The following are testimonials submitted to this site. To tell your story, please go here.
I BORROWED ABOUT 30K FOR COLLEGE AND
BECAUSE I WAS NOT ABLE
I CAN HANDLE 30K BUT 60? I NEED A 100K
INCOME TO DEAL WITH THAT KIND OF BALANCE. I'M MAKING IN THE LOW 40S
I took out $8,000 of student loans, and have made monthly payments for a total of $21,000 and still owe $5,700. I know that isn't as much as some who have written here, but I am frustrated because I have made consistent monthly payments, and can't seem to get this loan paid off. The interest keeps this loan ballooning. I have tried writing to my Representatives to explain how these loans are worse than loan sharking, that even during a period of time when my son was murdered, the student loan agencies were relentless, and I paid as much as I had. I ended up homeless for a period of time due to my inability to work, looking for my son's killer, (which I accomplished in 4 months), yet I still made my monthly payments. It has been 15 years that I have been paying on this loan and can't seem to get rid of it, I have paid back almost 3 times the amount I borrowed, and yet have almost the original amount left to pay. The most frustrating part is that there is no advocate for the students, no where to turn for help. They will garnish your paycheck, take your tax refunds and still add interest. I believe that we need to get together and work toward changing the policies on collection, interest rates and penalties.
In 1980 I cosigned a student loan with
my Father for a total of $10,000. At that time the interest rates
were high and it seemed reasonable to have a rate of 9%. When I finished
college, I could not get a job for some time. My Father refused to
pay the loan. I consolidated my loan with Sallie Mae to get the payment
lower but the rate jumped to 12.5%. I eventually began paying on the
loan but I kept losing my jobs due to the economic circumstances of
the time. I kept deferring the loans and the interest kept adding
on. They refused to lower the interest to the current rate of 4% because
I was not paying on the loan. No other company would do this either.
I do not have a computer of my own and
use one at the library--they limit us to one hour use a day! Could
someone from your organization call me please? I am at the point of
making a decision about putting my consolidated loans back into deferment
or just turning my back on Sallie Mae. Don't have anyone else to advise
me. Want to keep my family from knowing about all this. If you can
not call, please email me.
When I got my second M.A. and left grad
school, I had a student loan of roughly $43,000. A couple of years
later, I went through a divorce, and was forced to take a forbearance
for about 18 months. At the end of that time, my loan had ballooned
to over $52,000. The payments are very difficult to make, but I've
consolidated the loan, and taken a 25-year repayment term to keep
the payments manageable (I'll be paying on it well into RETIREMENT,
and I'm really worried about how I'm going to be able to make ends
meet when I retire. I have a 401k at work, but it's not going to be
much help because I haven't been able to contribute a lot to it.).
By the time my loan is paid off, I'll have paid over $100,000 on a
$33,000 loan! I'm sure I've paid back the $33,000 principal by now,
and it's just not right that my loan should be supporting someone
else's retirement. I think the purpose of a student loan should be
to help me get skills to make a living, so I don't have to live off
the government, not to make my life miserable. But the way the student
loan system is run, I'd be better off if I hadn't gone to grad school.
Right now, my tax dollars are being used, against my wishes, to subsidize
a war that I find abhorrent. Someone else is getting richer by using
MY money, while I and people like me struggle to make ends meet. There's
something wrong with that picture.
First, for the record, I am grateful for the student loans I received, and always intended to pay them all back, with interest, and I fully realize the part I've played in my resulting student loan situation. Also, for the record, my primary beef is with the sky-high collection fees that have been added to my account, making it nearly impossible for me to pay back, and at the profit of private agencies who are guaranteed by the federal government (Ralph Nader calls it "corporate welfare.")
I received a total of @$25,000 in student loan checks, and graduated in 1998 with a science and also a business degree (I have a good job, which employs both degrees), but I now owe @$60,000 because I defaulted on my loan and had HORRENDOUS collection fees added to my account. My student loan went into default because I really struggled financially the first three years out of school, due to an injury at work which became life-threatening (still is), and not making good payments, AND because I was told by my lender that it would be better if my loan went to the federal government (the "Ford" pogram), and that they only took over loans that were in default.
Now, I'm in "default hell," and I can't get out. I've paid about $5000 back over the years, but it's all gone for collection fees. I can only get out of default by paying the HORRENDOUS collection fees first, and then paying a NOW really high monthly payment. If I had a 7-year personal, unsecured loan with a bank for $25,000 (the original amount of my student loan debt), I would be able to make @$400/month payments, and get it paid off in 7 years. But, NO, not with my student loan. I need to pay $2,000-$3,000 first in order to get out of default, and then my payments are now a whopping $750/month, and, even at that, will take over 9 years to pay it off! However, because I am not able to pay the collection fee amount OR the $750/month, an additional $350/month in collection fees are accumulating on my account, and my wages are being garnished 15%.
I've tried to figure out how to convert this loan to a reasonable amount with a private lender, but the holder of my student loan doesn't need to bargain for a settlement because they are completely backed by the federal government. So, I'd essentially need a private bank loan of about $60,000.
But I'm 46-year-old, single woman, living alone (and rarely going out), working at a university and earning a modest income, with no kids, assets, credit, or hope of someday purchasing a home (condo). There is no chance I can find a private lender for $60,000. The emotional toll on me has been great, and a psychiatrist I consulted with said that, oddly, I exhibited symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder more than anything else, before I told him of my student loan situation.
I've only recently come to realize exactly what has happened with my student loan, and how the way the student loan system in the U.S. is setup contributed, and become really mad and determined to effect change in my personal situation as well as this perverse system. For a long time, I've been confused, in denial, and in absolute shame about my student loan situation. I've kept it to myself, feeling like I have a "dirty little secret," like a criminal, and totally ashamed of myself. But, no more....
Hey, like so many others, I'm just an honest, intelligent, hard-working person, who wanted a degree in order to earn the right to work in an interesting and productive job, and who was willing to pay for it with student loans. I, like many others, though, didn't realize that I was going to have to pay for it with my sanity, my dignity, and my life....
To tell your story, please go here.