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I received my BS in Biology/Pre-med from Sam Houston State University in 2012. I am a first generation college graduate and this was really exciting to my family. After graduation, I was accepted by Midwestern University College of Pharmacy. I knew it was a private school that was more expensive, but it completes a 4-year doctorate degree in 3 years which would mean that I was out in the work force even sooner, which I was really excited about. Being in a new state without family, I was forced to take out the max amount of loans to account for living expenses. I had to commit all my spare time to studying. I have 6 months left to go and my total student loan debt is $288,336. After graduation, interest and tuition will put me over the $300,000 mark. At first I never thought twice about it because, traditionally, pharmacists have always had high salaries. But now, there are so many new pharmacy schools out there and each one takes more and more students each year to the point where the market is at its saturation point. Very few employers offer a full 40 hour work week. I am forced, due to my large student loan amount, to abandon all thoughts of residency as that salary can not support my student loan burden. If I'm lucky, I will find a retail pharmacist job that brings home an average of $6,500/month. To pay my loans off in 10 years, my payments will be approximately $4,200/month. After paying for minimal living expenses such as rent, utilities, insurance, etc., I will end up with nothing at the end of each month. Plans for a family and buying a house have been permanently put off. I went into pharmacy school because I wanted to help people.... Now my loans and interest rates are so high that I can do nothing but resent the education and career I worked so hard to achieve.

Erica W.  February 5, 2016  Phoenix, AZ

I received my BS in Biology/Pre-med from Sam Houston State University in 2012. I am a first generation college graduate and this was really exciting to my family. After graduation, I was accepted by Midwestern University College of Pharmacy. I knew it was a private school that was more expensive, but it completes a 4-year doctorate degree in 3 years which would mean that I was out in the work force even sooner, which I was really excited about. Being in a new state without family, I was forced to take out the max amount of loans to account for living expenses. I had to commit all my spare time to studying. I have 6 months left to go and my total student loan debt is $288,336. After graduation, interest and tuition will put me over the $300,000 mark. At first I never thought twice about it because, traditionally, pharmacists have always had high salaries. But now, there are so many new pharmacy schools out there and each one takes more and more students each year to the point where the market is at its saturation point. Very few employers offer a full 40 hour work week. I am forced, due to my large student loan amount, to abandon all thoughts of residency as that salary can not support my student loan burden. If I'm lucky, I will find a retail pharmacist job that brings home an average of $6,500/month. To pay my loans off in 10 years, my payments will be approximately $4,200/month. After paying for minimal living expenses such as rent, utilities, insurance, etc., I will end up with nothing at the end of each month. Plans for a family and buying a house have been permanently put off. I went into pharmacy school because I wanted to help people.... Now my loans and interest rates are so high that I can do nothing but resent the education and career I worked so hard to achieve.

Erica W.  February 5, 2016  Phoenix, AZ

Unemployed, homeless I have not been able to get a job and because I owed Central Penn College in Enola almost $8.000,00 that were not covered by Student Loans since ITT Technical Institute used all my allowed amount on Student loans, I have just a few credits to finish...need help figuring out my situation regarding my Student loans, and how finish my few credits in order to get a Bachelor's Degree.

Beatriz  February 3, 2016  Harrisburg

Unemployed, homeless I have not been able to get a job and because I owed Central Penn College in Enola almost $8.000,00 that were not covered by Student Loans since ITT Technical Institute used all my allowed amount on Student loans, I have just a few credits to finish...need help figuring out my situation regarding my Student loans, and how finish my few credits in order to get a Bachelor's Degree.

Beatriz  February 3, 2016  Harrisburg

I was the first person in my family to graduate high school at the age of 17. So when i decided I was going to college I was not able to get my own loans. Knowing that a private University would help me get a better career, I went to Jacksonville University. Great school international accreditation. I was so happy. Then i learned that my mother would have to use her name for the loans I would need to attend. As the semesters went on the tuition kept going up by the thousands. Now with over 75k in loans I was unable to continue my education with having to start paying them back. So I had to get a job and then a second. It has given me anxiety, sleepless nights, and i have been turned down for some jobs because they are doing credit checks now. Needless to say calling the loans to ask them to lower the payments is for nothing, they can not help. I got my loans from a bank which then sold them to sallie mae and navient who if i can say are the rudest people I have ever spoken to. You would think you stole from them. If I would have known this was the outcome of wanting a better education I would have just got the first job available and worked my way up. I honestly feel like we all have been set up so that even with a good education there is no where to take it.

AmandaRose  January 30, 2016  Florida

I was the first person in my family to graduate high school at the age of 17. So when i decided I was going to college I was not able to get my own loans. Knowing that a private University would help me get a better career, I went to Jacksonville University. Great school international accreditation. I was so happy. Then i learned that my mother would have to use her name for the loans I would need to attend. As the semesters went on the tuition kept going up by the thousands. Now with over 75k in loans I was unable to continue my education with having to start paying them back. So I had to get a job and then a second. It has given me anxiety, sleepless nights, and i have been turned down for some jobs because they are doing credit checks now. Needless to say calling the loans to ask them to lower the payments is for nothing, they can not help. I got my loans from a bank which then sold them to sallie mae and navient who if i can say are the rudest people I have ever spoken to. You would think you stole from them. If I would have known this was the outcome of wanting a better education I would have just got the first job available and worked my way up. I honestly feel like we all have been set up so that even with a good education there is no where to take it.

AmandaRose  January 30, 2016  Florida

I went to Strayer Online because when I first expressed interest in the school they told me I could get my Bachelors degree in one year.. That was my first mistake. I found out after the first year that I needed to take every course needed for the degree and go to school almost every hours of the day. I had problems through out the 4 and a half years I went there. They switch me from the classes I was prepared for to classes that I wasn't prepared for nor had the right books for. I had to take out a private loan through Sallie Mae to finish school and I have since found out that Strayer did not and does not have the accreditation to give out such degrees. I am now stuck with just over 60K in student loan debt. I can't find a job and I have been told my degree isn't worth the paper it is written on.

Ed Anderson  January 29, 2016

I went to Strayer Online because when I first expressed interest in the school they told me I could get my Bachelors degree in one year.. That was my first mistake. I found out after the first year that I needed to take every course needed for the degree and go to school almost every hours of the day. I had problems through out the 4 and a half years I went there. They switch me from the classes I was prepared for to classes that I wasn't prepared for nor had the right books for. I had to take out a private loan through Sallie Mae to finish school and I have since found out that Strayer did not and does not have the accreditation to give out such degrees. I am now stuck with just over 60K in student loan debt. I can't find a job and I have been told my degree isn't worth the paper it is written on.

Ed Anderson  January 29, 2016

First, the confession: 15 years or so ago I made poor choices and defaulted on my student loan obligations. About 13 years ago I managed to get myself back on track, so I thought, by consolidating my loans with Sallie Mae. Little did I know what a poor choice that would turn out to be. When I refinanced Sallie Mae locked my interest rate at 8%. I paid regularly for a couple of years, and then found it necessary to go into deferment because I could not afford the monthly payment and still make ends meet. I came out of deferment and paid my monthly obligation- which by then was $1200 per month, for six years. I would contact Sallie Mae periodically to see if I could get the interest rate changed, noting that I had been consistent in payments for quite awhile. Sallie Mae refused. Just about a year or so ago I learned my account was placed with Navient. About 6 months ago I had to request an income based payment schedule, which was granted. But everything still accrues at 8% and now I am advised that my monthly payment will increase to $1500 per month at the end of the grace period unless I re-qualify. It's insane. I realize the mistake I made in the past, and accept responsibility. But I've been consistent and regular in my payments for the past ten years- but no mercy. My total student loan debt remains over $100,000 and no end in sight. The monthly student loan payment is more than my mortgage payment. I'm self employed and my income stream is lean. I work two jobs and still have a difficult time making ends meet, primarily because of the Sallie Mae payment. It's not that I think I shouldn't have to repay my loans. But I've probably already paid the amount of the underlying loans. It's the interest that's killing me, and Sallie Mae/Navient simply refuses to even consider modifying the rate. Is there anything that can be done about this?

Robert Brazil  January 29, 2016  St. Johnsbury, VT

First, the confession: 15 years or so ago I made poor choices and defaulted on my student loan obligations. About 13 years ago I managed to get myself back on track, so I thought, by consolidating my loans with Sallie Mae. Little did I know what a poor choice that would turn out to be. When I refinanced Sallie Mae locked my interest rate at 8%. I paid regularly for a couple of years, and then found it necessary to go into deferment because I could not afford the monthly payment and still make ends meet. I came out of deferment and paid my monthly obligation- which by then was $1200 per month, for six years. I would contact Sallie Mae periodically to see if I could get the interest rate changed, noting that I had been consistent in payments for quite awhile. Sallie Mae refused. Just about a year or so ago I learned my account was placed with Navient. About 6 months ago I had to request an income based payment schedule, which was granted. But everything still accrues at 8% and now I am advised that my monthly payment will increase to $1500 per month at the end of the grace period unless I re-qualify. It's insane. I realize the mistake I made in the past, and accept responsibility. But I've been consistent and regular in my payments for the past ten years- but no mercy. My total student loan debt remains over $100,000 and no end in sight. The monthly student loan payment is more than my mortgage payment. I'm self employed and my income stream is lean. I work two jobs and still have a difficult time making ends meet, primarily because of the Sallie Mae payment. It's not that I think I shouldn't have to repay my loans. But I've probably already paid the amount of the underlying loans. It's the interest that's killing me, and Sallie Mae/Navient simply refuses to even consider modifying the rate. Is there anything that can be done about this?

Robert Brazil  January 29, 2016  St. Johnsbury, VT

For years I've had to watch my daughter worry and stress about her student loans to Sallie Mae at an outrageous interest rate! The quality of life for her is frenetic and most certainly debilitating in the long run. She is now 40 years old and her monthly loan amount is tantamount to a monthly rent. She and her family can barely raise their heads above water. They own nothing since their monetary outlay for years has been too much to save anything at all. I fear for her and her family's future; in fact, I fear for any of the educated of her generation. Life should be easier the older one becomes, and obviously it is not. I cannot help her with her bills either because I spent all my money educating my children as a single mom contributing for the egregious fees beyond loans; as a retired teacher, I can barely make it here in England where I now live in order to help my daughter with babysitting while she works for minimum wage. Who could afford care on minimum wage? I had to uproot myself for her future. If her loans were forgiven, she and her family would have peace of mind. Sallie Mae is diabolical. Through the years, we have tried to appeal to the corporation to reduce the interest rate, at least, but it is an implacable complex unwilling to see the human side of a life span of so few years in which all of us make huge contributions to our communities. Shouldn't that be ample contribution without devastating interest rates that imprison a generation for a lifetime?

Therese Barbarossa McRae  January 29, 2016  York, England, UK

For years I've had to watch my daughter worry and stress about her student loans to Sallie Mae at an outrageous interest rate! The quality of life for her is frenetic and most certainly debilitating in the long run. She is now 40 years old and her monthly loan amount is tantamount to a monthly rent. She and her family can barely raise their heads above water. They own nothing since their monetary outlay for years has been too much to save anything at all. I fear for her and her family's future; in fact, I fear for any of the educated of her generation. Life should be easier the older one becomes, and obviously it is not. I cannot help her with her bills either because I spent all my money educating my children as a single mom contributing for the egregious fees beyond loans; as a retired teacher, I can barely make it here in England where I now live in order to help my daughter with babysitting while she works for minimum wage. Who could afford care on minimum wage? I had to uproot myself for her future. If her loans were forgiven, she and her family would have peace of mind. Sallie Mae is diabolical. Through the years, we have tried to appeal to the corporation to reduce the interest rate, at least, but it is an implacable complex unwilling to see the human side of a life span of so few years in which all of us make huge contributions to our communities. Shouldn't that be ample contribution without devastating interest rates that imprison a generation for a lifetime?

Therese Barbarossa McRae  January 29, 2016  York, England, UK

I am a mother who wanted to go back to school but really can't afford to, due to the fact I had to co-signed for my two children so they could go to college. Because they are in so much student loan debt with Salliemae I'm afraid to make the attempt because it's so much. They've taken grant money and making a profit off it. They suppose to help not cause a bigger debt problem. Our children are in so much debt because of the interest rate, can they get on with their own lives.

Kathleen  January 29, 2016  NJ

I am a mother who wanted to go back to school but really can't afford to, due to the fact I had to co-signed for my two children so they could go to college. Because they are in so much student loan debt with Salliemae I'm afraid to make the attempt because it's so much. They've taken grant money and making a profit off it. They suppose to help not cause a bigger debt problem. Our children are in so much debt because of the interest rate, can they get on with their own lives.

Kathleen  January 29, 2016  NJ

After paying for 10 years and over a $100k, my $43,000. Is now finally....$43,000!?

Justin D  January 29, 2016  Los Angeles

After paying for 10 years and over a $100k, my $43,000. Is now finally....$43,000!?

Justin D  January 29, 2016  Los Angeles

I am a mother of a student loan holder my daughter is a hair stylist and makes less than $12,000 a year. She has $51,000 in fed loans and $28,000 in stafford loans. Her payments are over $500 a month. I am helping her make her payments so they don't default and she ends up with bad credit. I am 52 years old with fibromyalgia working a very physical job in order to help her. Whereas I am unable to save for my retirement and she cannot afford a home. Please help with these ridiculous over priced loans.

Deb  January 29, 2016  Omaha NE

I am a mother of a student loan holder my daughter is a hair stylist and makes less than $12,000 a year. She has $51,000 in fed loans and $28,000 in stafford loans. Her payments are over $500 a month. I am helping her make her payments so they don't default and she ends up with bad credit. I am 52 years old with fibromyalgia working a very physical job in order to help her. Whereas I am unable to save for my retirement and she cannot afford a home. Please help with these ridiculous over priced loans.

Deb  January 29, 2016  Omaha NE

Being the first one to go to college I was super excited. I would dream of the day I would be able to help my parents financially, buy my own house and be able to work one job (unlike my parents that had two to three jobs to make ends meet). Reality check came when I graduated and I had to start paying my loans back which were $1,200 a month which equal my monthly take home pay. I am thankful for the income base repayment plan which reduce my payment on my Federal Loan, but my private loan payment is a nightmare !!!!(this is a debt that wakes me up in the middle of the night ). I am in a worse financial position than my parents were!! I had to move back in with them and I still struggled to make ends meet. Having to maintain a household and pay my students loans is something that I can't afford. I sometimes have to use my credit card to make ends meet (accumulating more debt just to survive). Is sad to say, but I don't want my daughter to go to college. I feel now that school is not everything there are some people that don't have a degree and make more money than I do. Those people don't have to worry about student loan debt and still manage to live a way better lifestyle than me. My loan debt is affecting my life and mental wellness.

Alma  January 29, 2016  Las Vegas NV

Being the first one to go to college I was super excited. I would dream of the day I would be able to help my parents financially, buy my own house and be able to work one job (unlike my parents that had two to three jobs to make ends meet). Reality check came when I graduated and I had to start paying my loans back which were $1,200 a month which equal my monthly take home pay. I am thankful for the income base repayment plan which reduce my payment on my Federal Loan, but my private loan payment is a nightmare !!!!(this is a debt that wakes me up in the middle of the night ). I am in a worse financial position than my parents were!! I had to move back in with them and I still struggled to make ends meet. Having to maintain a household and pay my students loans is something that I can't afford. I sometimes have to use my credit card to make ends meet (accumulating more debt just to survive). Is sad to say, but I don't want my daughter to go to college. I feel now that school is not everything there are some people that don't have a degree and make more money than I do. Those people don't have to worry about student loan debt and still manage to live a way better lifestyle than me. My loan debt is affecting my life and mental wellness.

Alma  January 29, 2016  Las Vegas NV

My student loans eventually totaled over $1 Million, five times what was originally borrowed. The recession, financial struggles to keep up with taxes owed to the IRS meant we could not pay student loans. So the servicers sold the debt to subsidiaries they own and added 'collection fees,' assigned the debt to collection agencies who assessed a 30% collection fee while claiming the debt is in "rehabilitation" (Pioneer Credit Recovery, owned by Navient), and put other loans into forebearance while adding enormous collection fees WHILE the loans were in forebearance. At one point we took them all to court, suing them for their antics. The 9th Circuit Federal Judge who presided over our case was disgusted with the student loan companies, calling their actions, "...egregious" and, "...the worst thing I have ever seen." But still, no one has been able to help us. No one. No one does anything. We have no house. My husband cashed out his retirement after working for 33 years at the same company. We own nothing. We settled most of the debt but still have $300,000 left owing. My payments are $2,000/month on the Standard repayment plan because it is the ONLY repayment plan that actually pays down the principle. This is ridiculous. If I knew then, what I know now, I would never, EVER EVER EVER have gotten a single student loan. Ever. And I would have not gone to school. No crappy degree is worth the hell we've experienced. We'll come out of this one way or another if I die trying. But I don't wish this on anyone.

Amy  January 28, 2016  Oregon

My student loans eventually totaled over $1 Million, five times what was originally borrowed. The recession, financial struggles to keep up with taxes owed to the IRS meant we could not pay student loans. So the servicers sold the debt to subsidiaries they own and added 'collection fees,' assigned the debt to collection agencies who assessed a 30% collection fee while claiming the debt is in "rehabilitation" (Pioneer Credit Recovery, owned by Navient), and put other loans into forebearance while adding enormous collection fees WHILE the loans were in forebearance. At one point we took them all to court, suing them for their antics. The 9th Circuit Federal Judge who presided over our case was disgusted with the student loan companies, calling their actions, "...egregious" and, "...the worst thing I have ever seen." But still, no one has been able to help us. No one. No one does anything. We have no house. My husband cashed out his retirement after working for 33 years at the same company. We own nothing. We settled most of the debt but still have $300,000 left owing. My payments are $2,000/month on the Standard repayment plan because it is the ONLY repayment plan that actually pays down the principle. This is ridiculous. If I knew then, what I know now, I would never, EVER EVER EVER have gotten a single student loan. Ever. And I would have not gone to school. No crappy degree is worth the hell we've experienced. We'll come out of this one way or another if I die trying. But I don't wish this on anyone.

Amy  January 28, 2016  Oregon

, I was thinking about it recently and I realized the following:

I am a teacher and I make 4,000 dollars a month

After taxes I receive 3,200 a month

Say I were to put all 4,000 into my loans and not pay the 800 in taxes. That should be legal for the following reason:

Since I was only allowed to teach on the condition that I get a masters and take out loans, I consider my degree my overhead.

Any money that goes into my loans is "overhead" and not profit. So I believe it is illegal to tax me on any money that goes directly from my pre-taxed paycheck to my student loans.

Why wasn't this ever brought up to the supreme court?

How can I bring this to their attention.

Donna Avavian  January 28, 2016  flushing

, I was thinking about it recently and I realized the following:

I am a teacher and I make 4,000 dollars a month

After taxes I receive 3,200 a month

Say I were to put all 4,000 into my loans and not pay the 800 in taxes. That should be legal for the following reason:

Since I was only allowed to teach on the condition that I get a masters and take out loans, I consider my degree my overhead.

Any money that goes into my loans is "overhead" and not profit. So I believe it is illegal to tax me on any money that goes directly from my pre-taxed paycheck to my student loans.

Why wasn't this ever brought up to the supreme court?

How can I bring this to their attention.

Donna Avavian  January 28, 2016  flushing

The entire situation of student debt keeps me up at night. I owe over 70K in private and federal loans and no one will help me. I looked at refinancing, trying to get lower payments, nothing. I'm in the mental health field where I am so needed, but unable to make the money to pay off the debt that I have. I feel like the government wants me to just stay living with my parents until 45...because that's when my loans will be paid off.

Amanda  January 28, 2016  Pennsylvania

The entire situation of student debt keeps me up at night. I owe over 70K in private and federal loans and no one will help me. I looked at refinancing, trying to get lower payments, nothing. I'm in the mental health field where I am so needed, but unable to make the money to pay off the debt that I have. I feel like the government wants me to just stay living with my parents until 45...because that's when my loans will be paid off.

Amanda  January 28, 2016  Pennsylvania

I was just starting out and I applyed to Everest online school and I was trying to go throw school then my loans hit me fast and hard I had to drop out no degree making 19,000 a year and can't go back till I get saliemae off my back....

Erica roca  January 27, 2016

I was just starting out and I applyed to Everest online school and I was trying to go throw school then my loans hit me fast and hard I had to drop out no degree making 19,000 a year and can't go back till I get saliemae off my back....

Erica roca  January 27, 2016

I have two daughters in the Developmental Disability Field- one is a special education teacher and the other is in the same field as a Case Manager. They have college loans that accumulated from the approximate 2004 -2010 financial crisis ERA . It pains me to see that they work so hard - both have second jobs just to afford rental properties - Their salaries largely go for STUDENT LOANS and I also will tell you my oldest chooses not to have children at this time because she doesn't know how she could ever afford having children. Its pathetic - and truly is a crisis and needs to be addressed - or we will have yet another dividing of the people in this country. How and why did this get so BAD I ask ?

Christine  January 25, 2016  Ohio

I have two daughters in the Developmental Disability Field- one is a special education teacher and the other is in the same field as a Case Manager. They have college loans that accumulated from the approximate 2004 -2010 financial crisis ERA . It pains me to see that they work so hard - both have second jobs just to afford rental properties - Their salaries largely go for STUDENT LOANS and I also will tell you my oldest chooses not to have children at this time because she doesn't know how she could ever afford having children. Its pathetic - and truly is a crisis and needs to be addressed - or we will have yet another dividing of the people in this country. How and why did this get so BAD I ask ?

Christine  January 25, 2016  Ohio

I graduated from my masters program in 1997 and had borrowed approximately $36,000 from SallieMae. In 2000, after giving birth to my son, my then husband left me after being on bed rest and I was unemployed. I have since consolidated and my interest rate is high at 8.25 % through Direct Loans whom someone told me that they were more flexible. My loans went into deferment. I went into private practice as a therapist, and began the process of being on the IBR program. I remarried (signed a prenuptial with my current husband) and had another child in 2005. I developed fibromyalgia and chronic migraines after this birth. Since then my loans have been in and out of forbearance and on the IBR program. Each time the two have overlapped, Direct Loans (now with Cornerstone) restart my end date for the loans. I have been paying small increments since 2001, having been in repayment for 15 years. Now they have extended my payoff date to 2029 due to starting be again on an IBR after a bankruptcy deferment. I was told that you are not able to discharge the loans through bankruptcy. I am never going to be able to pay off these loans. I make about $23000 a year and I am unable to work more than part-time due to health issues. According to Cornerstone since I still work I don't qualify for discharge for disability. They are telling me now that when the loan matures in 2029. It will be over $100,000. They will send the interest earned to the IRS and I will then at the age of 60 will owe the IRS close to $30,000. I feel as if I am drowning. The income driven programs are joke. Yes you get to pay at a lower payment, but that only goes towards the interest, never the principal, and $40 a month payment does nothing to touch the amount owed. I feel like there isn't a solution and the amount of debt owed leaves me feeling worthless and hopeless. Help.

Katrina  January 22, 2016  Duvall, WA

I graduated from my masters program in 1997 and had borrowed approximately $36,000 from SallieMae. In 2000, after giving birth to my son, my then husband left me after being on bed rest and I was unemployed. I have since consolidated and my interest rate is high at 8.25 % through Direct Loans whom someone told me that they were more flexible. My loans went into deferment. I went into private practice as a therapist, and began the process of being on the IBR program. I remarried (signed a prenuptial with my current husband) and had another child in 2005. I developed fibromyalgia and chronic migraines after this birth. Since then my loans have been in and out of forbearance and on the IBR program. Each time the two have overlapped, Direct Loans (now with Cornerstone) restart my end date for the loans. I have been paying small increments since 2001, having been in repayment for 15 years. Now they have extended my payoff date to 2029 due to starting be again on an IBR after a bankruptcy deferment. I was told that you are not able to discharge the loans through bankruptcy. I am never going to be able to pay off these loans. I make about $23000 a year and I am unable to work more than part-time due to health issues. According to Cornerstone since I still work I don't qualify for discharge for disability. They are telling me now that when the loan matures in 2029. It will be over $100,000. They will send the interest earned to the IRS and I will then at the age of 60 will owe the IRS close to $30,000. I feel as if I am drowning. The income driven programs are joke. Yes you get to pay at a lower payment, but that only goes towards the interest, never the principal, and $40 a month payment does nothing to touch the amount owed. I feel like there isn't a solution and the amount of debt owed leaves me feeling worthless and hopeless. Help.

Katrina  January 22, 2016  Duvall, WA

I worked at colleges for 10 years as a nontrafitional student so I could earn free tuition. Then I started grad school. During that time the great recession hit and my husband lost his job. We lived on a little inheritance from my parents which was quickly depleted and financial aid. I am now an adjunct faculty member at two colleges, earning at best 35k a year and get no employee benefits. I am in default for my loans and with penalties I own close to $200k. There is no way I will ever be able to pay this off without help from someone.

old and broke  January 22, 2016  east coast

I worked at colleges for 10 years as a nontrafitional student so I could earn free tuition. Then I started grad school. During that time the great recession hit and my husband lost his job. We lived on a little inheritance from my parents which was quickly depleted and financial aid. I am now an adjunct faculty member at two colleges, earning at best 35k a year and get no employee benefits. I am in default for my loans and with penalties I own close to $200k. There is no way I will ever be able to pay this off without help from someone.

old and broke  January 22, 2016  east coast

I went back to school to further my education and get a better job in order to help get my family into a better situation financially. I went to The University of Phoenix online. Big mistake that was. 1st they tell students they are an accredited school and almost 100% of the people who graduate from them get right into a position they went to school for. All students I've talked to have the same gripes I do. We graduated with high debt and no jobs in the field that we went to school for. All companies that I've applied to have gotten back to me and said UOP is not an accredited school to them. That tells me my bachelors degree is worthless. I have banks calling me looking for money that I don't have, my credit is shot, I still don't have a job in the field I went to school for, I graduated 4 years ago now, and all avenues I have gone to try and pay back my loans have all ended in disappointment or dead ends. I started my own business which brings in just enough income to pay main bills and put food on the table and am left with nothing to pay my loans that in my opinion I should not have to pay since the education and bachelors degree I got are rendered worthless. On top of all that I have been hearing in the news that the UOP is under investigation again by the federal government. I also read that all UOP students that are currently enrolled with the UOP do not have to pay their loans back. So I called the bank and explained my situation, because they stated that a month after I graduated, and they said I was not currently enrolled so that did not apply to me and that there is no proof of anything illegal or investigation going on as well as I still borrowed the money and have to pay it back. I did try to go through other student loan help and have to pay them $500+ dollars up front before they will try to help. Money I don't have to pay.

