Real Life Student Debt Stories

I applied to University of Phoenix because I have four small children and wanted to continue my education, online looked like the best option. At first everything seemed too good to be true, the person who helped me enroll in this school was extremely nice. He used to call me even 4 and 5 times a day, he really wanted to make sure I finish school. At least thats what I thought...

The classes were horrible, the teachers do not teach anything, they just send you the homework and then you are on your own googling (Google is free). I noticed that I wasn't learning much, they gave me an orientation class that was mandatory and very expensive, then a communication class and health class, where they made me watch videos about not smoking and eating healthy. I could of watch those type of videos on "YOUTUBE" for free.

I decided to leave the school, I didn't even feel motivated anymore and when I told the staff they stopped being so nice. I was already enrolled, they had no need to continue being nice to get my money. I failed the classes on my second semester because I kept telling the counselor that I didn't approve of them, that they were a joke, she tried to make me apply for another loan and I refused. I didn't withdraw the classes on time so at the end of the semester my account had a balance for almost $300.

I found a great school around my house and wanted to enroll but Phoenix University wouldn't allow me to get my transcript until I pay the $300, so my mom lent me her credit card and I paid it. Successfully I applied online for the transcript but I never received it. I went back to the website to see the reason why I didn't get it and it turns out I have another balance for $112 dollars. I didn't know this, I called them and they informed me that this is already in collection so I can't pay it on their website. They don't want to give me my transcript and I'm tired of giving them my money. Someone please help me, I'm a mom of 4 who's struggling a lot and the last thing I need is to give the little bit of money I have to this horrible school.

Now I keep getting letters and calls asking me for money, not only the $112 but also the $4,000 loan.

Susan Marte

Susan Marte  August 24, 2015  Bronx, New York

I applied to University of Phoenix because I have four small children and wanted to continue my education, online looked like the best option. At first everything seemed too good to be true, the person who helped me enroll in this school was extremely nice. He used to call me even 4 and 5 times a day, he really wanted to make sure I finish school. At least thats what I thought...

The classes were horrible, the teachers do not teach anything, they just send you the homework and then you are on your own googling (Google is free). I noticed that I wasn't learning much, they gave me an orientation class that was mandatory and very expensive, then a communication class and health class, where they made me watch videos about not smoking and eating healthy. I could of watch those type of videos on "YOUTUBE" for free.

I decided to leave the school, I didn't even feel motivated anymore and when I told the staff they stopped being so nice. I was already enrolled, they had no need to continue being nice to get my money. I failed the classes on my second semester because I kept telling the counselor that I didn't approve of them, that they were a joke, she tried to make me apply for another loan and I refused. I didn't withdraw the classes on time so at the end of the semester my account had a balance for almost $300.

I found a great school around my house and wanted to enroll but Phoenix University wouldn't allow me to get my transcript until I pay the $300, so my mom lent me her credit card and I paid it. Successfully I applied online for the transcript but I never received it. I went back to the website to see the reason why I didn't get it and it turns out I have another balance for $112 dollars. I didn't know this, I called them and they informed me that this is already in collection so I can't pay it on their website.

...more
Susan Marte  August 24, 2015  Bronx, New York

I attended what Newsweek touted as, "The least affordable university in the nation". Lucky Me! The combination of coming from a not so financially stable family and my parents wanting me to go to a "prestigious" private school was a bit of a bad combination. As a 16 year old, I had no idea what I was doing signing up for private loans. Although my grades in high school were great, the university didn't really pony up much in the financial aid department.

After my $200,000 undergraduate education had finished, I was left with $70K in debt. (I worked full time during these 4 years to pay for school as all of my wealthy counterparts partied and blew their parents money on Gucci bags.) Regardless, I figured I was dealt a bad hand and I just had no choice but to work harder than my friends. I thought hard work would pay off in the end, but it turns out the light at the end of the tunnel was still far away.

Since I graduated in 2009, I have paid off $60K worth of my loans, by living well below my means, working two jobs and being smart about what I can afford ( no pets, no trips, nothing that would put me into more debt etc (like a big wedding or a new car.) I suppose it's a bit of a militant outlook, but I needed to look at my life and say "I will not incur anything that will make my financial situation and life more difficult". Frankly, it's depressing because you work your butt off expecting a return, or even just a break.

I have 10K to go and after 6 years, I am proud that I have paid most of it off, but I am depressed that instead of being able to work towards my dream, I have had to take other jobs to pay off my loans. I feel a bit robbed. Especially for young adults that do not come from an affluent family; if they are not afforded a free ride, they pay a penalty for simply existing in a certain socioeconomic group.

It's frustrating that most other countries have affordable if not free education systems, but why would the US government offer this when in 2013 alone they profited 41.3 Billion dollars off of student loans.

I take full responsibility for my debt, but I wish that someone would have helped guide me from a financial standpoint. The amount of Americans that have had their dreams crushed due to debilitating amounts of student loan debt is staggering. The system is broken. We need to step back and take a look. We are living in a country where necessities are becoming luxuries.

Anonymous  August 19, 2015

I attended what Newsweek touted as, "The least affordable university in the nation". Lucky Me! The combination of coming from a not so financially stable family and my parents wanting me to go to a "prestigious" private school was a bit of a bad combination. As a 16 year old, I had no idea what I was doing signing up for private loans. Although my grades in high school were great, the university didn't really pony up much in the financial aid department.

After my $200,000 undergraduate education had finished, I was left with $70K in debt. (I worked full time during these 4 years to pay for school as all of my wealthy counterparts partied and blew their parents money on Gucci bags.) Regardless, I figured I was dealt a bad hand and I just had no choice but to work harder than my friends. I thought hard work would pay off in the end, but it turns out the light at the end of the tunnel was still far away.

Since I graduated in 2009, I have paid off $60K worth of my loans, by living well below my means, working two jobs and being smart about what I can afford ( no pets, no trips, nothing that would put me into more debt etc (like a big wedding or a new car.) I suppose it's a bit of a militant outlook, but I needed to look at my life and say "I will not incur anything that will make my financial situation and life more difficult". Frankly, it's depressing because you work your butt off expecting a return, or even just a break.

I have 10K to go and after 6 years, I am proud that I have paid most of it off, but I am depressed that instead of being able to work towards my dream, I have had to take other jobs to pay off my loans. I feel a bit robbed. Especially for young adults that do not come from an affluent family; if they are not afforded a free ride,

...more
Anonymous  August 19, 2015

I grew up in rural Tennessee, graduated from high school and worked as a carhop at Sonic Drive-In when I decided to go to law school. For those of you that followed through on this dream with private loans, you know exactly where this story is headed.

Although I was accepted to the University of Tennessee, I ended up attending the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, which boasted an expensive tuition. Concerned about tuition when I toured the school in advance, I asked about this issue and was advised by a school representative that I would make more money as a lawyer in Washington, D.C., and that my salary would more than compensate the student debt I was going to undertake. To assuage my concerns, I then reviewed their employment statistics, which represented an average salary of approximately $80,000.00 per year.

Three years and a mid-school interest hike later (an interest hike I could do nothing about since I couldn't alter my student lender after taking on the initial debt for the first year of school), I had an incredibly difficult time finding employment upon graduation, and only managed to find a job that paid $35,000.00 per year.

Undeterred I pulled myself up by my bootstraps, working in difficult conditions, and became a very valuable young Associate at this firm. In doing so, I was able to work my salary up to a respectable $65,000.00 and change. Yet, I could only get into this position by alternating staggered forbearance on half of my loans in six month increments over the first year, and eventually transitioning into income based repayment when this option was no longer available. Nevertheless, I was able to exist by this scheme. I lived in rented rooms instead of apartments, didn't have a car, didn't do a great deal of shopping. I was able to pay my bills , importantly, my student loans, for several years.

Eventually, four years after I became a practicing attorney, my ship came in through the form of a new job at a larger firm, where I was able to earn $90,000.00 per year. While this salary was below the market for lawyers with my experience at that time, I jumped at the opportunity to expand my litigation footprint and increase my salary. It was in this timeframe that the initial cases were being filed against law schools that misrepresented their employment statistics, and Catholic happened to be one of the schools listed as a potential target, though I don't think suit was ever actually filed.

I worked at this second office for four years, with a great deal of success. I served as first chair trial counsel, was able to serve as co-counsel on patent and antitrust matters and was recognized for my success in local media. Yet, once my employer elected to close their D.C. office, my career came to a screeching halt. Despite submitting over 100 applications, I was unable to find any type of full-time work, instead having to scramble from one temporary document review position to another. In doing so, I tried to gain a forbearance on my private loans only to be told that there was no redress save forbearance on two small loans which had a total monthly payment of $150.00 give or take. In essence, the servicer for my private loans informed me I would have to default on the rest of my debt before I could try to work out any form of a payment plan, and even then the lender could simply refuse to work with me and send my account to a debt collection agency.

Prior to losing my job, my monthly student loan payments were $1,820.00. Close to half of my take home pay. After this forbearance of $150.00 and being able to put my federal loans into deferment, my monthly student loan payment dropped to $1,180.00. Yet, I no longer make the same salary. Rather, I have to try to make ends meet in the docuverse, where work only pays $30.00 an hour, hours are typically capped at 40 and projects only last around 3 weeks. Add in the competition from other unemployed lawyers, projects which aburptly stop and projects placed on hold, and perhaps you can see how this situation has just utterly ruined my life.

Ultimately, after eight years of repayment, my total debt burden is $199,000.00, my monthly payments (after my lender's "generous" forbearance) are $1,180.00 and every month I lose more and more from my savings, realizing that eventually this loss will creep into my 401K.

I spent eleven years of effort on a career only to see it implode before my very eyes. I spent eight years paying for an education which feels as though it is of no use to me whatsoever (having been assured by several recruiters that the likelihood I will ever find similar employment, much less comparable pay, is "slim to none" and that placing me would be "difficult"). I've tapped every resource humanly possible to try to find a job to service these loans and cannot.

Losing my job was difficult because it caused me to lose part of my identity, especially as a litigator, where personality defines your approach to your work. Yet, what makes this situation altogether more disorienting, is how out of step it is with what we are told about the American dream. By all outward accounts, I did things the right way. I worked hard, pushed through the hurdles, was a tremendous employee, and yet I find myself holding nothing but ash. I don't understand how a system that purportedly values hard work could fail so miserably for so many of us. I don't understand how I could spend eight years paying for an education only to end up holding the tab for $199,000.00 of debt for an education which is no longer of any use.

I can't responsibly have children, I can't buy a house, I wake up most nights at 2:00 a.m. and cry because I have no idea what I am going to do, in part because I have no idea what my student lender will actually do and because I feel like a complete failure. This education, point blank and period, ruined my life. There just is no other way to say it. It was a worthless pipe dream that sucked 11 years that I could have spent elsewhere, and will likely suck another 20 before its all over and done with.

I left Tennessee thinking I had broken from a cycle of poverty, that I had overcome the tragedies that afflicted my family so deeply and so terribly, and now I look back over how things ended up and I can't help but feel like I have been playing in a system that was gamed this entire time.

All I can do is view this new landscape flat footed, and wonder at the point of all of this.

Anonymous  August 14, 2015  Washington, DC

I grew up in rural Tennessee, graduated from high school and worked as a carhop at Sonic Drive-In when I decided to go to law school. For those of you that followed through on this dream with private loans, you know exactly where this story is headed.

Although I was accepted to the University of Tennessee, I ended up attending the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, which boasted an expensive tuition. Concerned about tuition when I toured the school in advance, I asked about this issue and was advised by a school representative that I would make more money as a lawyer in Washington, D.C., and that my salary would more than compensate the student debt I was going to undertake. To assuage my concerns, I then reviewed their employment statistics, which represented an average salary of approximately $80,000.00 per year.

Three years and a mid-school interest hike later (an interest hike I could do nothing about since I couldn't alter my student lender after taking on the initial debt for the first year of school), I had an incredibly difficult time finding employment upon graduation, and only managed to find a job that paid $35,000.00 per year.

Undeterred I pulled myself up by my bootstraps, working in difficult conditions, and became a very valuable young Associate at this firm. In doing so, I was able to work my salary up to a respectable $65,000.00 and change. Yet, I could only get into this position by alternating staggered forbearance on half of my loans in six month increments over the first year, and eventually transitioning into income based repayment when this option was no longer available. Nevertheless, I was able to exist by this scheme. I lived in rented rooms instead of apartments, didn't have a car, didn't do a great deal of shopping. I was able to pay my bills , importantly, my student loans, for several years.

Eventually, four years after I became a practicing attorney, my ship came in through the form of a new job at a larger firm,

...more
Anonymous  August 14, 2015  Washington, DC

Where do i begin? My student loans have been a pain in the neck since i left a 4 year college. It has destroyed my credit and it stresses me out. I went to a 4 year college back when i graduated high school in 2006. I didnt finish because the tuition went up and i could not afford to take out anymore loans on top of my mom being diagnosed with breast cancer. I took a year off to tend to my mother while also looking for constant work. that did not pay off. After about a year and a half i ended up going to a 2 year college where i did graduate but again finding work in my field as well as any other field was hard. To this day, I still have not found work in my field because no one wants to give you the opportunity if you dont have the "in office experience". After being frustrated with that and still dealing with my moms health, i ended up going to beauty school for 6 months. I applied for fafsa but due to my loans with shaw university, it was not able to pay full tuition so I still had to come out of my pocket $100 a month that i really did not have. I did not finish there because i ended up getting pregnant and the reality of standing up on my feet all day did not comfort me. I do plan on going back to finish but the thought of applying for fafsa and it not being able to help me with tuition scares me. I am now back to being unemployed because my mom most recently has been dealing with neuropathy and other side effects from when she was taking chemo. My passion is doing hair but i cannot continue that education because my loans are holding me back. On top of being late with rent and utilities, i just dont have the money to pay back any loans which is why i keeping asking for deferments. If my student loans were forgiven, that would be a huge load off my back. I can finish following my dream on top of being financially stable to help my mom and family. I could also work on getting a new car for the car we have is no longer working and maybe even help my mom move to a better home. Having my loans forgiven will be the best thing that has happened to me, besides me having my daughter but i would be sooooo grateful and appreciative.

I have a good heart and I just dont want to worry anymore.

christina nolley  August 13, 2015  charlotte, nc

Where do i begin? My student loans have been a pain in the neck since i left a 4 year college. It has destroyed my credit and it stresses me out. I went to a 4 year college back when i graduated high school in 2006. I didnt finish because the tuition went up and i could not afford to take out anymore loans on top of my mom being diagnosed with breast cancer. I took a year off to tend to my mother while also looking for constant work. that did not pay off. After about a year and a half i ended up going to a 2 year college where i did graduate but again finding work in my field as well as any other field was hard. To this day, I still have not found work in my field because no one wants to give you the opportunity if you dont have the "in office experience". After being frustrated with that and still dealing with my moms health, i ended up going to beauty school for 6 months. I applied for fafsa but due to my loans with shaw university, it was not able to pay full tuition so I still had to come out of my pocket $100 a month that i really did not have. I did not finish there because i ended up getting pregnant and the reality of standing up on my feet all day did not comfort me. I do plan on going back to finish but the thought of applying for fafsa and it not being able to help me with tuition scares me. I am now back to being unemployed because my mom most recently has been dealing with neuropathy and other side effects from when she was taking chemo. My passion is doing hair but i cannot continue that education because my loans are holding me back. On top of being late with rent and utilities, i just dont have the money to pay back any loans which is why i keeping asking for deferments. If my student loans were forgiven,

...more
christina nolley  August 13, 2015  charlotte, nc

Having signed loan papers under duress (high pressure and scary sales tactics), with insinuated limited alternatives, I am now in a considerable amount of student debt. This concern comes at the heels of spending nearly $5,000 out of pocket for tools and resources that tuition did not cover and the school did not provide. I have complained numerous times to the schools here, but to no avail, I was left unanswered. My 13 minute complaint to the school had not been delivered to me via digital copy as I had requested. This was months ago. Now as I enter my final year, I am applying to internships and networking with professionals --who's consensus, incidentally, is that the school I attend doesn't provide the adequate and competent knowledge necessary to enter the field. Now I face over $70,000 in student debt for a job that I can't get. What's infinitely worse, universities for grad school likely won't accept my credits. If anything is to get better, people of this school must unite and become organized with their strategy. If I could go back and change things, I would have asked more alumni about their success rate upon leaving the school.

AM  August 11, 2015  Houston, TX

Having signed loan papers under duress (high pressure and scary sales tactics), with insinuated limited alternatives, I am now in a considerable amount of student debt. This concern comes at the heels of spending nearly $5,000 out of pocket for tools and resources that tuition did not cover and the school did not provide. I have complained numerous times to the schools here, but to no avail, I was left unanswered. My 13 minute complaint to the school had not been delivered to me via digital copy as I had requested. This was months ago. Now as I enter my final year, I am applying to internships and networking with professionals --who's consensus, incidentally, is that the school I attend doesn't provide the adequate and competent knowledge necessary to enter the field. Now I face over $70,000 in student debt for a job that I can't get. What's infinitely worse, universities for grad school likely won't accept my credits. If anything is to get better, people of this school must unite and become organized with their strategy. If I could go back and change things, I would have asked more alumni about their success rate upon leaving the school.

AM  August 11, 2015  Houston, TX

I am a graduate of the now defunct Art Institute of New York Culinary Art program. I graduated in 2008 with all the hope and promise of being able to get a hands on career that would let my creativity flourish and allow me to build a promising life for myself. I came to the decision of the Art Institute after having a long discussion with my husband (then boyfriend who also attended but never received his certificate despite his completion of the program) about how much I enjoy baking, and being able to do art and bake simultaneously could be revolutionary. I was looking for colleges and saw the Art Institute everywhere. In my mind I believed if they have campuses all over and they are advertised frequently there has to be something good. WRONG. I attended the open house and took a small tour of the school followed a lecture claiming that they were the ONLY trade school accredited by the Department of Education. Oh how naive we were. I really believed this would change my life...and it did but not for the better. I met with the recruiter who sang songs of great starting salary (upwards of 50k) amazing job placement and a true environment that fostered both learning and creativity. I made my choice, payed the $100 application fee and continued the course to the financial adviser. I hit a small hiccup because in order to qualify for Financial Aid I needed my mothers Tax history. She completely refused to provide it. She said I had to figure it out on my own. (This same process had stopped me from attending an out of state college) I explained my situation to the adviser and she said " Well we'll just say you're independent since you work, say you don't live with her and you can just pull out some private loans, but don't worry you'll be able to pay them off no problem once you graduate." Everything following was painless. Filled out my information, was told to pick Sallie Mae (since that's what everyone else uses) for both my private and federal loan. I got approved and started classes only to learn 2 weeks in the program was closing down. I was told not to worry, our education wouldn't be effected and we'd have the same quality all the alumni had. We decided to stay the course, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Within a month more than half the faculty left. The entire facility was practically a ghost town save what few instructors stayed ( I would have to if I made $75.00 an hour) and the remaining student body. Everything we learned was minimal. I had a personal incident with a chef who chose to destroy a display cake that was made over 3 days and when I spoke to him asking him to not pick at it, he broke my project and proceeded to lob a piece that almost hit my face, had my friend not caught it. I had no one to report the incident to, no supervisors were on duty and the dean had quit. Flash forward it's time to graduate and I'm defeated. I don't feel like I learned anything extraordinary. No skills that could carry me into a future with this certification. I wound up finding my own job during my internship phase. When my job dissolved I was no longer able to receive any help from the faculty. There were never any job interviews set up for me. There was never any advocating on my behalf for a fare starting salary like they stated. Now it's 6 years later, I have a family, I stay home with my son, because if I got a job I'd only pay for daycare. I cannot afford and have never been able to afford my student loan payments. I live in a veritable shit hole of an apartment and can't even afford to move. When my husband and I tried desperately to take a small personal loan out for a new apartment we were denied due our credit. Our debt exceeded our income. We would not be able to successfully pay it and our student loans off. Even now with our son we have to choose to either eat or pay our loans. We chose food so our kid wouldn't ever have to starve. Now we deal with possible wage garnishment, default in our loans and a black hole of debt that will never end. Go Ai!

