What $200,000 In Student Loan Debt Looks Like

According to FinAid.org, the average cumulative debt for 4-year undergraduate students who applied for federal student aid was $24,651. Gawker has a profile of one of the outliers, a 23-year-old Northeastern graduate who has racked up more than $200,000 in student loans.

You might want to sit down while she explains what her monthly payments will look like for the next 20 years.

From Gawker:

I am actually forced to live with my parents (forced = I am lucky! But…) as the monthly payments for just my private loans are currently $891 until Nov 2011 when they increase to $1600 per month for the following 20 years… attached is my payment plan. I also mentioned I have a job – which is great! And I probably have my college education to thank for that!

Ouch. Just… ouch. If you’re a high school senior investigating your financial aid options, please educate yourself. We’ve compiled a Big-Ass List of Student Loan Resources to help.

Please remember that student loan debt is serious, serious business. Student loans are difficult, if not impossible, to discharge in bankruptcy. Check out Student Loan Borrowers Assistance from the National Consumer Law Center for more information.

What $200,000 in Student Debt Looks Like [Gawker]

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  1. Cameraman says:

    Whoo hoo! Dropping out of 10th grade and going to work sure did pay off! I are so smrt.

  2. HowdyHowdyHowdy says:

    I did the whole University of Phoenix thing for one year. I now have $12,000 dollars in loan debt. I have been sodomized by a For-Profit University.

    • Alexander says:

      Sorry to hear. My brother in law is going through University of Phoenix right now and it’s just beginning to realize that most jobs in his field will not take his degree. Not only that, but the Cal State schools won’t accept some of his classes either. Sucks.

      • Azzizzi says:

        I went to University of Phoenix. I got my BS there, then immediately went to a better school to get an MBA. That’s the real value in going to a school like UOP. UOP does really suck, though, at least it did when I went there over 10 years ago.

    • Bohemian says:

      They had a bit on NPR about some of these private schools ( ITT tech types, not Yale types). One guy who went to ITT tech had something like $40k in student loans. They said the average yearly tuition there was $13k. IIRC their degrees are not accepted most places and are largely worthless. The guy they interviewed sold him on going there claiming they had a great placement program that would give him a leg up on getting a job. They sent him job listings from Craigslist and when he complained they said they could not help him because the job market was bad.
      It makes me sad wondering how many people are saddled with huge debts like this for largely worthless degrees and no ability to ever discharge them.

      • AngryK9 says:

        Their degrees ARE worthless. I have an Associate’s degree from ITT. The only thing that degree has netted me is a $300/month payment for the next 10 years. Their idea of “Placement assistance” consists of making photocopies of newspaper want ads and internet job ads, stapling them together in a packet, and handing them to the student with “Good luck!” written on in. All of the “companies” that they claim to have “a good relationship with” are temporary agencies. I could have gone to a real 4 year state university and got a real degree for the amount of money that a 2 year worthless degree cost me from ITT.

        I don’t even want to get into a discussion about Sallie Mae…

    • HollzStars says:

      You and me both, except I went to CompuCollge. 1 year, 13,000 dollar tution. I thank my lucky stars my dad isn’t as clueless with finances as I am. He planned ahead when I was a born and had most of it covered.

    • lymer says:

      All colleges are for-profit. You just chose terrible one.

      • AnthonyC says:

        They most certainly are not. The vast, vast majority of colleges to not return a profit to their founders/shareholders/anyone else.
        They bring in enough to pay expenses. Any extra becomes their endowment.

  3. CPT Goodlaw says:

    Try getting a out of state veterinary degree. 160k for tuition alone followed by 40k/year job. YES!

  4. Hoot says:

    Ouch! Students typically wrack up this much in med and law schools. Are their payments this astronomical as well?

    • SBR249 says:

      Probably, except for the fact that, for doctors at least, entry level jobs typically start in the six figures.

      • Trireme32 says:

        Really? A 6-figure salary? Where did you get that from? My wife is a 1st year resident (intern) pediatrician. The hospital she’s at pays $57k for the 1st year and not much more for the 2 more residency years, and she’s at one of the higher paying hospitals in the country.
        Luckily, doctors are able to choose income-based repayment so right now our payments will only be $800 until she finishes her residency. Also, if she puts in 10 years at a non-profit hospital, the remainder of her loans get wiped away (in total there about $210k right now).

        • sonneillon says:

          Residency is a glorified internship. That’s just part of the deal. 3 years of crap work before being able to make a decent living. There are ways around it. I have a friend who is doing his through the military because it pays better.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        No, entry level starts in the $30,000 to $40,000 range.

    • hills says:

      Ours is roughly $700/month for $100K med school loans…

      • twocutetx says:

        Mine’s around $700 a month on 60K for two years of undergrad + two years of grad school (MS) . . I’m a Speech Language Pathologist

    • Jevia says:

      Most law school students that have to take out student loans currently graduate with close to $150,000 in loans. A friend of mine is paying it back at close to $2,000 a month. For those law students able to get jobs out of school these days, most make less than $60,000 (some a lot less). A few make the rarified $150,000+ salaries, but those are also in the highest cost of living areas too.

    • daave says:

      My wife has $180k from law school… but she took a nice little job with the state. so we make the minimum payment for the next 10 years (about $350 a month bc we file taxes married filling separately) and then the balance is forgiven by the government since its a pub

      Also.. OP needs to consolidate. bc when you setup your payment on income based.. it forgives anything after 25 years and its tied to your income. Someone making $40k a year will only pay about 400 a month. this doesnt apply to private loans though.

    • HippieLawChick says:

      I owe $115,000 from my 2 year, 4 year degree and 3 years of law school. I make less than $40K a year, but am on Income Based Repayment which saved me b/c I work for a do-gooder organization. If I didn’t have IBR, I would be working a part time job too right now.

    • Spasticteapot says:

      Yup. That said, if you’re earning $12k per month, you don’t really care.

  5. Alvis says:

    Blaming the OP: spending 200K getting an UNDERGRAD degree when you don’t already have the money is just stupid. Cheaper ways to get just as sound an education.

    • gorby says:

      Seconded… it’s a terrible situation, but one that they got themselves into. Speaking here as someone who’s only a few years out of college and $20,000 in debt.

    • jamar0303 says:

      For the extremely cheap, there’s always China. Tuition, books, and housing at one of the best colleges in the country cost me about $5k a year (this is without a scholarship or any financial aid). Food depends on how worried you are- if you’re paranoid about lead, melamine, and whatnot in groceries and cheap restaurants you can eat at nice places. That’s another $4k a year. Or you can quit worrying. That way you can probably slide by on $1-2k a year. Factor in an extra year to get your Chinese up to speed (I started fluent so no need) and it still comes out cheaper than quite a few colleges in the US.

      But no “on-the-books” work permitted on a student visa.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      She should probably look into budget-scontingent payments, which would make this all moot. She’s make payments commensurate with her income and given the amount do so until the loan expired in 20 years. Doubt it would even hit the 800+ range unless of course she has a stellar job.

    • dolemite says:

      Exactly. Whether or not to go to college, and how to fund it, is one of life’s major decisions. This is like someone having a 100k wedding then going “well, I was young, and it was my one special day, so… I felt the need to go big. Well, now I realize that was dumb, so you can send money to…”

      Hell no…I don’t reward stupidity.

    • guspaz says:

      Sure. I graduated with a whopping $0 in debt. Probably because Quebec doesn’t bankrupt students trying to get an education: I think I paid $1500 per semester total, and I was able to cover that effectively working part-time.

      Hey, we’ve got some nice schools up here in Canada (Waterloo and McGill are pretty prestigious, although I went to Concordia), and while they cost a lot more for non-residents, they’re still a heck of a lot cheaper than American schools for non-residents.