Shawn brighenti  January 22, 2016  Connecticut

I went back to school to further my education and get a better job in order to help get my family into a better situation financially. I went to The University of Phoenix online. Big mistake that was. 1st they tell students they are an accredited school and almost 100% of the people who graduate from them get right into a position they went to school for. All students I've talked to have the same gripes I do. We graduated with high debt and no jobs in the field that we went to school for. All companies that I've applied to have gotten back to me and said UOP is not an accredited school to them. That tells me my bachelors degree is worthless. I have banks calling me looking for money that I don't have, my credit is shot, I still don't have a job in the field I went to school for, I graduated 4 years ago now, and all avenues I have gone to try and pay back my loans have all ended in disappointment or dead ends. I started my own business which brings in just enough income to pay main bills and put food on the table and am left with nothing to pay my loans that in my opinion I should not have to pay since the education and bachelors degree I got are rendered worthless. On top of all that I have been hearing in the news that the UOP is under investigation again by the federal government. I also read that all UOP students that are currently enrolled with the UOP do not have to pay their loans back. So I called the bank and explained my situation, because they stated that a month after I graduated, and they said I was not currently enrolled so that did not apply to me and that there is no proof of anything illegal or investigation going on as well as I still borrowed the money and have to pay it back. I did try to go through other student loan help and have to pay them $500+ dollars up front before they will try to help.

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Shawn brighenti  January 22, 2016  Connecticut

I don't think people undertsand how bad things are. Imagine you just graduated with a well paying degree and you start out making $60k before taxes. Let's say you graduate with $80k in student loan debt with anual interest rates that range from 6-8%. You don't own a home, you don't own a car. You are paying over 25% of your paycheck just to pay down INTEREST! You might be able to apply a meager 30% of your total payments toward the principal of your loans in the first few years after school. There is no going out. There is vacation. There is no starting a family. There is no bright future. School is a debt trap for those not fortunate enough to get grants or scholarships or help from family members. I'm sick of being used like a neverending stream of revenue for lenders.

Chris  January 21, 2016  Michigan

I don't think people undertsand how bad things are. Imagine you just graduated with a well paying degree and you start out making $60k before taxes. Let's say you graduate with $80k in student loan debt with anual interest rates that range from 6-8%. You don't own a home, you don't own a car. You are paying over 25% of your paycheck just to pay down INTEREST! You might be able to apply a meager 30% of your total payments toward the principal of your loans in the first few years after school. There is no going out. There is vacation. There is no starting a family. There is no bright future. School is a debt trap for those not fortunate enough to get grants or scholarships or help from family members. I'm sick of being used like a neverending stream of revenue for lenders.

Chris  January 21, 2016  Michigan

Between my wife and I we both owe somewhere around 160k in student loan. 3/4 is probably private. With the interest rates that we got from our private companies and our median salaries, it will take us around 25 years to even come close to paying everything off.

Brandon Bonville  January 21, 2016  Austin, TX.

Between my wife and I we both owe somewhere around 160k in student loan. 3/4 is probably private. With the interest rates that we got from our private companies and our median salaries, it will take us around 25 years to even come close to paying everything off.

Brandon Bonville  January 21, 2016  Austin, TX.

In 1986 I went to beauty school I got a loan for $2,500 dollars then applied for a second loan for the same amount never receive it well the person in financial dept soon fired for embezzlement so never receive my check and still have paid but it has been 30 years of paying this loan and it is still not paid off now I'm on disability and I still owe 1,345 dollars it's no going away I've filed for relief and instrest rediculous so dose anyone really care that I worked all my life paid my dues and still owe after 30years I doubt it ?

Brenda Wilson  January 21, 2016  Indiana

In 1986 I went to beauty school I got a loan for $2,500 dollars then applied for a second loan for the same amount never receive it well the person in financial dept soon fired for embezzlement so never receive my check and still have paid but it has been 30 years of paying this loan and it is still not paid off now I'm on disability and I still owe 1,345 dollars it's no going away I've filed for relief and instrest rediculous so dose anyone really care that I worked all my life paid my dues and still owe after 30years I doubt it ?

Brenda Wilson  January 21, 2016  Indiana

I don't come from a rich background my parents are working class. And i attended Law school the price was big. I did not pass the bar but will pass soon. I want to pay and do pay my student loans but think the interest should be lower. My house and car have lower interest rate so low the balance is going down. I am on the Dave Ramsey plan and now pay cash for items. I feel also students may not understand that when their loans are forgiven it is counted as taxable income this does worry me. I support this bill for the reason of not treating loan forgiveness as taxable income. I bet if these loans were interest free and people seen progress more people would pay them off. We need hope and this bill gives us hope.

Advocateeve  January 19, 2016  San Bernardino

I don't come from a rich background my parents are working class. And i attended Law school the price was big. I did not pass the bar but will pass soon. I want to pay and do pay my student loans but think the interest should be lower. My house and car have lower interest rate so low the balance is going down. I am on the Dave Ramsey plan and now pay cash for items. I feel also students may not understand that when their loans are forgiven it is counted as taxable income this does worry me. I support this bill for the reason of not treating loan forgiveness as taxable income. I bet if these loans were interest free and people seen progress more people would pay them off. We need hope and this bill gives us hope.

Advocateeve  January 19, 2016  San Bernardino

I borrowed $58,515 to get through college and graduate school, which took longer than I expected. Because some of the loans immediately began accruing interest immediately, by the time I graduated in 1995, I owed over $80,000.

As a psychologist, I don’t have the income potential of a surgeon and my income was not always adequate to pay back according to the rules of the lenders that I must pay a minimum amount of “interest only,” so, some years, I had to take deferment or forbearance.

Still, I have paid $65,730 in student loan payments in the past 20 years, all while working in nonprofit, public service jobs. Yet, the lenders, supported by the federal government, have utilized predatory lending practices, applying virtually all of my payments to interest. As such, Sallie Mae/ Navient indicates I still owe $159,371 and will pay $286,566 more. That's IF I start paying > $1,000/ month now, which I can't do.

I lost my job January 2014 and have only been able to get some few contract jobs since. I am 56 years old, my AGI for 2015 was $0, and I have almost nothing saved for retirement. So, when it comes to my student loans, I need unemployment deferment again. And the interest just continues to expand.

I started a part-time job in September and hope to increase my hours, but it will never pay enough for me to be able to pay off over $300,000 in student loan debt.

I feel terrified and utterly trapped by the usury and predatory lending practices of the federally backed student loan industry. I feel that this lending trap is unworthy of the United States government and unconstructive in holding back the economic and human service contributions of bright, educated people like myself.

Virginia Trierweiler  January 19, 2016  Denver, Colorado

I borrowed $58,515 to get through college and graduate school, which took longer than I expected. Because some of the loans immediately began accruing interest immediately, by the time I graduated in 1995, I owed over $80,000.

As a psychologist, I don’t have the income potential of a surgeon and my income was not always adequate to pay back according to the rules of the lenders that I must pay a minimum amount of “interest only,” so, some years, I had to take deferment or forbearance.

Still, I have paid $65,730 in student loan payments in the past 20 years, all while working in nonprofit, public service jobs. Yet, the lenders, supported by the federal government, have utilized predatory lending practices, applying virtually all of my payments to interest. As such, Sallie Mae/ Navient indicates I still owe $159,371 and will pay $286,566 more. That's IF I start paying > $1,000/ month now, which I can't do.

I lost my job January 2014 and have only been able to get some few contract jobs since. I am 56 years old, my AGI for 2015 was $0, and I have almost nothing saved for retirement. So, when it comes to my student loans, I need unemployment deferment again. And the interest just continues to expand.

I started a part-time job in September and hope to increase my hours, but it will never pay enough for me to be able to pay off over $300,000 in student loan debt.

I feel terrified and utterly trapped by the usury and predatory lending practices of the federally backed student loan industry. I feel that this lending trap is unworthy of the United States government and unconstructive in holding back the economic and human service contributions of bright, educated people like myself.

Virginia Trierweiler  January 19, 2016  Denver, Colorado

I'm currently about $35,000ish in debt from student loans, credit card debt and a car loan and although it's a rather small amount compared to others, I graduated from college in May 2009 and I've never had a job that has paid more than $27,000 a year. Now, it has gotten lower. I'm currently collecting UC benefits and working part time but because of financial and personal reasons, I was forced to move back home to my parents and now I'm basically starting over from scratch with a 3 month old baby. It was either continue living with my abusive baby daddy who was stealing my money to feed his drug/alcohol habit or move back home to mom and dad so I left my ex because I don't want my son to grow up thinking it's normal to live in an abusive environment. I contemplate about going back to college to get my teaching license but I don't want to get into even more debt. I'm already drowning in debt as it is. Sometimes I regret going to college in the first place but I only did what society said we should do. *sighs* I feel my life has just been one struggle after another since I graduated from college almost 7 years ago! I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever be debt free! I still can't believe my car loan ended up being cheaper than my student loans, at least I plan to finally finish paying off my car by the end of this year. This is why I hesitate about going back to school but I also don't want to spend the rest of my life working these "penny jobs" That's what I get for getting a BA in Psychology! For now, I'm grateful to have these sources of income but I always wish I could turn back the hands of time and make different choices, like maybe I shouldn't have gone to college in the first place. I almost envy my brother who is 19 years old and not sure what to do with his life, I found myself telling him that if he does go to college make sure he chooses a major that will guarantee him a good job! I want to believe things will improve greatly in this country. I don't want to believe those days of being able to land a good job where you can eventually retire from are permanently over. About 20 plus years ago, my dad was a supervisor at a printing company. At his peak, he was earning $20 p/hr and we're talking about more than 20 years ago! Everything crashed when he lost that job in 2001. He never fully recovered from that loss. He now currently works as a CNA at a nursing home only earning $11 p/hr! It depresses him a lot! My mother earns good money as an RN but even she is living paycheck to paycheck because of all the bills and debts. Will it ever get better? All I can do is continue to keep my head up and stay strong for my son's sake. I know when my son comes of age, I will teach him not to repeat the same mistakes I made as a youth. Despite all my struggles, I still remain hopeful that life will get better and I can gain my independence again, just me and my baby boy who, without him I would have never found the strength to leave my abusive ex. Like my dad always says, never lose sleep over money!

cd  January 15, 2016  New Jersey

I'm currently about $35,000ish in debt from student loans, credit card debt and a car loan and although it's a rather small amount compared to others, I graduated from college in May 2009 and I've never had a job that has paid more than $27,000 a year. Now, it has gotten lower. I'm currently collecting UC benefits and working part time but because of financial and personal reasons, I was forced to move back home to my parents and now I'm basically starting over from scratch with a 3 month old baby. It was either continue living with my abusive baby daddy who was stealing my money to feed his drug/alcohol habit or move back home to mom and dad so I left my ex because I don't want my son to grow up thinking it's normal to live in an abusive environment. I contemplate about going back to college to get my teaching license but I don't want to get into even more debt. I'm already drowning in debt as it is. Sometimes I regret going to college in the first place but I only did what society said we should do. *sighs* I feel my life has just been one struggle after another since I graduated from college almost 7 years ago! I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever be debt free! I still can't believe my car loan ended up being cheaper than my student loans, at least I plan to finally finish paying off my car by the end of this year. This is why I hesitate about going back to school but I also don't want to spend the rest of my life working these "penny jobs" That's what I get for getting a BA in Psychology! For now, I'm grateful to have these sources of income but I always wish I could turn back the hands of time and make different choices, like maybe I shouldn't have gone to college in the first place. I almost envy my brother who is 19 years old and not sure what to do with his life, I found myself telling him that if he does go to college make sure he chooses a major that will guarantee him a good job!

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cd  January 15, 2016  New Jersey

Because of my chapter 13 bankruptcy I was kicked out of the public service loan forgiveness program. I had over five of the ten years needed in that program. Even though my bankruptcy plan includes payments to FedLoan none of what they get applies to the public service forgiveness plan and even while I still work for the state of Maryland. I need for the payments to count toward the forgiveness plan. I have written to my congressman, governor, Dept of the Treasury, with no response from anyone. Can you please help me??? Thank you

jeanine aubertin  January 15, 2016  frederick maryland

Because of my chapter 13 bankruptcy I was kicked out of the public service loan forgiveness program. I had over five of the ten years needed in that program. Even though my bankruptcy plan includes payments to FedLoan none of what they get applies to the public service forgiveness plan and even while I still work for the state of Maryland. I need for the payments to count toward the forgiveness plan. I have written to my congressman, governor, Dept of the Treasury, with no response from anyone. Can you please help me??? Thank you

jeanine aubertin  January 15, 2016  frederick maryland

I have 2 student loan debts- one private, one public, totaling $100,000 (I have 2 degrees- bachelor & masters). This debt has now become $150,000 due to interest rates. I have no idea how I am going to ever get to the principle, much less pay off this loan! :-(

Mari  January 14, 2016  Miami, FL

I have 2 student loan debts- one private, one public, totaling $100,000 (I have 2 degrees- bachelor & masters). This debt has now become $150,000 due to interest rates. I have no idea how I am going to ever get to the principle, much less pay off this loan! :-(

Mari  January 14, 2016  Miami, FL

While my debts haven't hit the $100k mark (yet), the unfortunate thing is, when I lost my job in '07 and ended up dropping out of college a couple of years later, I ended up back in an abusive home environment.

I took a chance and had gone to college, studying graphic design and communications, thinking that, there's always a need for something like that, so I should be okay when I graduated.

Then I lost my job, which... money got tight, sure, but I thought I'd be okay, I was only a semester away from graduating... then I was informed that I no longer could get aid to continue my studies, which resulted in my dropping out and moving back home.

I won't share just what's happened on that front, other than there are days I often wonder why I still bother with being alive.

As of right now, I've been out of school for five years, roughly, with job hunting as being probably applicable on a resume as far as work goes (it should be, anyway.) That being said, I owe almost $60k and honestly don't even feel like if I got a job at this point, if I'll even be able to escape the environment I'm in.

Kelli  January 13, 2016  Midwestern U.S.

While my debts haven't hit the $100k mark (yet), the unfortunate thing is, when I lost my job in '07 and ended up dropping out of college a couple of years later, I ended up back in an abusive home environment.

I took a chance and had gone to college, studying graphic design and communications, thinking that, there's always a need for something like that, so I should be okay when I graduated.

Then I lost my job, which... money got tight, sure, but I thought I'd be okay, I was only a semester away from graduating... then I was informed that I no longer could get aid to continue my studies, which resulted in my dropping out and moving back home.

I won't share just what's happened on that front, other than there are days I often wonder why I still bother with being alive.

As of right now, I've been out of school for five years, roughly, with job hunting as being probably applicable on a resume as far as work goes (it should be, anyway.) That being said, I owe almost $60k and honestly don't even feel like if I got a job at this point, if I'll even be able to escape the environment I'm in.

Kelli  January 13, 2016  Midwestern U.S.

I have student debt created by supporting educational dreams of two daughters. I don't mind paying my debt and working hard to do so. However, the interest rates are not fair in a market where <5% mortgages are plentiful. Also, the loan forgiveness for governmental workers (specifically - non union, municipal employees) is not incentive enough for shrinking resources and growing needs carried by employees working in a culture that displays growing hostility toward paying taxes and those jobs funded by taxpayers.

Two things would right this wrong:

Lower interest rates reflective of market & understanding that we the parents are investing in our children and the future of America.

True forgiveness of principle of loans. If one has made payments for 120 consecutive months regardless of loan types for any college/university related loans, it should count....after 10 years all should be forgiven - outstanding principle and interest. This is an investment in our short term economy (money in hands of middle class) and in our future economy (educated workforce).

Kathi Bailey  January 12, 2016  Massachusetts

I have student debt created by supporting educational dreams of two daughters. I don't mind paying my debt and working hard to do so. However, the interest rates are not fair in a market where <5% mortgages are plentiful. Also, the loan forgiveness for governmental workers (specifically - non union, municipal employees) is not incentive enough for shrinking resources and growing needs carried by employees working in a culture that displays growing hostility toward paying taxes and those jobs funded by taxpayers.

Two things would right this wrong:

Lower interest rates reflective of market & understanding that we the parents are investing in our children and the future of America.

True forgiveness of principle of loans. If one has made payments for 120 consecutive months regardless of loan types for any college/university related loans, it should count....after 10 years all should be forgiven - outstanding principle and interest. This is an investment in our short term economy (money in hands of middle class) and in our future economy (educated workforce).

Kathi Bailey  January 12, 2016  Massachusetts

I stupidly received a loan from BANK ONE like 20 years ago. They made it so easy; no credit check, minimum wage job, co-signer, and sign on the dotted line. I was a student for years as well and they offered deferments like government loans (this they copied for sure since it made them money). I graduated ended up with a huge private debt along with my federal loan debt. The difference is the private loan offers no way out they have you for life. No 10 years of paying and loan is eliminated, no reduction for being a teacher, and my co-signer is locked in for life. This affects and impacts both our lives very badly when we go to a bank or try to purchase a home. Government intervention is desperately needed here as there needs to be a better solution than being owed by this private loan balance.

CRL  January 12, 2016  TX

I stupidly received a loan from BANK ONE like 20 years ago. They made it so easy; no credit check, minimum wage job, co-signer, and sign on the dotted line. I was a student for years as well and they offered deferments like government loans (this they copied for sure since it made them money). I graduated ended up with a huge private debt along with my federal loan debt. The difference is the private loan offers no way out they have you for life. No 10 years of paying and loan is eliminated, no reduction for being a teacher, and my co-signer is locked in for life. This affects and impacts both our lives very badly when we go to a bank or try to purchase a home. Government intervention is desperately needed here as there needs to be a better solution than being owed by this private loan balance.

CRL  January 12, 2016  TX

I am a 60 year old mom and I work as a janitor to help my son pay his student loans of which $27,000 are federal and $20,000 are private. It is hard because he has very low wages, and I have arthritis which makes my job even harder. Without my help, the loans would default.

Darlene  January 12, 2016  48081

I am a 60 year old mom and I work as a janitor to help my son pay his student loans of which $27,000 are federal and $20,000 are private. It is hard because he has very low wages, and I have arthritis which makes my job even harder. Without my help, the loans would default.

Darlene  January 12, 2016  48081

I owe about $20,000 In student loans. Right after graduation, I became a single parent of 3 and the only way for me to survive in this ecomony was to defer. This is just for undergrad. i want to go to graduate school but the thought of adding to this debt has held me back.

Zaida  January 12, 2016  Brooklyn, NY

I owe about $20,000 In student loans. Right after graduation, I became a single parent of 3 and the only way for me to survive in this ecomony was to defer. This is just for undergrad. i want to go to graduate school but the thought of adding to this debt has held me back.

Zaida  January 12, 2016  Brooklyn, NY

Back in the 60's when government student loans first came on the scene, I really didn't need a loan. Tuition was minimal at the local community college in Los Angeles at only $3.00 per class. I had a job at the Post Office so I paid the tuition cost plus a babysitter. And I did the same thing when I finally transferred to a four year state school in the Los Angeles area where in state tuition was less than $80.00 for a full load. However now that privatization has taken over education in America the abuse of "Financial Aid" is phenomenal. And the $1.3 trillion that is now owed by student borrowers is not the fault of the students but of the outlandish number of private "colleges" who offer substandard educations to millions of usually income challenged students at astronomical prices. I am one of those students. I now owe approximately $60,000 in student loans and still haven't gotten the degree I was in search of so that I could possibly go back into teaching English but on the college level only to learn that college English teachers can't find full time positions even with a doctorate. I somehow feel duped by the system that has turned education into a boon for the business man and a bust for the "student" it is suppose to be serving. I should add that I thought I had chosen institutions that would offer a "good" education like the public schools I had gone to in the past but that was not the case as public schools have gone quasi-private.

Faith Luiting  January 12, 2016  Maryland

Back in the 60's when government student loans first came on the scene, I really didn't need a loan. Tuition was minimal at the local community college in Los Angeles at only $3.00 per class. I had a job at the Post Office so I paid the tuition cost plus a babysitter. And I did the same thing when I finally transferred to a four year state school in the Los Angeles area where in state tuition was less than $80.00 for a full load. However now that privatization has taken over education in America the abuse of "Financial Aid" is phenomenal. And the $1.3 trillion that is now owed by student borrowers is not the fault of the students but of the outlandish number of private "colleges" who offer substandard educations to millions of usually income challenged students at astronomical prices. I am one of those students. I now owe approximately $60,000 in student loans and still haven't gotten the degree I was in search of so that I could possibly go back into teaching English but on the college level only to learn that college English teachers can't find full time positions even with a doctorate. I somehow feel duped by the system that has turned education into a boon for the business man and a bust for the "student" it is suppose to be serving. I should add that I thought I had chosen institutions that would offer a "good" education like the public schools I had gone to in the past but that was not the case as public schools have gone quasi-private.

Faith Luiting  January 12, 2016  Maryland

In 2005 my current husband and his now ex wife consolidated there personnel student loans into one loan making them both equally responsible for the loan. The problem is there only going after my husband and not her. We've tried to work with loan co. I just don't understand why they would not go after both parties to get there money faster. I've given them her info and nothing they have garnished my husbands wages and this is a very resentful situation which no one has any answers to or wants to solve. I can see why they stopped doing these loans in 2006 there is a reason they aren't together anymore

Karin  January 12, 2016  Jonesborough

In 2005 my current husband and his now ex wife consolidated there personnel student loans into one loan making them both equally responsible for the loan. The problem is there only going after my husband and not her. We've tried to work with loan co. I just don't understand why they would not go after both parties to get there money faster. I've given them her info and nothing they have garnished my husbands wages and this is a very resentful situation which no one has any answers to or wants to solve. I can see why they stopped doing these loans in 2006 there is a reason they aren't together anymore

Karin  January 12, 2016  Jonesborough

I work for the Federal Aviation Administration. I incurred approximately $50,000 in student debt through the Department of Education and private Lenders to attend DeVry for my Associates Degree. I was placed in default and into the Treasury Offset program by the Dept. of Ed due to their refusal to accept anything less that $395 a month in repayment. I am currently paying through an outside debt collector, but am still considered in default. The DoE intercepts and keeps any tax returns owed to me etc. Now there is a new problem. Occasionally, I am forced to travel for work for training, seminars, etc. I use a government issued travel card for these trips and submit a voucher upon completion of travel. The DoE has begun intercepting the travel reimbursement money and applying it to my debt also. Leaving me to pay for official travel out of pocket. I don't complain when they take my tax return, as it is my money and it is my debt, but they are now stealing money that is not and never was mine. On top of all that, when they take $8,000 of tax returns, just over $1000 goes toward the principle while the rest goes to interest and "fees". This is predatory lending at it's finest.

Lincoln Glab  January 12, 2016  Kansas City, MO

I work for the Federal Aviation Administration. I incurred approximately $50,000 in student debt through the Department of Education and private Lenders to attend DeVry for my Associates Degree. I was placed in default and into the Treasury Offset program by the Dept. of Ed due to their refusal to accept anything less that $395 a month in repayment. I am currently paying through an outside debt collector, but am still considered in default. The DoE intercepts and keeps any tax returns owed to me etc. Now there is a new problem. Occasionally, I am forced to travel for work for training, seminars, etc. I use a government issued travel card for these trips and submit a voucher upon completion of travel. The DoE has begun intercepting the travel reimbursement money and applying it to my debt also. Leaving me to pay for official travel out of pocket. I don't complain when they take my tax return, as it is my money and it is my debt, but they are now stealing money that is not and never was mine. On top of all that, when they take $8,000 of tax returns, just over $1000 goes toward the principle while the rest goes to interest and "fees". This is predatory lending at it's finest.

Lincoln Glab  January 12, 2016  Kansas City, MO

This is only part of the adversity student loans have put me through. I have spent three decades reacting to and trying to recover from the abuse at the hands of loan organizations and-or the collectors they authorize to abuse in their name. Spent years as a teacher in low-income schools, then more in service organization for education to farm workers and afraid to ask for help. Previously, after proven misprescription of psychiatric drugs, I fell into deep depression and self-hating, unable to concentrate or function, and in regular pain. During this time, when loans came due I received regular angry and sometimes ridiculing phone calls, including a call which affected my employment status. Disabled by medical issues, I was unable to advocate for myself, the interest rates continued to climb and 33K in debt ballooned to over 100K with no success at ever getting any help, just more pressure, ridicule and uncaring and thoughtless abuse. Wish I could get assistance of a pro-bono lawyer.

Douglas Tedford  January 12, 2016  Rexburg, Idaho

This is only part of the adversity student loans have put me through. I have spent three decades reacting to and trying to recover from the abuse at the hands of loan organizations and-or the collectors they authorize to abuse in their name. Spent years as a teacher in low-income schools, then more in service organization for education to farm workers and afraid to ask for help. Previously, after proven misprescription of psychiatric drugs, I fell into deep depression and self-hating, unable to concentrate or function, and in regular pain. During this time, when loans came due I received regular angry and sometimes ridiculing phone calls, including a call which affected my employment status. Disabled by medical issues, I was unable to advocate for myself, the interest rates continued to climb and 33K in debt ballooned to over 100K with no success at ever getting any help, just more pressure, ridicule and uncaring and thoughtless abuse. Wish I could get assistance of a pro-bono lawyer.