Danielle Adorno  August 10, 2015  New York

I am a graduate of the now defunct Art Institute of New York Culinary Art program. I graduated in 2008 with all the hope and promise of being able to get a hands on career that would let my creativity flourish and allow me to build a promising life for myself. I came to the decision of the Art Institute after having a long discussion with my husband (then boyfriend who also attended but never received his certificate despite his completion of the program) about how much I enjoy baking, and being able to do art and bake simultaneously could be revolutionary. I was looking for colleges and saw the Art Institute everywhere. In my mind I believed if they have campuses all over and they are advertised frequently there has to be something good. WRONG. I attended the open house and took a small tour of the school followed a lecture claiming that they were the ONLY trade school accredited by the Department of Education. Oh how naive we were. I really believed this would change my life...and it did but not for the better. I met with the recruiter who sang songs of great starting salary (upwards of 50k) amazing job placement and a true environment that fostered both learning and creativity. I made my choice, payed the $100 application fee and continued the course to the financial adviser. I hit a small hiccup because in order to qualify for Financial Aid I needed my mothers Tax history. She completely refused to provide it. She said I had to figure it out on my own. (This same process had stopped me from attending an out of state college) I explained my situation to the adviser and she said " Well we'll just say you're independent since you work, say you don't live with her and you can just pull out some private loans, but don't worry you'll be able to pay them off no problem once you graduate." Everything following was painless. Filled out my information, was told to pick Sallie Mae (since that's what everyone else uses) for both my private and federal loan.

...more
Danielle Adorno  August 10, 2015  New York

I have a PhD in psychology, but because it is from a non APA accredited university, insurance companies do not reimburse me as a Ph.D. professional, but as a master's level professional - which makes it impossible to make my Ph.D. level monthly payments. I also teach at universities as an adjunct (which is when they need me). So, my income is difficult to define. I have asked and asked, ad nauseum, how I can show proof of income or how should I fill out what I make on the forbearance? (which is supposed to be an income based reduction payment application form). Nothing! I just keep getting the monthly payment due but absolutely NO response to my requests - not even an acknowledgement that they are receiving any of my emails. They never answer when I call and I am put on hold for long periods of time. I am getting no where! I am at my wit's end! ..and emotionally exhausted. My payment is due 8/20. You would think they would want to respond to me and work something out... I am at a loss as to why they are not responding! Maybe they think they can just ignore me and start garnishing something (God knows I don't have wages..so I don't know what). But, they did this to a friend of mine..kept ignoring his requests to work something out and then started garnishing his wages. Is that even legal?!!!!

Nina N.  August 9, 2015  Florida

I have a PhD in psychology, but because it is from a non APA accredited university, insurance companies do not reimburse me as a Ph.D. professional, but as a master's level professional - which makes it impossible to make my Ph.D. level monthly payments. I also teach at universities as an adjunct (which is when they need me). So, my income is difficult to define. I have asked and asked, ad nauseum, how I can show proof of income or how should I fill out what I make on the forbearance? (which is supposed to be an income based reduction payment application form). Nothing! I just keep getting the monthly payment due but absolutely NO response to my requests - not even an acknowledgement that they are receiving any of my emails. They never answer when I call and I am put on hold for long periods of time. I am getting no where! I am at my wit's end! ..and emotionally exhausted. My payment is due 8/20. You would think they would want to respond to me and work something out... I am at a loss as to why they are not responding! Maybe they think they can just ignore me and start garnishing something (God knows I don't have wages..so I don't know what). But, they did this to a friend of mine..kept ignoring his requests to work something out and then started garnishing his wages. Is that even legal?!!!!

Nina N.  August 9, 2015  Florida

I am a retired single parent and I was tricked into the most insidious of all student loans, The 8.5% Fed UnSub PARENT Plus loan. It has the highest profit of all the student for the FED I will be long gone before this is paid so that's comforting to know the only way out is to die early! Not allowed to transfer to my now graduated kid, not allowed to modify terms and not allowed discharge under any circumstances. Vote Bernie Sanders!

JM  July 30, 2015  Hawaii

I am a retired single parent and I was tricked into the most insidious of all student loans, The 8.5% Fed UnSub PARENT Plus loan. It has the highest profit of all the student for the FED I will be long gone before this is paid so that's comforting to know the only way out is to die early! Not allowed to transfer to my now graduated kid, not allowed to modify terms and not allowed discharge under any circumstances. Vote Bernie Sanders!

JM  July 30, 2015  Hawaii

The weight of my student loan debt is crushing. I entered college at age 26 as a married mother of two and military spouse, graduating with my BA 4 years later. At the encouragement of my abusive ex-husband, I borrowed more than necessary to complete my degree program, assured it would be repaid once I had improved my level of education.

I struggled to find full-time employment in my chosen or any field for five years. I left the 19 year relationship and subsequently solely support a household and two teenage sons, while working 40-plus hour weeks and struggling with multiple chronic illnesses.

There needs to be help available for those with hardships and both federal and private student loans. Anyone who's ever dealt with the around-the-clock collections calls, chronic worry and stress that makes you ill knows how desperate the situation feels.

To pursue bankruptcy on this heap of insurmountable debt, I'd have to make my sons do without to afford the legal fees and then, the risk it would not be discharged remains very high.

Some things in life are beyond one's control and, though it's challenging to reform and regulate education lending, it needs to happen because there are other hard-working Americans that, like me, are wondering if my choice to improve my future through higher education will eliminate that option for my children.

Carrie Munn  July 29, 2015  Maryland

The weight of my student loan debt is crushing. I entered college at age 26 as a married mother of two and military spouse, graduating with my BA 4 years later. At the encouragement of my abusive ex-husband, I borrowed more than necessary to complete my degree program, assured it would be repaid once I had improved my level of education.

I struggled to find full-time employment in my chosen or any field for five years. I left the 19 year relationship and subsequently solely support a household and two teenage sons, while working 40-plus hour weeks and struggling with multiple chronic illnesses.

There needs to be help available for those with hardships and both federal and private student loans. Anyone who's ever dealt with the around-the-clock collections calls, chronic worry and stress that makes you ill knows how desperate the situation feels.

To pursue bankruptcy on this heap of insurmountable debt, I'd have to make my sons do without to afford the legal fees and then, the risk it would not be discharged remains very high.

Some things in life are beyond one's control and, though it's challenging to reform and regulate education lending, it needs to happen because there are other hard-working Americans that, like me, are wondering if my choice to improve my future through higher education will eliminate that option for my children.

Carrie Munn  July 29, 2015  Maryland

My time in graduate school was interrupted by the sudden need to have brain surgery. I couldn't complete my Ph.D. despite several attempts to get started again. Some of these attempts lasted a few years. Anyway, I tallied up some student loans in the process, but here's the thing... I DON'T KNOW how much I originally borrowed, because the loan companies have all "capitalized" the interest and late fees that I've been subjected to, over the many times my loans fell out of whatever system I used to try to put them off.

As you might imagine, having major brain surgery has kind of a detrimental effect on a person's capability to earn money. In between and since my attempts to get my Ph.D. (I've given up), I've worked as I could, or at least TRIED to find work that I would be capable of doing. Because of this and the fact that my parents give me one of their old cars, once every few years, I have never qualified for disability payments or anything like that. Believe me, I've tried. And the loan companies JUST DON'T CARE. They just want their money. But of course, they also want so pretend to be sympathetic. So, they offer to put me deferment again... which means another capitalization of my interest and missed payments and penalties.

My total loan amount (as near as I can tell) is now almost $100,000. I didn't borrow even half of that. And my interest rates are outrageous, partly because some of these loans are from a time of higher interest rates, in general. Consolidation doesn't lower these interest rates. I was stupid enough to borrow money for my education when rates were high. I guess I should have gone to college when I was 10 years old, or 40.

Now, I have a part-time job that I really like, but I earn hardly any money at all. I earn about what a full-time, minimum wage worker made before the minimum went up, recently. But I still have to file all this paperwork, all the time, with my loan companies. And guess what? My brain is, and will always be, messed up. It's incredibly hard for me to keep up with all of this and the loan companies make it as hard as they can - even while claiming they want to help.

So, this is my future. My debt will not go down, but instead continue to rise, ad infinitum. Someday, I'll probably inherit some money, and I worry that I'll lose it all to my loan companies and still be poor. And I worry that they'll go after my family, etc.

Oh, and one more thing. One of the tricks they pull is when you apply for Income Based Repayment or something. I even filled out the form while on the phone with the loan company rep, and they found some reason to reject the form, anyway. It's no problem, they just "capitalized" my interest while I was straightening that mess out. This happened several times. These companies are criminal.

Have a nice day!

TomR  July 22, 2015  Oakland, CA

My time in graduate school was interrupted by the sudden need to have brain surgery. I couldn't complete my Ph.D. despite several attempts to get started again. Some of these attempts lasted a few years. Anyway, I tallied up some student loans in the process, but here's the thing... I DON'T KNOW how much I originally borrowed, because the loan companies have all "capitalized" the interest and late fees that I've been subjected to, over the many times my loans fell out of whatever system I used to try to put them off.

As you might imagine, having major brain surgery has kind of a detrimental effect on a person's capability to earn money. In between and since my attempts to get my Ph.D. (I've given up), I've worked as I could, or at least TRIED to find work that I would be capable of doing. Because of this and the fact that my parents give me one of their old cars, once every few years, I have never qualified for disability payments or anything like that. Believe me, I've tried. And the loan companies JUST DON'T CARE. They just want their money. But of course, they also want so pretend to be sympathetic. So, they offer to put me deferment again... which means another capitalization of my interest and missed payments and penalties.

My total loan amount (as near as I can tell) is now almost $100,000. I didn't borrow even half of that. And my interest rates are outrageous, partly because some of these loans are from a time of higher interest rates, in general. Consolidation doesn't lower these interest rates. I was stupid enough to borrow money for my education when rates were high. I guess I should have gone to college when I was 10 years old, or 40.

Now, I have a part-time job that I really like, but I earn hardly any money at all. I earn about what a full-time, minimum wage worker made before the minimum went up, recently. But I still have to file all this paperwork,

...more
TomR  July 22, 2015  Oakland, CA

Non-traditional student at 26 years old. Had great credit and a modest savings prior to starting college. Initially just took a couple core courses at liberal arts college close to my work. Realized I could do this, so transferred to an out-of-state college where I knew I would enjoy being at and had the program I wanted. Money went quick; paying my own room and board, initial non-resident tuition, books, standard bills, tools to utilize for school work, etc...Started turning to my high limit credit cards I was paying off on time as a full time worker. Slowly those crept up as I had to use them for groceries and spending cash. Started working two part-time jobs around my class schedule to still pay my bills. Luckily one was related to my major and helped me gain experience for post-graduation employment, the other was just some mundane, mindless job usually. By the time I graduated, 5 years later, I was 58k in federal, default on most my credit cards, 24k in a private loan.
Since then, that was 10 years ago, I've paid those defaulted credit cards off or at least settled those I could salvage, just about have the private loan paid off. Amazingly got my credit rating back up to 710 from I believe it was down around 460. Still working on that large federal loan, believe it is only down to 48k today. Payments of $350 a month I can handle once the private loan is complete in approx. 2.5 years., which is $330 a month. I know if I didn't have these loans I would actually have a decent amount saved up in the bank for a rainy day or towards a down payment and monthly mortgage on a house. Right now I can't save up enough to put a down payment on purchasing a house nor can I pay the astronomical rent of the SF Bay area where my job requires me to be geographically located, so I am homeless, technically "houseless". I live in the back of my Jeep and my worldly possessions are in storage. Coworkers and other I interact with at work, say I'm the cleanest, sharpest dressed homeless person they know...hahaha. My job actually requires me to travel on occasion and at those time, I can expense a hotel. My office space has a shower and kitchen including standard amenities and appliances, so I am better off than most homeless people just If I didn't have these loans I would be in a much better place.

Alan  July 21, 2015  California

Non-traditional student at 26 years old. Had great credit and a modest savings prior to starting college. Initially just took a couple core courses at liberal arts college close to my work. Realized I could do this, so transferred to an out-of-state college where I knew I would enjoy being at and had the program I wanted. Money went quick; paying my own room and board, initial non-resident tuition, books, standard bills, tools to utilize for school work, etc...Started turning to my high limit credit cards I was paying off on time as a full time worker. Slowly those crept up as I had to use them for groceries and spending cash. Started working two part-time jobs around my class schedule to still pay my bills. Luckily one was related to my major and helped me gain experience for post-graduation employment, the other was just some mundane, mindless job usually. By the time I graduated, 5 years later, I was 58k in federal, default on most my credit cards, 24k in a private loan.
Since then, that was 10 years ago, I've paid those defaulted credit cards off or at least settled those I could salvage, just about have the private loan paid off. Amazingly got my credit rating back up to 710 from I believe it was down around 460. Still working on that large federal loan, believe it is only down to 48k today. Payments of $350 a month I can handle once the private loan is complete in approx. 2.5 years., which is $330 a month. I know if I didn't have these loans I would actually have a decent amount saved up in the bank for a rainy day or towards a down payment and monthly mortgage on a house. Right now I can't save up enough to put a down payment on purchasing a house nor can I pay the astronomical rent of the SF Bay area where my job requires me to be geographically located, so I am homeless, technically "houseless". I live in the back of my Jeep and my worldly possessions are in storage.

...more
Alan  July 21, 2015  California

As the first person to attend college in my family, I had little knowledge on how to finance my education. Year after year I continued to take out private loans with the goal in mind that I would go immediately to medical school. Things did not go as planned and I was left with $120,000 in debt for undergrad alone. I worked two jobs, seven days a week and was still unable to pay my debts and living expenses. My credit score has dropped substantially to the point where I am unable to even try and apply for a credit card, car or apartment. I was just accepted into medical school and my federal loan was denied due to my credit history and I am now unable to attend. How am I ever going to achieve more with this mountain of debt over my head

Kandace LaMonica  July 20, 2015  Bronx, NY

As the first person to attend college in my family, I had little knowledge on how to finance my education. Year after year I continued to take out private loans with the goal in mind that I would go immediately to medical school. Things did not go as planned and I was left with $120,000 in debt for undergrad alone. I worked two jobs, seven days a week and was still unable to pay my debts and living expenses. My credit score has dropped substantially to the point where I am unable to even try and apply for a credit card, car or apartment. I was just accepted into medical school and my federal loan was denied due to my credit history and I am now unable to attend. How am I ever going to achieve more with this mountain of debt over my head

Kandace LaMonica  July 20, 2015  Bronx, NY

I went back to school when my youngest child was in high school. After graduation I owed about $10,000. I got my last child off to college and then joined the Peace Corps (I was a single mom for 20 years- it was time for me to have an adventure). I lived and worked as a Peace Corps volunteer for 2 years in Guatemala... helping women and children re-learn their food growing skills, after their 36 year civil war.
When I returned, I was 59 years old... but wanted to get a Graduate degree in Nonprofit Management. I went to grad school... and went $20,000 more in debt.
It was 2008- the economic crash- I could not find a high paying job. I had to leave my state to find work. I moved from Oregon to New Mexico for a job.
2 years later, I returned to my home in Oregon. Now 67 years old, I work full time for a Grain Farmer- helping to run his grain mill. I would like to retire, but my student debt will keep me working until I am well past 80 years old.
Please Please Please! Work to excuse debt for senior citizens!
I would like to join the Peace Corps again.... but my debt holds me back.

Sarah  July 17, 2015  Eugene, OR

I went back to school when my youngest child was in high school. After graduation I owed about $10,000. I got my last child off to college and then joined the Peace Corps (I was a single mom for 20 years- it was time for me to have an adventure). I lived and worked as a Peace Corps volunteer for 2 years in Guatemala... helping women and children re-learn their food growing skills, after their 36 year civil war.
When I returned, I was 59 years old... but wanted to get a Graduate degree in Nonprofit Management. I went to grad school... and went $20,000 more in debt.
It was 2008- the economic crash- I could not find a high paying job. I had to leave my state to find work. I moved from Oregon to New Mexico for a job.
2 years later, I returned to my home in Oregon. Now 67 years old, I work full time for a Grain Farmer- helping to run his grain mill. I would like to retire, but my student debt will keep me working until I am well past 80 years old.
Please Please Please! Work to excuse debt for senior citizens!
I would like to join the Peace Corps again.... but my debt holds me back.

Sarah  July 17, 2015  Eugene, OR

I attended higher education for 3 weeks im a veteran so the school took me in with open arms but forced me out i have a signature loan that was supposed to be returned but the school never returned the money when i was forced out i owed 1250.00 now im sitting at nearly 10,000.00 im a disabled veteran who makes just enough to scrap by

ken crosby  July 14, 2015  Chicago Illinois

I attended higher education for 3 weeks im a veteran so the school took me in with open arms but forced me out i have a signature loan that was supposed to be returned but the school never returned the money when i was forced out i owed 1250.00 now im sitting at nearly 10,000.00 im a disabled veteran who makes just enough to scrap by

ken crosby  July 14, 2015  Chicago Illinois

I started out in college going for vascular technology, failing out of that, then changing majors. Since I changed majors, all the classes that I had in vascular technology didn't apply to my career, and I started paying more money to take psychology classes since I wanted to go into psychology. After that, I went for my masters in psychology taking on more student loans than I can handle. After my masters, I now have a minimum wage job supervising visitations and I'm also a CASA. I went on disability before I got my minimum wage job in 2012 because of personal reasons, could never get the correct documentation sent to them to defer my loans because of the confusing process, and now have interest rates upon interest rates for forbearances and on my unsubsidized student loans. I am now 33 years old, 150,000 dollars in debt and no way to get out. Please help!

Annita Bell  July 11, 2015  Vancouver, WA

I started out in college going for vascular technology, failing out of that, then changing majors. Since I changed majors, all the classes that I had in vascular technology didn't apply to my career, and I started paying more money to take psychology classes since I wanted to go into psychology. After that, I went for my masters in psychology taking on more student loans than I can handle. After my masters, I now have a minimum wage job supervising visitations and I'm also a CASA. I went on disability before I got my minimum wage job in 2012 because of personal reasons, could never get the correct documentation sent to them to defer my loans because of the confusing process, and now have interest rates upon interest rates for forbearances and on my unsubsidized student loans. I am now 33 years old, 150,000 dollars in debt and no way to get out. Please help!

Annita Bell  July 11, 2015  Vancouver, WA

Ok so I have read many stories here and I feel very disgruntled by how many of your suffer. But my story will be a little different, it will be of hope. I took 16k in student loans from 2012 to 2015 to help me pay for expenses while I was attending school. I had full ride, but I knew I couldn't work full-time and keep good grades. In total at the beginning of 2014 I have 16k in student loans, 11k car loan, 3k in credit card debt, 3k in miscellaneous debt. It was daunting, I was only a 22 year old, and I already had more than 30k in debt. But one thing was clear to me, I didn't came to this world to suffer from slavery. Debt is the slavery of the new age, it decomposes yours soul, its the root of fear, depression, and sleepless nights for many of us. In 2014 I took a 3k credit card to start my own business, I resold electronic items I purchased online through online stores or at traders villages, anyways to cut it short I have paid off 3 student loans, my car loan, credit card debt, and all miscellaneous debt, I only owe now 9k in my student loans which will be paid off in October by selling my car. There is hope people, think outside of the box, go out there, the money is everywhere, you just have to be creative. God didn't bring you to this world to live a miserable existence, just the essence of life itself its pure on its own syntax. So to whoever reads this, go out there, make a plan, execute it. Don't quit on life. If your loans are exuberant and you see no end, leave the country, but if you want to stay and deal with the problems you face, fight, even if you have to bend the rules, fight. You and your family deserve a good life. Remember, impossible is nothing.

Hector  June 30, 2015  Texas

Ok so I have read many stories here and I feel very disgruntled by how many of your suffer. But my story will be a little different, it will be of hope. I took 16k in student loans from 2012 to 2015 to help me pay for expenses while I was attending school. I had full ride, but I knew I couldn't work full-time and keep good grades. In total at the beginning of 2014 I have 16k in student loans, 11k car loan, 3k in credit card debt, 3k in miscellaneous debt. It was daunting, I was only a 22 year old, and I already had more than 30k in debt. But one thing was clear to me, I didn't came to this world to suffer from slavery. Debt is the slavery of the new age, it decomposes yours soul, its the root of fear, depression, and sleepless nights for many of us. In 2014 I took a 3k credit card to start my own business, I resold electronic items I purchased online through online stores or at traders villages, anyways to cut it short I have paid off 3 student loans, my car loan, credit card debt, and all miscellaneous debt, I only owe now 9k in my student loans which will be paid off in October by selling my car. There is hope people, think outside of the box, go out there, the money is everywhere, you just have to be creative. God didn't bring you to this world to live a miserable existence, just the essence of life itself its pure on its own syntax. So to whoever reads this, go out there, make a plan, execute it. Don't quit on life. If your loans are exuberant and you see no end, leave the country, but if you want to stay and deal with the problems you face, fight, even if you have to bend the rules, fight. You and your family deserve a good life. Remember, impossible is nothing.