      • abluvion says:

        Yeah, not necessarily. I’m an American and went to an Ontario university for undergrad. Over $13k per year. Not exactly a bargain. Grad school back in the states was cheaper. Yes, your education is cheaper if you’re a Canadian, but don’t encourage people to come and deal with international fees. They are just as ridiculous.

      • shoop008 says:

        There are many, many state universities in the US that run about $1500 a semester.. University of West Florida, which has a business program rivaling that of major universities, runs about $1700 a month including books. Anybody that racks up $200,000 in debt for an undergrad degree is a moron.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      I was fortunate enough to have both a scholarship from Florida and a prepaid grant from my Grandparents. That got me through college totally debt free!

    • earthprince says:

      A dated someone who went to this school, while I went to the nearby state school. One semester at his school cost more than my entire student loan upon my graduation. He’s riding out the recession in Grad school now, and I’m working a temp job, so I guess neither of us really had a leg up when it came to careers.

      I also went to community college for my associates before transferring to UMass. I had a professor at the CC and Umass who also taught at Northeastern. He said the quality of classes were comparable from my state school and the private university. He agreed that at the CC, it was hit or miss, but could have similar quality depending on the professor.

    • mobiuschic42 says:

      Hold the phone – I went to Northeastern for 5 years (the typical for NU), I also graduated in 2009, and I studied abroad. I currently only have around $20,000 in student loans left.

      Yes, I had a scholarship, but it was by no means full. This girl obviously did not talk to the financial aid office like…ever. It also looks like her parents must not have put a single cent into her education – down to buying her a piece of food occasionally. Either they did have the money and she didn’t fill out the FAFSA properly (if she had, she’d have gotten need-based aid both from the government and from NU), or her parents are horrible and let her take out private loans without helping her out at all.
      In any case, this is definitely an outlier. Even my boyfriend – who also went to NU and did not have as nice of a scholarship – only has around $30k in debt left.

      This is the girl’s own fault. There were all kinds of resources available to her, and we were told frequently about them

  6. deadandy says:

    So, it looks like this is a person that just took out the max of every kind of private loan under the sun? They will just keep handing over the money too, while you are still in school year after year. Maybe this is a person who went from Bachelor’s through PhD, all on student loans? I can’t even imagine how to mount that much debt.

    • Hoot says:

      Nope, undergrad. Looks like almost all her major expenses were paid for by loans. Northeastern is a 5-year undergraduate school. So 5 years X 40k tuition alone = $200,000.

      • mobiuschic42 says:

        NU *can* be a 5-year school, but it can also be 4 years. The Gawker article says she entered in 2005 and graduated in 2009.

  7. lawnmowerdeth says:

    I paid off my student loans. I think I deserve a reward, so I’m starting a blog to get people to donate to me.

    • zifnab0 says:

      I would donate to you for being responsible and paying off your loans before I’d donate to the deadbeat OP.

      • coren says:

        I’m pretty sure you’re using the word deadbeat wrong. I can’t imagine how someone paying down their debt as best they can and going so far as to live with their parents to cut expenses is in any way a deadbeat.

        • Chaosium says:

          “I can’t imagine how someone paying down their debt as best they can and going so far as to live with their parents to cut expenses is in any way a deadbeat.”

          Living it up overseas and taking out private loans for fun stuff, not just classes?

          • coren says:

            I don’t recall “living it up” or “taking out loans for fun stuff” described in this article. Living overseas can also be less expensive than living stateside, and depending on your major, can be a far more valuable educational experience than doing anything in Illinois.

  8. Commenter24 says:

    I have nearly $170,000 in student loan debt, and I can assure you it’s quite daunting. Granted, I make a salary sufficient to repay the loans without any real “hardship” but it still sucks (a lot) to watch what equates to a decent mortgage payment go out the door every month to the lenders. Granted, I wouldn’t have the job I have without the loans, so the “investment” has paid off, so far at least.

    • lincolnparadox says:

      You know what job would make enough salary for her to pay off her loans and be able to live?

      Stripping. Perhaps that’s what she should have done instead of taking out loans?

      • Spasticteapot says:

        If she has a good degree in geological engineering, she could pay that off in five years with no trouble.

        If she went for art history…yeah, stripping would have been the way to go.

  9. hills says:

    50K loans for each year of school she was in?! I feel really badly for her – she has a tough climb out of this for decades to come. Honestly, this much $ in loans just shouldn’t be given for 4 years of school – I don’t know how she’ll ever get it paid off. My husband has 100K of student loans, but he has an MD to show for it & the payments are very manageable now that his residency is finished. Some student loan debt is good, but this case is hopeless….

  10. fortymegafonzies says:

    I am sympathetic, as she has effectively ruined her life (in a financial sense), but why why why would anyone attend a private college with an expected cost of attendance of $50,000 per year when he or she could attend a state college for one-fifth of that amount?

    • Supes says:

      You make the decision on what college to attend at what, 17 or 18 years old? It’s hard to understand how much that debt will impact your life at that age.

    • Hoot says:

      Having attended a top 10 liberal arts college that cost near $50,000 per year with housing, I’ll tell you. These places SELL THEMSELVES. They tell you how AMAZING the world will be when you have your degree with their name on it. They give you statistics about how many students have amazing jobs something ridiculous like 2 weeks after graduation. Each of these colleges makes it out to be the best place you could possibly spend 4 years of your life. They all say the same thing.

      Now, I got almost a free ride from my undergrad school (only about $10,000 in loans at the very end). But looking back, it was barely worth even that. And the ridiculous claim that going THERE specifically would get me a job? Yeah right. Nobody has ever EVER heard of my school outside the area. Their career services center barely could make time to talk with me.

    • michelsondl says:

      Because spending beyond your means is the American way of life.

      No sympathy from me for this idiot. After that expensive education, it seems that there’s one thing she’s still missing, which is a brain. Unless you are going into a field where the only way to get there is a lot of debt, but the payoff is good (like becoming an m.d.), then by all means go for it. Otherwise suck it up ad attend a state school like other people do.

      I was in school for architecture, and after not getting into the state university my only other option was $30k/year private university. I would have been looking at making maybe $35k/year if I was lucky after graduation, so I couldn’t imagine having $90k in debt. I switched to computer science and just got into a better state school. Now I’ll make a hell of a lot more out of school, tuition will be cheaper, and I’ll be able to afford to take extra in loans out during school so I can take on more classes to get out sooner.

    • sugarplum says:

      I read about more and more state universities increasing their out-of-state enrollment because they get more money from those students. Then less, equally qualified in-state students get accepted. It is just a bad situation all around. I feel for the girl.

      • BurtReynolds says:

        True, but there still has to be an option. I went to a state school in NY. There are four large universities in the SUNY system. There are also a many smaller colleges all over the state. I live in Virginia now and I would estimate the largest state universities here have even more enrolled students than NY, and VA’s population is much smaller than NY’s.

        SUNY is in no way the best run state higher ed program, but if you didn’t get into one school there were plenty of other choices to try and avoid paying $100k+ for undergrad. Even a less prestigious private school might offer some money. There are very few examples I can think of where paying full price for a private school for undergrad would be worth it.

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      Seriously? You think a state college degree makes you as marketable as one from a prestigious private school?

      What color is the sky on your planet? If you have two new graduates that you’re considering for a job, one from, say, Amherst College, and one from UMass, which one gets the job? AC every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

      I have one of those UMass degrees. There’s a reason I put my education as the last thing on my resume. I try to not tell people where I went to college.

      • Jevia says:

        So you go to a community college for the first 2 years at probably 1/10 of the cost and take the intro courses. Then you transfer to the more prestigious school. The diploma doesn’t say you were a student there for only 2-3 years.

