qualify for ICR income contingent Repayment IBR. The monthly payment amount and plan cause me to retire 2 years later and do not realistically take into account a mortgage; debts, and living expenses. With these high interest rates and monthly loan payments of $3800 a month my wife's total salary is consumed and my salary doesn't fully cover mortgage or bills without working overtime when I can get it. This stress is causing problems in my family, relationship, and life. Twice I have thought about walking out or getting a divorce and forcing the sale of our house to try and pay off some of this crazy student loan debt. Can someone contact me at my email with some ideas and a contact phone call back number. PLEASE.

albert parsons  November 21, 2014  san diego,ca

My wife took out college student loans for my daughter and son and put the loans in my name. She may not of realized the full consequences of this and we are now left with $260000 in student loan debt in parent plus loans. We are living pay check to paycheck, not making all our payments and have had to put the loans in deferment pending a consolidation. I have 8 years left in my job and my wife who is older has 4 and half years left. We have a mortgage of $273000 and $52000 in credit card debt we are trying to pay off. The interest rates and payments from the student loans are crushing. My daughter says she cannot afford to help me and my son changed his major and received a liberal arts degree witch may not help him get a job. I am a law enforcement officer with almost 18 years of service find the public loan forgiveness does not help me much as I only qualify for ICR income contingent Repayment IBR. The monthly payment amount and plan cause me to retire 2 years later and do not realistically take into account a mortgage; debts, and living expenses. With these high interest rates and monthly loan payments of $3800 a month my wife's total salary is consumed and my salary doesn't fully cover mortgage or bills without working overtime when I can get it. This stress is causing problems in my family, relationship, and life. Twice I have thought about walking out or getting a divorce and forcing the sale of our house to try and pay off some of this crazy student loan debt. Can someone contact me at my email with some ideas and a contact phone call back number. PLEASE.

albert parsons  November 21, 2014  san diego,ca

I graduated with my Master's degree in Occupational Therapy (OT) last August. The only way to get a job as an OT is to have your masters. I live in IL which does not have a thing called "in-state tuition" so for my specific program it was cheaper overall for me to attend an out of state school in WI. I even got my associate's degree at the local community college paid in full before leaving for WI. I now owe about $140,000 in loans from 2 years of undergrad and 1 year of grad school. I have one private loan of about $30k and the rest is federal. I even ended up getting $32K in scholarships in grad school, but I still have tons of loans from the out of state tuition. I have many job opportunities, but I am married with 1 kid and 1 on the way. My husband does not make much and now works part time and stays at home with our son. I am currently on the income-based repayment plan (which is $0 now but I just got a substantial raise increasing this payment), but with all of our other expenses we will not be able to afford projected $1400 a month loan payment. We will never be able to buy a house and we just got enough money for a security deposit on an apartment (big step up from mom's basement!) The most plausible option really seems to have my account go delinquent. There needs to be a change, it is ridiculous!

Samantha  November 21, 2014  Lindnehurst, IL

I graduated with my Master's degree in Occupational Therapy (OT) last August. The only way to get a job as an OT is to have your masters. I live in IL which does not have a thing called "in-state tuition" so for my specific program it was cheaper overall for me to attend an out of state school in WI. I even got my associate's degree at the local community college paid in full before leaving for WI. I now owe about $140,000 in loans from 2 years of undergrad and 1 year of grad school. I have one private loan of about $30k and the rest is federal. I even ended up getting $32K in scholarships in grad school, but I still have tons of loans from the out of state tuition. I have many job opportunities, but I am married with 1 kid and 1 on the way. My husband does not make much and now works part time and stays at home with our son. I am currently on the income-based repayment plan (which is $0 now but I just got a substantial raise increasing this payment), but with all of our other expenses we will not be able to afford projected $1400 a month loan payment. We will never be able to buy a house and we just got enough money for a security deposit on an apartment (big step up from mom's basement!) The most plausible option really seems to have my account go delinquent. There needs to be a change, it is ridiculous!

Samantha  November 21, 2014  Lindnehurst, IL

Help, in 2007, our oldest daughter graduated high school & was accepted to college. We spoke with the financial aid dept. of her college (The Boston Conservatory). We knew our daughter needed to take out a student loan. We were instructed to contact Sallie Mae. We did. Sallie Mae insisted we had to first apply for a Parent Plus Loan & if we were denied, then our daughter would be permitted to secure her own student loans. We had one income (my husbands). We had a mortgage on our home, but no other debt. He was approved for $38,000.00. At the time, we just wanted our daughter to attend college so we signed for the Sallie Mae Parent Plus Loan at a very high interest rate. The next year, the same happened, but we were denied the loan & she had to take a Signature Student Loan with Sallie Mae & her interest rate was a little lower than our 9%, hers was around 8%. Our 2nd daughter graduated h.s. in 2009 & she has loans through AES & Great Lakes. Luckily, her school was cheaper, but her debt is at least $25k. Do the math, we have about $45,000.00 we owe Sallie Mae. (Coincidentally, our home/mortgage loan was only for $54,000.00 in 1991). Our 1st born owes $40k plus with Stafford Loans-subsidized & unsubsidized. Our 2nd born has at least $25k in private loans to Great Lakes, AES & subsidized & unsubsidized student loans. To top it all off each of them only completed 2 years of college because we ran out of borrowing power & money. HELP!

Bridget Fink  November 21, 2014  Pittsburgh, PA

Help, in 2007, our oldest daughter graduated high school & was accepted to college. We spoke with the financial aid dept. of her college (The Boston Conservatory). We knew our daughter needed to take out a student loan. We were instructed to contact Sallie Mae. We did. Sallie Mae insisted we had to first apply for a Parent Plus Loan & if we were denied, then our daughter would be permitted to secure her own student loans. We had one income (my husbands). We had a mortgage on our home, but no other debt. He was approved for $38,000.00. At the time, we just wanted our daughter to attend college so we signed for the Sallie Mae Parent Plus Loan at a very high interest rate. The next year, the same happened, but we were denied the loan & she had to take a Signature Student Loan with Sallie Mae & her interest rate was a little lower than our 9%, hers was around 8%. Our 2nd daughter graduated h.s. in 2009 & she has loans through AES & Great Lakes. Luckily, her school was cheaper, but her debt is at least $25k. Do the math, we have about $45,000.00 we owe Sallie Mae. (Coincidentally, our home/mortgage loan was only for $54,000.00 in 1991). Our 1st born owes $40k plus with Stafford Loans-subsidized & unsubsidized. Our 2nd born has at least $25k in private loans to Great Lakes, AES & subsidized & unsubsidized student loans. To top it all off each of them only completed 2 years of college because we ran out of borrowing power & money. HELP!

Bridget Fink  November 21, 2014  Pittsburgh, PA

Fortunately, my parents and grandparents banded together to pay for my undergrad degree, but I was sold on a dead-end major and wasted their hard earned money on a field that offered no prospects when I graduated. I went back to school for a Master’s degree in Library Science, knowing that my family wouldn’t be able to help me pay for it due to the economic downturn.

I borrowed more than I needed because I needed a new car to commute to school and the fixed interest on a federal student loan was lower than the interest I would have gotten at a car dealership. I also used the extra money to live off of so I could focus full-time on my degree. What a huge mistake!

Now I'm $32,000 in debt and will probably end up having to pay close to $60,000 once all the interest is factored in. I was able to get my payments reduced to just the interest for 2 years, but my 2 years is almost up and I don't know if I'll be able to handle the full payments on my current salary as a para-professional library assistant.

All I wanted was a degree that would get me a reliable job. It feels like I'm being punished for pursuing a career that I love. Very few librarians make the 6 figure salaries required to afford a college degree these days-- but we don't do this job for money. If only the politicians and bankers could see that there are more important things in life than dollar signs.

CP  November 21, 2014  South Dakota

Fortunately, my parents and grandparents banded together to pay for my undergrad degree, but I was sold on a dead-end major and wasted their hard earned money on a field that offered no prospects when I graduated. I went back to school for a Master’s degree in Library Science, knowing that my family wouldn’t be able to help me pay for it due to the economic downturn.

I borrowed more than I needed because I needed a new car to commute to school and the fixed interest on a federal student loan was lower than the interest I would have gotten at a car dealership. I also used the extra money to live off of so I could focus full-time on my degree. What a huge mistake!

Now I'm $32,000 in debt and will probably end up having to pay close to $60,000 once all the interest is factored in. I was able to get my payments reduced to just the interest for 2 years, but my 2 years is almost up and I don't know if I'll be able to handle the full payments on my current salary as a para-professional library assistant.

All I wanted was a degree that would get me a reliable job. It feels like I'm being punished for pursuing a career that I love. Very few librarians make the 6 figure salaries required to afford a college degree these days-- but we don't do this job for money. If only the politicians and bankers could see that there are more important things in life than dollar signs.

CP  November 21, 2014  South Dakota

My student was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in 4/2012. I am his parent, Mother and had to take a parent plus loan to help him with his university. He now has SSI and dept of ed has put his loan in deferment for two yrs and watches to see if he takes out any more loans. I cannot get a deferment. I have tried. My doctor will not fill out my form, I am disabled with sciatica and herniated discs cant work for over 13 yrs and am a care giver to my son who has schizophrenia. so I cannot work, I am also diagnosed with Anxiety disorder and take medication because of the trauma that is involved in my day to day life. I feel this is very unfair, as he is forgiven and I am not, he is not in any school, he cannot function without someone over seeing to his medication and meals and his needs, he is 22 yrs. and lives at home. This is my deal. and I think that the dept. of education should forgive my loan because I am his caregiver and take care of his needs daily and nightly. The Fed Loan servicing company is my loan company. They wont budge. Thank you please get back to me if you think I can be helped. Michele Horton, yes and nelnet is the dept. of education provider of fedloan servicing, they have forgiven my sons loan and sent me my paper work to give to my doctor but he is denying it, thinking its for social security, but it doesn\'t matter I still can be forgiven while social security denies me disability, one thing has nothing to do with the other so says nelnet. thanks again.

Author*Michele Horton  November 21, 2014  LocationOregon

My student was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in 4/2012. I am his parent, Mother and had to take a parent plus loan to help him with his university. He now has SSI and dept of ed has put his loan in deferment for two yrs and watches to see if he takes out any more loans. I cannot get a deferment. I have tried. My doctor will not fill out my form, I am disabled with sciatica and herniated discs cant work for over 13 yrs and am a care giver to my son who has schizophrenia. so I cannot work, I am also diagnosed with Anxiety disorder and take medication because of the trauma that is involved in my day to day life. I feel this is very unfair, as he is forgiven and I am not, he is not in any school, he cannot function without someone over seeing to his medication and meals and his needs, he is 22 yrs. and lives at home. This is my deal. and I think that the dept. of education should forgive my loan because I am his caregiver and take care of his needs daily and nightly. The Fed Loan servicing company is my loan company. They wont budge. Thank you please get back to me if you think I can be helped. Michele Horton, yes and nelnet is the dept. of education provider of fedloan servicing, they have forgiven my sons loan and sent me my paper work to give to my doctor but he is denying it, thinking its for social security, but it doesn\'t matter I still can be forgiven while social security denies me disability, one thing has nothing to do with the other so says nelnet. thanks again.

Author*Michele Horton  November 21, 2014  LocationOregon

I have made several attempts to pay back my student loan only to be told that I have to pay a certain amount of money that I cannot afford...Meanwhile the interest has accumulated an exceeded the amount borrowed.A system definitely needst to be put in place where people can pay what they can afford..No one likes living with this type of debt ...

Kamala Hogan  November 21, 2014  Durham,NC

I have made several attempts to pay back my student loan only to be told that I have to pay a certain amount of money that I cannot afford...Meanwhile the interest has accumulated an exceeded the amount borrowed.A system definitely needst to be put in place where people can pay what they can afford..No one likes living with this type of debt ...

Kamala Hogan  November 21, 2014  Durham,NC

I cant afford these high payments. They say they go by your income but do they take in consideration that one always has other bills that also need to be paid? And gosh yes I do need to eat also and have heat in the winter. I realize they are only doing their job but one must consider other things. I am retired and really have a small budget to live on and go without because of the monthy fee they say I can afford.

Pamela Abelson  November 21, 2014  Fairmont, MN 56031

I cant afford these high payments. They say they go by your income but do they take in consideration that one always has other bills that also need to be paid? And gosh yes I do need to eat also and have heat in the winter. I realize they are only doing their job but one must consider other things. I am retired and really have a small budget to live on and go without because of the monthy fee they say I can afford.

Pamela Abelson  November 21, 2014  Fairmont, MN 56031

I am a mother of adult children of which I helped get college educations. They all have jobs now and independent working adults thanks to their college educations. However, when they went to school, the government loan companies would only offer them so much money. They would give the loans to me though in Parent Plus loans. I now have over $200,000 in loans. I am getting close to retirement and have no idea how I am going to pay these. I will not burden my kids with these loans but I have many sleepless nights. It infuriates me that that the government is making so much money in interest when all young adults are trying to do is better themselves and be independent adults. It is a crime that loan companies are making so much money off young adults getting a good education.....they are American\'s future and I am the past. I do not want to have to live off of my kids or government funding because of this loan debt that I have. I have worked since I was 13 years old and I should not have to paying so much in student loan debt.

Anita Stiffler  November 21, 2014  Rockton, IL 61072

I am a mother of adult children of which I helped get college educations. They all have jobs now and independent working adults thanks to their college educations. However, when they went to school, the government loan companies would only offer them so much money. They would give the loans to me though in Parent Plus loans. I now have over $200,000 in loans. I am getting close to retirement and have no idea how I am going to pay these. I will not burden my kids with these loans but I have many sleepless nights. It infuriates me that that the government is making so much money in interest when all young adults are trying to do is better themselves and be independent adults. It is a crime that loan companies are making so much money off young adults getting a good education.....they are American\'s future and I am the past. I do not want to have to live off of my kids or government funding because of this loan debt that I have. I have worked since I was 13 years old and I should not have to paying so much in student loan debt.

Anita Stiffler  November 21, 2014  Rockton, IL 61072

Like all young teens I followed the talk of must get a higher education. I come from a very very middle class family, who never had anyone go away to college. As my financial councelor kept telling me and my family memebers you'll be able to pay this off, this is nothing... the opposit actually played out. I spent a LARGE part of my 20's being harrased by creditors and debt agencies. I went to school and left with a 40,000 education that is now in collections for over 100,000 total. No one would work with me, and left me crying and feeling very helpless for wanting a higher education... The system is so corrupt, and something needs to be done.

Mel  November 21, 2014  Upstate, NY

Like all young teens I followed the talk of must get a higher education. I come from a very very middle class family, who never had anyone go away to college. As my financial councelor kept telling me and my family memebers you'll be able to pay this off, this is nothing... the opposit actually played out. I spent a LARGE part of my 20's being harrased by creditors and debt agencies. I went to school and left with a 40,000 education that is now in collections for over 100,000 total. No one would work with me, and left me crying and feeling very helpless for wanting a higher education... The system is so corrupt, and something needs to be done.

Mel  November 21, 2014  Upstate, NY

I graduated in 1995 with $18,800 in loans to pay back. It was a few years before I was making even close to enough money to start repayment, so I did deferments and forebearances. I have now been in repayment (with some periods of time using the income sensitive payments) for 14 years. For the first two years of repayment I was paying EFS. I don't know how much in total I paid to them. My loan is now owned by Nelnet, and I have paid them $29,383 since November, 2002. I still owe over $19,000. Not only do I not understand the laws that allow this to continue, but I can't even understand the MATH that allows this.

Karen Feder  November 21, 2014  Louisville, KY

I graduated in 1995 with $18,800 in loans to pay back. It was a few years before I was making even close to enough money to start repayment, so I did deferments and forebearances. I have now been in repayment (with some periods of time using the income sensitive payments) for 14 years. For the first two years of repayment I was paying EFS. I don't know how much in total I paid to them. My loan is now owned by Nelnet, and I have paid them $29,383 since November, 2002. I still owe over $19,000. Not only do I not understand the laws that allow this to continue, but I can't even understand the MATH that allows this.

Karen Feder  November 21, 2014  Louisville, KY

At age 15 I left home bc my parents were abusive. I had graduated high school with very high grades. I married young and both my husband and I struggled to raise 3 kids. Neither of us had any financial assistance. The only way to get our kids through school were parent plus loans. I took loans too to earn my now terminal degree, a PhD. But this took 350,000.00 in student debt. At age 53 with 12 years to retirement it will not be paid off in time. The monthly payment is crushing me and I work two jobs to pay this losn off. My kids help me out too.
I feel I was penalized for making sure that I and my kids were not the financial obligation of society by securing their education. Now it too hard to keep up and my health is not the best. What should of can we do? The government forgave the airlines, the car industry and the banks. Why not forgive a percentage of student loans proportionate to annual income making it a win win for all. President Obama and congress we need your help.

Helen B.  November 21, 2014  Long Island

At age 15 I left home bc my parents were abusive. I had graduated high school with very high grades. I married young and both my husband and I struggled to raise 3 kids. Neither of us had any financial assistance. The only way to get our kids through school were parent plus loans. I took loans too to earn my now terminal degree, a PhD. But this took 350,000.00 in student debt. At age 53 with 12 years to retirement it will not be paid off in time. The monthly payment is crushing me and I work two jobs to pay this losn off. My kids help me out too.
I feel I was penalized for making sure that I and my kids were not the financial obligation of society by securing their education. Now it too hard to keep up and my health is not the best. What should of can we do? The government forgave the airlines, the car industry and the banks. Why not forgive a percentage of student loans proportionate to annual income making it a win win for all. President Obama and congress we need your help.

Helen B.  November 21, 2014  Long Island

I took 11 classes toward a masters at CU Denver. I paid cash for 1. I've been paying for 12 years on $10k to Nelnet who never uses the whole amt of my payment toward prin/int on loans & also am being double charged for last class through State of CO who sucks all my state income tax refunds for it's alleged debt grown from $800 to now $4000!

jan bennett  November 21, 2014  denver

I took 11 classes toward a masters at CU Denver. I paid cash for 1. I've been paying for 12 years on $10k to Nelnet who never uses the whole amt of my payment toward prin/int on loans & also am being double charged for last class through State of CO who sucks all my state income tax refunds for it's alleged debt grown from $800 to now $4000!

jan bennett  November 21, 2014  denver

I have loans, about $25,000 for MCP & PhD degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. After I graduated I got a job at Florida State University as a contract employee. Then I was diagnosed with leukemia. I needed chemo therapy and a bone marrow transplant. When I returned to work my department chair & dean told me that my contract would not be renewed because I did not do my job. I reminded them I had been in the hospital receiving cancer treatment. They said yes, but you didn\\\'t do the job. When I was ill I wasn\\\'t eligible or a medical leave of absence or I would have lost my health insurance. In the end I was not renewed because of my cancer. I am now unemployed and unable to pay back my student loans.

Melissa Saunders  November 20, 2014  New Jersey

I have loans, about $25,000 for MCP & PhD degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. After I graduated I got a job at Florida State University as a contract employee. Then I was diagnosed with leukemia. I needed chemo therapy and a bone marrow transplant. When I returned to work my department chair & dean told me that my contract would not be renewed because I did not do my job. I reminded them I had been in the hospital receiving cancer treatment. They said yes, but you didn\\\'t do the job. When I was ill I wasn\\\'t eligible or a medical leave of absence or I would have lost my health insurance. In the end I was not renewed because of my cancer. I am now unemployed and unable to pay back my student loans.

Melissa Saunders  November 20, 2014  New Jersey

When I was 18, I had my daughter. I wanted nothing more than to give her all the things I never had as a child. With her and my future in mind, I decided to enroll in college. Growing up, we are always told, 'if you want a good job, and to be successful, go to college and get a good education'. What they didn't tell me, was how much the debt was going to affect my future. More so than the education! All that aside, here is my story...
I began my schooling in 2006 for Surgical Technology. I had to move away for months at a time (clinicals), leaving my daughter back home with my parents. In 2008, I was living about 5 hours away from home when I started having really bad dizzy spells and issues with my eyesight. Because of all the stress I was under, I thought it was caused by just that...stress. But much to my surprise, it was something much more severe, which I would later on find out. In the meantime, I had walked through graduation. I still had 3 classes to finish up in the summer, but after 2 years, 2 weeks of summer classes would be a breeze! Until...right before summer classes, I was diagnosed with Chiari 1 Malformation. The doctor gave me some choices...go blind, end up in a coma, death, or emergency brain surgery. Of course I chose the surgery! Which I now regret. After the surgery, I spent 4 agonizing days in ICU at Mayo Hospital (which is where I had been interning), and then I was sent home (5hrs away). From what I remember, I was back home for just a few days when my head felt like it was literally going to explode!! I was sent back to Mayo to meet with my neurologist. I will never forget the moment when the doctor walked into the room where me, my mother, and my grandmother had been waiting to get some answers. Unfortunately, he said exactly what we didn't want to hear, "The brain surgery was unnecessary." At that point, they gave me a spinal tap, and the doctor said that was probably all I needed from the very beginning. My spinal fluid pressure was about 3x what it was suppose to be! So after all the doctoring, missing out on summer classes, and not being able to be there for my daughter...I find out it was all for nothing. I have now tried to go back to school a few times; each time, ending up back in the hospital before classes even start. Which means I've taken out money, paid for books and classes, then was unable to attend...being stuck with debt, but no degree to show for it. I am now in debt so bad due to student loans, I can't even get back into school to finish up those THREE classes. To make matters worse, I've had to take a job cleaning houses just to pay the bills. I'm not ashamed of what I do (at least I work and earn a paycheck), but it kills me a little more every day. I went from scrubbing in on surgeries with top notch doctors, to scrubbing toilets!! I have tried getting my loan payments lowered, but even making the minimum payment (of about $250/mo!), the balance seems to stay the same. When a person has little money to begin with, you don't want to keep making payments to something that doesn't seem to be going anywhere. So like many, I stopped paying on the loans and let them go into default. After all I had been through, I just didn't care. I am recently married and it's time to get this school business under control! I have looked into all the student loan forgiveness programs, but it seems to me that you have to die or become permanently disabled for anyone to help you. That just doesn't seem right!! Now that I am in good health (for the most part), I would love nothing more than to finish college once and for all!! If only I could...

Nikki Walsh  November 17, 2014

When I was 18, I had my daughter. I wanted nothing more than to give her all the things I never had as a child. With her and my future in mind, I decided to enroll in college. Growing up, we are always told, 'if you want a good job, and to be successful, go to college and get a good education'. What they didn't tell me, was how much the debt was going to affect my future. More so than the education! All that aside, here is my story...
I began my schooling in 2006 for Surgical Technology. I had to move away for months at a time (clinicals), leaving my daughter back home with my parents. In 2008, I was living about 5 hours away from home when I started having really bad dizzy spells and issues with my eyesight. Because of all the stress I was under, I thought it was caused by just that...stress. But much to my surprise, it was something much more severe, which I would later on find out. In the meantime, I had walked through graduation. I still had 3 classes to finish up in the summer, but after 2 years, 2 weeks of summer classes would be a breeze! Until...right before summer classes, I was diagnosed with Chiari 1 Malformation. The doctor gave me some choices...go blind, end up in a coma, death, or emergency brain surgery. Of course I chose the surgery! Which I now regret. After the surgery, I spent 4 agonizing days in ICU at Mayo Hospital (which is where I had been interning), and then I was sent home (5hrs away). From what I remember, I was back home for just a few days when my head felt like it was literally going to explode!! I was sent back to Mayo to meet with my neurologist. I will never forget the moment when the doctor walked into the room where me, my mother, and my grandmother had been waiting to get some answers. Unfortunately, he said exactly what we didn't want to hear, "The brain surgery was unnecessary." At that point,

...more
Nikki Walsh  November 17, 2014

Interest on ANY Student Debt, including Private and Federal loans should never exceed 1%. Ever. A 1% interest cap and FIX all of these other useless programs that are helping very few borrowers. The forgiveness program must include Private loans, too. Those lenders only lent the money with the backing of the feds and the Federal student loan laws. FIX the mess NOW. My husband and I pay $5500.00 per year in after-tax income to interest alone. It is criminal and more predatory than the housing market EVER was. Student Loan lenders make the Housing Lenders look like Kittens. The colleges were complicit in the mess, and encouraged students to take more than was needed, in order to "help them." 18-22 year olds with NO jobs, who couldn't get a credit card with a $1000.00 limit, being lent tens of thousands of dollars. Really? Predators? CountryWide Home loans took lessons from Sallie Mae.

Susan  November 8, 2014  Buffalo NY

Interest on ANY Student Debt, including Private and Federal loans should never exceed 1%. Ever. A 1% interest cap and FIX all of these other useless programs that are helping very few borrowers. The forgiveness program must include Private loans, too. Those lenders only lent the money with the backing of the feds and the Federal student loan laws. FIX the mess NOW. My husband and I pay $5500.00 per year in after-tax income to interest alone. It is criminal and more predatory than the housing market EVER was. Student Loan lenders make the Housing Lenders look like Kittens. The colleges were complicit in the mess, and encouraged students to take more than was needed, in order to "help them." 18-22 year olds with NO jobs, who couldn't get a credit card with a $1000.00 limit, being lent tens of thousands of dollars. Really? Predators? CountryWide Home loans took lessons from Sallie Mae.

Susan  November 8, 2014  Buffalo NY

At 17 years old we are told by everyone around us to attend college. In-fact, we are told by our government, our teachers, commercials, future employers and even our family that if you want a successful life then attend college. At 17 our high school councilors discuss our options and advise on what schools to apply for. Not once, was finance ever brought up. Why? Because loans are inevitable. I took out loans to attend college, my parents made just enough that I didn't qualify for government funding but not enough to help me with college - this is a huge issue. After graduating, our economy declined tremendously and without continuous or substantial work by $80,000 in loans sky rocketed to over $120,000 due to the variable interests rates. I have a full time job, I am very employable and a hard worker who has never been fired. But I am looking at payments of of over $1000 each month in just interests rates alone. What have I done? This is what, I can't ever think of buying a house, car loan or ever think of retirement. The worst part? My parents are tied to it and so is their retirement. I wish I never attended college, I would be in a way better situation if I hadn't. But I go back to how can a 17 year old kid who never received financial advice and is getting phone call after phone call from College recruiters understand the repercussions of deciding what school to attend, or if at all. Sadly, most people my age that I come across have student loans and will never be able to pay them off in their current status. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Josh D  November 7, 2014  San Diego

At 17 years old we are told by everyone around us to attend college. In-fact, we are told by our government, our teachers, commercials, future employers and even our family that if you want a successful life then attend college. At 17 our high school councilors discuss our options and advise on what schools to apply for. Not once, was finance ever brought up. Why? Because loans are inevitable. I took out loans to attend college, my parents made just enough that I didn't qualify for government funding but not enough to help me with college - this is a huge issue. After graduating, our economy declined tremendously and without continuous or substantial work by $80,000 in loans sky rocketed to over $120,000 due to the variable interests rates. I have a full time job, I am very employable and a hard worker who has never been fired. But I am looking at payments of of over $1000 each month in just interests rates alone. What have I done? This is what, I can't ever think of buying a house, car loan or ever think of retirement. The worst part? My parents are tied to it and so is their retirement. I wish I never attended college, I would be in a way better situation if I hadn't. But I go back to how can a 17 year old kid who never received financial advice and is getting phone call after phone call from College recruiters understand the repercussions of deciding what school to attend, or if at all. Sadly, most people my age that I come across have student loans and will never be able to pay them off in their current status. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Josh D  November 7, 2014  San Diego

I graduated in 2009 with $110,000 in loans. $80,000 Federal and $30,000 Private. I pay $1,000 a month (most aggressive plan) for 25 years. By the time I am 50, I will have paid over $300,000. Because of this payment I can not afford to live on my own or save any money and I am now 29.

Jessica  November 7, 2014  Cleveland, OH

I graduated in 2009 with $110,000 in loans. $80,000 Federal and $30,000 Private. I pay $1,000 a month (most aggressive plan) for 25 years. By the time I am 50, I will have paid over $300,000. Because of this payment I can not afford to live on my own or save any money and I am now 29.

Jessica  November 7, 2014  Cleveland, OH

Please take a look at these websites, it pretty much sums up what I’m going through. I have been battling with my school loan lenders for the last 5 years. I worked at DFW International Airport for 11 yrs. and was on the runway 18L working when 911 happened and all the planes were grounded in a matter of minutes. After 911 I suddenly had no work and put my student loans into deferment for 5 years, the time it took me to catch up on my house payments which is more important to me and my family, I have no plans to let my home get foreclosed on like what happened to many others.

The student loan debt in America has surpassed the credit card debt for the first time. Obama’s student loan reform has done nothing for the students of America. I am trying to find a lawyer at this time to help me but is seems like I have very few choices. I don’t have a problem repaying my original loan but every time my loan changes hands the next debt collector tacks on another $5,000 to $6,000 dollars which I end up not agreeing to which just creates more problems, I am in default and will not agree to the money that keeps getting tacked onto my loan and haven\'t since 2003. My original loan was $24,000 dollars at 8% interest and I’ve paid back $33,000 dollars but now the collectors want $47,000 dollars (basically because I deferred for 5 years) and even if I pay it back $300.00 dollars per month they will collect another $41,000 dollars for themselves making my final new loan repayment $82,000.00 + the $33,000 (I already paid) for a grand total of $115,000.00 dollars FOR A $24 THOUSAND DOLLAR LOAN. Seem ludicrous ? IT SHOULD BE ILLEGAL. To me this should be one of the biggest stories out there. On paper the USA has a 1 trillion dollar debt, but that is severely inflated due to the interest placed on these loans. For instance simple math a 12 year loan will more than double the borrowed amount. I have done simple Google searches on Stafford loans and there is nothing good about them. There are a couple of things I would like to point out to you.

1. Sallie Mae is one of the largest originators of Student Loans and also owns one of the largest collection agencies GENERAL REVENUE CORPORATION (GCR)

2. Student loans have risen at twice the rate of inflation and four times the rate of wage growth and almost twice that of the Medical Industry. All due to these collection practices that are somehow legal and encourage more profit.

3. Most people that sign these loan papers are 18-19 years old and are definitely not aware of the consequences.

Other Facts.

1. THE ONLY PEOPLE MAKING MONEY BY GOING TO COLLEGE ARE COLLECTION AGENCIES.

2. Anyone with locked in interest rates higher than current 3.86-4.66 like me at 8% cannot get a lower rate. That just doesn\'t make sense. I paid 4.5% more than I should have for at least 4 years.

3. People like me in their 50\'s should be saving for retirement but can\'t due to the ridiculous way student loans interest is compounded daily, grow by collection agencies adding then taking off the top $5K-6K then adding interest to THAT. Neither home or car loans operate like this.

4. In 1971 I could have went to Berkley University for FREE.

5. Collection agencies will sell my loan to other agencies for pennies on the dollar but not to me. What am I a SLAVE?

6.*****Why would anybody have to wait till they\'re of retirement age to have their school loans paid from a persons social security account, it is after all their money. Working people should have that option but not just take what ever inflated price they want but what is truly owed.

7.*****Unlike some other types of loans, car loans and home loans charge you simple interest, rather than compound interest. Whereas compound interest accrues on your principal and on the interest that accumulates, simple interest only accrues on your principal. This is the main culprit as to why students can\'t get ahead on the student loans. WHY DOES OUR GOVERNMENT DEEM IT NECESSARY TO CHARGE (RAPE) STUDENTS WITH DAILY COMPOUNDED INTEREST ? STUPID.

There are many other incredibly hard to swallow facts on this web site. I was put into default on my loans before I even graduated from Devry Institute Of Technology in 1993 and I’m somehow still not done with this. I wish you could please fix this incredible injustice to the American Students. I don’t understand how we the people can put up with this.

I really agree with your stand on \"The U.S. Department of Education will introduce stricter regulations next year in its latest attempt to improve the job prospects of those graduating from for-profit colleges and universities\". That really needs to happen. Please check out both of these websites.

Website http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jane-white/college-debt-millennials_b_3941604.html

Website http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jerry-patterson/baby-boomers-and-student-_b_6036030.html

I know I still owe money for my loans but within reason. I will NOT pay another $47+ thousand dollar, it is for this reason and I have sent many letters to the different collection agencies and have even spoke with my Ombudsman that if they will agree to a top dollar amount of $21,000 dollars all interest included that I will begin payments again but they don\'t even answer my questions even when I ask them to answer my questions. I\'m not going to pay any extra money because some idiots decided to fly planes into the twin towers and cause DFW Airport to cease all methods of payment on the work I was doing and put my family into a downward spiraling hardship. I had to work out of state and be away from my family just to pay bills. I am very angry about how the education departments will not bend and see how stupid $100+K sounds for a simple $24k loan they have their rules and that\'s what they stick to. I\'ve already paid $33k how greedy are you people?

Please address these problems, THE FUTURE OF AMERICAN EDUCATION IS NOW!!

Darren Marshall  November 6, 2014  Denton Texas

Please take a look at these websites, it pretty much sums up what I’m going through. I have been battling with my school loan lenders for the last 5 years. I worked at DFW International Airport for 11 yrs. and was on the runway 18L working when 911 happened and all the planes were grounded in a matter of minutes. After 911 I suddenly had no work and put my student loans into deferment for 5 years, the time it took me to catch up on my house payments which is more important to me and my family, I have no plans to let my home get foreclosed on like what happened to many others.

The student loan debt in America has surpassed the credit card debt for the first time. Obama’s student loan reform has done nothing for the students of America. I am trying to find a lawyer at this time to help me but is seems like I have very few choices. I don’t have a problem repaying my original loan but every time my loan changes hands the next debt collector tacks on another $5,000 to $6,000 dollars which I end up not agreeing to which just creates more problems, I am in default and will not agree to the money that keeps getting tacked onto my loan and haven\'t since 2003. My original loan was $24,000 dollars at 8% interest and I’ve paid back $33,000 dollars but now the collectors want $47,000 dollars (basically because I deferred for 5 years) and even if I pay it back $300.00 dollars per month they will collect another $41,000 dollars for themselves making my final new loan repayment $82,000.00 + the $33,000 (I already paid) for a grand total of $115,000.00 dollars FOR A $24 THOUSAND DOLLAR LOAN. Seem ludicrous ? IT SHOULD BE ILLEGAL. To me this should be one of the biggest stories out there. On paper the USA has a 1 trillion dollar debt, but that is severely inflated due to the interest placed on these loans. For instance simple math a 12 year loan will more than double the borrowed amount.

...more
Darren Marshall  November 6, 2014  Denton Texas

I was a police officer for 10 years, but my three children were young and I was concerned about that type of job and having a family. Someone said I would be a good teacher. I took out loans to get a teaching credential. I couldn't afford to pay for school. I had to get a loan. I have been teaching for 17 years. I am now 59 years old and owe $83,000 with a 6.5% interest rate. I will be in my 70's before it is paid off. I can not afford to own a home and I make too much money to write off the interest on the loan. Yet, every year I owe income taxes. I have worked an extra job to help pay off the debt, but that causes me to owe more taxes so I will have to stop the extra job. I don't make as much money as I did when I was a police officer so it is harder to pay the loan off. I can't retire because I have this $567.00 student loan monthly payment. This is a horrible way to treat people. Why must I pay 6.5% interest because I wanted to help children? It makes me wish I had never entered education.

Ms. Flor M Gressel  November 5, 2014  Oakland, CA

I was a police officer for 10 years, but my three children were young and I was concerned about that type of job and having a family. Someone said I would be a good teacher. I took out loans to get a teaching credential. I couldn't afford to pay for school. I had to get a loan. I have been teaching for 17 years. I am now 59 years old and owe $83,000 with a 6.5% interest rate. I will be in my 70's before it is paid off. I can not afford to own a home and I make too much money to write off the interest on the loan. Yet, every year I owe income taxes. I have worked an extra job to help pay off the debt, but that causes me to owe more taxes so I will have to stop the extra job. I don't make as much money as I did when I was a police officer so it is harder to pay the loan off. I can't retire because I have this $567.00 student loan monthly payment. This is a horrible way to treat people. Why must I pay 6.5% interest because I wanted to help children? It makes me wish I had never entered education.

Ms. Flor M Gressel  November 5, 2014  Oakland, CA

As someone here wrote. I too was sold had many dreams of social improvement I wanted to pursue medicine my dream was to become a doctor. It has all been a scam after I ended up at a Chiropractic College in Missouri which owned me financially. I owe $50,000 for a Bachelors degree I was charged graudate fees even though I was in an undergraduate program. I never thought that by wanting an education I was signing my life away....I currently live in Denmark (my wife is from there) We decided to move away from USA the country of opportunity and the american dream...many people in the USA do not realize that they only live the american dream in their sleep rather than live. Everyone should have access to education, and a chance and safety network in life. There should not be such a dramatic divide amongst people, class money and power. Where is the American equality, the freedom, the opportunity, the dream? Dream of debt maybe! Denmark is far from perfect but I am very happy with this lifestyle as it reflects somewhat of my little american dream that was unachievable in the USA given my condition. I am financially secure and my family is secured. I dont pay for school I get paid to go to school. Everyone is equal, and money does not necessarily mean power. I am so thankful that god has sent me my wife and given me this opportunity otherwise I would have not felt how one should live life and how life should be lived had I stayed in the USA because with a Bachelors degree I would probably end up with a $12-15/hr job, unhappy, and with a $670 student loan payment to sallie mae for 10 years or a lower payment for the next 20 years to life all because I wanted some, equality, happiness, financial security, home, a family basically the american dream. Well guess what in America you have to buy your dream, and the more money you have bigger your dream, rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Money is power! We need to change the laws, people need to open their eyes and react. If the rich paid more taxes towards education, healthcare, etc. Americans would have free education, free healthcare and help for senior citizens, social help and the rich would still be left with enough money to live their happy rich ass lives. I am sorry but I just cant understand how someone can live in an 300,000,000 apartment in NY and around the corner there is people begging for food etc. Sick people dont have access to healthcare etc.....ughhhh I guess I will never get it.

AJ  November 4, 2014  Saint Louis, MO

As someone here wrote. I too was sold had many dreams of social improvement I wanted to pursue medicine my dream was to become a doctor. It has all been a scam after I ended up at a Chiropractic College in Missouri which owned me financially. I owe $50,000 for a Bachelors degree I was charged graudate fees even though I was in an undergraduate program. I never thought that by wanting an education I was signing my life away....I currently live in Denmark (my wife is from there) We decided to move away from USA the country of opportunity and the american dream...many people in the USA do not realize that they only live the american dream in their sleep rather than live. Everyone should have access to education, and a chance and safety network in life. There should not be such a dramatic divide amongst people, class money and power. Where is the American equality, the freedom, the opportunity, the dream? Dream of debt maybe! Denmark is far from perfect but I am very happy with this lifestyle as it reflects somewhat of my little american dream that was unachievable in the USA given my condition. I am financially secure and my family is secured. I dont pay for school I get paid to go to school. Everyone is equal, and money does not necessarily mean power. I am so thankful that god has sent me my wife and given me this opportunity otherwise I would have not felt how one should live life and how life should be lived had I stayed in the USA because with a Bachelors degree I would probably end up with a $12-15/hr job, unhappy, and with a $670 student loan payment to sallie mae for 10 years or a lower payment for the next 20 years to life all because I wanted some, equality, happiness, financial security, home, a family basically the american dream. Well guess what in America you have to buy your dream, and the more money you have bigger your dream, rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

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AJ  November 4, 2014  Saint Louis, MO

I'm one of the lucky ones. I graduated with only $32,000 in loans. I went to school for nursing and came out with a job making great $. After 18 months of paying $400 a month ($80 more then my minimum required payment) my current balance is $29,000. I have paid almost $10,000 and my principle has only come down $3,000. I'm getting ready to pump it up to $500 a month. Its been difficult to put money aside to one day buy a home or plan for retirement. The American dream is dead, and those at the top better realize the ones at the bottom wont be able to hold them up much longer.

Eric  November 4, 2014  NJ

I'm one of the lucky ones. I graduated with only $32,000 in loans. I went to school for nursing and came out with a job making great $. After 18 months of paying $400 a month ($80 more then my minimum required payment) my current balance is $29,000. I have paid almost $10,000 and my principle has only come down $3,000. I'm getting ready to pump it up to $500 a month. Its been difficult to put money aside to one day buy a home or plan for retirement. The American dream is dead, and those at the top better realize the ones at the bottom wont be able to hold them up much longer.

Eric  November 4, 2014  NJ

Hello, my name is Lawrence, I live and work in the NY/NJ area. I am currently employed at a boutique corporate and securities law firm. I make a decent salary of 90k plus discretionary bonus. However, I currently have almost $267,000 of loans (all federal none private!) that are spiraling out of control. I pay $1,100 a month to my loans (which is all I can afford) and I have not even touched the principal since I graduated in 2009. The debt keeps climbing higher and higher and quite frankly if I don't do something soon I know I will never be able to pay them back , never be able to own home or take care of family. I work very long hours and worked exceptionally hard (like everyone else who graduated and put themselves through school) to get to where I am today but at the end of the day I am questioning what the purpose was. I would have been better off not taking on any debt and being a restaurant manager.

I am considering starting some kind of a gofundme campaign but I have no idea if that's a good idea or not. Among other things, there 1 billion better causes out there than someone donating even 1 dollar for me to pay off my loans, something I am completely aware of. I don't know If the power of social media would be great enough to even put dent in my debt anyway.

Additionally, I don't know if having clients and friends see it would be something that would rub people the wrong way and make me lose credibility when I am trying to build a practice at work.

I was hoping perhaps you would have some advice probably having dealt with thousands of similar stories. I just know that I need to do something to drastically change my circumstances fast or it will be something I will likely never be able to overcome.

Best,

Lawrence

Lawrence  November 3, 2014  NY/NJ

Hello, my name is Lawrence, I live and work in the NY/NJ area. I am currently employed at a boutique corporate and securities law firm. I make a decent salary of 90k plus discretionary bonus. However, I currently have almost $267,000 of loans (all federal none private!) that are spiraling out of control. I pay $1,100 a month to my loans (which is all I can afford) and I have not even touched the principal since I graduated in 2009. The debt keeps climbing higher and higher and quite frankly if I don't do something soon I know I will never be able to pay them back , never be able to own home or take care of family. I work very long hours and worked exceptionally hard (like everyone else who graduated and put themselves through school) to get to where I am today but at the end of the day I am questioning what the purpose was. I would have been better off not taking on any debt and being a restaurant manager.

I am considering starting some kind of a gofundme campaign but I have no idea if that's a good idea or not. Among other things, there 1 billion better causes out there than someone donating even 1 dollar for me to pay off my loans, something I am completely aware of. I don't know If the power of social media would be great enough to even put dent in my debt anyway.

Additionally, I don't know if having clients and friends see it would be something that would rub people the wrong way and make me lose credibility when I am trying to build a practice at work.

I was hoping perhaps you would have some advice probably having dealt with thousands of similar stories. I just know that I need to do something to drastically change my circumstances fast or it will be something I will likely never be able to overcome.

Best,

Lawrence

Lawrence  November 3, 2014  NY/NJ

Hey, My name is Nick and I currently live in Atlanta, GA. I have $124,226.15 in student loan debt. $97k of this "debt" is for my private student loans and 26k is for federal stafford loans. I believe the original loan amount was around 85-90k when I graduated.

