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Topic: Straddled by Student Loan Debt  (Read 3744 times)

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Straddled by Student Loan Debt
« on: September 02, 2020, 11:25:22 AM »
I am beyond frustrated with Navient & the whole student loan process. I've never paid down a principal despite making payments for 10 years. I will never pay them off. Instead, they just keep growing and growing. I have Dept of Ed loans serviced by Navient, a small amount from my undergrad and an enormous total for my PhD (I self-funded, like an idiot). In total, my loans now have bloated to nearly $235,000 (originally $135,000).

I applied for IDR and my payment jumped from $27/month to $525 - and as far as I can tell that isn't all of the loans (I'm really confused as to why these are separated). I don't know how we will get through this. I feel like every time I start to get ahead financially, I get hit hard. I have never had a tenure-track job (but have worked in academia), and the move to the UK cut my salary in half to make things worse. I don't know how to get on top of this. We decided not to send my son to private school very last minute since we got a CI offer on a fantastic state school, but all of the savings we assured ourselves of are out the window. And I guess thank god we didn't send him to private - we wouldn't be able to afford it. I regret doing my PhD; I never got a tenure track job, and it wasn't worth the cost.

I just feel so angry and frustrated at my life choices. At this point, even a better paid job won't help because the payments will just increase so I'm stuck at this same level of never-getting-ahead. I feel really conned because I love education, but it isn't worth the financial burden.

It is really depressing to know that I will always be worth more dead than alive.
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Re: Straddled by Student Loan Debt
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2020, 11:52:52 AM »
That sounds awful and you have my sympathy.

Have you ever read any John Grisham books? Sometimes I think he has written the same book 27 times about how law school just earns you a lifetime of debt.


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Re: Straddled by Student Loan Debt
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2020, 12:25:06 PM »
I’m so sorry.

I’m in finance and student loans are where I get on my soapbox.

I genuinely think all high school juniors and seniors need to look at a cost of education versus earning power before taking their desired route. If only just to be informed. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have the burden.  Big hugs!


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Re: Straddled by Student Loan Debt
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2020, 12:37:39 PM »
I’m so sorry.

I’m in finance and student loans are where I get on my soapbox.

I genuinely think all high school juniors and seniors need to look at a cost of education versus earning power before taking their desired route. If only just to be informed. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have the burden.  Big hugs!
There also need to be reforms to the industry because it is completely predatory right now. It is insane that for education they permit loans to be compound interest like that. And also that federal student loans can't be part of a bankruptcy.


I'm so sorry capecod that you're in this position. All of my medical friends are too and it is madness. I hope you can find some sort of solution, an education shouldn't cost more than a house. I'm praying that in response to the coronavirus economic hardship the next government actually enacts student loan forgiveness and significant reform in the industry.


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Re: Straddled by Student Loan Debt
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2020, 03:11:23 PM »
I'm so incredibly sorry.  This sounds so difficult.  I don't know enough financially about all this stuff , are there ways to consolidate and get different interest rates and help to pay back? 

I genuinely think all high school juniors and seniors need to look at a cost of education versus earning power before taking their desired route. If only just to be informed. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have the burden.  Big hugs!

I actually read an article yesterday about how these small New England private colleges are shutting down and/or merging with each other because students don't want to go there anymore. They have realised that paying $$$$$$$$$$ for a private education for a liberal arts degree is getting them nothing but debt.

I remember two of my mentors in high school, when I was trying to talk them about trying to make my education choices in the future.
 I was trying to decide between the extremely good private engineering college that I got into that was going to cost me in the late 90s, $30,000/year in loans after scholarships and grants (full tuition, room and board was $45,000/year), versus the also extremely good state university  engineering school that was going to cost me $2750/year in loans (full tuition, room and board was $11,000/year). My mentors, who had both gone to expensive private colleges,  told me that I should go to the private college as the name was really good and that I would have all kinds of opportunities.  My parents thought I should go to the state school.  I chose the state school.  Boy, I was so glad I did.  Brilliant education and I ended up with only $11,000 in federal loans, no private loans, a great engineering job right out of college so I quickly paid the $11,000 back,  and then my employer paid for my Master's Degree.