      • TheGreySpectre says:

        Plenty of people get jobs just fine with degrees from state schools. Sure you don’t get the instant name recognition, but you have to ask yourself if that name recognition is worth 200k. I can fully see going to a top tier university for a masters degree, but for an undergrad degree it is a complete waste. Most ivy league schools don’t have the most fantastic undergrad programs either, they spend most of their focus on their graduate programs. After about 3 years the school doesn’t even matter either as past your first or second job people look more at past experience then where your degree is from and what your gpa is.

      • athensguy says:

        GA Tech Business School had the highest job offer rate of the business schools on Bloomberg’s Businessweek rankings. Higher than Yale, UPenn, Harvard, Chicago, and all the rest on the list except Darthmouth.

        http://www.businessweek.com/interactive_reports/bs_2010_US_FTMBA_TAB_1111.html

        Non-resident tuition is used on the list, so if you’re lucky enough to be in-state, it’s much less expensive for some of the schools.

      • FaustianSlip says:

        Heh, not so much. I went to a state school as an undergrad and did my postgrad work at a British university (well-regarded, but not Oxbridge). I currently hold a job that has an extremely competitive application process and work with people who have both Ivy League degrees and people who don’t. We all made it through, and our degrees ultimately didn’t matter (if anything, the percentage of Ivy Leaguers is lower than us state school peons). I had no trouble either finding work or gaining admission to a graduate program on the basis of where I received my undergraduate degree. I also have no debt as a result of my undergraduate education.

        As a general rule, it’s not the name on your degree: it’s what you do with it. If you’re counting on the name on your degree getting you a job, you’re probably setting yourself up for disappointment, IMHO.

      • Chaosium says:

        “Seriously? You think a state college degree makes you as marketable as one from a prestigious private school?”

        Depends on if the industry you’re going into gives a shit about your actual ability or not.

  11. hansolo247 says:

    Five years later, she gets engaged, and 3 months later, her Fiancée dumps her?

    No way would I marry anyone in that kind of shape.

  12. balthisar says:

    Thank God I’m almost 40 and school wasn’t so expensive back then.

    • billbillbillbill says:

      I’m 27 and school wasn’t that expensive then. 4.5 years at a state school working the summer and part time during the school year with pell grants after I got married meant graduating debt free.

      I know it is not an option for everyone but it definitely is possible today to graduate without debt.

    • Portlandia says:

      That’s the point, it doesn’t have to be. If you go to a state college or university and start out at a JC you can get through college without massive debt.

      The problem is private online companies like University of Phoenix sell you a bill of goods…Easy application process…guaranteed admissions (with student loan funding) and credit for “life experience” all lead some kids to take the “easy route”

      In the long run these “pay for a degree programs” as I like to call them are not worth the paper they’re written on.

      I went to a UC school, one of the best schools in the nation, and paid less for all 4 years than this person paid in ONE!

      So there;s stupid ways of financing an education and smart ways.

      • zifnab0 says:

        She went to Northeastern University, a private school, but not a for-profit school like University of Phoenix.

        There’s a big difference between a worthless east-coast university degree and a worthless “life experience” degree from Phoenix.

      • Mom says:

        She didn’t go to a for profit college, she went to a legitimate university, but your point is still good. There are plenty of ways to get a perfectly good undergraduate education, and still have the full “college experience,” without breaking the bank. Besides the usual advice of going to a state school, since she was a good enough student to get admitted to a pretty selective school, she probably could have gotten an academic scholarship to a lesser school, for example. What a lot of young people and their parents don’t seem to realize is that what school you go to is much less important than what you do while you’re there. An elite private school is all well and good, but you can often get a better academic experience by going to a lesser school, and being a bigger fish in a smaller pond.

    • BATMAN!!!hAHA says:

      I’m 22 and school still isn’t that expensive. Florida has 6% sales tax, no income tax, is dying because of the economy, and it still paid for all of my schooling at UF. I know, I know, it’s obama’s socialism at work, etc. etc. but I’ve got a great job and zero debt. Between florida and georgia, right around 400,000 students got free rides through college (in 2008, numbers are understandably lower now). Granted, going to UGa is a terrible, terrible punishment just for having been born in georgia, but…free college!

      • pythonspam says:

        I got my Bachelors from a public University in the state of Georgia (pursuing a useful degree – not to say that that B.S. in Art History is useless) and ended up debt-free because, after my first year (with help from the Hope Scholarship), I started alternating semesters of classes and Co-op with a great company.
        It may have taken me 5 1/2 years for a 4 year degree, but I got to apply for jobs immediately with almost 2 years of relevant experience (and got hired within a month of graduation.)

      • John says:

        This isn’t “socialism”, to get free tuition, it’s the state’s insurance that there will be well educated citizens to help it grow and prosper.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        Obama had zero to do with Bright Futures, as its been in effect since I was in 3rd grade (at least). Thank the lottery-playing morons for that free ride.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      Ah yes, back when prices were somewhat commensurate with wages. This generation gets to enjoy college prices that are impossible to “work through” anymore with typical college student part-time work.

      When they graduate, some will get offered jobs paying $35k a year. Then they look around for a place to live that doesn’t suck up 50% or more of their take home pay.

  13. framitz says:

    Wait, wouldn’t it take a complete moron to work up that kind of dept for an undergrad degree?

    oh, never mind.

  14. ExtraCelestial says:

    Yikes! This definitely could’ve been me. 4 years of undergrad at $40k a year and around 5 years of grad school at $35k+ a year all to get a job where my salary will likely max out at $65k unless I work for the feds. *sigh* Luckily being a female in my field is such a rarity, it was hard not to trip over the piles of scholarship money available to me. Three cheers for affirmative action!

    Seriously, tuition costs really need to be reevaluated. We’d be able to better compete on a global scale if school costs weren’t completely out of reach for the average person. I can’t tell you the number of people I know that had to decline an acceptance letter or drop out of the semester once already enrolled because they weren’t able to secure financing. Since when did it become the norm to charge someone’s salary for a year’s tuition?

    • MrEvil says:

      If we told high school seniors the TRUTH about college and laid out that it’s not worth going six figures into debt to make $65,000/yr the cost of higher ed might actually drop due to lower demand. Seriously, what kind of rational person would think spending $200,000 on an education to make only $65,000.

      However it doesn’t help when colleges use the tuition money to put in a ton of bullshit like a lazy river on campus. Friend of mine going to West Texas A&M told me about that little amenity and I said to him “Are my tax dollars being spent sending you to college, or to motherfucking Schlitterbahn?”

  15. matthewcw says:

    I’m not an expert in this, but what does the whole IBR (income based repayment) stuff mean for this person as well as the rest of us?

    • MagicJewball says:

      Her loans are mostly private and IBR is for federal loans.

      • iblamehistory says:

        Yeah, that’s basically it. I am surprised–usually I’m the first and only person to run into these threads and sing the praises of IBR with any and all federal loans a person has. I’ll have about $90k when I’m done with my masters degree in May (in social work, even), and absolutely none of that is private loan debt.

        • MagicJewball says:

          I’m doing education and will also (crossing fingers, knocking wood) finish in May. I only have federal loans but I was lucky enough to hit the right moment to refi my place and take out some equity for tuition and living expenses while I’m in school (the interest rate was so much lower that even with the extra cash, my mortgage payments only rose by $20 a month). Also to be in a market where homes held their value. I figure in my field there’s a good chance I’ll work at a non-profit but if not, IBR is still a pretty good deal. I wish more people knew about it – everyone always sounds so surprised when I mention it.

  16. lifeat24fps says:

    Thank god for CUNY. I know the tuition there is still a burden for some and I sympathize, but I am never going to be looking at debt like this.