I attended Indiana University from 2003-2008 and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in public affairs. Upon graduation I was faced with a very slim job market to say the least and was working two jobs at one point to stay afloat. I had the loans in deferment and then in forbearance to help me until I could afford the loans. The job I have now, I really enjoy and am paid a fair wage. For the past 4 years I have been on a graduated repayment plan and had been paying $540/month which only covers the interest. This past month my bill went up to $1089/month. When I called Sallie Mae to see about lowering the payment, I was told that I had exhausted all of my options for both Federal and Private loans and that my only option would be to pay the bill. My take home pay is around $2000/month. How am I supposed to save for retirement, a house, a family, anything on $911/month? Paying this bill would put me below the poverty line.

Now what?!? I have never missed a payment on my student loans or really any loan that I have ever taken out. I have a 770 credit score. I don't really have any options at this point beyond default. Sallie Mae won't work with me and I have worked for the past 6 years to keep this loan current. At this point, I would save money if I were to not pay them and just let allow them garnish my wages. At least then they can only take 15% of my disposable income.

This is where I am at now. I'm not sure where to proceed from here. I hope this bubble pops soon and this country is forced to come face to face with this issue.

Nick Crocker  October 31, 2014  Atlanta, GA

Hey, My name is Nick and I currently live in Atlanta, GA. I have $124,226.15 in student loan debt. $97k of this "debt" is for my private student loans and 26k is for federal stafford loans. I believe the original loan amount was around 85-90k when I graduated.

I attended Indiana University from 2003-2008 and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in public affairs. Upon graduation I was faced with a very slim job market to say the least and was working two jobs at one point to stay afloat. I had the loans in deferment and then in forbearance to help me until I could afford the loans. The job I have now, I really enjoy and am paid a fair wage. For the past 4 years I have been on a graduated repayment plan and had been paying $540/month which only covers the interest. This past month my bill went up to $1089/month. When I called Sallie Mae to see about lowering the payment, I was told that I had exhausted all of my options for both Federal and Private loans and that my only option would be to pay the bill. My take home pay is around $2000/month. How am I supposed to save for retirement, a house, a family, anything on $911/month? Paying this bill would put me below the poverty line.

Now what?!? I have never missed a payment on my student loans or really any loan that I have ever taken out. I have a 770 credit score. I don't really have any options at this point beyond default. Sallie Mae won't work with me and I have worked for the past 6 years to keep this loan current. At this point, I would save money if I were to not pay them and just let allow them garnish my wages. At least then they can only take 15% of my disposable income.

This is where I am at now. I'm not sure where to proceed from here. I hope this bubble pops soon and this country is forced to come face to face with this issue.

...more
Nick Crocker  October 31, 2014  Atlanta, GA

I am a 49 year old single mother of 4 with $22,000. in student loan debt. In 2009, I went back to school to pursue a Masters in Education. At the time, I did not qualify for any financial aid or need based scholarships due to my spouse's income. As a result, my schooling had to be funded entirely with student loans. In 2013, I divorced and incurred further debt to remove myself from the abusive marriage. (Since I had been a full time mom during my marriage, I did not have my own income to finance my divorce and had to utilize credit cards to pay for the cost). During the divorce process, it was necessary to put my student loan payments on forbearance due to the increasing costs of my divorce. This had the unfortunate effect of increasing my student loan repayment total. I am now working part time as a substitute teacher and am trying to find a full time teaching position. My student loans are currently in forbearance. I do not know how I will be able to pay off this loan, credit card debts from divorce, additional attorney's fees and costs owing to the firms, and provide and stay current on living costs for myself and my 4 children.

Ann  October 29, 2014  Portland, OR

I am a 49 year old single mother of 4 with $22,000. in student loan debt. In 2009, I went back to school to pursue a Masters in Education. At the time, I did not qualify for any financial aid or need based scholarships due to my spouse's income. As a result, my schooling had to be funded entirely with student loans. In 2013, I divorced and incurred further debt to remove myself from the abusive marriage. (Since I had been a full time mom during my marriage, I did not have my own income to finance my divorce and had to utilize credit cards to pay for the cost). During the divorce process, it was necessary to put my student loan payments on forbearance due to the increasing costs of my divorce. This had the unfortunate effect of increasing my student loan repayment total. I am now working part time as a substitute teacher and am trying to find a full time teaching position. My student loans are currently in forbearance. I do not know how I will be able to pay off this loan, credit card debts from divorce, additional attorney's fees and costs owing to the firms, and provide and stay current on living costs for myself and my 4 children.

Ann  October 29, 2014  Portland, OR

I spent years on obtaining my goal to become a librarian, obtaining a Master’s degree and working up to an Asst. Director position at a major public university in Michigan. My goals were to create efficiency in the departments I ran, create better and more streamlined services that would cut costs to students and the university and add value to student education. I helped to streamline new library borrowing processes, digital scanning of articles for researchers and initiate effected processes in the system which saved staff time. The administration resisted every effort to become efficient, believing that unless they spent their budget, it would go away. The wastefulness exhibited in higher education, the entitlement of the staff, and the lack of accountability is rampant and the number one problem with the escalating costs of higher education. It is no shock that a government which exhibits the same problems can’t figure out a way to reign in the costs.

Except to say, cut the budget to higher education, which Snyder did. The problem with that approach is that people like myself, who are Lean managers and efficiency experts are not generally the popular people nor those who are in charge. When faced with the cuts, our administrators used the “crisis” to eliminate my own position as well as those of two directors who pushed for efficiency like myself. The problem of escalating costs wasn’t solved, they just started providing fewer services with less effectiveness, and will down the line, blame it on the budget reduction.

To make a long story short, I worked at another university and then with a major company in Ann Arbor. The other major university was exactly the same as the first, if not worse. The major company in Ann Arbor showed me that I was right all along, their measures of combining workflow efficiency and technology was brilliant and represents why they are the number one tech company in the world with nearly unlimited resources. Why can’t universities be the same way? Easy, politics, fear and they have no idea what the true purpose is. They aren’t non-profit entities. Their profit is in the positive growth of the community to which they serve. Clearly, when looking at social stratification and local demographics, these universities have failed the people of Michigan.

At this time I’m only using my degree in developing my own real estate business and I’m very successful so far but I’m not nearly at the earning level I was before. I’m also self-employed, so I can’t get a mortgage until I have positive income on my tax returns. Too bad economy, I wanted to buy sooner than that. To compound the issue, my wife has six-figure student debt when she recently became a Physician Assistant. Our hopes of her earning six figures was dashed when the new electronic medical records came out. Now, she can barely make enough money to pay her $2000/month student loan payment because of the electronic medical records are taking more time to enter than the time it takes for her to actually see a patient.

We wanted to have a large family but are holding off. Seriously, we would have been better off having five children and being on welfare.

Anonymous  October 28, 2014  St. Clair Shores, MI

I spent years on obtaining my goal to become a librarian, obtaining a Master’s degree and working up to an Asst. Director position at a major public university in Michigan. My goals were to create efficiency in the departments I ran, create better and more streamlined services that would cut costs to students and the university and add value to student education. I helped to streamline new library borrowing processes, digital scanning of articles for researchers and initiate effected processes in the system which saved staff time. The administration resisted every effort to become efficient, believing that unless they spent their budget, it would go away. The wastefulness exhibited in higher education, the entitlement of the staff, and the lack of accountability is rampant and the number one problem with the escalating costs of higher education. It is no shock that a government which exhibits the same problems can’t figure out a way to reign in the costs.

Except to say, cut the budget to higher education, which Snyder did. The problem with that approach is that people like myself, who are Lean managers and efficiency experts are not generally the popular people nor those who are in charge. When faced with the cuts, our administrators used the “crisis” to eliminate my own position as well as those of two directors who pushed for efficiency like myself. The problem of escalating costs wasn’t solved, they just started providing fewer services with less effectiveness, and will down the line, blame it on the budget reduction.

To make a long story short, I worked at another university and then with a major company in Ann Arbor. The other major university was exactly the same as the first, if not worse. The major company in Ann Arbor showed me that I was right all along, their measures of combining workflow efficiency and technology was brilliant and represents why they are the number one tech company in the world with nearly unlimited resources. Why can’t universities be the same way? Easy, politics, fear and they have no idea what the true purpose is.

...more
Anonymous  October 28, 2014  St. Clair Shores, MI

My biggest fear is hearing my phone ring and seeing that it is a student loan collector calling. My first loan more than doubled before I even made the first payment.

If I only knew, I would never had applied for a student loan... EVER. The time and energy I put into teaching will never be profitable enough to pay off my student loans. I feel like I am a slave to these lenders and I live in fear of them. My advice to any high school graduates I meet is always the same: if you cannot afford tuition, work until you can. Sadly, it is better to put off college than go in debt to attend. I wish I had known.

Talisha Gillikin  October 28, 2014  NC

My biggest fear is hearing my phone ring and seeing that it is a student loan collector calling. My first loan more than doubled before I even made the first payment.

If I only knew, I would never had applied for a student loan... EVER. The time and energy I put into teaching will never be profitable enough to pay off my student loans. I feel like I am a slave to these lenders and I live in fear of them. My advice to any high school graduates I meet is always the same: if you cannot afford tuition, work until you can. Sadly, it is better to put off college than go in debt to attend. I wish I had known.

Talisha Gillikin  October 28, 2014  NC

I went school starting in 1982 and have been paying for years now there were years that I was unemployed and were not able to make payments but for the last 10 years or so have been keeping my account in ok standing but I still owe over 20,000 and will never be able to pay it off I am now 50 years old paying on student loans from 30 years ago

Clifford Cantrell  October 27, 2014

I went school starting in 1982 and have been paying for years now there were years that I was unemployed and were not able to make payments but for the last 10 years or so have been keeping my account in ok standing but I still owe over 20,000 and will never be able to pay it off I am now 50 years old paying on student loans from 30 years ago

Clifford Cantrell  October 27, 2014

It\'s hard to write this because I feel hopeless. My daughter and I, as cosigner, have approximately $200,000 in private student debt for her bachelor\'s degree, now that fees and interest have accumulated. I have filed a chapter 13 debt reorganization to hold off the collectors for a while but it\'s only a matter of time before we\'ll be sued. Like others shared, we too tried to make payment arrangements with the banks involved that would have provided them with more than they\'ll get if they sue us and win, but they wouldn\'t all reply. Payments less than the approximate $1500/month in interest were considered inadequate and unacceptable. We simply cannot afford the payments and still pay for basic life expenses, even with my daughter and I collaborating. I have a second offspring whose credit has been damaged because of my bankruptcy, as I also cosigned a private student loan for him. Even though he\'d been paying on-time for over a year, the loan went into default when I, as his cosigner, filed my bankruptcy. His credit was damaged and he was unable to send payments, which were returned. I am baffled about how to manage.

Author*anonymous  October 26, 2014  upstate NY

It\'s hard to write this because I feel hopeless. My daughter and I, as cosigner, have approximately $200,000 in private student debt for her bachelor\'s degree, now that fees and interest have accumulated. I have filed a chapter 13 debt reorganization to hold off the collectors for a while but it\'s only a matter of time before we\'ll be sued. Like others shared, we too tried to make payment arrangements with the banks involved that would have provided them with more than they\'ll get if they sue us and win, but they wouldn\'t all reply. Payments less than the approximate $1500/month in interest were considered inadequate and unacceptable. We simply cannot afford the payments and still pay for basic life expenses, even with my daughter and I collaborating. I have a second offspring whose credit has been damaged because of my bankruptcy, as I also cosigned a private student loan for him. Even though he\'d been paying on-time for over a year, the loan went into default when I, as his cosigner, filed my bankruptcy. His credit was damaged and he was unable to send payments, which were returned. I am baffled about how to manage.

Author*anonymous  October 26, 2014  upstate NY

I was sold dreams of social improvement. It has all been a scam to own us. I owe $15,000 and counting. I never thought that by wanting and education I was signing my life away....

Karen R  October 25, 2014  LA, CA

I was sold dreams of social improvement. It has all been a scam to own us. I owe $15,000 and counting. I never thought that by wanting and education I was signing my life away....

Karen R  October 25, 2014  LA, CA

Dear friends out there, my name is Berra Christopher from united states i had a problem with my husband 2year ago, which lead to our break up. when he broke up with me, i was not my self again, i felt so empty inside me. until a friend of mine Rebbecca told me about a spell caster who helped her in the same problem too. i emailed Dr uduga the spell caster and i told him my problem and i did what he asked of me, to cut the long story short. before i knew what was happening my husband gave me a call and told me that he was coming back to me in just 2days and was so happy to have him back to me. we have two kids together and we are happy with our selves. thanks to priest Dr uduga for saving my relationship and for also saving others own too thank you very much. continue your good work dr uduga. the great spell caster email address : udugatempleofsolution@gmail.com or cell number +2348153592618

My name is Berra Christopher i live in Texas, USA

Berra Christopher  October 24, 2014  USA

Dear friends out there, my name is Berra Christopher from united states i had a problem with my husband 2year ago, which lead to our break up. when he broke up with me, i was not my self again, i felt so empty inside me. until a friend of mine Rebbecca told me about a spell caster who helped her in the same problem too. i emailed Dr uduga the spell caster and i told him my problem and i did what he asked of me, to cut the long story short. before i knew what was happening my husband gave me a call and told me that he was coming back to me in just 2days and was so happy to have him back to me. we have two kids together and we are happy with our selves. thanks to priest Dr uduga for saving my relationship and for also saving others own too thank you very much. continue your good work dr uduga. the great spell caster email address : udugatempleofsolution@gmail.com or cell number +2348153592618

My name is Berra Christopher i live in Texas, USA

Berra Christopher  October 24, 2014  USA

I am a single mother of two children. I am trying to run a household by myself. I paid on my student loans for years until my husband left. I had to put my loans in to forbearance in order to pay my bills and feed my children. I can't consolidate...I can't lower my interest rate...all those years of paying are in the toilet because my interest rate is so high..I think 6.5%...I am drowning. I work full time...and an extra job to support my family. If the interest rate could be lowered I might get out from under this one day...until then, I'm in trouble...and so is this economy.

Eileen Gallagher  October 24, 2014  Pennsylvania

I am a single mother of two children. I am trying to run a household by myself. I paid on my student loans for years until my husband left. I had to put my loans in to forbearance in order to pay my bills and feed my children. I can't consolidate...I can't lower my interest rate...all those years of paying are in the toilet because my interest rate is so high..I think 6.5%...I am drowning. I work full time...and an extra job to support my family. If the interest rate could be lowered I might get out from under this one day...until then, I'm in trouble...and so is this economy.

Eileen Gallagher  October 24, 2014  Pennsylvania

I have perfect credit now, but when I was just out school, almost 20 years ago, I was unable to find a job right away. During that time, I moved to several apartments, and my mail took a while to get to me. I was unable to do forbearance on my student loan during this period and the rules forbade me from reinstating it, so I was in default. Finally, I did get a job and was able to start regular payments on my student loans which had to be consolidated at a very high, 9%interest rate. I eventually paid it off about 10 years later through commission checks. However, now that I am a mid-career changer, and I am looking to go to nursing and medical school, I am unable to qualify for much needed federal studentvloan repayment programs. this is because I defaulted on my student loan so long ago. I do not qualify for the loan repayment program offered by the Dept. of Health and Human Services. I think this is unfair, especially given the extremely high cost of a medical school education. A loan repayment program is in excellent incentive and economic solution. I think that the government should cut us slack if we have excellent credit and have maintaiined for a certain period of time. They keep saying that there's a shortage of nurses or physician assistants, etc. However, the loan repaymrnt program guidlines are preventing a lot of people from receiving much needed nursing and medical school debt relief. I think that this should be modified to look at a person's credit history and not simply how they were 20 years ago when they were just out of school and just learning about life and how to manage their credit and finances.

Another thing that needs to be addressed goes beyond the student loans themselves; but the extremely high cost of tuition. I think that the government needs to put pressure on schools, especially public schools such as state universities that receive tax-payer dollars. These institutions should be tuition free like they were 25 and 30 years ago. This will enable many more students to get a good higher education And not be so burdened with debt. Hi debt is very bad for the economy. The initial goal of having state schools was to make education widely available to everyone who wanted to pursue it. Now that education has become big business, such that schools have raised administrative costs so that they may profit from many construction projects by building as many school buildings as possible which in turn raises the cost of tuition. More efficient use of funds would be to build buildings that last and to also repair them rather than to tear them down and rebuild from scratch. This practice Does not benefit the students. We need to find our soul and re-prioritize. The government, needs to take a leadership position in this area and force student tuition to be reduced. This is not an impossible feat it is just a matter of will. This means raising taxes on the filthy rich in order to make this a reality. We need to raise taxes in order to pay for education. We can reduce the military budget and we can in-source rather than outsource military services which would reduce military costs tremendously. I think that the bureaucrats need to take politics out of this and just allow common sense and reason to prevail. I am also available as a consultant and would be happy to consult on this project if you needed an outsider's input because the Government is so very politically polarized And government jobs in general are full of people who like to "CYA." It would also be a great way for me to earn money to pay for my tuition.

Angela McGuire  October 24, 2014  San Francisco

I have perfect credit now, but when I was just out school, almost 20 years ago, I was unable to find a job right away. During that time, I moved to several apartments, and my mail took a while to get to me. I was unable to do forbearance on my student loan during this period and the rules forbade me from reinstating it, so I was in default. Finally, I did get a job and was able to start regular payments on my student loans which had to be consolidated at a very high, 9%interest rate. I eventually paid it off about 10 years later through commission checks. However, now that I am a mid-career changer, and I am looking to go to nursing and medical school, I am unable to qualify for much needed federal studentvloan repayment programs. this is because I defaulted on my student loan so long ago. I do not qualify for the loan repayment program offered by the Dept. of Health and Human Services. I think this is unfair, especially given the extremely high cost of a medical school education. A loan repayment program is in excellent incentive and economic solution. I think that the government should cut us slack if we have excellent credit and have maintaiined for a certain period of time. They keep saying that there's a shortage of nurses or physician assistants, etc. However, the loan repaymrnt program guidlines are preventing a lot of people from receiving much needed nursing and medical school debt relief. I think that this should be modified to look at a person's credit history and not simply how they were 20 years ago when they were just out of school and just learning about life and how to manage their credit and finances.

Another thing that needs to be addressed goes beyond the student loans themselves; but the extremely high cost of tuition. I think that the government needs to put pressure on schools, especially public schools such as state universities that receive tax-payer dollars. These institutions should be tuition free like they were 25 and 30 years ago.

...more
Angela McGuire  October 24, 2014  San Francisco

MY son and I have been paying on these student loans for eight years. Last year, according to Sallie Mae, we'd paid a total of $22,000. Sounds like a lot of money, right? The problem is that the amount owed is so much more than the original amount borrowed. For one loan the borrowed principle was $29,000. Now, after paying all this time, it's $41,000. My son's graduate school student loan of $32,000 is now whopping $85,000!!! I've asked Sallie Mae for a running account so my son and I can track our payments, fees, penalties, etc. I told them I needed to see how these loans ballooned to the amount they are now. For two years I've been trying to get this information but they refuse to oblige. It seems that as far as Sallie Mae or our government is concerned, whatever Sallie Mae writes on the bottom line must be correct. I thought consumers had the right to transparency and that creditors had to prove that we owed what they are asking. There has got to be someone out there who can investigate this situation. I refuse to continue paying for a loan that can not be justified and continues to grow higher as we continue to pay. We have rights. The last time I looked I thought this was still America. I hope I'm not wrong.

Andrea  October 24, 2014  VA

MY son and I have been paying on these student loans for eight years. Last year, according to Sallie Mae, we'd paid a total of $22,000. Sounds like a lot of money, right? The problem is that the amount owed is so much more than the original amount borrowed. For one loan the borrowed principle was $29,000. Now, after paying all this time, it's $41,000. My son's graduate school student loan of $32,000 is now whopping $85,000!!! I've asked Sallie Mae for a running account so my son and I can track our payments, fees, penalties, etc. I told them I needed to see how these loans ballooned to the amount they are now. For two years I've been trying to get this information but they refuse to oblige. It seems that as far as Sallie Mae or our government is concerned, whatever Sallie Mae writes on the bottom line must be correct. I thought consumers had the right to transparency and that creditors had to prove that we owed what they are asking. There has got to be someone out there who can investigate this situation. I refuse to continue paying for a loan that can not be justified and continues to grow higher as we continue to pay. We have rights. The last time I looked I thought this was still America. I hope I'm not wrong.

Andrea  October 24, 2014  VA

This is not a story but a question. I am a CPA in California with about $40K in student loan debt, I'm not behind on payments but I hear a lot about student loan forgiveness, and certain criteria to qualify. Assuming I will not meet any of the criteria I wonder why there hasn't been a push to increase the limits for deductible student loan interest? In my case I make "to much" to take the almost $3K in interest I pay each year but I have to make enough to be able to pay back my student loans? For those who can qualify to get debt forgiven great but it seems we should be fighting on both ends. Student loan interest deduction capped at $2,500 with a phase out starting with modified adjusted income of $65K and completely phased out at $80K? What, if anything is being done on this front and what can I do to further the cause?

melissa  October 23, 2014  Napa, California

This is not a story but a question. I am a CPA in California with about $40K in student loan debt, I'm not behind on payments but I hear a lot about student loan forgiveness, and certain criteria to qualify. Assuming I will not meet any of the criteria I wonder why there hasn't been a push to increase the limits for deductible student loan interest? In my case I make "to much" to take the almost $3K in interest I pay each year but I have to make enough to be able to pay back my student loans? For those who can qualify to get debt forgiven great but it seems we should be fighting on both ends. Student loan interest deduction capped at $2,500 with a phase out starting with modified adjusted income of $65K and completely phased out at $80K? What, if anything is being done on this front and what can I do to further the cause?

melissa  October 23, 2014  Napa, California

I graduated from graduate school in 2008. I thought the more educated I was, the more financial stability I would have. Instead of having \"the American Dream\" I have the \"American Nightmare!\" I recently lost my job due to restructuring in my agency. When I called my private lenders, especially ACS-Access, they said there was nothing they could do to help because I had already used my forbearance. I used my forbearance when I had my children for maternity leave (6 months for each). I guess I should have not had children so that I wouldn\'t have used my forbearance just in case I lost my job in the future!! Since bankruptcy is no longer an option, lenders are less likely to work with you because they figure they are going to get paid since this debt will never go away. It\'s been a very stressful time and a complete nightmare. Why is it that people in other first world countries don\'t have this type of debt? I know that in some countries if you work for the government for 3 years and very little pay, your debt is completely gone (Spain is one country that does this). I wouldn\'t even mind if it was 5 years. But at this rate, with my $300,000 debt and interest rapidly accruing and capitalizing, I will never be able to pay it off, nor will I be able to buy a house. At this point, I can\'t even afford to buy a car. I am drowning in debt with no hope in sight. How is this the American dream?

Author*Lourdes H.  October 23, 2014  LocationWatsonville, CA

I graduated from graduate school in 2008. I thought the more educated I was, the more financial stability I would have. Instead of having \"the American Dream\" I have the \"American Nightmare!\" I recently lost my job due to restructuring in my agency. When I called my private lenders, especially ACS-Access, they said there was nothing they could do to help because I had already used my forbearance. I used my forbearance when I had my children for maternity leave (6 months for each). I guess I should have not had children so that I wouldn\'t have used my forbearance just in case I lost my job in the future!! Since bankruptcy is no longer an option, lenders are less likely to work with you because they figure they are going to get paid since this debt will never go away. It\'s been a very stressful time and a complete nightmare. Why is it that people in other first world countries don\'t have this type of debt? I know that in some countries if you work for the government for 3 years and very little pay, your debt is completely gone (Spain is one country that does this). I wouldn\'t even mind if it was 5 years. But at this rate, with my $300,000 debt and interest rapidly accruing and capitalizing, I will never be able to pay it off, nor will I be able to buy a house. At this point, I can\'t even afford to buy a car. I am drowning in debt with no hope in sight. How is this the American dream?

Author*Lourdes H.  October 23, 2014  LocationWatsonville, CA

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 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,

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

Support! I have been fighting with those involved with collecting my Student Loans for the past 10 years. After college, no one would help me consolidate loans, I did not even know exactly how much I owed. Than when I started sending $200 a month, all of a sudden a check come back refused. I faught with AES for years and they kept insisting I pay $600 a month. I was making $10 per hour as a Bachelors degree SW. I fought some more and finally told them that they can garnish, and at that time, in Texas, was 10% and that they would never get $600 a month. Approximately $200 a month. But I requested statements so that I could see what the activity is on my loan and never received one. They did not do that. I then left Texas, found a job in WV and it took about a year for them to catch up; again I requested a statement. Still did not recieve one. To make a long story short, I have been garnished for many years and I still have not received a statement of all the money that has been taken out of my paycheck. No response except to call me and ask why I am not paying my loan when garnishment is continuing. Now I am in the process of getting help and I have a collection agency calling me because I have lost my job( 2 months ago). I make too much on unemployment to declare a hardship. I am sick and tired of getting nowhere, paying money to who knows who and collection agencies, AES and others calling me wanting me to set up payment plan. I am afraid to send money to anyone. This is a prime example of what our government has come to. Lying, cheating, self centered beaurocrats that care nothing of the citizens they serve. Income based does not work. I make $89 too much for hardship, I am 61 years old that cannot work but cannot file disability because it takes SS/government years to decide that our doctors are lying and that government picked doctors tell the \"truth\" I have an 81 year old mother I live with, in her big 5 BR house that we cannot sell. We cannot heat it, maintain it and we are stuck with it. She is on a fixed income and I am in poor heath and unable to do much to keep the home up. That is what has happened with this country.

MARCIA M. TESTER  October 23, 2014  MARLINTON, WV

Support! I have been fighting with those involved with collecting my Student Loans for the past 10 years. After college, no one would help me consolidate loans, I did not even know exactly how much I owed. Than when I started sending $200 a month, all of a sudden a check come back refused. I faught with AES for years and they kept insisting I pay $600 a month. I was making $10 per hour as a Bachelors degree SW. I fought some more and finally told them that they can garnish, and at that time, in Texas, was 10% and that they would never get $600 a month. Approximately $200 a month. But I requested statements so that I could see what the activity is on my loan and never received one. They did not do that. I then left Texas, found a job in WV and it took about a year for them to catch up; again I requested a statement. Still did not recieve one. To make a long story short, I have been garnished for many years and I still have not received a statement of all the money that has been taken out of my paycheck. No response except to call me and ask why I am not paying my loan when garnishment is continuing. Now I am in the process of getting help and I have a collection agency calling me because I have lost my job( 2 months ago). I make too much on unemployment to declare a hardship. I am sick and tired of getting nowhere, paying money to who knows who and collection agencies, AES and others calling me wanting me to set up payment plan. I am afraid to send money to anyone. This is a prime example of what our government has come to. Lying, cheating, self centered beaurocrats that care nothing of the citizens they serve. Income based does not work. I make $89 too much for hardship, I am 61 years old that cannot work but cannot file disability because it takes SS/government years to decide that our doctors are lying and that government picked doctors tell the \"truth\" I have an 81 year old mother I live with,

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MARCIA M. TESTER  October 23, 2014  MARLINTON, WV

I have parent plus loans that I can not decrease the 8.5% interest rate to the current market rate without penalizing my ability to have debt forgiven in 10-20 years.

Cynthia Hamilton  October 23, 2014  St. Louis, MO

I have parent plus loans that I can not decrease the 8.5% interest rate to the current market rate without penalizing my ability to have debt forgiven in 10-20 years.

Cynthia Hamilton  October 23, 2014  St. Louis, MO

My two daughters, Erin and Megan, are in debt due to the loans they needed to obtain Master's degrees. Their jobs required much higher education, but are not high paying jobs. Instead they are jobs that contribute to the community. Erin is a School Psychologist and Megan is a BCBA programming behavior programs for autistic children. They are in financial stress due to their student loans. If I had known the incredible price they would pay for choosing jobs that were in Helping professions, I would have encouraged them to forget altruism and choose jobs that were high paying corporate jobs. This is not worth it. For the kindness, and professionalism, they are getting slaughtered, making it almost impossible for them to live lives with the rewards of homes and families. Shame on the federal government and the money lenders! If we are not careful, no one will choose to be in these professions, and the whole country will pay dearly!

Bonnie Fenn Sullivan  October 23, 2014  Connecticut

My two daughters, Erin and Megan, are in debt due to the loans they needed to obtain Master's degrees. Their jobs required much higher education, but are not high paying jobs. Instead they are jobs that contribute to the community. Erin is a School Psychologist and Megan is a BCBA programming behavior programs for autistic children. They are in financial stress due to their student loans. If I had known the incredible price they would pay for choosing jobs that were in Helping professions, I would have encouraged them to forget altruism and choose jobs that were high paying corporate jobs. This is not worth it. For the kindness, and professionalism, they are getting slaughtered, making it almost impossible for them to live lives with the rewards of homes and families. Shame on the federal government and the money lenders! If we are not careful, no one will choose to be in these professions, and the whole country will pay dearly!

Bonnie Fenn Sullivan  October 23, 2014  Connecticut

My two daughters, Erin and Megan, are in debt due to the loans they needed to obtain Master's degrees. Their jobs required much higher education, but are not high paying jobs. Instead they are jobs that contribute to the community. Erin is a School Psychologist and Megan is a BCBA programming behavior programs for autistic children. They are in financial stress due to their student loans. If I had known the incredible price they would pay for choosing jobs that were in Helping professions, I would have encouraged them to forget altruism and choose jobs that were high paying corporate jobs. This is not worth it. For the kindness, and professionalism, they are getting slaughtered, making it almost impossible for them to live lives with the rewards of homes and families. Shame on the federal government and the money lenders! If we are not careful, no one will choose to be in these professions, and the whole country will pay dearly!

Bonnie Fenn Sullivan  October 23, 2014  Connecticut

My two daughters, Erin and Megan, are in debt due to the loans they needed to obtain Master's degrees. Their jobs required much higher education, but are not high paying jobs. Instead they are jobs that contribute to the community. Erin is a School Psychologist and Megan is a BCBA programming behavior programs for autistic children. They are in financial stress due to their student loans. If I had known the incredible price they would pay for choosing jobs that were in Helping professions, I would have encouraged them to forget altruism and choose jobs that were high paying corporate jobs. This is not worth it. For the kindness, and professionalism, they are getting slaughtered, making it almost impossible for them to live lives with the rewards of homes and families. Shame on the federal government and the money lenders! If we are not careful, no one will choose to be in these professions, and the whole country will pay dearly!

Bonnie Fenn Sullivan  October 23, 2014  Connecticut

I have a son without healthcare, he has been waiting for an appt. at the NC Spine Center for six months. He is unable to work full time because of his back. He has student debt and should be able to have reduced payments for his student loan. This is a sad situation.

Carol Troutner  October 23, 2014  27514-6623

I have a son without healthcare, he has been waiting for an appt. at the NC Spine Center for six months. He is unable to work full time because of his back. He has student debt and should be able to have reduced payments for his student loan. This is a sad situation.

Carol Troutner  October 23, 2014  27514-6623

When I started my repayment plan after college, I was appalled at the minimum monthly payment amount. The Federal loans end up being over $400 a month! As a teacher, there was no way I could afford this, so I had to go into forbearance for the time being, which will only hurt me more in the future. But, they would not budge or even attempt to provide an affordable payment plan

Jennifer  October 23, 2014

When I started my repayment plan after college, I was appalled at the minimum monthly payment amount. The Federal loans end up being over $400 a month! As a teacher, there was no way I could afford this, so I had to go into forbearance for the time being, which will only hurt me more in the future. But, they would not budge or even attempt to provide an affordable payment plan

Jennifer  October 23, 2014

I have taught 32 years and I am nearly 62 years of age. Yet, I still owe nearly $14K on my student loan from 1997, although I have been dutifully paying nearly $300 a month. I am not eligible for student loan forgiveness because my loan is through Sallie Mae, the only loan provider at LSU at that time. What sense does this make? I work in a poor, rural school district. This is surely shameful enough to you to motivate you into doing SOMETHING to relieve student loan debt. I will literally retire, perhaps even die, owing student loan money. Shameful. We are not speaking of some young person who went to college in this decade. I graduated grad school in 1997!

Author* Rebecca Petheram  October 22, 2014  Aberdeen, WA

I have taught 32 years and I am nearly 62 years of age. Yet, I still owe nearly $14K on my student loan from 1997, although I have been dutifully paying nearly $300 a month. I am not eligible for student loan forgiveness because my loan is through Sallie Mae, the only loan provider at LSU at that time. What sense does this make? I work in a poor, rural school district. This is surely shameful enough to you to motivate you into doing SOMETHING to relieve student loan debt. I will literally retire, perhaps even die, owing student loan money. Shameful. We are not speaking of some young person who went to college in this decade. I graduated grad school in 1997!

Author* Rebecca Petheram  October 22, 2014  Aberdeen, WA

I was abandoned at aged 3 by my mother, abused, neglected and put into the the group home foster system at age 14 as an at-risk youth. I had a higher purpose and strove to serve and help create a better, kinder, more productive inclusive society for all. I proudly through hell and high water got my Master's in International Relations with the intent of working to address and correct the many social, environmental, economic and political ills threatening and tormenting most of our planet today. My original student loan was $25,000 for my grad degree, which was taken out in 1999. It is now with interest almost a whopping $100,000. Which I can not pay back because I have not been able to find work that pays enough to cover my monthly bills and living expenses. I am getting older, have had some health problems, and would gladly give back my master's degree and receive a full refund, and as absurd as that sounds...I can't charge off this debt, can't write it off as many CEO's and gambling addicts can, but big banks getting rich off the fact that students need to borrow money to get an EDUCATION is the biggest crime of this century and shame, shame shame. Good Luck.

Manova Lowman  October 22, 2014  San Francisco

I was abandoned at aged 3 by my mother, abused, neglected and put into the the group home foster system at age 14 as an at-risk youth. I had a higher purpose and strove to serve and help create a better, kinder, more productive inclusive society for all. I proudly through hell and high water got my Master's in International Relations with the intent of working to address and correct the many social, environmental, economic and political ills threatening and tormenting most of our planet today. My original student loan was $25,000 for my grad degree, which was taken out in 1999. It is now with interest almost a whopping $100,000. Which I can not pay back because I have not been able to find work that pays enough to cover my monthly bills and living expenses. I am getting older, have had some health problems, and would gladly give back my master's degree and receive a full refund, and as absurd as that sounds...I can't charge off this debt, can't write it off as many CEO's and gambling addicts can, but big banks getting rich off the fact that students need to borrow money to get an EDUCATION is the biggest crime of this century and shame, shame shame. Good Luck.

Manova Lowman  October 22, 2014  San Francisco

I owe 30,000 plus in parent plus loans, my daughter owes 30,000 plus in student loans. Mine are in forbearance, hers are in deferment. I hurt my ankle and can't work. She got her diploma but can't find gainful employment. We are not sure what to do!

Thomas H Nablo  October 21, 2014  Cheetowaga,NY 14206

I owe 30,000 plus in parent plus loans, my daughter owes 30,000 plus in student loans. Mine are in forbearance, hers are in deferment. I hurt my ankle and can't work. She got her diploma but can't find gainful employment. We are not sure what to do!

Thomas H Nablo  October 21, 2014  Cheetowaga,NY 14206

I was a first gen student who graduated from a private institution in Maryland. After receiving a degree in Communication Studies in 2012, I pursued my masters in Student Affairs and Higher Education at Indiana State University. As of now, I am $28,090.42 in debt with federal loans and about $20,000 in private. Fortunately, I have acquired a job within a residence hall and I don't have to pay for a house, utilities, internet or cable. It is considered a public sector because my paycheck says that I get paid from the State of New York. However, the interest that I have acquired set me up so that I would pretty much be paying loans until I'm six feet under.

I am scared for my life because I will not be able to pay for the other things I need in my life. I want to get married, buy my own home, raise a son, and continue a legacy where my decedents can hold their heads up high and feel that they can do anything they can put their mind and heart into. If H.R. 1330 gets past into law, it will not only make me very happy, but it will make the lives of well over 35 million people very prosperous. I cannot stay in a live-in position for the rest of my life. With the way our line of work is set up, I would be expected to move up and move out. Being the first person within my whole family to graduate from college and freeing myself from the tutelage of ignorance in my opinion should be something to celebrate about. It shouldn't be something I'm being punished for. I take pride in what I've done and today I stand very firm for what is right and I will NOT tolerate the futile displays of the scam that is upon us any further!

For those who don’t want to take action, go ahead. Go right ahead... In my opinion, I’d much rather find a way to ease the debt or die trying then to live life everyday knowing that I'll keep owing money to a corrupt state of affairs.

Drew E. Spriggs  October 17, 2014  Oneonta, NY

I was a first gen student who graduated from a private institution in Maryland. After receiving a degree in Communication Studies in 2012, I pursued my masters in Student Affairs and Higher Education at Indiana State University. As of now, I am $28,090.42 in debt with federal loans and about $20,000 in private. Fortunately, I have acquired a job within a residence hall and I don't have to pay for a house, utilities, internet or cable. It is considered a public sector because my paycheck says that I get paid from the State of New York. However, the interest that I have acquired set me up so that I would pretty much be paying loans until I'm six feet under.

I am scared for my life because I will not be able to pay for the other things I need in my life. I want to get married, buy my own home, raise a son, and continue a legacy where my decedents can hold their heads up high and feel that they can do anything they can put their mind and heart into. If H.R. 1330 gets past into law, it will not only make me very happy, but it will make the lives of well over 35 million people very prosperous. I cannot stay in a live-in position for the rest of my life. With the way our line of work is set up, I would be expected to move up and move out. Being the first person within my whole family to graduate from college and freeing myself from the tutelage of ignorance in my opinion should be something to celebrate about. It shouldn't be something I'm being punished for. I take pride in what I've done and today I stand very firm for what is right and I will NOT tolerate the futile displays of the scam that is upon us any further!

For those who don’t want to take action, go ahead. Go right ahead... In my opinion, I’d much rather find a way to ease the debt or die trying then to live life everyday knowing that I'll keep owing money to a corrupt state of affairs.

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Drew E. Spriggs  October 17, 2014  Oneonta, NY

In 2004 I left a well paying job because I wanted a real career. In my mind to do this I would need to get at least an associate degree. I was pretty naive having dropped out of high school and getting a GED. I decided to attend ITT Technical Institute (a for profit school) . I had an interest in computers and the recruiter advised me of the Computer Networking degree.
He told me about all these opportunities that would open up to me once I graduated. He told me to come find him on day one and he would help me acclimate to the school. Several weeks later on the first day I found out that he had been fired.
Had I been better prepared I would have looked into scholarships and grants etc. but I was not prepared. When they guided me to the financial serviced department the representative immediately started the process of loans. He never once mention grants or scholarships. I knew no better.
I went for 2 years straight and graduated with like 7 others. I was so happy, my family and friends celebrated that day, I felt good!
I had been applying for jobs on a daily basis, going to career fairs, looking in the paper and online. Not everyone responded, but the ones that did advised me that my hard earned AAS Degree was not good enough. They advised I would need more certifications, or possibly a higher degree.
Eventually I got a job, which I found out later I could have gotten without my degree, and the field I was in certainly did not use it.
In fact every position I have held since graduation has been one in which my degree is not needed. Today I drive a bus for a mass transit company.
Upon graduation I owed about 40k in student loans about half private half federal. Due to times of unemployment or underemployment I now owe about 50k. I have had times of making serious payments, but it never got me ahead of any of it.
Before I went to school I was able to get a 10k loan to buy a house, I was able to walk into my credit union and borrow 10k for a new car. Now my credit is so shot I will never afford a house or car or any of that. I doubt I will ever be able to get married or have a family because the debt is back breaking.
My life is on hold and I am not some young kid, I will turn 36 years old in December.

Alexander Brooks  October 15, 2014

In 2004 I left a well paying job because I wanted a real career. In my mind to do this I would need to get at least an associate degree. I was pretty naive having dropped out of high school and getting a GED. I decided to attend ITT Technical Institute (a for profit school) . I had an interest in computers and the recruiter advised me of the Computer Networking degree.
He told me about all these opportunities that would open up to me once I graduated. He told me to come find him on day one and he would help me acclimate to the school. Several weeks later on the first day I found out that he had been fired.
Had I been better prepared I would have looked into scholarships and grants etc. but I was not prepared. When they guided me to the financial serviced department the representative immediately started the process of loans. He never once mention grants or scholarships. I knew no better.
I went for 2 years straight and graduated with like 7 others. I was so happy, my family and friends celebrated that day, I felt good!
I had been applying for jobs on a daily basis, going to career fairs, looking in the paper and online. Not everyone responded, but the ones that did advised me that my hard earned AAS Degree was not good enough. They advised I would need more certifications, or possibly a higher degree.
Eventually I got a job, which I found out later I could have gotten without my degree, and the field I was in certainly did not use it.
In fact every position I have held since graduation has been one in which my degree is not needed. Today I drive a bus for a mass transit company.
Upon graduation I owed about 40k in student loans about half private half federal. Due to times of unemployment or underemployment I now owe about 50k. I have had times of making serious payments, but it never got me ahead of any of it.

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Alexander Brooks  October 15, 2014

I am 43, single and $145,000 in debt for my undergraduate degree in Graphic Design from Brooks Institute. At 32 I decided to go back to school to get my degree in design. I chose Brooks because it was close to home and allowed me to continue working my full time corporate job. Initially I only took loans out to cover tuition, books and supplies, but about 15 months before graduating the stress of a full time job plus full time school (average about 80 hr weeks) was too much and I became very ill. Not being able to keep up the workload anymore (and ready to quit school) I was convinced from family & friends that I shouldn't give up and just to take additional loans out for what I couldn't cover for living expenses.

I graduated in 2007 with $108,000 and today it has ballooned to $145,00 (50k is federal, 95k is private). Over the past 7 years I have paid over $40,000 towards these loans with none of it touching the principal.

The upside is I do (now) have a great design with a very fair salary for the industry (about 60k). The downside is that with this salary, I'll never earn my way out of this debt. To pay this off in 10 years I'd have to pay about 2k a month, which is more than half my take home pay. And being single and the sole provider for myself, that's not possible. I also didn't always have this job or this salary and due to these loans I had to adjust my dependents to ensure enough take home pay to cover all my expenses and loans. Previous to that, I had a job for 5 years where I was paid as an independent contractor and couldn't keep up with quarterlies because of the loans. So as of today, in addition to the student loans I also owe the IRS just under $25,000. The lesson I learned here is I didn't have to default because the IRS is easier to work with than Sallie Mae, so my taxes are what took the hit.

I have been able to stay out of default due to my tax shuffling and I utilize IBR for the federal loans and (am still) on graduated repayment for the private loans for a total monthly payment of about $600 per month. Once the graduated repayment ends (which should be soon) I believe the payment will be $1200 per month, which isn't possible. Still hopeful for a solution very soon!