Douglas Tedford  January 12, 2016  Rexburg, Idaho

I have over $600,000 in student loans for my BS through my doctorate. I am a 4.0 student and have been so through out all three degrees, so I am not a slacker. I have never attended online school until my doctorate, the online private school I am attending is not supportive for the practicum, internship or dissertation process. I started the process Jan 2007 and did all my coursework, then residency, then practicum and then internship. If I had known then what I know now I would have started dissertation while still taking courses. There was no guidance in locating practicum or internship sites so we were on our own. It was very difficult to locate appropriate sites. My original site was across country and so I moved. They were waiting for their APA approval and it was taking too long for the program to start and I was running out of time so I had to find another site. That resulted in another move across country to another site where I did finally get it all completed. The dissertation process has been a total night mare also. The professor that originally agreed to be my chair was released from the school, it took 18 months to find my new chair and another almost 2 yrs to find a methods person. They were all either full or not interested in my dissertation topic and the school doesn't make them take on students, but at the same time won't let you find someone outside of the school. All the school did is send me their latest list of facility, 154 email requests later and over 3 yrs. into dissertation my committee was finally together. Then last term my methods person quit the school. I had completed all 5 chapters and was just waiting for submission to the URR. The school told me I had to find a new committee member, knowing how long it took the first time and looking at where I was in the process I told them they would have to assign me one. Then my chair quit all classes except the one keeping him as my chair. But in all that the school accidently blocked him in August and he could not submit my dissertation until October. Most recently in December the school sent me and my chair and email saying they were replacing him with a new chair and his services were no longer needed. Now I have a new committee member and a new chair who are unfamiliar with my study and they have their own ideas about it. I should be graduating this term but now looks like I will have to extend for the fourth time. The school just seems to want me to stay a student forever so they can keep making money, in the meantime I have more in loans than I can ever pay. My only saving grace is I am now working at a site and they have the student loan repayment for rural mental health and then it is a nonprofit and public service so will qualify for public service loan forgiveness. But I still have extreme panic attacks about the payments. And I had to use my grace period when my daughter was killed and thus won't have any grace period, and I have Graduate PLUS loans which I don't think have a grace period. Once I graduate I still have to study and take the national exam before I can get licensed and qualify for the loan repayment program so I don't know if they will defer my loans while I do that process. Where the schools get you is they tell you there are programs that will pay your loans for you and not to worry, by the time you are scared you are too far in and have to keep going because you have to get licensed to get the loan repayment. I went to school to better myself, now at 50+ yrs old I will never have a retirement or be able to afford more than bread and water, all just so I can help others. I need guidance and help.

Teresa  January 12, 2016  Arizona

I have over $600,000 in student loans for my BS through my doctorate. I am a 4.0 student and have been so through out all three degrees, so I am not a slacker. I have never attended online school until my doctorate, the online private school I am attending is not supportive for the practicum, internship or dissertation process. I started the process Jan 2007 and did all my coursework, then residency, then practicum and then internship. If I had known then what I know now I would have started dissertation while still taking courses. There was no guidance in locating practicum or internship sites so we were on our own. It was very difficult to locate appropriate sites. My original site was across country and so I moved. They were waiting for their APA approval and it was taking too long for the program to start and I was running out of time so I had to find another site. That resulted in another move across country to another site where I did finally get it all completed. The dissertation process has been a total night mare also. The professor that originally agreed to be my chair was released from the school, it took 18 months to find my new chair and another almost 2 yrs to find a methods person. They were all either full or not interested in my dissertation topic and the school doesn't make them take on students, but at the same time won't let you find someone outside of the school. All the school did is send me their latest list of facility, 154 email requests later and over 3 yrs. into dissertation my committee was finally together. Then last term my methods person quit the school. I had completed all 5 chapters and was just waiting for submission to the URR. The school told me I had to find a new committee member, knowing how long it took the first time and looking at where I was in the process I told them they would have to assign me one. Then my chair quit all classes except the one keeping him as my chair.

...more
Teresa  January 12, 2016  Arizona

I am 58 years old and my 68k loan is now over 70K, despite making regular payments of over $500/month for over 10 years! I have calculated that at this rate, I will have paid triple the amount of the original loan by the time it's all over. I was in a tough financial situation the first 3 years after graduation, so took some deferments that were readily offered to me. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that I would be paying such a price for help I desperately needed. I don't understand why this has never been addressed, despite exhausting inquiries to the numerous student loan companies that have taken over my original loan.

patti  January 12, 2016  council bluffs iowa

I am 58 years old and my 68k loan is now over 70K, despite making regular payments of over $500/month for over 10 years! I have calculated that at this rate, I will have paid triple the amount of the original loan by the time it's all over. I was in a tough financial situation the first 3 years after graduation, so took some deferments that were readily offered to me. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that I would be paying such a price for help I desperately needed. I don't understand why this has never been addressed, despite exhausting inquiries to the numerous student loan companies that have taken over my original loan.

patti  January 12, 2016  council bluffs iowa

two of my grandchildren are still paying these loans, after several years. both have two jobs- one is in law-enforcement-I would think the one working for the state should have this debt erased- the other planned on teaching until the bottom fell out of "education" for the ease of the internet- SHAME on GREEDY LOAN OFFICERS-and The inept financial government "services"- a grey eagle

jeanette ratliff  January 12, 2016  ohio

two of my grandchildren are still paying these loans, after several years. both have two jobs- one is in law-enforcement-I would think the one working for the state should have this debt erased- the other planned on teaching until the bottom fell out of "education" for the ease of the internet- SHAME on GREEDY LOAN OFFICERS-and The inept financial government "services"- a grey eagle

jeanette ratliff  January 12, 2016  ohio

I borrowed $40,000 dollars in student loans from 1986 to 1990; I now owe over $130,000 and cannot afford to pay. Since I have been in deferment and not paid for years the debt cannot be forgiven even though it is more than 25 years since I took the loan. I had to declare bankruptcy some years ago and left my case open in case someday I might be able to add this debt to my bankruptcy. I am now 57 years old, have some health issues and will never be able to pay the loan back.

Mindy Cole  January 12, 2016  Albuquerque, NM

I borrowed $40,000 dollars in student loans from 1986 to 1990; I now owe over $130,000 and cannot afford to pay. Since I have been in deferment and not paid for years the debt cannot be forgiven even though it is more than 25 years since I took the loan. I had to declare bankruptcy some years ago and left my case open in case someday I might be able to add this debt to my bankruptcy. I am now 57 years old, have some health issues and will never be able to pay the loan back.

Mindy Cole  January 12, 2016  Albuquerque, NM

I attended ATI College in Santa Ana, which has now been shut down as soon as I and 60+ other students filed a lawsuit against them, of which they claimed to be bankrupt. All of the teachers had major language barriers and even one instructor never even worked in the field but begun teaching after she graduated. It was a total joke and waste of money and time. Most of the equipment was completely broken. Even taped together and we were performing ultrasound scans on pregnant women that could have shocked them. This was an awful experience and they made us pay for an internship program for a lab that they owned. Which was not run by professionals either. I could go on and on about this nightmare. And now even tho they are shut down I am in huge debt. Please help as I would never be able to get a sonography job with this poor level of education.

Ashley Ward  January 12, 2016  El Segundo

I attended ATI College in Santa Ana, which has now been shut down as soon as I and 60+ other students filed a lawsuit against them, of which they claimed to be bankrupt. All of the teachers had major language barriers and even one instructor never even worked in the field but begun teaching after she graduated. It was a total joke and waste of money and time. Most of the equipment was completely broken. Even taped together and we were performing ultrasound scans on pregnant women that could have shocked them. This was an awful experience and they made us pay for an internship program for a lab that they owned. Which was not run by professionals either. I could go on and on about this nightmare. And now even tho they are shut down I am in huge debt. Please help as I would never be able to get a sonography job with this poor level of education.

Ashley Ward  January 12, 2016  El Segundo

I left college with my Bachelors degree in Music Education and about 75k in debt (16k in federal, rest in private). I have lived barely paycheck to paycheck, 3 years as a substitute and 6 years contracted in 2 school systems. I have yet to find a place to live that I can afford that is lower than my student loans. I pay back over 600/month in loans alone. Add in rent, utilities, car payment, gas, food, and travel expenses and I barely have any money left over to save. Now I look for graduate programs and my private loan won't let me defer while in school unless I refinance with a higher interest rate and a load period. It's so crippling that I don't know how much longer I can keep teaching and if I can even get a graduate degree. Its like the banks are against me living a happy life so they can make their bank on my unfortunate circumstance. I don't want an easy out. I just want to be content. And I need help for that to happen.

Nathan Mitchell  January 12, 2016  Minnesota

I left college with my Bachelors degree in Music Education and about 75k in debt (16k in federal, rest in private). I have lived barely paycheck to paycheck, 3 years as a substitute and 6 years contracted in 2 school systems. I have yet to find a place to live that I can afford that is lower than my student loans. I pay back over 600/month in loans alone. Add in rent, utilities, car payment, gas, food, and travel expenses and I barely have any money left over to save. Now I look for graduate programs and my private loan won't let me defer while in school unless I refinance with a higher interest rate and a load period. It's so crippling that I don't know how much longer I can keep teaching and if I can even get a graduate degree. Its like the banks are against me living a happy life so they can make their bank on my unfortunate circumstance. I don't want an easy out. I just want to be content. And I need help for that to happen.

Nathan Mitchell  January 12, 2016  Minnesota

went to school in the 1990s and returned to grad school in 2008-2010 to become a public school teacher....was never able to find a fulltime teaching job within the last six years only substitute teaching work that paid less than 10 bucks per hour....well over 400 candidates for every single teaching job for which I applied, and I have applied for hundreds over the past six years with little to no interest due to having a Master's degree. Have worked several part time jobs to supplement income but finally decided to leave teaching after having went heavily into debt with student loans to survive...my total debt in student loans for all my undergrad and grad school experiences is well over $200K with no hope of ever paying it off. If I file for bankruptcy and include my student loans as part of it, then it will ruin my credit forever and I will never be able to get a decent job with decent pay....it would be the same as having a dishonorable discharge from the armed forces....I need to seek forgiveness of my student loans but have no idea how to do this.

Paul Russell  January 12, 2016  Indiana

went to school in the 1990s and returned to grad school in 2008-2010 to become a public school teacher....was never able to find a fulltime teaching job within the last six years only substitute teaching work that paid less than 10 bucks per hour....well over 400 candidates for every single teaching job for which I applied, and I have applied for hundreds over the past six years with little to no interest due to having a Master's degree. Have worked several part time jobs to supplement income but finally decided to leave teaching after having went heavily into debt with student loans to survive...my total debt in student loans for all my undergrad and grad school experiences is well over $200K with no hope of ever paying it off. If I file for bankruptcy and include my student loans as part of it, then it will ruin my credit forever and I will never be able to get a decent job with decent pay....it would be the same as having a dishonorable discharge from the armed forces....I need to seek forgiveness of my student loans but have no idea how to do this.

Paul Russell  January 12, 2016  Indiana

i was given the sc teacher loan along with some other teacher loans. i had every intention of completing my degree and becoming a teacher. i had some health problems come up and instead of continuing my higher education i spent 4 years in and out of hospitals. i am only now starting to be able to function as a normal adult. not only am i bombarded with bills and letters threatening to take every penny i have (why i do not have a bank account) but the university is also threatening me all because i wanted to follow my dream of teaching theatre. i was stuck with needles and went through countless tests and failed treatments. just as i am now trying to get my life on track it seems almost hopeless because of my student debt now added to hospital debt. it seems like all "they" care about it money, not me or my story. while yes i owe thousands upon thousands of dollars im still a human being,

Emma  January 12, 2016  sc

i was given the sc teacher loan along with some other teacher loans. i had every intention of completing my degree and becoming a teacher. i had some health problems come up and instead of continuing my higher education i spent 4 years in and out of hospitals. i am only now starting to be able to function as a normal adult. not only am i bombarded with bills and letters threatening to take every penny i have (why i do not have a bank account) but the university is also threatening me all because i wanted to follow my dream of teaching theatre. i was stuck with needles and went through countless tests and failed treatments. just as i am now trying to get my life on track it seems almost hopeless because of my student debt now added to hospital debt. it seems like all "they" care about it money, not me or my story. while yes i owe thousands upon thousands of dollars im still a human being,

Emma  January 12, 2016  sc

I qualify for student loan discharge/forgiveness due to being disabled, but because the government considers the loan as taxable income, I will be hit with a huge tax bill. I cannot afford to pay this tax bill all at once, but if it is not paid, the IRS can take money from my monthly disability check to pay the tax bill. This is SO wrong! If the loan is discharged due to disability, the borrower should NOT have to pay a tax penalty! What is being done to change this?

Christy Hanna  January 11, 2016

I qualify for student loan discharge/forgiveness due to being disabled, but because the government considers the loan as taxable income, I will be hit with a huge tax bill. I cannot afford to pay this tax bill all at once, but if it is not paid, the IRS can take money from my monthly disability check to pay the tax bill. This is SO wrong! If the loan is discharged due to disability, the borrower should NOT have to pay a tax penalty! What is being done to change this?

Christy Hanna  January 11, 2016

My life was effected when hurricane Katrina happened, I'm from New Orleans, at the time of Katrina,I had been on my job bout twelve years after I relocated I went to Remington to better my condition because I no longer had a job, I graduated in medical coding and billing, was an honor roll student, ended up with no job, owing all this money that I cannot pay back because of financial hardship, I'm working at Walmart part time, I have not been able to pay, it's terrible

Debra Windsor  January 11, 2016  Louisiana

My life was effected when hurricane Katrina happened, I'm from New Orleans, at the time of Katrina,I had been on my job bout twelve years after I relocated I went to Remington to better my condition because I no longer had a job, I graduated in medical coding and billing, was an honor roll student, ended up with no job, owing all this money that I cannot pay back because of financial hardship, I'm working at Walmart part time, I have not been able to pay, it's terrible

Debra Windsor  January 11, 2016  Louisiana

I went back to school to try and not only improve my life (I was scared and nearly near eviction after waiting tables for years), but the lives of others by becoming a school social worker. I now hold my Master's Degree in Social Work and am (very thankfully) employed. However, the amount of student debt has ballooned to over $100,000 with payments so high I now work two jobs or risk losing my home. I will never be able to pay off my loans with the interest rates as high as they are and my salary being what it is. I find it despicable that our own government has used students to make such immense fiscal gains while simultaneously driving our economy into the ground. On the backs of those working the hardest to improve their lives, sit the profiteering, greedy big banks/corporations once again. We MUST fight to keep education alive and real for ALL who are willing to do the work, study, and sacrifice to improve our lives and the nation.

Hannah  January 11, 2016  Chicago

I went back to school to try and not only improve my life (I was scared and nearly near eviction after waiting tables for years), but the lives of others by becoming a school social worker. I now hold my Master's Degree in Social Work and am (very thankfully) employed. However, the amount of student debt has ballooned to over $100,000 with payments so high I now work two jobs or risk losing my home. I will never be able to pay off my loans with the interest rates as high as they are and my salary being what it is. I find it despicable that our own government has used students to make such immense fiscal gains while simultaneously driving our economy into the ground. On the backs of those working the hardest to improve their lives, sit the profiteering, greedy big banks/corporations once again. We MUST fight to keep education alive and real for ALL who are willing to do the work, study, and sacrifice to improve our lives and the nation.

Hannah  January 11, 2016  Chicago

I've written about this before.

At 70 1/2, I qualify for IBR. However, I am not eligible for Loan Forgiveness despite the fact that I worked in public service consistently since I received my loan in 1995 and have never defaulted. This needs to change. I got screwed by my graduate school's Financial Aid office, Citibank and now, AES. My loan forgiveness date will be in my 90s. There needs to be a way for seniors to get help with this. It's a real burden to have to deal with. I was not able to pay the interest on my unsubsidized loan portion last year due to my financial situation which made the total loan amount go up. While I was employed and was paying the loan down, the balance barely changed. It's a racket.

Leni Siegel  January 11, 2016  California

I've written about this before.

At 70 1/2, I qualify for IBR. However, I am not eligible for Loan Forgiveness despite the fact that I worked in public service consistently since I received my loan in 1995 and have never defaulted. This needs to change. I got screwed by my graduate school's Financial Aid office, Citibank and now, AES. My loan forgiveness date will be in my 90s. There needs to be a way for seniors to get help with this. It's a real burden to have to deal with. I was not able to pay the interest on my unsubsidized loan portion last year due to my financial situation which made the total loan amount go up. While I was employed and was paying the loan down, the balance barely changed. It's a racket.

Leni Siegel  January 11, 2016  California

I paid off my student loan in 1989, unaware of a " loan" in the amount of $600.00. paid it anyway, twenty-seven years later, they came at me again for fees, on top of fees. by that time, I'm disabled, I filed for a waiver which was granted. I later began retraining with EDD Disabled American, working from home for NTI out of Boston, they paid us during our training, penny’s, $10.00 per hour/ 4 hours per day. Student loan came at me all over again. It appears to be a racket, a vicious cycle. After major hip surgery, knee surgery, couldn't participate in the NTI program. how do I get off this roller coaster ride? This is ridiculous!

Disabled Retired Student  January 11, 2016  California

I paid off my student loan in 1989, unaware of a " loan" in the amount of $600.00. paid it anyway, twenty-seven years later, they came at me again for fees, on top of fees. by that time, I'm disabled, I filed for a waiver which was granted. I later began retraining with EDD Disabled American, working from home for NTI out of Boston, they paid us during our training, penny’s, $10.00 per hour/ 4 hours per day. Student loan came at me all over again. It appears to be a racket, a vicious cycle. After major hip surgery, knee surgery, couldn't participate in the NTI program. how do I get off this roller coaster ride? This is ridiculous!

Disabled Retired Student  January 11, 2016  California

I had about 9K in federal student loans in1999 and it ballooned worse than credit card debt! (I have no credit cards)I paid monthly for a number of years but it was hard with 2 small kids. I panicked and didn't deal with the letters and calls and last year it was handed over to a collection agency. They won't play fair at all. Offered me a program with unmanageable monthly payments and I missed a payment after about 5 months so was kicked out of that program. If only the loans had a low interest rate or no interest for those who graduate on time.

Patricia  January 9, 2016  South Carolina

I had about 9K in federal student loans in1999 and it ballooned worse than credit card debt! (I have no credit cards)I paid monthly for a number of years but it was hard with 2 small kids. I panicked and didn't deal with the letters and calls and last year it was handed over to a collection agency. They won't play fair at all. Offered me a program with unmanageable monthly payments and I missed a payment after about 5 months so was kicked out of that program. If only the loans had a low interest rate or no interest for those who graduate on time.

Patricia  January 9, 2016  South Carolina

I paid for my own education through federal and private student loans. During my senior year of college I found a great job. My job had very little to do with my degree, but could eventually lead to my current dream job. I worked for state government but could not afford my student loans on my current salary. After holding on for several years while waiting for a promotion, I was forced to leave for another state agency. I had to leave in order to not fall further behind on my student loans.

I borrowed about 50k in federal and private loans. After 2-3 years of 500 dollar a month payments I still owed about 50k. I was forced to leave a great career opportunity for a slightly higher paying job with far less room for career growth. I fully understood the pro's and con's of both career paths, but was forced to take the lesser path. Because of my debt I was forced to give up a fulfilling and potentially lucrative career for the kind of job I went to college to avoid.

Alec  January 9, 2016  New York

I paid for my own education through federal and private student loans. During my senior year of college I found a great job. My job had very little to do with my degree, but could eventually lead to my current dream job. I worked for state government but could not afford my student loans on my current salary. After holding on for several years while waiting for a promotion, I was forced to leave for another state agency. I had to leave in order to not fall further behind on my student loans.

I borrowed about 50k in federal and private loans. After 2-3 years of 500 dollar a month payments I still owed about 50k. I was forced to leave a great career opportunity for a slightly higher paying job with far less room for career growth. I fully understood the pro's and con's of both career paths, but was forced to take the lesser path. Because of my debt I was forced to give up a fulfilling and potentially lucrative career for the kind of job I went to college to avoid.

Alec  January 9, 2016  New York

I moved to NC to attend Duke University for graduate school. Initially, Duke employees received tuition deduction, but when the time came for me to enroll in school, this benefit was removed. having already moved my family and established a new life, I enrolled using loans to pay for (private) tuition fees. I now have a suffocating debt that limits my ability to save for my kids' college tuition. I fear it's a viscous cycle for me and now my children.

tonya  January 7, 2016  Durham, NC

I moved to NC to attend Duke University for graduate school. Initially, Duke employees received tuition deduction, but when the time came for me to enroll in school, this benefit was removed. having already moved my family and established a new life, I enrolled using loans to pay for (private) tuition fees. I now have a suffocating debt that limits my ability to save for my kids' college tuition. I fear it's a viscous cycle for me and now my children.

tonya  January 7, 2016  Durham, NC

Currently, I am over 100K (120 which includes living costs, prequisite undergraduate courses required,etc.) in debt to a Jesuit university in San Francisco (USF), as a result of student loans taken out for a master's degree in International and developmental economics, which includes a field research and thesis component. I am not sure how I will be able to manage this debt-load when I graduate, and am concerned about the prospects of paying them off after I graduate. I am in my last semester, and I use part of he loan money to cover living expenses in San Francisco, which are very expensive. I have also needed to use a portion of the money to cover expenses overseas (requirement of the program). I have been working part-time while attending school part-time, and the demands of the program as well as the massive financial burden have made completion of the degree quite daunting. At this point, I am desperate for viable solutions to reduce a portion of the debt to make it more manageable.

D Conway  January 5, 2016  San Francisco

Currently, I am over 100K (120 which includes living costs, prequisite undergraduate courses required,etc.) in debt to a Jesuit university in San Francisco (USF), as a result of student loans taken out for a master's degree in International and developmental economics, which includes a field research and thesis component. I am not sure how I will be able to manage this debt-load when I graduate, and am concerned about the prospects of paying them off after I graduate. I am in my last semester, and I use part of he loan money to cover living expenses in San Francisco, which are very expensive. I have also needed to use a portion of the money to cover expenses overseas (requirement of the program). I have been working part-time while attending school part-time, and the demands of the program as well as the massive financial burden have made completion of the degree quite daunting. At this point, I am desperate for viable solutions to reduce a portion of the debt to make it more manageable.

D Conway  January 5, 2016  San Francisco

I went to college and received a bachelors degree in Computer Animation. My college stressed how 85% of graduate from the private college received careers in their field withing 6 months of graduation. Sure... They failed to mention that most creative careers are Contract positions and are in other countries (with low wages). I have gotten a couple of short term gigs but nothing even close to make me an independent person. I owe $50,000... How the hell am I supposed to pay it off? Every job in my field wants experienced employees. So now I am stuck with on and off contract/ freelance jobs, living with my parents trying to gain experience while drowning in my student loan debt. I am stressed beyond belief...

Holly  January 4, 2016  atlanta

I went to college and received a bachelors degree in Computer Animation. My college stressed how 85% of graduate from the private college received careers in their field withing 6 months of graduation. Sure... They failed to mention that most creative careers are Contract positions and are in other countries (with low wages). I have gotten a couple of short term gigs but nothing even close to make me an independent person. I owe $50,000... How the hell am I supposed to pay it off? Every job in my field wants experienced employees. So now I am stuck with on and off contract/ freelance jobs, living with my parents trying to gain experience while drowning in my student loan debt. I am stressed beyond belief...

Holly  January 4, 2016  atlanta

Went to school. First in my family to go to college. Graduated in 2004. Had $65K of student loans. Worked. Did great. In 2007 was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Have been on disability for the last 2 years. Have been managing to pay my $81/month to Navient. Now Navient wants me to pay $321/month on a $1026 income from Social Security, with a $800/month mortgage. Cannot find disability discharge paperwork anywhere for this private loan. Have called them 3x.

School's great. In this world, nowadays - I wouldn't even consider it. My boyfriend is a Pastry Chef at a high-end, 5 star restaurant. He never went to culinary school. Self-taught.

Don't waste your money.

Christine  December 31, 2015  Jacksonville, FL

Went to school. First in my family to go to college. Graduated in 2004. Had $65K of student loans. Worked. Did great. In 2007 was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Have been on disability for the last 2 years. Have been managing to pay my $81/month to Navient. Now Navient wants me to pay $321/month on a $1026 income from Social Security, with a $800/month mortgage. Cannot find disability discharge paperwork anywhere for this private loan. Have called them 3x.

School's great. In this world, nowadays - I wouldn't even consider it. My boyfriend is a Pastry Chef at a high-end, 5 star restaurant. He never went to culinary school. Self-taught.

Don't waste your money.

Christine  December 31, 2015  Jacksonville, FL

I am an English Language Learner (ESL/ESOL/ELL) teacher which is in the teacher shortage area at a low-income school in a rural area. Unfortunately, it's also an expensive place to live. I have a chronic medical condition which results in medical bill payments--something that is not accounted for in student loan payment plan options. I applied and was awarded Teacher Loan Forgiveness after 5 years. I still have $32K to repay. After discussing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) with the loan service provider I thought I would also be about half way into the PSLF (which is 10 years service)--unfortunately for me the loan service provider I talked with was wrong and my "qualifying payments" started over after I was awarded the Teacher Loan Forgiveness of $16500. Had I been given the CORRECT information, I would have never applied for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness at all and simply waited another 5 years for PSLF. I am now 7 "qualifying payments" into my 10 years for PSLF. This is not helping with teacher shortages or supporting the teachers we have now AT ALL. By the time I make by 120 "qualifying payments" (aka 10 years) I will only have a few months to go anyway to pay off my loans. I'm in my 7th year of teaching so that means when I am in my 16-17th year of teaching my loans will finally be paid off?!? What is wrong with this picture???

Julia Westbrook  December 27, 2015  Oregon

I am an English Language Learner (ESL/ESOL/ELL) teacher which is in the teacher shortage area at a low-income school in a rural area. Unfortunately, it's also an expensive place to live. I have a chronic medical condition which results in medical bill payments--something that is not accounted for in student loan payment plan options. I applied and was awarded Teacher Loan Forgiveness after 5 years. I still have $32K to repay. After discussing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) with the loan service provider I thought I would also be about half way into the PSLF (which is 10 years service)--unfortunately for me the loan service provider I talked with was wrong and my "qualifying payments" started over after I was awarded the Teacher Loan Forgiveness of $16500. Had I been given the CORRECT information, I would have never applied for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness at all and simply waited another 5 years for PSLF. I am now 7 "qualifying payments" into my 10 years for PSLF. This is not helping with teacher shortages or supporting the teachers we have now AT ALL. By the time I make by 120 "qualifying payments" (aka 10 years) I will only have a few months to go anyway to pay off my loans. I'm in my 7th year of teaching so that means when I am in my 16-17th year of teaching my loans will finally be paid off?!? What is wrong with this picture???

Julia Westbrook  December 27, 2015  Oregon

I took out about $40,000 in federal and private loans to pay for a bachelor's degree at a private college. By the time I graduated, $50,000 in interest had accrued on these loans, and I found myself owing $90,000 and making $12 per hour. After nearly ten years of struggling and handing over $600 per month to student loan companies, two of my loans are in default and the others have balances that refuse to shrink at all. My decision to go to college has turned out to be a detriment to my success, health, and happiness. (Aren't life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness inalienable rights?)

This is a common story. After reading other stories on this site, I realize that many other people share the exact same burden. It seems like outrageous interest rates, predatory lending practices, and fraudulent claims by for-profit colleges are affecting a very large percent of the American population. The law is on the side of the lenders, because they are rich, corrupt, and very powerful.

