Real Life Stories

“I am a recent grad from Harris School of Business and was not eligible to take state exams to further my goals because of my past non violent charges . If I would’ve known this was gona be a problem I would’ve got into something else to study now I’m stuck paying this debt with a dead end job not being able to help pay bills and sallie may calls me everyday for Thierry money that I can’t afford because of not being able to take my license exam . I have all my paper work on denials and I even appealed and had numerous recommendations from my current employer and people who know me all my life. I made mistakes in the past and I tried turning it around by getting my GED while incarcerated after going to Harris school of business and graduating and being employed but my employer treats me as if I can’t get another job any where else and really I can’t so I have to deal with this situation because she knows I can’t go any where else to work without being licensed . I love what I learned so I guess it’s something I can do but I need help or relieve! Thank you yours truly Jose.”

- Jose G., Egg Harbor Township N.J

“Upon release from Military service in 1972 I was contacted by a computer school in Miami with employment promises upon completion of their classes, nothing materialized. Now 40 years later, my daughter went to state school in Tampa for her Masters Deg. and they changed her curriculum and gave her a obsolete degree to cover themselves which she has not been able to use for employment and is now $40,000 in debt which goes on me since my wife had to cosign for her loan and she is unable to pay due to lack of employment. In my opinion,none of these schools are worth paying for as they are not teaching what is needed.”

- Key West, FL

“In receiving my BFA degree and MFA degree, I’ve racked up over $100,000 in student loan debt. Although I have been employed as a university adjunct professor since my graduation in 2005, I have never received health benefits, tax benefits (only K-12 receive tax breaks for teaching) and have defaulted on my student loans twice. My loans are nearly the amount of my rent, and the reason my husband and I rent as opposed to owning a home, is because of my poor credit in defaulting twice on my student loans. I am so frustrated that the U.S. places so little value on higher education. In nearly every European country, higher education is either greatly subsidized, or free. Yet here in America, you can graduate with a Master’s degree, become a college professor, yet remain too poor and underpaid to EVER repay your student loan debt.”

- Anonymous

“I started my AA degree with the University of Phoenix at 46 years old. I finished through my BA and am currently in a PhD program for industrial-organizational psychology. I have mortgaged my life now with this entity because the fortune 500 company I work for will not take my education seriously and the management is bias. I have tried to work with their HR department to no avail. I realize that I must make a great effort to get into my new field, and have been applying without any response. The school did not transfer credits from other schools I attended like they promised. The counselors change all the time making it impossible to feel confident and standardized. The classroom environment is good, but the syllabus is usually inconsistent and the university library citation is questionable. The changes they made to the library for research is now nearly impossible to get decent information; authors, publications, news, etc. Complaints go to an abyss somewhere of unknown origin. I am trying to better my life and better corporate America with this degree, but will use my first job with higher wages to pay off student loans for the next 10 years. I have considered becoming a career student so I can die before I start receiving bills. I am deferred until I stop school. I just find this incredibly sad that my congress person is making millions, and has 100% salary and benefits when done and I get to pay that while I live on little and work like crazy. I have a 3.91 GPA along with work and teaching students how to play music. Making a living in the USA; it is not what you know it’s who know. Statistics state this to be true. I can’t claim bankruptcy on all the loans, and no one is going to forgive them. Other countries do not do this to their citizens. Shame on the USA!”

- Dan H., Tracy, CA

“I graduated from college with a Biology degree, no job and over $120,000 in debt. Those are only my private student loans. Sallie Mae has refused to work with me and now, they are going to eventually sue me to garnish my wages. Even in “Recovery” they are not able to offer me a payment plan that I can afford. I understand this is my debt but their interest that has capitalized is over half of my debt owed. I can’t afford to have my wages garnished. We need help!! What’s worse is that I had to have a co-signor who has threatened to sue me and is taking it upon himself to make payments. I am at a total loss and really don’t know where to turn. The student loan debt isn’t any different than the housing bubble that burst and caused all the reforms on housing and foreclosure. It is only a matter of time before our economy tanks again due to the student loan crisis. I will never be able to buy anything, a car or even a home. All I need is some hope…..I am just not sure where to find it.”