  17. Coles_Law says:

    Weird. Why does she have 14 different loans with Sallie Mae? I only have 1 per year.

    • mistersmith says:

      I turned down most of what was offered to me, and before consolidating I had like 6…each semester they offered me another check, listed as a separate loan.

    • BrianneG says:

      they gave me a new loan each semester and because I had subsidized and unsubsidized stafford loans that ended up being a ton of separate loans at the end of four years. Then I took out more stafford’s for three semesters of grad school.

      I had a couple private loans too when my FAFSA had an error sophomore year and the university didn’t have any more grant money to make up the difference from the mistake. But I managed to pay those off first. I can’t imagine having that much in private loans. The interest rates are astronomical.

      • Coles_Law says:

        OK, that makes sense-thanks for clarifying. I’ll point out my private loans actually have a lower interest rate than my federal loans. I’m not sure how, and I’m not going to ask questions. :)

  18. Supes says:

    I feel for her. Kids choose which college to attend at 17 or 18 years old. At that age, they’re invincible, and don’t quite comprehend how much this massive debt will impact their lives. Plus they probably have teachers, friends, maybe parents, pressuring them to go to the best school they got into.

    It’s easy to blame them, but the system deserves far more blame.

    • Snakeophelia says:

      This is why I don’t get parents pressuring kids to get into “good” schools when the parents can’t pay for it. I was told, at 14 or so, “We will help you go to college if you get an academic scholarship at a reasonably-priced university. If you do your part and earn the scholarships, we’ll cover the rest of the costs, but we can’t afford to pay the full price.” And I considered myself lucky because pretty much everyone else I knew in the 80’s just didn’t go to college, or didn’t finish, if their parents hadn’t socked away enough cash to help them along.

      My parents would NEVER have let me go this much into debt before turning 21. Granted, I’m also lucky that the top programs in my field tend to be at huge, cheap state schools – I didn’t have to take out student loans even for my Ph.D. But why is pushing your kid to go into debt to get an undergraduate degree considered “good parenting” now? If you care that much about your kid going to a private school, I suggest you start a savings account when he or she is still a zygote.

    • tbax929 says:

      I’m reticent to blame anyone who makes a bad decision at such a young age, but a part of me is glad my family was broke so I had to join the military to pay for college. Sure, there are downsides to going that route, but I got lots of help with my college bills, went to college after my military time (and I think I got more out of it because I was a little older), and got help buying my first house through the VA. Overall, it wasn’t such a bad deal for me.

      • Kimbeegrin says:

        Thank you for saying that! So many people pushed me in to going to a top notch private school. I realized I would have accumlated $50,000 of debt by the end of my time and started to panic and have horrible anxiety. I’ve transferred since but will still be looking at close to 30 grand in loans to pay back. Blech.

  19. RedOryx says:

    You sort of forgot to mention the part (taken from the original Gawker article) where she spent a year abroad and has now set up a website asking people to help her pay her debt.

    • Chaosium says:

      Yup, she took out a ton of private loans to subsidize her lifestyle. She did not eat ramen like other kids.

  20. Liam Kinkaid says:

    I don’t feel sorry for her at all. She chose to sign for the loans and she chose what school to go to. I got out of school with a decent education and ~$25K in loans, while working full time. Why? Cost benefit analysis led me to decide to go to school in Houston, rather than out of state. And I went to a state school, rather than a private university. She made her bed, she has to lie in it.

    • xxmichaelxx says:

      Agreed. I could have been her, but instead I went to a state school, worked my ass off during summers, found a cheap grad program, and now make almost 80K. Student loan debt will cost me $200 per month for the next 20 years, but that’s peanuts compared to what my education has done for me, both in life and in the workplace.

      • Liam Kinkaid says:

        If you can, set up an amortization schedule in Excel to see how much of your payments are going to the principal and how much are going toward interest. Then, if this is your highest percentage loan, pay as much as you can comfortably afford. My interest is fixed at 7.125% and, even though my payments are set at $117 a month, I’m paying $300. I was able to make an additional $700 payment last month (due to some creative debt structuring) and the principle coming down on that Excel sheet is a huge motivational tool! High-five for being responsible!

  21. Bohemian says:

    Nope they are impossible to discharge in bankruptcy. There is a clause that if someone becomes disabled they can at the discretion of the dept. of ed have their loans discharged. Of course the unwritten standard they seem to be using is being in a vegetative state in a nursing home. Anyone else will have their student loan payments taken out of their social security disability checks. Now that ought to keep people up at night. Yes, if you become so ill or injured you can no longer work and are stuck living on the meager payments SSD gives people they will take your student loan payments out of that already meager monthly check.

    • Commenter24 says:

      Incorrect. It’s not impossible to discharge student loans in bankruptcy, it’s just very difficult. You have to show that non-discharge would pose an undue hardship upon the debtor, or in other words, IIRC, that the debtor wouldn’t be able to maintain a minimal standard of living while making the payments.

      • Chasing Headless Chickens says:

        Both true, really. I work for the the federal component that oversees the bankruptcy system. There is a “hardship discharge” for student loan debt written into the Bankruptcy Code. However, almost nobody is found by courts to have sufficient qualifying “hardship” unless they are pretty much completely and totally disabled for life. I’ve only seen a hand full of Debtors try, and I’ve never seen one succeed. (there is that strange chapter 13 case, in which a plan was proposed that called for the discharge of student loan debt at the end of the plan, which was in violation of the Bankruptcy Code; however, since the Dept of Ed didn’t object to plan confirmation, the court ruled the debt discharged. I don’t think most courts are going to adopt that position.)

        • Commenter24 says:

          You’re not wrong, but my point was the bankruptcy code DOES allow discharge of student loans under narrow circumstances.

  22. ajkilroy24 says:

    I am a current Northeastern student in my senior year and I will be graduating with &131,000 in debt. Thankfully my degree will allow me to make a significant amount of money right out of school but even then it will be tough. Im more amazed at the communications majors who come through here racking up as much debt as I have.

    • ajkilroy24 says:

      $131,000. I’ll give you a hint, I’m not a business major :P

    • ma1234 says:

      I’m shocked you can make a “significant amount of money” straight out of undergrad coming from a low tier school like Northeastern.

      Significant amount of money out of undergrad comes from the Ivies, Stanford, MIT, Chicago and Caltech – the only 12 schools worth $200k in debt.

      • ajkilroy24 says:

        chemical engineering with a focus on biochemical engineering.

        • koali says:

          I graduated with the same degree in 2009. I’m not making a “significant” amount of money. Unless you’re talking about the Oil industry.

          • mobiuschic42 says:

            At NU, you also come out with 1.5 years of work experiences from the co-op program. That definitely helped me find jobs when I graduated in 2009.

        • TheGreySpectre says:

          Yeah you should be fine, you probably could have good to a cheaper school, but you should be able to easily find a job paying $75k right out of school. I believe chemical engineering is the highest paid degree out of school with a Bachelors.

      • mobiuschic42 says:
        • ma1234 says:

          Yes, lower tier. There are 12 top tier universities: the Ivies, Chicago, Stanford, Caltech and MIT. Some might through Northwestern and Duke in there for good measure.

          The rest? Not worth the extraordinary tuition they charge.

          But chemical engineering, that makes sense. One of few degrees that can take you to a good career straight out of undergrad, even from a low tier school like Northeastern.

  23. Hi_Hello says:

    take non-profit job. her monthly payment should reduce base on her income.

    her job will pay less but she should be able to get more money by paying less on the loans.

    work on finishing paying off the smaller loans first.

    after 10 years at a non-profit, your loan is forgiven.

    • Commenter24 says:

      I’m not sure that’s accurate. I know you can get a discharge after 10 years with the government, but non-profit I’m not so sure. Can you back that up with a cite?

