Drowning in Student Debt
$10 raised
0% of $108k goal
1 contributor
107 Weeks running
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The situation: Many people may be able to relate to my story. It's the struggle of attaining the American Dream and doing so through the education system. I'm 37, have a fantastic job, loving dog, and my whole future ahead of me, except I'm ... More ...

The situation:

Many people may be able to relate to my story. It's the struggle of attaining the American Dream and doing so through the education system. I'm 37, have a fantastic job, loving dog, and my whole future ahead of me, except I'm strapped financially to the burden of paying off my incredibly inflated student loans. I owe the government a consolidated loan in the amount of $108,238.23. That isn't what I started at (hint: $85K). That includes 4.5 years of interest and it's RISING at 7.5%.That is more than double most current mortgage rates. Kicker: I can never reconsolidate/refinance at a lower interest rate, student debt does not qualify if you claim bankruptcy, and if you become delinquent the government can garnish your wages. This leaves no money for savings, or what I like to call my “Oh Shit Fund.”

I cannot qualify for a mortgage because the rates are inflated and they take all of my student debt as "bad debt". My lifestyle has ceased as I know it ie: traveling, social hours, basically anything that costs money :( In fact, I had to get a second job to keep my head above water to meet my minimum payment of almost $1000.00 per month. This is due to the Income-Based Repayment Plan I am on to repay my debt. It's a little ironic that it has taken me 4.5 years to find a good-paying job and the first thing that happens is that my paycheck goes straight to the government; actually it’s interest to the government. I haven't even made a dent into my principle yet.

 

A little history:

I've had a long career in Hospitality working in Sales for a large hotel chain. About 5.5 years ago I decided I wanted to do something bigger, follow my dreams, not feel so complacent in my current role. So, I decided to pursue my Master's Degree in something I was passionate about: Environmental Policy. I applied at only one school with an ideal program at Columbia University in NYC. It was an intense 10 month program and I had to quit my job to pursue it. I figured, "why not try?" I didn't think I'd get accepted but low and behold they accepted me into a class of about 60 people out of over 400 applications. I couldn't pass up this opportunity.

I resigned from my 7-year career and hunkered down in my little apartment in queens to start hitting the books. Along with it came 4 different loans I had to take out in order to go. The max amount of government aid that was given to me was about $19K. The lenders said I made too much money to qualify for any more, including grants. Tuition alone was $60K and then I had to take into account all of my living expenses without working for a whole year. So, I took out personal loans from a highly credited bank.

Interest accrued during the school year and even after graduation when I went into immediate forbearance. I immediately consolidated all loans under a federal program. What they don’t tell you is that once you consolidate, you are locked into an interest rate set by the government and you can never requalify for something lower for the entire life of the loan…hmmm, yeah, well I’m never paying this off.

I was unemployed for almost three years after graduation. I bartended to make ends meet and couch surfed for about 1.5 years to reduce expenses. I eventually worked for a non-profit (only to be laid off), and even started my own business ...with half of my savings to try and create my own job but had to dissolve it 2 years later. Unfortunately I graduated during a time when the economy tanked and jobs were hardly to be found, yet, I was still expected to pay interest.

Over the years I have been making my minimum payments on the Income-Based Repayment Plan. It has taken me 4.5 years to find a job that I can finally put my degree to use in but it comes at a price tag of all that interest I have been accruing. Even at the extremely high payment I have now and above average salary, I am drowning and living paycheck to paycheck. The system gives no relief in those post-graduate years when you will make minimum salaries barely able to cover your payments. Your interest just grows and the banks get fatter. It’s almost as if you’re doomed before you signed up for your first class.

At almost 40, I would have hoped to have realized a better lifestyle or even have a house. These loans prevent many dual income families and high income individuals from penetrating the market, causing a lull in the real estate industry which affects the overall economy. The generation before me had homes in their early 20's with 4 or 5 kids and made ends meet. Nowadays we are burdened with student debt with no way out. Current day mortgage loans are even more lenient than student loans… Interesting since the housing bubble burst. The student loan bubble looks like it will pop soon too.

Help me raise enough so that my payments are bearable. It only takes 10,000 people donating $5 to get me to a better situation so that I can actually manage the payments. Help me conquer student debt and come 2016 I hope we all vote on a better solution to this nationwide crisis!

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Every contributor will be crucial to this cause. They will be recognized publicly on my Facebook Page: UBERGIRL.DEBTFREE. This page was created to monitor my efforts in squashing my student debt and all contributers including my riders will be a part of this success
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