A lot of debt, almost not funds to pay it. And bad, bad things happen when you don't pay private student loans. Besides "Get a better job" (which I'm certainly trying to do), what advice can you offer?
posted by wanderingchord to Work & Money (38 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I've been rolling this one around for a while, researching, alternating between terror and denial (so I can function on a daily basis). I'm 24, about to graduate college. Like a lot of my classmates, I'm pretty heavily in debt: a little under $30,000. In the many similar threads I've read someone invariably says "X? X is nothing. I've got Y amount." Please don't go there. It all depends on the person, and for me, 30,000 is an incredible, insurmountable sum.
I'm scared for two reasons. One, because it's simply a lot of money. I'd never, in my wildest dreams consider taking out a loan that large for anything other than education, and even then I only took it on because the school I was working with assured me it was a reasonable strategy. Also invariably in these threads, someone gets to this part and comments "You took on THAT much debt? For THAT degree? What a moron." Again...well, you know. Hindsight is 20-20: It's obvious now they were lying to me, and that I wasn't a good fit for the school, and that the school did a pretty poor job teaching in
general. But you don't know these things when you walk in the door.
So first, it's a lot of money. Second, it's with Sallie Mae, which is basically the mafia of Student loans. If everything goes ordinary, it will take me a little over a half-decade to pay the money back, but I have every reason to suspect it won't. The web is full of horror stories of SM pulling one trick after another to make the process as miserable and costly as possible, and some of them look pretty credible.
Federal law, as you may know, has also screwed me over. Student loans can't be discharged via bankruptcy, and generally can't be escaped at all except through some very extreme circumstances. So the forgiveness that's there for other loans, the ability to take a credit-score beating but escape with your life isn't there for me. The only options seem to be pay up or get the money bled out, one drop at a time.
What's worse: My mother is a co-signer on the loan. I know, I know. So even extreme options like fleeing the country (not that I'd have the balls anyway) are off the table: If I disappear, they'll screw her. More realistically, if I fail to pay, eventually they could start making her life miserable. Nice, huh?
So what do I want? Either to get out from under the loan entirely, or to shift it to another lender (ideally the government) with a less sinister reputation. And yes, I did just refer to the government as "less sinister" then Sallie Mae.
I make peanuts right now, and I though I'm doing all I can, I don't see that going up any time soon. I just don't have the cash to pay, and I don't know when I will.
A lot of people seem to think these posts have an air of entitlement. "Ha, you knew what you were getting into when you signed, now pay up you bum!" Well no, I didn't know. Not really. If I had I would have run out of the room and burned the pen. I made a bad choice: partially because I was lied to, and partially because I wasn't paying attention enough to realize I was being lied to. Now I just want my life back. I'd be deeply thankful for any help to that end.