‘The Story of My Education Has Been Long And Miserable’

We’ve invited readers to share their stories of financing educationHow did you pay for your education, B.B.? 

“The story of my education has been long and miserable.  My family is lower middle class and was very frank when they told me they wouldn’t contribute anything monetarily. Luckily dad works at a local university, and the balance of my tuition after scholarships and grants (of which I had several, as I was in music and was good) was completely paid for by the school.  My first school mistake was made in my first semester, when I took on too much. I going from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day, between school, band, and my job. I had a nervous breakdown, and basically gave up.  I ended up failing out after my third semester, and lost any chance at the school paying for anything for me ever again.”

“After that, I began an eight year trip towards a bachelor’s degree, taking on loans left and right, deferring them for years while I meandered my way towards finishing school.  I never thought about the cost of classes that I would start and give up on mid-way through, always too late to get any kind of refund.

“About a year ago, I finally sat down and decided to finish this damn thing, and I got my degree in Human Resources this August, right after getting married and buying a house. (Goal for 2013: No major life events!)  I just got my first email about my student loans, which I can no longer defer, and I’m looking at around $800 a month, which is more than half my monthly net. My husband, who was fortunate enough to have his parents pay for his undergraduate, has around $600 a month in law school debt, and is working a low-paying attorney job.

“I have no idea how we’re going to make it, especially with this new house—if we fall behind and have to file for bankruptcy or something, he’ll be ruined, as he’ll likely lose his license.  But I recognize that our situation is directly a result of our choices, and had we known better, we would have made different ones—I wouldn’t have failed out of my first school, we would have waited to buy a house, I would have actually thought about the costs I was incurring.  So, we’ll make it work, somehow, and eventually we’ll get out from under the monster we created.”

How did you pay for your education? logan@thebillfold.com

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