We've been led to believe that we have little recourse. The law is on the side of the criminals. They are free to charge outrageous interest, which keeps us in debt forever. They are free to garnish our wages and seize our assets. They are free to make it impossible for us to get married, start businesses, own houses. So this begs the question: what can we do?
What if all of us just stopped paying? What if one day everyone struggling under student loan debt stopped making payments, and refused to make any more until lenders adopt more acceptable practices? If a large enough group of people stopped paying, it would bring the current lending system to its knees, and they would have to negotiate with us. They can't go after that many people. This would mean wiping out interest and accepting payments that we can afford. This would mean an overhaul of the entire system. We can't rely on politicians to do this for us. Even the most liberal politicians talk much more about helping current and future students, leaving those of us saddled under an impossible burden of debt to fend for ourselves.

This is not an original idea. Students of the Corinthians colleges are already doing this, and are having great success. We have to fight for our own rights because nobody else will do this for us. I think it's time to stop being victims and start fighting back against a highly prejudiced and grossly unfair system of blatant exploitation by corporations.

I was recently told that there is no such thing as a natural or God-given right... at some point there was a fight for every single right we enjoy today. At first I scoffed at the idea but then realized that it's true. I think this corrupt system of student lending is the next fight, and we should all get on board.

Nicole  December 26, 2015  Massachusetts

I took out about $40,000 in federal and private loans to pay for a bachelor's degree at a private college. By the time I graduated, $50,000 in interest had accrued on these loans, and I found myself owing $90,000 and making $12 per hour. After nearly ten years of struggling and handing over $600 per month to student loan companies, two of my loans are in default and the others have balances that refuse to shrink at all. My decision to go to college has turned out to be a detriment to my success, health, and happiness. (Aren't life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness inalienable rights?)

This is a common story. After reading other stories on this site, I realize that many other people share the exact same burden. It seems like outrageous interest rates, predatory lending practices, and fraudulent claims by for-profit colleges are affecting a very large percent of the American population. The law is on the side of the lenders, because they are rich, corrupt, and very powerful.

We've been led to believe that we have little recourse. The law is on the side of the criminals. They are free to charge outrageous interest, which keeps us in debt forever. They are free to garnish our wages and seize our assets. They are free to make it impossible for us to get married, start businesses, own houses. So this begs the question: what can we do?
What if all of us just stopped paying? What if one day everyone struggling under student loan debt stopped making payments, and refused to make any more until lenders adopt more acceptable practices? If a large enough group of people stopped paying, it would bring the current lending system to its knees, and they would have to negotiate with us. They can't go after that many people. This would mean wiping out interest and accepting payments that we can afford. This would mean an overhaul of the entire system. We can't rely on politicians to do this for us. Even the most liberal politicians talk much more about helping current and future students,

...more
Nicole  December 26, 2015  Massachusetts

I am Kuldeep Singh Punian. I Joined New York Chiropractic College in Sep 2008, I applied for federal loan, and I stayed in NYCC for two trimesters and received $10, 320 or little more for these two trimester (6 months study). In first semester I receive $400 scholarship for my highest grade. I left NYCC because of harassment from two teachers. I did not complaint; I just dropped my education with them. I filled up a loan deferment form for paying my loan in future, I tried to check my loan status in 2010, and found it raised $ 19000 from $10,320. I called Great Lakes, and US Dept. of education. I asked them, and they told me that they going to stopped paying my loan, as NYCC tried to get my loan money, I also talked to NYCC and let them know that I have already dropped their education, they cannot take my loan money. NYCC assured me for not taking my loan money. As US education Dept. told me that I can pay my loan when I start working, and stopped my education, they are flexible; just I have to fill up a loan deferment form. I filled up a loan deferment form this year in March like every year. I am dedicated to pay my due loan $10, 320 with genuine interest. Today I called to get information about my status, I heard my due loan was transfer to collection agencies, and I was received a number to call them, the number was 8772918405. I called them and asked about my loan status, they told me I have to pay $52 thousand something. I asked how it is possible my loan $10,320 increased 52 thousand; I just stayed two trimester there, and dropped my education. They told me no you signed contact and your school received your loan money whether you attended or not, and they disconnected my phone. I am surprised, is this a Gov. Help for a student like me? Is it not a right for a student to drop his/her education? I correctly informed NYCC that I dropped their classes; still they had been automatically taking loan money on my name without asking me, and US education Dept. used to give loan money to them without asking me, just because of my first sign. Even I informed US education Dept. for cancelling my loan money. I believe this is a corruption. I am not a slave, I am a citizen. I want right direction. I believe this is a big corruption that is why I am writing to you. I am feeling depressed and down, it means I am not a citizen, I am a slave? I have complain against so called Gov. Education department/ federal load or student help. This is not a help this is a corruption to destroy innocent students’ life. It is not even a business.

Kuldeep S Punian  December 22, 2015  Kent, WA, 98031

I am Kuldeep Singh Punian. I Joined New York Chiropractic College in Sep 2008, I applied for federal loan, and I stayed in NYCC for two trimesters and received $10, 320 or little more for these two trimester (6 months study). In first semester I receive $400 scholarship for my highest grade. I left NYCC because of harassment from two teachers. I did not complaint; I just dropped my education with them. I filled up a loan deferment form for paying my loan in future, I tried to check my loan status in 2010, and found it raised $ 19000 from $10,320. I called Great Lakes, and US Dept. of education. I asked them, and they told me that they going to stopped paying my loan, as NYCC tried to get my loan money, I also talked to NYCC and let them know that I have already dropped their education, they cannot take my loan money. NYCC assured me for not taking my loan money. As US education Dept. told me that I can pay my loan when I start working, and stopped my education, they are flexible; just I have to fill up a loan deferment form. I filled up a loan deferment form this year in March like every year. I am dedicated to pay my due loan $10, 320 with genuine interest. Today I called to get information about my status, I heard my due loan was transfer to collection agencies, and I was received a number to call them, the number was 8772918405. I called them and asked about my loan status, they told me I have to pay $52 thousand something. I asked how it is possible my loan $10,320 increased 52 thousand; I just stayed two trimester there, and dropped my education. They told me no you signed contact and your school received your loan money whether you attended or not, and they disconnected my phone. I am surprised, is this a Gov. Help for a student like me? Is it not a right for a student to drop his/her education? I correctly informed NYCC that I dropped their classes;

...more
Kuldeep S Punian  December 22, 2015  Kent, WA, 98031

I am writing a follow up from my last post from February 2015. Currently, I owe $56,847.68 in student loans. $37,490.34 of that is private student loan debt and $32,473.88 of that total I owe to Navient. I have been on the full repayment plan with Navient since May 2013. Since private lenders do not offer IBR and ICR repayment options, I have sacrificed everything in order to pay the monthly amount. I cannot buy toiletries, groceries, put gas in my car, help pay my and my husband’s mortgage or pay utilities, because all of my income goes toward my student loans which total OVER $400 per month. My total private monthly loan payment to Navient alone is just shy of $325. If it weren’t for my husband paying for our necessary living expenses, we would be without food and shelter. I also want to add that in the 6.5 years I have been out of college, I have made $8 to $14 an hour. I am nowhere closer to being in a $40k a year job now than I was 6.5 years ago. And truthfully, one has to probably make closer to $60k a year to pay basic living expenses and the loans. Ironically, this story isn’t about me refusing to pay Navient. This story is about me paying them everything they have demanded over the last 2 years and that still is not good enough. (I mean, let’s be real, is anything ever good enough for them?)
Over the summer, I received a harassing letter from Navient stating that my loans were going to collections, because my grandfather passed away. They said he was a cosigner for $12k of the $32k I owe. However, when my loans were under Sallie Mae in 2010/2011, the representatives I spoke with stated there was only one cosigner on one loan (I have a total of 4 through them) and that was my mother’s friend. I called Navient’s customer advocate line. They are impossible to reach, by the way. You basically have to keep leaving voicemail messages and hope that you are available when they do finally decide to call you back. I spoke with a representative and she said that the letter was only a threat and that my loans were not going to collections.
She explained that since my cosigner died, Navient attempts to see if the deceased person has any estate they can go after. She said I could try to release the cosigner’s estate. I told her that I heard that I would have a better chance at winning the lottery than getting the cosigner’s estate released. She said since my repayment history was immaculate, I stood an excellent chance of being approved for the release of the cosigner’s estate and that she would not suggest it if she did not think I would be approved. I submitted all the required paperwork and a few weeks later, I received a denial letter in the mail. They claimed my debt to income ratio was the reason for the denial and my income (I was working for a DME company for $10 an hour at this time.) I then tried to refinance my loans through a bank, however, again I was unable to do that because of my debt to income.
I haven’t heard anything from Navient since the summer, but I continue to make the full monthly payment. What I don’t understand is how Navient is able to get away with sending harassing letters and emails to people who are doing their due diligence and making the monthly payment. If I had credit cards and was paying them on time every month, the credit card companies would not be able to harass me over a dead cosigner. The same goes with an auto loan. I can understand that being the case if I weren’t making the payments to begin with, but I have never missed a payment. Even when my grandfather was alive, he wasn’t making the monthly payments. He never once made a payment. I just don’t understand how these loan sharks can continue to attack and harass people who are giving them what they ask.
What makes the story worse is that I have a twin sister who graduated the same time as me, from the same school. However, for some unknown reason, Sallie Mae tacked on an additional $20k in interest on one of her loans around the time our grace periods ended. There was never an explanation as to why that money was attached or where it came from. She has made her monthly payments on time for the last several years, too. Our grandfather cosigned roughly $20k of her loan (the original amount borrowed I think was close to $32k). I don’t understand how she has a cosigner for $12k of an almost $50k loan and I have two cosigners for a $32k loan. You can call Sallie Mae / Navient / Whatever their name is this month and speak to 5 different people and get 5 different answers. We are beyond frustrated and exhausted. We can’t win for losing. You pay them and it’s not good enough. You don’t pay them and it’s not good enough. I am the point now where it’s like, why pay them at all?

Abby N.  December 22, 2015  St. Louis, MO

I am writing a follow up from my last post from February 2015. Currently, I owe $56,847.68 in student loans. $37,490.34 of that is private student loan debt and $32,473.88 of that total I owe to Navient. I have been on the full repayment plan with Navient since May 2013. Since private lenders do not offer IBR and ICR repayment options, I have sacrificed everything in order to pay the monthly amount. I cannot buy toiletries, groceries, put gas in my car, help pay my and my husband’s mortgage or pay utilities, because all of my income goes toward my student loans which total OVER $400 per month. My total private monthly loan payment to Navient alone is just shy of $325. If it weren’t for my husband paying for our necessary living expenses, we would be without food and shelter. I also want to add that in the 6.5 years I have been out of college, I have made $8 to $14 an hour. I am nowhere closer to being in a $40k a year job now than I was 6.5 years ago. And truthfully, one has to probably make closer to $60k a year to pay basic living expenses and the loans. Ironically, this story isn’t about me refusing to pay Navient. This story is about me paying them everything they have demanded over the last 2 years and that still is not good enough. (I mean, let’s be real, is anything ever good enough for them?)
Over the summer, I received a harassing letter from Navient stating that my loans were going to collections, because my grandfather passed away. They said he was a cosigner for $12k of the $32k I owe. However, when my loans were under Sallie Mae in 2010/2011, the representatives I spoke with stated there was only one cosigner on one loan (I have a total of 4 through them) and that was my mother’s friend. I called Navient’s customer advocate line. They are impossible to reach, by the way. You basically have to keep leaving voicemail messages and hope that you are available when they do finally decide to call you back.

...more
Abby N.  December 22, 2015  St. Louis, MO

I can't say that I regret going to school & getting my degree --- I just wish it didn't feel like the student loan system was set up to screw those of us who can't afford to pay for college out-of-pocket. So far I've been able to make all of my monthly student loan payments on time but it's certainly not cheap & it's beginning to feel never-ending. Will I ever be able to enjoy my education/degree without having this debt hanging over my head?

Shanika  December 15, 2015  San Diego, CA

I can't say that I regret going to school & getting my degree --- I just wish it didn't feel like the student loan system was set up to screw those of us who can't afford to pay for college out-of-pocket. So far I've been able to make all of my monthly student loan payments on time but it's certainly not cheap & it's beginning to feel never-ending. Will I ever be able to enjoy my education/degree without having this debt hanging over my head?

Shanika  December 15, 2015  San Diego, CA

I filed chapter 13 bankruptcy half way through my ten of the public service loan forgiveness program. I am not entitled to know where my monthly payments go so I do not know if or how much will be paid on my student loans, which is $103,00 right now. I never missed a payment in the six years I have been paying on my loans. After the five years of making chapter 13 payments, whatever is still owed on my loans will resume. Even if chapter 13 makes a payment on my loan it will not keep me in the public service loan forgiveness. Whats more, my loan continues to accrue interest while I am not allowed to pay on it or be in the forgiveness program. The feds make money on my misfortune and prevent me from paying even though I work for the State of Maryland, which is my side of the forgiveness program. I have written to USDE, my state delegate, the Department of the Treasury and my governor with not response. What else can I do? Thank you.

jeanine aubertin*  December 12, 2015  frederick maryland

I filed chapter 13 bankruptcy half way through my ten of the public service loan forgiveness program. I am not entitled to know where my monthly payments go so I do not know if or how much will be paid on my student loans, which is $103,00 right now. I never missed a payment in the six years I have been paying on my loans. After the five years of making chapter 13 payments, whatever is still owed on my loans will resume. Even if chapter 13 makes a payment on my loan it will not keep me in the public service loan forgiveness. Whats more, my loan continues to accrue interest while I am not allowed to pay on it or be in the forgiveness program. The feds make money on my misfortune and prevent me from paying even though I work for the State of Maryland, which is my side of the forgiveness program. I have written to USDE, my state delegate, the Department of the Treasury and my governor with not response. What else can I do? Thank you.

jeanine aubertin*  December 12, 2015  frederick maryland

My $28k federal loan at 8.25% is now $63k. My payments are way more than I can afford. I, too, regret going to school - I would gladly return my degree to get out of this mess.

Meghan  December 9, 2015

My $28k federal loan at 8.25% is now $63k. My payments are way more than I can afford. I, too, regret going to school - I would gladly return my degree to get out of this mess.

Meghan  December 9, 2015

I was the first in my family to go to college, and I was so pleased with myself, at the time. I got all As and Bs, and I've been able to find some employment in my field of study, though it's not high pay. After earning my Master's, my debt was a little over $80,000 in federal student debt. Since then, I've paid about $38,000. I spend every spare dime I have trying to get out from under it. Now my bill is around $140,000. There is no end in site. Now I see college as my biggest regret. I've accepted that I'll never be able to afford to get married, or own a home. But, I try not to define myself by this mistake. Recently I've taken steps to get involved with charity via the Free Masons, so that way I can feel good about something I've done in my life. I'm currently working 1 job, doing freelance work, and I've recently interviewed for a second job in my field of study. Wish me luck. I always advise every young person I meet to avoid college, and go to trade school, or get on-the-job training instead. The cost of a degree isn't worth it, and will only bring them regret.

Clayton V  December 8, 2015  Michigan

I was the first in my family to go to college, and I was so pleased with myself, at the time. I got all As and Bs, and I've been able to find some employment in my field of study, though it's not high pay. After earning my Master's, my debt was a little over $80,000 in federal student debt. Since then, I've paid about $38,000. I spend every spare dime I have trying to get out from under it. Now my bill is around $140,000. There is no end in site. Now I see college as my biggest regret. I've accepted that I'll never be able to afford to get married, or own a home. But, I try not to define myself by this mistake. Recently I've taken steps to get involved with charity via the Free Masons, so that way I can feel good about something I've done in my life. I'm currently working 1 job, doing freelance work, and I've recently interviewed for a second job in my field of study. Wish me luck. I always advise every young person I meet to avoid college, and go to trade school, or get on-the-job training instead. The cost of a degree isn't worth it, and will only bring them regret.

Clayton V  December 8, 2015  Michigan

I have $122,000 in student loan debt. I pay ~30% of my paycheck to my loan company. There is no end in sight and I can barely afford anything. I make more from my single income than the national household income average, yet I'm just barely putting food on my table.

Kaitlin  December 8, 2015  NJ

I have $122,000 in student loan debt. I pay ~30% of my paycheck to my loan company. There is no end in sight and I can barely afford anything. I make more from my single income than the national household income average, yet I'm just barely putting food on my table.

Kaitlin  December 8, 2015  NJ

As I sit here in my dorm room at Lewis University, I think about how I got here. I am currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership. Growing up as the youngest of 5 children raised by a single mother, we certainly did not have access to many things in life. Although our mother provided shelter and food, the necessities for raising a family, we were exposed to the same education everyone around us had access to. As I entered elementary school, I met several teachers who took an investment in me. For middle school and high school, I attended private catholic institutions that provided excellent education. My tuition was fully covered by a program designed to support inner city and underprivileged youth. Although I had an obvious learning curve due to the lack of quality education I received before attending private school, I academically survived, barely. As the end of high school was approaching, it was time to start looking at colleges. My older sister, who also received the benefit of being in the same program, left Colorado to attend Saint Mary’s College of California, a 30k/year school. She received a great deal of scholarships and grants, but still needed to take out a few loans. By the time I was searching for schools, Saint Mary's also ended up offering me the most money. However, two years after my sisters enrollment, the tuition was now 40K/year. I also received only partial scholarship from the school and a few grants. Remember, I barely survived high school academically, so my grades were certainly not very strong to compete for additional scholarship money. Looking back at the hard facts, that meant I would roughly leave school with about 80K debt, understanding that I would need to take out at least 15K a year (for 4 yrs) in loans considering the small grant amounts I received, add interests on top of the 80K, and we are now looking at close to if not over 100K. However, mentors and supporters highly encouraged that I pursue Saint Mary’s and move forward with my education without considering that I received no additional financial support from any of the programs that supported me prior, and my family certainly was not an option to assist financially, hence the fact I was considered “underprivileged” and in this position to begin with.

Let’s fast forward to graduation. I considered dropping out of school twice because of the expense, but somehow I made it work. I worked two jobs while in school, joined Americorps after school to assist with debt, and have decided to attend graduate school (on a full scholarship) to provide some payment relief. I currently owe 95.5K in student loans. I have made on time payments, received a stipend from Americorps to help with student loans, but have only paid on interests for each loan due to the 9.75% interests rate on two of the five loans I currently have. Three loans are private, two are federal. I often wonder what’s the point of all of this, to attend four years of school just to dedicate a lifetime of paying for it. That’s not worth it to me!

However, I do feel there was a different way of doing this. Although I had many supporters and mentors around me, no one suggested that I take a different route. For example, “Sonya, you should attend an in state community college for two years, then transfer to a University” (that would have cut my debt most likely in half) OR provide the most obvious and basic suggestion ever “ let’s consider a school that will be more affordable”. At the end of day, I was going to be the only person responsible for paying for my education and I am accountable to the debt I owe. However, the people that put themselves in the position to guide me should have made sure to open doors that were realistic to my situation, not because the choice of school looks good on paper or possibly for bragging rights, I needed real guidance, and sending me to one of the most expensive schools on the west coast was not what I needed. It was a major disservice to me, for I was the only person in this equation who knew nothing about what this all meant, I had never even seen $1,000 before, let alone know what a interests rate was, and it was their responsibility to inform me. I hold them accountable to a certain degree.

Do I regret attending a wonderful college for four years, Yes and No, would I have chosen another way, absolutely. I think about my debt and what future choices I should consider, like starting a business, traveling internationally, or even having kids. Many things in life that I feel I have worked hard to experience may not be accessible to me because I simply cannot afford them. I can’t even qualify for a decent apartment or car let alone think about having kids. Is there a way out, sure, like trying a fundraiser. I’m still searching for additional options, other than working my ass off, but if anyone comes up with a better solution let me know. The morale of this story is that we cannot go into the inner city communities, reach out our hands to help children who don't have opportunities to access quality education, and encourage 40K/year schools expecting for them to figure it out once you lead them there. We need to be realistic about people’s situations, and truly set them up for success, not to open one door and just to close another. We need to make sure people have access to quality and affordable education the right way, and hopefully decrease the amount of people in this country going through the same things I am experiencing.

Sonya Lee  December 4, 2015  Chicago IL

As I sit here in my dorm room at Lewis University, I think about how I got here. I am currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership. Growing up as the youngest of 5 children raised by a single mother, we certainly did not have access to many things in life. Although our mother provided shelter and food, the necessities for raising a family, we were exposed to the same education everyone around us had access to. As I entered elementary school, I met several teachers who took an investment in me. For middle school and high school, I attended private catholic institutions that provided excellent education. My tuition was fully covered by a program designed to support inner city and underprivileged youth. Although I had an obvious learning curve due to the lack of quality education I received before attending private school, I academically survived, barely. As the end of high school was approaching, it was time to start looking at colleges. My older sister, who also received the benefit of being in the same program, left Colorado to attend Saint Mary’s College of California, a 30k/year school. She received a great deal of scholarships and grants, but still needed to take out a few loans. By the time I was searching for schools, Saint Mary's also ended up offering me the most money. However, two years after my sisters enrollment, the tuition was now 40K/year. I also received only partial scholarship from the school and a few grants. Remember, I barely survived high school academically, so my grades were certainly not very strong to compete for additional scholarship money. Looking back at the hard facts, that meant I would roughly leave school with about 80K debt, understanding that I would need to take out at least 15K a year (for 4 yrs) in loans considering the small grant amounts I received, add interests on top of the 80K, and we are now looking at close to if not over 100K. However, mentors and supporters highly encouraged that I pursue Saint Mary’s and move forward with my education without considering that I received no additional financial support from any of the programs that supported me prior,

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Sonya Lee  December 4, 2015  Chicago IL

I am 67 years old and am now facing repayment of student loans at the amount of $1064.50 a month. I am a college teacher with a base salary of less than $45,000 a year and it took me 13 years (adjunct all this time) to get a full-time position. I was told when I refinanced my loans that they would be refinanced at 3% and when the loan documents came, and time had run out, I was given an 8.25% rate. This was the original rate that I had. I am told that there is nothing that can be done except to reduce my payment to the interest amount which is $900. a month. This is the most disgraceful predatory system that we have, even worse than the housing market. It seems to be discriminatory to exclude student loans from bankruptcy. I am certainly not wholeheartedly supporting that program but when absolutely necessary, it is available to those who need it to help themselves financially. These loans need to go away and I don't feel that way just because I have them but also for all the struggling students I see everyday. Both education and healthcare are human rights and should be identified as such in this country instead of the economic slavery system that has been created.

Lou Bonavita  December 3, 2015  Florida

I am 67 years old and am now facing repayment of student loans at the amount of $1064.50 a month. I am a college teacher with a base salary of less than $45,000 a year and it took me 13 years (adjunct all this time) to get a full-time position. I was told when I refinanced my loans that they would be refinanced at 3% and when the loan documents came, and time had run out, I was given an 8.25% rate. This was the original rate that I had. I am told that there is nothing that can be done except to reduce my payment to the interest amount which is $900. a month. This is the most disgraceful predatory system that we have, even worse than the housing market. It seems to be discriminatory to exclude student loans from bankruptcy. I am certainly not wholeheartedly supporting that program but when absolutely necessary, it is available to those who need it to help themselves financially. These loans need to go away and I don't feel that way just because I have them but also for all the struggling students I see everyday. Both education and healthcare are human rights and should be identified as such in this country instead of the economic slavery system that has been created.

Lou Bonavita  December 3, 2015  Florida

I was the first of my family to go to college. My mom spent a year in an arts program and my dad (born deaf) was placed by a social worker into a factory job to support my family.

Being the first to go to college means a lot of things. It holds a lot of responsibility. It holds a lot of promise. It holds a lot of questions. My family having never experienced student loans didn't think there was a difference and unknowingly allowed me to take out a hefty mix of private and federal loans. I went to an in-state university for my bachelors and then stayed in state to get my Masters of Social Work degree. I'm a social worker now -- a profession that undoubtedly helped my father. I'm not a commodities trader, or a broker, or any profession that makes a comfortable living.. I'm a proud social worker doing the necessary work to help those washed out the bottom of our market driven society.

All told -- I owe $70,000 to Chase Student Loans and $50,000 to FedLoan -- I owe over $130,000 total to be a social worker. My monthly payments recently jumped to $700 per month. Not including rent, food, transportation, or utilities -- student loan payments constitute 40% of my take home pay. This is no way to live. I've been heavily questioning leaving social work -- a rewarding job that I love -- to do something that might pay the bills better. Which begs the question:

"What’s the point of an education if the economic gains of higher education are lost to a life of student debt?"

Carl Wiley  November 30, 2015  Chicago Illinois

I was the first of my family to go to college. My mom spent a year in an arts program and my dad (born deaf) was placed by a social worker into a factory job to support my family.

Being the first to go to college means a lot of things. It holds a lot of responsibility. It holds a lot of promise. It holds a lot of questions. My family having never experienced student loans didn't think there was a difference and unknowingly allowed me to take out a hefty mix of private and federal loans. I went to an in-state university for my bachelors and then stayed in state to get my Masters of Social Work degree. I'm a social worker now -- a profession that undoubtedly helped my father. I'm not a commodities trader, or a broker, or any profession that makes a comfortable living.. I'm a proud social worker doing the necessary work to help those washed out the bottom of our market driven society.

All told -- I owe $70,000 to Chase Student Loans and $50,000 to FedLoan -- I owe over $130,000 total to be a social worker. My monthly payments recently jumped to $700 per month. Not including rent, food, transportation, or utilities -- student loan payments constitute 40% of my take home pay. This is no way to live. I've been heavily questioning leaving social work -- a rewarding job that I love -- to do something that might pay the bills better. Which begs the question:

"What’s the point of an education if the economic gains of higher education are lost to a life of student debt?"

Carl Wiley  November 30, 2015  Chicago Illinois

I'm 36 years old, and time is running out. I will never be in a position to financially support having a child. My student loan debt has and will continue to haunt me. I didn't understand what I was getting into. Yes, I signed up for it, but I didn't know how much it would prevent me from doing what I wanted to do in life.

I grew up thinking college was the way to get me places in life. I grew up in a crowded mobile home trailer in Florida with three youner brothers and no money for college. Scholarships and loans were my only ticket out. I took out student loans to help with tuition, books, and living expenses for an in-state school University of South Florida and received my undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and Policy. I was excited and thought I was really going places when I was accepted into the College of William and Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science for their Master's program. They offered me some financial aid, however, to make the out-of-state transition, I needed to supplement the rest with student loans. As a graduate student, I ran into some difficulties with the school; the department I was in closed and I was shifted into another one, and I was given a new thesis topic to start on. Then, I ran into some medical difficulties. These caused me to extend my program and take out even more loans at an out-of-state rate. Finally, I took a medical leave, but I could not afford to return to school after the allowed time period. To date, I have over 45 graduate credit hours, all but thesis, no degree.