Hector  June 30, 2015  Texas

I went to medical assistant school 20 years ago through a school that promised to help me find a job once I graduated, I got no help from them managed to get a job on my own but while training for the job found out I was pregnant and was immediately fired. Through a high risk pregnancy which I was on bedrest and spent 5 weeks inpatient at the hospital finally had my baby 5 weeks early only to find out at my 6 week check up I had cervical cancer, 5 surgeries including a hysterectomy and a lot of craziness later I'm now so far behind on loan payments I can't catch up. I become fully disabled but because my loan has changed hands I can't get out from under it my original $10,000 loan is now upwards of $25,000 and every year we have to file an injured spouse form with our taxes so my husband doesn't lose his tax return for my student loan from long before I met him. The only way out of it is to die and then I'm sure they will come after my husband and children for it!

Rd  June 28, 2015  Bremerton Wa

I went to medical assistant school 20 years ago through a school that promised to help me find a job once I graduated, I got no help from them managed to get a job on my own but while training for the job found out I was pregnant and was immediately fired. Through a high risk pregnancy which I was on bedrest and spent 5 weeks inpatient at the hospital finally had my baby 5 weeks early only to find out at my 6 week check up I had cervical cancer, 5 surgeries including a hysterectomy and a lot of craziness later I'm now so far behind on loan payments I can't catch up. I become fully disabled but because my loan has changed hands I can't get out from under it my original $10,000 loan is now upwards of $25,000 and every year we have to file an injured spouse form with our taxes so my husband doesn't lose his tax return for my student loan from long before I met him. The only way out of it is to die and then I'm sure they will come after my husband and children for it!

Rd  June 28, 2015  Bremerton Wa

A large part of the problem (I feel) is that 18-20 year olds are asked to make a HUGE financial commitment when they have no concept of what they are doing. I started in a very good 4yr undergrad school when my mom was on her own, and I received a lot of aid my first year (grants, scholarships). At the end of my freshman year my mother remarried and I lost it all (except for a few merit-based scholarships that came nowhere near offsetting tuition). My stepfather owns his own business, but he couldn't afford to pay my tuition as a one-man business. So I was told I would have to leave a school I loved after my first year or take out loans. I started working when I was 13yo, but I had no concept of the kinds of numbers I was dealing with. I signed everything. Then right before I graduated they sat down with me (no parents present) and had me sign even more papers that I didn't understand. There was a 6 month wait period before repayment started, and during that time they sold all my loans to a bank. A big bank with lots of money and resources. There was no way I could pay at the rate that they wanted. I was scraping by, splitting rent with a roommate, living frugally and they wanted more than the FULL rent on my apartment every month because the new owners of my loans had jacked the interest rates up so high. I worked all through college but that paid meals, rent, incidentals, textbooks. I hadn't put anything away because I could only work 20 hours a week with a heavy class load. I never asked for anybody to take all my loans away, I did sign up for them and it is/was my responsibility to pay for them. BUT I think there are problems inherent in the system. 1) Students who are, for all intents and purposes, essentially still children should not be asked to sign their lives away without adequate consultation and explanation--and without an adult advisor present! 2) An educated populace is an advantage for the country; education is important and essential. We should be able to refinance our student loan debt (as with any other debt) or at least have reasonable interest rates! I have fantastic credit and no other debt--besides my mortgage--and my interest rates remained in the high 20% for their duration! After 20 years I was finally able to fully pay off my debt (the final $3k) and only because my father-in-law died and left us some money. Nobody should have to hope for the death of a loved one to get out of debt!! It's outrageous. What a sad country/situation when my husband and I have to have a conversation before ever getting pregnant about whether we can afford to send a child to college someday because if we were in debt for 20 years, what does that mean for her? Just by having my daughter, have I committed her to paying student debt until she retires? Whatever we manage to put aside for her will not be enough based on the trajectory of tuition increases, interest rates and the overwhelming and appalling lack of consideration for people in this country, in favor of currying favor with corporations.

Stephanie Stiles  June 24, 2015  Anaheim, CA

A large part of the problem (I feel) is that 18-20 year olds are asked to make a HUGE financial commitment when they have no concept of what they are doing. I started in a very good 4yr undergrad school when my mom was on her own, and I received a lot of aid my first year (grants, scholarships). At the end of my freshman year my mother remarried and I lost it all (except for a few merit-based scholarships that came nowhere near offsetting tuition). My stepfather owns his own business, but he couldn't afford to pay my tuition as a one-man business. So I was told I would have to leave a school I loved after my first year or take out loans. I started working when I was 13yo, but I had no concept of the kinds of numbers I was dealing with. I signed everything. Then right before I graduated they sat down with me (no parents present) and had me sign even more papers that I didn't understand. There was a 6 month wait period before repayment started, and during that time they sold all my loans to a bank. A big bank with lots of money and resources. There was no way I could pay at the rate that they wanted. I was scraping by, splitting rent with a roommate, living frugally and they wanted more than the FULL rent on my apartment every month because the new owners of my loans had jacked the interest rates up so high. I worked all through college but that paid meals, rent, incidentals, textbooks. I hadn't put anything away because I could only work 20 hours a week with a heavy class load. I never asked for anybody to take all my loans away, I did sign up for them and it is/was my responsibility to pay for them. BUT I think there are problems inherent in the system. 1) Students who are, for all intents and purposes, essentially still children should not be asked to sign their lives away without adequate consultation and explanation--and without an adult advisor present!

...more
Stephanie Stiles  June 24, 2015  Anaheim, CA

I had an $8,000 plus loan which I made all the payments on. When I checked on what should have been the last payment they told me I owed $7,946 because they put all my payments towards interest (there wasn't supposed to be any). I demanded documentation which they never provided and sent my loan to a collection agency that then demanded over $14,000. This issue has prevented me from obtaining an additional license that I need because the grantor now thinks I'm financially irresponsible

Andy Steinborn  June 16, 2015  Las Vegas

I had an $8,000 plus loan which I made all the payments on. When I checked on what should have been the last payment they told me I owed $7,946 because they put all my payments towards interest (there wasn't supposed to be any). I demanded documentation which they never provided and sent my loan to a collection agency that then demanded over $14,000. This issue has prevented me from obtaining an additional license that I need because the grantor now thinks I'm financially irresponsible

Andy Steinborn  June 16, 2015  Las Vegas

I attended the Illinois Institute of Art (Ai) in Schaumburg Illinois between the years of 2007-2010. I had previously been working in the M.I.S. department of a leading midwest courier company where I had paid vacations and paid holidays, as well as the option for medical through their carrier (which was out of my price range). Although the job offered some benefits, I was only making $10.50/hr after 4 years, and the raises were normally only $0.25, once per year. Due to my desire to better my position in life and create a career for myself instead of a dead end job with no opportunity for advancement, I decided to look into attending college. I had been accepted to Columbia College of the Arts fresh out of high school, but I didn't think that would be a good option at this later stage in life. I wanted to work while I was in college, and retain my current position, so I looked into local schools. One of the first schools I looked at was the Illinois Institute of Art in Schaumburg.

They never asked for a portfolio, but were encouraged by my love of art. That should have been the first red flag. They had no idea if I had an ounce of talent to back up an application. I was also shown falsified job placement rates, which greatly influenced my decision to attend. I was shown the facilities and told that graduates would have access to the studios as well as the equipment after graduation because they had a great alumni connection with former students. I was also told that they had many contacts already in the industry who provided internships to their students, which was a requirement for successful completion of the program.

The admissions representative also told me that since the school was very close to my home, I would be able to save on housing costs, which she stated, on average run around $60,000 for the duration of the average American education. That was another huge selling point. I thought I would be saving money, I would be getting an amazing education, and that I would have a very high chance at successful job placement if I worked hard. The admissions representative was extremely high pressure and played to a lot of my insecurities. I was the first to attend college in my family, and she asked if I wanted to remain in a low wage dead end job forever. Her tactics worked, and we began the admissions process. Much of the financial information was sped through. They told me that I qualified for grants and that my mother could take out Parent Plus loans since my income was too low to qualify for many of the loans.

We never received any sort of education about the loans, and we never received counsel about the ways the loans would compound after graduation. My mother and I did not even realize that we were taking out multiple loans with high interest rates because they never explained that there were caps to those loan amounts. Once enrolled, the loans were again quickly signed without explanation. They would pull you out of a class already in session and have you come down to a window next to the student store, bring you a piece of paper to authorize your loans to be transferred to the institution, without actually explaining that some of these were new loans.

Once enrolled, I started to realize how bad the decision to enroll was. I quickly learned that alumni did not actually have access to the studios post graduation, and we were also not permitted to rent equipment after graduation, either. We had to take almost a year and a half of fundamentals courses before ever starting the classes within our major. Once you get to that point, however, you realize how far you are in and how hard it is to get out. The credits from AI do not transfer to most schools. They have a different accreditation, but fail to mention that during admissions. I also learned how oversaturated not only our department, but the industry was, and realized my job prospects were not as great as I was led to believe.

There was a wealth of issues within the photography department. First and foremost, we were rarely able to get into the studio for projects or even classes because they enrolled too many students for an inadequate amount of facilities. The same issue occurred within the equipment cage, where we rented equipment from. The cameras were always booked out, as were the lenses and photo specific lighting. I frequently had to use static lighting for film in place of photographic lighting, which contributed to me having no knowledge of correct photo lighting equipment. I was enrolled during a summer session in a studio photography class, and because there were so many students, we ended up shooting outside all of the time, which is the complete opposite of studio lighting.

We also had a high rate of instructor turnover, which made it difficult for students to have a consistent curriculum. I had several classes where the instructors would just show videos all class, and not actually teach us anything. I feel like I could have spent $7/month on a Netflix subscription and received the same instruction I had in those classes. I also had instructors who were frequently absent, and did not show up, so substitutes would show up with busy work, which, again, contributed to a very unstable and inconsistent curriculum. I was never taught how to use external flashes or studio slave lighting. I was also never taught how to use a tablet for editing images within Photoshop. These are all basic skills that should have been a part of any digital photography program, but which I was not taught despite an education with a final cost near $80,000. We were frequently taught with materials that were found for free on the internet.

There were constant instances of the school just telling us to use the online tutorials to complete our projects instead of actually teaching us anything. Such were the instances in my image manipulation classes. I had another instructor for a class called location photography. He took us to the Forest Preserve near the school for a field trip one day, and we were stopped because we were shooting without a permit, so that field trip /location was cancelled for the rest of the day. Another day he took us to Auto salvage. He showed up later than a few of us and we asked the gentlemen working if we could just head in without our instructor and were told they knew nothing of what we were talking about, and that no cameras were allowed inside the salvage. Our teacher scolded us for saying anything, because his plan was to illegally shoot. We were constantly told that as photographers, we should make sure we were only breaking one law at a time if it meant getting the right shot. This seemed like incredibly dangerous advice to be coming from an instructor. On another field trip, he took us downtown in Chicago to a restaurant, which his friends owned. He wanted us to photograph the facility and a pair of shoes the owner was creating. When we got to the restaurant, our instructor ordered drinks and food, and told us to go shoot. The restaurant was dimly lit, and our teacher was drinking with his friends. It seems that every class lacked any real instruction. Every project was very loose and consisted of us taking shots and showing them to the class. It was impossible to fail. Once I reached the point of being in my internship class, I realized what a joke that promise had been as well. The school got me an internship where I just edited acne and blemishes off of people all day and worked on shipping and receiving the photographer's materials. I never got any hands on photography experience in that position, and I was also not present during the photoshoots. I ended up getting my own internship through another studio and had 2 internships so that I could try to learn as much as possible. Another man I was in school with had an internship through the school where he just burned discs for a photographer all day, and was never even in a studio or on shoots. He was in that internship for nearly half of the semester before the teacher told him he should ask for a different one.

Graduation and our portfolio show were probably the biggest disappointments. I spent a lot of money on my display because we were sold the line that employers would show up and hire students on the spot. I had buttons made, I had a really nice bamboo portfolio with my best images. I had resumes and business cards and signage. Not a single employer showed up during the portfolio show. My student adviser came up to me during the portfolio show and told me I needed to sign a piece of paper before I could graduate. The paper stated that basically because I was pregnant at the time, the school would not assist me with job placement. The way she stated it inferred that if I didn't sign, I would be unable to participate in the ceremony. Not that the job placement would have helped because we received exit packets with job information and all of those leads came from online resources such as Monster and Craigslist.

After graduation, I was unable to find employment in my field. When my child was born in early 2011, I quit my job, figuring my degree would pay itself off and I would be able to take an extra few weeks and rejoin the workforce within my field. I graduated in December of 2010, and was searching for jobs by May of 2011.

I was unable to find relevant work until fall of 2012, when I was hired by a national modeling agency. I was the photographic manager, and boy, was I unqualified! I could not keep up with the demands of the department. I could not edit fast enough, and I did not have the education of using the tablet pen for editing, which would have been extremely useful in that position. I also quickly learned that my interns, who were unpaid, were far more skilled than I was when I actually completed my education and had a BFA. I was fired after 3 months, and it was 2 weeks before Christmas. From there, things progressively got worse.

I couldn't find any jobs in my field, and I could not regain my former position that I held before and throughout college because the company had restructured and downsized many departments. I was forced to declare bankruptcy, and for a time, I worked a part time job at the front desk of a fitness facility, making minimum wage. I had to quit that job after being unable to find sufficient childcare for my daughter, and being unable to pay the costs of daycare. I have lost everything. I have terrible credit, a bankruptcy that couldn't even discharge my largest loans, and a degree that is seen as useless within the creative community. Sallie Mae used to harass me multiple times a day. I would receive phone calls early in the morning and late at night. I would receive calls from several different numbers, and they would leave automated messages demanding that I call them to pay, when I couldn't even pay for food. Sallie Mae even went so far as to contact my elderly grandmother who lives off of my grandfather’s pension, to collect the debt! I deferred and went into forbearance for as long as I could, but now they have made it very difficult to work with them to come to a resolution.

I made less than $5000 last year, I receive public assistance and medical, and all I want is for my debt (for a fraudulent education) to go away so I can start rebuilding my life and become a productive member of society like I once was. My credit before college was amazing. I had co-signed on a car, I paid my rent and bills on time, and I even had credit cards I was paying as well as money left over to save for nice things I needed. College, in every way shape and form, changed my life forever for the worse. I am not the only one who has been affected by my education. My mother's retirement and her pension are on the line because she owes nearly $60,000 in Parent Plus loans, and they have made it impossible for her to pay, so she is in forbearance. She is just as much a victim as I am. The school has already been investigated by the federal government for fraud, and there is documentation to prove that the years I attended included fraudulent data and misleading recruitment practices. Jason Sobek, former EDMC admissions supervisor, filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against EDMC stating that marketing materials deceived prospective students by falsely inflating job placement statistics at its many campuses around the country.

(source: abcnews.com).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From ABC news article,

"Whistle-Blower: For-Profit College Operator Allegedly Inflates Job Placement Rates"
Nov. 26, 2012
By MARK GREENBLATT

"They manipulated the job placement rates by counting students working in a job that they did not need the degree for," Sobek told ABC News. "In my opinion, it's a wretched fraud."

Before he left EDMC, a publicly traded for-profit corporation that operates such colleges as the Art Institutes, Brown Mackie College, Argosy University and South University Online, Sobek downloaded a trove of data and documents, which, he alleges, support his claims.

Sobek gave ABC News an exclusive look at one of the internal nationwide job placement databases at EDMC, which shows the degrees students received upon graduation and what jobs (if any) they obtained. Sobek says the database also stated whether the job could be counted as "related" to their degree for the purpose of marketing job placement success rates to potential students. Sobek claims the data reveal a pattern of fraudulently counting students as landing great jobs to create a false impression for future students.

"It is intentional. It's the business model," he says.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kathleen Bittel, former Assistant Director of Admissions of Argosy University, an EDMC run school, testified that while she worked at the admissions department of Argosy, she became a part of a high- pressure work environment.

From her publicly available testimony:

"We were constantly pressured to deliver a minimum of two applications per week. New “leads” were to be called three times a day for at least a week, then you could drop back to two, then one as the month progressed. Most of these leads were also being sold to the other online schools, so these poor people were inundated with phone calls mere minutes following their oftentimes unwittingly submitted information. These calls would continue to each of them for months."

After voicing her concerns, she fell lower in her "lead stream" and couldn't meet her quotas. Eventually, she found her way into the Career Services Department at the Art Institute Brand. She took a pay cut, and was promised $3000 per quarter as a bonus if she met her quota.

"I realized quickly it was all about hitting quotas instead of really helping students find meaningful work. I quickly came to see that career service department’s primary role is to lend credibility to the brands of EDMC by allowing them to claim such large numbers of successful graduates working in their fields. But these are not realistic numbers that are being reported."

Kathleen goes on to testify that:

"Early on in my employment with career services, a co-worker showed me how to manipulate information received from a student, to ensure that the student could be listed as “gainfully employed” for the purposes of the company’s statistics. This same co-worker later came to me
exhibiting two documents: one was a signed Employment Verification form from the graduate stating they were working in their field earning $8,000 a year, the other a printout from salary.com estimating that the average salary in that field and in their zip code would be $25,000, which would meet the salary threshold of $10,500 to justify marking them as employed in their
field. “Which one do you think I’m going to turn in?” they laughed as they tossed the graduate’s document in the trash and entered the salary.com data into the student’s file. These kinds of actions were not discouraged by managers. It is important to note that I immediately reported these actions to the supervisor I had at the time, who promised to discuss this with the head of the department. No disciplinary action was taken."

And then she adds this part, which is relevant to me since I was taken off of their statistics for job placement since I was forced to sign the document stating I was pregnant:

"In some instances we were able to essentially eliminate graduates from the employment statistics
if we could prove they had extenuating circumstances that prevented them from seeking field
related employment. A waiver could be used for:

• Stay at Home Parent – one not seeking employment, choosing to raise their
children instead

In other words, if a graduate was not actively seeking employment due to one of the above listed situations, they were removed from the total number of graduates prior to calculating the number of those gainfully employed."

If these are the common practices of EDMC run schools, I fail to see how this can be anything other than fraud. If my education had been a car, it would be deemed a lemon, and I would be able to have legal recourse such as bankruptcy, or the ability to file a lawsuit for a bad product and get my money back. As it stands, student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, and the school has an arbitration provision in their paperwork stating that students have no right to litigation, we cannot sue the school whether individually, or through a class action lawsuit. They have effectively found a way to scam thousands of students and profit while students suffer with insurmountable debts. I am almost 30, and I am unmarried (because if I marry my boyfriend, he gets my debt), I live under my mom's roof, and I don't see any light at the end of the tunnel. I can't get loans, I can't buy a car or a house, and I can't get certain jobs due to my student loans. This entire situation has caused me extreme depression. I just can't wrap my head around how it is that the school could file bankruptcy after defrauding students, but the students who suffered the fraud have no similar options, despite the fact that we were defrauded. They sold us on fallacies and fraud, and allowed us to enroll in an over-saturated market, all the while promising us job placement and careers after graduation, when that was never the case. I would have no issues with paying back a legitimate loan, even if it was for an art degree, as long as I had gotten what I paid for, which was the education I most definitely did not receive.

Ami  June 12, 2015

I attended the Illinois Institute of Art (Ai) in Schaumburg Illinois between the years of 2007-2010. I had previously been working in the M.I.S. department of a leading midwest courier company where I had paid vacations and paid holidays, as well as the option for medical through their carrier (which was out of my price range). Although the job offered some benefits, I was only making $10.50/hr after 4 years, and the raises were normally only $0.25, once per year. Due to my desire to better my position in life and create a career for myself instead of a dead end job with no opportunity for advancement, I decided to look into attending college. I had been accepted to Columbia College of the Arts fresh out of high school, but I didn't think that would be a good option at this later stage in life. I wanted to work while I was in college, and retain my current position, so I looked into local schools. One of the first schools I looked at was the Illinois Institute of Art in Schaumburg.

