What’s your Student Debt Story?
Student Debt Story:
I borrowed $63,000 in federal loans to get through graduate school. I have paid back about $60,000 and still owe almost $94,000. And that just keeps going up because my payment does not even cover my interest amount while I am on income based repayment.
I work a public interest job, but had the poor timing to graduate before the loan forgiveness program existed. When the program was created, i called my lender at the time (Sallie Mae) and asked if I qualified for public service loan forgiveness. I was told I did. A few years later I asked again and was again told that I did. I found out just over a year ago through a for profit company that was trying to get me to pay to consolidate my loan with the Dept of Ed that I could only qualify if I consolidated with Fed Loan Servicing. I called the Dept of Education and found out that what I had been told was correct- none of my years of public service counted because I did not have the right kind of loan and could only get that kind of loan through consolidation. I see others on this page have had similar experiences.
As for public interest work: I live in a rural county and have been at my job for 13 years. In that time I have had to put my loan in forbearance because of a surgery, car issues, and a divorce. I do not make enough to pay my loans and any unexpected debts that arise. So I either have to put my loans in forbearance or go into credit card debt when things happen. Being eclectic, I have done both.
As for my employer, a few years ago they hired someone with no experience at twice my salary, and someone who had been out of the field for about a decade at 40% more than my salary (I had been there 10 years at the time). I could go on about how hard the job is, but a lot of you already get it. Just the foibles of public service work. Poor pay, poor admin decisions, endless debt.
I do not understand why anyone should work for so little pay in high stress jobs for 10 years before obtaining debt relief. Give me partial relief for each year I am employed. If I don't make it 10 years, I don't get complete forgiveness. But give me some relief while I am slogging away at an emotionally draining job for low pay.
Today while at work I got contacted by someone claiming to be calling from the dept of education. I asked directly two times if he worked for the dept of ed and was told yes both times. He told me I could get partial loan forgiveness and my payment cut in half. I asked how this could be when i had spoken to the dept of ed about my situation and written my congress reps and been told that nothing more could be done for me. He assured me there was hope and transferred me to his client rep supervisor (or some such name) who disclosed that he worked for Debt Center of America. When I pointed out the prior agent had said he worked for the Dept of Education I was told there must have been a miscommunication. He also said it would be $499, while the first person said it was free. I said to both men several times that what they were saying sounded to good to be true and expressed doubt about the truth of what they were saying. Why didn't I just hang up? The possibility of debt relief is so compelling that I kept listening in hopes it would turn out to be true. It didn't. I didn't give them my social security number when they asked, or $499. And, so it goes. False hope is the only hope I come across with this debt.
Best of luck to everyone else posting on this site. I feel your pain. Here's hoping for some relief for all of us.