After leaving my graduade program, I found a job in the science field as an environmental laboratory analyst, which started $10.00/hour, and after working there for six years, I was up to a little bit over $13.00/hr, with over $80,000 in student loan debt! I missed payments, I ignored phone calls, I used deferment options, I used forbearance options, I tried different repayment plans... The interest grew. The monster kept getting bigger. It didn't help that the companies kept changing and I kept moving from apartment to apartment. It was a frustrating, confusing mess for a young adult just trying to get settled.

Now I'm married, and with my husband's support, in the last four years, I was finally able to do a career switcher program and move from an hourly job to teaching high school science. I make less than $40,000, but it's much more than than my lab job. With our combined incomes, my husband and I were finally able to afford a house.
TEN years later, mind you, not living on my own, I can finally (barely) afford to make my almost $900/MONTH student loan payments, with no end in the near future. My husband also has his fair share of student loans, though not nearly as much as mine.

What breaks my heart most is that I cannot afford to have a child. Due to some medical issues, we need some fertility help, and I don't have the extra money to save. Furthermore, with my loans, I can't afford not to work and combined with the cost of childcare, it's out of our reach.

This has caused me heartache and more grief than I ever thought possible. My husband and I have gone through months of couples counseling and therapy to work through this together. We ran the numbers,we made spreadsheets, we calculated everything. Our therapist tried to help us think out of the box and get creative. Every time it came down to one thing- my student loan debt. I always thought my student loans were going to be my ticket to happiness and a better life, instead, they are a burden and a constant reminder of my biggest failures- a graduate degree I never did finish and the mother I may never be, and I don't have much time left to make that happen. A 36 years old, my time for that is running out. It doesn't seem fair.
When I was about 18- 22 years old, I thought I knew what I was signing up for, I thought I was investing in a better future for myself, I thought I was going to get out of the poverty and debt I lived in growing up. I thought the ends would justify the means. I thought I would be able to get a great job and pay them back in a decent amount of time. I didn't truly understand what I was getting into and what my student loans would prevent me from doing with my life. I'm angry, I'm sad, I'm bitter.

Jennie  November 29, 2015  Virginia

I'm 36 years old, and time is running out. I will never be in a position to financially support having a child. My student loan debt has and will continue to haunt me. I didn't understand what I was getting into. Yes, I signed up for it, but I didn't know how much it would prevent me from doing what I wanted to do in life.

I grew up thinking college was the way to get me places in life. I grew up in a crowded mobile home trailer in Florida with three youner brothers and no money for college. Scholarships and loans were my only ticket out. I took out student loans to help with tuition, books, and living expenses for an in-state school University of South Florida and received my undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and Policy. I was excited and thought I was really going places when I was accepted into the College of William and Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science for their Master's program. They offered me some financial aid, however, to make the out-of-state transition, I needed to supplement the rest with student loans. As a graduate student, I ran into some difficulties with the school; the department I was in closed and I was shifted into another one, and I was given a new thesis topic to start on. Then, I ran into some medical difficulties. These caused me to extend my program and take out even more loans at an out-of-state rate. Finally, I took a medical leave, but I could not afford to return to school after the allowed time period. To date, I have over 45 graduate credit hours, all but thesis, no degree.

After leaving my graduade program, I found a job in the science field as an environmental laboratory analyst, which started $10.00/hour, and after working there for six years, I was up to a little bit over $13.00/hr, with over $80,000 in student loan debt! I missed payments, I ignored phone calls, I used deferment options, I used forbearance options, I tried different repayment plans...

...more
Jennie  November 29, 2015  Virginia

In 2001, I had a miscarriage at 20 weeks. After 3 medical procedures and no insurance, I owed $53,000.00. My husband and I had to consolidate our student loans into a federal spousal consolidation loan in order to attempt to stay on top of things with 2 other kids. 9 years later, and at $250,000.00 of student loan debt, we ended up divorced. I was first on the loan paperwork, so I am held responsible. My ex knows this and pays nothing. We can't separate the loans. I am a teacher making barely enough to pay my bills. I feel despair and hopelessness. My ex is living life without a care in the world. How is this life?

Leslie  November 28, 2015

In 2001, I had a miscarriage at 20 weeks. After 3 medical procedures and no insurance, I owed $53,000.00. My husband and I had to consolidate our student loans into a federal spousal consolidation loan in order to attempt to stay on top of things with 2 other kids. 9 years later, and at $250,000.00 of student loan debt, we ended up divorced. I was first on the loan paperwork, so I am held responsible. My ex knows this and pays nothing. We can't separate the loans. I am a teacher making barely enough to pay my bills. I feel despair and hopelessness. My ex is living life without a care in the world. How is this life?

Leslie  November 28, 2015

To me there are 3 big injustices in America that are not political:
Life Insurance is one.
Student loans another.
And the third is the value of most university endowments, which is or could be used to relieve Student loans.

When I went to the University of Connecticut tuition was $600.00 a semester. Loans were rare and quickly paid off. You now have skyrocketing tuition costs and loans. Totally wrong and unfair. As an example: Yale's endowment is now $23.9 billion as of June 30, 2014, net of spending. The University benefited from investment gains of approximately $4.0 billion. Yet how many students will be able to EVER pay back their loans that go there. For those reading this, google any college's endowment value to see what I mean.

My daughter has a $30,000.00 student loan to attend UNR. We both make payments monthly, but with interest, it will take 24 years to pay it off. She graduated 8 years ago. The University of Nevada, Reno's total endowment exceeded $277 million as of June 30, 2014 and returned 19.6 percent. Fair?

Larry Roscoe  November 25, 2015  Nevada

To me there are 3 big injustices in America that are not political:
Life Insurance is one.
Student loans another.
And the third is the value of most university endowments, which is or could be used to relieve Student loans.

When I went to the University of Connecticut tuition was $600.00 a semester. Loans were rare and quickly paid off. You now have skyrocketing tuition costs and loans. Totally wrong and unfair. As an example: Yale's endowment is now $23.9 billion as of June 30, 2014, net of spending. The University benefited from investment gains of approximately $4.0 billion. Yet how many students will be able to EVER pay back their loans that go there. For those reading this, google any college's endowment value to see what I mean.

My daughter has a $30,000.00 student loan to attend UNR. We both make payments monthly, but with interest, it will take 24 years to pay it off. She graduated 8 years ago. The University of Nevada, Reno's total endowment exceeded $277 million as of June 30, 2014 and returned 19.6 percent. Fair?

Larry Roscoe  November 25, 2015  Nevada

Hello, my name is Keith Herring and I am 25-year-old aspiring entrepreneur residing in New York City. One day someone told me that I would never amount to anything. That I should forget about going to college and just enroll into the army. Wise words from a New York City High School teacher. I wish they could see me now.

I am a 2014 college graduate from Long Island Post University. I received my bachelors degree in criminal justice with a 3.1 GPA and a minor in psychology. In addition, I have played four years of baseball at the collegiate level and received multiple awards because of my dedication to the sport. I am not the smartest person, but I have accomplished a lot of things people haven't in my neighborhood.

I am writing you today because I need your help, I need a solution. Long Island Post University has a tuition of $41,400. There were loans taken out for my education so I could stay in school. As soon as I graduated, I received information from the company I will not name, stating that I would have to pay nine hundred dollars a month. Previously mentioned, I am a recent graduate who studied criminal justice. My dream is to become a police officer, then work my way up to SWAT. I have taken multiple police exams and all I can do now is wait on a call back from the department. I thought to myself, what job can I get quickly to help me pay my dues?... All while I help my single mother with buying household appliances, food, and my medicine because I've been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.

The company has threatened mine and my mothers credit if we do not comply. How can I meet the requirements if a steady salary does not exist. I have not done anything wrong but try, and I do not think a part-time position at a fitness gym paying $8.75 an hour would help. If I was able to pay that company nine hundred dollars month I don't think I would have needed a loan or even live where I have lived my whole life.

So if it is possible can you please give me any kind of information that can help me in this difficult situation, thank you.

Sincerely,

Keith Herring

Keith Herring  November 23, 2015  New York

Hello, my name is Keith Herring and I am 25-year-old aspiring entrepreneur residing in New York City. One day someone told me that I would never amount to anything. That I should forget about going to college and just enroll into the army. Wise words from a New York City High School teacher. I wish they could see me now.

I am a 2014 college graduate from Long Island Post University. I received my bachelors degree in criminal justice with a 3.1 GPA and a minor in psychology. In addition, I have played four years of baseball at the collegiate level and received multiple awards because of my dedication to the sport. I am not the smartest person, but I have accomplished a lot of things people haven't in my neighborhood.

I am writing you today because I need your help, I need a solution. Long Island Post University has a tuition of $41,400. There were loans taken out for my education so I could stay in school. As soon as I graduated, I received information from the company I will not name, stating that I would have to pay nine hundred dollars a month. Previously mentioned, I am a recent graduate who studied criminal justice. My dream is to become a police officer, then work my way up to SWAT. I have taken multiple police exams and all I can do now is wait on a call back from the department. I thought to myself, what job can I get quickly to help me pay my dues?... All while I help my single mother with buying household appliances, food, and my medicine because I've been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.

The company has threatened mine and my mothers credit if we do not comply. How can I meet the requirements if a steady salary does not exist. I have not done anything wrong but try, and I do not think a part-time position at a fitness gym paying $8.75 an hour would help. If I was able to pay that company nine hundred dollars month I don't think I would have needed a loan or even live where I have lived my whole life.

...more
Keith Herring  November 23, 2015  New York

My story is the absolute worst-case scenario. I have never met anyone in such a terrible circumstance, and have never heard anyone propose a solution or a plan of action to ease this burden or provide some semblance of a better quality of life. I am 26 years old and my AS degree is valueless - it would be impossible for me to make monthly payments with an entry-level salary in my field. After a few years of uncertainty and indecision, I racked up debt just shy of $150,000. Before it is paid, with interest, it is unlikely that I will pay one penny less than $200,000. Every day that passes I get further from my promised career path, stuck doing what must be done to make payments rather than what is fulfilling, interesting, or good for our country. With all but a few thousand owed to private lenders, there is almost no relief for me. I am subject to multiple variable interest rates even among loans with the same company. The rules and deadlines for payments, the penalties and collections practices, all of them vary from one company to the other. I've gone back to school to defer my loans because the community college tuition is less than what I would pay over the same period of time. I have 3 children who may never know what it's like to live in their own home, because I have to pay close to $1500 every month just to my lenders. I will never own a home, my credit may never recover. There is no American Dream on the table for me. The best I can do is tread water and hope for the best.

My generation deserved better than to be the cash crop for a predatory, profit-driven business model. My children deserve better.

Andrew G  November 23, 2015  Philadelphia

My story is the absolute worst-case scenario. I have never met anyone in such a terrible circumstance, and have never heard anyone propose a solution or a plan of action to ease this burden or provide some semblance of a better quality of life. I am 26 years old and my AS degree is valueless - it would be impossible for me to make monthly payments with an entry-level salary in my field. After a few years of uncertainty and indecision, I racked up debt just shy of $150,000. Before it is paid, with interest, it is unlikely that I will pay one penny less than $200,000. Every day that passes I get further from my promised career path, stuck doing what must be done to make payments rather than what is fulfilling, interesting, or good for our country. With all but a few thousand owed to private lenders, there is almost no relief for me. I am subject to multiple variable interest rates even among loans with the same company. The rules and deadlines for payments, the penalties and collections practices, all of them vary from one company to the other. I've gone back to school to defer my loans because the community college tuition is less than what I would pay over the same period of time. I have 3 children who may never know what it's like to live in their own home, because I have to pay close to $1500 every month just to my lenders. I will never own a home, my credit may never recover. There is no American Dream on the table for me. The best I can do is tread water and hope for the best.

My generation deserved better than to be the cash crop for a predatory, profit-driven business model. My children deserve better.

Andrew G  November 23, 2015  Philadelphia

I was so desperate to have a better life I jumped into college mid life to secure what was left of my future only to graduate realizing that now I'm still in debt like before only making more money now to hand over to the government.

Lauretta Gomez  November 21, 2015  Bremerton WA

I was so desperate to have a better life I jumped into college mid life to secure what was left of my future only to graduate realizing that now I'm still in debt like before only making more money now to hand over to the government.

Lauretta Gomez  November 21, 2015  Bremerton WA

The shared $200,000.00 of student debt between my husband and myself affects every decision we make: we have decided not to have children, we have decided to live in an area that would not have been our first choice, we have decided to purchase second-hand whenever possible and we have not decided that we cannot afford a house right now. Maybe not ever. Much of our life together is about managing our student debt, rather than planning for the future or living in the present.
If there was only one thing I could change about my life, I would not have gone to such a high profile (and extremely expensive, even with a partial scholarship) graduate program. Except... that is where I met my husband.

Selena  November 21, 2015  Florida

The shared $200,000.00 of student debt between my husband and myself affects every decision we make: we have decided not to have children, we have decided to live in an area that would not have been our first choice, we have decided to purchase second-hand whenever possible and we have not decided that we cannot afford a house right now. Maybe not ever. Much of our life together is about managing our student debt, rather than planning for the future or living in the present.
If there was only one thing I could change about my life, I would not have gone to such a high profile (and extremely expensive, even with a partial scholarship) graduate program. Except... that is where I met my husband.

Selena  November 21, 2015  Florida

My wife and I owe more on our student loans than our home. We both earned advanced degrees (MFAs in Creative Writing) to help us in our careers. Currently, my wife is moving forward with an editing business that is slowly taking off. However, I work as an assistant professor in academia. Though I was told to earn my MFA to gain a spot for a tenure track, I was passed up for said track because of the MFA (my colleagues determined the administration would not grasp the value of a terminal degree with an MFA in lieu of a PhD. However, no one on the committee even attempted to contact the administration, and I was never allowed to defend my degree). In addition, if I had gone to a state school in Pennsylvania for my MFA, I would have attended for free. I chose a private school because it had a far better program. Now, since I am not on the tenure track, I am not receiving any cost of living increases. This means I am now earning what I was making in marketing in 2003. I have absolutely no money to keep my home up to date or even make repairs, so we have to sell, and I cannot afford to currently pay back my student loans.

I just turned fifty. I have no idea if I will ever be able to pay back my loan, if I will ever earn tenure so I can get a raise, and if I will ever be able to save enough money to retire (and afford healthcare). I am scared.

William D. Prystauk  November 20, 2015  Easton, PA

My wife and I owe more on our student loans than our home. We both earned advanced degrees (MFAs in Creative Writing) to help us in our careers. Currently, my wife is moving forward with an editing business that is slowly taking off. However, I work as an assistant professor in academia. Though I was told to earn my MFA to gain a spot for a tenure track, I was passed up for said track because of the MFA (my colleagues determined the administration would not grasp the value of a terminal degree with an MFA in lieu of a PhD. However, no one on the committee even attempted to contact the administration, and I was never allowed to defend my degree). In addition, if I had gone to a state school in Pennsylvania for my MFA, I would have attended for free. I chose a private school because it had a far better program. Now, since I am not on the tenure track, I am not receiving any cost of living increases. This means I am now earning what I was making in marketing in 2003. I have absolutely no money to keep my home up to date or even make repairs, so we have to sell, and I cannot afford to currently pay back my student loans.

I just turned fifty. I have no idea if I will ever be able to pay back my loan, if I will ever earn tenure so I can get a raise, and if I will ever be able to save enough money to retire (and afford healthcare). I am scared.

William D. Prystauk  November 20, 2015  Easton, PA

My student debt story is a little more tragic than most. . . Like many students, my FAFSA forms were always filled out by my parents. Unfortunately for me, this means that someone other than myself controlled my debt and limits. I thought it was odd that every semester I'd get money back from school, but was unclear on where that money came from. My mother insisted it was from a loan that she had taken out at the time. Instead, I was funding her own private stash of cash every semester. While in school, I was unfortunate enough to begin having loans come through the recession that the U.S. began to suffer through in 2007/2008. I watched my loan interest rates soar, but had no option to pay for college out-of-pocket, so I did what I had to do. Fast forward, and I graduated with $65,000 worth of debt, high interest rates, and no idea how to pay for my loans after they'd open in six months. Now, my loan balances are higher than what I had originally graduated with, and I've continuously put the rest of my life on hold. I only purchased a car after getting into an accident, and had to scrape together to figure out payments, money which was meant for my school payments. I've given up on ever being able to buy a house. My husband and I pushed back our wedding for years because we were drowning in debt and didn't want to harm each other that way. Finally, we decided to go as moderately as possible for a wedding, but it was not without serious sacrifice of what we "wanted" versus what we could pay.

As a strategic career move, I did opt to earn my Master's degree. In the midst of the change, my employers did away with higher pay for those with a higher degree, and I've again taken on MORE debt, with no end in sight. My total balance is now $103,000.

Why haven't I bought a house? I apparently purchased a home for a college dean somewhere.

Raye S  November 20, 2015  Pennsylvania

My student debt story is a little more tragic than most. . . Like many students, my FAFSA forms were always filled out by my parents. Unfortunately for me, this means that someone other than myself controlled my debt and limits. I thought it was odd that every semester I'd get money back from school, but was unclear on where that money came from. My mother insisted it was from a loan that she had taken out at the time. Instead, I was funding her own private stash of cash every semester. While in school, I was unfortunate enough to begin having loans come through the recession that the U.S. began to suffer through in 2007/2008. I watched my loan interest rates soar, but had no option to pay for college out-of-pocket, so I did what I had to do. Fast forward, and I graduated with $65,000 worth of debt, high interest rates, and no idea how to pay for my loans after they'd open in six months. Now, my loan balances are higher than what I had originally graduated with, and I've continuously put the rest of my life on hold. I only purchased a car after getting into an accident, and had to scrape together to figure out payments, money which was meant for my school payments. I've given up on ever being able to buy a house. My husband and I pushed back our wedding for years because we were drowning in debt and didn't want to harm each other that way. Finally, we decided to go as moderately as possible for a wedding, but it was not without serious sacrifice of what we "wanted" versus what we could pay.

As a strategic career move, I did opt to earn my Master's degree. In the midst of the change, my employers did away with higher pay for those with a higher degree, and I've again taken on MORE debt, with no end in sight. My total balance is now $103,000.

Why haven't I bought a house? I apparently purchased a home for a college dean somewhere.

...more
Raye S  November 20, 2015  Pennsylvania

I attended a tech school back in 2006 and graduated 2 years later with over $35000 in student debt. I was paying the minimum amount due for awhile but they kept raising the minimum so now I've gotten further and further into the debt and can't seem to find my way out of catching up. All I want is a break so I can catch up and be able to stop worrying. And, like some others I am not working in the field I studied because there are no jobs where I live. I can't afford to move because I'm still raising a child and he has needs. I work full time but it just isn't enough to pay for necessities plus student loans. I am a single mother and receive no child support.

Carmen  November 20, 2015  Baldwinsville, New York

I attended a tech school back in 2006 and graduated 2 years later with over $35000 in student debt. I was paying the minimum amount due for awhile but they kept raising the minimum so now I've gotten further and further into the debt and can't seem to find my way out of catching up. All I want is a break so I can catch up and be able to stop worrying. And, like some others I am not working in the field I studied because there are no jobs where I live. I can't afford to move because I'm still raising a child and he has needs. I work full time but it just isn't enough to pay for necessities plus student loans. I am a single mother and receive no child support.

Carmen  November 20, 2015  Baldwinsville, New York

I had a federal student loan in 1974 for $12000.00. I am being charged 18% interest and I will end up paying till I die. I thought that Obama forgave student loans over 30 years. I am retired 7 years ago and my small federal pension and SSA is garnished by 25% and my federal tax refund is confiscated. This financial nightmare must come to an end.

joel despas  November 20, 2015  northern CA

I had a federal student loan in 1974 for $12000.00. I am being charged 18% interest and I will end up paying till I die. I thought that Obama forgave student loans over 30 years. I am retired 7 years ago and my small federal pension and SSA is garnished by 25% and my federal tax refund is confiscated. This financial nightmare must come to an end.

joel despas  November 20, 2015  northern CA

When I graduated in 2007 I owed just under 40K in student loans. Since that time, I have always made monthly payments. However, due to my spouse being laid off a few times and unexpected hospital stays for family over the past several years, there have been times I have had to put my loans in deferment. However, the interest continued to increase. I now owe over 45 K. I will continue making payments at this rate well into retirement. I am not sure what the solution is, but this is one of the fastest growing financial crisis in our country. I feel if you have paid over 5 years on your loans and worked in a field that requires a degree, your debt should be erased.

Christy  November 20, 2015  San Antonio

When I graduated in 2007 I owed just under 40K in student loans. Since that time, I have always made monthly payments. However, due to my spouse being laid off a few times and unexpected hospital stays for family over the past several years, there have been times I have had to put my loans in deferment. However, the interest continued to increase. I now owe over 45 K. I will continue making payments at this rate well into retirement. I am not sure what the solution is, but this is one of the fastest growing financial crisis in our country. I feel if you have paid over 5 years on your loans and worked in a field that requires a degree, your debt should be erased.

Christy  November 20, 2015  San Antonio

A few months ago my wife's mother died and with the money from her will we were finally able to pay off our children's student loans. With the little excess we had left we helped our granddaughter pay some of her loans off. The future of America is in the education of our children and with the crazy system we now have many graduate without a job and still have horrible loans sitting there drawing interest. We need a solution like Mrs Warren and Bernie Sanders have suggested. Without a drastic change the rich will soon control everything with no way to rectify it. I'm afraid that just voting will not change things. The mind set of the officials in office has to change.

Dennis F Doran Jr  November 19, 2015  Central New York

A few months ago my wife's mother died and with the money from her will we were finally able to pay off our children's student loans. With the little excess we had left we helped our granddaughter pay some of her loans off. The future of America is in the education of our children and with the crazy system we now have many graduate without a job and still have horrible loans sitting there drawing interest. We need a solution like Mrs Warren and Bernie Sanders have suggested. Without a drastic change the rich will soon control everything with no way to rectify it. I'm afraid that just voting will not change things. The mind set of the officials in office has to change.

Dennis F Doran Jr  November 19, 2015  Central New York

I graduated in 1993. Paid on my $38,000 loan for 15 years then on/off since. I am now have $98,000 in student loan debt due to loan sell off and interest. This is unsustainable. I'm trying to get a business off the ground and I'm living in my vehicle. This is the cost of higher education...

Peva  November 19, 2015

I graduated in 1993. Paid on my $38,000 loan for 15 years then on/off since. I am now have $98,000 in student loan debt due to loan sell off and interest. This is unsustainable. I'm trying to get a business off the ground and I'm living in my vehicle. This is the cost of higher education...

Peva  November 19, 2015

YMy student loan debt is now over $300,000 dollars, and in default. I haven't worked in 3 years, I'm 54, and my life is over. The only thing I have to look forward to is death, which seems rather inviting about now.

How did I get here? After I left the Marine Corps in 1989 I began college, and I paid the first year out of my pocket. In 2000 I went to work full-time after completing my M.S. in Biology with a end G.P.A. of 3.82 - I also worked while I was a student, sometimes more than 40 hours a week. In 2004, after paying on my student loans, or the interest more accurately, I consolidated all my loans with the Dept. of Education in an effort to reduce my payments. Because of the sheer amount of my loans I had forbearances, deferments, and eventually went into the Income Contingent Repayment plan (ICR).

I made payments when I could until late 2010 when I became unemployed; in 2012 my student loans went default and I had to endure months and months of debt collectors calling me at anytime they desired, and I do mean at anytime of the day or night. And then they proceeded to harass my mom, dad, and other family members as well. I got married in late 2013 and as a precaution, I had a prenuptial agreement drawn up so my wife would not have to suffer for something she had nothing to with, at all. So much for that - the IRS took her tax refund anyway, even though it was for the year before we met and married! America the great, right?!

On to the amount. I'm sure you're wondering how the hell did I amass $300,000 in student loan debt? I didn't. When I defaulted a collection company tacked on a juicy $80,000 collection fee and then kicked it back to the feds for ultimate collection. That probably works out to $500.00 for every call they placed to me - I didn't know phone charges were that high these days.

Anyone who defends this draconian system of predatory lending is not anyone you want to know, or associate with, in your life.

America - land of the indebted and home of the too poor to be brave.
our Story*

Done Tom  November 19, 2015  Jax, Florida

YMy student loan debt is now over $300,000 dollars, and in default. I haven't worked in 3 years, I'm 54, and my life is over. The only thing I have to look forward to is death, which seems rather inviting about now.

How did I get here? After I left the Marine Corps in 1989 I began college, and I paid the first year out of my pocket. In 2000 I went to work full-time after completing my M.S. in Biology with a end G.P.A. of 3.82 - I also worked while I was a student, sometimes more than 40 hours a week. In 2004, after paying on my student loans, or the interest more accurately, I consolidated all my loans with the Dept. of Education in an effort to reduce my payments. Because of the sheer amount of my loans I had forbearances, deferments, and eventually went into the Income Contingent Repayment plan (ICR).

I made payments when I could until late 2010 when I became unemployed; in 2012 my student loans went default and I had to endure months and months of debt collectors calling me at anytime they desired, and I do mean at anytime of the day or night. And then they proceeded to harass my mom, dad, and other family members as well. I got married in late 2013 and as a precaution, I had a prenuptial agreement drawn up so my wife would not have to suffer for something she had nothing to with, at all. So much for that - the IRS took her tax refund anyway, even though it was for the year before we met and married! America the great, right?!

On to the amount. I'm sure you're wondering how the hell did I amass $300,000 in student loan debt? I didn't. When I defaulted a collection company tacked on a juicy $80,000 collection fee and then kicked it back to the feds for ultimate collection. That probably works out to $500.00 for every call they placed to me - I didn't know phone charges were that high these days.