They never asked for a portfolio, but were encouraged by my love of art. That should have been the first red flag. They had no idea if I had an ounce of talent to back up an application. I was also shown falsified job placement rates, which greatly influenced my decision to attend. I was shown the facilities and told that graduates would have access to the studios as well as the equipment after graduation because they had a great alumni connection with former students. I was also told that they had many contacts already in the industry who provided internships to their students, which was a requirement for successful completion of the program.

The admissions representative also told me that since the school was very close to my home, I would be able to save on housing costs, which she stated, on average run around $60,000 for the duration of the average American education. That was another huge selling point. I thought I would be saving money,

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Ami  June 12, 2015

I decided that I wanted to better myself about 8 years ago, so I enrolled at ITT Nashville. Long story short: my only option was a Sallie Mae loan, and being a 22 year old moron, I didn't see the harm in signing for a 22% interest loan. I attended 3 quarters with perfect grades, but on my final quarter of my first year I had to return to work. Its been 8 years now... I owe something to the tune of 25k, but no one can give me an exact number. The IRS has been keeping my tax returns, I can not get a loan, for anything, I can't even get an electric bill in my own name all because of student debt, and I didn't even graduate. And to make it all worse, I can't go back to school until my loans are no longer in delinquent mode, but as do most of us, I have bills to pay for my family, so I'll never go back to school. Insanity. Thanks a lot..

bobby key  June 11, 2015  Nashville, Tennessee

I decided that I wanted to better myself about 8 years ago, so I enrolled at ITT Nashville. Long story short: my only option was a Sallie Mae loan, and being a 22 year old moron, I didn't see the harm in signing for a 22% interest loan. I attended 3 quarters with perfect grades, but on my final quarter of my first year I had to return to work. Its been 8 years now... I owe something to the tune of 25k, but no one can give me an exact number. The IRS has been keeping my tax returns, I can not get a loan, for anything, I can't even get an electric bill in my own name all because of student debt, and I didn't even graduate. And to make it all worse, I can't go back to school until my loans are no longer in delinquent mode, but as do most of us, I have bills to pay for my family, so I'll never go back to school. Insanity. Thanks a lot..

bobby key  June 11, 2015  Nashville, Tennessee

I started college at a school that is nationwide. I wanted to make a better life for my daughter and myself. I obtained a degree in Criminal Justice, specializing in Paralegal Studies. I did not learn until I was already over a year in, that the school was issuing predatory loans. I was a victim of this. I have not found a job in my field, nor did they attempt to help me. The only job offer that they had for my was at a local awful call center. I now owe over $33,000. I have not even been able to make my first payment.

The school is now in a federal lawsuit, and I am hoping that everyone that went to the school will be taken care of and understood.

Thanks.

Amber Gates  June 10, 2015  Kingsport, TN

I started college at a school that is nationwide. I wanted to make a better life for my daughter and myself. I obtained a degree in Criminal Justice, specializing in Paralegal Studies. I did not learn until I was already over a year in, that the school was issuing predatory loans. I was a victim of this. I have not found a job in my field, nor did they attempt to help me. The only job offer that they had for my was at a local awful call center. I now owe over $33,000. I have not even been able to make my first payment.

The school is now in a federal lawsuit, and I am hoping that everyone that went to the school will be taken care of and understood.

Thanks.

Amber Gates  June 10, 2015  Kingsport, TN

well her it is. I was caregiver for 8years I did in home care for CDM and took care of many clients. I was making decent money. Especialy since prior to working as a care giver I worked as a cashier for WinCo. When I left WinCo. I collected my ESOP money which wad about 65,000.00 and turned to 69,000.00 how ever my dad got sick and I had to quit my job to take care of him full time. the State payed for part time and it was greatly appriciated. but given the economy and bill we had accumulated prior it was not enough. so I ended up pullling from my retire ment to keep the house hold income equal and help my dad get what he needed to be comfortable and well taken care of. One year later not only was the retirement gone but we had to pay IRS 7000.00 for penaltys because the percentage I was withdrawing for taxes was not enough to cover it all. Then my dad took a turn for the worse. Long story short he died in the passenger seat of our family car. With my two youngest children 9 and 10 at the time in the back seat so not only did they see their grandpa take his last breath but the watched as I pulled his dead body out of our car and gently lay him on the ground next to the car till AMR got there. Much to my surprise AMR does not take DOA patients the Mortuary has to do that. So I have family on their way and my dads body still in the street in front of our house next to our car. I can honestly say I could claim legal insanity for one day. Moving on in a attempt to make a very long story short My dad died March 8, 2010. I started school April 12, 2010. First quarter went better than expected. but then I could not really afort to pay for parking in portland so my husband talked to a friend of the family who owned a reaturant off sandy and Burnside, he let me park there and walk to the school which was about a total of 5 miles away down across the morsin bridge. This arrangement went great until my knee gave out. No cartlidge between my knees along with the ostio authritis is a bad combo because bone fragment would attach and when I bent my knee to walk the fragment would break and well you can not emaging the pain. How ever I took medication for pain which did not work at all and I was over weight. So you can emagine how much of a challange Graduating was. I did it though I graduated. after graduating I had to not only look for a job but I had to loose waight so I could have the surger to replace my knee other wise I would have ended up cripple and on disibility. So I lost over 100 lbs. I now have a new knee. Just need that tech job to pay my bills. which "Everest For Life" as they so freely advertised was supose to do. Now not sure what to do Just keep looking for a tech Job and hope I get one before Owe so much money on my schooling I will never make enough to pay it off.

Diana Chappelle  June 9, 2015  LaCenter WA, 98629

well her it is. I was caregiver for 8years I did in home care for CDM and took care of many clients. I was making decent money. Especialy since prior to working as a care giver I worked as a cashier for WinCo. When I left WinCo. I collected my ESOP money which wad about 65,000.00 and turned to 69,000.00 how ever my dad got sick and I had to quit my job to take care of him full time. the State payed for part time and it was greatly appriciated. but given the economy and bill we had accumulated prior it was not enough. so I ended up pullling from my retire ment to keep the house hold income equal and help my dad get what he needed to be comfortable and well taken care of. One year later not only was the retirement gone but we had to pay IRS 7000.00 for penaltys because the percentage I was withdrawing for taxes was not enough to cover it all. Then my dad took a turn for the worse. Long story short he died in the passenger seat of our family car. With my two youngest children 9 and 10 at the time in the back seat so not only did they see their grandpa take his last breath but the watched as I pulled his dead body out of our car and gently lay him on the ground next to the car till AMR got there. Much to my surprise AMR does not take DOA patients the Mortuary has to do that. So I have family on their way and my dads body still in the street in front of our house next to our car. I can honestly say I could claim legal insanity for one day. Moving on in a attempt to make a very long story short My dad died March 8, 2010. I started school April 12, 2010. First quarter went better than expected. but then I could not really afort to pay for parking in portland so my husband talked to a friend of the family who owned a reaturant off sandy and Burnside,

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Diana Chappelle  June 9, 2015  LaCenter WA, 98629

My story is simple. Started college out of high school because "YOU HAVE TO GO to have a normal life - to be able to survive"! I went for a year 1/2 before I stopped college & began working (from the bottom in the corporate world - data entry). I had my son - young - at 21. I was married to his father at 22. Bought a small house (with savings from his parents) at 22, also. We were not making much money. But, we were making it. We were able to pay off BOTH of our student loan debt (this was back in the mid-90's - so college was much more reasonably priced than now). We started living our lives & making some money. I was able to be a stay at home mom for our 3 kids. However, my parents convinced me that I will never be able to hop into the work force without that "degree". I had to go to an online university (AIU Online - which was great - not knocking the school)...just to FINISH my Associates Degree. Which I did in record time - but, boy did it cost me. I got my degree in 2003. My payments started before I even had a job. It caused a lot of financial strain on my husband (at the time) & I - we eventually divorced. I had to settle for a job that I could have gotten without the degree & THOUSANDS of dollars in loans. Now I had to go through a divorce - and pay a LAWYER! I was able to put my loans in forbearance and stuff - and was able to bring my payments down (with the income - sensitive repayment option) - but, it wasn't enough. I had to pay my lawyer over $24,000.00!!! In like a year and a half time span. My mother had to help. She paid half. I couldn't pay the student loans and I couldn't delay payments anymore. I lost my car because I couldn't pay the payments in full on that, either. They had to repossess it. By the grace of GOD I found a wonderful landlord who would rent to me - given my credit score. I HAD to make sure our essentials were paid (rent, electric, my new car - which was a POS used car in my mom's name, daycare so I could work, and FOOD). I was barely scraping by. Meanwhile, some other things I just couldn't pay. Student loans was one of them. Now they want the WHOLE balance! I met another wonderful man at my SECOND job. We dated for a while & he moved in. My kids loved him. Well, he lost his job - then was REhired for the same job (titled something else - but same job description) for a MUCH lesser hourly pay (when he was used to a salary and bonus)!! He also had student loans - that after the major financial blow - they also want the whole balance. He had to go through bankrupcy (because he had to live off credit cards during the whole job mess). He could not include his student loans (which was most of his debt). My student loans is ALL of my debt...my ONLY debt. They garnish my much needed tax returns...etc etc. And we will NEVER NEVER NEVER be able to buy a home....or get ahead. Ever. And I'm 40.

michele  June 9, 2015  Exton, PA

My story is simple. Started college out of high school because "YOU HAVE TO GO to have a normal life - to be able to survive"! I went for a year 1/2 before I stopped college & began working (from the bottom in the corporate world - data entry). I had my son - young - at 21. I was married to his father at 22. Bought a small house (with savings from his parents) at 22, also. We were not making much money. But, we were making it. We were able to pay off BOTH of our student loan debt (this was back in the mid-90's - so college was much more reasonably priced than now). We started living our lives & making some money. I was able to be a stay at home mom for our 3 kids. However, my parents convinced me that I will never be able to hop into the work force without that "degree". I had to go to an online university (AIU Online - which was great - not knocking the school)...just to FINISH my Associates Degree. Which I did in record time - but, boy did it cost me. I got my degree in 2003. My payments started before I even had a job. It caused a lot of financial strain on my husband (at the time) & I - we eventually divorced. I had to settle for a job that I could have gotten without the degree & THOUSANDS of dollars in loans. Now I had to go through a divorce - and pay a LAWYER! I was able to put my loans in forbearance and stuff - and was able to bring my payments down (with the income - sensitive repayment option) - but, it wasn't enough. I had to pay my lawyer over $24,000.00!!! In like a year and a half time span. My mother had to help. She paid half. I couldn't pay the student loans and I couldn't delay payments anymore. I lost my car because I couldn't pay the payments in full on that, either. They had to repossess it.

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michele  June 9, 2015  Exton, PA

I'm a mother of five children, no more than a year apart. I was married and made it my mission in life to see all my children become college graduates. My husband was not financially contributing to the education of my children. I took out loans in hopes that we could pay them off together. He left me with over $300,000. The thing that gives me hope is my children (all) did graduate from college and have very bright futures. Myself on the other hand, hopes of getting married again with this debt is low. The only thing I can afford is loan payments. I have to worry about just keeping a roof over my head, and loan payments. If it takes the rest of my life I'll pay this back I just wish I didn't have to chose whether to live or pay student loans. I pray for help almost everyday.

Karen  June 9, 2015  Maryland

I'm a mother of five children, no more than a year apart. I was married and made it my mission in life to see all my children become college graduates. My husband was not financially contributing to the education of my children. I took out loans in hopes that we could pay them off together. He left me with over $300,000. The thing that gives me hope is my children (all) did graduate from college and have very bright futures. Myself on the other hand, hopes of getting married again with this debt is low. The only thing I can afford is loan payments. I have to worry about just keeping a roof over my head, and loan payments. If it takes the rest of my life I'll pay this back I just wish I didn't have to chose whether to live or pay student loans. I pray for help almost everyday.

Karen  June 9, 2015  Maryland

Long story short: Westwood lied, cheated me and did NOT provide value in return for the cost and I'm left with nothing but shattered dreams, impossible loans and Navient/Sallie Mae caling 6-8 times a day from multiple "toll free" numbers. Instructors didn't know their subject matter, failed to answer questions effectively and tutors were students who barely knew more than I did! I had the head of the design department for my third Photoshop class and he didn't know brush from eraser! I was declared "unofficial T.A." within the FIRST WEEK OF CLASS! Why was I stuck taking it if I didn't need it?! $2,000 a credit was wasted on their lies!

Jennifer Rash  June 8, 2015  Carson City, Nevada

Long story short: Westwood lied, cheated me and did NOT provide value in return for the cost and I'm left with nothing but shattered dreams, impossible loans and Navient/Sallie Mae caling 6-8 times a day from multiple "toll free" numbers. Instructors didn't know their subject matter, failed to answer questions effectively and tutors were students who barely knew more than I did! I had the head of the design department for my third Photoshop class and he didn't know brush from eraser! I was declared "unofficial T.A." within the FIRST WEEK OF CLASS! Why was I stuck taking it if I didn't need it?! $2,000 a credit was wasted on their lies!

Jennifer Rash  June 8, 2015  Carson City, Nevada

I was one of the unfortunate ones that never got a degree. I too was pressured to get an education to better my home life. I married early, started school, took out any loan possible to help pay for college while working a full time job to keep my family a float.
I spent several years in school but never finished. I have NO degree and over 20K in student debt. Finances were tough, causing strain on the family life so much so that we got a divorce. I can't get a great job because I don't have the "Degree" that companies demand, so I work pay check to pay check, pay child support, and carry insurance for my kids (not myself because I can't afford it). I can't pay on my loans and they have gone in to default, DESTROYING my credit. I can't file bankruptcy to eliminate them to start fresh, yet I don't make any money to pay on them either...I've paid over the years and the end balance has ONLY gone UP. (originally the total loan amounts were around 10K)....

My personal life is horrible, no woman wants to be with a man that is in debt, has horrible credit, can't buy a home or a decent car. Although i pay child support and try to be a good dad, I don't have a place of my own that my kids can come too when i get them on the weekends, so we go to families homes and spend the night...I feel like a failure...

School loans and HIGHER EDUCATION has destroyed my life, not helped it. It has caused me to think about suicide many times over as I see no end in sight and no way for me to climb out of a horrible situation. My kids are the only thing keeping me going, and I worry for their future. I don't want a hand out, but I want a FRESH START! Let me have my life back!

The government has no problem taking my hard earned money, taxing the hell out of it, and pulling for Social Security which I will NEVER SEE, but they can't help me out NOW, with Loan Forgiveness? Depression runs rapid among many who have student loan debt, causing marital problems, prohibiting some to stay employed, and even leading to suicide.

This is a major problem and no one gives a shit....They keep lending to people who don't truly understand the ramifications that lie ahead...

Paul H.  June 8, 2015  Utah

I was one of the unfortunate ones that never got a degree. I too was pressured to get an education to better my home life. I married early, started school, took out any loan possible to help pay for college while working a full time job to keep my family a float.
I spent several years in school but never finished. I have NO degree and over 20K in student debt. Finances were tough, causing strain on the family life so much so that we got a divorce. I can't get a great job because I don't have the "Degree" that companies demand, so I work pay check to pay check, pay child support, and carry insurance for my kids (not myself because I can't afford it). I can't pay on my loans and they have gone in to default, DESTROYING my credit. I can't file bankruptcy to eliminate them to start fresh, yet I don't make any money to pay on them either...I've paid over the years and the end balance has ONLY gone UP. (originally the total loan amounts were around 10K)....

My personal life is horrible, no woman wants to be with a man that is in debt, has horrible credit, can't buy a home or a decent car. Although i pay child support and try to be a good dad, I don't have a place of my own that my kids can come too when i get them on the weekends, so we go to families homes and spend the night...I feel like a failure...

School loans and HIGHER EDUCATION has destroyed my life, not helped it. It has caused me to think about suicide many times over as I see no end in sight and no way for me to climb out of a horrible situation. My kids are the only thing keeping me going, and I worry for their future. I don't want a hand out, but I want a FRESH START! Let me have my life back!

The government has no problem taking my hard earned money,

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Paul H.  June 8, 2015  Utah

I finished college with maybe a little over $20,000 in debt but there were no jobs available. I don't regret getting an education, but what I was supposed to do with a composite major in industrial technology. After applying for numerous different, jobs I ended up landing one as an electrician. That led to a five year apprenticeship of low wages and barely scraping by. I had to sell my vehicle because I couldn't afford to make both payments. After using up all of my grace periods during periods of unemployment I was eventually unable to make payments and my loans ended up in default. After a few years of getting on my feet, throughout the poor economy and whatnot I finally heard about rehabilitating the loans so I found out who the debt collector was that I had to contact. Debt over 40,000 due to collection fees. They made me answer all kinds of questions about my earnings and expenses and requested a ridiculous down payment to prove my commitment, and told me I would be able to afford an amount pretty much equal to one weeks pay every month and proceeded to badger me to give over my bank account information so that the payments could be automatically taken from my checking account. Fortunately I had done a little research before calling them, and had read that the collection agencies were notorious for cleaning out your bank accounts and if they did there would have been nothing you could do about it. So I refused to give that information but the person I was talking to began to threaten me that that was the only way I would be able to make payments and that mailing them payments was not an option for me, and then informed me that if I don't sign up for the automatic withdrawals this will never be off of my credit, up to 50% of my wages will be garnished, I will never buy a home, a car have a credit card, all that. I did however happen to get a settlement from them for $750 for violating my rights under the fair debt collection practices act after that. So I began sending them $200/month. Which is what I felt I could afford, they told me that once I began making regular payments, I would begin the process of loan rehabilitation. They said they would send me an agreement, which they refused to get me a copy of, once I began making payments. I was told the only way to get a copy of the agreement is to begin making payments. Anyway, $200/month, by money order because once you mail these companies a check they have the right to automatically deduct money from your bank account, which was an enormous pain in the ass. For atleast 6 or 8 months, after 10 they told me that my loans would be out of collections, no agreement ever showed up, I had no idea when the payments were due, no acknowledgment whatsoever that my payments were received, and felt like I was just throwing away money. So again I quit making the payments, I don't know what to do. I think I have a right to not have to do business like this. I desperately need this debt off of my conscience. I'm 37 now, I'm a union electrician and I'm making good money. But I have no credit cards, don't ever plan on buying a house, I'm a single dad and I'm afraid to get involved with anyone because I am embarrassed to tell them about this part if my life and also feel that it would not be fair for me to bring that amount of financial stress into a relationship. I would be absolutely willing to jump through whatever hoops I needed to to pay this back but I need to know what my rights are and be informed of the repayment/rehabilitation process. I've tried to email lawyers to explain my situation and see if any would be willing to negotiate with the debt collectors on my behalf, or atleast recommend anither lawyer who would, but I never get a response. I'm in total despair with the situation so far I've just accepted that this will be on my conscience until I'm gone. Thanks for listening, I've never told anyone this whole story. At the moment I believe I know owe over 60,000 due to more fees tacked on but I am no longer sure and I am too scared to find out exactly what the amount is.

Shawn

Shawn Andersen  June 8, 2015  South Dakota

I finished college with maybe a little over $20,000 in debt but there were no jobs available. I don't regret getting an education, but what I was supposed to do with a composite major in industrial technology. After applying for numerous different, jobs I ended up landing one as an electrician. That led to a five year apprenticeship of low wages and barely scraping by. I had to sell my vehicle because I couldn't afford to make both payments. After using up all of my grace periods during periods of unemployment I was eventually unable to make payments and my loans ended up in default. After a few years of getting on my feet, throughout the poor economy and whatnot I finally heard about rehabilitating the loans so I found out who the debt collector was that I had to contact. Debt over 40,000 due to collection fees. They made me answer all kinds of questions about my earnings and expenses and requested a ridiculous down payment to prove my commitment, and told me I would be able to afford an amount pretty much equal to one weeks pay every month and proceeded to badger me to give over my bank account information so that the payments could be automatically taken from my checking account. Fortunately I had done a little research before calling them, and had read that the collection agencies were notorious for cleaning out your bank accounts and if they did there would have been nothing you could do about it. So I refused to give that information but the person I was talking to began to threaten me that that was the only way I would be able to make payments and that mailing them payments was not an option for me, and then informed me that if I don't sign up for the automatic withdrawals this will never be off of my credit, up to 50% of my wages will be garnished, I will never buy a home, a car have a credit card, all that. I did however happen to get a settlement from them for $750 for violating my rights under the fair debt collection practices act after that.

