President Obama recently signed into law a $787 billion stimulus package on top of Bush's grossly mismanaged $700 billion TARP bailout from last September. Several weeks ago, the Federal Reserve basically printed an additional $1,000,000,000,000 to inject more funds into the monetary system which will undoubtedly have the effect of diminishing the purchasing power of the dollar. Since last fall, the government has paid out trillions of dollars in bailouts, handouts, loans and giveaways, with no end in sight as our leaders try anything and everything to try and get our spiraling economy under control. While some of what Washington has already done may act to stimulate the economy, much of the trillions of dollars already spent will, no doubt, turn out to be just money wasted.
Tax rebate checks do not stimulate the economy - history shows that people either spend such rebates on paying off credit card debt, or they simply save them, doing little to nothing to stimulate the economy. Presumably, that is why they were removed from the final version of the stimulus bill. The tax cuts that were included, however, amount to a whopping $44 per month for the rest of 2009, decreasing to an even more staggering $33 per month in 2010. This is hardly "relief" as it is likely to help nobody.
The Wall Street financial institutions, auto manufacturers, insurance companies and countless other irresponsible actors have now received TRILLIONS of taxpayer dollars(as demonstrated above, that's a number with *12* zeros at the end of it) to bail them out of their self-created mess. This, too, does nothing to stimulate the economy. It merely rewards bad behavior and does nothing to encourage institutional change. There is a better way.
How many times have we heard from our leaders in Washington that education is the key to solving all of our underlying societal problems? The so-called "Silver Bullet." For decades, presidents, senators and members of Congress have touted themselves as champions of education, yet they've done nothing to actually encourage the pursuit of one on an individual level.
Some of us have taken advantage of Federal Stafford Loans and other programs, including private loans, to finance higher education, presumably with the understanding that an advanced degree equates with higher earning power in the future. Many of us go into public service after attaining such degrees, something that's also repeatedly proclaimed as something society should encourage. Yet, the debt we've accrued to obtain such degrees have crippled our ability to reap the benefits of our educations, causing many to make the unfortunate choice of leaving public service so as to earn enough money to pay off that debt.
Our economy is in the tank. There isn't a reasonable economist alive who doesn't believe that the economy needs stimulating immediately. The only debate now centers on how to go about doing it. While the new stimulus plan contains some worthy provisions, very little of it will have a significant and immediate stimulating effect on the economy. The Obama Administration itself doesn't expect to see an upsurge in the economy until mid-to-late 2010.
Instead of funneling billions, if not trillions of additional dollars to banks, financial institutions, insurance companies and other institutions of greed that are responsible for the current economic crisis, why not allow educated, hardworking, middle-class Americans to get something in return? After all, they're our tax dollars too!
Forgiving student loan debt would have an immediate stimulating effect on the economy. Responsible people who did nothing other than pursue a higher education would have hundreds, if not thousands of extra dollars per month to spend, fueling the economy now. Those extra dollars being pumped into the economy would have a multiplying effect, unlike many of the provisions of the new stimulus package. As a result, tax revenues would go up, the credit markets will unfreeze and jobs will be created. Consumer spending accounts for over two thirds of the entire U.S. economy and in recent months, consumer spending has declined at alarming, unprecedented rates. Therefore, it stands to reason that the fastest way to revive our ailing economy is to do something drastic to get consumers to spend.
This proposal would quickly revitalize the housing market, the ailing automobile industry, travel and tourism, durable goods and countless other sectors of the economy because the very people who sustain those sectors will automatically have hundreds or, in some cases, thousands of extra dollars per month to spend. The driving factor in today's economy is fear. Unless and until the middle class feels comfortable enough that they'll have their jobs, health insurance and extra money to spend not only next month, but the month after that, etc., the economy will not, indeed, cannot grow fast enough to stop the hemorrhaging.