      • CherieBerry says:

        The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007
        “The borrower must be employed full-time in a public service job for each of the 120 monthly payments. Public service jobs include, among other positions, emergency management, government (excluding time served as a member of Congress), military service, public safety and law enforcement (police and fire), public health (including nurses, nurse practitioners, nurses in a clinical setting, and full-time professionals engaged in health care practitioner occupations and health care support occupations), public education, early childhood education (including licensed or regulated childcare, Head Start, and State-funded prekindergarten), social work in a public child or family service agency, public services for individuals with disabilities or the elderly, public interest legal services (including prosecutors, public defenders and legal advocacy on behalf of low-income communities at a nonprofit organization), public librarians, school librarians and other school-based services, and employees of tax exempt 501(c)(3) organizations. Full-time faculty at tribal colleges and universities, as well as faculty teaching in high-need subject areas and shortage areas (including nurse faculty, foreign language faculty, and part-time faculty at community colleges), also qualify.”
        http://www.finaid.org/loans/publicservice.phtml

        • sprybuzzard says:

          I see, as usual, paramedics/EMTs are left out of the ‘emergency’ family tree.

        • weestrom says:

          From the same:

          “Eligible Loans: Eligible loans include Federal Direct Stafford Loans (Subsidized and Unsubsidized), Federal Direct PLUS Loans, and Federal Direct Consolidation Loans. Borrowers in the Direct Loan program do not need to consolidate in order to qualify for loan forgiveness. Borrowers in the FFEL program will need to consolidate into Direct Loans. “

          These are PRIVATE loans, rtfs at least.

      • MagicJewball says:

        I said this above but IBR is only for federal loans.

  24. wackydan says:

    Wow. I have some pity for her, but not much. We are taught to believe that a college degree is what everyone needs, yet fail to recognize the Higher ED industrial complex that is driving the high tuitions and scam degrees.

    She somehow managed to rack up 200k in student loan debt… The BIG FREAKING MYSTERY here is what degree did she get? Seriously… If it was generic liberal arts or something more useless, I’ll laugh my butt off.

    So much for her….

    Wanting a new car…

    Wanting to buy a house…

    Wanting to get married – No man in his right mind would take on a woman with that much debt unless he too, was dumber than a box of rocks and the sex was something awesome.

    She screwed herself royal.

    • LadyTL says:

      You do know that debt does not automatically get shared by getting married right? You have to sign onto it. Also, one would hope that you are not marrying someone just for the money because very few people out there have infinite money. What about marrying a good person? You know someone who won’t drive you insane and is willing to compromise with you?

      • mythago says:

        You know he probably turns around and whines about how women are only after a meal ticket.

        • wackydan says:

          Hey.. If she marries some rich guy who doesn’t blink twice at her 200k boat anchor… Good for her.

          I didn’t know there were so many hopeless romantics here on Consumerist. Given all the money advice bits on here, you’d think more would understand the common sense of not marrying someone with 200k of debt that is tied to a piece of paper and not something more solvent… like a house.

          Personally, depending on her degree, and her income level as well her future income potential I would stay well clear of her. Why would I marry anyone who hasn’t demonstrated common sense of their own. To me and many others, her lack of judgment is a character flaw that should be evaluated along with any other traits, good or bad that she has.

          By the way… I am personally married. I almost called off my own wedding due to finding out that my wife to be had double the debt that she had originally told me about. This was three months before our wedding – just after I had completely dug myself out of debt and was completely debt free. So yes… Debt is certainly something one does weigh carefully and should be when considering marriage. My wife’s debt is now paid off and she is a stay at home mom… Yeah, I guess that makes me a real bastard now doesn’t it? :P

        • wackydan says:

          Furthermore… If this was about a man with 200k in student debt… I would have said exactly the same.

      • wackydan says:

        Idealistic are you?

        I’m well aware of how debt works when married. Regardless of it not being legally shared, her debt is indeed a burden on whomever she potentially marries. Do you think a smart, educated man who worked his way through school with very little debt is going to want to marry someone with so much downside financially? The answer is no.

        If you think that these days people don’t assess the financial well being of a potential marital partner then you are mistaken.

  25. lincolnparadox says:

    Because they’re not student loans. She probably didn’t qualify for perkins or stafford loans, or if she did they probably only covered her meal plan. She had to take private student loans, at anywhere from 5-8% interest. Each loan has a different rate, depending on the year.

  26. buddyedgewood says:

    I attended Northeastern University for 2-1/2 years (it’s a 5 year school) in the early 90’s. I was fortunate in that I was recruited by a software company, so I dropped out of school. I consider myself very lucky in having had only $50k in student loans. Whew, dodged that bullet!

  27. evnmorlo says:

    With quantitative easing $200,000 is the new $20,000 in student loans. Finding a coyote to bring you to Europe or China so you can be paid in real money is tricky though

  28. Beeker26 says:

    Her only hope is to stay at home and funnel every single non-essential penny of her income into paying down that debt as quickly as possible. With any luck she’ll at some point be able to refinance or consolidate them down after she’s paid off a significant amount of it.

    Since she’s living at home this shouldn’t be too difficult. But it kinda sounds like she and her parents are kinda clueless about this stuff, so I guess it’s easier to set up a website and beg for donations than it is to knuckle down and pay the piper.

    Assuming she’s making $30k a year she should be able to pay at least $25k a year towards the loans. In 4 years that’ll cut them almost in half. Suck it up and start climbing out of the hole you dug for yourself. Begging for donations is not the way to fix this.

    • wackydan says:

      Your math is wrong. Factor in that she may need a vehicle to drive to work and maintain… and that she is young and needs to have entertainment… plus pay taxes… that 30k doesn’t somehow equate to $25k solvent capital… But it will be $19200 when the payments increase to $1600 per month next year.

      She is screwed. Assuming her parents can help here… She is still screwed.

      • dg says:

        she doesn’t need a vehicle – public transportation, or a zip rental car when she needs a vehicle for *something* is a way to reduce costs (gas, oil, tires, repairs, insurance, parking…).

        She might be young, but she doesn’t need entertainment. She needs financial discipline – which she apparently never had. I’d be willing to bet that she had quite enough entertainment in college. Welcome to real life honey – get your ass in gear and pay that crap off as quickly as possible. Unless you absolutely, GOTTA have it for life – pay those loans off.

        • Jevia says:

          Depending where her job is, she may very well need a car. Public transportation doesn’t go everywhere, all the time. That said, maybe she can work out a car pool arrangement with a co-worker.

          And everyone needs some form of entertainment or they go crazy. Sure, she’ll have to budget her entertainment, not go to the movies or bars every week, but some should be ok.

  29. LadyTL says:

    I wonder if student loans can be written off like other contract debt after their state expire time.

    • Beeker26 says:

      Nope. It’s almost impossible to get rid of student loan debt. You basically need to die or become permanently disabled. Bankruptcy won’t even do it.

      • RyansChestHair says:

        Oh and if you die and someone co-signed loans for you, that person is 100% responsible for the remainder of the loans they co-signed on.

    • Groanan says:

      If you read the different types of Consolidated Federal Loans, some of them are forgiven after 25 years and you can end up, depending on your circumstances, paying less than the interest on them monthly.

      So even though you can’t just declare bankruptcy, if you are the working poor and can’t afford the monthly payments, they will eventually disappear if they are federal loans (and you do it right).

      You just have to be poor for 25 years to avoid paying back what you owe, can see too many people intentionally gaming the system for that (except maybe hippies who leave the commune to learn basket weaving).

      • Groanan says:

        If this poor sap used only private loans, and took out no federal student loans, then they were clearly bamboozled and should seek some sort of legal remedy.

        But the federal portion is forgivable (and waived after ten years of payment in a public service job – working for the government).