Jennifer W.  October 14, 2014  California

I am 43, single and $145,000 in debt for my undergraduate degree in Graphic Design from Brooks Institute. At 32 I decided to go back to school to get my degree in design. I chose Brooks because it was close to home and allowed me to continue working my full time corporate job. Initially I only took loans out to cover tuition, books and supplies, but about 15 months before graduating the stress of a full time job plus full time school (average about 80 hr weeks) was too much and I became very ill. Not being able to keep up the workload anymore (and ready to quit school) I was convinced from family & friends that I shouldn't give up and just to take additional loans out for what I couldn't cover for living expenses.

I graduated in 2007 with $108,000 and today it has ballooned to $145,00 (50k is federal, 95k is private). Over the past 7 years I have paid over $40,000 towards these loans with none of it touching the principal.

The upside is I do (now) have a great design with a very fair salary for the industry (about 60k). The downside is that with this salary, I'll never earn my way out of this debt. To pay this off in 10 years I'd have to pay about 2k a month, which is more than half my take home pay. And being single and the sole provider for myself, that's not possible. I also didn't always have this job or this salary and due to these loans I had to adjust my dependents to ensure enough take home pay to cover all my expenses and loans. Previous to that, I had a job for 5 years where I was paid as an independent contractor and couldn't keep up with quarterlies because of the loans. So as of today, in addition to the student loans I also owe the IRS just under $25,000. The lesson I learned here is I didn't have to default because the IRS is easier to work with than Sallie Mae,

...more
Jennifer W.  October 14, 2014  California

My daughter went to an expensive school - NYU - Being the first in our family to obtain a 4 year degree was quite the reward for hard work. We knew it would be expensive and the school advised that she was not eligible for Government backed student loans but I was eligible for the Parent Plus Loans to cover her costs. As a single parent, I was not about to dash her dreams. She has now graduated, working at a job that pays minimum wage. I had to take my Social Security at the earliest age so that I could pay back the Parent Plus Loan. My entire Social Security check (with $50 leftover) goes to the loan. The 8% interest rate (after the .25% reduction for direct pay) means that even after 3 years of payment, the principal barely moves. I can not hope to pay this loan off in my lifetime, with never having the life enjoyment my SS may have provided. My daughter had hoped to relieve me of at least some of this debt, but she too has Perkins and Stafford loans to pay. The interest rate is sooo unfair and made 10 times worse that it is my Government who is taking it, after having worked 30 years for my State Government.

Kathy  October 14, 2014  Schenectady, NY

My daughter went to an expensive school - NYU - Being the first in our family to obtain a 4 year degree was quite the reward for hard work. We knew it would be expensive and the school advised that she was not eligible for Government backed student loans but I was eligible for the Parent Plus Loans to cover her costs. As a single parent, I was not about to dash her dreams. She has now graduated, working at a job that pays minimum wage. I had to take my Social Security at the earliest age so that I could pay back the Parent Plus Loan. My entire Social Security check (with $50 leftover) goes to the loan. The 8% interest rate (after the .25% reduction for direct pay) means that even after 3 years of payment, the principal barely moves. I can not hope to pay this loan off in my lifetime, with never having the life enjoyment my SS may have provided. My daughter had hoped to relieve me of at least some of this debt, but she too has Perkins and Stafford loans to pay. The interest rate is sooo unfair and made 10 times worse that it is my Government who is taking it, after having worked 30 years for my State Government.

Kathy  October 14, 2014  Schenectady, NY

Hello,

With auto pay and paperless billing, I rarely look at my statements. I'm fortunate to have a job at the current moment. I've been out of college for over a decade now, and still have my student loan debt hanging over me. Tonight, I happen to check my statement just to see where I was at with paying this off. Quite depressing what I found...

The original principal amount of my loan was $46,218.62, which I started to repay in 2004.

My current interest rate is 4%.

The current principal is at $38,404.18.

Which means my monthly payment is $263.69, $126.62 of this is paid interest.

Do you have any suggestions for finding a lower interest rate? Or is there a student loan forgiveness program, or somewhere to go for help for someone who has already been paying for over a decade and has hardly made a dent?!

Thanks for allowing me to vent.

Brian

Brian T.  October 14, 2014  Los Angeles

Hello,

With auto pay and paperless billing, I rarely look at my statements. I'm fortunate to have a job at the current moment. I've been out of college for over a decade now, and still have my student loan debt hanging over me. Tonight, I happen to check my statement just to see where I was at with paying this off. Quite depressing what I found...

The original principal amount of my loan was $46,218.62, which I started to repay in 2004.

My current interest rate is 4%.

The current principal is at $38,404.18.

Which means my monthly payment is $263.69, $126.62 of this is paid interest.

Do you have any suggestions for finding a lower interest rate? Or is there a student loan forgiveness program, or somewhere to go for help for someone who has already been paying for over a decade and has hardly made a dent?!

Thanks for allowing me to vent.

Brian

Brian T.  October 14, 2014  Los Angeles

I am a college graduate with 30, 000 in debt. I have always planned on law school, but now the idea of more debt is terrifying. There should be an easier way to actualize all of my dreams and aspirations, without becoming broke!

Cody  October 14, 2014

I am a college graduate with 30, 000 in debt. I have always planned on law school, but now the idea of more debt is terrifying. There should be an easier way to actualize all of my dreams and aspirations, without becoming broke!

Cody  October 14, 2014

My name is Catie Gutierrez and I'm 129,000.00 in federal student loan rating. My dad wanted me to take out the loans for college when I was 18. I didn't see how I could pay it all back, but I was told I had until the rest of my life to pay it back and that if I didn't have a good education from a prestigious university, I wouldn't get a good job. I went to undergrad school at the University of California in Digital Media and graduated in 2008. Then I had my first job fall apart after 3 months, when the recession began and the tech company I worked for went under. A CEO from another company bought our company out, and even the makers of the software our company sold were completely out of a job, one had just had a baby.

I continued making payments as much as I could. At that time I was probably in 90,000.00 of rating. I used Monster and Dice and everything people suggested to find another job. I felt hopeless about finding more work. It seemed that every company wanted a senior designer who had already had at least four years of experience. Knowing I wouldn't get anywhere trying to pay off that rating with minimum wage, and that everyone had a bachelors these days, I went to graduate school to go for my masters.

My masters program is nearly over and I'm in 129,000.00 of rating. I have just now been able to find a paid internship in my field. I will be starting it soon, but I'm still worried about my rating. I'm afraid I won't have money for a new car, or to pay rent or have a normal life. I imagine myself as an adult baby living with my parents and giving all my income to My Great Lakes, which is a private company that the U.S. Department of Education sold my loans to. I hope all the policies will be the same since the transfer to the new company, but I read that I have to stay on top of them to make sure.

I wonder what the point of my education was if I won't have the money to complete any other financial goals, except for paying back my loans. I considered letting my loans go into default, accepting a bad credit score, and forgetting about being a home-owner. After this experience, I don't look forward to having a mortgage either. I just don't think that education should be for the rich, or that anyone should be a rating slave in order to have "a proper education."

Catie Gutierrez  October 20, 2013  San Jose, CA

My name is Catie Gutierrez and I'm 129,000.00 in federal student loan rating. My dad wanted me to take out the loans for college when I was 18. I didn't see how I could pay it all back, but I was told I had until the rest of my life to pay it back and that if I didn't have a good education from a prestigious university, I wouldn't get a good job. I went to undergrad school at the University of California in Digital Media and graduated in 2008. Then I had my first job fall apart after 3 months, when the recession began and the tech company I worked for went under. A CEO from another company bought our company out, and even the makers of the software our company sold were completely out of a job, one had just had a baby.

I continued making payments as much as I could. At that time I was probably in 90,000.00 of rating. I used Monster and Dice and everything people suggested to find another job. I felt hopeless about finding more work. It seemed that every company wanted a senior designer who had already had at least four years of experience. Knowing I wouldn't get anywhere trying to pay off that rating with minimum wage, and that everyone had a bachelors these days, I went to graduate school to go for my masters.

My masters program is nearly over and I'm in 129,000.00 of rating. I have just now been able to find a paid internship in my field. I will be starting it soon, but I'm still worried about my rating. I'm afraid I won't have money for a new car, or to pay rent or have a normal life. I imagine myself as an adult baby living with my parents and giving all my income to My Great Lakes, which is a private company that the U.S. Department of Education sold my loans to. I hope all the policies will be the same since the transfer to the new company, but I read that I have to stay on top of them to make sure.

...more
Catie Gutierrez  October 20, 2013  San Jose, CA

I was extremely lucky when I entered my first undergraduate program. My saint of a father offered to pay what my scholarships would not cover. My scholarships covered half, and graduated without any rating with a bachelor's degree. After I graduated I married my current husband, who was struggling to finish his degree. Due to some mistakes, he ran out of federal funding and had to quit school with $65,000 worth of rating and no degree. I could not find anything but a minimum wage job with my excellent degree from a well regarded private university. I decided to go back to school to pursue a degree that I was sure would get me a job. I had a few choices picked out, and unfortunately struggled to decide for a year on my final choice, Nursing. I'm now nearly 2 years in to nursing school with a reported 3 more to go. I've already got $50,000 in rating between private and federal loans. Partially to try to survive and partially because I didn't realize at first how crippling they can be even before I need to start paying them off. My husband and I struggle enough with his loans, and in just a few years we'll add at least $70,000 (based on my estimate) to his already established rating. We can't afford to put him back in school to get him out of a job that was never his dream, but at least it pays just enough for us to pay student loans, rent (because we can't buy a house), and food. I WISH my loans were closer to the average. I could imagine handling the average. Our loans are each 3 times the average just because life happened. On top of it all, I graduated with honors from my first university and maintain a 3.96 GPA at my current university, but can't get approved for any scholarships.

Jana  October 13, 2013  Indiana

I was extremely lucky when I entered my first undergraduate program. My saint of a father offered to pay what my scholarships would not cover. My scholarships covered half, and graduated without any rating with a bachelor's degree. After I graduated I married my current husband, who was struggling to finish his degree. Due to some mistakes, he ran out of federal funding and had to quit school with $65,000 worth of rating and no degree. I could not find anything but a minimum wage job with my excellent degree from a well regarded private university. I decided to go back to school to pursue a degree that I was sure would get me a job. I had a few choices picked out, and unfortunately struggled to decide for a year on my final choice, Nursing. I'm now nearly 2 years in to nursing school with a reported 3 more to go. I've already got $50,000 in rating between private and federal loans. Partially to try to survive and partially because I didn't realize at first how crippling they can be even before I need to start paying them off. My husband and I struggle enough with his loans, and in just a few years we'll add at least $70,000 (based on my estimate) to his already established rating. We can't afford to put him back in school to get him out of a job that was never his dream, but at least it pays just enough for us to pay student loans, rent (because we can't buy a house), and food. I WISH my loans were closer to the average. I could imagine handling the average. Our loans are each 3 times the average just because life happened. On top of it all, I graduated with honors from my first university and maintain a 3.96 GPA at my current university, but can't get approved for any scholarships.

Jana  October 13, 2013  Indiana

My student rating (all federal loans) story starts in my master's degree program. Even prior to entering the program, I frequently heard that earning a master's degree would lead to a high paying position. Furthermore, I was told that being an African-American with a master's degree would make me very marketable. I heard these things from mostly from others with degrees, talking heads on TV, politicians, or students ahead of me. I took that to heart.

When I went off to graduate school, I was engaged and had a baby on the way. My fiance moved in and took a low paying job. After the baby and marriage, she eventually landed a better job, but still a low-paying position. I was a full-time student with a graduate assistantship, so housing and food was taken care of. But the baby made life expensive. So I took out maximum loans (the university did not encourage me to do so, so I can't blame them). I took out a full loan the second year. Once I graduated, I had about $35,000 in rating. No big deal; I will make enough to pay it off.

I took my first professional, master's required, job which did not pay enough to cover the loan payment. Furthermore, my wife went back to school full time. I totally supported her returning to school. Again, loans were taking out to make ends meet. I eventually started a doctoral program, where I took out more loans. We left this school and ended up in another, taking about $60,000 (me) and $15000 (her) in loans with us. I am still hearing the script (a masters degree will lead to high paying job); no worries. Well, my wife starts school again and so do I. when it is all over, there is over $200000 in rating. Her master's education and my doctorate. When we divorced, I took her loans and consolidated them with mine, so she and our child could remain in a safe neighborhood with good schools. I filed Bankruptcy but could not discharge the loans. But I said no worries, I will defer them and will get a better paying job after I earn my doctorate...that is the script.

I earn my doctorate in 2009. I do make good money now, but not enough to cover the loan payment and monthly expenses (but I am close). Granted, this is no one's fault but my own. My education programs were wonderful. My employers have been wonderful. I did not have to take my ex-wife's loan burden.

My issues are: 1) I could not discharge all or some of the loans in bankruptcy. 2)I heard politicians and educators talk about how education is the key to financial security (sure if you make loans). 3) I wish education about student loans also included education about salary prospects. If that had happened, I would not have taken so much loan money. 4) To some degree, I feel I was sold a BS story just so I could delay my entrance into the workforce to mask the poor job prospects for 20 somethings. But the reality is, if I was more saavy, I would not be here. 5) The government made it seem like loans were easy to repay because of good paying jobs for college graduates, but the government does not care that that script is mostly untrue. All the government wants is its money...with interest!

Gerald Martin, Ed.D.  October 4, 2013  NJ

My student rating (all federal loans) story starts in my master's degree program. Even prior to entering the program, I frequently heard that earning a master's degree would lead to a high paying position. Furthermore, I was told that being an African-American with a master's degree would make me very marketable. I heard these things from mostly from others with degrees, talking heads on TV, politicians, or students ahead of me. I took that to heart.

When I went off to graduate school, I was engaged and had a baby on the way. My fiance moved in and took a low paying job. After the baby and marriage, she eventually landed a better job, but still a low-paying position. I was a full-time student with a graduate assistantship, so housing and food was taken care of. But the baby made life expensive. So I took out maximum loans (the university did not encourage me to do so, so I can't blame them). I took out a full loan the second year. Once I graduated, I had about $35,000 in rating. No big deal; I will make enough to pay it off.

I took my first professional, master's required, job which did not pay enough to cover the loan payment. Furthermore, my wife went back to school full time. I totally supported her returning to school. Again, loans were taking out to make ends meet. I eventually started a doctoral program, where I took out more loans. We left this school and ended up in another, taking about $60,000 (me) and $15000 (her) in loans with us. I am still hearing the script (a masters degree will lead to high paying job); no worries. Well, my wife starts school again and so do I. when it is all over, there is over $200000 in rating. Her master's education and my doctorate. When we divorced, I took her loans and consolidated them with mine, so she and our child could remain in a safe neighborhood with good schools. I filed Bankruptcy but could not discharge the loans. But I said no worries,

...more
Gerald Martin, Ed.D.  October 4, 2013  NJ

In no way am I one for sympathy or sob stories. I made the choices in life I made and I don't regret anything, here is my story. I attended Devry (I know, I know) at the time it was my only option, you see I didn't become empowered with myself until my third year in. I started attending in 2006 and around the time of 2008, everything went down the drain. I had a loan for every year, but started to face financial crisis due to the economy and lost my government loan. I trusted my financial advisers as they ensured me they would help me find loans, they would call me in and tell me they found me a loan and to just sign on the line. Little did I know my advisers were getting me private loans and sold me out to sallie mae, I never knew the conditions of what I was signing and if I knew what those terms are I would have NEVER signed those promissory notes. A few family members fell into bad health, so I got a job at UPS, I worked the midnight shift for 3 years. It's not an excuse, but the job hours did affect my grades. I was going as part time while I worked for 3 years. I had 20 credits to go before I reached my Bachelors and it was at that point that I started to learn about my rating total. Before signing another 15k loan, I decided to get this rating under control. I got out with a Associates degree and 87k worth of rating, after all the years of interest building for being in school part time.

I started the job hunt and man was that a depressing time. I must have sent out 100-150+ resumes for job openings every month and maybe 4-5 called back(some were scam jobs, which are a disgusting different topic). I finally resorted to just filling out jobs at common places. Finally got a job interview with an electronic retailer (Not quite the glamorous computer scientist job I was hoping for). This is honestly a job I could have gotten without a degree and the pay is far below what I would have even imagined. Sallie Mae was friendly on the phone until I told the phone operator I might have a difficulty paying this loan off on time, all of a sudden her tone changed and I became a low-life to her. She told me basically there was NOTHING I could do to ease the payment pain. No extended repayment options, Income-based repayment or reduced interest rates...

My name is Justin M. and starting October 20th 2013 I will owe $1200 dollars a month. My job monthly after taxes earns me $1300 a month. I work essentially to pay off my loan and will be doing so for 10 years.

JM  October 2, 2013

In no way am I one for sympathy or sob stories. I made the choices in life I made and I don't regret anything, here is my story. I attended Devry (I know, I know) at the time it was my only option, you see I didn't become empowered with myself until my third year in. I started attending in 2006 and around the time of 2008, everything went down the drain. I had a loan for every year, but started to face financial crisis due to the economy and lost my government loan. I trusted my financial advisers as they ensured me they would help me find loans, they would call me in and tell me they found me a loan and to just sign on the line. Little did I know my advisers were getting me private loans and sold me out to sallie mae, I never knew the conditions of what I was signing and if I knew what those terms are I would have NEVER signed those promissory notes. A few family members fell into bad health, so I got a job at UPS, I worked the midnight shift for 3 years. It's not an excuse, but the job hours did affect my grades. I was going as part time while I worked for 3 years. I had 20 credits to go before I reached my Bachelors and it was at that point that I started to learn about my rating total. Before signing another 15k loan, I decided to get this rating under control. I got out with a Associates degree and 87k worth of rating, after all the years of interest building for being in school part time.

I started the job hunt and man was that a depressing time. I must have sent out 100-150+ resumes for job openings every month and maybe 4-5 called back(some were scam jobs, which are a disgusting different topic). I finally resorted to just filling out jobs at common places. Finally got a job interview with an electronic retailer (Not quite the glamorous computer scientist job I was hoping for).

...more
JM  October 2, 2013

When I attended college between the years of 1984-2002, each semester/trimester/quarter the students were herded like cattle into a gigantic room where they lined up according to alphabet to collect their money. These were mostly 18 to 25 year-olds. I recently read that the brain isn't fully developed until around age 25. ;) Most of the students cared nothing about the loans that they just signed their life away to. Most of the students waiting in line were going to go blow the money on clothes, spring break vacations, alcohol, cars, stereo's, partying, etc. Most of the students didn't care to understand the ramifications of spending borrowed money like that. Kids that age live for the moment. Many of the students didn't even know where the money was coming from, or if it was free or borrowed. When you went to the financial aid office you were automatically given as much money as you qualified for. The financial aid system was far too complex for me to worry about so I let them handle it for me. Some of it came from grants, some of it came from subsidized student loans, and some of it came from unsubsidized student loans.

I have my B.S. but I became permanently disabled with over $48,000 in student loans. I went into default and they are now garnishing $168 out of my small $1000 disability checks. How sad is that? Not only that but when the loans have been transferred from one owner to another for all these years, I noticed that one loan was listed twice, therefore I am paying back money that I never received. And to try to straighten it all out is a nightmare. The paper trail is long and everyone claims to have handled the loans appropriately, yet the balance never decreased when I made the minimum payments for many years.

It's a scam, it's a problem, and it's a crime how the schools in this country give large sums of money to irresponsible and immature teenagers in college expecting them to manage the money like a responsible grown adult would. Not only that but the loans are sold and moved over and over again until the paper trail is so extensive that it can no longer be tracked and any evidence of error is gone. That leaves many students paying back money that they should not have to. I am guessing that there are millions upon millions of dollars being paid back that is undeserved and gotten by swindle or mistake, simply because the government makes it impossible to question or fight back against the student loan "system."

I laugh when I see Judge Judy question a student who is living "high on the hog" on financial aid. She thinks that it is a travesty how much money this country gives to irresponsible students. No offense, because I know that there are many responsible students, but let's get real. Look at the partying atmosphere at colleges and universities. Who do you think is paying for all that booze? Most students out there partying and going on spring break vacations are living on financial aid to some degree. Most students dress nice and must have trendy hair styles, make-up, electronics, phones, cars, and other items that cost money. Rarely do you see a student at a college wearing old outdated clothing and never will you see a student without a cell phone. Nice trendy clothes and cell phones are technically "luxuries" so why do ALL college students possess them? Shouldn't a college student be considered pretty much "poor" considering they just graduated from high school? Don't "poor" people pinch their money? Don't "poor" people shop at the Good Will for their clothes? Don't "poor" people go without IPhones? "Poor" people definitely don't go on a Spring Break vacation every year, but college students do, and they use financial aid to do it. College students are treated as if they are already educated. College students are given money as if they already have their career and the ability to pay it back. The system needs to change, and it needs drastic change.

Anonymous  September 17, 2013  WI, USA

When I attended college between the years of 1984-2002, each semester/trimester/quarter the students were herded like cattle into a gigantic room where they lined up according to alphabet to collect their money. These were mostly 18 to 25 year-olds. I recently read that the brain isn't fully developed until around age 25. ;) Most of the students cared nothing about the loans that they just signed their life away to. Most of the students waiting in line were going to go blow the money on clothes, spring break vacations, alcohol, cars, stereo's, partying, etc. Most of the students didn't care to understand the ramifications of spending borrowed money like that. Kids that age live for the moment. Many of the students didn't even know where the money was coming from, or if it was free or borrowed. When you went to the financial aid office you were automatically given as much money as you qualified for. The financial aid system was far too complex for me to worry about so I let them handle it for me. Some of it came from grants, some of it came from subsidized student loans, and some of it came from unsubsidized student loans.

I have my B.S. but I became permanently disabled with over $48,000 in student loans. I went into default and they are now garnishing $168 out of my small $1000 disability checks. How sad is that? Not only that but when the loans have been transferred from one owner to another for all these years, I noticed that one loan was listed twice, therefore I am paying back money that I never received. And to try to straighten it all out is a nightmare. The paper trail is long and everyone claims to have handled the loans appropriately, yet the balance never decreased when I made the minimum payments for many years.

It's a scam, it's a problem, and it's a crime how the schools in this country give large sums of money to irresponsible and immature teenagers in college expecting them to manage the money like a responsible grown adult would.

...more
Anonymous  September 17, 2013  WI, USA

I owe over $23K to Sallie Mae. I graduated in 2002 and by then all the jobs had been sent to India and China. I could not find a job with the degree that I had just received but was stuck with this loan. Now I am 65 and my SSI does not afford me a decent existence. How can I communicate with Sallie Mae to relieve me of this loan. I am loosing it.

Angela Bennett  September 17, 2013  USA

I owe over $23K to Sallie Mae. I graduated in 2002 and by then all the jobs had been sent to India and China. I could not find a job with the degree that I had just received but was stuck with this loan. Now I am 65 and my SSI does not afford me a decent existence. How can I communicate with Sallie Mae to relieve me of this loan. I am loosing it.

Angela Bennett  September 17, 2013  USA

I am a single 57 year-old woman who went back to college when I was 48. I decided to go back to earn an education in a career that would help me fund my retirement as I spent most of my adulthood as a single parent and working as a counselor in the mental health field. I enrolled in a technical school who told me the average amount of time it took to finish the course was 2-3 years. I and fellow students found out later that the average time it takes is 5-7 years. Now, after 4 years in the program, I not only ran out of student aid to pay to finish the program, I am $65,000 in rating with Federal Student Aid loans and $15,000 in rating with private education loans and still working in the human services field getting paid $12.82 an hour. I have devoted my life to my kids and working as a care giver in the mental health field and will not even be able to support myself in retirement.

Anonymous  September 12, 2013

I am a single 57 year-old woman who went back to college when I was 48. I decided to go back to earn an education in a career that would help me fund my retirement as I spent most of my adulthood as a single parent and working as a counselor in the mental health field. I enrolled in a technical school who told me the average amount of time it took to finish the course was 2-3 years. I and fellow students found out later that the average time it takes is 5-7 years. Now, after 4 years in the program, I not only ran out of student aid to pay to finish the program, I am $65,000 in rating with Federal Student Aid loans and $15,000 in rating with private education loans and still working in the human services field getting paid $12.82 an hour. I have devoted my life to my kids and working as a care giver in the mental health field and will not even be able to support myself in retirement.

Anonymous  September 12, 2013

After hearing clarion calls for teachers, I became a career changer at 59 years old and in 2007 earned my Masters Degree in Elementary Education. Due to age and advanced degree discrimination, and now an insane corporate approach to public education that increases rather than decreases class size(proof that quality education is not the goal), closes neighborhood schools and throws hundreds/thousands of teachers into the street, I have not been able to find a full time teaching position. Rather, aside from a smattering of 2/3 month "long-term" assignments, I have been eeking out a living as a day-to-day substitute. As such, in addition to days I am not called to work, I do not have an income for 5 weeks throughout the school year, or for over 2 months in the summer. There are no paid sick days, or health care. I have a mortgage and student loans. NO WAY can I pay my student loans.

Anonymous  September 11, 2013  Chicago, IL

After hearing clarion calls for teachers, I became a career changer at 59 years old and in 2007 earned my Masters Degree in Elementary Education. Due to age and advanced degree discrimination, and now an insane corporate approach to public education that increases rather than decreases class size(proof that quality education is not the goal), closes neighborhood schools and throws hundreds/thousands of teachers into the street, I have not been able to find a full time teaching position. Rather, aside from a smattering of 2/3 month "long-term" assignments, I have been eeking out a living as a day-to-day substitute. As such, in addition to days I am not called to work, I do not have an income for 5 weeks throughout the school year, or for over 2 months in the summer. There are no paid sick days, or health care. I have a mortgage and student loans. NO WAY can I pay my student loans.

Anonymous  September 11, 2013  Chicago, IL

In my 30's after paying off my undergrad degree I returned to University to become a Chiropractor. I met another Chiropractor and married a year before I graduated. My first child was born a week after graduation. After my wife graduated we moved overseas to Australia her home. Twins came shortly after. Due to poor exchange rateand income not growing as fast as we wanted, we were unable to keep up regular payments. A fourth child arrived in 2002. A divorce, in 2005, hit hard and several years later I went into personal bankruptcy- I was unable to write of my rating. I have been living on edge, paying for my children, and unable to borrow or pay off my loans which now have hit 150,000.00. I find it absurd that I was not able to write off my loans with banckruptcy . Now age 55 I wonder if I will ever be able to pay off these ratings and retire. I am incensed when I hear that the children of politicians do not have pay their loans. I would have paid off these loans if I had been able. MLL

Anonymous  September 11, 2013

In my 30's after paying off my undergrad degree I returned to University to become a Chiropractor. I met another Chiropractor and married a year before I graduated. My first child was born a week after graduation. After my wife graduated we moved overseas to Australia her home. Twins came shortly after. Due to poor exchange rateand income not growing as fast as we wanted, we were unable to keep up regular payments. A fourth child arrived in 2002. A divorce, in 2005, hit hard and several years later I went into personal bankruptcy- I was unable to write of my rating. I have been living on edge, paying for my children, and unable to borrow or pay off my loans which now have hit 150,000.00. I find it absurd that I was not able to write off my loans with banckruptcy . Now age 55 I wonder if I will ever be able to pay off these ratings and retire. I am incensed when I hear that the children of politicians do not have pay their loans. I would have paid off these loans if I had been able. MLL

Anonymous  September 11, 2013

I have been a teacher for 24 years. All of my service has been in the "At-Risk" schools in Louisiana and in Atlanta City. As an educator, it is law that continuing education be taken as to renew and remain a certified educator. Also with No Child Left Behind, more education had to be received to be considered Highly Qualified. On top of that, in order to receive pay increases, advance degrees are also needed but not paid for by the school systems. I had to take student loans in 1990 to get my Master’s of Education in Counseling as to be able to be promoted to that area. After that, I started to work on my doctorate in Education since to be licensed as a mental health professional, I needed 24 extra semester hours so I had to make this rating for education play in my favor so I pursued the doctorate in which I paid some out my pocket.
In 2009/10, a change was made in Georgia that to be considered for school leadership positions such as principal etc...one must possess a Specialist Degree or higher in Educational Administration. So again, I obtained that degree so I can, in hopes, be promoted.
The student loan law grants student loan forgiveness if a teacher teaches in an "At-Risk" School and/or teaches special education BUT to qualify, you can not have a student loan before 1995!
I met with Congressman Lewis of Georgia to explain my story and how UNFAIR this is since without incentives, I ALWAYS taught in "At-Risk" schools and continue to do so. I also explained that teachers are mandated to continue their education with no help of funding but to get any lucrative pay raise, an advance degree must be received!
How unfair that Veteran Teachers like me have enormous amounts of rating but I can not have any forgiven despite my commitment in "At-Risk" schools.
I want this to change by either including ALL teachers in "At-Risk" schools to be able to get forgiveness despite the year my or their student loans were received. OR: NO INTEREST on any of those teachers' or my loans!

David Marcello  September 6, 2013  Atlanta Georgia

I have been a teacher for 24 years. All of my service has been in the "At-Risk" schools in Louisiana and in Atlanta City. As an educator, it is law that continuing education be taken as to renew and remain a certified educator. Also with No Child Left Behind, more education had to be received to be considered Highly Qualified. On top of that, in order to receive pay increases, advance degrees are also needed but not paid for by the school systems. I had to take student loans in 1990 to get my Master’s of Education in Counseling as to be able to be promoted to that area. After that, I started to work on my doctorate in Education since to be licensed as a mental health professional, I needed 24 extra semester hours so I had to make this rating for education play in my favor so I pursued the doctorate in which I paid some out my pocket.
In 2009/10, a change was made in Georgia that to be considered for school leadership positions such as principal etc...one must possess a Specialist Degree or higher in Educational Administration. So again, I obtained that degree so I can, in hopes, be promoted.
The student loan law grants student loan forgiveness if a teacher teaches in an "At-Risk" School and/or teaches special education BUT to qualify, you can not have a student loan before 1995!
I met with Congressman Lewis of Georgia to explain my story and how UNFAIR this is since without incentives, I ALWAYS taught in "At-Risk" schools and continue to do so. I also explained that teachers are mandated to continue their education with no help of funding but to get any lucrative pay raise, an advance degree must be received!
How unfair that Veteran Teachers like me have enormous amounts of rating but I can not have any forgiven despite my commitment in "At-Risk" schools.
I want this to change by either including ALL teachers in "At-Risk" schools to be able to get forgiveness despite the year my or their student loans were received.

...more
David Marcello  September 6, 2013  Atlanta Georgia

I was told that there would be good jobs if you went to college. And my parents were poor, farmers, so I took out loans because that's what you did. With the expectation that you would pay them back. So here, years later, so in rating I feel utterly buried and already dead, I am wondering what I could have done differently...and wondering how I can ever ever dig myself out. And the answer is seemingly I can't. My amount on my grad school loan went from 45 thou to about eighty...because why not. They just added ' expenses ' in trying to collect it. And I've tried in the past to work with them to get the minimum amount lowered to a reasonable sum, as I was working at best most times, part time minimum wage, without benefits, as those seem to be the only jobs left in America. 300 to 350 a month when you make about a thousand and still have to pay rent, utilities and buy gas...leaves you about three pennies, and you still need to eat. So I was out of work for a year and took a job in China, and had to borrow to pay the visa fees, the medical exam and the ticket...and the school took its sweet time reimbursing the teachers...but...two years, I come back home and I have very little to show for my work, as once again I somehow managed to find the lowest paid teaching position ever. [ But still a job and I was working, not having to depend on anyone, saving what I could, taking care of myself. ] I am also not rich enough to get a lawyer to proceed with bankruptcy stuff...ironic and so laughable. I went to grad school in the 90's, when there was hope and real promise in the air, and good jobs out there, so everyone said. And I believed with my entire being I would get a job, that good job, maybe not my dream job as a professor but something...something that would allow me to be independent and responsible for my, myself and I. And I've always paid my bills, this is what galls the hardest. I worked any job I could find and I paid my bills. I changed adult diapers, I scooped dog poop, I was even a psychic for an afternoon. And now it's like no matter how hard I work or don't work...it doesn't seem to make a dent. The interest piles up, the amounts keep changing, I am being scolded by strangers on my lack of financial character. And every day I think about ending it all because I can't see any end to this tunnel of filthy rating I've managed to build around myself. I'm afraid and anxious all the time, I isolate myself from everyone and I try try try to figure out what to do. I send off job applications, I try to write [ I got a playwriting degree, should have gone into meth dealing, ha ha. ] I just want some sort of end in sight. I'll never by a house or a car now, I know this with a grim certainty. I'll probably have to keep working abroad, if I can get more jobs that way or just, finally, and I think it's coming fairly soon, just give up. I have no assets to sell, I'm living again with my dad, I have nothing in reserve. I'm just lost and drowning in the dark. I don't have kids or a husband or anything like that...which is a blessing I guess. So many are so much worse off than I am. But there are so many of us...and I hear so many horror stories anymore. And then realize no one cares, no one. We're all just whispering and hoping somebody powerful listens. And they never do.

Ann  August 29, 2013  Oregon

I was told that there would be good jobs if you went to college. And my parents were poor, farmers, so I took out loans because that's what you did. With the expectation that you would pay them back. So here, years later, so in rating I feel utterly buried and already dead, I am wondering what I could have done differently...and wondering how I can ever ever dig myself out. And the answer is seemingly I can't. My amount on my grad school loan went from 45 thou to about eighty...because why not. They just added ' expenses ' in trying to collect it. And I've tried in the past to work with them to get the minimum amount lowered to a reasonable sum, as I was working at best most times, part time minimum wage, without benefits, as those seem to be the only jobs left in America. 300 to 350 a month when you make about a thousand and still have to pay rent, utilities and buy gas...leaves you about three pennies, and you still need to eat. So I was out of work for a year and took a job in China, and had to borrow to pay the visa fees, the medical exam and the ticket...and the school took its sweet time reimbursing the teachers...but...two years, I come back home and I have very little to show for my work, as once again I somehow managed to find the lowest paid teaching position ever. [ But still a job and I was working, not having to depend on anyone, saving what I could, taking care of myself. ] I am also not rich enough to get a lawyer to proceed with bankruptcy stuff...ironic and so laughable. I went to grad school in the 90's, when there was hope and real promise in the air, and good jobs out there, so everyone said. And I believed with my entire being I would get a job, that good job, maybe not my dream job as a professor but something...something that would allow me to be independent and responsible for my,

...more
Ann  August 29, 2013  Oregon

I am also trapped in the never ending saga of student loan rating. I borrowed a total of $7,500 over a three year period from 1981-1984. I now get statements from US Dept of ED stating I owe over $30,000.00. I have paid back nearly $13,000 either through payments on my own, garnishment(1 time) or IRS refund offsets. No collection agency can provide proof of payment. No one will work with me. Over the years I have been treated like a criminal when all I want to do is get resolve or have my rating forgiven. I don't even try anymore working with collections agencies because they are all a bunch of blood-sucking, inconsiderate plebian employees. Some don't even understand the use of the English language. I have searched for legal assistance and one lawyer said "I can definitely get this resolved for you." 6 months after the fact I was out $600 and still owing a supposed $30K. I will go to my grave owing this money if something doesn't take place to help those out have made and honest attempt to re-pay. The collection agency could give a damn. I would like to know if anyone knows a good attorney who can practice in the state of Florida.

Anonymous  August 29, 2013

I am also trapped in the never ending saga of student loan rating. I borrowed a total of $7,500 over a three year period from 1981-1984. I now get statements from US Dept of ED stating I owe over $30,000.00. I have paid back nearly $13,000 either through payments on my own, garnishment(1 time) or IRS refund offsets. No collection agency can provide proof of payment. No one will work with me. Over the years I have been treated like a criminal when all I want to do is get resolve or have my rating forgiven. I don't even try anymore working with collections agencies because they are all a bunch of blood-sucking, inconsiderate plebian employees. Some don't even understand the use of the English language. I have searched for legal assistance and one lawyer said "I can definitely get this resolved for you." 6 months after the fact I was out $600 and still owing a supposed $30K. I will go to my grave owing this money if something doesn't take place to help those out have made and honest attempt to re-pay. The collection agency could give a damn. I would like to know if anyone knows a good attorney who can practice in the state of Florida.

Anonymous  August 29, 2013

I am at the end of my rope. I went to undergrad and grad school, took out loans with the expectation that I would get a good-paying job and be able to pay them back. That was during the 1990's when the economy was strong and hope was high. And then...it got hard to find any job, I began using credit cards [ always a mistake, I knew this and did it anyway, hoping I could waylay the consequences via a better job, a better job, a better job someday. ] I moved around, I had friends help me out, I did everything I could to remain employed and be able to pay my bills...until I just couldn't. I had to keep moving back home for periods of time, and oh boy, nearly just cut my wrists when it got truly heinous and unbearable and I felt like a worthless sack of dead puppies. I did everything wrong, I won't blame anyone but me for that. I didn't ask for help, I didn't tell my family how bad it was. I just tried to keep going and not be a giant burden to anyone. My grad loans were in the thirty five thou range, and with interest, started creeping and creeping up. I dutifully filled out the economic hardship paperwork, and then honestly wondered, when will I be able to pay this back? I tried asking them to lower my minimum payments-- they were at three to four hundred. And it wasn't even an option. And then after over a year being unemployed, I got hired to go teach in China...and I had to borrow money for that but it was a job. So I come back, after two years trying to save what I could on a tiny salary...and my student loan is now in the eighty thou range, they are threatening me with this, that and the other...and I feel so worthless, stupid, and so guilty for spending a dollar on shampoo that every day I think about just ending it all. I can't afford a bankruptcy, either, which doesn't help with student loans, but I am just staring at a giant wall of what now. How did it get to this? I work, when I can find a job no matter what it is...I mean like changing adult diapers and cleaning up dog poop part-time for minimum wage. And I can't seem to get out from under this financial mess. I am so out of hope and just trying to get through another day without just ending it for good. I can't go to my dad or brother for any more money help, not this. They already despise me. I despise me heartily, thoroughly and completely. I just fret that if I do kill myself my ratings will transfer to my family's heads...so I try to keep going, keep looking for a job, keep to myself and not whine and cry to anyone about this whole can't pay my ratings problem. There is no future for me. And there is no hope. I won't ever be rating free or free to start over. I can only sit in this darkness and perhaps make it through another day. And I know how weak that sounds...which is why I don't share this with anyone. Because I should be stronger and better than this, I should just be able to fix this all with a big warm laugh and a full checking account...but not even my imagination can stretch to that pipe dream right now.

Ann  August 28, 2013  Oregon

I am at the end of my rope. I went to undergrad and grad school, took out loans with the expectation that I would get a good-paying job and be able to pay them back. That was during the 1990's when the economy was strong and hope was high. And then...it got hard to find any job, I began using credit cards [ always a mistake, I knew this and did it anyway, hoping I could waylay the consequences via a better job, a better job, a better job someday. ] I moved around, I had friends help me out, I did everything I could to remain employed and be able to pay my bills...until I just couldn't. I had to keep moving back home for periods of time, and oh boy, nearly just cut my wrists when it got truly heinous and unbearable and I felt like a worthless sack of dead puppies. I did everything wrong, I won't blame anyone but me for that. I didn't ask for help, I didn't tell my family how bad it was. I just tried to keep going and not be a giant burden to anyone. My grad loans were in the thirty five thou range, and with interest, started creeping and creeping up. I dutifully filled out the economic hardship paperwork, and then honestly wondered, when will I be able to pay this back? I tried asking them to lower my minimum payments-- they were at three to four hundred. And it wasn't even an option. And then after over a year being unemployed, I got hired to go teach in China...and I had to borrow money for that but it was a job. So I come back, after two years trying to save what I could on a tiny salary...and my student loan is now in the eighty thou range, they are threatening me with this, that and the other...and I feel so worthless, stupid, and so guilty for spending a dollar on shampoo that every day I think about just ending it all. I can't afford a bankruptcy, either,

...more
Ann  August 28, 2013  Oregon

In 1993, my father lost his job while I was junior in college. I took student loans in order to stay in college and to keep my student job which was the only income for my family. Due to the job market conditions at the time I graduated, I decided to stay in school to complete my master's degree and continue with the student employment I had at the time. I graduated from college with about $46,000 in student loans. For the first five years after graduating, I qualified for deferments because of my low paying job (though I still made some payments). I currently owe approximately $72,000 in student loans. Even though I currently make on-time payments, only a very small portion goes to my principal. It appears I will always be making payments on these loans unless something is done to fix this situation.

Karen  August 25, 2013  Maryland

In 1993, my father lost his job while I was junior in college. I took student loans in order to stay in college and to keep my student job which was the only income for my family. Due to the job market conditions at the time I graduated, I decided to stay in school to complete my master's degree and continue with the student employment I had at the time. I graduated from college with about $46,000 in student loans. For the first five years after graduating, I qualified for deferments because of my low paying job (though I still made some payments). I currently owe approximately $72,000 in student loans. Even though I currently make on-time payments, only a very small portion goes to my principal. It appears I will always be making payments on these loans unless something is done to fix this situation.

Karen  August 25, 2013  Maryland

I started at a university in California in 1988. My first quarter was $254 for 12 credits. I worked as a waitress 20 - 30 hours a week, rented an apartment with some other female students. It was great. By the time I graduated the tuition doubled, but it was still affordable. Now I am back in school getting my Master's to become an acupuncturist. The program is $55,000. Luckily, i am having help with tuition and no longer need student loans. Unfortunately, i have already accrued $60,000 worth of rating.

There are two things that bother me the most. One is how the admissions people of the school portray this relaxed attitude toward student loans. I remember my first class and the teacher warned the class that we will all have second jobs not as acupuncturists. We were all mislead by the administration that the opportunities will be abundant for us. It was all a lie. I should have dropped out then and there. We all should have. It is hard to watch new students come into the program or listen to others who may run out of loan aid.

The second point I want to make is the lack of quality in the school. For example, some of the classes I have taken are so useless and it is so obvious it is just a money maker for the school. I've taken so many classes where the information is constantly repeated from previous classes. I had to take a series of practice management classes that was so useless to me. It just seems to get worse where every class seems to be a repetition of a previous course or just BS to pad the program to make the students pay, pay, pay.

I also have a third point....not only as students to we have to endure taking all these classes, but we also have to pass board exams. Board exams are not cheap. It will cost me almost $2,000 to take my national boards and another $1500 to take my California boards. Student loans also cover these costs because how else would students pay for these. My advice to anyone would be not to go to college.

Anonymous  August 24, 2013

I started at a university in California in 1988. My first quarter was $254 for 12 credits. I worked as a waitress 20 - 30 hours a week, rented an apartment with some other female students. It was great. By the time I graduated the tuition doubled, but it was still affordable. Now I am back in school getting my Master's to become an acupuncturist. The program is $55,000. Luckily, i am having help with tuition and no longer need student loans. Unfortunately, i have already accrued $60,000 worth of rating.

There are two things that bother me the most. One is how the admissions people of the school portray this relaxed attitude toward student loans. I remember my first class and the teacher warned the class that we will all have second jobs not as acupuncturists. We were all mislead by the administration that the opportunities will be abundant for us. It was all a lie. I should have dropped out then and there. We all should have. It is hard to watch new students come into the program or listen to others who may run out of loan aid.