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Shawn Andersen  June 8, 2015  South Dakota

I am the first in my family to attend college. I made many financial mistakes along the way, including spending a year at a school I could not afford. I maxed out my federal aid to pay off other debts. My degree programs required extensive reading and research, so I used private loans (which my grandmother cosigned for, due to neither of us knowing better) to help offset the cost of only working part time. When the bill came due after grad school (and many years of deferment) the interest had nearly doubled what I owe. I am currently $160,000 in debt and make a reasonable living as an entry level college English teacher, but my massive loan debt (much of which is high interest private loans with variable interest) is killing my chances at buying a home and delaying my ability to start a family. My payments are over $1400 a month. Reform needs to happen. I was shortsighted and naive in my youth and now I'm drowning.

Author*Steve  June 7, 2015  Arizona

I am the first in my family to attend college. I made many financial mistakes along the way, including spending a year at a school I could not afford. I maxed out my federal aid to pay off other debts. My degree programs required extensive reading and research, so I used private loans (which my grandmother cosigned for, due to neither of us knowing better) to help offset the cost of only working part time. When the bill came due after grad school (and many years of deferment) the interest had nearly doubled what I owe. I am currently $160,000 in debt and make a reasonable living as an entry level college English teacher, but my massive loan debt (much of which is high interest private loans with variable interest) is killing my chances at buying a home and delaying my ability to start a family. My payments are over $1400 a month. Reform needs to happen. I was shortsighted and naive in my youth and now I'm drowning.

Author*Steve  June 7, 2015  Arizona

I was always very impractical and uneducated about money, in part because my parents were. All throughout college and graduate school I kept taking out student loans to pay
my tuition, as well as to pay necessary living expenses, and a few unnecessary ones like expensive furniture. I was supporting myself and working full-time while going to graduate school but I
still took out more loans than I needed to. I didn't really know anything about how the whole thing works, and didn't really think much about it. I guess my thinking was, 'well, when I graduate they won't make me pay more than I can afford.' I thought I'd be paying $90 a month, just like I had been with my undergraduate loan. I was thinking in very abstract terms. Boy, was I wrong.

I got my master's degree in Library Science in 2007, and was $54,000 in debt. I was doing fine financially at that time, even though I didn't have a very high-paying job. I was living on my own, and felt secure. Then, 6 months after I graduated, my first student loan bill came. And as soon as I saw it I knew my life was over, that I'd never be able to pay it back and I'd never experience financial freedom again. I couldn't afford the minimum monthly payments so I consolidated the loan with a private company, which brought down my monthly bill but doubled the interest on my loan. Shortly after that, I lost my job and could not find another one. I had a graduate degree, $54,000 in debt, and no job. I moved back home with my parents, and spent the next 4 years working paraprofessional or part-time jobs. During that time period, the interest on my loan grew, increasing my loan balance to $58,000. Each month I was able to make my minimum loan payment, which covered the interest, but nothing more.

In 2012 I finally got a full-time salaried OK-paying job that allowed me to start paying off my loan. I also met my husband, who does well enough that he's able to support me financially. (Yes, I know how lucky I am). I began putting 95% of every paycheck I made towards my student loan, every pay period. A month ago, I finally paid off my student loan. It took me 2 years and 9 months of saving almost every paycheck to do this, but I finally did it. I'm free. I'm no longer a prisoner to my student loan. I finally have no debt and have a small savings account and a bit in retirement savings, and I never thought it would feel so good to just not be in debt. I am still poor and yet I feel so rich. I also believe that my loan debt experience taught me an expensive but very valuable lesson about money. I wish I had learned it without spending $58,000 but it was worth it.

Yelena Gordiyenko  June 6, 2015  Aurora, CO

I was always very impractical and uneducated about money, in part because my parents were. All throughout college and graduate school I kept taking out student loans to pay
my tuition, as well as to pay necessary living expenses, and a few unnecessary ones like expensive furniture. I was supporting myself and working full-time while going to graduate school but I
still took out more loans than I needed to. I didn't really know anything about how the whole thing works, and didn't really think much about it. I guess my thinking was, 'well, when I graduate they won't make me pay more than I can afford.' I thought I'd be paying $90 a month, just like I had been with my undergraduate loan. I was thinking in very abstract terms. Boy, was I wrong.

I got my master's degree in Library Science in 2007, and was $54,000 in debt. I was doing fine financially at that time, even though I didn't have a very high-paying job. I was living on my own, and felt secure. Then, 6 months after I graduated, my first student loan bill came. And as soon as I saw it I knew my life was over, that I'd never be able to pay it back and I'd never experience financial freedom again. I couldn't afford the minimum monthly payments so I consolidated the loan with a private company, which brought down my monthly bill but doubled the interest on my loan. Shortly after that, I lost my job and could not find another one. I had a graduate degree, $54,000 in debt, and no job. I moved back home with my parents, and spent the next 4 years working paraprofessional or part-time jobs. During that time period, the interest on my loan grew, increasing my loan balance to $58,000. Each month I was able to make my minimum loan payment, which covered the interest, but nothing more.

In 2012 I finally got a full-time salaried OK-paying job that allowed me to start paying off my loan. I also met my husband,

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Yelena Gordiyenko  June 6, 2015  Aurora, CO

Growing up I had it very rough. My family was into drugs my older brother had already been to juvenile detentions, in and out of jail and now he's in prison. While I was growing up I had been introduced to all of these drugs but realized it wasn't my thing. I then proceeded to think I was going to do much better than my family and make something of myself. I graduated high school and the following day moved to a city. (Mind you I grew up in a small town.) I had a roommate and only being 17 at the time we had to have our parents co sign for an apartment. From then on I started drinking heavily and partying which who wouldn't at 18 years old! After 5 months of being a graduate my roomate mysteriously enrolled me into Cosmetology School. I was working part time at a shoe store and could barely afford housing costs. As I began school things got harder for me to handle, but I pushed through it. I then proceeded to have to pay for gas and meals because I was doing 10+ hours at school a day. Therefore, I couldn't help pay for bills. My roommate broke the lease and took hers and her mom's name off the lease. I had no choice but to break it myself therefore mine and my father's credit was ruint from then on. I found a family member that let me sleep on their couch for the remainder of my school time. I ended up loosing my job because I was clear across town and couldn't afford it and I also chose to take on the responsibility of taking care of my family members children while they were off doing who knows what! Through all of this mess I couldn't handle the fact that my baby cousins were being neglected so I turned them in to cps. Which led to me being out on the streets. I then approached my brothers ex wife and she willingly let me stay with her. (Mind you I'm still going to school through all of this chaos!) I lived in her garage while she partied day and night through the summer. Some days it was hard to make it to school after lack of sleep, I was late, I was tired, I was ready to give up! But I didn't! I graduated a month late but I made it!! After I graduated I had to move back to my small home town. The competition of cosmetology in this town is ridiculous! And expensive to even get started. I proceeded to do it out of my kitchen( I know it's illegal but I had to make it somehow!) Some time after I got into a horrible car accident with a friend. We both walked out of it but it was sure a life changing experience. I ended up getting a pelvic injury which her insurance wouldn't pay for because she wasn't on the insurance. Imagine that! Anyways after some time passed and I wasn't doing hair for a while due to the injury my license expired. I ended up getting pregnant! My son's father was in and out of my son's life and is now looking at 5+ years in prison. I am a single mom just trying to put food in my son's stomach and a roof over his head! Trying to do what's right! I work at a retail store now and just got promoted to full time! But it still does not pay the bills! I was so happy to get a full time position because I just knew I would be able to pay for my student loans! Because I live in a low income apartment they raised my rent along with my income! People seriously do not want anyone to make it in life!! I'm struggling now but I could have it worse. My credit is horrible but there is absolutely nothing I can do about it right now. I know that God has my back and one of these days I will succeed!

Shelby  June 5, 2015

Growing up I had it very rough. My family was into drugs my older brother had already been to juvenile detentions, in and out of jail and now he's in prison. While I was growing up I had been introduced to all of these drugs but realized it wasn't my thing. I then proceeded to think I was going to do much better than my family and make something of myself. I graduated high school and the following day moved to a city. (Mind you I grew up in a small town.) I had a roommate and only being 17 at the time we had to have our parents co sign for an apartment. From then on I started drinking heavily and partying which who wouldn't at 18 years old! After 5 months of being a graduate my roomate mysteriously enrolled me into Cosmetology School. I was working part time at a shoe store and could barely afford housing costs. As I began school things got harder for me to handle, but I pushed through it. I then proceeded to have to pay for gas and meals because I was doing 10+ hours at school a day. Therefore, I couldn't help pay for bills. My roommate broke the lease and took hers and her mom's name off the lease. I had no choice but to break it myself therefore mine and my father's credit was ruint from then on. I found a family member that let me sleep on their couch for the remainder of my school time. I ended up loosing my job because I was clear across town and couldn't afford it and I also chose to take on the responsibility of taking care of my family members children while they were off doing who knows what! Through all of this mess I couldn't handle the fact that my baby cousins were being neglected so I turned them in to cps. Which led to me being out on the streets. I then approached my brothers ex wife and she willingly let me stay with her. (Mind you I'm still going to school through all of this chaos!) I lived in her garage while she partied day and night through the summer.

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Shelby  June 5, 2015

My name is Alycia, I am a victim of Everest College (Corinthians College). I owe Thousands of dollars to a for profit college and got a certification I can never use because of the school I had attended for eight months.. I might as well took 20,000 dollars and flushed it down the toilet. Although there is a huge lawsuit going on and they settled on a reimbursement to these students who were also victim's of this predatory lending scheme and all their false percentages and accreditation's there is still a chance that my debt will in fact not be relieved more than $60.00. I understand that there are a lot of people to pay back and a lot of the school's were shut down but we deserve better than that if anyone who went there ever has a fighting chance of actually making it out of poverty and getting off welfare. Recently Everest was bought out by a non-profit organization and only lowered tuition by 10%, I am sorry but for the demographic they are recruiting that is still outrageous and completely unreasonable. What am I supposed to do if I still owe all that money? I will never be able to buy a house or a new car because my credit is so messed up now!!! I had exceptional credit before they had basically ruined my life, I was able to do pretty much whatever I wanted if I wanted because I had great credit. Now I have to ask myself will my daughter ever be able to play in her own backyard with her dog? The answer to this question is highly unlikely. I want more than anything for my student loans to be relieved so I can start over. I want the best life possible for my family and for the many other families all suffering because they to were betrayed by the educational system. It's a hard truth but the fact of the matter is is that we have no options or choices because of the greedy actions of one company that decided to pray on people who are poor. I wish debt relief for everyone who is struggling to make ends meet because they were victimized by Everest/Corinthians College.

Good luck everyone hopefully the fight is not over yet.

Alycia Gardner  June 5, 2015  Washington

My name is Alycia, I am a victim of Everest College (Corinthians College). I owe Thousands of dollars to a for profit college and got a certification I can never use because of the school I had attended for eight months.. I might as well took 20,000 dollars and flushed it down the toilet. Although there is a huge lawsuit going on and they settled on a reimbursement to these students who were also victim's of this predatory lending scheme and all their false percentages and accreditation's there is still a chance that my debt will in fact not be relieved more than $60.00. I understand that there are a lot of people to pay back and a lot of the school's were shut down but we deserve better than that if anyone who went there ever has a fighting chance of actually making it out of poverty and getting off welfare. Recently Everest was bought out by a non-profit organization and only lowered tuition by 10%, I am sorry but for the demographic they are recruiting that is still outrageous and completely unreasonable. What am I supposed to do if I still owe all that money? I will never be able to buy a house or a new car because my credit is so messed up now!!! I had exceptional credit before they had basically ruined my life, I was able to do pretty much whatever I wanted if I wanted because I had great credit. Now I have to ask myself will my daughter ever be able to play in her own backyard with her dog? The answer to this question is highly unlikely. I want more than anything for my student loans to be relieved so I can start over. I want the best life possible for my family and for the many other families all suffering because they to were betrayed by the educational system. It's a hard truth but the fact of the matter is is that we have no options or choices because of the greedy actions of one company that decided to pray on people who are poor.

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Alycia Gardner  June 5, 2015  Washington

After high school, I went straight to work in a factory because I could not qualify for student loans due to my mother's wages. I attempted college several times in my 20's through my 40's. It was hard to work full time and attend school full time for something I wasn't passionate about. Then, I found out when I was 25 that I had rheumatoid arthritis. I also found out that I was born with the hearing of a 60-70 yr old and there was no way to restore it. I would not get hearing aids until 2007 though. I am now at 70% hearing loss and suffer from major pain in every joint. At the age of 44, I have had to leave factory work because of my health but don't have enough recent work history to obtain a job as an business or media professional but I have to pay back $46,000+ in student loans based on just $24,000 for an Associate of Arts in Business. I am extremely worried how I am going to survive and finish raising my teenage son. Why doesn't the government just kill me now? They will probably never get the money I owe and create more debt for me and my family in the long run through countless doctor bills that I cannot pay either.

Stephanie Smith  June 4, 2015  Kearney, MO

After high school, I went straight to work in a factory because I could not qualify for student loans due to my mother's wages. I attempted college several times in my 20's through my 40's. It was hard to work full time and attend school full time for something I wasn't passionate about. Then, I found out when I was 25 that I had rheumatoid arthritis. I also found out that I was born with the hearing of a 60-70 yr old and there was no way to restore it. I would not get hearing aids until 2007 though. I am now at 70% hearing loss and suffer from major pain in every joint. At the age of 44, I have had to leave factory work because of my health but don't have enough recent work history to obtain a job as an business or media professional but I have to pay back $46,000+ in student loans based on just $24,000 for an Associate of Arts in Business. I am extremely worried how I am going to survive and finish raising my teenage son. Why doesn't the government just kill me now? They will probably never get the money I owe and create more debt for me and my family in the long run through countless doctor bills that I cannot pay either.

Stephanie Smith  June 4, 2015  Kearney, MO

Education has always been important to me. Even in high school I wasn't the type to use my senior year to finish up my credits with a half day of school and then work at a fast food place in the afternoon. In the summer before my junior year, I saw that I would only need about half a day in the following year to graduate so I went to summer school and then took two night classes during my junior year to take my senior year requirements. I was anxious to get to college!

And then my mother died about a month before I was to graduate. My hopes of going to college seemed but a faraway dream. That was in 1972 and I was 16 years old.

I spent many years working clerical-type jobs and just couldn't get ahead without a degree. Then I decided to move forward with my dream and when I was 40 years old I got my Associates of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems. When I was 50 I got my BS in Management. And finally, at 55 I got my MS in Human Relations and Business. I would love to go for a PhD, but as it is I will have a student loan that won't be paid off until I'm 70 years old.

And therein lies the problem. Education is so very important and I wasn't going to let anything stop me. I got all three of my degree while working full time and I didn't care how old I was. My problem now is that the loan I have is not covered by any government exemption. Even if I were to refinance, I would have to start the program over and it's still 10 years no matter how you look at it.

I've worked a lifetime and still plan on working a few more years. Except I can't even think about retiring at 62 or 65 or even 68. I'll be turning 60 this year and I've got 10 years to even think about finally relaxing and enjoying life. I'll be 70 years old!!! I can sell my house and get rid of that mortgage, but you can never get rid of a student loan.

Please help. And please start your kids in college when they are young so they can enjoy an early retirement.

Toni Brown  June 4, 2015  Austin, TX

Education has always been important to me. Even in high school I wasn't the type to use my senior year to finish up my credits with a half day of school and then work at a fast food place in the afternoon. In the summer before my junior year, I saw that I would only need about half a day in the following year to graduate so I went to summer school and then took two night classes during my junior year to take my senior year requirements. I was anxious to get to college!

And then my mother died about a month before I was to graduate. My hopes of going to college seemed but a faraway dream. That was in 1972 and I was 16 years old.

I spent many years working clerical-type jobs and just couldn't get ahead without a degree. Then I decided to move forward with my dream and when I was 40 years old I got my Associates of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems. When I was 50 I got my BS in Management. And finally, at 55 I got my MS in Human Relations and Business. I would love to go for a PhD, but as it is I will have a student loan that won't be paid off until I'm 70 years old.

And therein lies the problem. Education is so very important and I wasn't going to let anything stop me. I got all three of my degree while working full time and I didn't care how old I was. My problem now is that the loan I have is not covered by any government exemption. Even if I were to refinance, I would have to start the program over and it's still 10 years no matter how you look at it.

I've worked a lifetime and still plan on working a few more years. Except I can't even think about retiring at 62 or 65 or even 68. I'll be turning 60 this year and I've got 10 years to even think about finally relaxing and enjoying life.

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Toni Brown  June 4, 2015  Austin, TX

I had a really awful conversation with the studentaid.gov people that resulted in me writing a letter to the president. Here's my letter (sent last June):
"Dear Mr. President,
While reading the press release “FACTSHEET: Making Student Loans More Affordable,” I couldn’t help but feel compelled to write to you about my situation. I began pursuing a Bachelor’s degree back in 1995, and in 1997, could not afford to stay on campus at Central Michigan University, where I attended college. In 2005, I made the decision to go back to school to complete my degree program, and ultimately graduated from University of Phoenix in 2007. My student loan was through Nelnet, and the original amount totaled $24,449.72. Since graduating, I have continued to make payments to my student loan, despite having to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy after going through a divorce. Every month, when I look at my statement, I cringe at the figures presented:
Total Principal Paid Through 06/30/14: $2,007.64
Total Interest Paid Through 06/30/14: $10,138.36 (41% of the loan!!!)
While the amount that I pay annually (approximately $1764.00) is not 10% or more of my income, it is still a significant amount of my income, and at this rate, will be for my entire career AND retirement.
I am disgusted at how companies like Nelnet are able to so significantly gouge those of us who pursued a Bachelor’s degree in hopes of bettering our future - when all we really did was accumulate excessive amounts of debt. While I believe it helps to have the President step in and take action, I believe more action is necessary for those of us who have stable jobs and incomes, even though those incomes are not increasing as steadily as all of the other costs of living. I pride myself on my education, and the fact that I’ve managed to provide for myself over the years, but must say that when my income hasn’t increased much over the past few years due to cutbacks at the public university where I am employed, my student loan bill continues to weigh me down and prevent me from doing other things, like saving a down payment for a new home. I’ve found several websites where other people in similar situations are trying to start up a class-action lawsuit against Nelnet in particular, but it doesn’t appear to have been successful...yet. I’d really like to see more action against Nelnet and other companies like it who continue to make it seem impossible to get ahead of debt and plan for a better future. What advice can you offer me in this situation?"

While I did receive a response back from the White House, it appears to be a canned message that has no real answers, and points me back to the studentaid.gov folks, who told me there's nothing I can do to lower my interest other than going to a private loan through my bank or whatever. Here is the response:
"Dear Amanda:

Thank you for sharing your story. I have heard from many people who feel like they did everything right—studied hard, applied to college, did well in school—and still got saddled with crushing student loan debt. I am glad you took the time to share your thoughts.

The fact is, I know that frustration myself. The First Lady and I each graduated from college and law school with a mountain of debt, and we barely finished paying it off before I was elected to the United States Senate. And while neither of us came from a wealthy family, many borrowers today have it tougher than we did.

That is why I have fought to make college more affordable for millions of Americans—so they never end up with loans they cannot pay back. But we also need to extend relief to the millions of borrowers who are already weighed down with a lot of debt, because they deserve the chance to repay it.

The good news is that some help is already available. You can learn about options for repaying student loan debt at www.StudentAid.gov or www.ConsumerFinance.gov/Students. These websites also have special information for service members, veterans, and military families, and so does www.GIBill.VA.gov.

There is also a loan repayment plan we put in place called Pay As You Earn, which lets many borrowers cap their monthly payments at 10 percent of their income. The plan forgives loan debt after 20 years of responsible repayment, or after 10 years if you are in public service.

We are going to push Congress to open up the program to more borrowers who should be eligible. But in the meantime, anyone who needs help with Federal student loans should visit www.StudentAid.gov to see if the program can benefit them.

Thank you, again, for writing. I wish you all the best.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama"

So, basically, we all just sit here getting raped by the Fed, and these student loan companies like Nelnet are making a killing. The fact that I have a job that pays decent money kind of takes me out of the whole "Pay As You Earn" program... How about the fact that I pay hundreds of dollars a month, and after 10 years of student loan payments, I still owe as much as the original amount of the loan. It's a crime, and it's a shame that it's allowed to continue. That's my story.