        • somedaysomehow says:

          Does this count state governments? Or just feds?

          • Groanan says:

            Feds, but I am not sure if states are loaning money, at least in California all my financial aid options were California grants (that you don’t pay back) or California fee waivers, and Federal Stafford Subsidized or Unsubsidized loans.

            I’d get the loans from a private company, but it is done through the State school and backed by the Federal government.

  30. ckspores says:

    IMO, she deserves to be financially screwed. Stupidity can have that side effect. While I agree that the cost of higher education is insane she should’ve been smart enough to do the math.

    • Beeker26 says:

      I’m betting her degree isn’t in Business, Economics, or some other related field.

      I like the part about how both she and her parents had no clue it was going to turn out like this. Really? How do you not understand, even at that age, that $50k a year x 4 years = a mortgage?

      • Chaosium says:

        “I like the part about how both she and her parents had no clue it was going to turn out like this”

        I sincerely doubt she talked to a trusted adult before signing all the private, unsubsidized loan paperwork.

  31. Grungo says:

    The root of the problem–Congress and the federal government have shoveled an insane amount of student loan money into the system. The universities are pigs at a trough, eating as much as they can. That is the reason why tuition has been able to rise at more than 300% of inflation over the last 30 years–they charge more, and the Federal government just issues more loans. (Or you get non-dischargable private loans; just as bad.)

    • Beeker26 says:

      But no one forces people into signing the promissory notes. If you choose to go to a private school for four years and continually take out student loans to cover the tuition and fees, how is that the government’s fault? She could have gone to a state school or community college. She could have gotten a job and went to school part time. She had a number of options. She chose the most irresponsible one, and now is looking for some quick and easy way out of the hole she dug for herself.

      • Grungo says:

        I’m not saying she can shirk her personal responsibility here, but it’s a bad system that strongly encourages kids to make poor choices.

    • Chaosium says:

      The problem is the scam diploma mills, in general, but her problem has nothing to do with the University of Phoenix or Kaplan, nor does it subsidized loans. Her problem is independent of these factors, she went with private non-student loans,

  32. bombledmonk says:

    I’m sorry, but there is no sympathy here. I’m not advocating that people should go after what they love, but until students start taking the value prospect of their education into account there is not going to be a reform in tuition prices. Some do, but there are so many that don’t.

    Simple laws of supply and demand, there are too many people going to college with too much money available to them(and/or not enough colleges?). The universities and colleges charge what they do because they have people who will pay whatever it takes to go there. They compete on amenities, prestige, quality of eduction, price and many other factors, but many students today give too much credence to the former and let the rest slide a bit because it’s simply what they want or what they ‘feel’ is best. There is no reality beat into the minds of high school juniors and seniors, only “follow your dreams” and “do what you love” and no clue how to get there.

  33. Chaosium says:

    I really don’t care about her mess. I’ve been working and paying off my school as I go. I didn’t make all As, I graduated well past 4 years, but I don’t have to be a charity case like her.

  34. Drivebyluna says:

    So the average amount of federal student loan debt is around $24,000, and I’ve seen other statistics that say the student loan debt is $21,000. Is the private student loan debt $21,000? That would mean the average total debt is around $45,000.

    Anyone know?

  35. lisbet says:

    Well thank you for making me feel better about my $72k in student loan debt, which I have been feeling so depressed about because my minimum $500 monthly payments barely cover the interest after consolidating twice.

  36. BelleSade says:

    Usually I side with the students on cases like this, but only a massive idiot would take out 200k for a bachellor’s degree. I’d only shell that amount for med school and elite law schools.

  37. DoktorGoku says:

    When I saw the headline, I thought, “Eh? Med students frequently have more than that.”

    Then I read that it was for an undergrad degree, and I shook my head. That’s a bit much.

  38. DanKelley98 says:

    The only thing that comes to mind was a line from the movie “Animal House”…and can be directed toward his debt-holders: “You f**ked up… you trusted us!”

    Bankruptcy laws were designed for folks like you.

  39. livingthedreamrtw says:

    If your loan package is going to end up being higher than 1 years salary when you graduate, you should not get a job. However, people should be reasonable in what “1 years salary” is going to be. Just because some people go work for wall street immediately for 100k+ does not mean you are. My undergrad degree, which is often the highest paying in the country starting out on average, averages 60k+ in the midwest.

    So anyone who wants to take out more than $60k in loans better be a lawyer or doctor, because otherwise your salary will likely never make up the difference. (On the flip side, if you’re going into communications or education where the salary is even lower, you should not take out $100k in loans. Period).

  40. Groanan says:

    I live in the Silicon Valley, $200k of debt does not sound like that much to me.
    Houses under a million dollars here are not that nice, and rent is at least $1400 / month.
    Police officers / corrections officers / sheriff deputies earn $75k / year starting pay.

    My $280k of college debt ($25k from undergrad / rest from law school) and its $1,950 monthly payments, is really not all that bad.

    Either I’ll be working in the government, getting paid poorly, having my monthly payments reduced, and having my loan forgiven in ten years (120 payments), or I’ll be working in the private sector, earning over $100k a year, but living the life of someone earning $76k a year.

    • Chasing Headless Chickens says:

      “Either I’ll be working in the government, getting paid poorly, having my monthly payments reduced, and having my loan forgiven in ten years (120 payments)…”

      Wait a minute. I work for government. How do I get in on this sweet deal!? Right now I’m under the impression that I’m on my own for my $120k in law school debt.

  41. FaustianSlip says:

    This sucks, and I feel for the OP, however, spending that much money on an undergraduate degree is just insane. I understand wanting to go to your dream school and all, and that some people have parents who won’t/can’t help with those costs, but seriously, unless there’s an Ivy League name on that diploma or something (and even then!), that’s a crazy decision to make.

    When I went to college, I knew exactly how much money I had to play with in terms of college funds and what I would be looking at in loans and such depending on which college I attended. I got into a very good school that would have provided a lot in terms of name recognition and networking, but their financial aid offer was very low- I would have had to finance a lot in loans, and I knew that I wanted to go to graduate school at some point. I also got into a good state school (not amazing or anything, though- it was actually my safety school) with a ton of scholarship money- enough to save me from loans. I agonized over it a little, but in the end, I went with the state school. I got a great education at a reasonable price tag and went to graduate school a couple of years later. I’ve got some graduate school loans, but they’re pretty reasonable (nowhere on the order of $200,000). There’s nothing preventing any highschooler from doing the same thing; I don’t think I was abnormally mature or anything, just ran the numbers and made the (IMHO) logical decision. I think college is important, but you can get a perfectly good education at a semi-affordable school without plunging yourself into this kind of debt.

  42. Watcher95 says:

    College degrees do not cure idiocy.

  43. smirkette says:

    I feel bad for her, but she seemed to pick a lot of very expensive options (see summer terms, studying abroad).

  44. RyansChestHair says:

    WOW! And I thought I owed a lot. I owe Sallie Mae around 90k. I’m stuck at a part time retail job making $8.25 an hour. I had to go on food stamps 3 months ago and moved in with my 67 year old father in his “adult community.” I guess I’m lucky enough to have such a low income that I was able to put all my federal loans in a 12 forbearance, just today. I also sent in forms for an Economic Hardship Deferment request. I still have to pay my private loans each month, which comes to $477 (which is 47% of my monthly net income), but even still, I don’t have the audacity to create a website begging for “donations.”
    I’m actually offended she’s taking the easy way out by not researching ALL her repayment options and decided to go this route.