The second point I want to make is the lack of quality in the school. For example, some of the classes I have taken are so useless and it is so obvious it is just a money maker for the school. I've taken so many classes where the information is constantly repeated from previous classes. I had to take a series of practice management classes that was so useless to me. It just seems to get worse where every class seems to be a repetition of a previous course or just BS to pad the program to make the students pay, pay, pay.

I also have a third point....not only as students to we have to endure taking all these classes, but we also have to pass board exams. Board exams are not cheap. It will cost me almost $2,000 to take my national boards and another $1500 to take my California boards.

...more
Anonymous  August 24, 2013

I owe over $100,000 on my student rating. When I consolidated my loan the interest rate was at 8%. My interest rate is a mere 7.35%. I am now able to pay the minimum amount which keeps the rating from growing since the interest (capitalized interest - what does that mean anyways) keeps building. The only option is to make more money - which I finally might be able to do or I was told by the vendor (Great Lakes) take out a personal loan.

I don't have a problem paying off my rating BUT when the rules/guidelines with all of the options back in the days of pre-internet were not clear or communicated to me OR when the large banks such as Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo can receive a 0.00% - .25% on their loans and every other American can RE- consolidate their rating to a 3-4% interest rate but I can't. I now conclude that this is the same as what the housing industry/Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac did to the millions of people being approved for no-doc loans. I conclude that student loans are a middle class problem while the upper class has the ability to pay of their loans and Congress is willing not to do anything - WHY because 30 Congressmen/women are multi-millionaires and are out of touch with reality. They want welfare for them and loan forgiveness for their special interest financial instituitions but not for the middle class. Anyways, it is the uneducated people who vote Republican (look at the south) while Democrats are more highly educated. Let's dummy down the majority of Americans, make it unaffordable to get a decent education and then we can control the laws in favor of the wealthy!

I DEMAND that I receive the same or a bit higher FIXED interest rate just like the banks, stop the capitalized interest and allow me to pay back my loan- not the interest that is crushing me to retire and live a decent and productive life.

anonymous  August 24, 2013  colorado

I owe over $100,000 on my student rating. When I consolidated my loan the interest rate was at 8%. My interest rate is a mere 7.35%. I am now able to pay the minimum amount which keeps the rating from growing since the interest (capitalized interest - what does that mean anyways) keeps building. The only option is to make more money - which I finally might be able to do or I was told by the vendor (Great Lakes) take out a personal loan.

I don't have a problem paying off my rating BUT when the rules/guidelines with all of the options back in the days of pre-internet were not clear or communicated to me OR when the large banks such as Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo can receive a 0.00% - .25% on their loans and every other American can RE- consolidate their rating to a 3-4% interest rate but I can't. I now conclude that this is the same as what the housing industry/Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac did to the millions of people being approved for no-doc loans. I conclude that student loans are a middle class problem while the upper class has the ability to pay of their loans and Congress is willing not to do anything - WHY because 30 Congressmen/women are multi-millionaires and are out of touch with reality. They want welfare for them and loan forgiveness for their special interest financial instituitions but not for the middle class. Anyways, it is the uneducated people who vote Republican (look at the south) while Democrats are more highly educated. Let's dummy down the majority of Americans, make it unaffordable to get a decent education and then we can control the laws in favor of the wealthy!

I DEMAND that I receive the same or a bit higher FIXED interest rate just like the banks, stop the capitalized interest and allow me to pay back my loan- not the interest that is crushing me to retire and live a decent and productive life.

anonymous  August 24, 2013  colorado

Statement of Experience: Provided to the ABA's Access to Justice for middle class, (as part of presentation). Provided to the new CFPB.

Co-founders of Citizens for an Educated and Democratic Republic

Student Loan rating v. Fair and Equal Treatment Under the Law
A Contradiction in Terms, violating "equal treatment under the law," and violating "contradiction of law."

Peter J. O’Lalor,Ph.D.
Paula M. McKibbin, Esq.

McKibbin, Paula:

I recently took mandatory furlough time from my job as a public defender and wrote this bill with a man in New England. We had something in common – student loan rating relief that has been plaguing us for years. My rating is 18 years old. With daily cumulative interest rates and times when I’ve barely been able
to make it, the rating has increased exponentially. Two years ago I got smart. I was paying $686/month on my student loan rating. They told me that I owed $100,000 at that point, despite the fact that I had paid tens of thousands. The rating balance was more than what I had started with when I went to law school.

So I paid the monthly payments and at the end of the year asked them what I owed. They told me that it was $112,000 ($12,000 more). So, I asked them how I would ever pay off the rating. They refused to
explain this to me. I stopped making payments. About five months ago, they started garnishing my wages at the county – with no notice or right to a hearing. I received a paper from payroll when

I did some investigation that indicated I now owed $160,000+.
We never got the loan forgiveness program (as promised in my job). It was funded by the California legislature for people who work in public interest jobs, but it stopped (again) in the appropriations (funding, committee. That would have wiped out up to $10,000/year on my rating for every year I worked. My office used that as a lure to hire many of us with this problem, but has not done anything to advocate for us now.

Many are getting their wages garnished like me. I am 53 and a single mom with three young teens. We live very frugally. I had gotten into a home about eight years ago. It was not a good mortgage, but they promised that they would give me a fixed-rate mortgage (inside of the interest-only one I got) if I made by payments. I did and went back to the mortgage lender several times to find out when I would get the fixed rate mortgage. I had hoped that I would build up enough equity in the home to be able to pay off a large part of my student rating (finally), but that was not what happened. The economy went sour, and my home ended up with a negative equity to the tune of $50,000 less than the interest-only mortgage. Not only was the mortgage company unwilling to work with me, but I left the home about two months ago. My children are separated from me temporarily, our dogs are with ex-neighbors. The home is empty, but they got me out by telling me that it was going to be sold. We had eight days to move.

Over the years, I have been unemployed at times, living paycheck to paycheck. Even when I graduated from school, I couldn’t find work as a lawyer anywhere. We had two employers interview the entire graduating class. Nobody was hiring. We moved and spent thousands of dollars trying to find a job in the field, to no avail. Then I had children later in life and had to worry about childcare. I have no family around me to help out. My ex-husband and I divorced. It has been very difficult.

We are asking that everyone see this bill, share it with as many people as they can and everyone inform their legislators that we would like them to sponsor this bill. We are going to persevere until we get results. We have nothing to lose. The student loan creditors refuse to work with anyone. They will give forbearance, but the interest continues to accumulate. They will not work out any deals. Even the IRS will do that! They will only discharge rating if someone dies or is so gravely disabled that they have no
chance of ever working again. The co-author of this bill is on disability, and they are garnishing his disability checks. Some people have committed suicide and checked out of society because of this form of involuntary servitude. Is it any wonder that the student loan creditors are making multi-millions every year? Is it any wonder that no legislator has yet been willing to sponsor us, when it’s a known fact that the creditors are making substantial donations to their campaigns?

Thanks to ex-President Bush, we have no bankruptcy rights and protections, no consumer protection, etc. We are asking for these rights to be reinstated. We are also asking for an expansion of student loan forgiveness programs (public and private) with tax incentives. Finally, we are asking for 2% flat rate interest on student loans.

Please help us by spreading the word and letting people know that they can get additional copies of the bill, PRESENTED BY CEDR FOR LEGISLATIVE SPONSORSHIP, by going to cedresq@gmail.com.
Thank you,
Paula McKibbin, Esq.
mckibbinpaula@yahoo.com

O'Lalor, Peter
After graduating college in 1992 with honors and being accepted to Harvard, I began my summer
working at a MH facility. Two months later I was incapacitated with a spinal injury which happened at work.
I took a patient out of harms way and the people who I found abusing her, got me instead. I received a
forearm laterally to the base of my neck when I was facing the patient. More than 50% of my body was in
excruciating pain, with constant involuntary movements from my face to my toes. The muscles retracted to
the point where I thought my bones were going to break. I was soon homeless, and receiving no treatment
but finally won my worker's compensation case, got a pittance of compensation and acupuncture 3 times
a week for 6 months. It is because of acupuncture I am not crippled.

I crawled my way back from excruciating pain, disability, and homelessness five years later. I got into
law school and because I had defaulted they would not reinstate my loans. In no uncertain terms I was
told "you should have had someone call us." The pain was unbearable, being homeless, and taking my
own life was a choice everyday I had to say no to. I could not continue law school. I've never recovered,
every day is surviving when I could have been a contributing member of society and its economy.
For the first time in a decade I got a bill from the DOE stating my principal balance of $17,467.35 and
an accrued interest of $13,390.89. They show a payment of $184 towards a balance now of $31,390.89! It
is now @ 38,000 with one agency.

Every year they take my tax refund. For example: 2007 and 6 my AGI was $8,000 and my refund was
over $900. The DOE confiscates it. This year's Economic stimulus - on top of my refund - was
confiscated. ONE PAYMENT OF $184? This has been going on for ten years. Where has the money
gone? I've paid thousands of dollars!

Citizens (student loan ratingors) are guaranteed by the federal Constitution of fair and equal treatment
under the law. Because student loan ratingors have had the right of bankruptcy denied them there exists a
practice and pattern of discrimination.

Presently, as stressors, injury and sickness, assail me, I am on disability and my $17,000.oo loan is now over $90,000.oo THROUGH NO FAULT OF MY OWN, LIKE SO MANY OTHERS.
Peter O’Lalor
cedresq@gmail.com

Peter O'Lalor, Ph.D.  August 23, 2013  Boston, MA

Statement of Experience: Provided to the ABA's Access to Justice for middle class, (as part of presentation). Provided to the new CFPB.

Co-founders of Citizens for an Educated and Democratic Republic

Student Loan rating v. Fair and Equal Treatment Under the Law
A Contradiction in Terms, violating "equal treatment under the law," and violating "contradiction of law."

Peter J. O’Lalor,Ph.D.
Paula M. McKibbin, Esq.

McKibbin, Paula:

I recently took mandatory furlough time from my job as a public defender and wrote this bill with a man in New England. We had something in common – student loan rating relief that has been plaguing us for years. My rating is 18 years old. With daily cumulative interest rates and times when I’ve barely been able
to make it, the rating has increased exponentially. Two years ago I got smart. I was paying $686/month on my student loan rating. They told me that I owed $100,000 at that point, despite the fact that I had paid tens of thousands. The rating balance was more than what I had started with when I went to law school.

So I paid the monthly payments and at the end of the year asked them what I owed. They told me that it was $112,000 ($12,000 more). So, I asked them how I would ever pay off the rating. They refused to
explain this to me. I stopped making payments. About five months ago, they started garnishing my wages at the county – with no notice or right to a hearing. I received a paper from payroll when

I did some investigation that indicated I now owed $160,000+.
We never got the loan forgiveness program (as promised in my job). It was funded by the California legislature for people who work in public interest jobs, but it stopped (again) in the appropriations (funding, committee. That would have wiped out up to $10,000/year on my rating for every year I worked. My office used that as a lure to hire many of us with this problem,

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Peter O'Lalor, Ph.D.  August 23, 2013  Boston, MA

I am now 29, married, and have 2 beautiful boys. When I went to college I was, and still to this day, am a first-generation college student and graduate. We all have stories of struggle in childhood and growing up, so I'll get to the point. I knew I wanted to go to college. Right of of college, I had a full-time job with benefits- so lucky! This was in 2006 with a BA. After some time, I decided to go back to college for a career change and earn my M.Ed. Working full-time and with a young son, I earned my M.Ed. in 18 months. My whole college career was paid for by student loans- I am in over $100,000 of student loan rating! I have a home, a family, and years after earning and working so hard for my education and career, I am still making less than $30,000 a year. I can't afford to pay my loans and have deferred them in any way I can. What's crazy too, is that the rating I have incurred for myself is somehow now my husband's burden to carry as well? Why is it fair that my payments be calculated on both of our incomes? How am I supposed to live the "American Dream" with this much rating- I have experience, education, but not the money to pay back my rating? It's sickening to know I am a slave to this rating...and so many more are too and will be. It's a mess and a trap...I will NEVER be able to pay back my rating, and should I not, my whole family and life will suffer. We are suffering now. I got paid today and my check is already gone- how will I buy clothes for my boys? School supplies? Take them on vacations? I don't know...

CK  August 23, 2013  Ohio

I am now 29, married, and have 2 beautiful boys. When I went to college I was, and still to this day, am a first-generation college student and graduate. We all have stories of struggle in childhood and growing up, so I'll get to the point. I knew I wanted to go to college. Right of of college, I had a full-time job with benefits- so lucky! This was in 2006 with a BA. After some time, I decided to go back to college for a career change and earn my M.Ed. Working full-time and with a young son, I earned my M.Ed. in 18 months. My whole college career was paid for by student loans- I am in over $100,000 of student loan rating! I have a home, a family, and years after earning and working so hard for my education and career, I am still making less than $30,000 a year. I can't afford to pay my loans and have deferred them in any way I can. What's crazy too, is that the rating I have incurred for myself is somehow now my husband's burden to carry as well? Why is it fair that my payments be calculated on both of our incomes? How am I supposed to live the "American Dream" with this much rating- I have experience, education, but not the money to pay back my rating? It's sickening to know I am a slave to this rating...and so many more are too and will be. It's a mess and a trap...I will NEVER be able to pay back my rating, and should I not, my whole family and life will suffer. We are suffering now. I got paid today and my check is already gone- how will I buy clothes for my boys? School supplies? Take them on vacations? I don't know...

CK  August 23, 2013  Ohio

Ahhhh the dream of going to College and chasing your dreams... It's wonderful isn't it? Yeah right, what a load of crap. I had a dream, still have a dream despite the massive rating hanging over my head. I have always wanted to be a writer. More than anything else in the world. It's my passion, my muse, my life's work. So, I decided to chase that dream and go to college. I figured, I'll get a Bachelors degree and then I'll move to LA, get a part time job so I can focus on my writing and eventually, I'll get noticed by someone. Sounds like a lot of dreams out there doesn't it? Well, I started going to school, and I loved it. It was such an amazing experience. I learned so much. I kept a 3.5 GPA OR higher the entire time I was there. Then Senior year came. The promise of everything I had ever wanted was so close that I could taste it. I was ecstatic. Every assignment I had, I put every ounce of myself into it. School consumed my life and I took pride in my work. One day I got a call from my Financial Aid advisor, she tells me that there is a slight hick up in my finances. Apparently, I "ran out of financial aid" and in order to finish my senior year I would need to pay the last 15 thousand dollars, either out of pocket, or with private student loans. I told the woman, "I have no credit, I wont get approved for loans." She suggested that I get a job to pay for it. I told her that I already had a job and I needed my money to live. Two weeks later I was kicked out of school. I'm only a semester away from getting my Bachelors degree and I have no way to finish. I've applied for private loans, but with over 70 grand in rating from federal student loans already, none of them will touch it. I've had to file bankruptcy, and I lost my car. Now, I have almost 80 thousand dollars in student loan rating with not a single thing to show for it. Because I owe the school money now, they wont release my credits so its not as if I can go somewhere else to finish my degree. So now, I'll never have the credit to finance a home, or a car, or anything. I don't even have a degree to show for my troubles. Ill be stuck with this rating my entire life, it will never get paid off and I'll be forced to barely survive because if I don't pay them off willingly they will just take my money from me, for nothing. I have nothing to show for this. The Government wonders why our economy is so bad, take a good luck America, I'm a shining example. College didn't help me achieve by dreams. It ruined my life.

Otis Carlisle  August 22, 2013  Memphis, tn.

Ahhhh the dream of going to College and chasing your dreams... It's wonderful isn't it? Yeah right, what a load of crap. I had a dream, still have a dream despite the massive rating hanging over my head. I have always wanted to be a writer. More than anything else in the world. It's my passion, my muse, my life's work. So, I decided to chase that dream and go to college. I figured, I'll get a Bachelors degree and then I'll move to LA, get a part time job so I can focus on my writing and eventually, I'll get noticed by someone. Sounds like a lot of dreams out there doesn't it? Well, I started going to school, and I loved it. It was such an amazing experience. I learned so much. I kept a 3.5 GPA OR higher the entire time I was there. Then Senior year came. The promise of everything I had ever wanted was so close that I could taste it. I was ecstatic. Every assignment I had, I put every ounce of myself into it. School consumed my life and I took pride in my work. One day I got a call from my Financial Aid advisor, she tells me that there is a slight hick up in my finances. Apparently, I "ran out of financial aid" and in order to finish my senior year I would need to pay the last 15 thousand dollars, either out of pocket, or with private student loans. I told the woman, "I have no credit, I wont get approved for loans." She suggested that I get a job to pay for it. I told her that I already had a job and I needed my money to live. Two weeks later I was kicked out of school. I'm only a semester away from getting my Bachelors degree and I have no way to finish. I've applied for private loans, but with over 70 grand in rating from federal student loans already, none of them will touch it. I've had to file bankruptcy, and I lost my car.

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Otis Carlisle  August 22, 2013  Memphis, tn.

I am 26 years old. I work as a composition instructor at a well-respected state university. I earn less than $30,000 a year. I am $83,000 in rating.

The oft-recited argument I hear in response to stories like mine is this: You knowingly signed up for that much rating. You made your bed-- now you have to lie in it.

But I feel like it's time for all of us to re-examine the "knowingly" part of this argument. Most of my rating was accrued as an undergraduate. For my first year of college, I received several scholarships. I paid a total of $7000 that year with $2624 taken out in loans. To my family's surprise, late in the summer before my sophomore year we received a bill of $11000 for the fall semester. We thought that this must surely be a mistake. We called the Bursar's office to be sure. Apparently the "scholarship" I received was only for my first year, a detail that my financial adviser had failed to mention to us. In retrospect, I should have withdrawn my enrollment then and there. However, after a year of school, the decision was too wrought with sentiment. I'd fallen in love with the place. I made it through my freshman year with all A's, several close friends, and lots of great memories. It was too late in the summer to transfer to another school. So rather than file a complaint, my family and I rationalized. We chalked it up to our mistake, and I signed up for $15774 in loans. The next year tuition was hiked up $3000. I took out $16530. It hiked up $5000 my senior year. I took out $19500.

When I started out as a freshman, I certainly did not intend to take out $15,000 per year. But a combination of some unethical business practices on the part of the college and spikes in tuition landed me nearly $60,000 in the hole. I, like many of my peers, took the online loan counseling modules before taking out loans my freshman year (which, by the way, a monkey could pass because they all but highlight the answers in red). I "knew" what I was getting myself into, but I didn't understand. In the words of a college student interviewed for a recent npr article:

"College students aren't the most financially literate people. They see a bill, and they just think about how they're going to pay it, and it's something that they can kind of slip under the table and not necessarily face the consequences right away. It's just something that they can kind of kick down the road."

Here's a list of some of my top concerns as a nineteen year old signing up for $15,000 dollars in rating my sophomore year: whether I would have to sign up for an 8:00 A.M. class, whether I would make all A's that year, whether I would be eligible to become a tutor in the writing center, whether I would finally get a boyfriend, whether the zit on my cheek would go away, whether I would be able to buy the $60 dress from Benetton before homecoming...

Get the picture? I was no where even close to the realm of having the emotional maturity to make the decision to go into $15,000 dollars in rating, and neither are most 18 year olds. You doubt? Go outside. Right now. Go outside and hunt down a couple of the skinny-jeans wearing / polo-shirt clad hipster freshman that are heading for college this year. Ask them what interest rates are. Give them a calculator and ask them to apply a 6.8% rate to a $7,000 loan over the course of ten years. Hell, ask them how credit cards work. You might be surprised (confession: at 19, I had zero clue what the difference was between a credit card and a debit card).

This kids ARE NOT knowingly signing up for rating. Most have them have never had to pay a bill. Many of them have never held a job. They are in no way emotionally or intellectually prepared to make that decision. Yet, every year, thousands of kids across the country do. And their cosigning parents give their stamp of approval because they are still under the impression that a "good education" and solid employment prospects equal time and money spent on a four-year college. It most certainly does not.

The story of how I got myself into 27,000 more dollars of rating by going to graduate school reeks of similar ignorance on my part and misinformation/willful blindness on the part of the administration. But that's for another day. For now, I'll just say this-- I wouldn't be in my current state of meager employment if I had not earned my master's degree.

I don't know if I will ever be able to crawl out of the whole I've dug myself in. I am a young, single woman living on one income. The likelihood that I'll ever be part of a two-income family is slim because I work all the time and have zero money to invest in a social life (restaurants and cocktails? I can't even begin to describe how I can't afford that...).

Here's what I can do-- I can try to educate the next generation of college students to make smarter choices. In my composition classroom, I have students read and analyze articles on the student rating crisis. I ask them to reflect, in writing, what their goals are for getting the most out of the investment they're making in their educations. I urge them to make an appointment with career services to figure out the average annual income of their intended profession. I ask them to consider the likelihood that they might pursue a different profession in the future. In short, I try my best to make sure these kids don't just know but UNDERSTAND what they're getting themselves into every time they sign a loan document.

I'm wearily optimistic that all of my efforts will actually amount to anything. What these kids really needed was a good practical economics class in their junior year of high school. But I'm desperate to devote my time to something other that worrying about how I'm going to survive.. well... the rest of my life. If I think about it too hard, I get depressed. If I'm not careful, I find myself flirting with possibilities for "opting out." In the end, I could never do that to my family, but it's hard not to look into the future and see nothing but stress and penny-pinching and loneliness and despair.

I don't want that life more my students. They deserve better than that. And I'm going to work my hardest to help them get it.

Seville  August 17, 2013  Baton Rouge, LA

I am 26 years old. I work as a composition instructor at a well-respected state university. I earn less than $30,000 a year. I am $83,000 in rating.

The oft-recited argument I hear in response to stories like mine is this: You knowingly signed up for that much rating. You made your bed-- now you have to lie in it.

But I feel like it's time for all of us to re-examine the "knowingly" part of this argument. Most of my rating was accrued as an undergraduate. For my first year of college, I received several scholarships. I paid a total of $7000 that year with $2624 taken out in loans. To my family's surprise, late in the summer before my sophomore year we received a bill of $11000 for the fall semester. We thought that this must surely be a mistake. We called the Bursar's office to be sure. Apparently the "scholarship" I received was only for my first year, a detail that my financial adviser had failed to mention to us. In retrospect, I should have withdrawn my enrollment then and there. However, after a year of school, the decision was too wrought with sentiment. I'd fallen in love with the place. I made it through my freshman year with all A's, several close friends, and lots of great memories. It was too late in the summer to transfer to another school. So rather than file a complaint, my family and I rationalized. We chalked it up to our mistake, and I signed up for $15774 in loans. The next year tuition was hiked up $3000. I took out $16530. It hiked up $5000 my senior year. I took out $19500.

When I started out as a freshman, I certainly did not intend to take out $15,000 per year. But a combination of some unethical business practices on the part of the college and spikes in tuition landed me nearly $60,000 in the hole. I, like many of my peers, took the online loan counseling modules before taking out loans my freshman year (which,

...more
Seville  August 17, 2013  Baton Rouge, LA

Hi My name is Lauren (Hi Lauren) and I am a slave to society.

The wonderful life of high school (oh how I wish I could go back) No rating, no bills, no real responsibilities. The only responsibilities we encounter are making sure we are getting good grades for college, start thinking about what college you want to go to. At least I was smart enough to go to a community college for my general education and after two years I transferred to a 4 year. Once I transferred I declared my major (what a commitment that was) as a Kinesiology with an emphasis in teaching. My friends made teaching appealing for all the wrong reasons holiday breaks and getting paid to have summers. off. Sure why not sign up , so I graduated in 2008 with my degree and next step was the teacher credential program. The only way to afford it was student loans, well being under the age of 25 they looked at my parents income and decided they made too much , So I had to go with a private loan . Not looking at my statement for few years just treating it like another bill paying the minimum of 275.15 a month and hoping one day it will disappear before I do. One day I looked at the statement and realized of that 275.15 about 190 dollars was getting paid towards the interest and only about 80 was getting paid towards the principal. Over 6 years of paying the minimum I paid over 13000 dollars but only 2500 went towards the principal. Not only that people are always telling me to look at the light, I have a college degree. Yes that is all fine and dandy but in the economic state we are in , people with Masters and P.H.D. are stuck working at low paid part time jobs. In a sense college is over rated these days, That little paper cost me over 20,000 and now I am working two part time jobs , living at home and paying bills.

Thank you for reading
Lauren

Lauren  August 16, 2013

Hi My name is Lauren (Hi Lauren) and I am a slave to society.

The wonderful life of high school (oh how I wish I could go back) No rating, no bills, no real responsibilities. The only responsibilities we encounter are making sure we are getting good grades for college, start thinking about what college you want to go to. At least I was smart enough to go to a community college for my general education and after two years I transferred to a 4 year. Once I transferred I declared my major (what a commitment that was) as a Kinesiology with an emphasis in teaching. My friends made teaching appealing for all the wrong reasons holiday breaks and getting paid to have summers. off. Sure why not sign up , so I graduated in 2008 with my degree and next step was the teacher credential program. The only way to afford it was student loans, well being under the age of 25 they looked at my parents income and decided they made too much , So I had to go with a private loan . Not looking at my statement for few years just treating it like another bill paying the minimum of 275.15 a month and hoping one day it will disappear before I do. One day I looked at the statement and realized of that 275.15 about 190 dollars was getting paid towards the interest and only about 80 was getting paid towards the principal. Over 6 years of paying the minimum I paid over 13000 dollars but only 2500 went towards the principal. Not only that people are always telling me to look at the light, I have a college degree. Yes that is all fine and dandy but in the economic state we are in , people with Masters and P.H.D. are stuck working at low paid part time jobs. In a sense college is over rated these days, That little paper cost me over 20,000 and now I am working two part time jobs , living at home and paying bills.

Thank you for reading
Lauren

Lauren  August 16, 2013

I consider myself a success story for our generation. I am 32, a physical therapist, and I still owe $150,000. I have been out of school for 6 years and make almost $75k/year. I can't make any less than that because my student loan payments are over $1200 a month. Why am I a success story? I actually was able to buy a house with my wife! (with the majority of the 20% down payment coming from family, of course) My father did the math. After school, in order to save for a down payment, my wife and I with our student loan payments, and assuming a 3% increase in pay every year (if we are lucky), and being absolutely perfect with saving (assuming no emergencies, no kids, no nothing) we wouldn't have the down payment until WE WERE 45!!!

Look around. How many 20-30 somethings do you know that actually own a house???? Why is all established families with kids in their early teens and old folks in these homes? Why are there still tons of houses on the market??? No body can afford to buy because so much income goes to paying off student loans. Next bubble here we come!!!

Anonymous  August 15, 2013

I consider myself a success story for our generation. I am 32, a physical therapist, and I still owe $150,000. I have been out of school for 6 years and make almost $75k/year. I can't make any less than that because my student loan payments are over $1200 a month. Why am I a success story? I actually was able to buy a house with my wife! (with the majority of the 20% down payment coming from family, of course) My father did the math. After school, in order to save for a down payment, my wife and I with our student loan payments, and assuming a 3% increase in pay every year (if we are lucky), and being absolutely perfect with saving (assuming no emergencies, no kids, no nothing) we wouldn't have the down payment until WE WERE 45!!!

Look around. How many 20-30 somethings do you know that actually own a house???? Why is all established families with kids in their early teens and old folks in these homes? Why are there still tons of houses on the market??? No body can afford to buy because so much income goes to paying off student loans. Next bubble here we come!!!

Anonymous  August 15, 2013

Hello. I am Elizabeth Linnan, and I am coming out about my student rating. I owe over $50,000.00, most due to the fact that interest has piled up.
I have been going job to job have income. I am a single Mother. I reside with my parents because I, financially, can not live on my own.
I have gone from forebearance to forebearance because I simply can NOT afford payments.
Moving from the area in which I live is not option due to financial reasons as well.
I feel stuck. And that I will always have something hanging over my head.

Elizabeth  August 14, 2013  Clarion, PA

Hello. I am Elizabeth Linnan, and I am coming out about my student rating. I owe over $50,000.00, most due to the fact that interest has piled up.
I have been going job to job have income. I am a single Mother. I reside with my parents because I, financially, can not live on my own.
I have gone from forebearance to forebearance because I simply can NOT afford payments.
Moving from the area in which I live is not option due to financial reasons as well.
I feel stuck. And that I will always have something hanging over my head.

Elizabeth  August 14, 2013  Clarion, PA

In the fifth grade my teacher, Mrs. Ramacier, picked me to teach a lesson on Minnesota history to the class. I remember it because it was the first time I actually thought about becoming a teacher. After the lesson I was pretty sure that’s what I wanted to do, if I didn’t become a movie star or professional athlete of course. As I grew up and realized professional sports were out of the question, and Hollywood wasn’t looking to promising either it just seemed natural to focus on becoming a teacher. I had it all figured out: go to college to get credentialed and then teach and coach at my alma mater. It seemed like a great plan. Step one: college.
For as long as I can remember my parents placed a premium on education. They, like so many others, saw it as the way to improve the family’s material reality that is to say education was the way we wouldn’t be broke anymore. To make sure we were properly prepared my parents put their money where their mouth is and sent me and my brothers to DeLaSalle high school. They sacrificed so much in order to pay that monthly tuition. I knew that education was important and that I needed to go to college, what I didn’t understand was just how vicious the economy of higher education truly was.
My parents assumed that De would prepare me for all aspects of college, including how to pay for it. What they didn’t know was that families like ours needed to be much more proactive about paying for college. DeLaSalle is not tailored for working class first generation college students: I graduated DeLaSalle without knowing what FAFSA was. I am sure the guidance office had this information, and I am not saying I shouldn’t have been more tuned in, I should have been, but the fact remains De was not worried about whether or not I could pay for college. This inattention combined with my desire to be a college athlete, and a culture that promoted four year universities left me diametrically opposed to anything but a four year school. So, I ended up at Hamline University playing ball and studying to become a teacher. As far as I knew everything was in order. I would have to take out loans but who didn’t?
When I told people I was going to Hamline nobody ever questioned it or how I would pay for it. Everybody congratulated me and was quick to tell me how good of a school it was. Everybody assumed I would take out loans, it was just a given. I was told student loan rating was the best kind of rating to have because it showed “you were serious about your future.” Nobody even took the time to explain the difference between federal and private loans. So, every semester I went to the financial aid office and got my package, nobody there explained the difference between federal and private loans or asked me what my career plan was to ensure I would ever be able to pay off the rating. As a result I graduated with 35k plus in private student loan rating while still being eligible for 25k worth of federal loans! It seems it was not as simple as just going to college and getting credentialed.
Today, my total student loan rating is over 135,000 dollars with over 70,000 of that coming from private student loans. Unlike federal loans there is no assistance with private loans, there is no consolidation, there is no income based repayment, nothing; they cannot even be discharged in bankruptcy. The only option the company that owns my private student loans, SLFC, offered was for me to pay 250$ a month for two years. However, this wouldn’t even cover the interest that accumulates and the remainder would be capitalized quarterly. To make matters worse after those two years I would then have to pay the regularly scheduled amount which would be higher in order to adjust for the capitalized interest. For several months I participated in this program only to see my principal balance continue to grow; when I approached SLFC to try and work something out they told me my only option was to pay close to 700$ a month. It just didn’t make sense to continue paying money to watch my rating grow. Something is wrong with this.
While student loans have been a part of the national dialogue it has, inexplicably, been limited to federal student loan interest rates. Fundamentally we need to begin to shift the conversation. As a country we can no longer tolerate capitalisms insatiable thirst for commodity, education must be off limits! As an adult, I look back at my journey to this insurmountable rating and see I was destined for this from the jump. Higher education provides the perfect environment for capitalists to squeeze out profit. As manufacturing jobs fled this country, due to offshoring, higher education became even more crucial than it was. Millions of young people, due to America’s deindustrialization, began being funneled to colleges and Universities as the BA became the new high school diploma. Banks seized on this rush, taking full advantage of the increased market, and commodified access to the education. Now, higher ed is among the biggest of big business. Skyrocketing tuition combined with reduced funding has left millions in need of financing their education through private banks. Of course, this will disproportionately affect working class and poor families because, like my family, we don’t know the game and are so desperate to change the economic circumstances of our families that we will do anything to get where we need to go. A college education is often times the only legal route presented to us. So, we gladly play the student loan game and pray that the “investment” pays off. Sadly, for a lot of us it won’t. Today, I owe roughly 100% more than I took out in loans. Yup, that’s right, I owe double! It is true that I will make more money than my parents, and I will make more money than I would have if I had not gone to college, but I will also owe considerably more! This money will not go to building the wealth of my family, it will not go to improving our quality of life, no, it will go to the 1%. It will go to the banks that never have to wonder if student loans will pay off for them, these loans are fully guaranteed by the government; no matter what I do SLFC will get its money, they take no risk! They are making profit from the hopes and dreams of the working poor for a better life. This is different than consumer loans because our life chances are tied to them. There are no factories or mines to go work in if you cannot pay for college or do not want to be an academic or intellectual. College, in this world, is a necessity.
I am doing what I set out to do, teach, and I love it. But now I no longer see my education as a way to get credentialed. I have no desire to coach or do anything at De. Today, I want to use my education to fundamentally change the relationship of my community to resources and power. Today, I want to forment revolution and believe knowledge is key to that struggle. It is sad that knowledge has been held hostage by institutions which are increasingly wedded to capitalist money making endeavors. Education is a human right. It is time for the Unites States to realize that by investing in education we are investing in ourselves and our future. In order to do this, however, we must break from the deeply engrained thought patterns of capitalism which teaches us we must “get ours” at any expense. We all do better when we all do better.
This may seem like a utopian dream but it is far from it. The United States could easily bail out its students and make higher ed universal. In fact, our future depends on us doing just that. We are facing a crisis that requires all of us contributing our various skills and talents to solve. The environment is deteriorating at un-before seen rates, we have more people in prison than any place on the planet, we are working harder and longer and are less happy and more depressed because of it. The good news is if we alleviate the burden of school rating we will be in a better position to nurture the creativity and imagination of those folks who are currently working in jobs simply to pay the bills regardless if they are passionate or not. Perhaps we can then begin to think about how to put people to work on renewable energy and living wages and create a vibrant sustainable world for future generations. At the very least private loans should be dealt with similarly to federal loans. My federal loan rating, while large, is very manageable, I am on income based repayment and pay a reasonable amount faithfully every month. This stands in stark contrast to the situation with private loans where they are demanding I choose between my life and my loan.
As for me and my plan, I am a high school teacher. I will never be rich. Yet, I believe that I am contributing to society. I believe that I deserve to have a family and to live in peace and happiness. I believe that I should not have to choose between starting a family and paying my private student loans. So, I will continue to tell SLFC that I cannot afford to pay what amounts to a second mortgage. They will continue to chastise me and my father (my cosigner) implying that we are irresponsible freeloaders. They will remind me that “I did not have to go to college” and that I need to pay. They will do all this while refusing to make it possible for me to live my life and pay off my loan. So I will default in my payment and live my life and it will be worth it. I will make up every morning and put my efforts into improving the world for the young people that come into my classroom and my own future children. I will be healthy and happy and free.

Ryan Williams-Virden  August 13, 2013  Minneapolis

In the fifth grade my teacher, Mrs. Ramacier, picked me to teach a lesson on Minnesota history to the class. I remember it because it was the first time I actually thought about becoming a teacher. After the lesson I was pretty sure that’s what I wanted to do, if I didn’t become a movie star or professional athlete of course. As I grew up and realized professional sports were out of the question, and Hollywood wasn’t looking to promising either it just seemed natural to focus on becoming a teacher. I had it all figured out: go to college to get credentialed and then teach and coach at my alma mater. It seemed like a great plan. Step one: college.
For as long as I can remember my parents placed a premium on education. They, like so many others, saw it as the way to improve the family’s material reality that is to say education was the way we wouldn’t be broke anymore. To make sure we were properly prepared my parents put their money where their mouth is and sent me and my brothers to DeLaSalle high school. They sacrificed so much in order to pay that monthly tuition. I knew that education was important and that I needed to go to college, what I didn’t understand was just how vicious the economy of higher education truly was.
My parents assumed that De would prepare me for all aspects of college, including how to pay for it. What they didn’t know was that families like ours needed to be much more proactive about paying for college. DeLaSalle is not tailored for working class first generation college students: I graduated DeLaSalle without knowing what FAFSA was. I am sure the guidance office had this information, and I am not saying I shouldn’t have been more tuned in, I should have been, but the fact remains De was not worried about whether or not I could pay for college. This inattention combined with my desire to be a college athlete, and a culture that promoted four year universities left me diametrically opposed to anything but a four year school.

...more
Ryan Williams-Virden  August 13, 2013  Minneapolis

I had a stroke At age 35 while contemplating Divorce I went back to school to finish my degree so I could support myself & 2 children. I was denied loan forgiveness for the 1st student loan I got before marriage,stroke and divorce because I stupidly took out another student loan after disability occurred,which has nothing to do with being permanently disabled.

Caren Hall  August 12, 2013  Brooklyn, NY

I had a stroke At age 35 while contemplating Divorce I went back to school to finish my degree so I could support myself & 2 children. I was denied loan forgiveness for the 1st student loan I got before marriage,stroke and divorce because I stupidly took out another student loan after disability occurred,which has nothing to do with being permanently disabled.

Caren Hall  August 12, 2013  Brooklyn, NY

In the fall spring of 2009 I decided to attend Law School after graduating from Loyola University Chicago. At the time I knew the financial burden of borrowing roughly $100,000 in student loans would be difficult. However, I rationalized my decision by assuming I would be able to find a well paying job as an attorney. Unfortunately, I found my heart was in the non-profit section and upon graduating from law school I found a absolutely fantastic job at Starfire Council of Greater Cincinnati. The only problem is my entire yearly salary was not enough to cover my yearly student loan bills. I am able to live thanks to government programs like Income Based Repayments, but I still struggle monthly to get by. While I'm sure there are items I could cut from my budget, I try very intentionally to live simply, many times skipping lunch in order to save money. I do not blame anyone for putting me in this situation. I knew exactly what I was getting myself into, I simply did not count on finding a passion outside of a career in law. I cannot thank my parents, friends, and political leaders fighting for programs like AmeriCorps and Income Based Repayments... without this support I would be incapable of paying my monthly bills. Yet, even with this support at times the worry and stress is paralyzing. I become so overwhelmed that I literally fear to look at my checking account balance. What scares me the most is that due to my student loan rating I cannot save money for retirement and I have no emergency money in my savings account. I am not asking that my rating be forgiven entirely. I simply hope that my story inspires our political leaders to realize the intensity of student loan rating... it is crippling. We need to reform the current system so that future graduates do not start their adult lives with enormous rating. This is not about me. I chose my path and I will live with the consequences without blaming others. This is about saving the financial lives of future graduates.

Andrew Greiwe  August 7, 2013  Cincinnati Ohio

In the fall spring of 2009 I decided to attend Law School after graduating from Loyola University Chicago. At the time I knew the financial burden of borrowing roughly $100,000 in student loans would be difficult. However, I rationalized my decision by assuming I would be able to find a well paying job as an attorney. Unfortunately, I found my heart was in the non-profit section and upon graduating from law school I found a absolutely fantastic job at Starfire Council of Greater Cincinnati. The only problem is my entire yearly salary was not enough to cover my yearly student loan bills. I am able to live thanks to government programs like Income Based Repayments, but I still struggle monthly to get by. While I'm sure there are items I could cut from my budget, I try very intentionally to live simply, many times skipping lunch in order to save money. I do not blame anyone for putting me in this situation. I knew exactly what I was getting myself into, I simply did not count on finding a passion outside of a career in law. I cannot thank my parents, friends, and political leaders fighting for programs like AmeriCorps and Income Based Repayments... without this support I would be incapable of paying my monthly bills. Yet, even with this support at times the worry and stress is paralyzing. I become so overwhelmed that I literally fear to look at my checking account balance. What scares me the most is that due to my student loan rating I cannot save money for retirement and I have no emergency money in my savings account. I am not asking that my rating be forgiven entirely. I simply hope that my story inspires our political leaders to realize the intensity of student loan rating... it is crippling. We need to reform the current system so that future graduates do not start their adult lives with enormous rating. This is not about me. I chose my path and I will live with the consequences without blaming others. This is about saving the financial lives of future graduates.

...more
Andrew Greiwe  August 7, 2013  Cincinnati Ohio

PLEASE take a moment to read about a very serious issue I am currently encountering with no means of a resolution! I am sure I am one in a million, but I am writing with hopes that someone will hear my cry and my children and I will not have to face homelessness.

I am a single (divorced) mother of 3 children (7,19,21), all which reside with me. I am the head of my household providing rent, utilities, car note, insurance, and all the basic necessities of life that I can afford. Today, I am devastated. I am faced with a wage garnishment by the US DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, to begin June 2013 on my teacher salary, despite my resolution of several Request for Hearings and US Department of Education Financial Disclosure documenting that garnishing my wages would leave me in unlivable, undue financial hardship.

I had a dream as a young teen (18) to attend college. Get a good paying job, marry and live the American Dream. I attended the UW-Whitewater from 1983-1988, in which time I graduated. I received 3 loans for the years of 1983-1988 which include: National Direct Student Loan $2,235.00; Guaranteed Student Loan $8007.00; and Guaranteed Student Loan $490.00, which totals $10,732.00. I have made payments on these loans beginning in 1989, first to UNIPAC then consolidated with SallieMae Student Loan Marketing Association. DESPITE ANY AND ALL PAYMENTS from 1989 to the present year 2013, the amount never decreased and only grew on this loan to a devastating 400% today and is $45,388.49 per US Department of Education.

I have been trying for many years for the responsible parties that held the loan to give me the lifetime payment record of this loan and provide me with the correct balance/amount owed and NO ONE has been able to provide that information to me. Since 1989, the parties responsible for once holding this loan are follows: UNIPAC, SallieMae Student Loan Marketing Association, Payco-Great Lakes Higher Education, US Department of Education- Windham Professionals. I was told that the increase in this loan has obviously come from the 4 different sales from one company to the next with each adding variable interest fees and 25% collection fees. Unfortunately, I have not seen the deduction of any payments from 1989-present.

The total amount due on the original loan amount of $10,732.00, IMPOSSIBLY including all of my lifetime payments has rocketed to $45,388.49. I have documentation of most of my payments. The first documentation is with UNIPAC beginning in 1989-1992. Also, Most recently, In 2008 US DEPT OF EDUCATION RECEIVED ALL OF MY INCOME TAX RETURN including my stimulus payment of 1200.00. TOTAL AMOUNT PAID TO US DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION IN ALL FOR 2008 was $7,168.90. I then made $25 payment May-June-July-Aug of 2008. I received a letter for Payment agreement of $50 a month from US DEPT of ED to begin Sept 2008. Payments were made each month except during disability/fmla, in which I notified them only to be degraded and spoken to rudely.
From 2009 to 2013, I have made $50 payments to US DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. During this time, I still tried to deal with the fact that I did not owe the amount shown and
-2-
I insisted on proof of the amounts I had previously paid on the lifetime of the loan and the lump sum payment of income tax. I have been trying to speak with someone for over a year on this issue, to no avail.

I have always been willing to pay what I could afford, but feel that I am due an explanation as to the correct amount owed and where the lifetime payments have been deducted. I would like a lifetime payment record. I would like the deductions shown from those payments. I would like the amounts to be adjusted to reflect the correct balance owed, if any.

