Monday, August 19, 2013

Student Loans

Disgusting isn't a good enough word to describe this

They all take responsibility for their own mistakes. They know they didn't arrive at gorgeous campuses for four golden years of boozing, balling and bong hits by way of anybody's cattle car. But they're angry, too, and they should be. Because the underlying cause of all that later-life distress and heartache – the reason they carry such crushing, life-alteringly huge college debt – is that our university-tuition system really is exploitative and unfair, designed primarily to benefit two major actors.

Talk to any of the 38 million Americans who have outstanding student-loan debt, and he or she is likely to tell you a story about how a single moment in a financial-aid office at the age of 18 or 19 – an age when most people can barely do a load of laundry without help – ended up ruining his or her life. "I was 19 years old," says 24-year-old Lyndsay Green, a graduate of the University of Alabama, in a typical story. "I didn't understand what was going on, but my mother was there. She had signed, and now it was my turn. So I did." Six years later, she says, "I am nearly $45,000 in debt. . . . If I had known what I was doing, I would never have gone to college."

Another debtor, a 38-year-old attorney who suffered a pulmonary embolism and went into default as a result, is now more than $100,000 in debt. Bedridden and fully disabled, he accepts he will likely be in debt until his death. He asked that his name be withheld because he doesn't want to incur the wrath of the government by disclosing the awful punch line to his story: After he qualified for federal disability payments in 2009, the Department of Education quickly began garnishing $170 a month from his disability check.

These are only a few of the awful and heartbreaking quotes mentioned in the article. It's like I'm reading my life story; family of six, four kids and there is no extra money for the liberal arts college I got accepted to. Forms were thrust in my face and I signed them, freshly 18 and I had no idea. Once I graduated, there was an "exit" session that contained no actual information about how to navigate the waters, but there was plenty of "Please donate to your alum college!!!". Because I had the money for that, of course.

I make four separate loan payments a month, three to Sallie Mae and one to ACS. Currently, I pay well over $400 a month. I'm on a interest only repayment with one of my accounts because if it was the full interest and principal, it would be impossible to pay. And this is for just one of my accounts, only five of my loans. I have six more loans.

As it is now, I can't have children. I can't afford paying my loans and saving for unpaid maternity leave (whole other issue entirely), daycare, and everything else that comes with raising a child.

I think I'd be marginally more okay with my debt if I knew it was going to something good. I know what my student loans paid for. They paid for a giant building that we didn't need on campus. That was finished after I I left.

Also, check out: 10 Reasons Why America Should Come #OutWithStudentDebt

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