  45. RyansChestHair says:

    WOW! And I thought I owed a lot. I owe Sallie Mae around 90k. I’m stuck at a part time retail job making $8.25 an hour. I had to go on food stamps 3 months ago and moved in with my 67 year old father in his “adult community.” I guess I’m lucky enough to have such a low income that I was able to put all my federal loans in a 12 forbearance, just today. I also sent in forms for an Economic Hardship Deferment request. I still have to pay my private loans each month, which comes to $477 (which is 47% of my monthly net income), but even still, I don’t have the audacity to create a website begging for “donations.”
    I’m actually offended she’s taking the easy way out by not researching ALL her repayment options and decided to go this route.

  46. RyansChestHair says:

    WOW! And I thought I owed a lot. I owe Sallie Mae around 90k. I’m stuck at a part time retail job making $8.25 an hour. I had to go on food stamps 3 months ago and moved in with my 67 year old father in his “adult community.” I guess I’m lucky enough to have such a low income that I was able to put all my federal loans in a 12 forbearance, just today. I also sent in forms for an Economic Hardship Deferment request. I still have to pay my private loans each month, which comes to $477 (which is 47% of my monthly net income), but even still, I don’t have the audacity to create a website begging for “donations.”
    I’m actually offended she’s taking the easy way out by not researching ALL her repayment options and decided to go this route.

    • what says:

      Why did you go into forbearance? Did you have the option to defer it?
      In forbearance, it’s going to continue to gain interest, but if you defer it, it doesn’t. At least that’s what I was told. Excuse me if I’m wrong.

  47. RyansChestHair says:

    Despite the triple posting, I assure you I’m educated, lol. I got an error message each time I tried to post. Oh well.

  48. Lexasaurus says:

    I’m an NU alum with a lot of private loan debt (thankfully not 200,000, but I graduated in back in 02), and I’d like to address all the people who are saying the OP should have known better. I was 17 years old. I’d never had a checking account or a credit card. I didn’t know anyone who had real money; I was raised by hippies with little money sense. I trusted the financial aid advisors, and they gave me really bad advice. Advice, it turns out, that makes money for Northwestern in the form of interest payments.

    They said it would be impractical to get myself declared independent of my parents, and I believed them. They said everyone took out private loans, and they didn’t mention they couldn’t be discharged in bankruptcy. Then they assessed my financial “need” as if my parents were capable of paying tens of thousands of dollars every year– my parents who had student loan debt of their own, a double mortgage, car payments, no savings of any kind, and made $50,000 a year. In reality, my parents didn’t pay anything. The only way to cover that gap was private loans.

    Loans whose interest is paid to Northwestern. Loans I can’t defer now that I’m in grad school. Loans that have my parents’ name on them, so it’s always a struggle to prove I pay them for the tax deduction.

    I’m still glad I went to NU; my degree from that particular department got me into the best grad school in my field with a full fellowship. But when NU calls asking for money every couple of months, I tell them they should have thought of that when they were advising me to take all their private loans. When I’m done paying those, they will never get any more money from me.

    • wrjohnston91283 says:

      Then they assessed my financial “need” as if my parents were capable of paying tens of thousands of dollars every year– my parents who had student loan debt of their own, a double mortgage, car payments, no savings of any kind, and made $50,000 a year.

      That’s not just NU – the expected family contribution is based off of a federal formula to assist school financial aid departments in determining need.

  49. TPA says:

    I’ve often called education an investment. Many of the same cautions apply. In this case, the cost of the investment (degree) is far greater than the return (time allotted to pay back loan).

    Hell, you can get law and med school degrees (both!) for less than $200k if you shop around, and not from bad off-shore, diploma-mill schools either.

    Undergrad degrees (short of Ivy League) are a dime a dozen. It generally doesn’t matter where you earned one from. Masters/PhD/etc., is a different story.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      Even some of the Ivies might not be worth it. Harvard? Maybe, but last I checked virtually no one pays full price at Harvard. Those that do, can afford it.

      Would I pay full price to go to Brown or Cornell? No, and many of my classmates at my state university made the same decision.

  50. cloudedknife says:

    I have about 214,000 in school loans, but that includes my law degree. How in the hell you can possibly rack up 200k in school loans going to a 4year university boggles the mind and I refuse to believe it didn’t involve some sort of malfeasance/irresponsibility on the student’s part.

  51. Power Imbalance says:

    I have 2 undergrad degrees and only owe about $30k. Bad choice on her part.

  52. Sorry4UrInconvenience says:

    I spent 2 years at a community college hammering out my general eds and picking up an associates degree in Computer Info Systems before taking the plunge and transfering to a private 4-year school. The community college proved to be a good decision, as I left that school with 2 years of accredited coursework and very little debt. I have accumulated some debt since graduating from my private school, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to my friends who went to a 4 year private school right from the start.

  53. MrEvil says:

    Except for Texas, the state legislature basically guarantees acceptance to any state school if you did well enough in High School (forgot what the exact criteria was), or at your previous college if you’re a transfer.

  54. Willow16 says:

    One of the problems is that college kids are young and idealistic when making such important decisions. I have a 16 y.o. who is starting to think about college. My husband and I were both laid off in May (I was part-time at the same company and they closed the local office). He found a job, after six months, at a local, private university. Things are very touch financially and we have no savings for college which my daughter knows. She is insisting that she wants to either go far away or go to a college in NYC. She can go to the university where my husband is working tuition free. She is moaning and complaining about that because she wants what she wants and can’t see the bigger picture. This is a nationally recognized university with a good reputation. We might even try to let her live on campus the first year so she has that experience but she’s still complaining (if she continues to complain, that won’t happen). If my husband hadn’t gotten this job, she would be going to county college so this is a wonderful opportunity.

    I’m hoping her disconnect from reality as far as college goes will end as she matures. Many young people might think the way she thinks and not realize the consequences of taking on so much debt for a college education especially if their parents aren’t up on all things college.

    • ninabi says:

      Put a positive spin on this wonderful opportunity of free tuition- that after getting her nearly free degree, your daughter can get a job in NYC and enjoy living in that city for the rest of her life if she so chooses, while kids saddled with debt from pricey colleges will be stuck living at their parents’ homes for, well, possibly forever.

      And what 16 year old relishes the thought of spending their adult years with their parents?
      With no debt, your daughter will have the real freedom!

    • FaustianSlip says:

      For what it’s worth, kids can make a responsible financial decision about this stuff. I got into a very good private university with high name recognition and good networking opportunities, but they offered very little in the way of financial aid. I ended up choosing to go to my safety school, which was a good state school but not on the level of the private school. They gave me a ton of scholarship money and I graduated without any loans. People can say what they want about needing a private school’s name on your degree to get a decent job, but I work in a competitive job now with plenty of state school grads who are doing just fine for themselves.

      If a kid even thinks they want to go to graduate or professional school, they should go to the least expensive school they can and get the best grades possible. If you do well your first year and still want Harvard or wherever, transfer. But ultimately, law schools care more about an A from anywhere than a B or a C from Yale.

  55. theblackdog says:

    Also don’t do what my stupid ex did and think you can just stop paying the loans. You WILL have your paychecks garnished.

  56. ninabi says:

    There needs to be a mandatory class taught in high school on consumer finance with one topic being College Expenses. Public schools, private colleges, loans, grants- kids need to see the figures. They might be better off with 2 years of community college and then transferring to a state school.

    People are now receiving degrees in Economic Ruin.

  57. guspaz says:

    Debt-consolidation loan?

  58. pot_roast says:

    “The total was boosted by summer classes, books and miscellaneous expenses, and a year spent studying abroad.) “

    Well Miss 23 year old Kelli, I hope that you enjoyed your year partying overseas.

    Also – she has set up a donation website. I am horrified to see that it has received about $2,000.00 so far. NOBODY should donate ANYTHING to this fool. She should have known exactly what she was getting into. Her new update still plays the “oh, I know, it’s my fault… but donate to me anyway and thanks for your support” card. Just like that ‘save karyn’ idiot from a few years back.