I am an educator of 8 years with 6 years service. I am a highly qualified teacher. It is my hearts desire to teach and inspire young children to reach their dreams through education first. It is extremely difficult for me to provide my own children with the necessities of life including healthcare, education, home ownership or myself with a descent retirement. My 19 and 21 year-old children are currently uninsured. I am an educator and cannot afford to cover my family at $300+ per pay period. My 19 year old daughter wants to attend nursing school and I have to tell her with tears in my eyes that we are unable to afford for her to attend and loans right now are just TOO MUCH! I do not own a home because when the market was good, it was unaffordable and now that it is affordable the banks make it very difficult. I cannot afford to save for retirement at this time. I cannot afford the MOST IMPORTANT VALUABLE THINGS IN LIFE, yet I am a full-time working single mother of three.
This is surreal. My life is being turned upside down and no one can help saying it’s the government. My livelihood is being striped right in front of me and there is nothing I can do. I have contacted attorney after attorney only to be told, “that’s the government”, “you would have to file a lawsuit in the federal district court and that would cost you $10,000+”. The only option I am left with according to an attorney is bankruptcy to stop the wage garnishment, however, I am still left with dealing with the overwhelming issue of this 25 year old student loan issue ALONE. I DO NOT OWE THAT AMOUNT OF MONEY ON THIS STUDENT LOAN BUT NO ONE CAN HELP ME GET TO THE BOTTOM OF IT.

I am an educator by heart, working everyday, full-time and I have a difficult time meeting the basic needs of life. NOW, the Dept. of Education wants to take 15% of my net to begin when I return to work Aug 12, 2013. I have explained to them that if they do this, my children and I will be on the street with nowhere to live. It’s very sad that NO ONE CARES. I tried to call US DEPT OF ED again and was told to resubmit YET ANOTHER hearing request and financial disclosure (which makes that number 4 in one year). Their final word to me was: “BRACE YOURSELF FOR THE GARNISHMENT” because it is going to happen and continue until they review the forms again.
Please hear my cry! Help me find a way to determine how to STOP them from forcing my family and I into homelessness! Me losing my vehicle to get us back and forth to work and school! Help me find the TRUE balance of this loan! Help me find a reasonable monthly payment, if an amount remains due! Help me find an end to this death sentence!
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR VALUABLE TIME!
Respectfully,
Arnetta, August 6, 2013, Jacksonville, FL

Anonymous  August 7, 2013

PLEASE take a moment to read about a very serious issue I am currently encountering with no means of a resolution! I am sure I am one in a million, but I am writing with hopes that someone will hear my cry and my children and I will not have to face homelessness.

I am a single (divorced) mother of 3 children (7,19,21), all which reside with me. I am the head of my household providing rent, utilities, car note, insurance, and all the basic necessities of life that I can afford. Today, I am devastated. I am faced with a wage garnishment by the US DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, to begin June 2013 on my teacher salary, despite my resolution of several Request for Hearings and US Department of Education Financial Disclosure documenting that garnishing my wages would leave me in unlivable, undue financial hardship.

I had a dream as a young teen (18) to attend college. Get a good paying job, marry and live the American Dream. I attended the UW-Whitewater from 1983-1988, in which time I graduated. I received 3 loans for the years of 1983-1988 which include: National Direct Student Loan $2,235.00; Guaranteed Student Loan $8007.00; and Guaranteed Student Loan $490.00, which totals $10,732.00. I have made payments on these loans beginning in 1989, first to UNIPAC then consolidated with SallieMae Student Loan Marketing Association. DESPITE ANY AND ALL PAYMENTS from 1989 to the present year 2013, the amount never decreased and only grew on this loan to a devastating 400% today and is $45,388.49 per US Department of Education.

I have been trying for many years for the responsible parties that held the loan to give me the lifetime payment record of this loan and provide me with the correct balance/amount owed and NO ONE has been able to provide that information to me. Since 1989, the parties responsible for once holding this loan are follows: UNIPAC, SallieMae Student Loan Marketing Association, Payco-Great Lakes Higher Education, US Department of Education- Windham Professionals. I was told that the increase in this loan has obviously come from the 4 different sales from one company to the next with each adding variable interest fees and 25% collection fees.

...more
Anonymous  August 7, 2013

I see story after story published about student loan rating and many ignorant people commenting saying 'well, you signed for the loan you idiot, now pay for it. It's not the public's problem.'. Well, yes, this is true. But what the public doesn't know.. is me. I started school in 2007 at the age of 27 in the midst of my divorce. My now ex-husband had cut me off financially and I was working part-time in the medical field. I was able to find work full time again at decent pay but it surely wasn't enough to support myself, a home, my then toddler daughter, and of course all the expenses of living. So, I decided to go back to school to obtain my Associates Degree in Business. This is not a 'junk' degree that cannot be used anywhere. As a matter of fact, it helped put me in a mid-level management position, for which I am grateful. However, my degree cost almost $24,000, and with deferring it a few years I am at almost $28,000 now. I did not know at the time there were scholarships for adults so I did not have the chance to apply for any and my employer only offered $500 in tuition reimbursement. I did not immediately go for my Bachelor's degree because I was terrified of the payments that were looming for the loans. Recently however, having been passed up for higher paying and better job opportunities because I did not have my Bachelor's degree, I knew I had to continue on with my education, so I re-enrolled. My Bachelor's Degree will cost me another $20,000+. I have looked at the payment plans and I am sick thinking about how I am going to afford them when I am through with school. I am wondering if the increase in pay at work will be worth the added costs associated with the student loans. Yes, I have applied for every scholarship I could, and might I add here, there are not the 'billions of dollars available' that is put out to the public every day. I am very computer savvy so I know how to search the internet, and unless you are exremely poor, have suffered an unbearable life, or are building up a third world country, there just aren't that many opportunities out there. Most scholarships are also school specific. Plus, on an average income, I don't qualify for any FAFSA grants. They even take into account child support I receive but don't subtract out daycare expenses.I have been awarded $3000 in scholarships this year which I am proud of, but that will barely make a dent in my rating. The bottom line is, I'm working hard, taking care of a child, a home, and now constantly scouring the internet for additional scholarships or grants. I'm not trying to take advantage of 'the system'. I do however question the government lending and wonder why there are interest rates on student loans in the first place. I have been denied personal loans and car loans because my rating to income ratio is too high. There is no way I'm going to be able to pay the standard payment plan so I'm going to have to take an extended option which means I'm going to have this problem for years to come...and when you look at the final payment (including all the interest paid), it is disgusting what the student loan repayment total is. If interest has to be charged at all, it should be limited to 1% and schools. Schools should also be limited on what they can charge per credit hour.

Kelly  August 6, 2013  Perry, Oh

I see story after story published about student loan rating and many ignorant people commenting saying 'well, you signed for the loan you idiot, now pay for it. It's not the public's problem.'. Well, yes, this is true. But what the public doesn't know.. is me. I started school in 2007 at the age of 27 in the midst of my divorce. My now ex-husband had cut me off financially and I was working part-time in the medical field. I was able to find work full time again at decent pay but it surely wasn't enough to support myself, a home, my then toddler daughter, and of course all the expenses of living. So, I decided to go back to school to obtain my Associates Degree in Business. This is not a 'junk' degree that cannot be used anywhere. As a matter of fact, it helped put me in a mid-level management position, for which I am grateful. However, my degree cost almost $24,000, and with deferring it a few years I am at almost $28,000 now. I did not know at the time there were scholarships for adults so I did not have the chance to apply for any and my employer only offered $500 in tuition reimbursement. I did not immediately go for my Bachelor's degree because I was terrified of the payments that were looming for the loans. Recently however, having been passed up for higher paying and better job opportunities because I did not have my Bachelor's degree, I knew I had to continue on with my education, so I re-enrolled. My Bachelor's Degree will cost me another $20,000+. I have looked at the payment plans and I am sick thinking about how I am going to afford them when I am through with school. I am wondering if the increase in pay at work will be worth the added costs associated with the student loans. Yes, I have applied for every scholarship I could, and might I add here, there are not the 'billions of dollars available' that is put out to the public every day.

...more
Kelly  August 6, 2013  Perry, Oh

I'm one of four siblings (two of us have graduated) so my story is only one part of a larger ... ongoing saga.

I'm $100K in student loan rating after graduating with my BS in Fashion Design from Drexel University in 2010. I come from a divorced family that is faking it to try and fit in with the middle class. My father walked out of our lives when I was at 14 years old (I'm the oldest -- my brother was two years old at the time). My sisters and I were emancipated from him, each upon graduating high school, per his request. He only wants to see our brother. My mother has no assets - no house or even a credit card, but I was able to get some financial aid and loans and was the only one of my siblings to secure a parent plus loans. I'm sure I don't have to tell you what the interest rate is like on those. I had to fight each semester to get a loan and stay in school. I did, I even made it to London on student loans for a study abroad program.

Now, however, I am living paycheck-to-paycheck. I pay almost $900 a month in loan rating (and that's with only paying interest on the private one) and I make $40,000 per year. I go to crazy lengths to find cheap ways to live within my means in New York City. Just moving to the city took me nearly two years, I had to commute from Philadelphia to New York City daily for a year because it was more expensive to move there. My youngest sister has spent the summer trying and failing to even get a loan. She's a rising junior and is constantly worried about being forced to drop out. Neither my mother, sister nor I can help her because of the loan rating we've accrued.

I am fighting my hardest to follow my dream, as this country still promotes that as something we should all aspire to, but this insane student loan rating just seems to push back harder.

Anonymous  August 6, 2013

I'm one of four siblings (two of us have graduated) so my story is only one part of a larger ... ongoing saga.

I'm $100K in student loan rating after graduating with my BS in Fashion Design from Drexel University in 2010. I come from a divorced family that is faking it to try and fit in with the middle class. My father walked out of our lives when I was at 14 years old (I'm the oldest -- my brother was two years old at the time). My sisters and I were emancipated from him, each upon graduating high school, per his request. He only wants to see our brother. My mother has no assets - no house or even a credit card, but I was able to get some financial aid and loans and was the only one of my siblings to secure a parent plus loans. I'm sure I don't have to tell you what the interest rate is like on those. I had to fight each semester to get a loan and stay in school. I did, I even made it to London on student loans for a study abroad program.

Now, however, I am living paycheck-to-paycheck. I pay almost $900 a month in loan rating (and that's with only paying interest on the private one) and I make $40,000 per year. I go to crazy lengths to find cheap ways to live within my means in New York City. Just moving to the city took me nearly two years, I had to commute from Philadelphia to New York City daily for a year because it was more expensive to move there. My youngest sister has spent the summer trying and failing to even get a loan. She's a rising junior and is constantly worried about being forced to drop out. Neither my mother, sister nor I can help her because of the loan rating we've accrued.

I am fighting my hardest to follow my dream, as this country still promotes that as something we should all aspire to, but this insane student loan rating just seems to push back harder.

...more
Anonymous  August 6, 2013

I went to Law School in the early 90's for almost 3 years, but I did not graduate. I borrowed about 35K, thinking I'd be making plenty of money to pay it back. With fees, interest, penalties, and capitalization combined with forbearances and deferments, the loan started to spiral out of control. I applied to get it consolidated at William D. Ford, who then sold it to EdFinancial. The payoff, today, is around 175K and is going up almost 10K a year. I am trying to get my VA disability and maybe work part-time. They'll take anything I make, so why work? I haven't worked or paid taxes in 12 years. I'm tired of flying under the radar and never being able to have anything. If the loan gets discharged for my disability, I find that I will owe taxes on the amount discharged because it is considered income. This is SHOCKING! If ICR plans can take from SS, SSD, SSI, and VA payments, then tax you on what's forgiven AS INCOME, then this is just one more example of preying on the poor. The problem surely seems insurmountable. I should have started my own business by now or at least work for someone and make a little money. Can't get married either, because spouse will also be liable for my loan. If I just had a RAY OF HOPE, I believe I could make a decent contribution to business and society, not to mention supporting myself, instead of being on food stamps and living off my brother and the government. I want my self-respect back!

Amanda Brown  July 29, 2013  Wilson, NC

I went to Law School in the early 90's for almost 3 years, but I did not graduate. I borrowed about 35K, thinking I'd be making plenty of money to pay it back. With fees, interest, penalties, and capitalization combined with forbearances and deferments, the loan started to spiral out of control. I applied to get it consolidated at William D. Ford, who then sold it to EdFinancial. The payoff, today, is around 175K and is going up almost 10K a year. I am trying to get my VA disability and maybe work part-time. They'll take anything I make, so why work? I haven't worked or paid taxes in 12 years. I'm tired of flying under the radar and never being able to have anything. If the loan gets discharged for my disability, I find that I will owe taxes on the amount discharged because it is considered income. This is SHOCKING! If ICR plans can take from SS, SSD, SSI, and VA payments, then tax you on what's forgiven AS INCOME, then this is just one more example of preying on the poor. The problem surely seems insurmountable. I should have started my own business by now or at least work for someone and make a little money. Can't get married either, because spouse will also be liable for my loan. If I just had a RAY OF HOPE, I believe I could make a decent contribution to business and society, not to mention supporting myself, instead of being on food stamps and living off my brother and the government. I want my self-respect back!

Amanda Brown  July 29, 2013  Wilson, NC

Like many others ,my student loan story starts out with good intentions and ends in default hell.
In 1982 I was broke and working several jobs . After seeing an advertisement for a training school I signed up no money needed they said just sigh here $2500. Not knowing about student loans or the difference between a loan , a pell grant or a Gary Grant ( ones an actor right?) the friendly and helpful financial add officer (sales man ) filled out the papers and all I had to do was sigh – and in 18 months I would be making a great salary and could pay the loan off. Well, a few months and one illness ,I found myself out of school paralyzed face ( ok only one side ) no medical insurance still working several jobs – an some time after this the school closed down – but their loan office still manage to fine me – two men show up at my job one day show some sort of badge and they inform me that the school had lost the loan papers and that even thought I only attended the school for a few months I had to sigh papers and take out a loan with a bank for the full $2500- I was later to find out that someone affiliated with the school had walked off with a lot of money ( well, some dumb bunny had to be on the hook - guess who ).
Ok a few years later( 1984) I tried a real school, a University, still broke and $2500 in the hole I with the help of the financial aide office signed up for another $2500. After having a vision check- up a good look at the road to hell -remember the good intentions, I saw that I clearly could not afford stay on this road much longer, so I left school and got several more jobs – not one after the other but at the same time and much like celebrity deaths , bad things come in groups of threes ; Low wages , long hours and no benefits was a recipe for, if not disaster then the next best thing .
Went the good old student loan people came a knocking in 1989 I had no money , so the first step in to default hell started the – TAX REFUND OFF SET- I was really not making much money then so I got a refund ( as apposed to now I am really not making much money –just not making much money -without the really part now I don’t get a refund anymore at all- but the good news was that even though I really could have used that refund the Department of Education was getting something - or so I thought !!!
Now to collection agency hell; all tough to be fair I did not get a lot of the harassing phone calls at home – I could not afford a phone, so I got a few at work- but luckily I had neighbors that had phones or at least male neighbors- the collection agency called every man within a block radius of where I lived and gAve, not only my full name, but my address and they all made regular deliveries of messages to my home at all hours of the day and night .
Well in the 1990s remember the recession - during the 1990s I had several part-time jobs with the top wage of 6.00 per hour and no health care benefits one does live well in Washington D.C, on 6.00 per hour! Oh, and remember those stimulus checks-I never got one, but I hear the Department of Education did!
On the tail end of the 90s I lost both of my part time jobs – timing is everything!
Well after holding on for as long as possible on unemployment - yes it does run out - I was out , out of a job out of money and out of a place to live -this went on for 5 years yes it is possible to survive for five years without a job and no money well I had a job -it was looking for a job but that does not pay much .
Anyway by 2003 things where looking up and I had managed after 3 years of volunteering at public library (that is how I paid for yes paid for the food stamps that I got $80 a month went my unemployment ran out ) - for 5.00 per hour 16 hours per week , a free bus pass in addition to sleeping on someone sofa I could certainly afford to relinquish my tax refund – oh yes people with no money, no job and no address are still required to pay taxes ( the only thing that is certain is death and taxes) Speaking of death if you are reading this and have no money for school or college –DO NOT apply for a government loan – go to a nice respectable loan shark because if you can’t pay them back they only kill you and get it over with .
Back to the story … in 2005 by divine intervention and two years of papering the state with my resume I find work two ( good) part time jobs . Now, I know I was wrong in my thinking , why was I not thinking Wow! now I can pay those Student loans
I selfishly attended to the business of a getting back on my feet - but I had not forgotten about my student loans I had contacted the Department of Education a few times wanting to know how much I had paid back and how far I had to go I had managed to keep letters that appeared around tax time stating the IRS request tax offsets to the Department of Education. All of the letter that I had totaled around $ 6,000.00 so thing s should not be that bad right –WRONG-
In 2008 the Department of Education Garnished 15% of my wages and to date has taken 12,000.dollars that combined with the tax offset brings us to the Grand total of close to $ 18,000.00 dollars on a 5,000.00 dollar loan.
I have been told that this 18, 000. Does not really count for anything because it is not voluntary ( under garnishment ) so here I sit and I guess they will be garnishing my social security check next I am 56- stop doing the math –I was 25 when I took out the loans.

ANONYMOUS  July 23, 2013

Like many others ,my student loan story starts out with good intentions and ends in default hell.
In 1982 I was broke and working several jobs . After seeing an advertisement for a training school I signed up no money needed they said just sigh here $2500. Not knowing about student loans or the difference between a loan , a pell grant or a Gary Grant ( ones an actor right?) the friendly and helpful financial add officer (sales man ) filled out the papers and all I had to do was sigh – and in 18 months I would be making a great salary and could pay the loan off. Well, a few months and one illness ,I found myself out of school paralyzed face ( ok only one side ) no medical insurance still working several jobs – an some time after this the school closed down – but their loan office still manage to fine me – two men show up at my job one day show some sort of badge and they inform me that the school had lost the loan papers and that even thought I only attended the school for a few months I had to sigh papers and take out a loan with a bank for the full $2500- I was later to find out that someone affiliated with the school had walked off with a lot of money ( well, some dumb bunny had to be on the hook - guess who ).
Ok a few years later( 1984) I tried a real school, a University, still broke and $2500 in the hole I with the help of the financial aide office signed up for another $2500. After having a vision check- up a good look at the road to hell -remember the good intentions, I saw that I clearly could not afford stay on this road much longer, so I left school and got several more jobs – not one after the other but at the same time and much like celebrity deaths , bad things come in groups of threes ;

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ANONYMOUS  July 23, 2013

I have put off many major life decisions because of my student loan rating. I was the first in my family to go to college in the traditional way, right after high school with plans of going to a 4-year school. I looked at several schools in New York State including SUNY schools, Syracuse University, University of Buffalo, and Le Moyne College. I was interested in being on the swim team and I ended up going to Le Moyne without a scholarship. I mainly wanted to go to a smaller school because I grew up in a small town and graduated with only 200 people in my senior class. I wanted a better quality of education and a more personalized experience.

The first year I received a good amount of help from the college in the form of grants, I had a couple of scholarships, and I had been working and saving money since I was old enough to work. I life guarded, waitressed, and mowed lawns. After the first year I was struggling to keep up with my grades and still be on the swim team so I had to quit in order to maintain my grades and work study program. I was constantly stressed out about money in school because my parents are divorced and neither one of them wanted to help me pay for college. My only way to a better life was to go to college (or at least that's what I thought and was lead to believe when I was 18). I stayed in school and worked as much as I could handle. In the summers I life guarded on Lake Ontario 40 hrs a week and also waitressed the graveyard shift at Denny's on weekends and evenings. My senior year, 2nd semester I almost had to drop about because I had no way to pay tuition. I begged everyone I knew in my family to co-sign loans for me to no avail. I eventually applied for a private loan with Sallie Mae. They accepted me for my first loan with them on my own. The interest rate was a whopping 12%. I didn't care at the time because I just wanted to finish school and I signed on the dotted line. The second loan I tried to get from them they said I needed a cosigner. My mom was denied for any loans so the college helped me out a little bit more but I still have several thousand dollars to pay in order to enroll for my next semester. My step mom ended up cosigning for the last portion of my loan with Sallie Mae. Otherwise, I would have had to drop out with only one semester to go.

I graduated and signed up for the Jesuit Volunteer Corp. My original plan was to be an Americorp Volunteer but most of the funding was cut for that program in 2006 when I was trying to apply. I had never really considered teaching but I had started thinking about it at this point. The Jesuit Volunteer Corp position that I had ended up being in Raleigh, N.C. working with homeless families and children. My main role was to run an after school program for the homeless children in our shelter. I also did case management with families and tried to get them back on their feet within three months time. It was a very high stress job and I was constantly working. I loved it! I didn't end up getting any student loan forgiveness for volunteering because they were not considered part of the Americorp volunteer network. That has since changed and now volunteers do get some student loan forgiveness. I have tried to see if I could still get it for my year but I have been denied. During the year I volunteered Sallie Mae made me pay forbearance fees and wouldn't work with me much at all even though I was volunteering. They called me constantly.

I have since become a teacher (I had to go back to school for year to become certified) and it has been a struggle to keep up with payments ever since. I pay about $200 to Sallie Mae each month and I have been unable to make the monthly payment of $300 that my federal loans want. I am currently applying for it to be based on my income. NC Teachers rank 48th or something in teacher pay and we haven't had a raise in 4 years. Unless you do count the 1% that was given last year. I once again have a high stress job but one that I find rewarding at the end of the day. I know that I can apply for teacher loan forgiveness after I have taught for 5 years. This upcoming school year will be year 5 for me. I have worked at 5 different schools over the past 5 years because I have been trying for that long to land a job in the county that I work (Wake County) which is the highest paid supplement in the state. Before that I had to commute 70 miles one way to Fayetteville and teach in some of the lowest performing/highest poverty schools. I wanted to stay in teaching that badly so I felt I had to do it. I also needed health insurance.

I have been renting the entire time that I have lived in Raleigh and I have moved a lot ( I have lived in approx 8 different places) because my relationship status has changed and I haven't been able to afford some of the places I've lived or roommates moved. At one point when a bad relationship ended I went to NY for a few weeks and then came back and stayed in the Catholic Worker House until I could save up enough for a deposit somewhere. I was technically homeless at this point but I had plenty of people I met volunteering to help me. I'm finally a little more stable. I'm living with a boyfriend in a house that we really like. It's great and everything but I'm almost 30 and I thought I'd be able to buy a house at this point or get married. I don't feel like either one of those things are in my near future. It's impossible to save money when every month all my money is already spoken for in my bills. My parents say that I should just move back to NY because teachers make more there but that isn't what I want to do. I love my boyfriend and we do one day hope to get married but that can't happen until he finds his career. I am the main bread winner right now because he just finished his 2 year degree and is looking for work in Drafting or Mechanical Engineering.

I just hope that someday teachers will be compensated. I know I get $5,000 for teaching for 5 years (I'm an English Teacher--Math and Science or Special Education teachers get 17,500 forgiven) but that is a really small amount compared to the $60K in rating that I am in due to going to a private college and then having to go back to school to become a teacher. I obviously know that I am responsible and I do want to be able to pay and still eat at the same time! I have dedicated my life to a career of public service and I want to give back to my community but it seems that my government and my community do not want to take care of me.

Elisha  July 12, 2013  Raleigh, NC

I have put off many major life decisions because of my student loan rating. I was the first in my family to go to college in the traditional way, right after high school with plans of going to a 4-year school. I looked at several schools in New York State including SUNY schools, Syracuse University, University of Buffalo, and Le Moyne College. I was interested in being on the swim team and I ended up going to Le Moyne without a scholarship. I mainly wanted to go to a smaller school because I grew up in a small town and graduated with only 200 people in my senior class. I wanted a better quality of education and a more personalized experience.

The first year I received a good amount of help from the college in the form of grants, I had a couple of scholarships, and I had been working and saving money since I was old enough to work. I life guarded, waitressed, and mowed lawns. After the first year I was struggling to keep up with my grades and still be on the swim team so I had to quit in order to maintain my grades and work study program. I was constantly stressed out about money in school because my parents are divorced and neither one of them wanted to help me pay for college. My only way to a better life was to go to college (or at least that's what I thought and was lead to believe when I was 18). I stayed in school and worked as much as I could handle. In the summers I life guarded on Lake Ontario 40 hrs a week and also waitressed the graveyard shift at Denny's on weekends and evenings. My senior year, 2nd semester I almost had to drop about because I had no way to pay tuition. I begged everyone I knew in my family to co-sign loans for me to no avail. I eventually applied for a private loan with Sallie Mae. They accepted me for my first loan with them on my own.

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Elisha  July 12, 2013  Raleigh, NC

I’m a public librarian

At this point in time, I fear that I will shortly loose the only transportation I have to and from work, as well as the ability to pay for every day expenses and rating incurred in what have turned out to be futile attempts fixing my car. Needless to say that if I lose my transportation to work, I will lose all hope in maintaining a standard of living at or above poverty.

As a graduate student, I did not qualify for the Perkins Loans. As a graduate student, I only was able to qualify for Direct Loans (subsidized and unsubsidized) and private loans. In order to pay for school, I took out Direct Loans totaling $ 37, 550. 1 This paid my tuition to Long Island University as well as most of my room and board. (Additionally, I had to take a private loan for the balance due.) As I was attending from out of state (Delaware), I had no choice but to live on campus.

Based on information provided by Loan Servicing, with interest, the loans are over $ 42, 000. (If I pay back the minimum, extended loan payments--over 25 years, I'll have paid back over $100K.)

Due to several food allergies and other dietary concerns, I eat a diet that is primarily fresh fruit and vegetables. Even at Wal-Mart, I am forced to pay extremely high prices to eat the foods recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

So, in other words, the only loan forgiveness program available to me is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness. There are several repayment options available for students, mostly consisting of 10 years to 25 years, consisting of minimum monthly payments that are already out of my budget. Even with Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment plans, the monthly payments cause me to struggle. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program required 120 perfect payments, which just isn't feasible.

My monthly budget is stretched so tight that I am no longer surviving without assistance without family and friends. (My family is in Delaware, and sends me money—I’m 30 and should not need them to!) The cost of living index in Covington, Louisiana (where I worked and lived till July of this year) is 97.9. This meant that 97.9 percent of my salary goes to cost of living (rent, utilities, groceries, etc.). This does not include additional expenses, such as student loans and credit-cards that I've used to repair a 13 year old car.

Now I am faced with even more financial stress. My forbearance is ending and the amount of money that I will be forced to pay under the IBR or ICR will literally leave me with no “cushion” at the end of the month. To compensate, I will need to reduce my food budget from $ 100/week (which prepares a total of 8 healthy meals and two frozen/fast food meals) to $ 50, forcing me to rely heavily on pre-packaged, unhealthy foods. (Should I do this, I will eventually become consistently ill and will miss time from work.)

Additionally, I am now faced with the need for newer used transportation. My car, which is the only way for me to get back and forth to work, no-longer functions reliably, causing me to miss work on several occasions. I cannot afford to fix the car, and without a release from my monthly bills, I will not be able to purchase and insure new transportation.

I have attempted to obtain additional part-time employment, without success. I had hoped that if I could work an additional 20 to 30 hours per week, on top of the 40-hour full time position I currently hold, I would be able to save enough money ($ 5, 000-$ 6, 000) for a new, used car. I have been turned down because of my education, or my work schedule, or other reasons. As of the date above, I've not been hired by any company.

In essence, I’m struggling.

I fear that without the cancellation of my student loans, the financial hardships I will be faced with will not only overwhelm me but force me to choose between defaulting on my loans or giving up my career as a public librarian in favor of acquiring public assistance.

Anonymous  July 10, 2013  Jackson, MS

I’m a public librarian

At this point in time, I fear that I will shortly loose the only transportation I have to and from work, as well as the ability to pay for every day expenses and rating incurred in what have turned out to be futile attempts fixing my car. Needless to say that if I lose my transportation to work, I will lose all hope in maintaining a standard of living at or above poverty.

As a graduate student, I did not qualify for the Perkins Loans. As a graduate student, I only was able to qualify for Direct Loans (subsidized and unsubsidized) and private loans. In order to pay for school, I took out Direct Loans totaling $ 37, 550. 1 This paid my tuition to Long Island University as well as most of my room and board. (Additionally, I had to take a private loan for the balance due.) As I was attending from out of state (Delaware), I had no choice but to live on campus.

Based on information provided by Loan Servicing, with interest, the loans are over $ 42, 000. (If I pay back the minimum, extended loan payments--over 25 years, I'll have paid back over $100K.)

Due to several food allergies and other dietary concerns, I eat a diet that is primarily fresh fruit and vegetables. Even at Wal-Mart, I am forced to pay extremely high prices to eat the foods recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

So, in other words, the only loan forgiveness program available to me is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness. There are several repayment options available for students, mostly consisting of 10 years to 25 years, consisting of minimum monthly payments that are already out of my budget. Even with Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment plans, the monthly payments cause me to struggle. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program required 120 perfect payments, which just isn't feasible.

My monthly budget is stretched so tight that I am no longer surviving without assistance without family and friends.

...more
Anonymous  July 10, 2013  Jackson, MS

The crisis of student loan rating is not limited to recent graduates. “I’m not unemployed, but I’m being crushed under a mountain of educational rating,” said Clancy DeSmet, 38, of Montpelier, Vt. "If something doesn't change, I'll never be able to own a home and have even considered not starting a family because of my rating."
After paying student loan payments each month, not much is left over for other expenses, DeSmet said, calling the situation “unsustainable.” DeSmet has paid off his student loans from college, but has accrued $180,000 in additional rating after attending Vermont Law School. DeSmet suggests capping student loan interest rates, expanding loan forgiveness for public employees, and allowing bankruptcy to wipe off ratings left by student loans.

Clancy DeSmet  July 9, 2013  Montpelier, VT

The crisis of student loan rating is not limited to recent graduates. “I’m not unemployed, but I’m being crushed under a mountain of educational rating,” said Clancy DeSmet, 38, of Montpelier, Vt. "If something doesn't change, I'll never be able to own a home and have even considered not starting a family because of my rating."
After paying student loan payments each month, not much is left over for other expenses, DeSmet said, calling the situation “unsustainable.” DeSmet has paid off his student loans from college, but has accrued $180,000 in additional rating after attending Vermont Law School. DeSmet suggests capping student loan interest rates, expanding loan forgiveness for public employees, and allowing bankruptcy to wipe off ratings left by student loans.

Clancy DeSmet  July 9, 2013  Montpelier, VT

I am a first generation college graduate who finished a Ph.D. at a top research institution. I have persevered through much financial hardship throughout my undergraduate and graduate careers. I had to take 2 years of during my undergraduate studies to support my parents, and worked full time as I earned my BA. When I decided that my dream was to be a professor, I decided to take out federal loans to supplement my modest stipend. Student Loan Administration at my school always assured me that repayment would never be a problem. I now am in a prestigious post-doctoral position with the title of Assistant Professor at University of Chicago, and Direct Loans has made it impossible for me to repay my loans. I have been in forbearance for most of my 3 years as a professor, because they want me to pay them 22% of my income every month, which I cannot afford. I was told that my repayment burden would never be more than 10% of my income, but they calculate 10% of your pre-tax income, which is absurd. I do not have a car, tv, cable, or internet at home. I live modestly in Chicago, which has the highest sales taxes in the U.S. I have offered time and time again to pay $350/month, which is roughly the 10% of my income, and the Direct Loans loan officers typically get very angry at me, offering me only the option of forbearance or to pay $670/month. As a result, I am being forced to consider other career options, even though I have been professionalizing as an academic for over a decade and have a promising career in front of me. I just cannot understand why the Federal Government is making it so difficult for borrowers to pay back their loans. When I decided I wanted to be an educator, I knew I was making a huge financial sacrifice in order to do so. I never knew that the Federal Government would be so callous and unyielding in their demands to their promising future educators. I am a fantastic teacher who has made a significant difference in my students' lives, and who is truly committed to education and research. If I am not able to work out a satisfactory repayment plan with Direct Loans, I will be forced to leave academia in order to go into the private sector. This possibility saddens me immensely. I sacrificed everything to get where I am, and the ONLY reason I would leave is because I cannot work out a MONTHLY repayment plan with the Federal Govt. Both of my parents are homeless, neither of them have jobs, and while I do not support them, I do live paycheck to paycheck, unable to save any money, willing to give all my discretionary savings to repay my loans, but according to the Federal Govt, it's just not enough. I really need help!!!

Lauren Silvers  July 3, 2013  University of Chicago

I am a first generation college graduate who finished a Ph.D. at a top research institution. I have persevered through much financial hardship throughout my undergraduate and graduate careers. I had to take 2 years of during my undergraduate studies to support my parents, and worked full time as I earned my BA. When I decided that my dream was to be a professor, I decided to take out federal loans to supplement my modest stipend. Student Loan Administration at my school always assured me that repayment would never be a problem. I now am in a prestigious post-doctoral position with the title of Assistant Professor at University of Chicago, and Direct Loans has made it impossible for me to repay my loans. I have been in forbearance for most of my 3 years as a professor, because they want me to pay them 22% of my income every month, which I cannot afford. I was told that my repayment burden would never be more than 10% of my income, but they calculate 10% of your pre-tax income, which is absurd. I do not have a car, tv, cable, or internet at home. I live modestly in Chicago, which has the highest sales taxes in the U.S. I have offered time and time again to pay $350/month, which is roughly the 10% of my income, and the Direct Loans loan officers typically get very angry at me, offering me only the option of forbearance or to pay $670/month. As a result, I am being forced to consider other career options, even though I have been professionalizing as an academic for over a decade and have a promising career in front of me. I just cannot understand why the Federal Government is making it so difficult for borrowers to pay back their loans. When I decided I wanted to be an educator, I knew I was making a huge financial sacrifice in order to do so. I never knew that the Federal Government would be so callous and unyielding in their demands to their promising future educators. I am a fantastic teacher who has made a significant difference in my students' lives,

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Lauren Silvers  July 3, 2013  University of Chicago

I graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and roughly $83,000 in student loan rating. I moved back home in July 2009 and tried to find full time employment. My mom lost her house to foreclosure in 2008 so her new house (a rental) was less than ideal for 4 people to reside in. With just one bathroom and 2 bedrooms (Jack & Jill style no less)and window a.c. units, and no internet (making it a little more difficult to apply for jobs)I really felt like I had hit rock bottom and pulling myself up was going to be more challenging than I could have ever imagined. In October 2009 I found part time work as a cashier at a local grocery store making minimum wage and no benefits. What followed after that job was a string of part time jobs that offered little to no benefits and paid minimum wage. I didn't obtain full time employment with a job specific to my degree until December 2011. I was able to keep my federal loans in deferment until I could afford to do IBR. However, the IBR for my federal loans has not been helpful because the IBR does not include the amount of money I'm spending on my private student loans each month. My private student loans (my most expensive rating) are with Sallie Mae and they are an absolute nightmare. As it stands right now, I'm paying $602.50 a month for my student loans. That amount INCLUDES IBR for my federal loans. I have come close to defaulting twice now on my private loans. The only reason why I have not defaulted is because I am fortunate enough to live with my boyfriend. He pays for all of our living expenses (rent, utilities, and food). These loans have kept me from being able to pump money back into the economy. I cannot afford to go shopping for clothes or household items. I won't be able to buy a home or take vacations. I can honestly say that I am worse off now because I went to college. Something needs to be done about the unaffordable cost of higher education and the predatory lending of student loans. Private student loans are so dangerous. They offer no consumer protection rights such as bankruptcy or IBR. It's ashame, really. I can only hope and pray that things change for us.

Anonymous  July 2, 2013  Illinois

I graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and roughly $83,000 in student loan rating. I moved back home in July 2009 and tried to find full time employment. My mom lost her house to foreclosure in 2008 so her new house (a rental) was less than ideal for 4 people to reside in. With just one bathroom and 2 bedrooms (Jack & Jill style no less)and window a.c. units, and no internet (making it a little more difficult to apply for jobs)I really felt like I had hit rock bottom and pulling myself up was going to be more challenging than I could have ever imagined. In October 2009 I found part time work as a cashier at a local grocery store making minimum wage and no benefits. What followed after that job was a string of part time jobs that offered little to no benefits and paid minimum wage. I didn't obtain full time employment with a job specific to my degree until December 2011. I was able to keep my federal loans in deferment until I could afford to do IBR. However, the IBR for my federal loans has not been helpful because the IBR does not include the amount of money I'm spending on my private student loans each month. My private student loans (my most expensive rating) are with Sallie Mae and they are an absolute nightmare. As it stands right now, I'm paying $602.50 a month for my student loans. That amount INCLUDES IBR for my federal loans. I have come close to defaulting twice now on my private loans. The only reason why I have not defaulted is because I am fortunate enough to live with my boyfriend. He pays for all of our living expenses (rent, utilities, and food). These loans have kept me from being able to pump money back into the economy. I cannot afford to go shopping for clothes or household items. I won't be able to buy a home or take vacations. I can honestly say that I am worse off now because I went to college.

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Anonymous  July 2, 2013  Illinois

I could go on social security now, but I'm putting it off as long as I can to increase my later (social security) monthly income. I am still paying off student loans! I have to-date paid back 25% MORE than the original amount borrowed to go to college, but still owe at least double that original amount. I sure would like to be done with it! We need to get to the crux of the student loan rating crisis ASAP. People do want to pay back FAIRLY what they borrowed, but the system actually seems rigged to make it impossible -- especially for those who are struggling financially but are making every good-faith effort to pay it off. Many ratingors end up paying double or triple -- largely due to excessive capitalized interest and also consolidation and/or rehabilitation fees -- the initial loan they actually received to get their college degree. This seems really out of sync with the original mission of the student loan program. What is needed is a reasonable cap on the total amount paid back over the original loan. And it is critical that needed reforms be enacted not only for present and future borrowers, but also retroactively to those currently in great financial distress and overburdened from their student loan rating.

S.L.  July 1, 2013  New Hampshire

I could go on social security now, but I'm putting it off as long as I can to increase my later (social security) monthly income. I am still paying off student loans! I have to-date paid back 25% MORE than the original amount borrowed to go to college, but still owe at least double that original amount. I sure would like to be done with it! We need to get to the crux of the student loan rating crisis ASAP. People do want to pay back FAIRLY what they borrowed, but the system actually seems rigged to make it impossible -- especially for those who are struggling financially but are making every good-faith effort to pay it off. Many ratingors end up paying double or triple -- largely due to excessive capitalized interest and also consolidation and/or rehabilitation fees -- the initial loan they actually received to get their college degree. This seems really out of sync with the original mission of the student loan program. What is needed is a reasonable cap on the total amount paid back over the original loan. And it is critical that needed reforms be enacted not only for present and future borrowers, but also retroactively to those currently in great financial distress and overburdened from their student loan rating.

S.L.  July 1, 2013  New Hampshire

I went to art university in 2000 and borrowed over 100k in student loans for my BFA. I paid at least 100k in interest and principal over the past decade while I freelanced in the visual effects industry. I began paying a minimum of $1000 a month beginning 6 months upon graduation (all interest), and on one occasion I dropped $10,000 to pay off my federal consolidation loan, after working incredible amounts of overtime on a project. Now I have defaulted on my private consolidation loan, after a year of unemployment. My industry is outsourcing and jobs are becoming more difficult to find and even more difficult to keep. I consider myself to be a responsible person. What upsets me most is that default ruins everything in your credit and you get no recognition for everything you did right. I am disregarded and penalized as if I never paid a penny for my education. I would like to have my MFA someday but it is not possible in my current situation. I don't see myself making investments that I see people around me doing every day, like buying a car or a home or taking a vacation to another country. This is not my American dream.

Tracy  June 30, 2013  Sausalito, California

I went to art university in 2000 and borrowed over 100k in student loans for my BFA. I paid at least 100k in interest and principal over the past decade while I freelanced in the visual effects industry. I began paying a minimum of $1000 a month beginning 6 months upon graduation (all interest), and on one occasion I dropped $10,000 to pay off my federal consolidation loan, after working incredible amounts of overtime on a project. Now I have defaulted on my private consolidation loan, after a year of unemployment. My industry is outsourcing and jobs are becoming more difficult to find and even more difficult to keep. I consider myself to be a responsible person. What upsets me most is that default ruins everything in your credit and you get no recognition for everything you did right. I am disregarded and penalized as if I never paid a penny for my education. I would like to have my MFA someday but it is not possible in my current situation. I don't see myself making investments that I see people around me doing every day, like buying a car or a home or taking a vacation to another country. This is not my American dream.

Tracy  June 30, 2013  Sausalito, California

This is my story.
Honolulu, HI -- (SBWIRE) -- 06/19/2013 -- Alejandra Lalama, 25-year-old college graduate, has paid over $30,000 in student loan payments since 2008, but the student rating she owes has only gone down a few thousand dollars to $66,000. Like so many other student loan borrowers, she is caught in a rating trap between capitalized interest and interest on the principal balance. In addition to these problems, Hurricane Sandy stormed through her home town in New Jersey and destroyed her car. To get a leg up out of her financial mess, Alejandra started a CrowdFundEDU" href="http://bit.ly/11ygkoN">fundraiser on CrowdFundEDU, a site where people can crowd fund for anything related to education, including student loan rating.

This isn’t a story of living beyond her means, not being responsible or not making payments. Alejandra has never been late on a payment or taken forbearance, even when she was laid off, because she knew how much her interest would pile up. She works full-time and lives at home with her mother but her salary, less than 30K, goes mostly to her private student loans with Sallie Mae and federal government student loans. After losing her Ford Explorer to the wrath of Sandy, she had to buy another car and is now struggling to make car payments and insurance in addition to the student loan payments.

Alejandra maintains a positive outlook, but wishes she had understood more about what she was getting herself into when she applied for financial aid at the young, idealistic age of an 18-year-old college freshman. Student loans are the only types of loans in the United States that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

The Fallen American Dream is a documentary film about U.S. students' struggles with the high cost of college education and student loans. Produced by the Student Body of America Association (SBAA), this film examines how the $1 trillion student rating epidemic is affecting the pursuit of the American Dream.

Always in search for viable solutions to help students, SBAA believes crowdfunding has enormous potential to help student loan borrowers dig themselves out of rating, or at least get ahead of capitalized interest and start paying down their principal balance. If student loan borrowers crowdfund to get ahead on their payments (or even pay them off), it could significantly lower the capitalized interest and total amount they would pay to lenders.

About Student Body of America Association
Student Body of America Association, (http://www.studentbodyofamerica.org), based in Honolulu, HI, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization operated exclusively for educational purposes. Our mission is to provide easily accessible information and resources to educate and support students nationwide in achieving an education, and to guide individuals to apply their knowledge and skills to make the best decisions on an individual and societal basis.