Let me be clear. This is not about a free ride. This is about a new approach to economic stimulus, nothing more. To those who would argue that this proposal would cause the banking system to collapse or make student loans unavailable to future borrowers, please allow me to respond. I am in no way suggesting that the lending institutions who carry such debts on their balance sheets get legislatively shafted by having them wiped from their books. The banks and other financial institutions are going to get their money regardless because, in addition to the $700 TARP bailout, more bailout money is coming their way. This proposal merely suggests that in return for the trillions of dollars that has been and will continue to be handed over to the banks, educated, hardworking Americans who are saddled with student loan debt should get some relief as well, rather than sending those institutions another enormous blank check. Because the banks are being handed Trillions of dollars anyway, there would be no danger of making funds unavailable to future borrowers.
To avoid the moral hazard that this plan could potentially create, going forward, the way higher education in this country is financed MUST be reformed. Requiring students to amass enormous debt just to receive an education is an untenable approach, as demonstrated by the ever-growing student loan default rates. Having a loan-based system rather than one based on grants and scholarships or, ideally, public funding, has, over time, begun to have the unintended consequence of discouraging people from seeking higher education at all. That is no way for America to reclaim the mantle of the land of opportunity.
A well-educated workforce benefits society as a whole, not just the students who receive a higher education. It is often said that an undergraduate degree today is the equivalent of a high school diploma 30 or 40 years ago. Accepting the premise as true that society does, in fact, place the same value on an undergraduate degree today as it did on a HS diploma 30 or 40 years ago, then what is the rationale for cutting off public funding of education after the 12th grade? It seems to me that there is some dissonance in our values that needs to be reconciled. That, however, cannot come to pass until the millions of us already shackled with student loan debt are freed from the enormous economic burdens we're presently carrying.
Many of the vocal nay-sayers to this proposal seem intent on ignoring the fact that Washington IS going to spend trillions of dollars, likely in the form of handing blank checks over to more and more banks, as a way of getting the economy under control. Normative assessments of how things should be are fine, but they don't reflect reality. Accepting the premise that Washington will spend Trillions of dollars in unprecedented ways (a good portion of which will just be trial and error, since we're in uncharted waters), what is the argument against directly helping middle class people who are struggling, rather than focusing solely on the banks and other financial institutions responsible for crisis to begin with?
Further accepting that there is an aggregate amount of outstanding student loan debt totaling approximately $550 Billion, (that's Billion with a B, not a T), one is forced to ask again, what is the objection to helping real people with real hardships when all we're talking about is a relative drop in the bucket as compared with what will be spent to dig us out of this hole?
In a perfect world, I share these biases towards personal responsibility and having people pay back what they owe and making good on the commitments they've made. But we don't live in a perfect world and the global economy, not just the U.S. economy, is in a downward spiral, the likes of which nobody truly knows how to fix.
This proposal will immediately free up money for hardworking, educated Americans, giving them more money in their pockets every month, addressing the very real psychological aspects of the recession as much as the financial ones. Is it the only answer? No, of course not. But could it help millions of hardworking people who struggle every month to get by? Absolutely. Given the current economic climate, as well as the plans to spend trillions of additional dollars that are in the works, one must wonder what is so objectionable about giving a real helping hand to real people with real struggles.
2009 and the new Obama Administration is supposed to be about change. Nothing in the new economic stimulus package represents a significant departure from the way Washington has always operated - it's merely a different set of priorities on a higher scale, but it's certainly not materially different from any other economic stimulus package passed during the past few decades. Washington cannot simply print and borrow money to get us out of this crisis. We The People, however, can get this economy moving NOW. All we need is relief from debt that was accrued under the now-false promise that higher education equates with higher earnings.
Free us of our obligations to repay our out-of-control student loan debt and we, the hardworking, middle-class Americans who drive this economy will spend those extra dollars now.
If you believe that there's a better way of climbing out of this economic crisis, one that empowers us to directly spend money, start businesses, free up credit and create jobs, then please join this group and encourage others to do so as well. There's strength in numbers - the more people to join this group, the louder our voices and the greater the chances of being heard by President Obama and Congress.