    “She’s so desperate that she’s set up a website soliciting donations from the public, [redacted], with the vague hope that it might go viral like that “Million Dollar Homepage” “

    Please don’t let this happen.

    • thor79 says:

      Gotta agree…no one should donate anything. The only reason for this story is to get more publicity and try to get more donations. The OP needs to work her ass off and advance in her job and make more money to pay it off herself rather than relying on the public to bail her out.

    • SugarMag says:

      Years ago a young lady had her debt paid off by online donors. She even admitted all her CC debt came from shopping expensive stores in Manhattan while she had a small salary but worked fulltime. For someone payinig attention she could have lived on what she earned. People even sent her gifts to “help” her. She was a real snot about it too, bragging how proud her parents were of her and of course crapping on people who critized her.

  59. thor79 says:

    I’m sitting on just under $40k in student loan debt…making the payments every month. Unfortunately I got into a crap job with a cheap boss and no real advancement opportunities. So my pay remains low and I remain just barely able to afford the loan payments every month.

    Yeah I’m looking to get out of the job.

    Hope the OP has a decent job and some advancement opportunity that doesn’t rely on getting a PhD or something.

  60. creamycheesy says:

    I graduated from Northeastern in 2008. Yes, I had the option of going to a state school, but I got a nice scholarship, so I chose NU. Still, borrowing $2,500 per semester turned into $25K over 5 years.

    I suppose I should have sympathy for Ms. Kelli, but I don’t. After my B.A. and my law degree, my total debt will be about $105K. Is a degree from NU worth $200K? Hell no! Looks like someone lived beyond her means and is now whining about her massive debt. Welcome to the club.

    Nobody in my family had gone to college before me, but my parents and I had the common sense to sit down and calculate what kind of payments we could afford (my parents are done paying off my college education, law school is all on me). I lived at home and commuted all 5 years. Yes, it sucked, and yes, I feel like I missed out on a big part of the “college experience,” but luckily I only owe NU $25,000. Ignorance of the true cost is a poor excuse.

  61. vipper322 says:

    I also am a graduate from NU. I went to school on almost all student loans, and received a job directly out of school. I have approximately $150,000 after 5 years of school there. (That’s right for all of you that posted that can’t do math, or don’t know, NU is a 5 year university)

    I agree that this is a lot to pay for school, but the connections I made through Northeastern University’s coop program and other resources have far out weighed the costs. I make enough money to live on my own, pay my debt, and afford some luxuries. I attribute all the advantages I have used to find a job to NU. Seeing as how the job market is so bad, and even grads in industries like Medicine and the Tech fields are having trouble finding work. NU’s resources were priceless. It isn’t unlikely for Engineering or Computer Science graduates to make 70K a year directly after graduation from NU. They have the skills and the experience to skip entry level position because of the Coop experience.

    I’m sorry you live with your rents, and I feel your pain. Some foresight into what you were getting yourself into would have been nice, but look at what you have. A job, an education, and likely a prosperous career.

  62. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    I think EVERYONE getting a student loan should read THIS:

    http://www.collegescholarships.org/research/student-loans/

    The US Government is no better than the payday / title loan companies, and in some ways, worse. Mobsters envy the scams the USA supports: Student loans, the Social Security Ponzi scheme, etc.

    • Chaosium says:

      “The US Government is no better than the payday / title loan companies, and in some ways, worse. Mobsters envy the scams the USA supports: Student loans, the Social Security Ponzi scheme, etc.”

      Are you mental? 300+% usury is the same thing as subsidized 6-8% student loans and social security?

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        um, let me see, you can declare bankruptcy and walk away from 300 percent payday loans. NOT Student loans. And the fact that our trusted government is the one pushing this on students (many of whom, at 17, are not even old enough to enter a binding contract, mind you!) and in the process pushing up tuition…

        • Chaosium says:

          “And the fact that our trusted government is the one pushing this on students”

          They’re not pushing private loans.

  63. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    I think EVERYONE getting a student loan should read THIS:

    http://www.collegescholarships.org/research/student-loans/

    The US Government is no better than the payday / title loan companies, and in some ways, worse. Mobsters envy the scams the USA supports: Student loans, the Social Security Ponzi scheme, etc.

  64. creative differences says:

    up here in canuckville, there was a brief window when student loan debts could be included in bankruptcy proceedings. my husband took advantage of that. i chose to keep paying mine off… i had received $40,000 in loans, which translates to payments of $600 per month… for eternity…

  65. what says:

    I feel the school loan pain. I’ve been paying mine off for 10 years now and hardly a dent because of the great locked in interest rate. I know, I know….mail in more than the payment. Well, If I could, I would.
    Due to unforeseen circumstances though, I’ve become permanently disabled. I called my student school loan company and they said they might discharge the loan. The loan goes under a 3 year review and, ultimately, they decide what happens.
    I’m crossing my fingers.

  66. what says:

    She updated her page 2 days ago: http://twohundredthou.com/
    And her donations are up to $2413.00
    Why do people keep on giving her money??

  67. mudpie says:

    Stop whining. Nobody forced you to sign for a loan. Period. You did, you owe, now you must pay. I completed three degrees and each time I graduated, I was debt-free. Why? I use the OPM method. Other Peoples Money (OPM). If you are in the military or a federal civilian, the government pays your tuition. Learn the system, use it, and be happy. Until then, stop whining, because you haven’t learned a thing except your monthly payment for the next 20 years. BTW, even if you file for bankruptcy, some federal student debt can not be erased.

  68. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    If I’m not mistaken, if your student loans equal more than a certain percentage of your income, you can get a reduced payment plan. The person could also bundle them together for 30 years to get the payments a bit smaller.

  69. Adaml says:

    That is just Crazy. I just finished an undergrad program at a private, non-profit school last week that cost 30,000-40,000 a year (if your staying in the dorm or not). Granted I had FASFA (federal) help, I still owed the rest on my own. I don’t have living parents that can help pay my money but I made the choice rather than have 150,000 in loans for 4 years I would work and go to school at the same time. My Jr. year I worked a full time job – nights, a part time job for the university (not work study but close in pay) and did school. I don’t owe a penny in loans and have a credit rating of 747 last time I checked. So it is NOT necessary to have that much debt.

    Anyone that gets themselves in that situation was not thinking and for their sake I truly hope learned more about money management from when she signed up for the loans.

  70. elisabethsom says:

    I graduated from NYU in 2009 and I have roughly $200,000 in student loan debt as well. The problem with these loans is that the vast majority of them are private loans through Chase and Citibank, and neither of these companies are willing to work with me on an affordable payment plan. Citibank alone is demanding $850+ a month and Chase is asking for $500+ a month, which means I owe $1350 a month without even taking into account my $130 Key Bank payment and $100 federal loan payment. I’m grateful to be employed full-time but my entry-level salary means I can’t afford these payments. I would be 100% willing to pay if they would give me an income-based payment schedule, but the fact is that if I want to be able to pay rent and buy food, I can’t make these payments so now these loans are in default and I’m probably going to be taken to court in the coming months. I even have a lawyer who told me that it’s not worth just paying what I can, because if I make less than the minimum payments, I’ll still be in default. He advised me that my best option is to wait until they take me the court because at least then the judge will appoint me a payment plan that’s in line with what I can afford (even though I’ll be destroying my credit in the process.) Perhaps I didn’t understand what I was getting into when I signed up for these loans, which is my own fault, but I also made the assumption that I would be able to consolidate these loans once I graduated, like my older brother did. I couldn’t have predicted when I first started applying for these loans in 2004 that with the economy crashing, the option to consolidate my private loans would be thrown out the window.