Mandy  June 4, 2015  Michigan

I had a really awful conversation with the studentaid.gov people that resulted in me writing a letter to the president. Here's my letter (sent last June):
"Dear Mr. President,
While reading the press release “FACTSHEET: Making Student Loans More Affordable,” I couldn’t help but feel compelled to write to you about my situation. I began pursuing a Bachelor’s degree back in 1995, and in 1997, could not afford to stay on campus at Central Michigan University, where I attended college. In 2005, I made the decision to go back to school to complete my degree program, and ultimately graduated from University of Phoenix in 2007. My student loan was through Nelnet, and the original amount totaled $24,449.72. Since graduating, I have continued to make payments to my student loan, despite having to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy after going through a divorce. Every month, when I look at my statement, I cringe at the figures presented:
Total Principal Paid Through 06/30/14: $2,007.64
Total Interest Paid Through 06/30/14: $10,138.36 (41% of the loan!!!)
While the amount that I pay annually (approximately $1764.00) is not 10% or more of my income, it is still a significant amount of my income, and at this rate, will be for my entire career AND retirement.
I am disgusted at how companies like Nelnet are able to so significantly gouge those of us who pursued a Bachelor’s degree in hopes of bettering our future - when all we really did was accumulate excessive amounts of debt. While I believe it helps to have the President step in and take action, I believe more action is necessary for those of us who have stable jobs and incomes, even though those incomes are not increasing as steadily as all of the other costs of living. I pride myself on my education, and the fact that I’ve managed to provide for myself over the years, but must say that when my income hasn’t increased much over the past few years due to cutbacks at the public university where I am employed, my student loan bill continues to weigh me down and prevent me from doing other things,

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Mandy  June 4, 2015  Michigan

I was in corporate America and lost my job due to the company moving out of state. I then went to school full-time for one year and lived off of student loan money. After getting employed at the University that I went to school at, I wasn't making enough money to start paying back the loans and I was going to school part-time still. My mom got sick and I had to quit school for a while. Then after she passed, I went back to school. I was only two classes away from an associates degree when I went back but they wanted me to take several classes over again which meant more money. So I decided to change majors and be able to use my credits. Now I have an associates degree but took me 10 years to get not all of those in school and I have a bill of over $50,000. I started paying back the loans but then the payments went so high but I couldn't afford them with my budget. Now I have had to file bankruptcy in order to be able to pay the student loans back. Something is wrong with this picture. I am single and in my 50s so I have no help to pay the bills.

Lois  June 4, 2015  Lafayette IN

I was in corporate America and lost my job due to the company moving out of state. I then went to school full-time for one year and lived off of student loan money. After getting employed at the University that I went to school at, I wasn't making enough money to start paying back the loans and I was going to school part-time still. My mom got sick and I had to quit school for a while. Then after she passed, I went back to school. I was only two classes away from an associates degree when I went back but they wanted me to take several classes over again which meant more money. So I decided to change majors and be able to use my credits. Now I have an associates degree but took me 10 years to get not all of those in school and I have a bill of over $50,000. I started paying back the loans but then the payments went so high but I couldn't afford them with my budget. Now I have had to file bankruptcy in order to be able to pay the student loans back. Something is wrong with this picture. I am single and in my 50s so I have no help to pay the bills.

Lois  June 4, 2015  Lafayette IN

Were currently back in the U.S. from a tour over in Turkey. Financially we were good there, making payments on bills, getting ahead a little bit. I had two jobs trying to help support my family including my husband and son. My husband who is in the Air Force is a low enlisted member who has been to school and owes 6,000.00, nothing compared to some stories I have read. Being back here in the states we have had everything come out of our pocket and I am now currently unemployed, I am also in debt with school loans but this is for my husband. He works everyday without complaining but is so stressed out trying to live until I get a job. Just to pay off his school loan and get the extra money for groceries would be a lifesaver beyond belief! Some people think that being in the military is the easy way out for financial burdens but everyones circumstances are different.

Reichert  June 4, 2015  Patrick AFB

Were currently back in the U.S. from a tour over in Turkey. Financially we were good there, making payments on bills, getting ahead a little bit. I had two jobs trying to help support my family including my husband and son. My husband who is in the Air Force is a low enlisted member who has been to school and owes 6,000.00, nothing compared to some stories I have read. Being back here in the states we have had everything come out of our pocket and I am now currently unemployed, I am also in debt with school loans but this is for my husband. He works everyday without complaining but is so stressed out trying to live until I get a job. Just to pay off his school loan and get the extra money for groceries would be a lifesaver beyond belief! Some people think that being in the military is the easy way out for financial burdens but everyones circumstances are different.

Reichert  June 4, 2015  Patrick AFB

My parents never got the opportunity to go to college, so they put a lot of pressure on me to go. From the time I started Kindergarten my parents were telling me I had to go to college, there was no other way. If I wanted a decent life, I had to go to college.
In school all my teachers, career counselors, family, etc all told me, I had to go to college if I wanted a decent job and a decent life. I was told it didn’t matter what I studied or what I wanted to be, I just needed that magic paper and I’d be set. Like a Fool, I trusted and believed them.
When I turned 18, there was no option, I was sent to college. Because my father had passed away and my mother was broke I was on my own, 100%, to pay for college. But I was marched into the registration office, and told to sign loan papers and register for classes. Because there was no other way.
I started at a community college to get the basics out of the way. Then I went to a 4 year college. But because I moved to a new state, that 4 year college did not accept any of my previous courses, so I was basically starting over at square 1. Then they kept finding reasons to deny my instate status. (I’ve lived in this state for 15 years now, but because my uncle was also listed on my car’s title, I wasn’t accepted as “in state” at the time)
I graduated in 2007. I got an ok, fresh out of college job and I did well. I got promoted right away, I got raises, and I was put in charge of my own department. Then two years later, thanks to the economy, myself and 10 other people were laid off. I was unemployed for six months. I have been working at admin jobs just making it pay check to pay check and trying to pay off these loans ever since.
Needless to say, short of winning the lotto, I will never pay this debt off. It’s ruined my credit, I have no savings because of it. I get harassed regularly and I know I will never be able to afford a car, home, or children. I worry that any decent man would take a look at my debt and run the other way, which means I feel unworthy of being loved. It's crushed my self-esteem. My family knows I’m in debt, but they have no idea how much this has cost me. I’m always afraid of people finding out.
The other day I saw an elderly woman, homeless and sleeping on a corner and I thought, “Is that going to be me one day?”
Getting an education was the worst decision of my life; what does that say about the student debt crisis?

Caskey  June 3, 2015  Az

My parents never got the opportunity to go to college, so they put a lot of pressure on me to go. From the time I started Kindergarten my parents were telling me I had to go to college, there was no other way. If I wanted a decent life, I had to go to college.
In school all my teachers, career counselors, family, etc all told me, I had to go to college if I wanted a decent job and a decent life. I was told it didn’t matter what I studied or what I wanted to be, I just needed that magic paper and I’d be set. Like a Fool, I trusted and believed them.
When I turned 18, there was no option, I was sent to college. Because my father had passed away and my mother was broke I was on my own, 100%, to pay for college. But I was marched into the registration office, and told to sign loan papers and register for classes. Because there was no other way.
I started at a community college to get the basics out of the way. Then I went to a 4 year college. But because I moved to a new state, that 4 year college did not accept any of my previous courses, so I was basically starting over at square 1. Then they kept finding reasons to deny my instate status. (I’ve lived in this state for 15 years now, but because my uncle was also listed on my car’s title, I wasn’t accepted as “in state” at the time)
I graduated in 2007. I got an ok, fresh out of college job and I did well. I got promoted right away, I got raises, and I was put in charge of my own department. Then two years later, thanks to the economy, myself and 10 other people were laid off. I was unemployed for six months. I have been working at admin jobs just making it pay check to pay check and trying to pay off these loans ever since.
Needless to say,

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Caskey  June 3, 2015  Az

I have been on my own since I was a teenager. I never knew my father and my mother was an alcoholic and although I don't doubt whether or not she loved me, I know she loved her drugs and alcohol more. I was never formally adopted so when I went to apply for student loans, I had to emancipate myself from my mother just to be considered (Apparently working 3 jobs and pulling in just under $18,000 didn't qualify on its own.) It was rough, but I was determined to get my degree. I went to a local community college for 3 years and worked to support myself while I completed as many credits as I could before being forced to take out loans for my bachelor's degree. 2 years of commuting to campus and I still ended up with $26,000 in student loan debt. It was tough, but I did it. I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in Middle School English Education in May of 2011. Yay! Now I could find a full-time job with benefits and be in a career that I loved! Except for the tiny little detail that there were no teaching jobs. The market was flooded with teachers and schools weren't replacing ones that retired. My 6 months post-graduation expired and it was time to pay back those loans. Then, in 2013, my husband was diagnosed with liver cancer and on June 29th of 2014, he received a liver transplant. We have been drowning in bills and scrambling just to make ends meet every month since the diagnosis. We were able to put payments on hold while he was home for 6 weeks after the transplant, but as soon as he went back to work, the payments resumed. We want to start our family, but how can we bring a child into this world knowing we can't make our payments as it is? It's been 4 years and I still owe over $23,000 in student loans. How can the government say we make "too much" for assistance when we can't pay our basic utility bills? How is it that we make "too much" when we are constantly deciding which necessities we will have this month and which ones we will not? How can we make "too much" when their definition of too much is not enough?

Jessica Beeson  June 3, 2015  St. Charles, MO

I have been on my own since I was a teenager. I never knew my father and my mother was an alcoholic and although I don't doubt whether or not she loved me, I know she loved her drugs and alcohol more. I was never formally adopted so when I went to apply for student loans, I had to emancipate myself from my mother just to be considered (Apparently working 3 jobs and pulling in just under $18,000 didn't qualify on its own.) It was rough, but I was determined to get my degree. I went to a local community college for 3 years and worked to support myself while I completed as many credits as I could before being forced to take out loans for my bachelor's degree. 2 years of commuting to campus and I still ended up with $26,000 in student loan debt. It was tough, but I did it. I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in Middle School English Education in May of 2011. Yay! Now I could find a full-time job with benefits and be in a career that I loved! Except for the tiny little detail that there were no teaching jobs. The market was flooded with teachers and schools weren't replacing ones that retired. My 6 months post-graduation expired and it was time to pay back those loans. Then, in 2013, my husband was diagnosed with liver cancer and on June 29th of 2014, he received a liver transplant. We have been drowning in bills and scrambling just to make ends meet every month since the diagnosis. We were able to put payments on hold while he was home for 6 weeks after the transplant, but as soon as he went back to work, the payments resumed. We want to start our family, but how can we bring a child into this world knowing we can't make our payments as it is? It's been 4 years and I still owe over $23,000 in student loans. How can the government say we make "too much" for assistance when we can't pay our basic utility bills?

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Jessica Beeson  June 3, 2015  St. Charles, MO

I was born in Carthage, Miss. My mother completed the eight grade and my father completed two years in a junior college after he return from World War ll . I grew up in a large family of 16 siblings and my parents did not encourage us to go to school, because their was not enough money to cover the cost. As children, we were taken out of school for six weeks every year to pick cotton for the rich white families. No one took education of black folk serious. Each year we miss a big block of learning. I left home at the age of 18. I dropped of our school and move to Wisconsin. I eventually earned my G.E.D. and attended a technical college. I was later motivated to get a bachelor's degree. I continues school until I completed a masters degree. I am the only person in my family to receive a mastered degree. I owe over $109,000 dollars in student loan debt. I will turn Sixty Four years old this October. I can not afford to pay enough to cover the interest on my student loan and the interest continues to accrue. I am told that I do not qualify for any of the forgiveness grants because of the year that I took out the student loans. I had not planned to retire, but circumstances beyond my control has forced me out of the job market. The pension and social security I receive is not enough to maintain a quality lifestyle. I am hoping for some relief from this debt so that I can afford food, a home, and other necessities.

Francis J. Jewell  June 3, 2015  franklin, WI

I was born in Carthage, Miss. My mother completed the eight grade and my father completed two years in a junior college after he return from World War ll . I grew up in a large family of 16 siblings and my parents did not encourage us to go to school, because their was not enough money to cover the cost. As children, we were taken out of school for six weeks every year to pick cotton for the rich white families. No one took education of black folk serious. Each year we miss a big block of learning. I left home at the age of 18. I dropped of our school and move to Wisconsin. I eventually earned my G.E.D. and attended a technical college. I was later motivated to get a bachelor's degree. I continues school until I completed a masters degree. I am the only person in my family to receive a mastered degree. I owe over $109,000 dollars in student loan debt. I will turn Sixty Four years old this October. I can not afford to pay enough to cover the interest on my student loan and the interest continues to accrue. I am told that I do not qualify for any of the forgiveness grants because of the year that I took out the student loans. I had not planned to retire, but circumstances beyond my control has forced me out of the job market. The pension and social security I receive is not enough to maintain a quality lifestyle. I am hoping for some relief from this debt so that I can afford food, a home, and other necessities.

Francis J. Jewell  June 3, 2015  franklin, WI

I began college in August of 2001 after being told all my life how important it was to get a college education in order to survive in society on my own. I was excited to embark upon such a journey until I learned about the costs and my student loans and exactly what interest was. I lived on campus my first year of school which was the most expensive year of all my years in college. In an attempt to cut down on costs and loans, I got myself a tiny apartment off campus and a part-time retail job to help pay for my living expenses. I spent 3 years at one University before trying to further cut down on costs by switching to a less expensive University. Due to the inflation of living expenses and school schedule not allowing as many work hours, I lost my apartment. My world then fell apart and I felt the need to survive without my college education so I entered into the world of working fulltime in retail. 3 or 4 random retail jobs later I felt it necessary to return to school in search for a better way to survive as the stress of retail hours, type of physical labor and lack of decent finances took ahold of my life in a physical manner. I barely made enough money to survive even working fulltime and over-time occasionally. In between those 3-4 random jobs, I had my first and only child which was the what helped me to decide to continue going to college but we continued to struggle horribly from homelessness to living from house to house not ever having a safe place of our own all the while. I finally graduated with my Bachelor's of Science in Education August 2010 from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. At that time our local government had already laid off nearly 500 teachers and we all were searching the local market for employment without luck since childcare was already saturated with workers and we all were "OVER QUALIFIED" to work for retailers and other local organizations. Since, I have a passion for teaching, I sincerely thought that going to school to become a teacher would allow me the opportunity to at least survive while enjoying what I do in my community. I am saddened to state that I continue to financially struggle with my student loans while working in a completely different field than I studied and now that they are asking me to pay as much as it costs for me to pay my rent each month, I am in a state of panic, financial strain, stress, and poor health worrying over the inability to purchase a home, car, and anything else myself and child would need outside of food and clothing. I work fulltime and pay for both myself and child's healthcare monthly. More over, I am struggling to keep this roof over our heads as my rent costs go up each year and there is a severe lack of safe, affordable housing in my city. Over the years, I have been attempting to rebuild a positive life myself and child, I have cleared my negative credit and started trying to pay towards my students loans when I can here and there. I am a hard working, productive individual who deserves a huge break when it comes to students loans and the financial strain and stress they have been causing in my life for at least 9 years now. Please hear us and help us! I sincerely would appreciate it.

Stephanie Marie Jewell  June 3, 2015  Milwaukee, WI

I began college in August of 2001 after being told all my life how important it was to get a college education in order to survive in society on my own. I was excited to embark upon such a journey until I learned about the costs and my student loans and exactly what interest was. I lived on campus my first year of school which was the most expensive year of all my years in college. In an attempt to cut down on costs and loans, I got myself a tiny apartment off campus and a part-time retail job to help pay for my living expenses. I spent 3 years at one University before trying to further cut down on costs by switching to a less expensive University. Due to the inflation of living expenses and school schedule not allowing as many work hours, I lost my apartment. My world then fell apart and I felt the need to survive without my college education so I entered into the world of working fulltime in retail. 3 or 4 random retail jobs later I felt it necessary to return to school in search for a better way to survive as the stress of retail hours, type of physical labor and lack of decent finances took ahold of my life in a physical manner. I barely made enough money to survive even working fulltime and over-time occasionally. In between those 3-4 random jobs, I had my first and only child which was the what helped me to decide to continue going to college but we continued to struggle horribly from homelessness to living from house to house not ever having a safe place of our own all the while. I finally graduated with my Bachelor's of Science in Education August 2010 from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. At that time our local government had already laid off nearly 500 teachers and we all were searching the local market for employment without luck since childcare was already saturated with workers and we all were "OVER QUALIFIED" to work for retailers and other local organizations.

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Stephanie Marie Jewell  June 3, 2015  Milwaukee, WI

I'm about $70K in debt for student loans, that isn't taking into consideration interest at all. I am currently unemployed due to health issues. These health issues prevent me from obtaining employment in any of the areas of my schooling or past experience. I can't find any position that I can do.

When I first entered into the repayment phase of my student loans, they demanded no less than $700 a month, which was over half of my monthly income. I tried to negotiate, but I had already missed payments by that time, because having a roof over my head, utilities, and food were more important to me. They refused to negotiate a lower monthly payment until I was caught up. I got more and more behind. They started garnishing my wages, taking $250 from each paycheck, which left me short on other bills. I lost my car that was nearly paid off to repossession. My boyfriend and I had hopes to purchase a home, but because of all of this, we no longer qualified.

My physical condition has deteriorated quite a bit recently, but what I have isn't visible or testable, so I am being denied disability. I can't afford medical care. These student loans hanging over my head are causing me severe anxiety and depression.

They have been harassing my parents as well, which put a huge damper on our once close relationship. I have sold everything I have of value, including the only memento I had from my deceased grandmother. Because my wages were being garnished, I could not afford to go to my own father's funeral.

Because my credit has been so damaged by limited finances, I had a terrible time finding an affordable place to live after my boyfriend of 8 years passed away. I live with 2 roommates and I barely make ends meet. I'm behind on all my bills and struggle to keep the utilities on. I entered a medical study to help pay my bills.

My future looks pretty bleak. I feel like I am drowning in debt and I will never escape. I don't know what I'm going to do, and the companies that hold my loans really don't care. This stresses me out to the point of being nearly suicidal, don't think I will ever go that far, but I hate what this is doing to me. I feel defeated....

Stacy DeMartelaere  June 3, 2015  Portland, OR

I'm about $70K in debt for student loans, that isn't taking into consideration interest at all. I am currently unemployed due to health issues. These health issues prevent me from obtaining employment in any of the areas of my schooling or past experience. I can't find any position that I can do.

When I first entered into the repayment phase of my student loans, they demanded no less than $700 a month, which was over half of my monthly income. I tried to negotiate, but I had already missed payments by that time, because having a roof over my head, utilities, and food were more important to me. They refused to negotiate a lower monthly payment until I was caught up. I got more and more behind. They started garnishing my wages, taking $250 from each paycheck, which left me short on other bills. I lost my car that was nearly paid off to repossession. My boyfriend and I had hopes to purchase a home, but because of all of this, we no longer qualified.

My physical condition has deteriorated quite a bit recently, but what I have isn't visible or testable, so I am being denied disability. I can't afford medical care. These student loans hanging over my head are causing me severe anxiety and depression.

They have been harassing my parents as well, which put a huge damper on our once close relationship. I have sold everything I have of value, including the only memento I had from my deceased grandmother. Because my wages were being garnished, I could not afford to go to my own father's funeral.

Because my credit has been so damaged by limited finances, I had a terrible time finding an affordable place to live after my boyfriend of 8 years passed away. I live with 2 roommates and I barely make ends meet. I'm behind on all my bills and struggle to keep the utilities on. I entered a medical study to help pay my bills.

My future looks pretty bleak. I feel like I am drowning in debt and I will never escape.

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Stacy DeMartelaere  June 3, 2015  Portland, OR

I consolidated my loans with the Direct Loan Service of the Federal Department of Education. They sent my loans to Sallie Mae for servicing. Then last year in 2014, they switch my account to Navient. I am on the Income Based Repayment (IBR) plan. During their switch they sent me an email that said that I had a document for review in my account with Sallie Mae. I never saw the request and the request never said what it was for. Supposedly, it was a notice for me to reapply for the IBR payment plan. I never saw this request.

