These days it seems to be all doom and gloom about student loans – over a trillion dollars owed and half of it in default and no end in sight. Stagnant economic growth and continued high unemployment levels have many graduates scratching their heads and wondering if their education was really worth it. If you’re one of the many feeling a little blue about your job prospects and impending student loan repayments, here’s some good news. I’ve collected four truly depressing student loan stories to make you feel better by comparison.
Sad Story #1
William borrowed $44,000 to get a master’s degree in psychology. He has paid back $31,000 in interest and still owes $128,000. His undergraduate he paid for with the GI Bill and using cost effective community college. William has been trying to pay off his student loan debts for over 20 years. His payments are over $900 a month which he cannot afford. His lender refused to take partial payments. Now at age 62, he will be 92 when is student loans are paid off! William is facing garnishment of his wages that will make him unable to afford to pay rent or healthcare coverage which is made worse by the fact that he has several health conditions. William says, “I not only majored in psychology, I majored in debt.”
Sad Story #2
Hilary borrowed $85,000 from Sallie Mae which has now mushroomed to over $350,000 under an 8% adjustable rate. She found more than $10,000 in financial errors Sallie Mae made in her account and asked for a complete accounting to ensure there weren’t more and her request was denied. Hilary’s professional license to practice in her field was denied renewal because of her student loan debt. Tragically, being able to practice would enable her to pay down her student loans. She feels she has no incentive to earn a living. She says any additional money she earns will be garnished anyway, so she’s lost all motivation in life, as well as her family and friends. Hilary works as a cashier at a hardware store for $8.50 an hour, receives food stamps and help from local charities to support herself.
Sad Story #3
Artie always dreamed of becoming an architect and borrowed big to pay for his education. He graduated, but due to the economic slump, hasn’t found work in his field. He owes more than $207,000 and is working two jobs to try to make a dent in his debt. His full monthly payments total $2,200 and he has turned to income based repayment to stay current yet continues to fall behind. Working two jobs to pay his bills has prevented him from pursuing a job in architecture and Artie still has not worked in the field in which he has a Master’s five years after graduating. He may never be able to find a job because the longer between graduation and employment, the less relevant his skills are. Artie is trapped in debt, working meaningless jobs just to get by.
Sad Story #4
Over the past 20 years, Sue has seen her $29,000 in student loans balloon to a debt of $70,000. Every year or two her debt jumped $5,000. She says she feels like a dirt bag because she can’t pay back her Sallie Mae loans. Even a consolidation didn’t help – rather than decrease the amount she owed, it more than doubled. Sue feels like she was deceived by Sallie Mae during the debt consolidation process and says she’s in a financial straitjacket.
These graduates range in age from their 20s up to their 60s but they have one thing in common. Each wishes they had not borrowed and that debt was not now ruining not only their lives at the moment, but their lives for the foreseeable future. If you owe student loan debt, don’t let your story turn out this badly. Consult an expert on student loan debt and optimization to learn how to optimize and manage your debt!