Support real change we can believe in!
I hope you realize that I'm not trying to offend you with my subject title here. I've gotten ahead of myself many times and had someone tell me those exact words when I needed to hear them most. The last thing I want to do is involve a federal agency that is gonna make me fill out applications to determine what poverty level I fall under and sliding-scales and blah-blah, your losing me. People already file tax-returns every year, forget adding extra paperwork and more agencies. My idea is simple. Put the incentives in place, and then let innovation take over.
As for your $300k student debtor, once my proposal is in effect it will be up to her and every other student debtor to solicit their own donations for a while until some more substantial fundrasing efforts begin to emerge, AND THEY WILL EMERGE. Don't worry right now how it's going to all work, because without my proposal becoming law your wasting your time.
I think all options should be considered. Not just one idea. Lets be open minded to all solutions, since I don't believe just your plan would solve the whole crises. I understand no one likes filling out paper work, but it's almost unavoidable, unless someone just cuts you a check and walks away. But if a corporation wants a tax deduction for a charitable contribution, they'll have IRS paperwork as well. However, I'll get my tin cup out to solicit whenever your plan is implemented.
It’s very frustrating to read the cold hearted comments on here by people who think that those of us with student loan debts are trying to get a free ride. I read a comment from one guy who worked three jobs to pay off his loans. Well, kudos to him. Because of my health problems and raising two kids, I have a hard time keeping up with one full time job. Here’s my story.
I live in a rural part of the US and grew up with parents who never attended college. Besides me, there was my sister. My dad worked in construction and went through long bouts of unemployment. My mother worked cleaning nursing home rooms. They struggled financially throughout our years growing up. I knew when I finished High School, I wanted something better for myself after listening to my parents argue about money most my life and worrying about whether we’ll have enough to eat. We were so poor, we didn’t even have indoor plumbing. I went to a technical college and received an associate’s degree which I nearly paid off. I started applying for jobs and didn’t have much luck. Then I finally landed a job as an administrative assistant for a human services agency. After a couple years of working there, I was encouraged and felt pressured by my boss to further my education because if I didn’t, I was led to believe that someone more educated than me might come up through the ranks and threaten my position or any ability to advance. I enrolled in a business administration bachelors program at a private liberal arts college. I could attend class in the evening and take a course during the day on my lunch break. Living in a rural area, there are not many options for a reasonably priced institution for higher education. I would have had to drive an hour to the nearest community college, and with my kids and job that was not an option. I was told this program would cost $15 grand. I signed the loan papers with Direct Loans. It took me over two years to complete this program and I graduated with honors. Six months later, I received the bill $22,000. I called the College and talked to the admissions advisor about this. Somehow I misunderstood that the $15 grand only covered the core of the program. What they advertised didn’t factor in the costs for the additional liberal art courses such as fine arts, history, physics, political science, etc. During that time, I went through divorce and was on my own, living in a trailer park, struggling with two young kids on one income. I put the loans into deferment and forbearance so I could pay rent, pay creditors, medical bills, utilities and afford to eat. Eventually, the interest accrued and my student loan grew to $31,000. I don’t live high on the hog at all by any means. I paid off my credit cards while I know so many others who filed bankruptcy to get out of paying theirs. I drive an old car, now live in an old house that needs much work and have health issues. This past year, I had two heart attacks and I’m 40 years old. I’m exhausted and do not feel well a majority of the time. I do everything I can for my health and my kids. I considered going to part time at work, but because of this student loan, I’m trapped working full time and I’m very stressed out. The minimum payment that is required for this student loan is $300 a month because it is now in collections. I had made previous attempts to make payment arrangements but because of my heart attacks, I was in and out of hospitals, didn’t pay attention to the loan and I ran out of time. Three hundred dollars is a lot of money when you’re on a fixed income. I feel very misled signing into this loan. I knew I would have payments, but I never imagined the other life circumstances I would go through that would affect my life and my ability to make these large payments. I regret going back to school. My kids are teenagers and I’m actually discouraging them from going to a four year institution, because of my fears that they will end up in a situation like me. I wake up stressed out and sick daily because I feel trapped with this massive debt over my head. I feel like I’m in prison for life with no hope for parole. There is no way out of this. If I don’t pay what’s expected, this massive debt grows and my wages will be garnished, taxes seized and if I make it to old age, my pension will be taken. I’m having problems focusing at work and to top it off, they’re talking about layoffs, which would put us on the street. I don’t know how much more I can take. I wished I would have really researched better what I was getting myself into.