...more
Done Tom  November 19, 2015  Jax, Florida

Parent Plus Loan Nightmare the Monster that keeps Growing. I am a single mother of 3, one still in college. I had to take out Parent Plus loans to help my last two through college. I am 62, work full time and have a college degree. I was hoping to retire at 65 and pay the loans on payments and then the balance when I sold my property. Well with no warning my paycheck gets garnished from the Dept of Education $1,000. a month. No warning, no phone call, no letter, NOTHING. Letters did arrive 8 days after the garnishment was in place. Too late ! Fortunately I have worked at my job for 20 years and they were really nice about it. I was mortified and never late on any bill. For 5 months now I have tried to find out how this happened and find out how I fix this but the Dept of ED is a mess, no one calls back, very poor communication and each time you call you get a different story. They were in the wrong but fixing it is almost impossible. You will not find an advocate to assist you. My $50,000. of loans for 2 kids is now over 100,000 !!!! A collection fee of $35,000. ?? Even lawyers do not know much about Federal garnishments and how to get them removed. It is the biggest mess I have seen in my entire life. My credit that was perfect is now ruined. I have worked all of my life, I am a taxpayer, a nurse, a good Citizen. I have been treated like a criminal ! This is what I have learned. Private lenders have to have a court order to garnish you, the Dept of Ed does not. So they can garnish, lean your property and take your income tax with no investigation or court hearing. It is your word against theirs. No one will listen to you and you will not get the same person twice. You will definitely not get your day in court. There is a Borrower's Bill of Rights but there is no one to make sure it is enforced. Make sure you stay on top of your loans they will not necessarily notify you when they come due. Don't expect a payment book. Parent Plus loans cannot be deferred so do not believe anyone at the Dept of ED that tells you that your PPL's are deferred. If you are being garnished and no one will communicate with you send monthly voluntary payments to the Dept of Ed and keep copies and records. Keep sending them. $100. payments helped me. If you are able to reach someone get on a rehab payment plan asap. It took me almost 5 months for anyone to communicate logically with me and the payments did help and were applied to my "official" rehab payment plan. I cannot tell you the hopelessness and upset this has created. Also my loss of respect and mistrust of the Dept of Education. If you mail an appeal and financial form like I did keep checking on it. I have sent 3 times and with return receipt but they claim they never received it. Finally a faxed copy was noted. Don't think any of your forms have been entered in as received. I fear for our Children's future. I hope parent's read my story and do not take these loans out. If you have to take out loans go to a private lender not the Dept of ED. Try not to take loans at all but in this day and age who can afford education without loans? I hope this helps someone.

Judy  November 19, 2015  Arkansas

Parent Plus Loan Nightmare the Monster that keeps Growing. I am a single mother of 3, one still in college. I had to take out Parent Plus loans to help my last two through college. I am 62, work full time and have a college degree. I was hoping to retire at 65 and pay the loans on payments and then the balance when I sold my property. Well with no warning my paycheck gets garnished from the Dept of Education $1,000. a month. No warning, no phone call, no letter, NOTHING. Letters did arrive 8 days after the garnishment was in place. Too late ! Fortunately I have worked at my job for 20 years and they were really nice about it. I was mortified and never late on any bill. For 5 months now I have tried to find out how this happened and find out how I fix this but the Dept of ED is a mess, no one calls back, very poor communication and each time you call you get a different story. They were in the wrong but fixing it is almost impossible. You will not find an advocate to assist you. My $50,000. of loans for 2 kids is now over 100,000 !!!! A collection fee of $35,000. ?? Even lawyers do not know much about Federal garnishments and how to get them removed. It is the biggest mess I have seen in my entire life. My credit that was perfect is now ruined. I have worked all of my life, I am a taxpayer, a nurse, a good Citizen. I have been treated like a criminal ! This is what I have learned. Private lenders have to have a court order to garnish you, the Dept of Ed does not. So they can garnish, lean your property and take your income tax with no investigation or court hearing. It is your word against theirs. No one will listen to you and you will not get the same person twice. You will definitely not get your day in court. There is a Borrower's Bill of Rights but there is no one to make sure it is enforced.

...more
Judy  November 19, 2015  Arkansas

I graduated from highschool in 2008 and went right into college and the University of Bridgeport as a Graphic Design major in the Fine Arts program. I maintain a 3.5GPA and excelled in all of my major design classes.

I'm originally from Brooklyn, NY and I thought getting a good education in a lucrative field such as Graphic Design would be a great step towards a rewarding future, not to mention I've been enthralledwith art my whole life.

A year and a half before I was set to graduate, meaning I was a Junior at the time, Discover Student Loans suddenly decided to cut off my loans. I could not continue going to school so I had to drop because there was no way I could pay out of pocket.

Before I signed up for the loans I was under the impression these loans are set up specifically for people, who have little to no credit, ie. college students who are just starting out. Why approve me for the loans in the first place if you're just going to cut me off 3 semesters before graduation? Of all my friends that I became close with in college I know of only 5 who actually managed to graduate, the others have financial issues similar to mine. Out of that 5 only 3 are actually in the field making an quite a bit of money but are still plagued by student loans. I've tried going back to school several times and the same thing keeps happening.

I am over $80k in student loan debt. I'm harrassed daily by them and they continue to report on my credit making it worse. I had only 3 semesters to complete which were basically core classes that have nothing to do with my major so I essentially have everything I need to be a graphic designer, but just don't have the degree to prove it. I can't get my credits released for all the time I spent. I can't get a job in my field because I have nothing to show for my hard work. I'm basically stuck in limbo. Discover Student Loans ruined my life. If I could've just finished college and gotten my degree I'd be able to get a job in my field and begin paying them back. They want their money, but it's their fault I'm in a position where I can't pay it back in the first place.

Because of the overwhelming debt, the inability to gain employment in my field even though I have the skills, 6 years of freelance experience and internship experience, and constant reporting on my credit I can barely maintain. This debt is literally crippling. The worst part is I have nothing to show for it.

This country stresses education so much yet they don't give us the tools to to pursue it and then they cripple us before our mid twenties. I just turned 26 a few days ago and I'm $80k in debt and rising due to interest. I have no doubt the debt would still be crippling even if I HAD finished my education, but at least I'd have my degree and a way to maintain with a career I enjoy. It's just so frustrating; Having employers tell me how impressed they are with my portfolio and that I have the necessary skills required to work gain an $18 to $24 an hour job but then get rejected because I don't have the degree. Every time I try to go back to school my financial situation just worsens.

I've literally considered faking my own death just to get out of this seemingly endless cycle of student loan debt just so I could start fresh.

I will say it again; Discover Student Loans ruined my life.

Abdul Jameel  November 18, 2015  Charlotte, NC

I graduated from highschool in 2008 and went right into college and the University of Bridgeport as a Graphic Design major in the Fine Arts program. I maintain a 3.5GPA and excelled in all of my major design classes.

I'm originally from Brooklyn, NY and I thought getting a good education in a lucrative field such as Graphic Design would be a great step towards a rewarding future, not to mention I've been enthralledwith art my whole life.

A year and a half before I was set to graduate, meaning I was a Junior at the time, Discover Student Loans suddenly decided to cut off my loans. I could not continue going to school so I had to drop because there was no way I could pay out of pocket.

Before I signed up for the loans I was under the impression these loans are set up specifically for people, who have little to no credit, ie. college students who are just starting out. Why approve me for the loans in the first place if you're just going to cut me off 3 semesters before graduation? Of all my friends that I became close with in college I know of only 5 who actually managed to graduate, the others have financial issues similar to mine. Out of that 5 only 3 are actually in the field making an quite a bit of money but are still plagued by student loans. I've tried going back to school several times and the same thing keeps happening.

I am over $80k in student loan debt. I'm harrassed daily by them and they continue to report on my credit making it worse. I had only 3 semesters to complete which were basically core classes that have nothing to do with my major so I essentially have everything I need to be a graphic designer, but just don't have the degree to prove it. I can't get my credits released for all the time I spent. I can't get a job in my field because I have nothing to show for my hard work.

...more
Abdul Jameel  November 18, 2015  Charlotte, NC

Here's my story in a letter to the president. Got an automated response back from him.

Dear Mr. President,
I am not sure if this letter will get to you or not, but I figured I would give it a try. I am writing concerning the student loan debt. I do have to say, I am not just writing on others behalf, but on behalf of myself as well. I look at my student loan debt grow every day, and there is nothing I can do about it. You know why? Because I have been unable to secure employment in my field for over 2 years after graduating, and what employment I did secure I was unable to make full payments on certain student loans, so what does that mean? As you probably already know, I had to put my loans in deferment for 2+ years (like many others) and the interest just keeps collecting and collecting and collecting. Over $7000 in interest has collected, and not to mention that on an affordable payment plan I would pay over 100,000 in just interest on the loan. You may ask yourself, why didn't you work while you were in school? Well, I had multiple internships that were equivalent to a part-time job that I PAID for as a part of my program. I focused on my studies and wanted to get the best grades that I could; with homework, classes, studying, and my internships that left little room for a part time job. I did not want to just be that “passing” student. I wanted to be that “outstanding” student. I do not believe I fell below a 3.6 grade point average with a full class schedule, internships, and I made the Dean’s List multiple semesters while I was in undergraduate school, but I barely received any scholarships or tuition assistance.
I was told multiple times, “You have a bright future ahead of you,” but looking at these loans I have realized I will NEVER get out of this debt that I feel in some way, shape, or form I was brainwashed to believe that I needed. I do not see a future ahead for myself. We as young children are told in order to make anything of ourselves and be successful we need to go to college, and then what happens when we go to college? We are told that we need to take out these loans in order to finish school. My high school did little to guide its students for a successful career path. No educational testing or career advisement was done. Also, no financial advisement was performed at the high school or collegiate level. There was no explanation of the repercussions of taking out these loans. Institutions just tell you to sign on the dotted line and all will be well.
When we go to college we are promised all these things such as scholarships, good paying jobs, etc, but in reality that is only true for some, but NOT true for most. Answer me this, how is it fare to put this pressure on someone who is still a CHILD when making these decisions? Yes, I did sign for these loans and understand I took this on as a responsibility, but how am I ever supposed to afford these loans that keep racking up interest upon interest? I have accepted that I will never own my own house, have children, have a new vehicle, etc. I will never be able to live the American Dream (even though I am an American Citizen) because of these choices that I felt in a way I was forced to make when I was still a child. These decisions will haunt me for the rest of my life. I honestly look back and regret my secondary education because I was told you will get a GREAT job and be able to pay these loans back. That was nothing but lies; lies the government told us as children so they could fill their pocket books and look out for Number 1, themselves. At this point I feel I would have been better off never have attending college and started working out of high school or learning a trade. It seems many of those who have are better off than I would be financially because they do not face the burden of these student loans.
I was the first one in my family to go to college and complete a degree, but honestly my family was working class and could not afford to help me with school. However, the government still they asked for my father's income anyway and based my Financial Aid off of that. He was not able to help me financially because he had 3 other children to take care of. There was no college fund for me. Being the first one to go for higher education, my family and I were unaware of what it exactly entailed regarding financial aid, student loans, and the school was not honest about it. They just wanted their money. They are predators and prey on individuals like myself who want a better life. They know those striving to do better will listen because we believed what they were saying. Why shouldn't we, right? Schools are supposed to be honest, forthcoming, and for the student. Are they not? Well let me tell you something, they are not! It is people like me, and many others, who really want to make something of themselves and try to get ahead by getting an education that seem to get, excuse my language, screwed here.
I get panic attacks looking at these loans and wondering how I am ever going to repay them. They seriously have put me into depression. I want to be a productive member of society and put money back into the economy, but unfortunately I cannot do that. How are we supposed to be putting money back into the economy when essentially the vast majority of our money will go to the large loan corporations?
Mr. President, I ask you. Is there ever going to be any hope? Will there be any help for those who are being crushed with student loan debt? Is there a future for us who suffer from student loan debt because at this point it feels impossible to see. I want to be able to live the “American Dream.” I want to be able to give back to my economy, have a family, have a place to call my own, but like my hopes and aspirations this dream has died to. I thank you for your time Mr. President, and I hope to hear a response back in due time from you.

sam  November 18, 2015  Florida

Here's my story in a letter to the president. Got an automated response back from him.

Dear Mr. President,
I am not sure if this letter will get to you or not, but I figured I would give it a try. I am writing concerning the student loan debt. I do have to say, I am not just writing on others behalf, but on behalf of myself as well. I look at my student loan debt grow every day, and there is nothing I can do about it. You know why? Because I have been unable to secure employment in my field for over 2 years after graduating, and what employment I did secure I was unable to make full payments on certain student loans, so what does that mean? As you probably already know, I had to put my loans in deferment for 2+ years (like many others) and the interest just keeps collecting and collecting and collecting. Over $7000 in interest has collected, and not to mention that on an affordable payment plan I would pay over 100,000 in just interest on the loan. You may ask yourself, why didn't you work while you were in school? Well, I had multiple internships that were equivalent to a part-time job that I PAID for as a part of my program. I focused on my studies and wanted to get the best grades that I could; with homework, classes, studying, and my internships that left little room for a part time job. I did not want to just be that “passing” student. I wanted to be that “outstanding” student. I do not believe I fell below a 3.6 grade point average with a full class schedule, internships, and I made the Dean’s List multiple semesters while I was in undergraduate school, but I barely received any scholarships or tuition assistance.
I was told multiple times, “You have a bright future ahead of you,” but looking at these loans I have realized I will NEVER get out of this debt that I feel in some way, shape,

...more
sam  November 18, 2015  Florida

I have $119,000 in student debt for college and graduate school - which doesn't seem like a lot based on how much it costs to just live and go to school in California for 6 years (housing, food, car, tech). I have another $15,000 that my parents are covering for part of my undergraduate studies. The interest rates are above 6.8% so even though I've paid over $40,000 back on my student loans, the principal hasn't moved. Keeping a generation in debt because of education is ludicrous. Further, without the ability to save for a home, marriage, etc...the United States will be in a really dangerous economic position while the rest of the world educates their students for free. At the very least, eliminate the interest rates on student loans and open up universities to market forces - they have too many incentives to charge high tuition.

Deep Datta  November 17, 2015  Palo Alto, CA

I have $119,000 in student debt for college and graduate school - which doesn't seem like a lot based on how much it costs to just live and go to school in California for 6 years (housing, food, car, tech). I have another $15,000 that my parents are covering for part of my undergraduate studies. The interest rates are above 6.8% so even though I've paid over $40,000 back on my student loans, the principal hasn't moved. Keeping a generation in debt because of education is ludicrous. Further, without the ability to save for a home, marriage, etc...the United States will be in a really dangerous economic position while the rest of the world educates their students for free. At the very least, eliminate the interest rates on student loans and open up universities to market forces - they have too many incentives to charge high tuition.

Deep Datta  November 17, 2015  Palo Alto, CA

I graduated in June 2013 as a Medical Assistant with a 4.0 GPA and perfect attendance. This was a career change for me I was an admin assistant with over 20 years experience.

I had made a decision to make a career change after moving back to southern California and having a difficult time finding work.

I am Caucasian female in my 40's, I am not bilingual. After graduation I was so excited to start my new career. To my disipointment I still have not gotten an interview in the field I went to school for. I live in a community that is a majority Hispanic and Caucasian.

I have over 28K in student loans. Of all of the students that I became close with only 2 are working in the field they went to school for. One opened her own massage salon. The other has continued her education and is bilingual. I have no income and my boyfriend puts a roof over my head and feed me. I have bill collectors call me on a regular basis.

Velvet Bern  November 3, 2015  Southern California

I graduated in June 2013 as a Medical Assistant with a 4.0 GPA and perfect attendance. This was a career change for me I was an admin assistant with over 20 years experience.

I had made a decision to make a career change after moving back to southern California and having a difficult time finding work.

I am Caucasian female in my 40's, I am not bilingual. After graduation I was so excited to start my new career. To my disipointment I still have not gotten an interview in the field I went to school for. I live in a community that is a majority Hispanic and Caucasian.

I have over 28K in student loans. Of all of the students that I became close with only 2 are working in the field they went to school for. One opened her own massage salon. The other has continued her education and is bilingual. I have no income and my boyfriend puts a roof over my head and feed me. I have bill collectors call me on a regular basis.

Velvet Bern  November 3, 2015  Southern California

The spousal consolidation student loan I have with my wife was sold to a new student loan company, as happens often with loans. When I get the paperwork and immediately notice a mistake. Someone has swapped my father's name for my wife's name and listed him as cosigner. For the sake of privacy I have changed names, but it should be noted, we all share the same last name, which was being uses by both of us at every point in our conversation.

So I called up the new student loan people and tell them that at some point when my student loan was transferred to their company, someone seemed to have mistaken my father’s name, John *same last name* for my spouse’s name, Mary *same last name*. So they were listing my father as my spouse and cosigner for on the loan in error. As this is a spousal consolidation student loan, only my wife has ever been a cosigner the loan, and every other loan for that matter, so this is an error on their part.”

Then Customer Service Representative then kept asking me what my father’s name was. I would give it to her and she would repeat “No, I need your father’s name not your spouse's name.” She isisted that John ** was my wife and not my father.

After several attempts to explain it to her, she then asked me if I had divorced John ** (my father). Again, I tell her that this is my father not my spouse and that I never divorced him, as I never married him in the first place.

Then she asked with great confusion in her voice she asked “So you’re married to both John ** and Mary **?” (Insinuating a polygamist marriage)

I’m getting frustrated at this point, so I start to talk slowly and deliberately. I tell her that John ** is my father (with emphasis on father) and that at no point have I ever been married to my own father. I also explain that for the entire length of this loan I have only been married to one person, Mary **."

The service rep then says she understand, and tell me that she will need “documentation that you have never been married to John ** and only marred to Mary **, in order to change your spouse’s name.”

(I pause for a second, while trying to figure out how in the world to do this...) I asked her “So what kind of documentation do I need to send you to prove that I have never been part of a Legally Recognized Incestuous Homosexual Polygamist Marriage?"

The Customer Service Rep. then told me she wasn’t sure and would have to you me back after she spoke to the manager in the special issues department. It took two more months and numerous calls, for me to finally convince this loan company that I was not married to my own father and wife at the same time. All the time, my loan was appearing on my dad’s credit score, screwing up his finances. It's scary that I owe these people money.

Jeffrey B.  November 3, 2015  Sherwood, AR

The spousal consolidation student loan I have with my wife was sold to a new student loan company, as happens often with loans. When I get the paperwork and immediately notice a mistake. Someone has swapped my father's name for my wife's name and listed him as cosigner. For the sake of privacy I have changed names, but it should be noted, we all share the same last name, which was being uses by both of us at every point in our conversation.

So I called up the new student loan people and tell them that at some point when my student loan was transferred to their company, someone seemed to have mistaken my father’s name, John *same last name* for my spouse’s name, Mary *same last name*. So they were listing my father as my spouse and cosigner for on the loan in error. As this is a spousal consolidation student loan, only my wife has ever been a cosigner the loan, and every other loan for that matter, so this is an error on their part.”

Then Customer Service Representative then kept asking me what my father’s name was. I would give it to her and she would repeat “No, I need your father’s name not your spouse's name.” She isisted that John ** was my wife and not my father.

After several attempts to explain it to her, she then asked me if I had divorced John ** (my father). Again, I tell her that this is my father not my spouse and that I never divorced him, as I never married him in the first place.

Then she asked with great confusion in her voice she asked “So you’re married to both John ** and Mary **?” (Insinuating a polygamist marriage)

I’m getting frustrated at this point, so I start to talk slowly and deliberately. I tell her that John ** is my father (with emphasis on father) and that at no point have I ever been married to my own father. I also explain that for the entire length of this loan I have only been married to one person,

...more
Jeffrey B.  November 3, 2015  Sherwood, AR

I guess my story without all the details was/ is classic. Single mother raising three daughters, not making enough to make ends meet. Struggling financially, little to none child support, you know the scenario. The college I applied at was local, a Christian based private owned college with student housing and a work study program. I qualified and met all the criteria to enroll and stay on campus. I was 36 years old at the time and my daughter's were very young teenagers at the time. We struggled, it was tough, but I felt I had to set an example for my girls. To help meet expenses, I applied for full Pell Grants and applied for any assistance I could get, to include welfare assistance. After my first two years, I had applied to work full-time at the local county Welfare Dept. Office as an Eligibility Case Worker. I was able to get off of welfare assistance, and continue attending college full-time while working full-time for Mississippi State Dept. Of Human Services. I was able to finish my degree by the time I was 40, with the support and sacrifice of my daughters. I graduated in August 1992 with a 3.4 GPA in a BS degree in Business Administration Management Marketing and a minor in Finance. My girls and I were very proud of myself.

Now, reality set in. I still could not make enough money working for the State of Mississippi even with my degree and had to take a second job... and ask for a deferment on paying my student loan. This type of scenario continued off and on for several years, paying on my student loan when I could.
I did consolidate all my loans, at the time the interest was locked in a 9%. Wow, does that interest rate pile on the payments.

Between the deferments and forbearances I had to use, eventually I used up the limit. Fast forward to now, 2015, my age now 63, having heal issues barely hanging on to my great full-time job, struggling on FMLA, I am making the bare bones payments based on accelerating payments as time goes on. However, how much longer can I work? I was assured by the student loan company that my student loan debt would not pass on to my family when I die. How nice of them, right?? Currently I owe around $17,000.00. Will I be able to afford to live and continue to pay on my student loan? No.

This is my condensed story of my student loan situation

Thank You
Corrine Carter

Corrine Carter  November 3, 2015  Alabama

I guess my story without all the details was/ is classic. Single mother raising three daughters, not making enough to make ends meet. Struggling financially, little to none child support, you know the scenario. The college I applied at was local, a Christian based private owned college with student housing and a work study program. I qualified and met all the criteria to enroll and stay on campus. I was 36 years old at the time and my daughter's were very young teenagers at the time. We struggled, it was tough, but I felt I had to set an example for my girls. To help meet expenses, I applied for full Pell Grants and applied for any assistance I could get, to include welfare assistance. After my first two years, I had applied to work full-time at the local county Welfare Dept. Office as an Eligibility Case Worker. I was able to get off of welfare assistance, and continue attending college full-time while working full-time for Mississippi State Dept. Of Human Services. I was able to finish my degree by the time I was 40, with the support and sacrifice of my daughters. I graduated in August 1992 with a 3.4 GPA in a BS degree in Business Administration Management Marketing and a minor in Finance. My girls and I were very proud of myself.

Now, reality set in. I still could not make enough money working for the State of Mississippi even with my degree and had to take a second job... and ask for a deferment on paying my student loan. This type of scenario continued off and on for several years, paying on my student loan when I could.
I did consolidate all my loans, at the time the interest was locked in a 9%. Wow, does that interest rate pile on the payments.

Between the deferments and forbearances I had to use, eventually I used up the limit. Fast forward to now, 2015, my age now 63, having heal issues barely hanging on to my great full-time job, struggling on FMLA,

...more
Corrine Carter  November 3, 2015  Alabama

My student loan interest rate doubled while attending graduate school. I would have never attended if I would have known in advanced that my interest rate would increase to over 6% which, makes it a challenge to pay off. You would think a government student loan interest rate would be lower and more affordable than a mortgage from a private lender.

Mark Oshinsky  November 2, 2015

My student loan interest rate doubled while attending graduate school. I would have never attended if I would have known in advanced that my interest rate would increase to over 6% which, makes it a challenge to pay off. You would think a government student loan interest rate would be lower and more affordable than a mortgage from a private lender.

Mark Oshinsky  November 2, 2015

When I graduated from law school, we had a fair where folks from the Dept of Ed (?) came and told me what a good idea it would be to consolidate my eligible loans w/the Dept of Education. That way, I was told, if I took a job in public service, the government would forgive my loans in 10 years! So, I took a job in service for the federal government. I called the Dept of Ed about 4 times throughout the past 7 years to confirm that I was on track for loan forgiveness. The first 3 times, I was assured forgiveness, so long as I worked for the government for 10 years. The 4th phone call gave me different news: I had to work for the government AND make 10 years worth of "qualifying payments" in order for my debt to be forgiven. As it turns out, if I made 10 years of "qualifying payments," I would pay off my loan in 10 years! And, I did not qualify for IBR or ICR payments. So, I was consistently given misinformation, and now I feel swindled! How many other people were coerced into consolidating their loans with the promise of loan forgiveness after 10 years of service?

Anya R.  October 29, 2015  Portland, OR

When I graduated from law school, we had a fair where folks from the Dept of Ed (?) came and told me what a good idea it would be to consolidate my eligible loans w/the Dept of Education. That way, I was told, if I took a job in public service, the government would forgive my loans in 10 years! So, I took a job in service for the federal government. I called the Dept of Ed about 4 times throughout the past 7 years to confirm that I was on track for loan forgiveness. The first 3 times, I was assured forgiveness, so long as I worked for the government for 10 years. The 4th phone call gave me different news: I had to work for the government AND make 10 years worth of "qualifying payments" in order for my debt to be forgiven. As it turns out, if I made 10 years of "qualifying payments," I would pay off my loan in 10 years! And, I did not qualify for IBR or ICR payments. So, I was consistently given misinformation, and now I feel swindled! How many other people were coerced into consolidating their loans with the promise of loan forgiveness after 10 years of service?

Anya R.  October 29, 2015  Portland, OR

Student loans aren't just a young person's problem. When the economy collapsed, I was graduate school and my husband lost his job. He could not find work, so he went back to school. We both needed student loans to survive this period. Then our daughter graduated high school and went to college. Now we are paying for all three of our student loans and although all of us are working, we cannot pay them at the full rate. We are barely covering the interest so they never decrease, even when we are paying over $1000 a month. When we took the loans, we thought they would have a fixed interest amount, like a car loan. If we had understood that they are more like a credit card, constantly adding interest, we would have probably quit school instead of being stuck in this debt. My husband will be 60 next year and will probably barely make a dent in what he owes before he retires.

K Blake  October 24, 2015  New York state

Student loans aren't just a young person's problem. When the economy collapsed, I was graduate school and my husband lost his job. He could not find work, so he went back to school. We both needed student loans to survive this period. Then our daughter graduated high school and went to college. Now we are paying for all three of our student loans and although all of us are working, we cannot pay them at the full rate. We are barely covering the interest so they never decrease, even when we are paying over $1000 a month. When we took the loans, we thought they would have a fixed interest amount, like a car loan. If we had understood that they are more like a credit card, constantly adding interest, we would have probably quit school instead of being stuck in this debt. My husband will be 60 next year and will probably barely make a dent in what he owes before he retires.