- Anonymous

“I never qualified for financial aid. My parents made too much money, but the Financial Aid office never took into consideration that my father was not around and both of my parents were in a considerable amount of debt (credit card loans, 2nd mortgages, etc.). I had to take out the maximum amount on Federal loans and work 25+ hrs a week to pay my tuition fees and living expenses. My Mother also took out Parent Plus loans which I send her monthly checks for now as she is on a limited income. They will not allow me to take her loans into my name a consolidate with my existing loans so I pay a total of $408/mth in loans and will be paying that for over 20 years. I’ve been paying them since 2008. I find it really frusterating that the government is turning a HUGE profit on my education (I am a government employee as well) and they bail out corporations instead of bailing out middle class people like me; contributing members of society who would be able to invest more in our retirement, and put more money back into the economy if we didn’t have these ridiculous loan payments.”

- Ashley in Yuma, AZ

“I entered college when I was 17 years old.. did not know much about what I was getting myself into, financially. This was just what everyone did. Parents moved to the country to give their children a better life. My parents didnt go to college, they were hard workers. They were not educated on this. I just wanted to graduate as quickly as I can and go on to pursue my masters. But i became ill, and defaulted on a loan. Now I cannot sleep, I cannot eat, I have relational issues, I feel suicidal, I feel defeated. I am embarrassed because I see people who don’t have a degree, who work at the mall or at McDonalds with NO debt. But they have nice cars, they are able to afford to pay their cell phone bill. They are able to live within THEIR MEANS. I have always judged those people before, but NOW I understand. I know someone with a MASTERS degree who works at MCDONALDS! YES!! The education system in America is all wrong. I feel suicidal, I want to end my life sometimes, but I realize that will not solve anything. They will go after my parents. I am just sad. I cry every night. Will I ever get married? Will I ever have children?? I am 24 years old now, still living at home, working 2 jobs (jobs that don’t require 4 year degree) and i’m at about 80k debt. I want to return back to school, but I will have to pay out of pocket cash. I do not want this to be my life forever. I am considering enlisting in the military if I have to so my loans will be forgiven. I feel like a loser…with a bachelors degree. I will tell my children don’t go to college. Live your life for a few years and support yourself. See how you like it. Save some money if you do choose to go to college. Get a scholarship. BUT NEVER TAKE OUT A LOAN!!!”

- JT

“I was the first in my family to get a college education. My parents knew nothing about student loans and encouraged me to borrow what I needed to get my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work. I was never given any sort of financial counseling regarding the impact the amount I would owe would have on my financial future. I was encouraged by both institutions to borrow what I needed to get my education. Here I am, $100,000 later, owing more than a mortgage and unable to work due to caring for a special needs child. I will NOT let my children make these same mistakes, rest assured.”

- Laura in IL.

“I went to a private 4 year college at the cost of $48,000. I graduated in 1997 with $32,000 in debt. I did struggle in the beginning with paying my loans and did take a few forbearances along the way. I also started a family and bought a home. Struggles ensued through the years with some more forbearances and the recession. I still have $ $9,600 in debt which is scheduled to be paid off in 4.5 years. I’ll be 53 with 2 kids at home. One startling college the other starting her junior year of high school. We are praying they get scholarships.”

- Steve in MI.

“My husband and I wanted our children to get the education that we were not able to have, so we were pleased when school advisers told us that we could get PLUS loans. Our son was healthy and finished his university education with good grades… then he grew too ill to work, and has been home ever since, unable unable to help pay the loan, as was planned, and we are covering his basic living expenses as well. He is constantly on the verge of depression. We cannot set him up in better circumstances because we are paying $700 a month in school loans… which is mostly interest!!! Because we were already strapped, we choose not get a loan for our other son. So now he is uneducated and unemployed, with no future. My husband and I both work. My wages are small and I have no way to beef them up, although I am trying. My husband’s health is suffering and he is unsure how long he can continue working as he is. We trapped… by trying to take better care of our family we fell into a deeper hole with no escape. We have nearly 30 years of payments left… a life sentence for us, and crippling for our kids. If the ridiculously high interest rates were lowered, and we knew that the remainder of the loans would be forgiven eventually, at least we could have some hope.”

- Anonymous
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