PLEASE, President Obama sign this legislation into law.
I am soon to be 63. I was a non-traditional student when I finally started college at age 40 back in 1990. I ended up graduating with Magna Cum Laude honors in my two degrees, which I did simultaneously. I have a Journalism - Magazine Sequence Degree and a BA in Communication - TV, Film, Radio Degree both from the University of Missouri - Columbia.
I have been and still am a single mom of 40 years to two lovely, successful young women who are also saddled with student loan debt. They are also single Moms raising my three precious grandsons. I diligently pursued my degrees with the hope of improving my financial position for my daughters and myself. However, I am now living the worst nightmare of my life.
I owe over $70,000.00 in student loan debt. Over half of this is accrued interest and penalties because for the last 17 years I have had to defer my loans due to financial hardship.
When I graduated I had such high hopes. Then, after four frustrating years of earnestly applying for positions in my new fields of study and working two or three part-time jobs at a time, I came to the sad realization that no one wanted a 50-year-old woman fresh out of college. And, I still had a teenage daughter at home.
I have worked hard all my life and even started working at age 13. In early 2000 I had to switch gears again and began studies in the insurance profession. I am currently and have worked in the insurance profession for twelve 12 years. Kind of ironic, wouldn't you say?
Enter another setback. In 2004, after I had several good years in my new field, I was severely injured and for the next three years I had three surgeries and was unable to work 26 months out of 36 months. Well, in my field if I can't work I don't get paid. I work on straight commission - no regular payday. I am a 1099 tax payer. So can you see the major problem I ran into? Everything I was able to save went to pay normal living expenses, bills and massive medical bills. I have lost my retirement and I will have to work until the day I die. That is unless I can write a great book or screenplay - LOL. I had to insert some humor because this all weighs on me so heavily.
My student loans have now gone into collection and AES is threatening me with garnishment - Happy Birthday to me on May 2nd when I turn 63. I only made $30k something last year and $5733.00 of that was my Social Security and $2628.00 was a small pension I receive from a previous employer.
This certainly is not how I imagined my golden years to play out. This student loan situation is just all wrong. Plus no one will listen to your requests for help at Sallie Mae. Also, now that my loans are in collection the folks at AES, the collection agency for Sallie Mae, for sure don't listen to me. They are just through-and-through mean, nasty and threatening.
I have lost my home, my credit is shot and I will more than likely never be able to buy a home again because of all this. What I do still seem to have though is my Faith and Hope. My self esteem most of the time is pretty much shot but if it weren't for my Faith and Hope, which I have only by the grace of God, I think I would already be six feet under due to the tremendous stress I live with and have lived with for far too many years.
I know I'm not the only one in this situation and I am sure there may even be folks in far worst positions than mine. So my greatest and constant prayer is the same now as it has been for years and years - "Dear Heavenly Father please lead me out of this financial dessert that I have wandered in for 40 years."
I read your story because it's right below mine that I posted. Please keep the faith that God will help us out of this mess so we can enjoy some of our lives not sick with chronic stress. I know I don't owe as much as some people, but like many on this forum, we hit hard times and there aren't many options for an affordabole repayment plan. I'm praying to God that we can all find a reasonable way out. Please stay strong.