My nephew is going to technical high school at the moment for carpentry.  He'll be able to have qualifications in carpentry, plus co-op/internship on the job experience. This will hold him in good stead.  Technical high schools are becoming schools that are incredibly difficult to get into as students seek alternatives. 
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Re: Straddled by Student Loan Debt
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2020, 06:30:26 PM »
I really lucked out.  I waited to go to university until I was 22.  I was in state (married so didn’t live on campus) and worked full time.  My tuition was about $100 per credit hour, iirc. Graduated with no student loans.

My company that hired me paid for my MBA.  Which I believe cost approximately $100k, even though it was a public in state university.  But it did have two international trips.

I am VERY grateful to not have any student loans. I can’t imagine.


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Re: Straddled by Student Loan Debt
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2020, 08:04:49 PM »
I thought I read on reddit a while back that if you move abroad, your IBR or IDR should be 0 because any money you earn is outside the US? I also have a massive amount of student loan debt with Navient, although I only have a BA. (I took longer than 4 years to earn it and also lived in overpriced campus housing.) My own IDR is 0 but it was 0 when I still lived in the US due to my low income. I also recently received an e-mail from Navient stating that any payments made towards Department of Education loans through the end of December will count  towards the principal as Donald Trump has extended the 0% student interest rate.

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Re: Straddled by Student Loan Debt
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2020, 10:07:26 AM »
OP - While my debt isn't at your level, it's tripled since I borrowed it 30 years ago. So I know that song. What I did was consolidate all my federal loans. Then went on the federal RePaye plan, which calculates your payments as a percentage of your adjusted gross income as shown on your 1040 form. As I am now on social security and  a pension, and as SS was not taxable income in the USA while I was in the UK, my AGI was only on my pension. The RePaye calculation looks at the federal poverty level, and any AGI that you have that is above 150% of the poverty level is what is used in calculating your payments. If you have graduate loan debt, it's wiped after 25 years of payments (if you're still alive)  or is wiped completely if you die. I think it's 20 years for undergrad debt. Of course, you then owe the IRS the tax on the forgiven amount, unless you are technically insolvent at that time (the debt is more than your assets), in which case you can petition to have the IRS waive the tax on it.

You need to look carefully at which income-based plan you sign on for. Some will count your spouse's income. Some do not. I  think RePaye looks at spousal income, but you'd want to verify that. You can change plans at any time during the year.

There has been no chance to be relieved of the debt through bankruptcy, but just very recently there have been court cases in California that the judge has found in favor of the debtor and allowed relief from private student loan debt based on repayments causing undue hardship. I am pretty sure the servicer was Navient in those cases and they will undoubtedly appeal, but it's a small glimmer of hope.

I got my debt by borrowing to pay for daycare and food, and went to  second-rate state schools. In the long-run, in my field(s), aside from the connections made with fellow alums that were vital for later employment that I couldn't make at my insitutions, the quality of the education was about the same as if I'd gone to a private university. When my daughter was in high school her teachers were pushing her to go to expensive schools. We sent her to community college for two years. The courses there were literally identical to the ones at the local state universities, and the cost was ... actually it was free, given our income at that time. They actually paid her a bit to cover transportation.  She then worked for a couple of years to get experience and save up some cash, applied to our local research uni, and was admitted on a free ride (same thing - our income was low enough that she was only expected to cover her housing expenses. As she was living at home, they were covered.) So the daughter got her BA with no student loan debt, and was able to do almost two years of ed abroad in there as well, for free.

Don't give up on dealing with the loans. Check the RePaye plan out. Right now there is a moratorium on loan payments - nothing is required to be paid until after 31 Dec. - that might help you a bit.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2020, 08:12:41 PM by Nan D. »


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