In November, I contacted Navient and asked why I never received this request. They said that they had sent it to me and now they had kicked me out of the plan even though the 12-month period was not even over. Their deadline for reapplication was the end of October. After they kicked me out of the program, they capitalized almost $7,000 worth of accrued interest into my account. I was flabbergasted. They resigned into the IBR plan in November and then refused to remove the capitalized interest. I explained that I had never seen that request and they just said that it was my responsibility to keep on track of such things. I had been diligently paying my student loan on time every month and now here I was being penalized for missing the October 31 deadline by 2-weeks because I missed a noticed they sent me that never explained what it was for. This is a deviant and predatory practice that Navient and Sallie Mae emply. If I had seen a notice/email informing me that it was time to reapply for the IBR plan, I would have done it immediately.
I also was laid off in the middle of October due to a company layoff. The supervisor told me to write a letter to appeal the capitalization of almost $7,000 on to my Department of Education loans. Of course it took them no time to respond back and let me know that my appeal was denied and closed.

Now, I am back in school, and I have been automatically placed on an in-school deferment even though I am on the IBR payment plan. What they don't tell you is that even though you didn't request to go on to this in-school deferment, now that you are, once you are done with your deferment, no matter what, all the accrued interest will be capitalized on to your account even if you went back on to the IBR payment plan. This would be almost another $8,000. Oh my god. I feel like I am being raped by this predatory and deviant company. Then when I told them about it, they just said, oh well, after 25-years, the balance you owe will be forgiven but it will considered taxable income and you are going to have to pay taxes on it and the more interest that is capitalized the larger your loan amount will be.

For $63,000 worth of student loans that I started paying back in the beginning of 2013, I now over a little over $70,000. This number will grow to about $80,000 after I am done with school. Then I will be paying on top of that another $25,000-$30,000 worth of interest. God save us all from these predatory lenders that are using the government to rape and pillage us all.

Furious in Louisville, KY

Dilruan Nicholas  June 3, 2015  Louisville, KY

I consolidated my loans with the Direct Loan Service of the Federal Department of Education. They sent my loans to Sallie Mae for servicing. Then last year in 2014, they switch my account to Navient. I am on the Income Based Repayment (IBR) plan. During their switch they sent me an email that said that I had a document for review in my account with Sallie Mae. I never saw the request and the request never said what it was for. Supposedly, it was a notice for me to reapply for the IBR payment plan. I never saw this request.

In November, I contacted Navient and asked why I never received this request. They said that they had sent it to me and now they had kicked me out of the plan even though the 12-month period was not even over. Their deadline for reapplication was the end of October. After they kicked me out of the program, they capitalized almost $7,000 worth of accrued interest into my account. I was flabbergasted. They resigned into the IBR plan in November and then refused to remove the capitalized interest. I explained that I had never seen that request and they just said that it was my responsibility to keep on track of such things. I had been diligently paying my student loan on time every month and now here I was being penalized for missing the October 31 deadline by 2-weeks because I missed a noticed they sent me that never explained what it was for. This is a deviant and predatory practice that Navient and Sallie Mae emply. If I had seen a notice/email informing me that it was time to reapply for the IBR plan, I would have done it immediately.
I also was laid off in the middle of October due to a company layoff. The supervisor told me to write a letter to appeal the capitalization of almost $7,000 on to my Department of Education loans. Of course it took them no time to respond back and let me know that my appeal was denied and closed.

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Dilruan Nicholas  June 3, 2015  Louisville, KY

I initially received $50k of student loans to support my entry into an MBA program. When it's all said an done, my repayment amount will be b/w $75-110k. This is a frustrating process, as the companies dealing with student debt collection are not educated in finance, the firms are so big that they are unable to effectively answer specific account information, and the billing instructions and allocations to specific loan instruments are too confusing for the collector's staff to follow! The system is broken, and there is no willingness on the part of our elected officials to fix this. With my growing family, this money should go to saving for the education of my children, or a down payment on a new house, but sadly our generation cannot grow freely due to this debt holding us back.

Why would politicians in this Nation determine that the President is sole person who can reduce the interest rate for student loans? Why does this "honor" not extend to mortgages? I refinanced a loan on a new car, but cannot with my student loans unless the President lets me! I will repay my debt early, but this process has forever changed my opinion of our elected officials.

Benjamin Lawrence  June 3, 2015  Maryland

I initially received $50k of student loans to support my entry into an MBA program. When it's all said an done, my repayment amount will be b/w $75-110k. This is a frustrating process, as the companies dealing with student debt collection are not educated in finance, the firms are so big that they are unable to effectively answer specific account information, and the billing instructions and allocations to specific loan instruments are too confusing for the collector's staff to follow! The system is broken, and there is no willingness on the part of our elected officials to fix this. With my growing family, this money should go to saving for the education of my children, or a down payment on a new house, but sadly our generation cannot grow freely due to this debt holding us back.

Why would politicians in this Nation determine that the President is sole person who can reduce the interest rate for student loans? Why does this "honor" not extend to mortgages? I refinanced a loan on a new car, but cannot with my student loans unless the President lets me! I will repay my debt early, but this process has forever changed my opinion of our elected officials.

Benjamin Lawrence  June 3, 2015  Maryland

Growing up poor wasn't anything outside the norm for me. When I hit 14 however, I met my real father. He was loaded. I ended up graduating with academic honors and even got into Purdue. It was a big deal since no one in my family had even tried to go to college. Once there I did extremely well. My father told me I didn't have to get loans and that he would pay out of pocket. His exact words were "You won't have to worry about a dime". His business started going through the struggle that every small business did and he decided that what I wanted to do with my life wasn't good enough (Graphic Design) and that he would no longer pay for it. I was an -A- -B- student taking 5 classes ("crap classes") and working part time just to eat. Once we severed ties he left me with about $4,000 worth of debt after my second semester. I am too proud to pay this amount and it has been since 2009. I am curious if this debt will ever go away or if I will forever just owe this amount.

Brittany  June 3, 2015  Indiana

Growing up poor wasn't anything outside the norm for me. When I hit 14 however, I met my real father. He was loaded. I ended up graduating with academic honors and even got into Purdue. It was a big deal since no one in my family had even tried to go to college. Once there I did extremely well. My father told me I didn't have to get loans and that he would pay out of pocket. His exact words were "You won't have to worry about a dime". His business started going through the struggle that every small business did and he decided that what I wanted to do with my life wasn't good enough (Graphic Design) and that he would no longer pay for it. I was an -A- -B- student taking 5 classes ("crap classes") and working part time just to eat. Once we severed ties he left me with about $4,000 worth of debt after my second semester. I am too proud to pay this amount and it has been since 2009. I am curious if this debt will ever go away or if I will forever just owe this amount.

Brittany  June 3, 2015  Indiana

iwas 16 years old when my mother started talking about college and where I needed to go. I studied hard in school and I was only able to go to a local State College due to the fact that my mother was a single mother raising two children on her own. with that in mind going to a local college was cheaper and meant that we would receive more financial aid. most of which meant you could take out loans to help you go through school. I am the first in my family to go to college even with the negative comments from my biological father telling me that no woman needed to be educated. I graduated in 2009 right when the economy was falling. I remember sitting in orientation at college listening to them preach how if we did well and we chose a college education we could land the jobs of our dreams and be making anywhere 60,000 and higher.after graduation I spent two years looking for a job. I applied on every single website, went and had my resume is valuated through the school employment services, and worked with the unemployment office to the state. I found babysitting jobs they were able to give me some money but not enough to be able to support myself and pay off the student loans. I end up putting my loans in deferment and forbearance due to Financial issues. I was living at home with my mother and growing more and more depressed and frustrated with each and every job interview. I ended up becoming a nanny for a family,not exactly what my college degree I prepared me for and financially could not support me. I ended up unemployed again after the family moved. I continued my search great job the entire time I work for the family still could not gain employment. I went to local job fairs, scoured the wanted ads.I was told by my college counselors and employment office that I should just go back to school because there is no jobs out there. I ended up going online to try to get my masters hoping that I would score a job that would enable me to pay back what I was accruing even more. I was listening to the advice of the college considering they are the ones you are supposed to help you getting that better education and make those better decisions to have a successful future. now I am working a job that I hate and has nothing to do with my degree and even though I make decent money it is still not enough to pay all of my student loans. I now have a daughter who started out with medical issues and that did not help my stance at all with my student loan debt. I just wish that high schools and counselors alike would tell these kids going into college what the real expectations are regarding their student loans. if I had known what I know now I might not have gone to college but instead work my way up in a company. At least I would have a debt free life and I wouldn't have to worry about living paycheck to paycheck. I'm not even doing but my education prepared me for due to the lack of a job market. It seems when the economy falls a college education doesn't stand a chance. You start out like the rest of them.......from the bottom and work your way up to the top. I thought an education was my ticket to a better life. Now I know better due to all the student loan debt that I will never be able to pay off.

Jacqlynn  June 3, 2015  illinois

iwas 16 years old when my mother started talking about college and where I needed to go. I studied hard in school and I was only able to go to a local State College due to the fact that my mother was a single mother raising two children on her own. with that in mind going to a local college was cheaper and meant that we would receive more financial aid. most of which meant you could take out loans to help you go through school. I am the first in my family to go to college even with the negative comments from my biological father telling me that no woman needed to be educated. I graduated in 2009 right when the economy was falling. I remember sitting in orientation at college listening to them preach how if we did well and we chose a college education we could land the jobs of our dreams and be making anywhere 60,000 and higher.after graduation I spent two years looking for a job. I applied on every single website, went and had my resume is valuated through the school employment services, and worked with the unemployment office to the state. I found babysitting jobs they were able to give me some money but not enough to be able to support myself and pay off the student loans. I end up putting my loans in deferment and forbearance due to Financial issues. I was living at home with my mother and growing more and more depressed and frustrated with each and every job interview. I ended up becoming a nanny for a family,not exactly what my college degree I prepared me for and financially could not support me. I ended up unemployed again after the family moved. I continued my search great job the entire time I work for the family still could not gain employment. I went to local job fairs, scoured the wanted ads.I was told by my college counselors and employment office that I should just go back to school because there is no jobs out there. I ended up going online to try to get my masters hoping that I would score a job that would enable me to pay back what I was accruing even more.

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Jacqlynn  June 3, 2015  illinois



I started attending school back in 2006, I enrolled at ITT Technical Institute with a pursuit in Digital Entertainment and Design, a four year degree. I was working full time and going to school full time. It was hard but I was able to keep my head above the water. I got married back in 2004 and my full time job was key to help us get thru the hard times that we faced since the twin towers fell. In September 2008 I finish my Associate Degree in Drafting and Design and I was hired by a company to do electrical floor plans. But almost at the end of 2009 I was laid off due to the economy downturn. To make things more difficult my wife was pregnant, and she gave birth to a baby boy in January 2010. I was out of work for nearly two years and was only surviving on a small check that I was receiving from the unemployment office. Although things were really, really hard. I was able to stay in school, and finish with my four year degree keeping a 3.8 GPA. But there was a problem, I still didn’t have a job. Almost at the end of 2010, I was blessed with a job in graphic design. The work is great but it only pays the minimum. This for the family of my size is not enough.
The money that I receive from my work is not enough to cover the expenses in my house, my wife has a fulltime job as well and that is the only way that we are able to make it everyday. My problem is that I don’t make enough to cover the house expenses and be able to pay for my student loans as well. I never went to school with the intention of not paying that money back. My wife also has her student’s loans from when she completed her career. I was able to get her and my mom to co-sign for two different private loans and now they are getting letters saying that they must pay for that, when they cant afford it either. I currently owe about $150,000. Not only that, my miy "Degree" is worthless, as many schools dont accept degrees from ITT.

Jorge Villalba  June 3, 2015  California



I started attending school back in 2006, I enrolled at ITT Technical Institute with a pursuit in Digital Entertainment and Design, a four year degree. I was working full time and going to school full time. It was hard but I was able to keep my head above the water. I got married back in 2004 and my full time job was key to help us get thru the hard times that we faced since the twin towers fell. In September 2008 I finish my Associate Degree in Drafting and Design and I was hired by a company to do electrical floor plans. But almost at the end of 2009 I was laid off due to the economy downturn. To make things more difficult my wife was pregnant, and she gave birth to a baby boy in January 2010. I was out of work for nearly two years and was only surviving on a small check that I was receiving from the unemployment office. Although things were really, really hard. I was able to stay in school, and finish with my four year degree keeping a 3.8 GPA. But there was a problem, I still didn’t have a job. Almost at the end of 2010, I was blessed with a job in graphic design. The work is great but it only pays the minimum. This for the family of my size is not enough.
The money that I receive from my work is not enough to cover the expenses in my house, my wife has a fulltime job as well and that is the only way that we are able to make it everyday. My problem is that I don’t make enough to cover the house expenses and be able to pay for my student loans as well. I never went to school with the intention of not paying that money back. My wife also has her student’s loans from when she completed her career. I was able to get her and my mom to co-sign for two different private loans and now they are getting letters saying that they must pay for that,

...more
Jorge Villalba  June 3, 2015  California

I live and work in Nicaragua (Central America). I have live abroad most of my life and was able to study at a branch from an American college here in Nicaragua. Ever since I started working, I earned a "Nicaraguan payment" ranging from $1,300 (at best) to $200 (at worst). This has been enough to live well or at least survive here. But there is no way I can afford to pay back my student loan. I simply stop sending payments except for a private loan where a relative is my cosigner. I send $70 each month and spend about $80 on shipping and handling. Obviously, I cannot send more than that at once. So I'm paying more on shipping and interest than the loan itself. At a point where i was unemployed and my deferment was past due I tried to apply for bankruptcy and found out it does not apply for student loans. It's simply ridiculous. There is no way i can repay such loans with the money I make here. At least I don’t need to worry about not being able to get a car or home since i can rent a decent home and use public transportation anywhere. But it is so unfair knowing that by now my debt keeps increasing and even if I sent monthly payments i would probably die first before paying it off.

Alexandra H.  June 3, 2015  Managua,Nicaragua

I live and work in Nicaragua (Central America). I have live abroad most of my life and was able to study at a branch from an American college here in Nicaragua. Ever since I started working, I earned a "Nicaraguan payment" ranging from $1,300 (at best) to $200 (at worst). This has been enough to live well or at least survive here. But there is no way I can afford to pay back my student loan. I simply stop sending payments except for a private loan where a relative is my cosigner. I send $70 each month and spend about $80 on shipping and handling. Obviously, I cannot send more than that at once. So I'm paying more on shipping and interest than the loan itself. At a point where i was unemployed and my deferment was past due I tried to apply for bankruptcy and found out it does not apply for student loans. It's simply ridiculous. There is no way i can repay such loans with the money I make here. At least I don’t need to worry about not being able to get a car or home since i can rent a decent home and use public transportation anywhere. But it is so unfair knowing that by now my debt keeps increasing and even if I sent monthly payments i would probably die first before paying it off.

Alexandra H.  June 3, 2015  Managua,Nicaragua

I was working for the US Navy as a contractor in the computer science field at that time I had an Associate’s Degree in Computer Information Systems. After several years the Government made a requirement that if we wanted to continue working there many of us were now required to get a BS degree. The contact company did not pay much for tuition and I had to get financial aid to complete my degree.
I am currently over 50,000 dollars in debt. The worst part is a few years after getting my degree a large number of us were abruptly laid off stating the contract did not need our services any more. I spent all this time getting a degree and was thrown out the door. I spent almost a year unemployed and was not able to get any job close to what I had before. I was un-hirable because my position with the US Navy as so specialized that in the "real" world I was under qualified.
I eventually made a decision to make a career change to a completely different job field in healthcare and had to take over a ½ salary pay cut. I am financially strapped and can hardly pay my mortgage payments. I keep getting late notices and the interest is racking up. At least I am working but I now have a huge worthless computer science degree and payments looming over my head.

Linda Renkowski  June 3, 2015  Ventura CA

I was working for the US Navy as a contractor in the computer science field at that time I had an Associate’s Degree in Computer Information Systems. After several years the Government made a requirement that if we wanted to continue working there many of us were now required to get a BS degree. The contact company did not pay much for tuition and I had to get financial aid to complete my degree.
I am currently over 50,000 dollars in debt. The worst part is a few years after getting my degree a large number of us were abruptly laid off stating the contract did not need our services any more. I spent all this time getting a degree and was thrown out the door. I spent almost a year unemployed and was not able to get any job close to what I had before. I was un-hirable because my position with the US Navy as so specialized that in the "real" world I was under qualified.
I eventually made a decision to make a career change to a completely different job field in healthcare and had to take over a ½ salary pay cut. I am financially strapped and can hardly pay my mortgage payments. I keep getting late notices and the interest is racking up. At least I am working but I now have a huge worthless computer science degree and payments looming over my head.

Linda Renkowski  June 3, 2015  Ventura CA

I decided to go back to school after being laid off at my first full-time job after high school. I already had two small children, and I was in the middle of a divorce. Immediately after I started school online, I found another job which I have been at for 6 years. Since then I have had serious health issues arise, lost my house, had to file bankruptcy, and I still can't get back ahead. I have $65,000 in student loans that I can't repay and am afraid for my future. I have a hard enough time getting money together just for rent and utilities and to support my kids every month, and they somehow want me to come up with another $690 a month for student loans. I feel like no matter how hard I work, I will never be able to buy a home again or have the nice things I want for my family and me due to this burden constantly weighing on my shoulders.

Summer  June 2, 2015  Iowa

I decided to go back to school after being laid off at my first full-time job after high school. I already had two small children, and I was in the middle of a divorce. Immediately after I started school online, I found another job which I have been at for 6 years. Since then I have had serious health issues arise, lost my house, had to file bankruptcy, and I still can't get back ahead. I have $65,000 in student loans that I can't repay and am afraid for my future. I have a hard enough time getting money together just for rent and utilities and to support my kids every month, and they somehow want me to come up with another $690 a month for student loans. I feel like no matter how hard I work, I will never be able to buy a home again or have the nice things I want for my family and me due to this burden constantly weighing on my shoulders.

Summer  June 2, 2015  Iowa

I started with roughly $120,000 in student loan debt, most of which is private with a co-signer. Once we realized what it would take financially to get my degree, we had already begun and it was either drop out and start paying without a degree or finish and have more debt. I've never missed a payment over the past 6 years at $860 per month in minimums. I have 16 years remaining on most of that debt if I'm able to keep this up.

I'll never own a house or have an experience of grocery shopping without counting to the penny what I'm buying. It's just what life is at this point. . and it's pretty terrible.

Michael Jordan  June 2, 2015  Atlanta, Georgia

I started with roughly $120,000 in student loan debt, most of which is private with a co-signer. Once we realized what it would take financially to get my degree, we had already begun and it was either drop out and start paying without a degree or finish and have more debt. I've never missed a payment over the past 6 years at $860 per month in minimums. I have 16 years remaining on most of that debt if I'm able to keep this up.

I'll never own a house or have an experience of grocery shopping without counting to the penny what I'm buying. It's just what life is at this point. . and it's pretty terrible.

Michael Jordan  June 2, 2015  Atlanta, Georgia

I grew up in a poor family, and quite often we went without heat or electricity, and if not for the local parish, would have gone hungry, too. I recognized that in order to get out of that situation, I needed a well-paying job, which meant I should get a good education. My family couldn't help pay a thing toward college, and I was the first in generations to apply. Without experience or money, I got what scholarships I could, and financed the rest through federal and private loans (some $80,000). After graduating in 2009, following the worst financial upset our country has seen in decades, I spent a year applying for literally hundreds of jobs, with no luck. By the time I caught a break, I had a couple loans in default as I simply couldn't pay, and had no experience or mentorship in dealing with such things. As I figured everything out and began to finally get a grip on all the repayment, my wages were garnished, my credit destroyed, and I still found myself living in very similar conditions as I did growing up.

Six years later, I've paid back over $15,000, and even paid one loan off (through crippling garnishment). Total owed today? $72,200.00.

Eight years of dedicated studying, five years of full-time $20+/hr employment, countless hours of budgeting, refinancing, sacrificing and striving, and what do I have to show for it? Cancerous debt, a 0-br apartment barely up to code, and a budget that most generously allows me $50/mo. for any vestige of recreation. But hey, our banks are doing well.

James  June 2, 2015  Massachusetts

I grew up in a poor family, and quite often we went without heat or electricity, and if not for the local parish, would have gone hungry, too. I recognized that in order to get out of that situation, I needed a well-paying job, which meant I should get a good education. My family couldn't help pay a thing toward college, and I was the first in generations to apply. Without experience or money, I got what scholarships I could, and financed the rest through federal and private loans (some $80,000). After graduating in 2009, following the worst financial upset our country has seen in decades, I spent a year applying for literally hundreds of jobs, with no luck. By the time I caught a break, I had a couple loans in default as I simply couldn't pay, and had no experience or mentorship in dealing with such things. As I figured everything out and began to finally get a grip on all the repayment, my wages were garnished, my credit destroyed, and I still found myself living in very similar conditions as I did growing up.