My story is a lot like others that I've read on this website. Even though it doesn't actually help my bank account, I do find it helpful to read others' stories and realize that I'm not alone in my fight.
I went to a private high school that did not have any kind of advisor to help kids going into college. Neither of my parents went to college so they didn't know how to help so I went to the same private college that my older sister went to and I followed her footsteps into the student loan process. Each semester I would apply for more and more with my dad cosigning along with me. It wasn't until I reached my senior year of college that I started to feel like the money was real and when it caught up to me I would be in a world of pain.
After I graduated I got married and my husband and I spent the first 5 months out of college unable to find jobs. We both finally got retail jobs (using our bachelors degrees) and we used that money to pay for rent and food. Almost immediately after I got my retail job my 6 month graduate deferment was up and I had many collectors calling me. At the time we could not even make rent so our only option was to forebear my loans and watch the interest grow. I tried to consolidate my loans but Citibank does not offer that.
My husband and I have since gotten better jobs, I work for the Department of Child Services and he is an EMT. We both wanted to help people and to make a difference but my forebearance is up on Monday and we're faced with an $1,000 bill to pay. My loans are up to $110,000 and we have no idea what to do. Citibank refuses to work with us to lower payments and we are afraid we're going to default and it will fall back on my parents.
I feel so very hopeless and angry at my situation. At 18 I had no idea how to pay for college so I followed my family and now I am drowning. I watch my clients who have not gone to college and are living on welfare and I am almost envious of them. I see others that I graduated high school with but didn't go to college and see them working and living well without degrees.
How is it possible that my husband and I have dedicated our lives to helping people but we cannot help ourselves?
Unlike a lot of people, when I applied for my 1st student loan over 20 years ago, I knew, given the repayment options that it would mean decades of repayment. I often called it my "student mortgage" and others would laugh or smirk and correct my "misstatement". However, I recognized early on that continuing your education to ensure a better earning capacity was worth the risk. I continued my education twice after obtaining my BBA, adding certificates to my necessary skillset. Over the years, setbacks and regular life happened but I maintained my loans while I watched people making more money than I ever would in my lifetime default and/or sidestep their student loans by qualifiying for programs for which I would never be qualified. I have been assured by the loan servicer that I am now in the last decade of repayment but still, more interest than principal is paid as I continue towards the supposed light at the end of the tunnel. Now in my 40's, having single-handedly managed to keep a roof, health and auto insurance over my head as well as having paid off credit card debt without assistance (without being able to afford the American dream of a home of my own), I watch as the bailouts and tax loopholes are exploited by mismanaged corporations and their legions of greedy ponzi schemers. Meanwhile people like me, continue to do the right thing by honoring our committments and doing our best to keep our American dream afloat.
I am in the same situation as many others here. Here's my story:
When I was 18 I entered the US Army and wound up spending close to nine years as a soldier. During this time I was able to take college classes which were completely paid for by the army. Of course, I could only do this when I had the time available and when my command approved of it, which meant that in the course of nine years I was only able to complete about a year and half towards a four year bachelors degree. After about 8 and a half years into my time in the army I wound up hurting my back pretty badly and was told by the army that they would be giving me a medical discharge. They told me this in the middle of October and I was to be fully discharged in the middle of December, giving me a whole two months to prepare.
Anyway, when I was discharged I quickly realized that my time in the army gave me almost no marketable skills in the civilian world. Despite the recruiting propaganda which is targeted towards high school students, military experience does NOT give one any advantages when looking for a job. In fact, it can often be a huge disadvantage - when an employer has the choice between a 28 year old with 6 years experience in the employers industry and a 28 year old who has no experience in the industry, the choice is pretty clear. Basically, unless you are an officer and/or want to sell your soul to work in the defense contracting industry, military experience puts you at a distinct disadvantage in the job market.