Student Body of America Association Press Page: http://bit.ly/15zBNmm

CrowdFundEDU Fundraiser: http://bit.ly/11ygkoN

Source: Student Body of America Association
Posted Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 5:00 AM CDT - Permalink

Alejandra Lalama  June 30, 2013  Little Ferry, NJ

This is my story.
Honolulu, HI -- (SBWIRE) -- 06/19/2013 -- Alejandra Lalama, 25-year-old college graduate, has paid over $30,000 in student loan payments since 2008, but the student rating she owes has only gone down a few thousand dollars to $66,000. Like so many other student loan borrowers, she is caught in a rating trap between capitalized interest and interest on the principal balance. In addition to these problems, Hurricane Sandy stormed through her home town in New Jersey and destroyed her car. To get a leg up out of her financial mess, Alejandra started a CrowdFundEDU" href="http://bit.ly/11ygkoN">fundraiser on CrowdFundEDU, a site where people can crowd fund for anything related to education, including student loan rating.

This isn’t a story of living beyond her means, not being responsible or not making payments. Alejandra has never been late on a payment or taken forbearance, even when she was laid off, because she knew how much her interest would pile up. She works full-time and lives at home with her mother but her salary, less than 30K, goes mostly to her private student loans with Sallie Mae and federal government student loans. After losing her Ford Explorer to the wrath of Sandy, she had to buy another car and is now struggling to make car payments and insurance in addition to the student loan payments.

Alejandra maintains a positive outlook, but wishes she had understood more about what she was getting herself into when she applied for financial aid at the young, idealistic age of an 18-year-old college freshman. Student loans are the only types of loans in the United States that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

The Fallen American Dream is a documentary film about U.S. students' struggles with the high cost of college education and student loans. Produced by the Student Body of America Association (SBAA), this film examines how the $1 trillion student rating epidemic is affecting the pursuit of the American Dream.

Always in search for viable solutions to help students, SBAA believes crowdfunding has enormous potential to help student loan borrowers dig themselves out of rating,

...more
Alejandra Lalama  June 30, 2013  Little Ferry, NJ

I got stuck with a very high interest rate - 8.25%. Because of a lay off and financial hardships, I've had to postpone payments. I originally borrowed about $35k. I don't mind paying what I borrowed, but to pay all that interest back is criminal. It's also unjust that my rate is as high as it is, considering 3.4% seems to the current rate (if congress acts to protect it).

anonymous  June 27, 2013

I got stuck with a very high interest rate - 8.25%. Because of a lay off and financial hardships, I've had to postpone payments. I originally borrowed about $35k. I don't mind paying what I borrowed, but to pay all that interest back is criminal. It's also unjust that my rate is as high as it is, considering 3.4% seems to the current rate (if congress acts to protect it).

anonymous  June 27, 2013

I am extremely proud that I have been able to obtain a bachelors and a dual masters degree over the course of several years, but I am anxious about my rating. In fact, my undergrad loans currently have an interest rate of 3.5%, but each and every single one of my graduate school loans carry an interest rate of 6.8%. That rate is currently more than a mortgage rate! In addition, due to the wording and qualifications of the income sensitive payment plan, I do not qualify. I knew very well that my rating would be large, but I never anticipated my interest to be more than my mortgage interest rate. It is disheartening to me that our country continues to reward those who choose not to persue higher education and punishes those who are trying to improve it. What has our country come to when abusing the system is a better guarantee than actually working for a living? Had I had the option to obtain grants and scholarships, then I wouldn't have so much educational rating. But, my being a single white female did not qualify me for such funding, unless I chose to lie about who I am. I am a strong woman and will continue to achieve greatness, but for those who I hope to lead into greatness, I will not support a higher education due to the financial burden it creates. Our country states that education is the key, but they do nothing to support it! Just look at the number of executives who not only do not have higher education, but only obtained their position based upon their connections. It truly is sad that our actions are drastically different from our words.

Tanya Gahl  June 25, 2013

I am extremely proud that I have been able to obtain a bachelors and a dual masters degree over the course of several years, but I am anxious about my rating. In fact, my undergrad loans currently have an interest rate of 3.5%, but each and every single one of my graduate school loans carry an interest rate of 6.8%. That rate is currently more than a mortgage rate! In addition, due to the wording and qualifications of the income sensitive payment plan, I do not qualify. I knew very well that my rating would be large, but I never anticipated my interest to be more than my mortgage interest rate. It is disheartening to me that our country continues to reward those who choose not to persue higher education and punishes those who are trying to improve it. What has our country come to when abusing the system is a better guarantee than actually working for a living? Had I had the option to obtain grants and scholarships, then I wouldn't have so much educational rating. But, my being a single white female did not qualify me for such funding, unless I chose to lie about who I am. I am a strong woman and will continue to achieve greatness, but for those who I hope to lead into greatness, I will not support a higher education due to the financial burden it creates. Our country states that education is the key, but they do nothing to support it! Just look at the number of executives who not only do not have higher education, but only obtained their position based upon their connections. It truly is sad that our actions are drastically different from our words.

Tanya Gahl  June 25, 2013

I currently have no rating, but in my last year of Nursing school my Pell grant has run out, and I am forced to take a loan. The interest rate is already a little hefty, and makes me worry about my student loan bills once I graduate. If they double, then that will be double the worry. I come from a poor background, and getting an education is the only practical way I can see to do better for my family. With unemployment rate as high as it is we need to focus on educating people and getting them back to work. Countries that aren't as technologically, or even supposedly financially, as advanced as us such as Mexico and Cuba offer free education to their citizens. When will the United States of America stand up for their citizens and at least make our education affordable?

Sabrina  June 25, 2013  Chicago, IL

I currently have no rating, but in my last year of Nursing school my Pell grant has run out, and I am forced to take a loan. The interest rate is already a little hefty, and makes me worry about my student loan bills once I graduate. If they double, then that will be double the worry. I come from a poor background, and getting an education is the only practical way I can see to do better for my family. With unemployment rate as high as it is we need to focus on educating people and getting them back to work. Countries that aren't as technologically, or even supposedly financially, as advanced as us such as Mexico and Cuba offer free education to their citizens. When will the United States of America stand up for their citizens and at least make our education affordable?

Sabrina  June 25, 2013  Chicago, IL

I thought I was doing the best thing for me and my family by returning to school to get a master in nursing as a pediatric nurse practitioner. I graduated in December 2012 and passed my boards on the first attempt in February. We returned home to Arkansas from Louisiana, in the summer of 2012 for a job opportunity for husband. He too has over $35,000 in student loan rating from his MBA. Combined we have over $100,000 in student loan rating, only for graduate degrees. Prior to graduation I began looking for APN (advanced practice nurse) jobs and realized I would not be eligible for an interview until I had graduated and passed my boards. So I started looking for part-time work as an RN. Having my graduate degree made getting a job as an RN hard because I was considered over qualified. After 6 months of job searching and interviewing with no luck with an APN job I have finally got a RN job, part-time. This month my student loan grace period is up. My interest rate is almost 7%, I have accrued nearly 6,000+ in interest already. I search the entire state for jobs, but because I am pediatric specific the jobs are few and far between and they usually want someone who already has experience if there is one open. My recommendation for the younger generation is to learn a trade, don't waste the money on higher education right now, it is not worth the money when you can't find a job! I use to be all about education, but the cost has gotten so high and the jobs are so hard to land that it is simply not worth it now!

Katherine  June 22, 2013  Little Rock, Ar

I thought I was doing the best thing for me and my family by returning to school to get a master in nursing as a pediatric nurse practitioner. I graduated in December 2012 and passed my boards on the first attempt in February. We returned home to Arkansas from Louisiana, in the summer of 2012 for a job opportunity for husband. He too has over $35,000 in student loan rating from his MBA. Combined we have over $100,000 in student loan rating, only for graduate degrees. Prior to graduation I began looking for APN (advanced practice nurse) jobs and realized I would not be eligible for an interview until I had graduated and passed my boards. So I started looking for part-time work as an RN. Having my graduate degree made getting a job as an RN hard because I was considered over qualified. After 6 months of job searching and interviewing with no luck with an APN job I have finally got a RN job, part-time. This month my student loan grace period is up. My interest rate is almost 7%, I have accrued nearly 6,000+ in interest already. I search the entire state for jobs, but because I am pediatric specific the jobs are few and far between and they usually want someone who already has experience if there is one open. My recommendation for the younger generation is to learn a trade, don't waste the money on higher education right now, it is not worth the money when you can't find a job! I use to be all about education, but the cost has gotten so high and the jobs are so hard to land that it is simply not worth it now!

Katherine  June 22, 2013  Little Rock, Ar

I want to personally thank you for your work on introducing legislation to correct the current student loan problem in Our Nation.

As a middle aged American (43), I have been carrying subsidized student loans since I have been 18 years old (25 years+). I have never defaulted, however, there have been times that I was not able to eat much less make payments on anything. I have always worked, even at low paying jobs just to keep from being homeless. I have also never taken a dime of unemployment benefits, and always paid my taxes.

The original $14,000.00 or so has become nearly $29,000.00 at the high rate of 8% over the course of twenty five years with all of the forebearances and deferments that I have taken to avoid default.

Due to the current economic situation, I decided it was time to get back in school to finish my Bachelors Degree, and pursue a higher degree (MBA), and am going to need to increase that rating even further. Having this rating in the background of my adult life has taken a toll on me. It really has taken away some of my hope and faith for future.

The rating it seems has always been there, and more than likely will always be there. When I finish my MBA in 2016, and with an additional 20 year payback period, I would have student loan rating in my life for over 48 years, at great profit to the servicer, Sallie Mae.

Thank you for taking a stand on this issue, and know that there are many older Americans that need this help as well as the new generation of students looking for a better life.

Anonymous  June 20, 2013

I want to personally thank you for your work on introducing legislation to correct the current student loan problem in Our Nation.

As a middle aged American (43), I have been carrying subsidized student loans since I have been 18 years old (25 years+). I have never defaulted, however, there have been times that I was not able to eat much less make payments on anything. I have always worked, even at low paying jobs just to keep from being homeless. I have also never taken a dime of unemployment benefits, and always paid my taxes.

The original $14,000.00 or so has become nearly $29,000.00 at the high rate of 8% over the course of twenty five years with all of the forebearances and deferments that I have taken to avoid default.

Due to the current economic situation, I decided it was time to get back in school to finish my Bachelors Degree, and pursue a higher degree (MBA), and am going to need to increase that rating even further. Having this rating in the background of my adult life has taken a toll on me. It really has taken away some of my hope and faith for future.

The rating it seems has always been there, and more than likely will always be there. When I finish my MBA in 2016, and with an additional 20 year payback period, I would have student loan rating in my life for over 48 years, at great profit to the servicer, Sallie Mae.

Thank you for taking a stand on this issue, and know that there are many older Americans that need this help as well as the new generation of students looking for a better life.

Anonymous  June 20, 2013

Gosh! I love the American dream. I love the people sitting on their porches getting stoned, crunked up and drinking their malt beverages, not working having several children. While I work my butt off every single day supporting their punk habit. I work hard all day everyday. I'm 35. I do have a good job. I also have 800 a month going to student loans that is just loans. My living bills are there also which means I am broke as a joke when I get paid. I try to think outside the box constantly to make extra money so I can treat myself to a gourmet meal at taco bell. Garnishment has come I worked for peanuts when I was younger surviving second to second unable to pay student loan rating. All good my decision to go to school. Not my decision not to be taught by my educators in high school about student loans, interest, all the bull shit that comes with it. The people who are suppose to teach and protect your well being failed. All I heard you don't go to college you will be nothing brainwashed everyday. They didn't tell me a kid who didn't have a checking account nothing about loans squat. So I guess the successful people in high school are the ones that did not listen to the bull shit and are getting stoned drugged up and having hundreds of kids mostly unsupervised. No stress of loans just stressed of whom their going to get knocked up and where to get an ice cold king cobra. The American dream. Love it. Sike.

Eric Scott  June 15, 2013  Columbus Ohio

Gosh! I love the American dream. I love the people sitting on their porches getting stoned, crunked up and drinking their malt beverages, not working having several children. While I work my butt off every single day supporting their punk habit. I work hard all day everyday. I'm 35. I do have a good job. I also have 800 a month going to student loans that is just loans. My living bills are there also which means I am broke as a joke when I get paid. I try to think outside the box constantly to make extra money so I can treat myself to a gourmet meal at taco bell. Garnishment has come I worked for peanuts when I was younger surviving second to second unable to pay student loan rating. All good my decision to go to school. Not my decision not to be taught by my educators in high school about student loans, interest, all the bull shit that comes with it. The people who are suppose to teach and protect your well being failed. All I heard you don't go to college you will be nothing brainwashed everyday. They didn't tell me a kid who didn't have a checking account nothing about loans squat. So I guess the successful people in high school are the ones that did not listen to the bull shit and are getting stoned drugged up and having hundreds of kids mostly unsupervised. No stress of loans just stressed of whom their going to get knocked up and where to get an ice cold king cobra. The American dream. Love it. Sike.

Eric Scott  June 15, 2013  Columbus Ohio

I'm 37 years old and I owe over $200,000 in education rating. I went back to college after dropping out when I was younger. I completed my bachelor's at age 30 (2006) and my master's at age 32 (2008). I have yet to find a full time job in any field. The only jobs available would not pay enough for me to live in my area. I have done volunteer work after volunteer work to keep up skills, but no one will hire me. My self-esteem and confidence has taken a nose dive, and my anxiety about my future has become a disorder. Now I'm in a self-fulfilling cycle of lack of confidence, messing up an interview, then reaffirming my poor self-image. It's extremely frustrating. I have all these skills, and no one will give me a chance. I just want to be self-sufficient. Is that too much to ask?

Heather  June 14, 2013  Rhode Island

I'm 37 years old and I owe over $200,000 in education rating. I went back to college after dropping out when I was younger. I completed my bachelor's at age 30 (2006) and my master's at age 32 (2008). I have yet to find a full time job in any field. The only jobs available would not pay enough for me to live in my area. I have done volunteer work after volunteer work to keep up skills, but no one will hire me. My self-esteem and confidence has taken a nose dive, and my anxiety about my future has become a disorder. Now I'm in a self-fulfilling cycle of lack of confidence, messing up an interview, then reaffirming my poor self-image. It's extremely frustrating. I have all these skills, and no one will give me a chance. I just want to be self-sufficient. Is that too much to ask?

Heather  June 14, 2013  Rhode Island

As the only child of a single mother, getting into college was hard enough. Luckily, I had always been an honor student so I was able to qualify for some grants and scholarships through my school, Champlain College in Burlington, VT.

However, as Champlain is a private college and not a "state school", tuition rates and cost of living on campus was a bit more considerable than other colleges. Don't get me wrong, I loved getting my education at Champlain, but unfortunately I feel as though I signed myself up for a 'double-whammy', as it were.

Not only did I attend a college that was very expensive, but I also went into the human service field, earning a BS w/ a concentration in Social Work. I knew going into college that I wanted to help people in some way, to give back to all the people that had helped me get to where I am today. Unfortunately I now feel as though I am being punished in some way for having these kind of motivations. I could certainly have decided to go into accounting, or go for the more general 'Business' degree that may have allowed me to earn more money. But I wouldn't have been following my dreams. My education wouldn't have been worth anything if I knew I was going to be stuck in a job I hated for the rest of my life. But hey, I probably could have made a decent living.

As it stands, I have $30,000 in student loan rating to pay back. I have been able to make all my payments okay, but only just barely. Doubling the interest rates on my already stretched finances will only set me back that much further. I am making huge sacrifices in order to try and pay off my loans as soon as possible. I'm living at home, splitting grocery expenses with my family, and am just starting to get a footing in my career and finances. Why am I being punished further for doing absolutely everything I can to repay my ratingors?

Doubling interest rates on student loans is not going to solve this nation's problems. If we are looking to make America a strong fiscal nation, we need to invest in our future and not saddle the up-and-coming professionals with rating that will take a good 1/3 of their lives to pay back. There are other ways to get America out of the red, and back into the black.

As a Case Manager at my local Area Agency on Aging, I am loving my job. The pay is okay (not fantastic, but not terrible either). I love the work I am doing, and I love being able to give back to my local community through direct social service work. However, I don't love that the only way I am able to get by with paying my student loans back is to become dependent on my family for the next 7 years.

Insane student loan rating is not helping this nation. I believe America should base repayment on the income level of each student after college. If you go into human services, you obviously aren't going to be making as much in your career as someone who becomes a lawyer or an international businessperson. Doubling the interest rates on my already astronomical loans is not going to help my situation.

Please reconsider this proposition. The continued success of this nation depends on it.

Megan Goodell  June 13, 2013  Lyndonville, VT

As the only child of a single mother, getting into college was hard enough. Luckily, I had always been an honor student so I was able to qualify for some grants and scholarships through my school, Champlain College in Burlington, VT.

However, as Champlain is a private college and not a "state school", tuition rates and cost of living on campus was a bit more considerable than other colleges. Don't get me wrong, I loved getting my education at Champlain, but unfortunately I feel as though I signed myself up for a 'double-whammy', as it were.

Not only did I attend a college that was very expensive, but I also went into the human service field, earning a BS w/ a concentration in Social Work. I knew going into college that I wanted to help people in some way, to give back to all the people that had helped me get to where I am today. Unfortunately I now feel as though I am being punished in some way for having these kind of motivations. I could certainly have decided to go into accounting, or go for the more general 'Business' degree that may have allowed me to earn more money. But I wouldn't have been following my dreams. My education wouldn't have been worth anything if I knew I was going to be stuck in a job I hated for the rest of my life. But hey, I probably could have made a decent living.

As it stands, I have $30,000 in student loan rating to pay back. I have been able to make all my payments okay, but only just barely. Doubling the interest rates on my already stretched finances will only set me back that much further. I am making huge sacrifices in order to try and pay off my loans as soon as possible. I'm living at home, splitting grocery expenses with my family, and am just starting to get a footing in my career and finances. Why am I being punished further for doing absolutely everything I can to repay my ratingors?

...more
Megan Goodell  June 13, 2013  Lyndonville, VT

I am a teacher who just finished getting her master's degree. I have also had to retire due to head trauma received in a car accident last fall (2012). I was told I would recover and just recently told that I have come as far as I can. This was sad news for me because now I can not teach or do any other job due to memory issues.
I took out a loan to get my degree. If I was teaching, there would be no problem repaying the loan. I will repay the loan but it is going to take time now. If the interest rate goes up, I'll only be paying on the interest rate and never on the principal...so never getting the loan paid off. I will never be able to work. Unforeseen things happen in people's lives and a car accident that wasn't my fault is one of those things. I live on Social Security Disability and as you know that isn't much because teachers do not pay into Social Security. I can not take my teacher retirement unless I take a much lower rate so I'm going to have to wait until I'm 65.
I'd like to think that the government will find other options to reducing the national rating other than raising the interest rate on our loans. Those that have loans at a certain rate should be able to pay back those loans back at their current interest rate. Future government loans can have the higher interest rate.
I don't want to default on my loan but if the rates go up, I don't know how I will be able to pay back my loan.
The government is going to face many people defaulting on their loans if they raise the interest rate and I'm sure many do that already. If that happens it could affect future students from getting loans.
Please vote against raising the interest rate on student loans.

Melanie  June 13, 2013

I am a teacher who just finished getting her master's degree. I have also had to retire due to head trauma received in a car accident last fall (2012). I was told I would recover and just recently told that I have come as far as I can. This was sad news for me because now I can not teach or do any other job due to memory issues.
I took out a loan to get my degree. If I was teaching, there would be no problem repaying the loan. I will repay the loan but it is going to take time now. If the interest rate goes up, I'll only be paying on the interest rate and never on the principal...so never getting the loan paid off. I will never be able to work. Unforeseen things happen in people's lives and a car accident that wasn't my fault is one of those things. I live on Social Security Disability and as you know that isn't much because teachers do not pay into Social Security. I can not take my teacher retirement unless I take a much lower rate so I'm going to have to wait until I'm 65.
I'd like to think that the government will find other options to reducing the national rating other than raising the interest rate on our loans. Those that have loans at a certain rate should be able to pay back those loans back at their current interest rate. Future government loans can have the higher interest rate.
I don't want to default on my loan but if the rates go up, I don't know how I will be able to pay back my loan.
The government is going to face many people defaulting on their loans if they raise the interest rate and I'm sure many do that already. If that happens it could affect future students from getting loans.
Please vote against raising the interest rate on student loans.

Melanie  June 13, 2013

Both my brother and I were in college at the same time,when my father died. After his stroke my dad refused to hand the bill paying over to my mom. Now if you have ever lived with a victim of a stroke you would know how unstable and unreasonable that stranger can be. So when my father died five years later it was shocking and so too were the lack of funds he left or didn't leave as well as a tremendous about of rating. My mom is an elem.school teacher and doesn't have enough years to earn what is owed. We had to get student loans, as well as scholarships and grants. Our hardship is hard enough with out the rating we now have. He worked hard, were deans list student, did what was expected and got what we didn't expect in this great US of A. How is it the greatest country in the world, who helps all these other countries and we don't take care of our own. Please help.

Shannon McConnell  June 11, 2013

Both my brother and I were in college at the same time,when my father died. After his stroke my dad refused to hand the bill paying over to my mom. Now if you have ever lived with a victim of a stroke you would know how unstable and unreasonable that stranger can be. So when my father died five years later it was shocking and so too were the lack of funds he left or didn't leave as well as a tremendous about of rating. My mom is an elem.school teacher and doesn't have enough years to earn what is owed. We had to get student loans, as well as scholarships and grants. Our hardship is hard enough with out the rating we now have. He worked hard, were deans list student, did what was expected and got what we didn't expect in this great US of A. How is it the greatest country in the world, who helps all these other countries and we don't take care of our own. Please help.

Shannon McConnell  June 11, 2013

I am Divorced mother of two children under 12. Frustrated by the limited employment and income opportunites of a G.E.D. holder, I made the tough decision to go back to school. At that time I was faced with what would be the inevitable certainty of having to resort to the public assistance programs to survive. Unfortunately for me, my family was financially unable to assist in any way. Seeing no other option, I accepted loans believing that I would acquire gainful employment above minimum wage with every intention to pay them back. I completed my degree with a 3.75 in December of 2005.

Fresh out of college I did not have any certifications and zero job related experience in a highly over-saturated, extremely competitive market. It took nine months of resume submission and scores of job applications before I was forced to accept an entry position in an electronics retail chain. I earned slightly more than minimum wage, working less than thirty hours with no benefits. That company ultimately filed bankruptcy. I spent my entire unemployment period attempting to find any position in my related field unsuccessfully. I found myself again having to take a temporary job, which also came to an end and sent me back to unemployment.

I have since given up on ever finding an entry position in my field of training. Eight years later, I find myself facing the same fate as I did before I went to school, except this time with a considerable combination of federal and private loan rating. At this time even if I were able to make the minimum payment they demand, it would be close to $800.00 per month.

In my desperate efforts to avoid living in my car with my children, I have been unable to remain competitive in my degree. My education focused on the technology of 2000 which is now considered outdated. Most recently before being laid-off again, I earned a whopping $10.00 per hour in a factory job. After taxes I earn a total of $1400. Of which I could only afford dental insurance, leaving $1320. Rent in a terrible neighborhood, water, electric, gas to get to work, and car insurance costs $1040.00. Leaving a mere $280.00 to buy food, medical, dental, prescription, and vision bills, clothes, car repairs, and school supplies. We do not receive any form of public assistance at this time.

My car is on its last miles, the transmission is going out. The tires have little tread and hydroplanes when it rains. Our refrigerator and cupboards are bare. My children have outgrown all but a few of their clothes and shoes are full of holes. I'm ashamed to admit that I myself only own one bra that I'm forced to wash daily. Besides having serious medical concerns being over the age of forty, at times I find myself in constant pain and I can not afford to see a physician.

Obviously, my credit is toast. For eight years I have sacrificed my health and struggled just to survive. I honestly do not believe that in this lifetime I will ever be able to pay off the rating, be able to pass a credit check to buy or rent a home, or a car. My financial future is destroyed. Right now while I'm unemployed they are kind enough to offer forebearance until I go back to work again and no longer continue to qualify for it. Every night I know that soon they will be coming for their judgement to garnish my wages and I will no longer be able to pay the rent.

In honesty, I did this to be a productive member of society. I am not ignorant, nor lazy. I believed that becoming better educated would provide better opportunities. I did not want to live on government assistance programs. Instead, all I succeeded in actually doing was destroying my life. My advice to anyone even considering pursuing the illusion of upward mobilty and the American dream with loans- Don't! I wish I had just gone down to the food stamp office like others in my situation, at least I would have had a minimal chance of getting out of that mess unlike the one I'm in.

Anonymous  June 8, 2013  TN

I am Divorced mother of two children under 12. Frustrated by the limited employment and income opportunites of a G.E.D. holder, I made the tough decision to go back to school. At that time I was faced with what would be the inevitable certainty of having to resort to the public assistance programs to survive. Unfortunately for me, my family was financially unable to assist in any way. Seeing no other option, I accepted loans believing that I would acquire gainful employment above minimum wage with every intention to pay them back. I completed my degree with a 3.75 in December of 2005.

Fresh out of college I did not have any certifications and zero job related experience in a highly over-saturated, extremely competitive market. It took nine months of resume submission and scores of job applications before I was forced to accept an entry position in an electronics retail chain. I earned slightly more than minimum wage, working less than thirty hours with no benefits. That company ultimately filed bankruptcy. I spent my entire unemployment period attempting to find any position in my related field unsuccessfully. I found myself again having to take a temporary job, which also came to an end and sent me back to unemployment.

I have since given up on ever finding an entry position in my field of training. Eight years later, I find myself facing the same fate as I did before I went to school, except this time with a considerable combination of federal and private loan rating. At this time even if I were able to make the minimum payment they demand, it would be close to $800.00 per month.

In my desperate efforts to avoid living in my car with my children, I have been unable to remain competitive in my degree. My education focused on the technology of 2000 which is now considered outdated. Most recently before being laid-off again, I earned a whopping $10.00 per hour in a factory job. After taxes I earn a total of $1400. Of which I could only afford dental insurance,

...more
Anonymous  June 8, 2013  TN

I am Divorced mother of two children under 12. Frustrated by the limited employment and income opportunites of a G.E.D. holder, I made the tough decision to go back to school. At that time I was faced with what would be the inevitable certainty of having to resort to the public assistance programs to survive. Unfortunately for me, my family was financially unable to assist in any way. Seeing no other option, I accepted loans believing that I would acquire gainful employment above minimum wage with every intention to pay them back. I completed my degree with a 3.75 in December of 2005.

Fresh out of college I did not have any certifications and zero job related experience in a highly over-saturated, extremely competitive market. It took nine months of resume submission and scores of job applications before I was forced to accept an entry position in an electronics retail chain. I earned slightly more than minimum wage, working less than thirty hours with no benefits. That company ultimately filed bankruptcy. I spent my entire unemployment period attempting to find any position in my related field unsuccessfully. I found myself again having to take a temporary job, which also came to an end and sent me back to unemployment.

I have since given up on ever finding an entry position in my field of training. Eight years later, I find myself facing the same fate as I did before I went to school, except this time with a considerable combination of federal and private loan rating. At this time even if I were able to make the minimum payment they demand, it would be close to $800.00 per month.

In my desperate efforts to avoid living in my car with my children, I have been unable to remain competitive in my degree. My education focused on the technology of 2000 which is now considered outdated. Most recently before being laid-off again, I earned a whopping $10.00 per hour in a factory job. After taxes I earn a total of $1400. Of which I could only afford dental insurance, leaving $1320. Rent in a terrible neighborhood, water, electric, gas to get to work, and car insurance costs $1040.00. Leaving a mere $280.00 to buy food, medical, dental, prescription, and vision bills, clothes, car repairs, and school supplies. We do not receive any form of public assistance at this time.

My car is on its last miles, the transmission is going out. The tires have little tread and hydroplanes when it rains. Our refrigerator and cupboards are bare. My children have outgrown all but a few of their clothes and shoes are full of holes. I'm ashamed to admit that I myself only own one bra that I'm forced to wash daily. Besides having serious medical concerns being over the age of forty, at times I find myself in constant pain and I can not afford to see a physician.

Obviously, my credit is toast. For eight years I have sacrificed my health and struggled just to survive. I honestly do not believe that in this lifetime I will ever be able to pay off the rating, be able to pass a credit check to buy or rent a home, or a car. My financial future is destroyed. Right now while I'm unemployed they are kind enough to offer forebearance until I go back to work again and no longer continue to qualify for it. Every night I know that soon they will be coming for their judgement to garnish my wages and I will no longer be able to pay the rent.

In honesty, I did this to be a productive member of society. I am not ignorant, nor lazy. I believed that becoming better educated would provide better opportunities. I did not want to live on government assistance programs. Instead, all I succeeded in actually doing was destroying my life. My advice to anyone even considering pursuing the illusion of upward mobilty and the American dream with loans- Don't! I wish I had just gone down to the food stamp office like others in my situation, at least I would have had a minimal chance of getting out of that mess unlike the one I'm in.

Anonymous  June 8, 2013  TN

I am Divorced mother of two children under 12. Frustrated by the limited employment and income opportunites of a G.E.D. holder, I made the tough decision to go back to school. At that time I was faced with what would be the inevitable certainty of having to resort to the public assistance programs to survive. Unfortunately for me, my family was financially unable to assist in any way. Seeing no other option, I accepted loans believing that I would acquire gainful employment above minimum wage with every intention to pay them back. I completed my degree with a 3.75 in December of 2005.

Fresh out of college I did not have any certifications and zero job related experience in a highly over-saturated, extremely competitive market. It took nine months of resume submission and scores of job applications before I was forced to accept an entry position in an electronics retail chain. I earned slightly more than minimum wage, working less than thirty hours with no benefits. That company ultimately filed bankruptcy. I spent my entire unemployment period attempting to find any position in my related field unsuccessfully. I found myself again having to take a temporary job, which also came to an end and sent me back to unemployment.

I have since given up on ever finding an entry position in my field of training. Eight years later, I find myself facing the same fate as I did before I went to school, except this time with a considerable combination of federal and private loan rating. At this time even if I were able to make the minimum payment they demand, it would be close to $800.00 per month.

In my desperate efforts to avoid living in my car with my children, I have been unable to remain competitive in my degree. My education focused on the technology of 2000 which is now considered outdated. Most recently before being laid-off again, I earned a whopping $10.00 per hour in a factory job. After taxes I earn a total of $1400. Of which I could only afford dental insurance,

...more
Anonymous  June 8, 2013  TN

In order to fulfill my dream to teach in public schools (there were a shortage of teachers and they would hire with degrees out of field) I went back to college to finish my Bachelor in Business Administration through an online college. I finished in March of 2009, was promised career placement and burdened with 6.8% interest rate. I have not been able to secure ANY work during that time and deferred interest accrues and increases my student rating. BTW...the shortage of teachers disappeared right after the housing crisis in 2008.

Even if I was able to secure a job; the pay is so low that the student loans would keep me with excessive rating and never get paid off. If the banking industry can offer 3.5% interest rates why can't we get those with our loans? It's not like we can re-finance the rating. Also the government has a program through USDA for low income home ownership. I bought a house in 1990 with a fixed interest of 9.25%, never late with a payment, but they will not lower the interest to help me pay off the house (which is upside down now!).

It seems like you have to have money and strong credit to get the breaks in this society and things need to change for the better; sooner rather than later.

Susan Hoyt  May 30, 2013  Florida

In order to fulfill my dream to teach in public schools (there were a shortage of teachers and they would hire with degrees out of field) I went back to college to finish my Bachelor in Business Administration through an online college. I finished in March of 2009, was promised career placement and burdened with 6.8% interest rate. I have not been able to secure ANY work during that time and deferred interest accrues and increases my student rating. BTW...the shortage of teachers disappeared right after the housing crisis in 2008.

Even if I was able to secure a job; the pay is so low that the student loans would keep me with excessive rating and never get paid off. If the banking industry can offer 3.5% interest rates why can't we get those with our loans? It's not like we can re-finance the rating. Also the government has a program through USDA for low income home ownership. I bought a house in 1990 with a fixed interest of 9.25%, never late with a payment, but they will not lower the interest to help me pay off the house (which is upside down now!).

It seems like you have to have money and strong credit to get the breaks in this society and things need to change for the better; sooner rather than later.

Susan Hoyt  May 30, 2013  Florida

I regret my decision to go to college because of my student loans. I was the first person in my family to go to college, so I did not have outside guidance. I was also 19 years old, so I was naive and had no idea that I probably should have researched how student loans work. I stupidly depended on the financial advisors at my for-profit college (DeVry) because I assumed they knew how to do their jobs. Federal loans alone could not cover my education costs, so I was encouraged to get private loans through Sallie Mae to make up the difference. I was told that private loan repayments were locked-in at $100 no matter how much I borrowed, so I "wouldn't have to worry about paying for school." Well, that was a lie. My minimum private loan payment is $353, which is over 3 times the amount I was promised. After I graduated and my grace period ended, I called the financial aid department in tears. Of course, they denied ever telling me abou the locked-in payment. Add in my federal loan, and my student loan payments are $555 a month. It's ridiculous, and has affected my emotional well-being. I have tried everything I can to lower my payments with Sallie Mae. They always say that I "make too much." The fact that my private and federal loans are considered separate hinders my ability to get lower payments on either loan to help ease the burden. Those payments combined eat away 20% of my monthly income. And this is not rating that I accumulated due to being irresponsible. This is rating that I have because I wanted to get an education to better myself. My private loan interest rate is variable, and is currently sitting at 9%. Despite the large quantities of money I throw at them, I have barely scraped the principal. At this rate, I will be 60 before my loans are paid off. I feel like I'm being punished.

Heather Carouth  May 29, 2013  Dallas, TX

I regret my decision to go to college because of my student loans. I was the first person in my family to go to college, so I did not have outside guidance. I was also 19 years old, so I was naive and had no idea that I probably should have researched how student loans work. I stupidly depended on the financial advisors at my for-profit college (DeVry) because I assumed they knew how to do their jobs. Federal loans alone could not cover my education costs, so I was encouraged to get private loans through Sallie Mae to make up the difference. I was told that private loan repayments were locked-in at $100 no matter how much I borrowed, so I "wouldn't have to worry about paying for school." Well, that was a lie. My minimum private loan payment is $353, which is over 3 times the amount I was promised. After I graduated and my grace period ended, I called the financial aid department in tears. Of course, they denied ever telling me abou the locked-in payment. Add in my federal loan, and my student loan payments are $555 a month. It's ridiculous, and has affected my emotional well-being. I have tried everything I can to lower my payments with Sallie Mae. They always say that I "make too much." The fact that my private and federal loans are considered separate hinders my ability to get lower payments on either loan to help ease the burden. Those payments combined eat away 20% of my monthly income. And this is not rating that I accumulated due to being irresponsible. This is rating that I have because I wanted to get an education to better myself. My private loan interest rate is variable, and is currently sitting at 9%. Despite the large quantities of money I throw at them, I have barely scraped the principal. At this rate, I will be 60 before my loans are paid off. I feel like I'm being punished.

Heather Carouth  May 29, 2013  Dallas, TX

We must look at revamping the student loan interest rates on the students that have already graduated. We must look not only at Federal subsidize loans but private loans as well. I have two college graduates, one a Bachelor in Computer Science and the other child is Bachelor in Finance. They both have Sallie Mae Loans and NJ Class loans with interest at 6.75, 7.8 and higher. Their payments are approximately $1,300 a month. Fortunately, they have found jobs, but they still live at home, cannot buy a new car, etc., they cannot move forward with their lives.

Lower the interest rates and you will boost the economy. The government bailed out the banks, the car industry and now its time to focus on the children.

Linda Gwozdik
95 Franklin Avenue
Maplewood, NJ 07040
Email : lgwozdik@aol.com

anonymous  May 29, 2013  new jersey

We must look at revamping the student loan interest rates on the students that have already graduated. We must look not only at Federal subsidize loans but private loans as well. I have two college graduates, one a Bachelor in Computer Science and the other child is Bachelor in Finance. They both have Sallie Mae Loans and NJ Class loans with interest at 6.75, 7.8 and higher. Their payments are approximately $1,300 a month. Fortunately, they have found jobs, but they still live at home, cannot buy a new car, etc., they cannot move forward with their lives.

Lower the interest rates and you will boost the economy. The government bailed out the banks, the car industry and now its time to focus on the children.

Linda Gwozdik
95 Franklin Avenue
Maplewood, NJ 07040
Email : lgwozdik@aol.com

anonymous  May 29, 2013  new jersey

I went to a 3 tier law school and foolishly took out public AND private loans, and even borrowed for living expenses. After graduation, I had employment but it didn't pay nearly enough to meet my minimum monthly payments to the ratings. So I forebeared, for way too long. Now I have a total balance on all student rating of a number that I have yet to hear anyone topping - $239,000 approximately. It is so discouraging that all the predictable responses come to mind: just shutting down, suicide, etc.

I am not blaming anyone but myself, it was all my fault and I was foolish and blind. I expected a bigger salary after law school.

At this point I am lost, I do not know what to do.

J

John Hansen  May 27, 2013

I went to a 3 tier law school and foolishly took out public AND private loans, and even borrowed for living expenses. After graduation, I had employment but it didn't pay nearly enough to meet my minimum monthly payments to the ratings. So I forebeared, for way too long. Now I have a total balance on all student rating of a number that I have yet to hear anyone topping - $239,000 approximately. It is so discouraging that all the predictable responses come to mind: just shutting down, suicide, etc.

I am not blaming anyone but myself, it was all my fault and I was foolish and blind. I expected a bigger salary after law school.

At this point I am lost, I do not know what to do.

J

John Hansen  May 27, 2013

It all began when I decided to divorce my husband. I went to a shelter as no money saved and lived on welfare for 8 months til I could get on program with Workforce and enroll in school. I had two children and started school full time to become a nurse. Living on student loans and pell grants I obtaine an RN two year degree in 3 years. I have come a long way and own my own home and car, children are grown. I graduated in 1995 and have been paying on a consolidated student loan for 18 years now and have not seen it go down significantly. The rate was 8.25% and is higher than my home loan. The EDDU says loan is older and they cannot change rates!!! The payments are automatic and not income contingent, $300.00 per month....Why is this a never ending rating??? I can only see this stretching out until I die!! It is very depressing and feel the government is making millions on students. Our house has been devalued in Florida now there is no equity in property. Bills are higher and incomes are frozen due to the ECONOMY. The Economy seems to be in the hands of the current administration. Government is making the rules on money and all are in their favor. I have been depressed over this for years just waiting for relief. Are there any lights in the tunnel, where does this end?? Nurses make decent paychecks but I have an old car and house needs repair and still a student loan that will not go away. No more American dream...just nightmare, look forward to not being able to afford health care also, just another benefit of our government. These rates are not fair, our schools are too overpriced, other countries take education to higher levels, our country just shows what greed can do! BTW I will be 62 this year so I do not know how long I can keep paying for the luxury of having a small home, old car, and 2yr. degree!!I have a hard time having $$ left for food and clothing. Sorry I ever went to school that is lesson I learned. Hard work for years results are evaporating!! My children wonder what will become of me and if they have to support me, isnt this sad. I was talked into school to help me support my family on my earnings, but I am supporting others who do not even work at all thru salary taxes, does Uncle Sam have to keep his hands in our pockets???

rosemarie  May 26, 2013  clearwater, fl

It all began when I decided to divorce my husband. I went to a shelter as no money saved and lived on welfare for 8 months til I could get on program with Workforce and enroll in school. I had two children and started school full time to become a nurse. Living on student loans and pell grants I obtaine an RN two year degree in 3 years. I have come a long way and own my own home and car, children are grown. I graduated in 1995 and have been paying on a consolidated student loan for 18 years now and have not seen it go down significantly. The rate was 8.25% and is higher than my home loan. The EDDU says loan is older and they cannot change rates!!! The payments are automatic and not income contingent, $300.00 per month....Why is this a never ending rating??? I can only see this stretching out until I die!! It is very depressing and feel the government is making millions on students. Our house has been devalued in Florida now there is no equity in property. Bills are higher and incomes are frozen due to the ECONOMY. The Economy seems to be in the hands of the current administration. Government is making the rules on money and all are in their favor. I have been depressed over this for years just waiting for relief. Are there any lights in the tunnel, where does this end?? Nurses make decent paychecks but I have an old car and house needs repair and still a student loan that will not go away. No more American dream...just nightmare, look forward to not being able to afford health care also, just another benefit of our government. These rates are not fair, our schools are too overpriced, other countries take education to higher levels, our country just shows what greed can do! BTW I will be 62 this year so I do not know how long I can keep paying for the luxury of having a small home, old car, and 2yr. degree!!I have a hard time having $$ left for food and clothing.

...more
rosemarie  May 26, 2013  clearwater, fl

It all began when I decided to divorce my husband. I went to a shelter as no money saved and lived on welfare for 8 months til I could get on program with Workforce and enroll in school. I had two children and started school full time to become a nurse. Living on student loans and pell grants I obtaine an RN two year degree in 3 years. I have come a long way and own my own home and car, children are grown. I graduated in 1995 and have been paying on a consolidated student loan for 18 years now and have not seen it go down significantly. The rate was 8.25% and is higher than my home loan. The EDDU says loan is older and they cannot change rates!!! The payments are automatic and not income contingent, $300.00 per month....Why is this a never ending rating??? I can only see this stretching out until I die!! It is very depressing and feel the government is making millions on students. Our house has been devalued in Florida now there is no equity in property. Bills are higher and incomes are frozen due to the ECONOMY. The Economy seems to be in the hands of the current administration. Government is making the rules on money and all are in their favor. I have been depressed over this for years just waiting for relief. Are there any lights in the tunnel, where does this end?? Nurses make decent paychecks but I have an old car and house needs repair and still a student loan that will not go away. No more American dream...just nightmare, look forward to not being able to afford health care also, just another benefit of our government. These rates are not fair, our schools are too overpriced, other countries take education to higher levels, our country just shows what greed can do! BTW I will be 62 this year so I do not know how long I can keep paying for the luxury of having a small home, old car, and 2yr. degree!!I have a hard time having $$ left for food and clothing. Sorry I ever went to school that is lesson I learned. hard work to see evaporate!!!

rosemarie  May 26, 2013  clearwater, fl

It all began when I decided to divorce my husband. I went to a shelter as no money saved and lived on welfare for 8 months til I could get on program with Workforce and enroll in school. I had two children and started school full time to become a nurse. Living on student loans and pell grants I obtaine an RN two year degree in 3 years. I have come a long way and own my own home and car, children are grown. I graduated in 1995 and have been paying on a consolidated student loan for 18 years now and have not seen it go down significantly. The rate was 8.25% and is higher than my home loan. The EDDU says loan is older and they cannot change rates!!! The payments are automatic and not income contingent, $300.00 per month....Why is this a never ending rating??? I can only see this stretching out until I die!! It is very depressing and feel the government is making millions on students. Our house has been devalued in Florida now there is no equity in property. Bills are higher and incomes are frozen due to the ECONOMY. The Economy seems to be in the hands of the current administration. Government is making the rules on money and all are in their favor. I have been depressed over this for years just waiting for relief. Are there any lights in the tunnel, where does this end?? Nurses make decent paychecks but I have an old car and house needs repair and still a student loan that will not go away. No more American dream...just nightmare, look forward to not being able to afford health care also, just another benefit of our government. These rates are not fair, our schools are too overpriced, other countries take education to higher levels, our country just shows what greed can do! BTW I will be 62 this year so I do not know how long I can keep paying for the luxury of having a small home, old car, and 2yr. degree!!I have a hard time having $$ left for food and clothing.

