Quarter Mil in Loans, But 10 Years to Forgiveness

Originally published on June 12, 2013

The day I accepted my job as an entry-level government attorney making $43,350 a year was one of the happiest days of my life.

I had finally landed a job—a dream job. And maybe most importantly, I knew there would be a light at the end of the tunnel: an end date on my student loan repayment. Because with this job, I could ask for forgiveness.

I graduated from law school with excellent references, phenomenal internships and clinical experiences, fantastic grades, and a quarter million dollars in debt.

In a better economy, I would have had an offer before graduation day. Instead, I graduated and lived in a state of stress, fear, and anxiety for a year while I looked for work. I worked odd jobs on top of other odd jobs while applying for every legal position available within 200 miles.

President Obama to Students: Be Smart, Not Cynical

President Barack Obama joined David Karp, the founder of Tumblr, for a live chat about student debt Tuesday. One-third of Americans who applied for an educational loan this year also have a Tumblr account, said Karp, who fielded questions about educational costs submitted by Tumblr users. Here’s what POTUS had to say to today’s students.

My student debt was manageable, unlike yours.

Obama said that when he graduated with an undergraduate degree he was able to pay off his student loan debt in a year with a job that wasn’t particularly high paying. But today student loan balances average about $30,000.

Cap & Gown Fashion Inspo For All You 2014 Grads

Any Billfolders graduating college come May? Grad school? Commencement-themed porno to participate in? DO THIS. I will be your best friend. Or post a photo of it. SFW only.

The Student Debt Crisis, State-By-State

Generation Progress (formerly Campus Progress) is putting together state-by-state factsheets about the student debt crisis. They've done six states so far, including California, where I went as an undergrad. State and local funding dropped by 25.4 percent in the U.C. system in the last decade, and in-state tuition has now skyrocketed by 114 percent, according to data from the College Board.

A $124,421 Student Debt Story

There are a lot of student loan stories out there, but what I particularly liked about Matlin's story was how thoughtful he and his parents were about the debt. This isn't a "I didn't realize I would be graduating with a six-figure debt burden" story—Matlin and his parents made the calculations when he was a senior in high school, and Matlin considered going to a state school to save money before ultimately choosing Tufts as an early decision student.

How I Paid Off Nearly $80,000 in Student Debt in Less Than Five Years

Last weekend, my classmates from Colgate University celebrated our five-year reunion. I am on the other side of the world, in Hong Kong, so I couldn’t join the festivities. Although I was sorry to miss the reunion, I am not sorry to be here. I borrowed nearly $80,000 to join the Colgate Class of 2009. Because I moved to Hong Kong, I am now completely debt-free.

An Accident Paid Off My MFA Debt

Just over a month before I entered the graduate writing program at The New School I was struck by a car as I stepped into a crosswalk on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Along with minor abrasions, my left ear was mangled beyond repair, and as I faced a handful of surgeries in the months and years ahead, I worried how these might affect my expensive education.  I would plan each surgery around a break from school so that I could miss the least number of classes possible. At the time this was how I connected grad school to my accident, along with the knowledge that I would have to get the hell over it; I had an M.F.A. dream to fulfill.

Making Extra Student Loan Payments So You Pay Down That Principal

It seems like the best thing to do would be to try to apply any extra payments towards the principal of the 9% interest rate loan before moving on to the other two lower interest loans. So, is this possible and if so, how do I do this? — J.

One Year After I Faced My Student Loan Default

Last year I wrote a piece about how I finally faced the fact that my defaulted student loans weren’t going anywhere, and the surprisingly simple process I embarked upon to rehabilitate them. Now, 13 months after I made the first steps towards remedying my financial situation—mustering the courage to face my creditors, actually picking up the phone and asking for help, committing to slowly paying my debt back despite a not so lucrative salary—I am proud to say that my student loans have been successfully rehabilitated and I am no longer in default. I may be one of the only people in America to be thrilled that I owe Sallie Mae a large chunk of my hard earned cash. It’s amazing how perceptions can change when you finally owe semi-shady student loan overlords a boatload of money rather than completely ruthless and unrelenting run-of-the-mill debt collectors. It’s the little things that make me proud of how far I’ve come.

The People Who Can’t Pay Their Student Loans 10 Years After Graduating

If you were to guess what the most popular piece on The Billfold is, what would you say? The story that readers from all over are looking up and reading on a daily basis isn't about how compounds interest works or the difference between traditional and Roth IRAs—it's this piece by Anna Moreno, about when she defaulted on her student loans and what she did to get back on track.

Perhaps My Nightmare Experiences With My Student Loan Servicer Will Finally End

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced recently that it would begin to supervise the seven largest "nonbank student loan servicers." I’m pretty sure I’m not the only student loan borrower who yelled "finally!" at her radio when the announcement was made.

Public Service Workers—Get Your Federal Student Loans Forgiven

The Academe Blog has a servicey post about how to use the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Act, which forgives federal direct loans for those who work full-time (at least 30 hours a week) in federal, state, or local government agencies or tax-exempt non-profit organizations after making 120 monthly on-time payments on your loans. You can read more generally about it at the Federal Student Aid site.