This being said, I knew that I had to get to work to complete my degree in order to have any chance whatsoever to find meaningful work. I looked into what my GI Bill benefits could offer me and was disturbed to find that it wouldn't cover all that much (this was before the "new" GI Bill was enacted, which is much better). My benefits would, in the end, only cover a portion of the total tuition - leaving nothing left over for books, rent for a place to live, food, etc. This meant that I would have to work full time and receive my degree from via distance learning online, which was not a problem for me as I was willing to work as hard as necessary. My benefits which I earned through my time in the army still didn't come close to covering the full tuition amount, meaning that student loans were my only other option.
I wound up requiring about 20k worth of student loans (would have been double that if not for my GI Bill benefits) and set off to find work in my field of study when I graduated a couple of years later. It was then that the financial crisis hit. I was able to find work that paid enough only for me to pay for rent, food, and gas to get to and from work. After two years of deferments and continuing to earn just enough money to survive, the student loan collectors started circling.
Wanting to be able to pay back my debts, I decided that I needed to make myself more attractive to employers in order to be able to earn more money. I found an MBA program at a top school in Germany which I could attend and where the tuition was affordable enough that my remaining GI Bill benefits would completely cover the costs as well as leave me enough to, you know, pay rent and eat (amazing that this isn't possible in America, the "greatest country in the world"). So I enrolled and asked the Dept of Education for a student deferment on my loans since I was studying. Their answer was "no, we do not recognize schools that are not in the the US as qualifying for student loan deferments"!
I graduated with an MBA from the school in Germany and found a job in the same city as the school fairly quickly. When I checked into the status of my student loans to begin to start repayment I found out that I was officially placed in default status and that the total amount I owe had by now more than doubled. Frankly, I became absolutely disgusted and decided right then and there that I am in another country which I very much enjoy and that I will never again move back to the "greatest country on earth". I informed the Dept of Ed and Sallie Mae every step of the way of my situation and continually asked them for assistance in finding the best repayment plans. It became clear to me then that they have no interest whatsoever of me ever being able to clear my student loan debt - as long as I am always in their debt they will always be able to use me as a piggy bank. So here I am, a nine year army veteran who served in Afghanistan and was injured and medically discharged, who is now living in another country on another continent and will NEVER return to live in the US because I refuse to allow this disgusting system make me a debt slave with no hope of escape. My only regret is that I gave up almost a decade of my life to a country and system which is now spitting on me. I'm out.
My daughter has a Sallie Mae student loan with her parents as co-signers for previous tuition and school fees. She finished the school program she was attending at the age of 19 and the school knew that she could not receive employment due to her age, a fact that they chose not to express before or during admission. She graduated as a chef and no restaurant will not hire anyone below the age of 21 because of workman compensation reasons. So as of now, without any foreseeable change in the future, she cannot afford to pay the loan back due to lack of employment. I cannot afford to pay for it for her because I work in construction and am barely making ends meet myself. My daughter is now living back at home with us where she attending a different school for a different degree and paying for it herself. Due to this situation with Sallie Mae, she says she is not ever going to apply for a student loan again. With the way things are going, will this loan ever be paid off? Yes it will, because Sallie Mae will garnish my daughter's and my own wages. Meaning they will file to have the money taken from me before I even see it which cuts into the money I NEED to pay for food, home and other living expenses. They told me this themselves. To make the matter worse, they also informed me that filing bankruptcy will not do anything against the loan, a verbal spit in the face. So in the end we have no chance of ever getting our heads above water again. I will be forced to file bankruptcy anyway to help offset the garnishment of my wages and will most likely lose my house placing my wife, my daughter, and myself on the streets. I shudder to think what would becomes of our dogs. By the way, this is also the same company the United States government has bailed out five times in the last six years. A fact that most people have forgotten and the government chose not to acknowledge. So on behalf of my daughter and myself thanks America for taking care of us and the future of the United States, quite possibly the next third world country.