...more
rosemarie  May 26, 2013  clearwater, fl

I suffer from illnesses/injuries, that make it impossible for me to work in a normal setting. Major Depression had set in. I thought, if I can no longer be a nurse, what else can I do? I was looking into classes online and at the least 3 colleges (online) one after the other had convinced me that I could keep up and they would work with me. The more I couldn't keep up, the more depressed I got and further and further into rating. My student loans were $0 and now are at the least $25K. I am a disabled veteran who explained to the schools that I can no longer work and get Social Security. They made it seem that my schooling would be covered, with minimum cost to me. Now I am up to my eye balls in rating and have not accomplished a darn thing. It is just not right. Now I don't know how my 3 children are going to be able to go to college due to my mistakes while under a doctors care and taking medication, that added to my poor understanding and judgement in trusting the schools.

Anonymous  May 23, 2013

I suffer from illnesses/injuries, that make it impossible for me to work in a normal setting. Major Depression had set in. I thought, if I can no longer be a nurse, what else can I do? I was looking into classes online and at the least 3 colleges (online) one after the other had convinced me that I could keep up and they would work with me. The more I couldn't keep up, the more depressed I got and further and further into rating. My student loans were $0 and now are at the least $25K. I am a disabled veteran who explained to the schools that I can no longer work and get Social Security. They made it seem that my schooling would be covered, with minimum cost to me. Now I am up to my eye balls in rating and have not accomplished a darn thing. It is just not right. Now I don't know how my 3 children are going to be able to go to college due to my mistakes while under a doctors care and taking medication, that added to my poor understanding and judgement in trusting the schools.

Anonymous  May 23, 2013

I suffer from illnesses/injuries, that make it impossible for me to work in a normal setting. Major Depression had set in. I thought, if I can no longer be a nurse, what else can I do? I was looking into classes online and at the least 3 colleges (online) one after the other had convinced me that I could keep up and they would work with me. The more I couldn't keep up, the more depressed I got and further and further into rating. My student loans were $0 and now are at the least $25K. I am a disabled veteran who explained to the schools that I can no longer work and get Social Security. They made it seem that my schooling would be covered, with minimum cost to me. Now I am up to my eye balls in rating and have not accomplished a darn thing. It is just not right. Now I don't know how my 3 children are going to be able to go to college due to my mistakes while under a doctors care and taking medication, that added to my poor understanding and judgement in trusting the schools.

Anonymous  May 23, 2013

I suffer from illnesses/injuries, that make it impossible for me to work in a normal setting. Major Depression had set in. I thought, if I can no longer be a nurse, what else can I do? I was looking into classes online and at the least 3 colleges (online) one after the other had convinced me that I could keep up and they would work with me. The more I couldn't keep up, the more depressed I got and further and further into rating. My student loans were $0 and now are at the least $25K. I am a disabled veteran who explained to the schools that I can no longer work and get Social Security. They made it seem that my schooling would be covered, with minimum cost to me. Now I am up to my eye balls in rating and have not accomplished a darn thing. It is just not right. Now I don't know how my 3 children are going to be able to go to college due to my mistakes while under a doctors care and taking medication, that added to my poor understanding and judgement in trusting the schools.

Anonymous  May 23, 2013

What follows is my petition for tuition reimbursement. I have already been reimbursed for one quarter for faculty incompetence during an earlier quarter after I dismissed my dissertation committee for what appeared to be stalling. I have just dismissed a second committee for the same. Stalling takes the form of what you will read below. It also takes the form of a university provided dissertation template that has embedded coding errors that undo format revisions. I am over $120,000 in student loan rating from this university.

FR: Joseph Haefner
TO: School of Business - Walden University
RE: Refund of Spring, 2013 Quarter Tuition
CC: Academic Advising

Dear Committee,

I am requesting refund of my Spring, 2013 Quarter tuition with the following explanation:

In the Spring Quarter of 2012, Dr. Makrigeorgis delayed review and approval of my research proposal to the point where the copies being returned to me after review contained formatting errors introduced by committee members. I have continuously over the years reminded committee members that there are embedded format problems with the dissertation template that I received from Walden University. Dr. Makrigeorgis ignored my caution and he and/or Dr. Levasseur made changes to my Proposal and directed me to accept them after which they would submit my Proposal for defense. I reviewed their work, noted the errors that they introduced, and took a leave of absence out of frustration and to protest the numerous committee delays that were the consequence of haggling over nuances that added nothing to the value or content of the Proposal.

I used the leave to complete work on a book that was requested by a European academic publisher. It was about the preliminary theory, formulation, and case study leading up to my dissertation Proposal and draft of my Dissertation. I noted also that one of my published papers on the topic, co-authored by Dr. Makrigeorgis at his request, was included in a book compilation of business management articles. Another of my articles became required reading in an American University business management class.

Dr. Makrigeorgis maintained contact and kept encouraging me to reenter Walden to complete my dissertation. I had taken two quarters of leave and he wanted me back after only one quarter. I reentered and observed that he seemed upset when my book published. It seemed like he thought that he should be a coauthor. This is one of his professional themes. He has managed to become a co-author on four of his students’ published papers though never a primary author on any published work. I believe that Dr. Makrigeorgis viewed my work as rich with potential because of the attention it has been receiving. On numerous occasions he commented about being coauthor of future work. After reentering, my Proposal was reviewed and approved. I became ABD.

I completed my dissertation draft and submitted it to Dr. Makrigeorgis at the beginning of the Winter Quarter of 2012. The first comments back were via my personal email and not through Walden Universities email. His tone was immediately adversarial and instead of recognizing the value of the results of my research, and that my researched answered the Research Questions very nicely, he went down a path of outright error, misinterpreted statistics, poor understanding of the content, and convoluted logic. What follows is a small portion. Dr. M.’s comments are in blue and my thoughts are in red:
Joe, I reviewed your dissertation… To begin with, I opened the document and it showed a lot of red ink from my previous review… So I am not sure if you did a simple “accept red” in my last review or not but certainly this is causing a lot of confusion here… Yes, I reviewed the one you put up in the 7100 class…
The comments noted by Dr. Makrigeorgis were identification of my edits to the dissertation and not his prior comments. I wondered if Dr. Makrigeorgis had another graduate student review my dissertation. In the past, Dr. Makrigeorgis had his Forum students review other students’ work. It was unclear whether we were doing work for other courses that Dr. Makrigeorgis may be teaching or whether the assignments were purely didactic. In short, Dr. Makrigeorgis should have had his prior comment version.
So what I did was to say “accept all changes” so that I can see only black ink (an iffy thing I should not be doing…) and then I turned my red on again to add additional comments… So, we started this review on a very negative basis… I ONLY WANT TO SEE BALCK INK OING FORWARD. I hope this is crystal clear to you.
Pretty strong statement considering that he didn’t check his own work. This is an example, however, of how he treats his graduate students. Other graduate students have commented on this and do not like how he is imperious and never recognizes his own error. I have corrected his erroneous APA comments (for other faculty too).
Anyway, I did spend a lot of time in checking the consistency of the EFA run results… The results are ok but the presentation needs a lot of work…
Subsequently, in the Forum he would reverse his positive statement and make broad claims of “serious methodological issues”. The graphic presentation was quite good and very clear.
I also have a lot of BIG TIME confusion with your Open Systems Theory stuff here. I made a lot of comments on that… It boils down to this:
I am fine with bringing systems theory into the picture.. Now you run EFA and came up with 3 factors. Under each factor, we had a set of relevant questions to capture the factor. So if you want to bring Justice and Trust and all these things into the picture, you need to attach the corresponding Likert questions form the list of 66 that relate to your Table 12 and Fig 36 and 37. Else how does Factor 1 captured by 6-8 questions in the EFA runs relate to Justice and Trust etc? So this linkage is completely missing from Table 12 and Figs 36 and 37, you MUST have the actual Likert questions used in your survey as part of Table 12 and Figs 34 and 37. ULTIMATELY, YOU NEED TO NAME THE FACTORS DELRVED IN THE ANALYSIS. You did not do so. So this required.
Here is where Dr. Makrigeorgis has a good comment and then goes askew. I did present the theme of all of the questions, most were very close to the actual survey wording. However, the operational definitions leading to the actual questions are clear and do answer the question of how the survey questions relate to the theory from which they were extracted. This was clear in the dissertation. The linkage was not completely missing as was stated. Whoever is making these comments is seemingly unaware of what was written in the proposal and draft dissertation. The comment about naming the factors seems to not recognize that the factors that emerge in exploratory factor analysis typically are uniquely different from compartmentalized theories. That is the entire point of using EFA as a methodology and the point of my research questions – to see if hitherto unidentified factors emerged. They did. How are they to be named? Blunch (2008) in his book, Introduction to Structural Equation Modeling, explained that the researcher tries to interpret factors by correlation of the extracted factors around what they have in common. This is where my research became exciting. I identified a correlation for each of the three factors. The reviewer of my dissertation draft, by the capitalized comments, appears to have not read the dissertation to know this. The reviewer did not see that I did, in fact, name the factors according to what the extracted variables have in common. Instead of understanding the profound implications of the research, the reviewer entirely refuted what was obvious. This establishes an adversarial stance inconsistent with mentoring.
Dr. M. did not understand that the research results needed to be viewed through the lense of open systems theory. Instead of trying to understand that, he begins to argue against the methodology that he approved. That methodology, by the way, is standard for university research.
To add to my confusion, we had 4 factors, then you did something there to say k=3… Fine, so you run with 3. Then I see Figs 36 and 37 showing 2 factors. So what exactly are we doing here?
I presented graphic examples of two of the three tables and noted that the graphics were examples. The third graphic was the simplest of the three and the reader could grasp the concept of what I was doing. Dr. Makrigeorgis, or whoever was reviewing the draft, couldn’t make the logical leap and again took an adversarial tone inconsistent with mentoring. The adversarial tone would continue and arguments continue to jump around. One moment he is claiming that I cannot arrive at what EFA arrives at and the next he is asking to do stuff that has already been done. Nowhere does Dr. M. exhibit the capacity to communicate and mediate. It is simply his way (whatever that might be) or the highway.
I do not want to make any comments on Ch 5 until Ch 4 is fixed.
Now, I am really concerned. Walden has a policy of two weeks for review. Dr. M. is now, and has, established the practice of incomplete reviews followed by a small set of changes that are followed by another two weeks of review, small changes, review, small changes, review and so on. I suspect that he cannot complete his tasks because he is teaching numerous online courses at a number of different online schools. He handles this by being hostile with students and forcing them to take baby steps that slow down the dissertation process. That may be one reason why he didn’t recognize that my redline comments. Anyway, I submitted a draft and I wanted a complete review to work within the two week period. Instead, Dr. Makrigeorgis is restarting what caused me to request a leave of absence in 2012. I realized that I will never complete the dissertation within the allowed time frame at the rate Dr. Makrigeorgis was going. This worry was reinforced by Dr. M. beginning to argue statistical terminology nuances to which I responded with the following:
“Just a note about the use of the word relationships. Worker motivation research has already identified relationships between motivation manifest variables. The term, as such, is correct. Moreover, we know that EFA does, in fact, use the word correlation, correlation matrix for one. The entire point of EFA is to identify communality that can be described by a theme. When we get farther into CFA, the language says such things as, "Every manifest variable is connected. . . " (Blunch, 2008, p. 127). I appreciate your sensitivity to general concepts but we need to recognize that there are often slightly different descriptions of the same statistical approach. I keep reminding myself of that. However, the real question is, what motivation theorists are unaware that empirical research has already identified relationships between worker motivation variables? So, what I want to avoid are general universal mandates that result in obscuring the topic or creating unwieldy verbiage. In this instance, a simple word insertion could note that previous empirically identified relationships may be (are) more complex than previously identified.”
There were a couple more emails resulting in Dr. M.’s misinterpretation of the statistics in the dissertation draft. He mixed up Factor Loadings with Component Scores – two different statistics. Then, he launches into the following:

Joe, certainly there are relationships between the Likert questions… And I know that EFA math computes eigenvalues (which for a given factor measure the variance in all the variables which is accounted for by that factor) and also computes factor loadings (the correlation coeffs between the variables and factors which is the same as dividing the factor's eigenvalue by the number of variables). This is all terminology and no issues on all these things… My issues are again “how are you relating all these constructs such as Justice and Trust etc to Factor 1 and Factor 2? As I explained, the only way to do this is to have this:

Q5 and Q7 in my survey are under Factor 1 (based on my EFA)
Q5 and Q7 in my survey capture Justice and Trust (according to this author and that author)
Therefore I will draw Fig 36 showing Justice and Trust as 2 boxes around my Factor 1.
I will thus name my Factor 1 as “The Justice/Trust factor”

I appreciate that Dr. M. approves the analytics. However, Q5 and Q7 are not in Factor 1. In fact they do not emerge in any of the factors. So, he is now creating a fictitious dialogue. How does any student respond to a faculty who warps the discussion to something that does not exist? At this point, Dr. M. is going beyond adversarial and is manipulating the conversation to suggest things that do not exist. This theme as you can see from his comments below. Dr. M. suggests that somehow I am artificially mixing variables and as you can see from his comments below attempts to undermine the research. Actually, he is shouting as indicated by capital letters and cannot even type.

Else what you are showing me in Fig 36 is a pie in the sky, YOUR research does NOT support this diagram, as I explained, your research is on the first floor of a building and now we have all these other things on the second floor and telling me that they are all working for the same company or something of that sort! I do not buy that at all, ONLY THROUGH THE PROPER USE OF SURVEY QUESITONS RELATING THEORETICAL CONSTRUCTS PUBLISJED IN THE LITERATURE TO YOUR SURVEY QUESTIONS AND THEN YOUR SURVEY QUWSTIONS TO FACTOR 1 AND 2 VIA EFA, THEN YOU CAN TIE IT ALL TOGETHER.

Earlier, Dr. M. said that I did not have a theme and now he is stating that I did propose a theme for each factor but somehow the survey statements were not properly used? Really! The statistical justifications for the survey statements are in the dissertation. He ignores what EFA clearly revealed. At this point, Dr. M. appears to be arguing simply to stall or, even worse, for the sake of arguing. He suggests that the EFA methodology cannot do what it does and claims that the survey question were not properly used? He cannot explain how the survey statements were improper and ignores how open system theory does exactly what he is criticizing. This is clear evidence that he does not understand the theoretic underpinnings of the research and how the methodology supports those underpinnings. His logic is circular here. EFA is very straight forward and for all practical purposes Chapter 4 is complete. It is worth noting that Chapter 5 draws things together and Dr. M. has said he will not review it.

So this is the substance and bulk of my comments. It is all explained in there in the document, please step back and realize why I am asking for this to be corrected. Else your research must stop on EFA.

Dr. M.

Dr. M. went very off track at this point and, as subsequent Forum dialogue and emails demonstrate, his ego becomes engaged and he tries to cover his inadequacy by going farther and farther off track leaving me no option but to request that he withdraw from my committee and that the University refund a quarter of tuition due to wasting my time. The university should not acquire profit in the manner exhibited by Dr. Makrigeorgis. Dr. Makrigeorgis is one example of how Walden University is not providing the services promised in the Ph. d. program. It is unacceptable to delay student progress in the manner exhibited by Dr. Makrigeorgis.

Additional Comments:

At one point in the dialogue, Dr. M. wanted my raw data claiming that it is public domain. Qualtrics proctored the research. They are used by virtually every university in the United States. Most of those universities provide use of Qualtrics at no charge. Walden does not and so I paid for the research from my income. The fact that Dr. M. made the claim of public domain when all copyright laws run contrary, raised a serious distrust of him. He knows that this topic has garnered some international interest and I am poised to publish much more. I recalled that he seemed upset when I published a book that did not include him as a co-author. He contributed nothing and I cannot imagine why he had the impression.

All along, I have been hoping that Dr. M. would engage his intellectual curiosity to support me in this topic but he has demonstrated opposition instead of support. I remember some of his earlier comments about my topic. On at least two occasions he commented that he didn’t think my research would find anything. He made that comment to both Dr. Shriner and Dr. Levasseur in phone conferences. In the face of obvious findings to the contrary, he refuses to recognize my work and is taking the path were he makes interpretive errors that lead to obfuscation.

Early in the quarter, Dr. M. took this into the Forum where he made broad, unsubstantiated statements about “serious errors” in my methodology. (I cannot recover that dialogue because Walden started my leave of absence prior to the end of the quarter and dropped me from the Forum. I will request that information later.) Note that he, Dr. Levasseur, and the URR approved the methodologies, I followed the approved methodology and the EFA approach outlined by prominent universities and scholars; and recapped those in Chapter 4. What remains to be done is to package the interpretation. This can be done without extraneous additional diversions; simply note how the research questions were answered and then follow through with an interpretation of how a gap in knowledge about my topic has been filled. Dr. M. clearly has something else in mind and I wasted this entire quarter and a fair portion of last quarter.

Therefore, I am requesting a refund of this quarter’s tuition to be applied to the remainder of this quarter’s tuition bill and the balance applied to Fall quarter during which I hope to finish my dissertation. I recognize that part of my student loan has been returned to the lending agency thereby leaving a bill of $2,493.

Moreover, please note that I asked for and received a 90 day leave of absence, one quarter. My assumption was that the leave would begin the Summer quarter. Why the university made the leave begin mid semester is a mystery that created logistical and financial issues and exacerbated the problem. Hopefully, this will not become more complicated as I intend to reenter the university in the Fall and complete the dissertation process.

Sincere regards,

Joe Haefner

Joseph Haefner  May 23, 2013  Menomonie, WI

What follows is my petition for tuition reimbursement. I have already been reimbursed for one quarter for faculty incompetence during an earlier quarter after I dismissed my dissertation committee for what appeared to be stalling. I have just dismissed a second committee for the same. Stalling takes the form of what you will read below. It also takes the form of a university provided dissertation template that has embedded coding errors that undo format revisions. I am over $120,000 in student loan rating from this university.

FR: Joseph Haefner
TO: School of Business - Walden University
RE: Refund of Spring, 2013 Quarter Tuition
CC: Academic Advising

Dear Committee,

I am requesting refund of my Spring, 2013 Quarter tuition with the following explanation:

In the Spring Quarter of 2012, Dr. Makrigeorgis delayed review and approval of my research proposal to the point where the copies being returned to me after review contained formatting errors introduced by committee members. I have continuously over the years reminded committee members that there are embedded format problems with the dissertation template that I received from Walden University. Dr. Makrigeorgis ignored my caution and he and/or Dr. Levasseur made changes to my Proposal and directed me to accept them after which they would submit my Proposal for defense. I reviewed their work, noted the errors that they introduced, and took a leave of absence out of frustration and to protest the numerous committee delays that were the consequence of haggling over nuances that added nothing to the value or content of the Proposal.

I used the leave to complete work on a book that was requested by a European academic publisher. It was about the preliminary theory, formulation, and case study leading up to my dissertation Proposal and draft of my Dissertation. I noted also that one of my published papers on the topic, co-authored by Dr. Makrigeorgis at his request, was included in a book compilation of business management articles. Another of my articles became required reading in an American University business management class.

...more
Joseph Haefner  May 23, 2013  Menomonie, WI

I went to at the time Gwinnett Business College and when I was checking them out I specifically asked if they would help me find a job after words and they told me they would. That was back in Dec 2003 when I graduated and I have yet heard from them even after turning in a resume after graduation and I had all A's! I am 44 now and I had to quit my job three years ago to take care of my youngest son who has a mental disorder and I do not receive child support from the boys dad because he is in prison and I probably wont get it when he gets out either. I owe 12,000 for that school who lied to me. I do not think schools like that should be open.

Heidi Rogers  May 22, 2013  Monroe, GA

I went to at the time Gwinnett Business College and when I was checking them out I specifically asked if they would help me find a job after words and they told me they would. That was back in Dec 2003 when I graduated and I have yet heard from them even after turning in a resume after graduation and I had all A's! I am 44 now and I had to quit my job three years ago to take care of my youngest son who has a mental disorder and I do not receive child support from the boys dad because he is in prison and I probably wont get it when he gets out either. I owe 12,000 for that school who lied to me. I do not think schools like that should be open.

Heidi Rogers  May 22, 2013  Monroe, GA

I am a recent grad from Harris School of Business and was not eligible to take state exams to further my goals because of my past non violent charges . If I would've known this was gona be a problem I would've got into something else to study now I'm stuck paying this rating with a dead end job not being able to help pay bills and sallie may calls me everyday for Thierry money that I can't afford because of not being able to take my license exam . I have all my paper work on denials and I even appealed and had numerous recommendations from my current employer and people who know me all my life. I made mistakes in the past and I tried turning it around by getting my GED while incarcerated after going to Harris school of business and graduating and being employed but my employer treats me as if I can't get another job any where else and really I can't so I have to deal with this situation because she knows I can't go any where else to work without being licensed . I love what I learned so I guess it's something I can do but I need help or relieve! Thank you yours truly Jose

Jose R.Gonzalez  May 22, 2013  Egg Harbor Township N.J

I am a recent grad from Harris School of Business and was not eligible to take state exams to further my goals because of my past non violent charges . If I would've known this was gona be a problem I would've got into something else to study now I'm stuck paying this rating with a dead end job not being able to help pay bills and sallie may calls me everyday for Thierry money that I can't afford because of not being able to take my license exam . I have all my paper work on denials and I even appealed and had numerous recommendations from my current employer and people who know me all my life. I made mistakes in the past and I tried turning it around by getting my GED while incarcerated after going to Harris school of business and graduating and being employed but my employer treats me as if I can't get another job any where else and really I can't so I have to deal with this situation because she knows I can't go any where else to work without being licensed . I love what I learned so I guess it's something I can do but I need help or relieve! Thank you yours truly Jose

Jose R.Gonzalez  May 22, 2013  Egg Harbor Township N.J

Upon release from Military service in 1972 I was contacted by a computer school in Miami with employment promises upon completion of their classes, nothing materialized.
Now 40 years later, my daughter went to state school in Tampa for her Masters Deg. and they changed her curriculum and gave her a obsolete degree to cover themselves which she has not been able to use for employment and is now $40,000 in rating which goes on me since my wife had to cosign for her loan and she is unable to pay due to lack of employment. In my opinion,none of these schools are worth paying for as they are not teaching what is needed.

Anonymous  May 21, 2013  Key West, FL

Upon release from Military service in 1972 I was contacted by a computer school in Miami with employment promises upon completion of their classes, nothing materialized.
Now 40 years later, my daughter went to state school in Tampa for her Masters Deg. and they changed her curriculum and gave her a obsolete degree to cover themselves which she has not been able to use for employment and is now $40,000 in rating which goes on me since my wife had to cosign for her loan and she is unable to pay due to lack of employment. In my opinion,none of these schools are worth paying for as they are not teaching what is needed.

Anonymous  May 21, 2013  Key West, FL

In receiving my BFA degree and MFA degree, I've racked up over $100,000 in student loan rating. Although I have been employed as a university adjunct professor since my graduation in 2005, I have never received health benefits, tax benefits (only K-12 receive tax breaks for teaching) and have defaulted on my student loans twice. My loans are nearly the amount of my rent, and the reason my husband and I rent as opposed to owning a home, is because of my poor credit in defaulting twice on my student loans.
I am so frustrated that the U.S. places so little value on higher education. In nearly every European country, higher education is either greatly subsidized, or free. Yet here in America, you can graduate with a Master's degree, become a college professor, yet remain too poor and underpaid to EVER repay your student loan rating.

Anonymous  May 21, 2013

In receiving my BFA degree and MFA degree, I've racked up over $100,000 in student loan rating. Although I have been employed as a university adjunct professor since my graduation in 2005, I have never received health benefits, tax benefits (only K-12 receive tax breaks for teaching) and have defaulted on my student loans twice. My loans are nearly the amount of my rent, and the reason my husband and I rent as opposed to owning a home, is because of my poor credit in defaulting twice on my student loans.
I am so frustrated that the U.S. places so little value on higher education. In nearly every European country, higher education is either greatly subsidized, or free. Yet here in America, you can graduate with a Master's degree, become a college professor, yet remain too poor and underpaid to EVER repay your student loan rating.

Anonymous  May 21, 2013

I started my AA degree with the University of Phoenix at 46 years old. I finished through my BA and am currently in a PhD program for industrial-organizational psychology. I have mortgaged my life now with this entity because the fortune 500 company I work for will not take my education seriously and the management is bias. I have tried to work with their HR department to no avail. I realize that I must make a great effort to get into my new field, and have been applying without any response. The school did not transfer credits from other schools I attended like they promised. The counselors change all the time making it impossible to feel confident and standardized. The classroom environment is good, but the syllabus is usually inconsistent and the university library citation is questionable. The changes they made to the library for research is now nearly impossible to get decent information; authors, publications, news, etc. Complaints go to an abyss somewhere of unknown origin. I am trying to better my life and better corporate America with this degree, but will use my first job with higher wages to pay off student loans for the next 10 years. I have considered becoming a career student so I can die before I start receiving bills. I am deferred until I stop school. I just find this incredibly sad that my congress person is making millions, and has 100% salary and benefits when done and I get to pay that while I live on little and work like crazy. I have a 3.91 GPA along with work and teaching students how to play music. Making a living in the USA; it is not what you know it's who know. Statistics state this to be true. I can't claim bankruptcy on all the loans, and no one is going to forgive them. Other countries do not do this to their citizens. Shame on the USA!

Dean Hansen  May 20, 2013  Tracy, CA

I started my AA degree with the University of Phoenix at 46 years old. I finished through my BA and am currently in a PhD program for industrial-organizational psychology. I have mortgaged my life now with this entity because the fortune 500 company I work for will not take my education seriously and the management is bias. I have tried to work with their HR department to no avail. I realize that I must make a great effort to get into my new field, and have been applying without any response. The school did not transfer credits from other schools I attended like they promised. The counselors change all the time making it impossible to feel confident and standardized. The classroom environment is good, but the syllabus is usually inconsistent and the university library citation is questionable. The changes they made to the library for research is now nearly impossible to get decent information; authors, publications, news, etc. Complaints go to an abyss somewhere of unknown origin. I am trying to better my life and better corporate America with this degree, but will use my first job with higher wages to pay off student loans for the next 10 years. I have considered becoming a career student so I can die before I start receiving bills. I am deferred until I stop school. I just find this incredibly sad that my congress person is making millions, and has 100% salary and benefits when done and I get to pay that while I live on little and work like crazy. I have a 3.91 GPA along with work and teaching students how to play music. Making a living in the USA; it is not what you know it's who know. Statistics state this to be true. I can't claim bankruptcy on all the loans, and no one is going to forgive them. Other countries do not do this to their citizens. Shame on the USA!

Dean Hansen  May 20, 2013  Tracy, CA

I graduated from college with a Biology degree, no job and over $120,000 in rating. Those are only my private student loans. Sallie Mae has refused to work with me and now, they are going to eventually sue me to garnish my wages. Even in "Recovery" they are not able to offer me a payment plan that I can afford. I understand this is my rating but their interest that has capitalized is over half of my rating owed. I can't afford to have my wages garnished. We need help!! What's worse is that I had to have a co-signor who has threatened to sue me and is taking it upon himself to make payments. I am at a total loss and really don't know where to turn. The student loan rating isn't any different than the housing bubble that burst and caused all the reforms on housing and foreclosure. It is only a matter of time before our economy tanks again due to the student loan crisis. I will never be able to buy anything, a car or even a home. All I need is some hope.....I am just not sure where to find it.

Anonymous  May 18, 2013

I graduated from college with a Biology degree, no job and over $120,000 in rating. Those are only my private student loans. Sallie Mae has refused to work with me and now, they are going to eventually sue me to garnish my wages. Even in "Recovery" they are not able to offer me a payment plan that I can afford. I understand this is my rating but their interest that has capitalized is over half of my rating owed. I can't afford to have my wages garnished. We need help!! What's worse is that I had to have a co-signor who has threatened to sue me and is taking it upon himself to make payments. I am at a total loss and really don't know where to turn. The student loan rating isn't any different than the housing bubble that burst and caused all the reforms on housing and foreclosure. It is only a matter of time before our economy tanks again due to the student loan crisis. I will never be able to buy anything, a car or even a home. All I need is some hope.....I am just not sure where to find it.

Anonymous  May 18, 2013

I never qualified for financial aid. My parents made too much money, but the Financial Aid office never took into consideration that my father was not around and both of my parents were in a considerable amount of rating (credit card loans, 2nd mortgages, etc.). I had to take out the maximum amount on Federal loans and work 25+ hrs a week to pay my tuition fees and living expenses.

My Mother also took out Parent Plus loans which I send her monthly checks for now as she is on a limited income. They will not allow me to take her loans into my name a consolidate with my existing loans so I pay a total of $408/mth in loans and will be paying that for over 20 years. I've been paying them since 2008.

I find it really frusterating that the government is turning a HUGE profit on my education (I am a government employee as well) and they bail out corporations instead of bailing out middle class people like me; contributing members of society who would be able to invest more in our retirement, and put more money back into the economy if we didn't have these ridiculous loan payments.

Ashley  May 15, 2013  Yuma, AZ

I never qualified for financial aid. My parents made too much money, but the Financial Aid office never took into consideration that my father was not around and both of my parents were in a considerable amount of rating (credit card loans, 2nd mortgages, etc.). I had to take out the maximum amount on Federal loans and work 25+ hrs a week to pay my tuition fees and living expenses.

My Mother also took out Parent Plus loans which I send her monthly checks for now as she is on a limited income. They will not allow me to take her loans into my name a consolidate with my existing loans so I pay a total of $408/mth in loans and will be paying that for over 20 years. I've been paying them since 2008.

I find it really frusterating that the government is turning a HUGE profit on my education (I am a government employee as well) and they bail out corporations instead of bailing out middle class people like me; contributing members of society who would be able to invest more in our retirement, and put more money back into the economy if we didn't have these ridiculous loan payments.

Ashley  May 15, 2013  Yuma, AZ

Dear Congress, Mr. President:
My name is Joanna Leigh and I am 39 years old. I was raised by a single mom who worked full time and went to school at night, obtaining 2 Master's degrees. We have lived most frugally, and I have worked since I was 16 yrs old. I worked full-time through my B.A, my M.A in Psychology, and my Ph.D. I have never taken from the government, nor relied on a private bank loan until I switched my Ph.D. from International Psychology to International Development, and lost all my credits, forcing me to start over. I owe $36,000. Less then the cars you drive. However, in this economy, where I am apparently "overqualified" and with exorbitant interest accruing, it is spiraling out of control. The saddest part is that I have devoted my education and life's work to giving back to the society I never took from. I saw the egregious waste of the UN Millenium projects on poverty reduction, the catastrophic World Bank loan system, and the disastrous economic approaches to culturally based developmental problems. So I devoted my education and every bit of available income and energy to designing a new model of poverty reduction and putting it into action since 2006. I have never received a salary for my efforts. My health insurance does not cover my vaccines when I go to East Africa. I eat rice and beans every day, shop at thrift stores, use my grandmother's furniture, and live upstairs from my mom. My joy: the clinic we built in an isolated town services 13,000 people. The village banks we seed create micro-loan opportunities for hundreds- with 100% repayment rate. There is no price on seeing children educated, women learning their rights, the rates of HIV going down. I recently received a bill informing me I was to pay $900 a month in loans. It came the same day as my insurance denials for covering the numerous injuries I sustained in the Boston Marathon bombing. I am sending it back to you, members of Congress, Mr. President. For the following reasons: 1. I have never asked what my country can do for me, I have always asked what I can do for my country. I have never taken, only given. Even during the Boston Marathon bombing, when I was injured myself, only a few feet from the 2nd blast, I stayed and provided triage to two men who were injured far worse than I was. My health insurance is not covering the cost of my vision or hearing loss, skin treatments, or acute PTSD. And I would still stay and assist the wounded. Because I am THAT kind of American.
2. When a student enters a field that serves the public, particularly if she receives no compensation for it, she is making the world a better place. The salaries that tend to be paid at many non-profits are usually small. To require non-profit workers to repay loans is to essentially ensure people will not wish to become non-profit workers, as we will NEVER get out from the rating. As a society, we should want people to become workers for the greater good, particularly as our corporations and Congress are NOT doing their part to create and enforce measures that make our society healthier, safer, and more economically stable. I would have more sympathy for Congress if they didn't run off for "recess" like children in school leaving 12 bills on their desks. Or had they listened to the 90% of America who demands gun background checks, rather than the corporate interests who put money in their campaign coffers.
The time is NOW to start creating the kind of society we wish to live in, not only through our words but through our actions. I have done that in a dedicated and mindful way for my entire life. I am the American dream. So along with my Federal loan papers, which I will never be able to pay back as they spiral into the hundreds of thousands with interest, I will send on my medical bills accrued from the Boston Marathon bombing. As a special treat, I will also send on the leather boots I was wearing that day. I have been too traumatized to touch them; however, since you all make the decisions that affect our intelligence programs (ThinThread vs. Trailblazer), our healthcare, and our student loans, maybe you should see the consequences of your actions. They will arrive in a biohazard case as they have building debris, blood (not mine), and bits of flesh on them. One of the men I triaged lost his foot. It came off in my hand. I grew up understanding that our government was elected by the people, acted for the people, and served at the will of the people. I am wondering when a single one of you will be as good an American as I am?
Joanna Leigh, Ph.D.
Founder, Executive Director, Moyo International 501c3
www.moyointernational.org

Joanna Leigh, PhD  May 14, 2013  Boston, MA

Dear Congress, Mr. President:
My name is Joanna Leigh and I am 39 years old. I was raised by a single mom who worked full time and went to school at night, obtaining 2 Master's degrees. We have lived most frugally, and I have worked since I was 16 yrs old. I worked full-time through my B.A, my M.A in Psychology, and my Ph.D. I have never taken from the government, nor relied on a private bank loan until I switched my Ph.D. from International Psychology to International Development, and lost all my credits, forcing me to start over. I owe $36,000. Less then the cars you drive. However, in this economy, where I am apparently "overqualified" and with exorbitant interest accruing, it is spiraling out of control. The saddest part is that I have devoted my education and life's work to giving back to the society I never took from. I saw the egregious waste of the UN Millenium projects on poverty reduction, the catastrophic World Bank loan system, and the disastrous economic approaches to culturally based developmental problems. So I devoted my education and every bit of available income and energy to designing a new model of poverty reduction and putting it into action since 2006. I have never received a salary for my efforts. My health insurance does not cover my vaccines when I go to East Africa. I eat rice and beans every day, shop at thrift stores, use my grandmother's furniture, and live upstairs from my mom. My joy: the clinic we built in an isolated town services 13,000 people. The village banks we seed create micro-loan opportunities for hundreds- with 100% repayment rate. There is no price on seeing children educated, women learning their rights, the rates of HIV going down. I recently received a bill informing me I was to pay $900 a month in loans. It came the same day as my insurance denials for covering the numerous injuries I sustained in the Boston Marathon bombing. I am sending it back to you, members of Congress, Mr. President. For the following reasons: 1.

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Joanna Leigh, PhD  May 14, 2013  Boston, MA

I entered college when I was 17 years old.. did not know much about what I was getting myself into, financially. This was just what everyone did. Parents moved to the country to give their children a better life. My parents didnt go to college, they were hard workers. They were not educated on this. I just wanted to graduate as quickly as I can and go on to pursue my masters. But i became ill, and defaulted on a loan. Now I cannot sleep, I cannot eat, I have relational issues, I feel suicidal, I feel defeated. I am embarrassed because I see people who don't have a degree, who work at the mall or at McDonalds with NO rating. But they have nice cars, they are able to afford to pay their cell phone bill. They are able to live within THEIR MEANS. I have always judged those people before, but NOW I understand. I know someone with a MASTERS degree who works at MCDONALDS! YES!! The education system in America is all wrong. I feel suicidal, I want to end my life sometimes, but I realize that will not solve anything. They will go after my parents. I am just sad. I cry every night. Will I ever get married? Will I ever have children?? I am 24 years old now, still living at home, working 2 jobs (jobs that don't require 4 year degree) and i'm at about 80k rating. I want to return back to school, but I will have to pay out of pocket cash. I do not want this to be my life forever. I am considering enlisting in the military if I have to so my loans will be forgiven. I feel like a loser...with a bachelors degree. I will tell my children don't go to college. Live your life for a few years and support yourself. See how you like it. Save some money if you do choose to go to college. Get a scholarship. BUT NEVER TAKE OUT A LOAN!!!

JT  May 14, 2013

I entered college when I was 17 years old.. did not know much about what I was getting myself into, financially. This was just what everyone did. Parents moved to the country to give their children a better life. My parents didnt go to college, they were hard workers. They were not educated on this. I just wanted to graduate as quickly as I can and go on to pursue my masters. But i became ill, and defaulted on a loan. Now I cannot sleep, I cannot eat, I have relational issues, I feel suicidal, I feel defeated. I am embarrassed because I see people who don't have a degree, who work at the mall or at McDonalds with NO rating. But they have nice cars, they are able to afford to pay their cell phone bill. They are able to live within THEIR MEANS. I have always judged those people before, but NOW I understand. I know someone with a MASTERS degree who works at MCDONALDS! YES!! The education system in America is all wrong. I feel suicidal, I want to end my life sometimes, but I realize that will not solve anything. They will go after my parents. I am just sad. I cry every night. Will I ever get married? Will I ever have children?? I am 24 years old now, still living at home, working 2 jobs (jobs that don't require 4 year degree) and i'm at about 80k rating. I want to return back to school, but I will have to pay out of pocket cash. I do not want this to be my life forever. I am considering enlisting in the military if I have to so my loans will be forgiven. I feel like a loser...with a bachelors degree. I will tell my children don't go to college. Live your life for a few years and support yourself. See how you like it. Save some money if you do choose to go to college. Get a scholarship. BUT NEVER TAKE OUT A LOAN!!!

JT  May 14, 2013

I was the first in my family to get a college education. My parents knew nothing about student loans and encouraged me to borrow what I needed to get my bachelor's and master's degrees in social work. I was never given any sort of financial counseling regarding the impact the amount I would owe would have on my financial future. I was encouraged by both institutions to borrow what I needed to get my education. Here I am, $100,000 later, owing more than a mortgage and unable to work due to caring for a special needs child. I will NOT let my children make these same mistakes, rest assured.

Laura  May 14, 2013  IL

I was the first in my family to get a college education. My parents knew nothing about student loans and encouraged me to borrow what I needed to get my bachelor's and master's degrees in social work. I was never given any sort of financial counseling regarding the impact the amount I would owe would have on my financial future. I was encouraged by both institutions to borrow what I needed to get my education. Here I am, $100,000 later, owing more than a mortgage and unable to work due to caring for a special needs child. I will NOT let my children make these same mistakes, rest assured.

Laura  May 14, 2013  IL

I went to a private 4 year college at the cost of $48,000. I graduated in 1997 with $32,000 in rating. I did struggle in the beginning with paying my loans and did take a few forbearances along the way. I also started a family and bought a home. Struggles ensued through the years with some more forbearances and the recession. I still have $ $9,600 in rating which is scheduled to be paid off in 4.5 years. I'll be 53 with 2 kids at home. One startling college the other starting her junior year of high school. We are praying they get scholarships.

Steve  May 10, 2013  Michigan

I went to a private 4 year college at the cost of $48,000. I graduated in 1997 with $32,000 in rating. I did struggle in the beginning with paying my loans and did take a few forbearances along the way. I also started a family and bought a home. Struggles ensued through the years with some more forbearances and the recession. I still have $ $9,600 in rating which is scheduled to be paid off in 4.5 years. I'll be 53 with 2 kids at home. One startling college the other starting her junior year of high school. We are praying they get scholarships.

Steve  May 10, 2013  Michigan

My husband and I wanted our children to get the education that we were not able to have, so we were pleased when school advisers told us that we could get PLUS loans. Our son was healthy and finished his university education with good grades... then he grew too ill to work, and has been home ever since, unable unable to help pay the loan, as was planned, and we are covering his basic living expenses as well. He is constantly on the verge of depression. We cannot set him up in better circumstances because we are paying $700 a month in school loans... which is mostly interest!!! Because we were already strapped, we choose not get a loan for our other son. So now he is uneducated and unemployed, with no future. My husband and I both work. My wages are small and I have no way to beef them up, although I am trying. My husband's health is suffering and he is unsure how long he can continue working as he is. We trapped... by trying to take better care of our family we fell into a deeper hole with no escape. We have nearly 30 years of payments left... a life sentence for us, and crippling for our kids. If the ridiculously high interest rates were lowered, and we knew that the remainder of the loans would be forgiven eventually, at least we could have some hope.

Anonymous  May 9, 2013

My husband and I wanted our children to get the education that we were not able to have, so we were pleased when school advisers told us that we could get PLUS loans. Our son was healthy and finished his university education with good grades... then he grew too ill to work, and has been home ever since, unable unable to help pay the loan, as was planned, and we are covering his basic living expenses as well. He is constantly on the verge of depression. We cannot set him up in better circumstances because we are paying $700 a month in school loans... which is mostly interest!!! Because we were already strapped, we choose not get a loan for our other son. So now he is uneducated and unemployed, with no future. My husband and I both work. My wages are small and I have no way to beef them up, although I am trying. My husband's health is suffering and he is unsure how long he can continue working as he is. We trapped... by trying to take better care of our family we fell into a deeper hole with no escape. We have nearly 30 years of payments left... a life sentence for us, and crippling for our kids. If the ridiculously high interest rates were lowered, and we knew that the remainder of the loans would be forgiven eventually, at least we could have some hope.

Anonymous  May 9, 2013

In order to fulfill my dream to teach online college courses as my next career - I began my BA journey in November 2008. By the end of this year I will have both a BA in Organizational Management and a MAEd in Higher Education. Did I mention I'll have graduated with both degrees Summa Cum Laude? Did I mention I'll be 60 years old when I receive my MAEd? Instead of being able to thrive and survive in a new teaching career in 2014 - I'll be burdened with student loan payments with 6+% rates. The government moved heaven and earth to save the banking industry because they messed up the first American Dream: buying a home. Now we have to collaborate to rescue the second American dream: a college education. We're not asking to wipe out the rating for us - we're asking for a financial repayment interest rate lock so we have a fair chance to clear our rating while sustaining our lifestyle - not sacrificing everything we've worked so hard to build.

Anonymous  May 9, 2013  Longmont, CO

In order to fulfill my dream to teach online college courses as my next career - I began my BA journey in November 2008. By the end of this year I will have both a BA in Organizational Management and a MAEd in Higher Education. Did I mention I'll have graduated with both degrees Summa Cum Laude? Did I mention I'll be 60 years old when I receive my MAEd? Instead of being able to thrive and survive in a new teaching career in 2014 - I'll be burdened with student loan payments with 6+% rates. The government moved heaven and earth to save the banking industry because they messed up the first American Dream: buying a home. Now we have to collaborate to rescue the second American dream: a college education. We're not asking to wipe out the rating for us - we're asking for a financial repayment interest rate lock so we have a fair chance to clear our rating while sustaining our lifestyle - not sacrificing everything we've worked so hard to build.