K Blake  October 24, 2015  New York state

graduated college in 1974 with a degree in accounting. At that time I was indebted to New York State Higher Education Corporation in the amount of $5,600. due to some health issues I got behind on payments and eventually was only able to pay interest. now in 2015 I owe $66,000 and receive a Social Security benefit of $879. because I got behind on my loan my credit report became negative for any job application. I have had to work off the books, take part time work to survive. I have even been fired from jobs when my wages are garnished by collections of the student loan. that I am a senior citizen they still wish to garnish my social security 25%. I'll be forced to become homeless in my old age.

scrubb white  October 23, 2015  nyc

graduated college in 1974 with a degree in accounting. At that time I was indebted to New York State Higher Education Corporation in the amount of $5,600. due to some health issues I got behind on payments and eventually was only able to pay interest. now in 2015 I owe $66,000 and receive a Social Security benefit of $879. because I got behind on my loan my credit report became negative for any job application. I have had to work off the books, take part time work to survive. I have even been fired from jobs when my wages are garnished by collections of the student loan. that I am a senior citizen they still wish to garnish my social security 25%. I'll be forced to become homeless in my old age.

scrubb white  October 23, 2015  nyc

I was a high school drop out who had gotten a GED. I had very little debt, but once I reached my early thirties I felt like I wanted to better myself. I assumed that a higher education wa the answer. It was what we had all been taught. Higher education would provide a better future. So I did it. I started with my AA. I got it online, since I was a SAHM and wanted to be with my kids. It was more expensive, but I easily got the loans and assumed I would just as easily pay off the loans when I got a great job with my degree.

Well, I didn't find a job with my AA. In fact. Some jobs wouldn't hire me BECAUSE I had a degree. So, silly me, I thought I needed a higher degree to get the job I desired. So I got my BS and borrowed even more money to do it.

After my BS, I still didn't land the wonderful job I assumed I would have no problem getting after working so hard to get a degree. So, I became really depressed. How would I ever pay back all of this money I had borrowed?

I got the bright idea to keep getting my education. This way I could teach classes online like I had taken. So I got my MS in Education Technology. Surely I could get a job with that degree, obviously so many people were doing it, right? Oh, but I have no EXPERIENCE! So I didn't get any jobs.

I became really depressed by this point. I had huge student loan debt, and no job. I finally continued my education even more. Not really because I ha hope in finding a good job, anymore, but because I didn't know how else to stall paying student loans. I went to school for 10 years total, and maxed out my student loans. I couldn't borrow or continue any more. My only hope of escaping the huge debt was death.

Death was my only hope, literally. What had started as a way to better my families lives turned into hopeless depression. I was scrambling. I prayed and prayed to God for help to pay off my debts and help my family. Thankfully, He answered and now I work for myself and make my husband and my huge loan payments every month. It feels good to have a way to work hard and make payment on this debt that I used to feel so hopeless about.

They crazy thing is that I am not using my education at all to provide for my family. Education is good, and I don't regret learning how to work hard and stick to something, but it is a myth that education will guarantee u a job. I recommend that everyone get at least an AA, but only for themselves. Otherwise, work and build something for yourself. There are so many opportunities out there. Do something. Thing outside the box. Don't look to work for someone else. Make something for yourself with what you have and know. You can do it, and without so much senseless debt! All I have to show for mine is a huge payment and a piece of paper!

Julie  October 23, 2015  MO

I was a high school drop out who had gotten a GED. I had very little debt, but once I reached my early thirties I felt like I wanted to better myself. I assumed that a higher education wa the answer. It was what we had all been taught. Higher education would provide a better future. So I did it. I started with my AA. I got it online, since I was a SAHM and wanted to be with my kids. It was more expensive, but I easily got the loans and assumed I would just as easily pay off the loans when I got a great job with my degree.

Well, I didn't find a job with my AA. In fact. Some jobs wouldn't hire me BECAUSE I had a degree. So, silly me, I thought I needed a higher degree to get the job I desired. So I got my BS and borrowed even more money to do it.

After my BS, I still didn't land the wonderful job I assumed I would have no problem getting after working so hard to get a degree. So, I became really depressed. How would I ever pay back all of this money I had borrowed?

I got the bright idea to keep getting my education. This way I could teach classes online like I had taken. So I got my MS in Education Technology. Surely I could get a job with that degree, obviously so many people were doing it, right? Oh, but I have no EXPERIENCE! So I didn't get any jobs.

I became really depressed by this point. I had huge student loan debt, and no job. I finally continued my education even more. Not really because I ha hope in finding a good job, anymore, but because I didn't know how else to stall paying student loans. I went to school for 10 years total, and maxed out my student loans. I couldn't borrow or continue any more. My only hope of escaping the huge debt was death.

Death was my only hope,

...more
Julie  October 23, 2015  MO

I was fortunate enough to have parents who paid my tuition in undergrad. The deal was I would work to support myself and they would pay for the classes. I worked 40 hours a week as a server at Old Chicago and made it out debt-free. My degree was in Psychology and so I was anxious to get out into the world and help people and contribute to the community. I would stay up every night working on cover letters and resumes, researching open positions, and networking through family friends but even with a Bachelors degree I really struggled to find a job where I felt as though I was contributing to the community in a way that matched up with my gifts and skills. It felt like I had the same employment opportunities after my degree as I did before. I kept working as a server and filled my free time with unpaid internships in domestic violence shelters, youth programs, and religious organizations. After working with homeless youth at Urban Peak for several months I decided to earn my Master of Divinity and pursue ordination in The United Methodist denomination. Although I received a scholarship that eliminated half of my tuition costs, I still graduated with $75,000 in student loans. Then I married a fellow seminarian who had undergrad and graduate student loan debt. The combination of our student loan debt eleven years after graduating from seminary is over 250k. I am an ordained United Methodist Clergy working in Denver, Colorado and my husband serves at a church in Littleton, Colorado. We have a beautiful 7 year old daughter with special needs and a sweet dog named Tracey. While we don't make a lot, I do feel like we make enough if it wasn't for our student debt. A family friend had researched the Student Loan Forgiveness Program for us and for awhile we were on that track until a footnote was added to the legislation disqualifying us from participating due to our professions being religious in nature. I understand the motive behind the exclusion but I also feel saddened by it. As a United Methodist pastor I see my role and the role of my congregation doing so much good in the community without expectation or even mention of conversion. I have felt a lot of shame for the debt we carry and our inability to pay it back. Sometimes I cry because its so overwhelming and I can't get a hold of it. I think about changing careers because maybe in a corporate job I could make more. I know what I do matters more than the money I make but I also have a desire to be able to contribute and to pay back all my loans it's just not possible and really is hopeless. We will never own a home or pay off our loans but I am proud that we will make a difference in this world and in the lives of people who have had a tragedy or feel lost or unloved. We will feed the hungry and cloth the cold and listen to the lonely because we are Christians, not because they are or aren't. At the end of the day, I remind myself of the ways I do contribute to this world and I ask for grace in the midst of falling short on the expectation that we will ever be out from underneath all we borrowed to get us there.

Stephanie Price  October 22, 2015  Denver, Colorado

I was fortunate enough to have parents who paid my tuition in undergrad. The deal was I would work to support myself and they would pay for the classes. I worked 40 hours a week as a server at Old Chicago and made it out debt-free. My degree was in Psychology and so I was anxious to get out into the world and help people and contribute to the community. I would stay up every night working on cover letters and resumes, researching open positions, and networking through family friends but even with a Bachelors degree I really struggled to find a job where I felt as though I was contributing to the community in a way that matched up with my gifts and skills. It felt like I had the same employment opportunities after my degree as I did before. I kept working as a server and filled my free time with unpaid internships in domestic violence shelters, youth programs, and religious organizations. After working with homeless youth at Urban Peak for several months I decided to earn my Master of Divinity and pursue ordination in The United Methodist denomination. Although I received a scholarship that eliminated half of my tuition costs, I still graduated with $75,000 in student loans. Then I married a fellow seminarian who had undergrad and graduate student loan debt. The combination of our student loan debt eleven years after graduating from seminary is over 250k. I am an ordained United Methodist Clergy working in Denver, Colorado and my husband serves at a church in Littleton, Colorado. We have a beautiful 7 year old daughter with special needs and a sweet dog named Tracey. While we don't make a lot, I do feel like we make enough if it wasn't for our student debt. A family friend had researched the Student Loan Forgiveness Program for us and for awhile we were on that track until a footnote was added to the legislation disqualifying us from participating due to our professions being religious in nature. I understand the motive behind the exclusion but I also feel saddened by it.

...more
Stephanie Price  October 22, 2015  Denver, Colorado

I am 61 years old. I have two Masters Degrees. I am presently homeless, unemployed and have more than $120,000 is student loan debt

Paul S Andrade  October 22, 2015  Santa Cruz CA

I am 61 years old. I have two Masters Degrees. I am presently homeless, unemployed and have more than $120,000 is student loan debt

Paul S Andrade  October 22, 2015  Santa Cruz CA

I am the first person in my family to graduate college. I went to college in the '60s and my books were more expensive than my tuitoon. What the hell happened to our higher education system?

I graduated with a master's degree and successfully completed 30 years of teaching in secondarry schools in California. Without reasonable costs for college I would probably be another guy either collecting unemployment or welfare. Why can't our lawmakers realize that that we either put our money into education or into prisons and social welfare programs?

Our lawmakers need to re-order their priorities and think seriously about adequately funding education instead of our endless wars and bungling their efforts in nation building (empire). We must also keep corporations out of public education because they must be profit oriented to maintain their charter and education never makes a monetary profit. They must cut services to make a profit.

Out government should not be in the educational loan business but should be the supplier of educational funding. Perhaps they could allow other countries to take care off their own problems without our "help" which only creates more enemies, and put the money into educating Amerricans without making a profit.

Howard Shapirro  October 22, 2015  Portland OR

I am the first person in my family to graduate college. I went to college in the '60s and my books were more expensive than my tuitoon. What the hell happened to our higher education system?

I graduated with a master's degree and successfully completed 30 years of teaching in secondarry schools in California. Without reasonable costs for college I would probably be another guy either collecting unemployment or welfare. Why can't our lawmakers realize that that we either put our money into education or into prisons and social welfare programs?

Our lawmakers need to re-order their priorities and think seriously about adequately funding education instead of our endless wars and bungling their efforts in nation building (empire). We must also keep corporations out of public education because they must be profit oriented to maintain their charter and education never makes a monetary profit. They must cut services to make a profit.

Out government should not be in the educational loan business but should be the supplier of educational funding. Perhaps they could allow other countries to take care off their own problems without our "help" which only creates more enemies, and put the money into educating Amerricans without making a profit.

Howard Shapirro  October 22, 2015  Portland OR

I have a $90,000 dollar dept that I have had to put on forbearance due to not having enough income to pay that with the rest of the daily living bills I have. I make to much to get a lower rate. So I feel like I am stuck in a hole and will never be able to get out of it. I wish there was some way that would work better.

Ambrey Nichols  October 22, 2015  Denver CO

I have a $90,000 dollar dept that I have had to put on forbearance due to not having enough income to pay that with the rest of the daily living bills I have. I make to much to get a lower rate. So I feel like I am stuck in a hole and will never be able to get out of it. I wish there was some way that would work better.

Ambrey Nichols  October 22, 2015  Denver CO

My "Student Debt Journey" began as an undergraduate. I first was denied financial aid due to my parents' income. This was very upsetting considering my parents did not in any form help me with my college career. Although I obtained many scholarship, they were not enough to keep my cost of attending a public college to a minimum. After my undergrad, I was about $50,000 in student loan debt. I was then give the “opportunity” to attend law school. As a first year law student you are not permitted to work, which basically forces you to rely on student loans. Although I was successful in receiving an academic scholarship after my first year, I was still dependent on student loans for other expenses. I am not over $150,000 in student loan debt. Although I feel I have a responsibility to pay for my loan expenses, I feel at the bottom of an endless pit. With interest and the lack of a stable job market, it seems like my life will be dedicated to paying off my debt. At times I am more prone to tell the youth to just not go to school if they can’t afford it out of pocket. Many are quick in saying that it was my choice to attend both undergraduate and law school. While that is true, as a student in high school I also remember how the recruiters made it seem so easy. From, “It will not cost you so much” to “You will have a great paying job as soon as you graduate”, it was senseless tactics as these that influences many of us to take the great risk of incurring massive debt with little benefits. I believe school should affordable for all, and I think the government owes the young adults some form of aid other than the simple “repayment” plans they throw at us.

Ignacio Mendoza  October 21, 2015  Texas

My "Student Debt Journey" began as an undergraduate. I first was denied financial aid due to my parents' income. This was very upsetting considering my parents did not in any form help me with my college career. Although I obtained many scholarship, they were not enough to keep my cost of attending a public college to a minimum. After my undergrad, I was about $50,000 in student loan debt. I was then give the “opportunity” to attend law school. As a first year law student you are not permitted to work, which basically forces you to rely on student loans. Although I was successful in receiving an academic scholarship after my first year, I was still dependent on student loans for other expenses. I am not over $150,000 in student loan debt. Although I feel I have a responsibility to pay for my loan expenses, I feel at the bottom of an endless pit. With interest and the lack of a stable job market, it seems like my life will be dedicated to paying off my debt. At times I am more prone to tell the youth to just not go to school if they can’t afford it out of pocket. Many are quick in saying that it was my choice to attend both undergraduate and law school. While that is true, as a student in high school I also remember how the recruiters made it seem so easy. From, “It will not cost you so much” to “You will have a great paying job as soon as you graduate”, it was senseless tactics as these that influences many of us to take the great risk of incurring massive debt with little benefits. I believe school should affordable for all, and I think the government owes the young adults some form of aid other than the simple “repayment” plans they throw at us.

Ignacio Mendoza  October 21, 2015  Texas

I look back at my education very often and compare my success to those of fellow graduates, and can't help but wonder did I make the right decision?

All my favorite stories start with these magical words, "Once upon a time..." So, once upon a time there was a middle class boy who had two parents of varying education; one with an associates and in the medical profession, and one with only a high school education in the aerospace industry. I can always remember my parent's encouragement as I grew up, "study hard, get into a good school so you can make money and live, "happily ever after." I can't tell you how many times over the past seven years if my, "happily ever after" will come.

My dad lost his job during the 80's due to lack of government contracts and little to no investment. It was the first time I experienced what it might be like to be homeless. He was able to find odd jobs here and there, but knew that he had to go back to school if he was going to be the bread winner of the family and ensure that I wouldn't have to go to public school. My parents believed in education, but they invested in a private education because they knew that public schools just weren't cutting it.

Fast forward 12 years of private catholic school education I began my college career in the fall of 1998. Having little savings aside, I began my educational career at California State Polytechnic University Pomona where I successfully flourished for the first year and a half. I struggled with identifying what I wanted to do with my life. Having changed my major several times, I took it upon myself to pay for my own schooling by getting a job and dropping out of school for a year to build up savings to have at it again.

I started working at Disneyland in the winter of 1998 my dream job! I thought many times, well this is my dream job, why do I need to go to school?, but the instillment and echo of my parent's values kept me motivated despite the lack of direction. I just knew one thing, getting my bachelor's was paramount to living the life they had dreamed for me. I guess that's what parents do, they want the best for their children to be more successful than they were.

It wasn't until 2003 that I learned about student loans. I did exactly what the student financial aid office told me to do. Fill out the FASA, and see what you get. Well I didn't qualify because I made too much money from working at Disneyland. How 8.03 an hour was too much income, I will never understand. I did know one thing, in order to be successful, I had to work part time and go to school full time, so I took out the maximum federal loans I could get. I went online completed the quizzes and that was that, had my loans and knew that some of the interest was being paid while I was in school. It wasn't until 2005 when I transferred to Chapman University that I learned about alternative loans. The only thing I was told was they would run my credit score to see if I was eligible. To my surprise I was, so I signed on the dotted line and that was that.

In 2008 I finally graduated! After 10 years of struggle with finding myself and who I wanted to be, I had that paper, that paper with th gold seal, the paper that would provide me with the money that I needed to pay off these student loans.

Well 2008 wasn't such a hot year for graduating students. I was lucky enough to get an internship at an advertising agency, in my educational field, but it paid 12 dollars an hour. I was actually making more money at Disneyland at 14 dollars an hour. So I remained part time at Disneyland to see if the internship at the ad agency would turn into something . It did not unfortunately as the agency laid off 40 people while I was there. So I went back to Disneyland thinking I would be able to move into management since I had my degree and had plenty of Leadership, well that was a big fat no. Three words corporate politics suck! (That's another story all in itself)

The only thing that I could do to prevent the student loans from going into repayment was going back to school part time. Underwater basketweaving it is!

From 2008-today, I have worked two to four jobs to just pay the INTEREST! on some of my loans!

I learned that my ALTERNATIVE LOANS were PRIVATE LOANS! Why didn't they tell me!? I asked questions to make sure they worked the same way as the federal loans and was assured that they were.

To this day I have paid 3,000 off the principal of one of my 5 student loans. I owe about 180,000. I pay about 1000 a month just to stay a float. In 2017 my student loans will get higher by 400 dollars, so I will be owing 1400 a month! Wow, isn't that trip to a destination? Isn't that a house payment? Isn't that a payment for two cars and insurance for both of those? I asked one of my lenders to tell me when I would be done paying my student loans, and the told me 2055. I will be 75 years old when I pay my loans?!!! I'll be dammed if that is going to happen.

Here are the list of things that I have put off because of paying my student loans.

Travel
Buying a House
Starting a Family
Donating to non-profits
Getting a Master's degree
The list goes on and on

Let me be CLEAR... I don't want a handout. I don't want my loans to be forgiven. I signed the documents, I will pay these back, but how much of my LIFE do I have to sacrifice? How many jobs do I have to work? I can't tell you the number of times I have thought about doing porn to just even pay off maybe one or two of my loans, but alas my pride and dignity get in the way. I can't tell you the number of times suicide did cross my mind because I had no co-signer, so they wouldn't be able go after my family once I was gone. All of these things because I got that shiny piece of paper.

I would love to see some reform. Why does the interest need to be so high? Is all of congress planning on cashing in on their pensions at the same time? Why are private loans even offered to students? There is too much PROFIT in education, and that's what scares me. I have learned so much since I have graduated, and like the changes they have made for federal loans, but they really need to develop a program for private student loans.

Private student loans are the stench that comes from farting after a run, you know when your crack sweat is going and you let one loose and it just makes you want to die three times over? I hope you either laughed or crinkled your nose at that one because that's how I feel. Private Student loans need the MOST reform!

Again to be CLEAR, I want to be a good customer, I want to pay you! But I NEED HELP! I need you (the lender) to realize I need options. How about lowering that interest rate since I have been paying you for 5 years and filling your pockets with my hard earned money.

There are so many thoughts and feelings that I have about this issue and I look forward to CHANGE! Change for the better, change so that three generations from now student's know where they stand when they leave high school to embark on their journeys of greatness.

I don't think college education is for everyone and I feel that are so many resources that should be available to high school students to help them figure that out if getting a higher education is the right choice for them. I don't regret my choice, but I wish I had a little more resources to help me along the way in terms of financial investment. money management, and career counseling.

I do have two things that no lender will be able to take away from me, and that is HOPE and DETERMINATION.

A wise woman once told me "You can't get blood from a stone." and that quote is something I hope every lender reads and thinks about.

The End

Jake O  October 18, 2015

I look back at my education very often and compare my success to those of fellow graduates, and can't help but wonder did I make the right decision?

All my favorite stories start with these magical words, "Once upon a time..." So, once upon a time there was a middle class boy who had two parents of varying education; one with an associates and in the medical profession, and one with only a high school education in the aerospace industry. I can always remember my parent's encouragement as I grew up, "study hard, get into a good school so you can make money and live, "happily ever after." I can't tell you how many times over the past seven years if my, "happily ever after" will come.

My dad lost his job during the 80's due to lack of government contracts and little to no investment. It was the first time I experienced what it might be like to be homeless. He was able to find odd jobs here and there, but knew that he had to go back to school if he was going to be the bread winner of the family and ensure that I wouldn't have to go to public school. My parents believed in education, but they invested in a private education because they knew that public schools just weren't cutting it.

Fast forward 12 years of private catholic school education I began my college career in the fall of 1998. Having little savings aside, I began my educational career at California State Polytechnic University Pomona where I successfully flourished for the first year and a half. I struggled with identifying what I wanted to do with my life. Having changed my major several times, I took it upon myself to pay for my own schooling by getting a job and dropping out of school for a year to build up savings to have at it again.

I started working at Disneyland in the winter of 1998 my dream job! I thought many times, well this is my dream job,

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Jake O  October 18, 2015

I have just under $550,000 in student loan debt. This is a mix of federal and private loans. My interest is over $45,000 per year. I make $53,000 per year as a family medicine resident. When I graduated from medical school I Had about $475,000 in student loan debt. By the time I am able to start making payments on my student loans I will have close to $600,000 in student debt to become a family physician. I will have no savings and no retirement. As we all know there is no such thing as a pension program for physicians. I will have to save all of my own money for retirement. When I tell people how much I will make they tell me "you will be fine" but what they don't realize is I will pay more than half of my disposable income on my student loans which will leave me making less than I was making 10 years ago as a Carpender. I didn't become a physician to get rich, otherwise I would've chosen to be something other than a family physician. However, I did expect to be able to retire, put my kids through college and make at least what I made before I started school. Now… Looking at my finances moving forwards… I expect to be in debt for the rest of my life and I doubt I will be able to keep my children from being in the same financial situation as I am. They will be buried in debt for their education because I am buried in debt for mine.

Tyson  October 18, 2015  Redding,ca

I have just under $550,000 in student loan debt. This is a mix of federal and private loans. My interest is over $45,000 per year. I make $53,000 per year as a family medicine resident. When I graduated from medical school I Had about $475,000 in student loan debt. By the time I am able to start making payments on my student loans I will have close to $600,000 in student debt to become a family physician. I will have no savings and no retirement. As we all know there is no such thing as a pension program for physicians. I will have to save all of my own money for retirement. When I tell people how much I will make they tell me "you will be fine" but what they don't realize is I will pay more than half of my disposable income on my student loans which will leave me making less than I was making 10 years ago as a Carpender. I didn't become a physician to get rich, otherwise I would've chosen to be something other than a family physician. However, I did expect to be able to retire, put my kids through college and make at least what I made before I started school. Now… Looking at my finances moving forwards… I expect to be in debt for the rest of my life and I doubt I will be able to keep my children from being in the same financial situation as I am. They will be buried in debt for their education because I am buried in debt for mine.

Tyson  October 18, 2015  Redding,ca

I was forced to sign a Promissory Note by my former school or they weren't going to let me re-enroll even though we could've paid for the tuition; The School was informed by Certified Letter that they were NOT to take any student Loans or accept any other financial aid unless they were explicitly told or I gave them permission to. They were supposed to get in touch with me AND explain the terms of any Financial Assistance they would accept on my behalf. The never did and when confronted I was told "Oh you never sent us a letter like that; at least we don't have that in your file" and my favorite was "You signed it so you're liable for it no matter what even if you did tell us to contact you before we accepted financial aid for you. Too bad" No one is interested in assisting me because it's been over 10 years since everything happened and for 10 years I've been fighting this and it seems that no one gives a damn....

Kristen-Diane Pollock  October 17, 2015  Macomb, Illinois

I was forced to sign a Promissory Note by my former school or they weren't going to let me re-enroll even though we could've paid for the tuition; The School was informed by Certified Letter that they were NOT to take any student Loans or accept any other financial aid unless they were explicitly told or I gave them permission to. They were supposed to get in touch with me AND explain the terms of any Financial Assistance they would accept on my behalf. The never did and when confronted I was told "Oh you never sent us a letter like that; at least we don't have that in your file" and my favorite was "You signed it so you're liable for it no matter what even if you did tell us to contact you before we accepted financial aid for you. Too bad" No one is interested in assisting me because it's been over 10 years since everything happened and for 10 years I've been fighting this and it seems that no one gives a damn....

Kristen-Diane Pollock  October 17, 2015  Macomb, Illinois

I come from a poor family. I was the first person to go to college and then also on to graduate school. I worked full time Monday through Friday and went to school full time evenings and weekends. My full time job allowed me to pay for books, lunch and transportation to school while student loans covered the cost of my education. Despite consistently staying on the dean’s list and winning meager scholarships along the way I still graduated in 2005 with $50K in student loan debt.

The first few years of repayment threw me for a loop and the three loans (2 Stafford and one private) were finally refinanced somewhat to make monthly payments reasonable, though still far too high a percentage of my take home earnings. After paying consistently over the course of 10 years, I realized (rather late, might I add) that in the ten years I’ve been paying my loans my principal was never touched and in fact I had paid $19k in interest payments alone!

Now I’ve finally wised up and am starting an aggressive repayment plan though in truth I don’t how long I can sustain paying so much on a monthly basis. This feels like an insurmountable challenge and my education has become the biggest most expensive regret I’ve ever had since I can’t envision when I’ll be done paying this off and the pace and amount to pay back cannot be sustained indefinitely. Student debt reform needs to be done ASAP because we’re drowning!
Your Story*

AuthorEdwin*  October 15, 2015  NYC

I come from a poor family. I was the first person to go to college and then also on to graduate school. I worked full time Monday through Friday and went to school full time evenings and weekends. My full time job allowed me to pay for books, lunch and transportation to school while student loans covered the cost of my education. Despite consistently staying on the dean’s list and winning meager scholarships along the way I still graduated in 2005 with $50K in student loan debt.

The first few years of repayment threw me for a loop and the three loans (2 Stafford and one private) were finally refinanced somewhat to make monthly payments reasonable, though still far too high a percentage of my take home earnings. After paying consistently over the course of 10 years, I realized (rather late, might I add) that in the ten years I’ve been paying my loans my principal was never touched and in fact I had paid $19k in interest payments alone!

Now I’ve finally wised up and am starting an aggressive repayment plan though in truth I don’t how long I can sustain paying so much on a monthly basis. This feels like an insurmountable challenge and my education has become the biggest most expensive regret I’ve ever had since I can’t envision when I’ll be done paying this off and the pace and amount to pay back cannot be sustained indefinitely. Student debt reform needs to be done ASAP because we’re drowning!
Your Story*

AuthorEdwin*  October 15, 2015  NYC

My son and I are are currently suing Fisher College in Boston, Massachusetts fraud and academic misconduct. Fisher acquired the art school ( Butera School of Art, a 60 year old private school ) that my son had enrolled in a few weeks before the semester started stating that it was a merger between the two schools advertised that would be adding the Butera Program to their curriculum and the students would benefit from being on a larger campus, ect… They then closed the program within three weeks of the first semester, but didn't tell the students until almost 4 months after the decision to close the program was decided, coincidentally right after student loan money was dispersed to the school. They had tricked the students into signing a "teach out" on the very first day of classes, explaining that it was a necessary form since the two schools were merging. As it turns out it was a shady real estate deal so that the Fisher College could acquire the property the Butera School was located on to add to their real estate portfolio. We discovered later, after dropping the program, that the program had never even been approved by the Department of Higher Education prior to enrollment and in fact had been told by the Board of Education six months before announcing the false “merger” of the two schools NOT to accept any new students into the program since it was intended to be closed within the year. We can't get the loans dismissed because the Federal government doesn't have a "form" that fits this type of issue. The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education refuses to explain to us how this was allowed to happen and claim that they are under no obligation to speak to us, even though we acquired the proof of the fraud through their public records office. So whether is for profit or non-profit, students are being taken advantage of left and right and the laws that were made to protect students from these types of situations are unenforceable by the state. It's a shame that students who pay a hefty price to attend an institution that is supposed to shape their futures are taken advantage of and and even more appalling is that the government allows it.