I am 33, the daughter immigrants, a fairly recent graduate from a doctoral program in clinical psychology, single, no dependents, financially responsible, good credit, and $300,000 in debt from student loans, half federal, and the other private. I am using my final deferment option now on my private loans. In August, they will enter into repayment which will cost just over $1000 a month to start, for private loans ALONE. If I were to enter into repayment now on all my loans, private and federal, I would need to come up with an extra $2000 a month.
There is something strangely ironic about being a “doctor” and being so far in debt before my adult-life has even started to begin. I didn’t know it at the time, what it actually translates to, being this far in debt. But essentially, I need a full-time job, just to pay off the loans. That means I need another full-time job just to live. I’ll be in debt, working nearly every minute of every day, for essentially what would be the rest of my active, non-elderly life, and probably for some time thereafter. I can’t ever buy a home, because on paper, why would anyone loan me more money. I can’t ever have a family in good faith, because what kind of life would that afford my children. I wont be able to take care of my parents the way I wanted, because I’ll be struggling to simply take care of myself. Let’s be real, I’ll be lucky if I don’t lose all hope and toss myself off the GW Bridge.
I can’t describe the feelings I experience when I consider the whole scope of things: a conglomeration of hopelessness, sadness, despair, a lot of regret, and an enormous amount of anger. I went to school to, in actuality, NOT have this type of life. I went to school, like everyone tells you to… “Go to school, there are loans you can take out, work hard in school, become a doctor and when you graduate, you can pay off those loans and live a good life with your husband and children.” Now I know many people will be quick to say “You chose to take out loans and should have been aware of how much debt you were accumulating.” My response is YES, I knew I was taking out the loans, afterall, I signed for them myself…no cosigner was ever needed since my credit history was pretty much spotless. I was not as fortunate as many of my classmates whose parents were smart enough to set money aside, or capable enough to afford their children’s tuition, or at least part of it. I paid for everything after community college my DAMN SELF! So yes, I took out the loans. I signed all the forms. I did that online screening thing they make you do to make sure you know what you’re getting into. But as with any company the primary interest is to make a buck. Not a single person ever told me what I’d actually be looking at in monthly payments. Call me naïve, but I assumed it would be affordable. I assumed student loans weren’t like other loans. I assumed they were intended for people trying to educate themselves to enhance their lives and livelihood, and therefore, the payments would be decent and affordable, as apposed to suffocating and arresting. I assumed there would be some lee-way for the new graduate. I assumed there would be some time to obtain my license which is a whole other year of post-graduate working hours and passing a difficult state test. Fuck was I wrong.
In fairness, federal loans offer a lot more flexibility in terms of repayment; however, there is little regulation in terms of repayment possibilities from private student loan lenders. Mine offers two options: either pay the standard payment monthly which for my private loans alone is about $1000 a month, or pay the interest alone (in my case about $600 a month) for two years and then you revert back to the standard without any question. That’s it! No income based payments, no negotiations. Just pay. Had I known what I would be looking at paying monthly, each time I signed up for another loan to pay that year’s tuition, I could have compared that to what I would look at making, and in all honesty, I would have stopped school then and there. My intention in going to school was to have a comfortable life where I wouldn’t have to work two jobs. My intention was to have a family and be able to go to my children’s shows or sports matches. My intention was to be able to travel once or twice a year with my family. My intention was to help my parents out once they retire. My intention was to own a home my kids could say they grew up in. My intention was to be a good citizen and do my part and contribute back to causes I believe to be worthy. My intention was not to be caught up in this craziness that essentially has stripped me from any and all of my dreams. I wouldn’t have done it. I wouldn’t have gone for my doctorate. I would have stopped at bachelors or even at my masters and left it at that. Who would in their right mind, invite this sort of life-suffocating debt with open arms. So to those who say, I knew what I was doing…get off your cozy leather couches and out of your BMWs and think again. The loan companies tell you just enough to cover their asses, while keeping you aloof enough to sign away your whole damn life. Reality is: higher education is for those who can afford it. The American Dream does not exist.