Six years later, I've paid back over $15,000, and even paid one loan off (through crippling garnishment). Total owed today? $72,200.00.

Eight years of dedicated studying, five years of full-time $20+/hr employment, countless hours of budgeting, refinancing, sacrificing and striving, and what do I have to show for it? Cancerous debt, a 0-br apartment barely up to code, and a budget that most generously allows me $50/mo. for any vestige of recreation. But hey, our banks are doing well.

James  June 2, 2015  Massachusetts

I went back to school at age 40 with my then fiance now wife. We both were at the top of our class in Medical Assisting and Phebotomy. Neither of us have been able to get even an interview and are always told we don't have enough experience. Now almost 5 years later after being homeless again since finishing school we still are not able to get interviews or positions in the fields we studied. My wife is a maid and I am currently unemployed after being fired by a hotel I was working at unfairly, which was the first job I have had in 3 years, and luckily have unemployment for the next 8 weeks at a whopping $100 a week! lol... We live in an abandoned house we have fixed up so we aren't on the street. https://www.facebook.com/TheAbandonedHouseProject For all our troubles we are $40,000 plus in debt each and of course both our loans are totally in default. We have no idea how to get out of that hole.

Jason Osborne  June 2, 2015  Medford, OR

I went back to school at age 40 with my then fiance now wife. We both were at the top of our class in Medical Assisting and Phebotomy. Neither of us have been able to get even an interview and are always told we don't have enough experience. Now almost 5 years later after being homeless again since finishing school we still are not able to get interviews or positions in the fields we studied. My wife is a maid and I am currently unemployed after being fired by a hotel I was working at unfairly, which was the first job I have had in 3 years, and luckily have unemployment for the next 8 weeks at a whopping $100 a week! lol... We live in an abandoned house we have fixed up so we aren't on the street. https://www.facebook.com/TheAbandonedHouseProject For all our troubles we are $40,000 plus in debt each and of course both our loans are totally in default. We have no idea how to get out of that hole.

Jason Osborne  June 2, 2015  Medford, OR

After I was done with college, I was unable to find a job. I suffered from health problems which complicated my financial situation. Not being able to pay my bills because I was not working, I lived with my parents for several years until I was able to get a job. However, my loan payments were not reasonable based upon my salary. To complicate things further, my loans were sold to company after company who were less accommodating to accept my payments of $50.00 a month as originally arranged by the original loan holder Dime Savings Bank.

When I saw that the payments I was making made no difference because I was being assessed late fees which almost doubled the original payment that was expected, I stopped paying on my loans altogether resulting in a defaulted loan and it was not long before my taxes returns were being taken. I could live with that because I was still able to live day to day. When I started to make a little more money, I was contacted by the another company who purchased my loan and agreed to work out a payment plan that I could live with and bring my loan out of default. Once the company recouped the money they purchased my loan from the previous company they sold my loan to someone else. Now the company that has my loan, requires me to pay them more than my child support payments are per month over 450 a month. I struggle to pay my bills, to meet the all my payments. I no longer can live in my apartment, I was forced to move back into my family home. I work very hard for everything I have at a not-for-profit company serving individuals with disabilities. My salary is less than $45k a year working two jobs. I've calculated that from all the tax refunds that were taken and the money I've already paid directly to the three (3) companies that purchased my loans... I've paid the original amount borrowed twice over. By the end of this year I will have paid another 5,000+ dollars on this loan which has reached over 43,000. I make payments and more of the money is put towards the ridiculous interest rate than towards the principle - so I am on a forever payment plan to people who are legal loan sharks!!! It is so disheartening to see that I am being ripped off and I can not do anything about it and no one will help make sense of this criminal act of victimizing someone who can not afford to have a reasonable quality of life. I feel like I lost control of my thoughts because this is emotional for me and hard to deal with.

Fritz Guerrier  June 2, 2015  Brooklyn, New York

After I was done with college, I was unable to find a job. I suffered from health problems which complicated my financial situation. Not being able to pay my bills because I was not working, I lived with my parents for several years until I was able to get a job. However, my loan payments were not reasonable based upon my salary. To complicate things further, my loans were sold to company after company who were less accommodating to accept my payments of $50.00 a month as originally arranged by the original loan holder Dime Savings Bank.

When I saw that the payments I was making made no difference because I was being assessed late fees which almost doubled the original payment that was expected, I stopped paying on my loans altogether resulting in a defaulted loan and it was not long before my taxes returns were being taken. I could live with that because I was still able to live day to day. When I started to make a little more money, I was contacted by the another company who purchased my loan and agreed to work out a payment plan that I could live with and bring my loan out of default. Once the company recouped the money they purchased my loan from the previous company they sold my loan to someone else. Now the company that has my loan, requires me to pay them more than my child support payments are per month over 450 a month. I struggle to pay my bills, to meet the all my payments. I no longer can live in my apartment, I was forced to move back into my family home. I work very hard for everything I have at a not-for-profit company serving individuals with disabilities. My salary is less than $45k a year working two jobs. I've calculated that from all the tax refunds that were taken and the money I've already paid directly to the three (3) companies that purchased my loans... I've paid the original amount borrowed twice over. By the end of this year I will have paid another 5,000+ dollars on this loan which has reached over 43,000.

...more
Fritz Guerrier  June 2, 2015  Brooklyn, New York

I'd wanted to be a helping professional for most of my life, if you don't know, it requires a masters degree in most cases. I earned a bachelors degree in psychology knowing that it would be perfect for a masters program in my chosen field. Finished with about 15,000 in debt. Got admitted to graduate school, found that mental health professionals aren't so professional, was treated so poorly I ended up in my own therapy for it. After spending almost 3 years and adding another 40,000 to my debt, I was dismissed from the program for "poor fit." They told me it was my "personality for lack of a better explanation", said they felt horrible about it, that I was the one in a million person who didn't belong there, and sent me on my way. It's been 8 months, I'm still unemployed; and even though I've set things up so that my monthly payment is 0, the interest is still accruing daily and the total is rapidly approaching 60,000. The saddest part is, that most of that is from a degree I will never finish, for a career I will never have. Even if I manage to find a job, considering what I'm "qualified" for, I'll never pay it off.

Katie  June 1, 2015

I'd wanted to be a helping professional for most of my life, if you don't know, it requires a masters degree in most cases. I earned a bachelors degree in psychology knowing that it would be perfect for a masters program in my chosen field. Finished with about 15,000 in debt. Got admitted to graduate school, found that mental health professionals aren't so professional, was treated so poorly I ended up in my own therapy for it. After spending almost 3 years and adding another 40,000 to my debt, I was dismissed from the program for "poor fit." They told me it was my "personality for lack of a better explanation", said they felt horrible about it, that I was the one in a million person who didn't belong there, and sent me on my way. It's been 8 months, I'm still unemployed; and even though I've set things up so that my monthly payment is 0, the interest is still accruing daily and the total is rapidly approaching 60,000. The saddest part is, that most of that is from a degree I will never finish, for a career I will never have. Even if I manage to find a job, considering what I'm "qualified" for, I'll never pay it off.

Katie  June 1, 2015

I enrolled at the University of Michigan-Flint, in 2008 and graduated in 2012. At the time of graduating I owed the USA government and loan agencies a total of $42.000 dollars. Upon graduating to this day, I have not obtained employment in my chosen field of study--Sociology. And to my misfortune, neither have I obtained stable employment since graduating. Thus, I have been able to live above the poverty level, struggling from day to day, literally some days I don't where my next meal is going to come from. And because I am ashamed of my status quo, it's important to admit, I am living in a homeless shelter. I am not there by desire or conscious intent. I am able bodied, willing to work, ready to work, and want to pay my bills. The debts I accumulated as a student I am committed to pay. But first things first---work. Where is the law that mandates graduating students employment. A law of nature would not only guarantee employers the fittest and best prepared, and this would also give debtors the monies necessary to make payments. Surely, some people scam and sham paying for one reason or another, but for those of us that want to pay the loan money back so that it's available to help others, should by law work to meet this end.

Robert Allen  May 31, 2015  Flint, MI 48502

I enrolled at the University of Michigan-Flint, in 2008 and graduated in 2012. At the time of graduating I owed the USA government and loan agencies a total of $42.000 dollars. Upon graduating to this day, I have not obtained employment in my chosen field of study--Sociology. And to my misfortune, neither have I obtained stable employment since graduating. Thus, I have been able to live above the poverty level, struggling from day to day, literally some days I don't where my next meal is going to come from. And because I am ashamed of my status quo, it's important to admit, I am living in a homeless shelter. I am not there by desire or conscious intent. I am able bodied, willing to work, ready to work, and want to pay my bills. The debts I accumulated as a student I am committed to pay. But first things first---work. Where is the law that mandates graduating students employment. A law of nature would not only guarantee employers the fittest and best prepared, and this would also give debtors the monies necessary to make payments. Surely, some people scam and sham paying for one reason or another, but for those of us that want to pay the loan money back so that it's available to help others, should by law work to meet this end.

Robert Allen  May 31, 2015  Flint, MI 48502

When I was in high school our guidance counselor came into one of my classes and began asking everyone where they wanted to go to college and what they wanted to study in. He told us that we should go for our dream college no matter of where it was or price if that was what we wanted. He said the money will come, you should go to where you think is the best fit for you. This was my thought when I was applying for a private university in New York because it was my dream to go to New York and going to college up there would be perfect for me. So I applied for loans and my mom applied for loans and I graduated and now I'm working a pretty good job, but frankly since I promised my mom I would make payments on hers and she can't get hers lowered to a manageable rate I can't afford to pay mine. So even if I get the ones in my mom's name payed off I will probably never get the ones in my name payed off because I so inconsistently pay on them.

Please give 16, 17, and 18 year old kids the proper expectation for what they will have in store of them when they can not pay for college up front or do not go to a cheaper or local school.

Caitlin N  May 31, 2015  Charleston, South Carolina

When I was in high school our guidance counselor came into one of my classes and began asking everyone where they wanted to go to college and what they wanted to study in. He told us that we should go for our dream college no matter of where it was or price if that was what we wanted. He said the money will come, you should go to where you think is the best fit for you. This was my thought when I was applying for a private university in New York because it was my dream to go to New York and going to college up there would be perfect for me. So I applied for loans and my mom applied for loans and I graduated and now I'm working a pretty good job, but frankly since I promised my mom I would make payments on hers and she can't get hers lowered to a manageable rate I can't afford to pay mine. So even if I get the ones in my mom's name payed off I will probably never get the ones in my name payed off because I so inconsistently pay on them.

Please give 16, 17, and 18 year old kids the proper expectation for what they will have in store of them when they can not pay for college up front or do not go to a cheaper or local school.

Caitlin N  May 31, 2015  Charleston, South Carolina

My story is not unlike countless other American college students. When I was young, my head was filled with all of these fantastic stories of the "better life" I would have if I sought higher education after high school. Little did I know that academia is little more than a shameless extortion racket that takes what it can from you in exchange for the promise of this "better life."

"Maybe you should have tried harder," I was told, "You could have gotten a full ride or this or that." Excuse me, I did try. I graduated from high school with a 3.8 GPA. "Why don't you just move?" I've been asked. Well I would, but I can't very well just pack up and expect to live even remotely comfortably with over $50,000 in student loan debt. It's embarrassing to be 24-years-old and still live with you parents, especially after you've "bettered" yourself through higher education.

Being a college graduate should feel like an accomplishment, it should be something to be proud of, but it isn't for me. It's the biggest mistake of my life.

Amanda  May 29, 2015  Michigan

My story is not unlike countless other American college students. When I was young, my head was filled with all of these fantastic stories of the "better life" I would have if I sought higher education after high school. Little did I know that academia is little more than a shameless extortion racket that takes what it can from you in exchange for the promise of this "better life."

"Maybe you should have tried harder," I was told, "You could have gotten a full ride or this or that." Excuse me, I did try. I graduated from high school with a 3.8 GPA. "Why don't you just move?" I've been asked. Well I would, but I can't very well just pack up and expect to live even remotely comfortably with over $50,000 in student loan debt. It's embarrassing to be 24-years-old and still live with you parents, especially after you've "bettered" yourself through higher education.

Being a college graduate should feel like an accomplishment, it should be something to be proud of, but it isn't for me. It's the biggest mistake of my life.

Amanda  May 29, 2015  Michigan

Hi everyone! First of all, I want to say that I feel not alone in the student debt crisis in America. This gives me some hope for better days to come. It motivates me to try live my life as best as I can because our life is the most precious gift amid all difficulties or sufferings. And again, that I am not alone in this debt problem. Well, here is my story. After graduation from the high school, I had a period of time when did not know if I should continue my education in higher levels. I said to myself, everyone goes to the college so I should as well so I can have "better future." AND THIS WAS MY BIGGEST MISTAKE I made so far in life that I regret. Today, when I recall it, this brings much pain. Anyway, I was enrolled at ITT Technical Institute. Private college that provides education for a lot of money compared to community colleges that can offer same classes for less money and time. My major is Computer Drafting & Design completed in 2 years. Original principal balance was about $39,000 plus an interest rate that concluded in $42,000. Just for 2 year college. Insane. Here is another thing. The quality of the education provided was not satisfactory for me later as I realized that my class mates would be more knowledgeable than some of the instructors. Some of the classes were nor really needed for my future job. I could just go to the community college for some classes and get enough education to find a job in the filed of Architecture or Engineering. After the graduation, later I worked a bit in the filed of study, but could not live a normal life due to high monthly payments. But earlier than that, financial institution that provided the money for my school asked for about $600 a month when I was still unemployed. I had to beg them to lower the amount. Then, I lost the job due to lack of projects and was receiving unemployment benefits and trying to survive with little money I got from the state. I would apply for a deferment and, of course, more an interest rate was added. As I recall, since I finished this school I payed as much as almost $ 10,000. I do not even see the difference in the grand total because all my payment were eaten by high an interest rates like 9% or 10%. All this did not help me live normal life. I was constantly under the stress. I was looking for any way out like bankruptcy but based on my research I found out that there is no bankruptcy for student loans. So, I went to get some advise from couple of attorneys. Some of them did not know what to do. Others helped to file the complain against ITT but I did not win. Being unable to pay my student loans for some time due to being unable to find a job my student loans were defaulted. The late payments and fees increased up to almost $ 4000. I would receive millions of phone calls a day from the collection agencies. They told me that they will sue me in court for all money that I owe them. So now I have to live with all this burden. It does not help me to smile to people like I did before. Only thing I can say is that we have to take strength from God - Jesus Christ and that students and graduates have to be strong and get together like this organization provides to find out some solutions in one of the major problems in America today like student loans.

Marcin Czechowicz  May 29, 2015  Chicago, IL

Hi everyone! First of all, I want to say that I feel not alone in the student debt crisis in America. This gives me some hope for better days to come. It motivates me to try live my life as best as I can because our life is the most precious gift amid all difficulties or sufferings. And again, that I am not alone in this debt problem. Well, here is my story. After graduation from the high school, I had a period of time when did not know if I should continue my education in higher levels. I said to myself, everyone goes to the college so I should as well so I can have "better future." AND THIS WAS MY BIGGEST MISTAKE I made so far in life that I regret. Today, when I recall it, this brings much pain. Anyway, I was enrolled at ITT Technical Institute. Private college that provides education for a lot of money compared to community colleges that can offer same classes for less money and time. My major is Computer Drafting & Design completed in 2 years. Original principal balance was about $39,000 plus an interest rate that concluded in $42,000. Just for 2 year college. Insane. Here is another thing. The quality of the education provided was not satisfactory for me later as I realized that my class mates would be more knowledgeable than some of the instructors. Some of the classes were nor really needed for my future job. I could just go to the community college for some classes and get enough education to find a job in the filed of Architecture or Engineering. After the graduation, later I worked a bit in the filed of study, but could not live a normal life due to high monthly payments. But earlier than that, financial institution that provided the money for my school asked for about $600 a month when I was still unemployed. I had to beg them to lower the amount. Then, I lost the job due to lack of projects and was receiving unemployment benefits and trying to survive with little money I got from the state.

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Marcin Czechowicz  May 29, 2015  Chicago, IL

I would like to make you aware of how the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is ineffective and unfair. I have been teaching for 16 years. I began my career in Strafford, NH teaching with a master’s degree and a gross annual income of approximately $18,500. Naturally, I deferred my student loans for a couple of years until I could make ends meet. I explored federal programs, such as the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, that provided relief for teaching in impoverished areas. The community of Strafford, though economically diverse, was not poor enough and my pay was slightly too high. I consolidated my loans and made income based payments until I was able to acquire a higher paying job.
I just became aware of the PSLF program which began in 2007 and requires 120 punctual payments (ten years of repayment) in order to qualify for forgiveness. It seemed too good to be true, considering I have been paying my loan since 2001 and have many more years to go. I began my application process and was promptly notified that my current loan does not qualify. Apparently I must have a direct consolidation loan through the federal government, something that wasn’t even offered when I began my college education. The direct loan program was piloted at a limited number of institutions while I was in the midst of my own higher education. I do not believe it was offered at the University of New Hampshire at that time. I am a civically active teacher and private citizen. I cannot reconcile how it is I was unaware of this opportunity and the requirements. I am left wondering how well or widely it was promoted or communicated. Consequently, my only option is to reorganize my loan under the federal program, wait another 10 years (teach for a total of 26 years) before my public service would be recognized. Additionally, my current private loan payment is $480 per month; under the federal program my monthly payment based on income and a family size of three would be $780 per month. Where is the relief? I am the bread-winner for my family. It would be a hardship to take on that kind of monthly payment. If I adopted this plan, I would never qualify for relief because the entire balance of my loan would be repaid before ten years had passed. My current loan was financed privately under the Federal Family Education Loan Program. According to the current rules, all of the payments I have made to date do not “count” because they were not federally funded. If the government is serious about providing relief to the middle class, stimulating the economy and honoring the contributions of service professionals, it is imperative that this policy change.
Around 2001 legislation was passed that incrementally lowered interest rates on student loans. Again, I did not qualify because of the time frame in which I had begun paying my loans. Policies like these feel arbitrary and out of touch with financial realities that young professionals in the field of service face. My income, after 16 years, has just begun to be commensurate with my student loan debt. In my first ten years of teaching I limped along barely being able to pay my student loan each month. I have been caught in a financial legislation purgatory in which I began my professional work either too early or too late to benefit from any relief. I am frustrated. I hope that my story will give you perspective and inspire you to advocate for inclusive, intelligent legislation that meets a broader range of needs in our society. I hope to be heard. I want to see change.

Valerie  May 28, 2015  NH

I would like to make you aware of how the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is ineffective and unfair. I have been teaching for 16 years. I began my career in Strafford, NH teaching with a master’s degree and a gross annual income of approximately $18,500. Naturally, I deferred my student loans for a couple of years until I could make ends meet. I explored federal programs, such as the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, that provided relief for teaching in impoverished areas. The community of Strafford, though economically diverse, was not poor enough and my pay was slightly too high. I consolidated my loans and made income based payments until I was able to acquire a higher paying job.
I just became aware of the PSLF program which began in 2007 and requires 120 punctual payments (ten years of repayment) in order to qualify for forgiveness. It seemed too good to be true, considering I have been paying my loan since 2001 and have many more years to go. I began my application process and was promptly notified that my current loan does not qualify. Apparently I must have a direct consolidation loan through the federal government, something that wasn’t even offered when I began my college education. The direct loan program was piloted at a limited number of institutions while I was in the midst of my own higher education. I do not believe it was offered at the University of New Hampshire at that time. I am a civically active teacher and private citizen. I cannot reconcile how it is I was unaware of this opportunity and the requirements. I am left wondering how well or widely it was promoted or communicated. Consequently, my only option is to reorganize my loan under the federal program, wait another 10 years (teach for a total of 26 years) before my public service would be recognized. Additionally, my current private loan payment is $480 per month; under the federal program my monthly payment based on income and a family size of three would be $780 per month. Where is the relief?

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Valerie  May 28, 2015  NH

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

...more
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.

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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..

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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.

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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.

...more
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.

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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.

...more
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.

...more
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,

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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,

...more
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.

...more
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,