Susan Butts  October 15, 2015  Boston Massachusetts

My son and I are are currently suing Fisher College in Boston, Massachusetts fraud and academic misconduct. Fisher acquired the art school ( Butera School of Art, a 60 year old private school ) that my son had enrolled in a few weeks before the semester started stating that it was a merger between the two schools advertised that would be adding the Butera Program to their curriculum and the students would benefit from being on a larger campus, ect… They then closed the program within three weeks of the first semester, but didn't tell the students until almost 4 months after the decision to close the program was decided, coincidentally right after student loan money was dispersed to the school. They had tricked the students into signing a "teach out" on the very first day of classes, explaining that it was a necessary form since the two schools were merging. As it turns out it was a shady real estate deal so that the Fisher College could acquire the property the Butera School was located on to add to their real estate portfolio. We discovered later, after dropping the program, that the program had never even been approved by the Department of Higher Education prior to enrollment and in fact had been told by the Board of Education six months before announcing the false “merger” of the two schools NOT to accept any new students into the program since it was intended to be closed within the year. We can't get the loans dismissed because the Federal government doesn't have a "form" that fits this type of issue. The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education refuses to explain to us how this was allowed to happen and claim that they are under no obligation to speak to us, even though we acquired the proof of the fraud through their public records office. So whether is for profit or non-profit, students are being taken advantage of left and right and the laws that were made to protect students from these types of situations are unenforceable by the state. It's a shame that students who pay a hefty price to attend an institution that is supposed to shape their futures are taken advantage of and and even more appalling is that the government allows it.

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Susan Butts  October 15, 2015  Boston Massachusetts

I followed the rules. I graduated Cum Laude. Still ended up with too much student debt. Now I'm a physician. I applied for "Income Based Repayment" for the last 3 years. Navient, my federal loan servicer tells me I must pay 80.5% of my Gross Adjusted Income based on my tax returns! This has been a bi annual ritual with them. I ask them incredulously how is that possible. They don't even entertain my protests. They keep putting me on 'emergency deference' and threaten me with collections. Not sure how to survive. My financial aid advisor at my school still hasn't gotten back to me. The law is IRB Payments don't exceed 10-15% of disposable income. Something is wrong here. My family lives in desperation. We're not alone. This isn't sustainable. How do we change this situation.

John Rybak  October 9, 2015  Portland, OR

I followed the rules. I graduated Cum Laude. Still ended up with too much student debt. Now I'm a physician. I applied for "Income Based Repayment" for the last 3 years. Navient, my federal loan servicer tells me I must pay 80.5% of my Gross Adjusted Income based on my tax returns! This has been a bi annual ritual with them. I ask them incredulously how is that possible. They don't even entertain my protests. They keep putting me on 'emergency deference' and threaten me with collections. Not sure how to survive. My financial aid advisor at my school still hasn't gotten back to me. The law is IRB Payments don't exceed 10-15% of disposable income. Something is wrong here. My family lives in desperation. We're not alone. This isn't sustainable. How do we change this situation.

John Rybak  October 9, 2015  Portland, OR

I'm writing this out of anger and desperation. I graduated with my undergrad dregree in hospitality management in 2010 and it took me about 2 years to get a Job in my field after working as a security guard in the financial district in NYC. I've been working as a front desk agent in hotels for the past 3 years now earning 35,000 a year in New York City and owing over $100,000 in student loans. Private loans do not consolidate and I haven't been able to afford to pay the minimum required for each of my 6 private for loans which is $500 PER LOAN (this is not including my federal loans). Now I'm in collection and I'm afraid to move on as an adult an live a happy life with my fiancé, since I've been trying to get approve on a mortgage loan. To add on to my never ending debt right... I must be a masochist... Just trying to live American dream...

Kimberlyn  October 7, 2015  My bedroom at my parents house

I'm writing this out of anger and desperation. I graduated with my undergrad dregree in hospitality management in 2010 and it took me about 2 years to get a Job in my field after working as a security guard in the financial district in NYC. I've been working as a front desk agent in hotels for the past 3 years now earning 35,000 a year in New York City and owing over $100,000 in student loans. Private loans do not consolidate and I haven't been able to afford to pay the minimum required for each of my 6 private for loans which is $500 PER LOAN (this is not including my federal loans). Now I'm in collection and I'm afraid to move on as an adult an live a happy life with my fiancé, since I've been trying to get approve on a mortgage loan. To add on to my never ending debt right... I must be a masochist... Just trying to live American dream...

Kimberlyn  October 7, 2015  My bedroom at my parents house

I am writing this story in behalf of my little brother who owes a lot of money in student loans. He attended college in San Antonio Texas and studied abroad in London for his Masters. I would like to advocate for students that struggle with paying student loans back.

Yolanda Ramalho  October 2, 2015  Aurora Colorado

I am writing this story in behalf of my little brother who owes a lot of money in student loans. He attended college in San Antonio Texas and studied abroad in London for his Masters. I would like to advocate for students that struggle with paying student loans back.

Yolanda Ramalho  October 2, 2015  Aurora Colorado

My husband and I both owe around 20,000 dollars a piece for school loans. Due to medical bills/garnishments, we are currently down to no money in our bank account. I reviewed our school loan statements, which we have been paying 166 dollars a month for over 6 years on and it shows a 250 dollar dent in the loan. OVER SIX YEARS OF PAYMENTS! We can barely support our family as it is... and they keep putting us in the gutter! Many life situations have come up and we struggle to pay!

Chelsea Muckey  September 30, 2015  Swanton, Ne

My husband and I both owe around 20,000 dollars a piece for school loans. Due to medical bills/garnishments, we are currently down to no money in our bank account. I reviewed our school loan statements, which we have been paying 166 dollars a month for over 6 years on and it shows a 250 dollar dent in the loan. OVER SIX YEARS OF PAYMENTS! We can barely support our family as it is... and they keep putting us in the gutter! Many life situations have come up and we struggle to pay!

Chelsea Muckey  September 30, 2015  Swanton, Ne

I graduated with about 100,000 in student loan debt roughly 80,000 of that was borrowed from Sallie Mae. BIG mistake. They refuse to lower my payments, or help me in any way, meanwhile my monthly loan payments are are $1000 a month from Sallie Mae. I can't seem to get ahead. I can barley afford to live, which makes me sick after going through years of school. I had been able to consolidate my federal student loans, but I still owe about $11,000 on them as well. I'm staring to regret even going to college!

Brooke  September 30, 2015  Philadelphia, PA

I graduated with about 100,000 in student loan debt roughly 80,000 of that was borrowed from Sallie Mae. BIG mistake. They refuse to lower my payments, or help me in any way, meanwhile my monthly loan payments are are $1000 a month from Sallie Mae. I can't seem to get ahead. I can barley afford to live, which makes me sick after going through years of school. I had been able to consolidate my federal student loans, but I still owe about $11,000 on them as well. I'm staring to regret even going to college!

Brooke  September 30, 2015  Philadelphia, PA

I have over 4 years in college. $50,000 in student debt. After leaving college early as I maxed out my lending capacity, you try and find a good job. Well in this bad economy, even with a great education...good luck. So I found a part time job, no better than I could have found without college. So how do we as the people expect our young ones to succeed in life and pay back these high college bills if more jobs are being sent oversees and more people every year are allowed in our country? You do the math. Its going to get worse people. The whole system needs to be changed and our student debt needs to be forgiven.

Michael Kreischer  September 29, 2015  Pennsylvania

I have over 4 years in college. $50,000 in student debt. After leaving college early as I maxed out my lending capacity, you try and find a good job. Well in this bad economy, even with a great education...good luck. So I found a part time job, no better than I could have found without college. So how do we as the people expect our young ones to succeed in life and pay back these high college bills if more jobs are being sent oversees and more people every year are allowed in our country? You do the math. Its going to get worse people. The whole system needs to be changed and our student debt needs to be forgiven.

Michael Kreischer  September 29, 2015  Pennsylvania

I graduated in 2004 with a Masters Degree in Adult Education. I have not yet worked in that field nor have the school assisted me in finding jobs within that criteria. Most of the jobs you will need so many years experience. To cut to the chase, I have a total of 5 degrees 2 Assoc., 2 Bachelors, and the Masters. I have not even reached making 40,000 in a year but with the consolidation of my loans, which i was told was best, they are saying they want me to pay them over $200,000. Now tell me how am I to even begin to do that when I do not make no where near that type of money nor have I ever. So yes I need forgiveness. I'm not asking for an handout not at all but I am not able to pay. It's like you pay or we see that you die and we will collect on it as an insurance policy for your death.

Ms P  September 27, 2015  Kentucky

I graduated in 2004 with a Masters Degree in Adult Education. I have not yet worked in that field nor have the school assisted me in finding jobs within that criteria. Most of the jobs you will need so many years experience. To cut to the chase, I have a total of 5 degrees 2 Assoc., 2 Bachelors, and the Masters. I have not even reached making 40,000 in a year but with the consolidation of my loans, which i was told was best, they are saying they want me to pay them over $200,000. Now tell me how am I to even begin to do that when I do not make no where near that type of money nor have I ever. So yes I need forgiveness. I'm not asking for an handout not at all but I am not able to pay. It's like you pay or we see that you die and we will collect on it as an insurance policy for your death.

Ms P  September 27, 2015  Kentucky

I have not seen any of the news programs doing any stories on the issue of student loan debt and how some of us have been put into perpetual poverty. Below I am providing you with information I have investigated since I found out the so called degree I have is not recognized I only found this out by my own highway patrol when I went to test out for them. This is not just for me but also my nephew and a fellow classmate we have kept in contact with name Dan we have tried to get local news reporters to broadcast this but none responded back.We are willing to speak to anyone about this thank you for taking the time out to read my letter please contact me at ( twangpoupau@yahoo.com )

Here is my story about going to a for profit college and being in debt to the point I will never see the end until I die I spoke to a bankruptcy attorney last week he told me that the state of MO has no laws in place at this time to file any kind of bankruptcy on student loan debt as other states have made great progress MO lags behind as usual. I have sent letters to Sen Claire Mccaskill , Atty Gen Chris Kostner I have file complaints with BBB , FTC which sent back an email of they think its ID theft ?????? I have file complaints with CFPB thats still being investigated to this day.
I have been mental abused and put in perpetual poverty by these people ....first massage therapy a huge problem came up due to school not properly filing with the state and it took a year to get it fixed so i could get my date to test at that point no one would hire me and employers asked if i was willing to go take classes to be hired the classes are so expensive i could not. plus the fact they had me take out an in school loan for uniforms , special books and massage table i had to make weekly payments and if i did not they would harass me and tell me if i don't pay i would not be allowed in the payments were $50 a week. By the the time that test date was actually set grad placement manager cindy ottens tells me i need an additional $250 to take the test i told her i dont have that and that should have been in my tuition she then goes on to say well because its been a year it needs to be repaid. I didnt believe her for a minute she tells me she will send the state board a personal check out of her and her husband's back account to cover it i seriously doubt she did that.
Second time was criminal justice in which they were not accredited to teach it but the worst part is I was not of sound mind when they forced me to sign and document's prove it as there are different dates, my father was gravely ill he did die May 2007, i had told them this but the rep dana killian would not leave me alone she called at least 9 times a day to make sure i was coming in to sign paperwork and pay the fee to hold my place. cindy ottens grad placement manager and suzanne marshall caby campus president even the finance officer jason hellmann knew because all i did was cry when i was there these people should be held accountable for the mental abuse and financial strain they have put me in not one of them ever said you should wait til you are in a better position in life but all they wanted was money. the reps got commission off of each student they placed i know this because i confronted the president of the campus suzanne marshall caby she became so agitated by the statement she advised i would be in trouble with the school if i continued making statements i could not back up. the teacher was the former sheriff of navada mo christine keim all we did was watch trutv videos when i asked why are we not going to the morgue or at least go out to logan college to see the cadaver lab or maybe to local gun range i was told we were not allowed to do that. well with this answer that was not good enough so i took it up the line to the so called campus president suzanne marshall caby i told what we should be doing im not the teacher but im sure not learning what i need to hell ive learned most of this from going to college to be an EMT. so what does she do we get a highway patrol office to come out and this was a complete joke and embarrassment for me they put bed sheets over the class window that faces the hall , closed all the blinds an then locked the door when he came in this is not a lie. they did not want to offend anyone or scare anyone so next he has two guns he shows us and one and only one bullet but we could not touch it what a joke and they charged me $25k for this joke of a degree and they were increasing the cost of the degree while i was there. the biggest reason why they did not do anything outside of the school is they all knew about the loss of accreditation and if any student was to leave for a so called field trip it was raise suspicion to the head office im just guessing at this point but im sure that im right. suzanne marshall caby is now a campus dean & regional hub leader for devry university another for profit college iI wonder how they would like to know they have someone that is the head of this school that knowingly breaks the law or maybe they just dont care.

i went to allied college ( at 645 gravios bluffs blvd fenton mo 63026 )under chubb institute. i have never been able to get a job with this so called degree in fact they sold the school due to lawsuits to anthem educ group ( owned by the pobiak family trust & great hill equity partners & great hill investors ) for $1 buck i was told the class credits would transfer that was a lie the teachers for the most part where less than professional the staff was worse the so called reps where thugs calling several times a day if you did not sign up with them im in debt to the tune of $70k and no one can help, high tech institute owned by chubb and anthem edcu group they both have filed chapter 11 bankruptcy which means at some point this ugly snake will re appear as something else

i have a letter from navient this was salliemae as we all know this letter was dated 1/26/2015 it states that ; you received this form because a Federal Government agency or an applicable financial entity (a lender) has DISCHARGED ( canceled or forgiven) a debt you owed , or because an identifiable event has occurred that either is or is deemed to be a discharge of a debt of $600 or more. now keep this in mind because i was working i was laid-off off on 5/1/2015 they have been garnishing my wages every pay period plus took money from my severance per casenet. This berman and rabin ( 15280 Metcalf Ave Overland Park, KS 66223: Toll Free:(888) 320-1555: Phone:(913) 649-1555:) debt collectors have went as far as sending out letters to financial institutions to find any money i may have hidden what they did was seize a CD that was in my uncle's name first mine second the illegal seizing of the CD comes from the fact that this berman and rabin never ever sent a letter to my uncle of what they were doing. he received a phone call from a rep at bank of america that said they have a letter to release the finds to this berman and rabin to satisfy a student loan debt i have. this man never was attached to the student loan he never signed anything for that loan he wants his money back asap i cant blame him he 90 yrs old its his money not mine.

there is more to this i found a senate investigation on this so called college and the people that should be held accountable for this is campus president suzanne marshall caby , grad placement manager cindy ottens ( i have an email from her that she says the did have accreditation a complete lie per senate investigation ), financial manager jason hellmann and rep dana killian. at this point i want all money back that is the CD in my uncles name $2776.58 and my money that had been garnished $1175.32. these loans are nothing more than consumer fraud , predatory lending and the people at that allied college broke Missouri law Missouri merchandising practices act 407 sections 1 & 4 apply to the fact we were told the school was accredited and class credits would transfer sections 2 applies to the book that we were given that has nothing to do with United States law it for the U.K. none of used the book but im sure we paid $350 for it. So as you read this no one that went to this school whether in MO or anywhere else should have ever been enrolled let alone be in such poverty.

>> I’m finding out that no one will accept the credits nor the degree from Allied College because of who they are accredited by and because the curriculum does not meet the standards of a criminal justice degree.1069 In May 2007, the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT) pulled High-Tech Institute’s accreditation for its degree programs after placing the school on probation in January 2007.1070 This meant that High-Tech Institute schools could not enroll new students in Associate degree programs and could only offer Diploma and Certificate programs. However, degree program students who were already enrolled in High-Tech Institute were allowed to complete their course work and receive a degree. Many students wrote about learning of High-Tech Institute’s loss of accreditation after paying for and completing substantial coursework towards their degrees. One such student explains: I was not informed that your accreditation had been lost before I had signed my contract. In addition, I was informed that I would have an Associates Degree upon graduation. 1064 Senate HELP Committee staff analysis of information provided to the committee by the company pursuant ( Anthem Education Group - Senate Committee on Health ...
www.help.senate.gov/imo/media/for.../Anthem.pdf

Facing lawsuits and financial losses, Chubb Corporation put the school for sale in 2004 and eventually sold it for $1 to a partnership of private equity firm Great Hill Partners and the High-Tech Institute, a network of similar technical schools based in Phoenix, Arizona.[1] Chubb Corporation recognized a $31 million loss from the sale.[2]
The new owners struggled to rescue the chain at first. Facing a loss of $9 million in 2005, they invested millions and renamed several of the poorer performing schools. The location in Chicago had been renamed to Banner Institute in January 2006, and the location in Arlington, Virginia, had been christened Banner College.[1][3] However, as of 2007, the Washington Post reported that the chain was still struggling with lawsuits and challenges to accreditation.[1] Banner College in Virginia closed in August 2008 after ten years of operation there.[4]
By 2010, the colleges were being operated by the Anthem Education Group, a company owned by Great Hills Partners.[5] At that time, the group was based in Phoenix and operated 23 accredited colleges.
In 2012, the company changed hands again, coming under the ownership of the Education Training Corporation in Florida.[6] The merger expanded the educational areas offered by AEG. As of November 2013, the group operated 8 brands, including Anthem College, Anthem College – Bryman School, Anthem Career College, Florida Career College, FCC Anthem College, Anthem College Online, Anthem Institute, and Morrison University.[7] At the time, the company operated 34 campuses in various states and one online institution.
On August 21, 2014, the following statement was released in the Milwaukee area: "Due to an extended period of financial difficulty, Anthem Education has made the difficult but necessary decision to close several of its facilities on August 22, 2014, in conjunction with the end of the academic term. Anthem Education has secured teach out and transfer opportunities for the all of our students at Anthem College - Brookfield, subject to ABHES approval, and we are pleased that our students may continue pursuing their educational goals."[8]

Marie Schalk  September 25, 2015

I have not seen any of the news programs doing any stories on the issue of student loan debt and how some of us have been put into perpetual poverty. Below I am providing you with information I have investigated since I found out the so called degree I have is not recognized I only found this out by my own highway patrol when I went to test out for them. This is not just for me but also my nephew and a fellow classmate we have kept in contact with name Dan we have tried to get local news reporters to broadcast this but none responded back.We are willing to speak to anyone about this thank you for taking the time out to read my letter please contact me at ( twangpoupau@yahoo.com )

Here is my story about going to a for profit college and being in debt to the point I will never see the end until I die I spoke to a bankruptcy attorney last week he told me that the state of MO has no laws in place at this time to file any kind of bankruptcy on student loan debt as other states have made great progress MO lags behind as usual. I have sent letters to Sen Claire Mccaskill , Atty Gen Chris Kostner I have file complaints with BBB , FTC which sent back an email of they think its ID theft ?????? I have file complaints with CFPB thats still being investigated to this day.
I have been mental abused and put in perpetual poverty by these people ....first massage therapy a huge problem came up due to school not properly filing with the state and it took a year to get it fixed so i could get my date to test at that point no one would hire me and employers asked if i was willing to go take classes to be hired the classes are so expensive i could not. plus the fact they had me take out an in school loan for uniforms , special books and massage table i had to make weekly payments and if i did not they would harass me and tell me if i don't pay i would not be allowed in the payments were $50 a week.

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Marie Schalk  September 25, 2015

I'm one of the 160,000 Social Security beneficiaries having their monthly checks garnished. THIS (TOTAL 30% GARNISHMENT) IS CREATING A SEVERE HARDSHIP IN MY LIFE! IT'S A REAL MIRACLE I'M NOT HOMELESS RIGHT NOW. I think the thing that gets to me most is: where were all these dozens of parasites during the 2+ years I was wrestling with the SSA to get my SSDI (Disabiltiy) approved? After 2 denials and 2 appeals, I finally got my day in court and won. But...no thanks to these dozens of "creditors" who now want to bleed me dry of what little I am apparently to have to live on for the rest of my life (the TOTAL "GROSS" IS ABOUT ONE-FOURTH OF WHAT I WAS MAKING AT THE LAST *TEMP* AGENCY I WORKED FOR IN 2008). Trying to live on 70 percent of that amount is slow starvation.

Allen Roberts  September 24, 2015  Smithville, TN, USA

I'm one of the 160,000 Social Security beneficiaries having their monthly checks garnished. THIS (TOTAL 30% GARNISHMENT) IS CREATING A SEVERE HARDSHIP IN MY LIFE! IT'S A REAL MIRACLE I'M NOT HOMELESS RIGHT NOW. I think the thing that gets to me most is: where were all these dozens of parasites during the 2+ years I was wrestling with the SSA to get my SSDI (Disabiltiy) approved? After 2 denials and 2 appeals, I finally got my day in court and won. But...no thanks to these dozens of "creditors" who now want to bleed me dry of what little I am apparently to have to live on for the rest of my life (the TOTAL "GROSS" IS ABOUT ONE-FOURTH OF WHAT I WAS MAKING AT THE LAST *TEMP* AGENCY I WORKED FOR IN 2008). Trying to live on 70 percent of that amount is slow starvation.

Allen Roberts  September 24, 2015  Smithville, TN, USA

Graduated from 4 year Nursing program in 1998. I was 21. Approximately $55,000 in federal loans. Started a family. Made poor financial decision to defer loans maximum amount allowed. I have over $64,000 left to pay over 18 more years. I am almost 40. I have been working as a nurse for 17 years. I would like to get a Masters degree, but cannot afford the cost. I have 3 children, all of which I expect to go to college. I will not be able to help them pay for their education. I will likely be a grandmother when my student loans from the age of 21 are paid off.

Dawn  September 24, 2015  Oregon

Graduated from 4 year Nursing program in 1998. I was 21. Approximately $55,000 in federal loans. Started a family. Made poor financial decision to defer loans maximum amount allowed. I have over $64,000 left to pay over 18 more years. I am almost 40. I have been working as a nurse for 17 years. I would like to get a Masters degree, but cannot afford the cost. I have 3 children, all of which I expect to go to college. I will not be able to help them pay for their education. I will likely be a grandmother when my student loans from the age of 21 are paid off.

Dawn  September 24, 2015  Oregon

I didn't have my family to help me with college. I was alone, but I wanted to make a difference with my life. I wanted to make something of myself. Well, with not being able to work because college was so intense for me, I had to take out loans to support myself in the process along with paying for my books, paying for the extra supplies needed....it was too much to handle. I dealt with unemployment for many years because it was during the recession. I dropped out of college because I couldn't work full time to support myself AND take a full load of work with college because I had two jobs to be stable. I lost motivation, I felt hopeless, and I was in total regret. Of course the payments got much bigger to the point I couldn't afford them anymore...it was a choice between me being able to pay rent of pay my student loans. Now I'm stuck with an incredible amount of debt and nothing to show for it. It's depressing and makes me wish I would have never went to college...which is a TERRIBLE feeling.

Christina  September 24, 2015  South Carolina

I didn't have my family to help me with college. I was alone, but I wanted to make a difference with my life. I wanted to make something of myself. Well, with not being able to work because college was so intense for me, I had to take out loans to support myself in the process along with paying for my books, paying for the extra supplies needed....it was too much to handle. I dealt with unemployment for many years because it was during the recession. I dropped out of college because I couldn't work full time to support myself AND take a full load of work with college because I had two jobs to be stable. I lost motivation, I felt hopeless, and I was in total regret. Of course the payments got much bigger to the point I couldn't afford them anymore...it was a choice between me being able to pay rent of pay my student loans. Now I'm stuck with an incredible amount of debt and nothing to show for it. It's depressing and makes me wish I would have never went to college...which is a TERRIBLE feeling.

Christina  September 24, 2015  South Carolina

At first, I thought hey why not...I deserve to have a piece of the American dream; with a father whom is deceased from the horrible epidemic of A.I.D.S. to the Mother who tried her best to succeed but had to fend for 2 children in a broken society. My dreams whereally big, sky high. I wanted to be married, own a house, work in the FBI and have 1 child by the time I was 25. BUT.. this dream has not been able to flourish as I planned. I have been completely consumed by the American Lies and Promises I was fed from colleges. I went to 3 different colleges because one didn't allow you to complete the program so I had to move on. I graduated over 6 years ago, I still have no job in my field and honestly by this point jobs look at my like I no longer have the skills or education that is qualified.. I am now outdated. I was so apple to see how many let downs I received from job after job. The private 50,000 dollar a year college didn't even care. They never tried the day after I graduated I was another number and a statistic. I'm drowning in debt I owe double now I have not even touched the principle. It's just horrible.

Jasmine  September 24, 2015  Connecticut

At first, I thought hey why not...I deserve to have a piece of the American dream; with a father whom is deceased from the horrible epidemic of A.I.D.S. to the Mother who tried her best to succeed but had to fend for 2 children in a broken society. My dreams whereally big, sky high. I wanted to be married, own a house, work in the FBI and have 1 child by the time I was 25. BUT.. this dream has not been able to flourish as I planned. I have been completely consumed by the American Lies and Promises I was fed from colleges. I went to 3 different colleges because one didn't allow you to complete the program so I had to move on. I graduated over 6 years ago, I still have no job in my field and honestly by this point jobs look at my like I no longer have the skills or education that is qualified.. I am now outdated. I was so apple to see how many let downs I received from job after job. The private 50,000 dollar a year college didn't even care. They never tried the day after I graduated I was another number and a statistic. I'm drowning in debt I owe double now I have not even touched the principle. It's just horrible.

Jasmine  September 24, 2015  Connecticut

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,

...more
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.

...more
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.

...more
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.

...more
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.

...more
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?

...more
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,

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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.

...more
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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Noelle  February 2, 2015  Ohio

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

Noelle  February 2, 2015  Ohio

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

Vincent Chiantelli  February 2, 2015  Stevenson Ranch, CA.

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

Vincent Chiantelli  February 2, 2015  Stevenson Ranch, CA.

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

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

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

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

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

Christine  February 1, 2015  New York

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

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

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

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

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

...more
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.

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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