Anonymous  May 9, 2013  Longmont, CO

I received student loans through both my bacehlor's and master's in education at the age of 18. Being the first in my family to go to oollege, I depended on the school representatives to guide me through the process. Boy was that a mistake. I received checks each semester that they insisted was my money to use to buy books and live... I know know that those were excess funds didn't need for my education and should have been advised to send them back to the lender, but no one told me that then. I was never told that there was a maximum amount of loans you could receive through the federal government and thought that all but a few of my loans were federal... boy was I wrong. I now have a total of $225,000 in student rating, the majority of which is through private loans which are not required to assist students the way federal loans do. I am out of deferment and forbearance time as being a teacher in an inner-city school district didn’t provide me with the funds necessary to pay them back. I am now expected to start making $430 payments in June and have no idea how I am going to do it as I am lucky to have grocery money after all my bills are paid. I have been losing sleep over this and spend a lot of time crying because I am beyond stressed by this situation. Something needs to be done for those of us who were misadvised and misled!

Jennifer Schott  May 8, 2013  Phoenix. AZ

I received student loans through both my bacehlor's and master's in education at the age of 18. Being the first in my family to go to oollege, I depended on the school representatives to guide me through the process. Boy was that a mistake. I received checks each semester that they insisted was my money to use to buy books and live... I know know that those were excess funds didn't need for my education and should have been advised to send them back to the lender, but no one told me that then. I was never told that there was a maximum amount of loans you could receive through the federal government and thought that all but a few of my loans were federal... boy was I wrong. I now have a total of $225,000 in student rating, the majority of which is through private loans which are not required to assist students the way federal loans do. I am out of deferment and forbearance time as being a teacher in an inner-city school district didn’t provide me with the funds necessary to pay them back. I am now expected to start making $430 payments in June and have no idea how I am going to do it as I am lucky to have grocery money after all my bills are paid. I have been losing sleep over this and spend a lot of time crying because I am beyond stressed by this situation. Something needs to be done for those of us who were misadvised and misled!

Jennifer Schott  May 8, 2013  Phoenix. AZ

My sister is mentally disabled. Back in 1981 her father got her a loan so she could try college. It didn't work out because she's disabled. Unable to get a sustainable job because of her disablity she is unable to pay the loan. Because the loan is through the state of New York or through the government they won't dismiss it even though we have told them again and again that she is mentally disabled and sent proof. We finally gave up and let them garnish the little amount of money she made from a part time job for disabled people. Finally due to knee problems and migraine she's had to stop working and collects SSI (which they can't touch). She had gotten this loan in 1981. Isn't it time they see that she can't afford to repay this loan which they have held against a disabled woman FOR 30 YEARS!!!!

Theodora  May 7, 2013

My sister is mentally disabled. Back in 1981 her father got her a loan so she could try college. It didn't work out because she's disabled. Unable to get a sustainable job because of her disablity she is unable to pay the loan. Because the loan is through the state of New York or through the government they won't dismiss it even though we have told them again and again that she is mentally disabled and sent proof. We finally gave up and let them garnish the little amount of money she made from a part time job for disabled people. Finally due to knee problems and migraine she's had to stop working and collects SSI (which they can't touch). She had gotten this loan in 1981. Isn't it time they see that she can't afford to repay this loan which they have held against a disabled woman FOR 30 YEARS!!!!

Theodora  May 7, 2013

I am writing concerning my loan through Sallie Mae; this account is a Spousal Consolidation loan with my ex-husband. As you may know, From January 1, 1993 to June 30, 2006, married borrowers could consolidate their federal loans together into a single loan. This loan was referred to as a joint consolidation loan. Each borrower assumed full responsibility for repaying the joint consolidation loan. The statutory language concerning joint consolidation loans was added by the Higher Education Amendments of 1992. Unfortunately, there was no provision in this legislation for splitting a joint consolidation loan when the borrowers got divorced. Thus joint consolidation loans became a tie that binds beyond divorce. If one ex-spouse failed to make his or her share of the joint payment, the other ex-spouse would be forced to make the full payment or risk ruining the credit scores of both borrowers by defaulting on the joint loan. To prevent more borrowers from experiencing this problem, the provision for joint consolidation loans was repealed by the Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005 (part of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005). Unfortunately, there are still some borrowers who have joint consolidation loans. Congress did not provide any solutions for borrowers who are stuck with a joint consolidation loan. As a result, myself and others, have inherited nothing short of a nightmare. My loan with my ex-husband has accrued well over $225K just in interest and fees. Dealing with Sallie Mae has been nothing short of a nightmare. My ex-husband has been unemployed three times since graduation. For years before the Income Based Repayment came into play we took high interest forbearances while he was unemployed/underemployed because it was the only way to address the high loan payment on a single income. Forms get rejected for "missing data" despite the fact that everything is filled out completely. Often we have to submit the same forms 3 and 4 times before they get processed. I have come to the conclusion this is done to charge more interest and fees.

Dallas Benson  May 7, 2013

I am writing concerning my loan through Sallie Mae; this account is a Spousal Consolidation loan with my ex-husband. As you may know, From January 1, 1993 to June 30, 2006, married borrowers could consolidate their federal loans together into a single loan. This loan was referred to as a joint consolidation loan. Each borrower assumed full responsibility for repaying the joint consolidation loan. The statutory language concerning joint consolidation loans was added by the Higher Education Amendments of 1992. Unfortunately, there was no provision in this legislation for splitting a joint consolidation loan when the borrowers got divorced. Thus joint consolidation loans became a tie that binds beyond divorce. If one ex-spouse failed to make his or her share of the joint payment, the other ex-spouse would be forced to make the full payment or risk ruining the credit scores of both borrowers by defaulting on the joint loan. To prevent more borrowers from experiencing this problem, the provision for joint consolidation loans was repealed by the Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005 (part of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005). Unfortunately, there are still some borrowers who have joint consolidation loans. Congress did not provide any solutions for borrowers who are stuck with a joint consolidation loan. As a result, myself and others, have inherited nothing short of a nightmare. My loan with my ex-husband has accrued well over $225K just in interest and fees. Dealing with Sallie Mae has been nothing short of a nightmare. My ex-husband has been unemployed three times since graduation. For years before the Income Based Repayment came into play we took high interest forbearances while he was unemployed/underemployed because it was the only way to address the high loan payment on a single income. Forms get rejected for "missing data" despite the fact that everything is filled out completely. Often we have to submit the same forms 3 and 4 times before they get processed. I have come to the conclusion this is done to charge more interest and fees.

Dallas Benson  May 7, 2013

I'm speaking for what I've seen with my daughter. Short facts: The private institutions do not supply the contracted interest rate until after you have signed, contracted and received the check. The compounded interest is ridiculous as the rates are as high as 9 and 11%. When requesting to consolidate the rate was 8% with a cap of 11%. My daughter wants to pay her full contracted loan amount but as a new graduate with an entry level salary it would be much easier or even realistic with a 2.5% to 4% interest rate. Even her government loans are as high as 6.8%. In today's market, the cost of higher education needs to be contained and we need to make it more affordable for all, whether it be controlling the high cost or providing better pay back options.
Also, my daughter called one private lender and requested a lower interest rate based on her salary, the response was that they could not negotiate on the contracted interest rate and suggested that if she couldn't pay the required monthly payment she would have to default on her loan.

Angela Pindel  May 7, 2013  Illinois

I'm speaking for what I've seen with my daughter. Short facts: The private institutions do not supply the contracted interest rate until after you have signed, contracted and received the check. The compounded interest is ridiculous as the rates are as high as 9 and 11%. When requesting to consolidate the rate was 8% with a cap of 11%. My daughter wants to pay her full contracted loan amount but as a new graduate with an entry level salary it would be much easier or even realistic with a 2.5% to 4% interest rate. Even her government loans are as high as 6.8%. In today's market, the cost of higher education needs to be contained and we need to make it more affordable for all, whether it be controlling the high cost or providing better pay back options.
Also, my daughter called one private lender and requested a lower interest rate based on her salary, the response was that they could not negotiate on the contracted interest rate and suggested that if she couldn't pay the required monthly payment she would have to default on her loan.

Angela Pindel  May 7, 2013  Illinois

I come from small town USA, population 250 or something close to that. I've always aspired for bigger and better things. I took a very unique route with my grade 7-12 education, homeschooling myself for the majority of those years. Immediately after getting my high school diploma (a day after I turned 16), I started working retail. Boy did that suck. I worked retail about a year and I decided I'd had enough. I have always been passionate about music and business so it was a no brainier for me, I needed to go to Full Sail. I obviously didn't come from money so private loans were pretty much my only hope. I had to borrow nearly $110,000 in private loans and my monthly payments are now nearly $1200, and that's not counting my federal loans, which are almost paid off (were only a few thousand dollars). What's sad about this picture is that $110k will compound and turn into almost $400,000 by Sallie Mae's projected pay off date. This led me to the realization that student loans were designed to keep us inratinged to the system. Let young people borrow large amounts of money for an education that could otherwise be obtained for FREE on the internet (self research, self study, just like my homeschooling from grades 7-12). I am now forever inratinged to the system, still living on ramen noodles and trying to build a successful business on my own with no help. I can't take out more loans because the student loan rating destroyed my credit rating... I have no one to help me take make it financially possible. I understand, it was my choice to go to college, I didn't have to go. But if I hadn't, I would have never left small town USA and I would have never been in an environment where my skills and talents are in high demand. My student loan rating has perpetuated into more financial problems in other areas of my life. Although I was immediately employed after graduating from college, I have been living paycheck to paycheck with student loans that take up over a third of my monthly income. I was unable to pay the IRS (as I was a 1099 sub contractor), so now I owe the IRS about $40,000 that I can't afford to pay them. The hole just keeps getting deeper and deeper. I'm still fighting to get above the water but it feels like there's no end in sight. It seems our government takes care of people who can't help themselves (EBT, welfare, minority grants, etc) and screws people who are actually productive and actively contributing to society. It should be the other way around, the active and productive people should get the assistance they need and the counter productive leaches should get NOTHING. This is just my story, I'm sure it resonates with many others. I hope we are able to make way with the student loan forgiveness act, but doesn't seem like it's going to happen any time soon.

Justin Smith  May 6, 2013  Orlando, Florida

I come from small town USA, population 250 or something close to that. I've always aspired for bigger and better things. I took a very unique route with my grade 7-12 education, homeschooling myself for the majority of those years. Immediately after getting my high school diploma (a day after I turned 16), I started working retail. Boy did that suck. I worked retail about a year and I decided I'd had enough. I have always been passionate about music and business so it was a no brainier for me, I needed to go to Full Sail. I obviously didn't come from money so private loans were pretty much my only hope. I had to borrow nearly $110,000 in private loans and my monthly payments are now nearly $1200, and that's not counting my federal loans, which are almost paid off (were only a few thousand dollars). What's sad about this picture is that $110k will compound and turn into almost $400,000 by Sallie Mae's projected pay off date. This led me to the realization that student loans were designed to keep us inratinged to the system. Let young people borrow large amounts of money for an education that could otherwise be obtained for FREE on the internet (self research, self study, just like my homeschooling from grades 7-12). I am now forever inratinged to the system, still living on ramen noodles and trying to build a successful business on my own with no help. I can't take out more loans because the student loan rating destroyed my credit rating... I have no one to help me take make it financially possible. I understand, it was my choice to go to college, I didn't have to go. But if I hadn't, I would have never left small town USA and I would have never been in an environment where my skills and talents are in high demand. My student loan rating has perpetuated into more financial problems in other areas of my life. Although I was immediately employed after graduating from college, I have been living paycheck to paycheck with student loans that take up over a third of my monthly income.

...more
Justin Smith  May 6, 2013  Orlando, Florida

I borrowed original principle of 81,000 for a bachelor's and master's degree, and now owe 121,000 due to capitalizing interest due to a series of forbearance and deferments. I felt I had no real choice but to go to college being a divorced mother of two, with a disabled child, no child support, a car that broke down every time I turned around, very limited family support,and working for $7 per hour as a secretary. I did the best I could with what I had to work with, trying to do the right thing. Seems what I thought was the right thing -was wrong after-all because my student loan rating will outlive me. Given this, I have decided I will pay what I can to stay out of default; otherwise, I see no sense in throwing good money after bad as the student loan rating will stand regardless until they throw dirt onto my coffin. I have had this crazy idea that college should be affordable to all who want to go, that it would be better for all (myself, my children, and society) not to be "welfare witch" or to otherwise live in poverty as opposed to being a contributing, productive member of society. Shame on me for my stupidity. The US student loan system with all its predatory practices can kiss my a**. I'm done with it and refuse to worry anymore with it.

Donna  May 5, 2013

I borrowed original principle of 81,000 for a bachelor's and master's degree, and now owe 121,000 due to capitalizing interest due to a series of forbearance and deferments. I felt I had no real choice but to go to college being a divorced mother of two, with a disabled child, no child support, a car that broke down every time I turned around, very limited family support,and working for $7 per hour as a secretary. I did the best I could with what I had to work with, trying to do the right thing. Seems what I thought was the right thing -was wrong after-all because my student loan rating will outlive me. Given this, I have decided I will pay what I can to stay out of default; otherwise, I see no sense in throwing good money after bad as the student loan rating will stand regardless until they throw dirt onto my coffin. I have had this crazy idea that college should be affordable to all who want to go, that it would be better for all (myself, my children, and society) not to be "welfare witch" or to otherwise live in poverty as opposed to being a contributing, productive member of society. Shame on me for my stupidity. The US student loan system with all its predatory practices can kiss my a**. I'm done with it and refuse to worry anymore with it.

Donna  May 5, 2013

I was the first in my family to go to college. My teachers, guidance counselor, friends and relatives were all urging me to follow my dreams. The cost didn't seem to matter because no one bothered educating me about student loans. I was guided to a for-profit school that made lavish promises I didn't realize were too good to be true.

I didn't know the difference between federal and private student loans, nor did my father who urged me to keep going, as if cost did not matter. The Art Institutes financial aid department guided me towards private loans before I even touched federal loans. I also didn't know they were gaining interest while I was attending.

AI conveniently didn't include housing and supplies in their $56,000 cost of attendance figure they gave me when I signed up. I ended up taking out about $79,000 for my degree. My student loans paid for tuition, housing, books and supplies. I didn't drink or party or go vacation somewhere exotic on Spring break. I didn't use the money to purchase expensive cars or electronics. I worked part-time all throughout my attendance and paid for food and transportation on my own. I also received about $17,000 in grants and scholarships.

When lured in to the school, I was expecting to make $50,000 in my field. Just before graduation they give you the real figures. Previous graduates were making less than $27,000 annually. It was a shock to everyone in my area of study. How were we going to pay our $60,000+ student loans back on that salary?

Six months after graduating, still jobless, I entered repayment. That $17,000 I gained in scholarships and grants was flushed down the toilet as that was the same amount of interest that was capitalized, making my total student loan rating $96,000.

I graduated in 2009 and aside from a few freelance gigs and "work for free to gain experience" opportunities that AI urged me to do, I haven't worked in my field. I've paid about $13,000 on my loans and still owe $95,890. Sticking to Sallie Mae's payment plan will have me paying more than triple what I originally borrowed!

Going to college uneducated about student loans was the biggest mistake of my life!

Kasey  May 5, 2013  Chesapeake, VA

I was the first in my family to go to college. My teachers, guidance counselor, friends and relatives were all urging me to follow my dreams. The cost didn't seem to matter because no one bothered educating me about student loans. I was guided to a for-profit school that made lavish promises I didn't realize were too good to be true.

I didn't know the difference between federal and private student loans, nor did my father who urged me to keep going, as if cost did not matter. The Art Institutes financial aid department guided me towards private loans before I even touched federal loans. I also didn't know they were gaining interest while I was attending.

AI conveniently didn't include housing and supplies in their $56,000 cost of attendance figure they gave me when I signed up. I ended up taking out about $79,000 for my degree. My student loans paid for tuition, housing, books and supplies. I didn't drink or party or go vacation somewhere exotic on Spring break. I didn't use the money to purchase expensive cars or electronics. I worked part-time all throughout my attendance and paid for food and transportation on my own. I also received about $17,000 in grants and scholarships.

When lured in to the school, I was expecting to make $50,000 in my field. Just before graduation they give you the real figures. Previous graduates were making less than $27,000 annually. It was a shock to everyone in my area of study. How were we going to pay our $60,000+ student loans back on that salary?

Six months after graduating, still jobless, I entered repayment. That $17,000 I gained in scholarships and grants was flushed down the toilet as that was the same amount of interest that was capitalized, making my total student loan rating $96,000.

I graduated in 2009 and aside from a few freelance gigs and "work for free to gain experience" opportunities that AI urged me to do, I haven't worked in my field. I've paid about $13,000 on my loans and still owe $95,890.

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Kasey  May 5, 2013  Chesapeake, VA

Robert,
I lived in WI all my life except for college. Now, my wife and I live in KCMO! I did not do the suvey because I thought you might have one for KC. I will tell you yes SL's are way out of wack. Long story short, btwn my wife and I we borrowed $26,000. I made $5-6/hr. first 6 years out of college, while I had to pay for rent, childcare, and expenses. By the time I got a job paying a "living wage" (barely), the loan interest was way out of control and my good job was threatened by rating collectors threatening to send the sheriff to my work, calling my work, and intimidation such as "welfare mothers pay more than you!"
Well, we filed a chapter 13 to (freeze interest), reorganize and be "responsible" by paying a little to our creditors each month for 5 years while trying to get established financially. I could have done a chapter 20 to wipe the rating at that time, but I was trying to do the honorable thing. At the end of our bankruptcy, we were hit with $12,000 in fees and interest on top of the student loans. The lawyer said some judge decided one year before that SL interest could no longer be frozen and there was no grandfathering. The SL people made it impossible to pay the people we wanted to pay back, including themselves. It's been out of control hell ever since. You can't reason with student loans. We have always driven older cars, taken very few vacations, and could do little for the economy, despite making what would be a "living wage," while making TWO MORTGAGE/RENT PAYMENTS (I call the SL's a life mortgage payment.
You got me going. So much for short story. This has been a nagging burden on my family for the 29 years since college. We have paid at least $40,000 (they refuse to give us accurate records the loans have been sold so many times!!!) and owe over $70,000 today. I have been unemployed since Oct, so unable to pay, so all the payment in the last several years pretty much for nothing as interest accrues again. If nothing changes, SL's-'til death do us part!!
I started doing research for a book on SL stories several years ago, and stopped, then Allen C's book came out!
God help us, thanks for listening, Kevin

K M L  May 5, 2013  KC MO

Robert,
I lived in WI all my life except for college. Now, my wife and I live in KCMO! I did not do the suvey because I thought you might have one for KC. I will tell you yes SL's are way out of wack. Long story short, btwn my wife and I we borrowed $26,000. I made $5-6/hr. first 6 years out of college, while I had to pay for rent, childcare, and expenses. By the time I got a job paying a "living wage" (barely), the loan interest was way out of control and my good job was threatened by rating collectors threatening to send the sheriff to my work, calling my work, and intimidation such as "welfare mothers pay more than you!"
Well, we filed a chapter 13 to (freeze interest), reorganize and be "responsible" by paying a little to our creditors each month for 5 years while trying to get established financially. I could have done a chapter 20 to wipe the rating at that time, but I was trying to do the honorable thing. At the end of our bankruptcy, we were hit with $12,000 in fees and interest on top of the student loans. The lawyer said some judge decided one year before that SL interest could no longer be frozen and there was no grandfathering. The SL people made it impossible to pay the people we wanted to pay back, including themselves. It's been out of control hell ever since. You can't reason with student loans. We have always driven older cars, taken very few vacations, and could do little for the economy, despite making what would be a "living wage," while making TWO MORTGAGE/RENT PAYMENTS (I call the SL's a life mortgage payment.
You got me going. So much for short story. This has been a nagging burden on my family for the 29 years since college. We have paid at least $40,000 (they refuse to give us accurate records the loans have been sold so many times!!!) and owe over $70,000 today. I have been unemployed since Oct,

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K M L  May 5, 2013  KC MO

After reviewing other testimonials here, I'm almost ashamed to comment. But the essence of the issue is what I'm moved to address. The current policies are hurting the very people who are attempting to better themselves and in turn better our society. I am sickened by the "gaming" of what should be a noble and honorable undertaking. Compared to many of the heartbreaking stories I've read here, my situation seems mild, but the principles behind the penalties are sickening to me and I'd like to share my feelings.
In my case, I'd been making regular payments but decided to take evening classes in order to qualify for taking the CPA exam. The classes were expensive, but rather than incur further rating, I chose to put my existing loans into forbearance and once I'd passed the CPA exam, I'd restart payments with a predictably higher salary. During this period I received lots of promotional mail from my lender offering credit cards and other financial services. I foolishly presumed that it was all promotional and missed the end date of my forbearance which pushed me into default. Apparently I'd gone 2 months not knowing I was in default. That 2 months cost me $11,000.00 because of the Department of Education's rule for "Collectors fees" where a minimum of 16.58% of the outstanding balance is charged for the "privilege" to resume payments. To me this is a bold "gaming" of the desire to restore one's credit and to do so, an egregious fee is assessed. I haven't passed the exam yet and I'd like to study more, but in order to make minimum payments, pay rent, and cover the cost of living a frugal life, I must work as much as possible.
I'm very grateful that I can work and that I am employed, but the spirit of this policy is wrong in my opinion. I understand if compliance has been an issue with borrowers, measures need to be taken--however, penalizing someone who is trying to correct their situation doesn't make sense and certainly doesn't incentivize the borrower. If the penalty was removed with regular payments, I could understand, but this is just kicking a downed person when they're trying to reconcile a bad situation. I just wish we had some recourse.

Anonymous  May 5, 2013  Anchorage,AK

After reviewing other testimonials here, I'm almost ashamed to comment. But the essence of the issue is what I'm moved to address. The current policies are hurting the very people who are attempting to better themselves and in turn better our society. I am sickened by the "gaming" of what should be a noble and honorable undertaking. Compared to many of the heartbreaking stories I've read here, my situation seems mild, but the principles behind the penalties are sickening to me and I'd like to share my feelings.
In my case, I'd been making regular payments but decided to take evening classes in order to qualify for taking the CPA exam. The classes were expensive, but rather than incur further rating, I chose to put my existing loans into forbearance and once I'd passed the CPA exam, I'd restart payments with a predictably higher salary. During this period I received lots of promotional mail from my lender offering credit cards and other financial services. I foolishly presumed that it was all promotional and missed the end date of my forbearance which pushed me into default. Apparently I'd gone 2 months not knowing I was in default. That 2 months cost me $11,000.00 because of the Department of Education's rule for "Collectors fees" where a minimum of 16.58% of the outstanding balance is charged for the "privilege" to resume payments. To me this is a bold "gaming" of the desire to restore one's credit and to do so, an egregious fee is assessed. I haven't passed the exam yet and I'd like to study more, but in order to make minimum payments, pay rent, and cover the cost of living a frugal life, I must work as much as possible.
I'm very grateful that I can work and that I am employed, but the spirit of this policy is wrong in my opinion. I understand if compliance has been an issue with borrowers, measures need to be taken--however, penalizing someone who is trying to correct their situation doesn't make sense and certainly doesn't incentivize the borrower. If the penalty was removed with regular payments,

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Anonymous  May 5, 2013  Anchorage,AK

My husband has aquired nearly $100,000.00 in student rating,which may not be a lot compared to others but for me we will be paying this off for probably the rest of my life ( I'm 62). He is currently enrolled in a program to become a registered nurse financing it with student loans. Hopefully with this degree he will be able to find a job. He holds a bachelors degree in information technology and business management. Thanks to the economy he has not been able to find employment utilizing either of these degrees. His loan payment will probably be $500 to $600, which will severely impact our cash flow. What ever increase in income he attains will be eaten up by the loan rating. Our buying power will stay the same or even decrease! I hope through your efforts something will change. Thankyou for the opportunity to tell our story!

gracie heer  May 4, 2013

My husband has aquired nearly $100,000.00 in student rating,which may not be a lot compared to others but for me we will be paying this off for probably the rest of my life ( I'm 62). He is currently enrolled in a program to become a registered nurse financing it with student loans. Hopefully with this degree he will be able to find a job. He holds a bachelors degree in information technology and business management. Thanks to the economy he has not been able to find employment utilizing either of these degrees. His loan payment will probably be $500 to $600, which will severely impact our cash flow. What ever increase in income he attains will be eaten up by the loan rating. Our buying power will stay the same or even decrease! I hope through your efforts something will change. Thankyou for the opportunity to tell our story!

gracie heer  May 4, 2013

It was not until I began graduate school that I received financial aid. As a displaced/single parent, licensed teacher, I came to university for advice. Teachers were being laid off: I wanted to be marketable. New to the city, separated from my husband, away from family; 2 small children: I went to the University for advice. No one said work and go to school part time. All they did was tell me that there were few grants for an MA: I would need loans and work study. I worked at work study, carrying maximum hours, with classes at night. I got Federal loans. Later, I realized that I could have taught school, aned gone to school part time. A program was also available specifically for teachers, to allow you to teach and take classes alternately...NO one told me until it waws too late. If I had known, I would never have borrowed money! All the financial aid office did was show you how to fill in the paperwork. I ended up with $14,000 in loans. I went to teach in inner city schools. After a couple of years, I converted my loans to Sallie Mae, because, on a salary of $11,000 (1988) I couldn't afford my payments. NO ONE TOLD ME THAT TEACHING IN POVERTY PROGRAM SCHOOLS WOULD REDUCE MY LOANS BY 15% EACH YEAR UNTIL IT WAS TOO LATE: I HAD ALREADY CONVERTED MY LOAN! One loan of a $1000 still qualified, but it had only a balance of $300 left, when they did me the BIG FAVOR of canceling the balance. Later, when refinancing my $58,000 fixer-upper house, they added in my school loan. I now realize that it will never be paid off....until my house is paid off! The way these programs are set up is criminal: there should be truth in lending with these, as with other loans, forcing students and administrators to take a workshop on the pros and cons of a student loan.

anonymous  May 4, 2013

It was not until I began graduate school that I received financial aid. As a displaced/single parent, licensed teacher, I came to university for advice. Teachers were being laid off: I wanted to be marketable. New to the city, separated from my husband, away from family; 2 small children: I went to the University for advice. No one said work and go to school part time. All they did was tell me that there were few grants for an MA: I would need loans and work study. I worked at work study, carrying maximum hours, with classes at night. I got Federal loans. Later, I realized that I could have taught school, aned gone to school part time. A program was also available specifically for teachers, to allow you to teach and take classes alternately...NO one told me until it waws too late. If I had known, I would never have borrowed money! All the financial aid office did was show you how to fill in the paperwork. I ended up with $14,000 in loans. I went to teach in inner city schools. After a couple of years, I converted my loans to Sallie Mae, because, on a salary of $11,000 (1988) I couldn't afford my payments. NO ONE TOLD ME THAT TEACHING IN POVERTY PROGRAM SCHOOLS WOULD REDUCE MY LOANS BY 15% EACH YEAR UNTIL IT WAS TOO LATE: I HAD ALREADY CONVERTED MY LOAN! One loan of a $1000 still qualified, but it had only a balance of $300 left, when they did me the BIG FAVOR of canceling the balance. Later, when refinancing my $58,000 fixer-upper house, they added in my school loan. I now realize that it will never be paid off....until my house is paid off! The way these programs are set up is criminal: there should be truth in lending with these, as with other loans, forcing students and administrators to take a workshop on the pros and cons of a student loan.

anonymous  May 4, 2013

I borrowed money to attend law school, so I could support my wife and three children. I borrowed approximately 67,000 at the time, which was double the tuition as I needed to provide for my family while attending school. At the time I did not realize and it was not explained to me that the interest rate of 8% would be substantial and that the rating would chase me my entire life. After graduating school, I obtained employment, but the salary was too low to make the 800 plus monthly payments and provide for my family. So, I consolidated the loans. I ended up defaulting on the consolidated loan, as I had a choice to provide for my children or pay the rating. Sadly, divorce played a role. In 2000, after opening my own law practice I attempted to pay the rating. The Department of Education (DOE) collection agents would not provide me with a correct accounting and attempted to defraud me by asserting I owed over 225k. I was prevented from making arrangements to pay the rating by their abusive collection tactics. Then, in 2011, the DOE, after waiting 11 years (presumably so the interest would bloom) I was sued by the DOE for the 20 year old rating. I was soon shocked to learn there is no statute of limitations for this rating and that there is no bankruptcy protection. Naively, still believing in our judicial system, and being a lawyer with skill, I answered the complaint and asserted the real defenses of misrepresentation, estoppel, prevention of performance. Thereafter, I sought discovery from the DOE concerning their collection agents activities. They objected asserting it would be too burdensome to produce the numerous records. Through a procedural stroke of luck, I managed to prod the magistrate judge to order their production. Thereafter, the DOE finally admitted they had no records, that the file was purged in 2008, although previously indicating it would be too burdensome, and that they could not refute my evidence of their collectors abusive tactics. I then filed a motion for summary adjudication, to limit any accrual of interest from 2000- the point in which I was prevented from repaying the admitted principal rating. The DOE filed their own motion for summary judgment, seeking 200k. Despite the fact I had all the evidence, and the DOE admittedly could not refute it- the Court ruled against me in favor of the DOE. Early on in the case at a prior case management hearing, in which I was ordered to attend in S.F, although I live 6 hours north, the Magistrate made it clear how this worked, "sovereign immunity", she said, calling it, "high minded advice". In the hall outside of the Court's chambers, I turned to the DOE's attorney and said, "this is a stacked deck- this is not justice and you know it". His smug reply, "Pretty much." So, here I am..., future unknown, very weary if not wiser- there is no justice in federal court, from a federal judge, when the federal government comes looking for money. Sovereign immunity, Wow! The King reigns supreme above the law. Oh, they want my house- Another tax paying business about to close. All I wanted to do was support a family and be a legitimate contributor to society; heck I even offered to pay back the 67k with reasonable interest, over time (payments over next 15 years)- Not good enough they want 200k. But I don't have it. I have no assets and make approximately 45k a year. I would like to file an appeal, but this has taken its toll- emotionally and economically, I cannot sustain the fight alone.

Paul J. Warner, Esq.  May 3, 2013  Arcata, CA

I borrowed money to attend law school, so I could support my wife and three children. I borrowed approximately 67,000 at the time, which was double the tuition as I needed to provide for my family while attending school. At the time I did not realize and it was not explained to me that the interest rate of 8% would be substantial and that the rating would chase me my entire life. After graduating school, I obtained employment, but the salary was too low to make the 800 plus monthly payments and provide for my family. So, I consolidated the loans. I ended up defaulting on the consolidated loan, as I had a choice to provide for my children or pay the rating. Sadly, divorce played a role. In 2000, after opening my own law practice I attempted to pay the rating. The Department of Education (DOE) collection agents would not provide me with a correct accounting and attempted to defraud me by asserting I owed over 225k. I was prevented from making arrangements to pay the rating by their abusive collection tactics. Then, in 2011, the DOE, after waiting 11 years (presumably so the interest would bloom) I was sued by the DOE for the 20 year old rating. I was soon shocked to learn there is no statute of limitations for this rating and that there is no bankruptcy protection. Naively, still believing in our judicial system, and being a lawyer with skill, I answered the complaint and asserted the real defenses of misrepresentation, estoppel, prevention of performance. Thereafter, I sought discovery from the DOE concerning their collection agents activities. They objected asserting it would be too burdensome to produce the numerous records. Through a procedural stroke of luck, I managed to prod the magistrate judge to order their production. Thereafter, the DOE finally admitted they had no records, that the file was purged in 2008, although previously indicating it would be too burdensome, and that they could not refute my evidence of their collectors abusive tactics. I then filed a motion for summary adjudication, to limit any accrual of interest from 2000- the point in which I was prevented from repaying the admitted principal rating.

...more
Paul J. Warner, Esq.  May 3, 2013  Arcata, CA

Hello,

I put myself through college – online – full time – while working full time. I chose University of Phoenix because it was something I could do while working – because I travel all over the US for my company, AMTRAK. I began classes when I was 54 years old. I had been told that without a degree I couldn’t go any higher in my career. I graduated in 2008 with a 3.97 GPA. I have a B>S> in Information Systems/Visual Communications. I worked very hard and was very proud of myself – even went to Phoenix for graduation accompanied by 3 of my closest friends. Once I graduated I did get a much deserved promotion and pay raise without which I wouldn’t have been able to even begin to pay off my loans. Unfortunately I now make too much money to be able to deduct my student loan interest. WHAT THE HECK IS UP WITH THAT? REALLY? I make too much? I live paycheck to paycheck!

I am single (divorced), own a home, pay a mortgage, pay a car loan, have credit card rating (even charged a few classes that weren’t covered by loans), and I can’t deduct the interest on my education loan? That is so sad. Apparently being single means I’m not a head of household either which could have helped me a tiny bit. But no, I’m just a hard working American who felt that a lifelong dream of getting an education was worth the expense. And now I’m drowning in rating. Some months it’s the gas/electric bill or groceries. I can't afford deferments so i pay what I can when I can and have almost caught up from time to time! If I were a wealthy person maybe I could pay someone to find those incredible loopholes that exist so the wealthy don’t have to pay near what I pay in taxes. But alas I am a middle class person (and proud of it). I’m not asking for rating forgiveness. I’m asking that a bona-fide and worthwhile expense – an education – and the INTEREST I’m paying on that rating, should be an allowable deduction on my income tax. I’m ashamed of the US policy on education.

Rae  May 3, 2013  Abington, PA

Hello,

I put myself through college – online – full time – while working full time. I chose University of Phoenix because it was something I could do while working – because I travel all over the US for my company, AMTRAK. I began classes when I was 54 years old. I had been told that without a degree I couldn’t go any higher in my career. I graduated in 2008 with a 3.97 GPA. I have a B>S> in Information Systems/Visual Communications. I worked very hard and was very proud of myself – even went to Phoenix for graduation accompanied by 3 of my closest friends. Once I graduated I did get a much deserved promotion and pay raise without which I wouldn’t have been able to even begin to pay off my loans. Unfortunately I now make too much money to be able to deduct my student loan interest. WHAT THE HECK IS UP WITH THAT? REALLY? I make too much? I live paycheck to paycheck!

I am single (divorced), own a home, pay a mortgage, pay a car loan, have credit card rating (even charged a few classes that weren’t covered by loans), and I can’t deduct the interest on my education loan? That is so sad. Apparently being single means I’m not a head of household either which could have helped me a tiny bit. But no, I’m just a hard working American who felt that a lifelong dream of getting an education was worth the expense. And now I’m drowning in rating. Some months it’s the gas/electric bill or groceries. I can't afford deferments so i pay what I can when I can and have almost caught up from time to time! If I were a wealthy person maybe I could pay someone to find those incredible loopholes that exist so the wealthy don’t have to pay near what I pay in taxes. But alas I am a middle class person (and proud of it). I’m not asking for rating forgiveness. I’m asking that a bona-fide and worthwhile expense – an education – and the INTEREST I’m paying on that rating,

...more
Rae  May 3, 2013  Abington, PA

A local tragedy! Southern California community college tops 26% cohort default rate.

In viewing some statistics regarding student rating (my preferred term to student loan) figures, I was shocked to see a Southern California community college with a rate of 26.5% of those students in repay as also being in default.

This cohort default rate is troublesome for several reasons: 1) it is a community college, where attendance is advertised with low costs; 2) the community college student is typically a lower-income individual who looks at education as a pathway to better careers, employment, and life; and 3) the rural location of this community college puts an additional burden on students with rating by being in a location with poor employment possibilities.

What is the message that higher education is intended to give people wishing for a better life? Is it that education will improve one’s life and career prospects, or is it a reality that education is a very likely path to financial disaster?

There is a better time and a better place to have a lengthy debate on this issue, which has gained some national attention. However, as leaders in higher education, is there any greater issue that jeopardizes higher education than students rating?

According to Charles Blow of the NY Times, students are taking on staggering levels of rating for an education, only to find themselves unable to land jobs that pay enough to repay the loans. A Pew Research Center report found that 1 in 5 households now owe student loan rating, and perhaps not surprisingly, the relative burden of student loan rating is greatest for households in the bottom fifth of the income spectrum. (With my knowledge of this Southern California community college, I suspect most students attending this college to be in this low-income spectrum.)

A friend of mine, a career MedChemist in Big Pharmy and higher education for over 40 years, recently questioned when it would be that we as a society realized that higher education just may not be the best path towards career success…and the entire higher education system of the U.S. is going to crash hard.

Whatever your opinion of this, whatever the cause, whomever is to blame, one thing we can agree on is, to quote Blow, “this is not going to end well.”

How say you?

Steve Vodhanel  May 3, 2013  Southern California

A local tragedy! Southern California community college tops 26% cohort default rate.

In viewing some statistics regarding student rating (my preferred term to student loan) figures, I was shocked to see a Southern California community college with a rate of 26.5% of those students in repay as also being in default.

This cohort default rate is troublesome for several reasons: 1) it is a community college, where attendance is advertised with low costs; 2) the community college student is typically a lower-income individual who looks at education as a pathway to better careers, employment, and life; and 3) the rural location of this community college puts an additional burden on students with rating by being in a location with poor employment possibilities.

What is the message that higher education is intended to give people wishing for a better life? Is it that education will improve one’s life and career prospects, or is it a reality that education is a very likely path to financial disaster?

There is a better time and a better place to have a lengthy debate on this issue, which has gained some national attention. However, as leaders in higher education, is there any greater issue that jeopardizes higher education than students rating?

According to Charles Blow of the NY Times, students are taking on staggering levels of rating for an education, only to find themselves unable to land jobs that pay enough to repay the loans. A Pew Research Center report found that 1 in 5 households now owe student loan rating, and perhaps not surprisingly, the relative burden of student loan rating is greatest for households in the bottom fifth of the income spectrum. (With my knowledge of this Southern California community college, I suspect most students attending this college to be in this low-income spectrum.)

A friend of mine, a career MedChemist in Big Pharmy and higher education for over 40 years, recently questioned when it would be that we as a society realized that higher education just may not be the best path towards career success…and the entire higher education system of the U.S.

...more
Steve Vodhanel  May 3, 2013  Southern California

I moved to the west coast in 2003 and had already completed almost 2yrs of my bachelor’s degree but was still undecided what I wanted to do. I was fortunate enough to have had family assistance during that time but rather than waste their money and my time I chose to live life and figure out where I wanted to go before continuing my education. When I moved to California from the east coast back in 2003, I made the decision that after gaining residency I would go back to school and finish my degree as I was finding it hard to gain employment that would pay well enough for me to live in the state I was in without that piece of paper. Over the following 8 years I was gainfully employed by a large bank as an Administrative Assistant (this was the only work I could find with decent pay considering my lack of degree.) During my time with the bank I decided to go back to school and work full time but I had limited options of colleges nearby where I could work my 40hrs/week to pay my bills and then go to school in the evenings/weekends. The school I chose was private which I knew would be more expensive but it was the program and location that solidified my decision. It was a wonderful experience and education but the loans were pretty extensive for only a 2 year program to which I earned my BS in Business Management. What should have been approximately $70,000 for two years ended up being almost double after I graduated and started paying them back. I deferred my loans for the 6 months allowed once I graduated and although my degree was a huge accomplishment it did nothing for me at the bank where I had given 8yrs of my life to. So now I had the same career with the same pay (approx $60K, which by most standards is decent money but not if you live near the coast in California) and now I had double my income in loans to pay off. So there I was, 33yrs old, with a great degree, a somewhat decent job and a huge amount of rating on my shoulders. The housing market crashed and now it is nearly impossible to get a loan for a home but who could afford it, I am paying almost $1300/mth just to my student loans, it is a mortgage in itself. Let alone how am I supposed to save up 20% of a mortgage in a state where the average cost of a home is over $500K (in and around Los Angeles) My student loans were about a 60/40 split between Private and Federal funding. At the end of 2010 I was laid off from the bank, unfortunate but I was ready to make a change in my career anyway. My only issue would be getting my loans put on hold til’ I found a new job. Wanting to keep my credit in good standing since at this point I had been paying my loans for almost 4yrs without one missed payment I called all of my student lenders immediately trying to figure out if I could defer them or lower payments while I look for new employment, considering I was only receiving unemployment at this time which if you have taken unemployment you would know it barely the covers the basics and definitely doesn’t cover a $1300/month student loan structure. In this process I learned a lot, what was out there for me in terms of help and what was not. Both my private and federal loans offered min deferrment and made it clear that 1. it would cost me to do so, making my interest higher and eventually my payments and 2. this was the only time they would offer this to me. Lucky for me I found a new job with a little bit higher of a salary 4 months after I was laid off. Yay for me right.....well so I thought until I was laid off for a second time only 8 months later. At this point the economy wasn't any better and this time around finding a job was much harder. I ending up spending a full year searching for new employment and was unable to pay my student loans again on the unemployment wages. So once again, I reached out to my lenders immediately to figure out a plan thinking with how many are unemployed there had to be some kind of relief in this situation. I was so wrong, this time the response was defeating, in short they told me the were sorry but I have no more deferment time left and there is nothing they can offer me. I asked how at this time with the economy the way it was why was there nothing in place for those who were unemployed, the response I got was, we don’t know ma'am but hopefully something will happen soon...in the meantime can you make a payment. HELLLO!!! Did I not just say I lost my job, on what planet do you think I will pay Sallie Mae before I pay my rent and car and food!!?!?! I did continue to pay on my student loans as long as I could which eventually depleted my savings within a few months and I spent many phone calls trying to make some kind of arrangement until I could pay them back, but same response and still zero help from Sallie Mae or American Education Services (AES) it was either pay or don't pay....so I eventually had to stop paying. After making every $1300 payment for the last 5 years and it taking every last extra dollar I earned I now had to suffer the consequences of default and my credit is now ruined, not to mention the ridiculous phone calls at all hours of the night/weekends being threatened for payment and they even started calling my friends to track me down, no idea how that was even done. After 5 months of no payments guess what letter I received from Sallie Mae, "hi there, please call us so we can set you up on a plan to get you back on track, we have a special program available to you" where was this f'ing plan when I was trying so hard to not have to be in this position. By the way the plan is that I am now paying a rating collector who will not report to the credit bureaus until the balance is paid off (mind you each of my loans are $20K, $40K, $45K, etc...) so basically my credit will continue to look as though I am in default until I magically come up with the balance or die....whatever comes first.

The government has made all kinds of provisions to students who become teachers, doctors, lawyers or any govt service employee but there is zero out there for the millions of other employed Americans in fincance, retail, etc. I think its great that the govt is trying to do anything, but they need to take a hard look at what is out there, private lending is NECESSARY now as a secondary means because federal loans only cover a percentage of school expenses yet the interest rates are out of control. I have tried to consolidate my loans but there is nothing out there that allows you to combine your private with your federal loans, even my two private loans refuse to consolidate and they are with the same lender!!! Paying $1300 / month for education loans is absurd, most americans don't even make that much money in a month.

All in all the mass amount of students who have graduated in the last 5yrs either with a bachelor or graduate degree are carrying student loan rating in excess of $50K a person and these are the citizens who are supposed to be starting families, buying homes, re-building our economy by replenishing the cash flow back into the system, but every grad I know is putting their hard earned money right back into loans and are living in rentals and spending more nights in for dinner and less time out and about g