Show Us How Much You Owe On Your Student Loan

On July 1, interest rates on federal Stafford student loans are set to double from 3.4% to 6.8%, and lots of lawmakers in Washington seem to agree that the rates need to remain low, they can’t come an agreement on how to pay for it, meaning millions of students could be caught in the crossfire — and millions more could be added to the spreading ocean of student debt.

In an effort to put a face to the issue, our cohorts at Consumers Union’s DefendYourDollars.org recently asked people to let Congress see just how much you owe on your student loan by sending in photos of themselves holding up messages to lawmakers with the amount still owed on their student loans.

The collected images are being added to the slideshow at the bottom as people submit them. If you’re interested, pose for a (family-friendly) photo with your student loan and e-mail it to photo@consumersunion.org.

“Lawmakers care what their voters think,” writes CU. “Put a human face on the cost of a college education now and send a strong message to your elected officials.”

By submitting my photo to photo@consumersunion.org, I authorize Consumer Union to post my photo online. I verify that the image is of me, shot with my knowledge and permission. I understand that I am to receive no compensation for the use of this image. I give Consumers Union the right to use my image for the purposes of education, promotion or advertising the advocacy work of Consumers Union.

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  1. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    This change doesn’t effect my fiance because there’s no way she can pay off the balance before the 20-year forgiveness period anyway.

    Bah.

    • mikesanerd says:

      Yeah me too. Besides, the federal loan guys will at least work with you on getting a reasonable payment. The private loan companies are the ones ruining my wife’s life. They call her about 10 times a day even though she’s up to date on her insanely high payment from them.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Yup. The federal loans she actually does revenue-based payments, but the private loans do no such thing and she pays the full monthly amount even if she’s making $0, which she very well may be doing soon given all the education cuts.

    • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

      ??? How does that happen?

      I have management degree after 4 years I had $30K in loans and some grants.
      I am almost 4 years out and I have about $7K left which will be paid this year.
      At 4 years out of college I have a salary around $80K a year. Every year you get a raise or promotion so it gets easier to pay every year.

      If you cant pay off your loans within 6 years something is very, very wrong.

      • iblamehistory says:

        Yes, something is very, very wrong, such as there being no jobs for anyone even after they bust their asses earning master’s degrees, only to be told that education and internship experience don’t count, while paid employment experience is all anyone looks for. I’d say something is very, very wrong, indeed.

      • sagodjur says:

        “At 4 years out of college I have a salary around $80K a year. Every year you get a raise or promotion so it gets easier to pay every year.”

        Did any of the classes you took teach you to recognize that your own experience may differ from the experiences of others (many, many others even)?

        “If you cant pay off your loans within 6 years something is very, very wrong.”

        It’s called the economy and the job market and any number of other variables.

        • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

          But you would only get loans for a major that was indemand in the job market.
          Why would you get loans for a major you know in advance does not get you a good paying job?

          • sagodjur says:

            For one thing, your major is not always related to getting a job. Sometimes it really is just the degree. It depends on the job.

            My decent-paying job that will allow me to not get underwater with my student loan debt isn’t related to my major. But I wouldn’t qualify for my job with the HR department to have gotten an interview if I didn’t have the piece of paper.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        FUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

        I wish I had a job that made $80K a year. I’ll be lucky to get one that pays $20K. Especially now that I’ve been laid off and have to

        START.
        ALL.
        OVER.

        • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

          You were laid off? That’s terrible!

          I like you a lot, Professor Trelawney.

      • elephant says:

        Despite your name, you seem to be lacking in common sense… My husband had over 100K student loans and made from $30-$45K each year for the first 6 years after med school. Nothing is “very very wrong” about him not being able to pay back the loans in that time – not only did he not pay them back, he only paid the interest (horror!). He’s now making more $ and paying back – the key is to go into a field that allows you to pay back your loans in a reasonable amount of time (6 years isn’t reasonable).

        • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

          6 years is absolutely reasonable for student loans. 10 years if you went to havard for undergrad and grad school or became a doctor.
          My loan will be 100% paid off in 4 years.
          I paid in state tuition stayed in the dorms and fraternity, got a management degree and landed a $60K a year job living in a low cost suburb of a city and and working 10 minutes away.

          The answer is not to end student loans, it is to limit majors people can choose to get financial aid.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            As usual, Common Sense you are not.

          • elephant says:

            You are so so so wrong I’m not even sure it’s worth arguing with you – Residents fresh out of med school often live paycheck to paycheck or with very little savings – a 6 year residency means that by your theory my husband now has 4 years (within your 10 year extended window) in which to pay $100K in student loans. Yes, we could come up with $25K per year but we’re stretching it out a bit more – working on funding retirement and savings. That’s super duper for you that you’re so awesome you got your much smaller loan paid off so quickly – My husband went to a state school for undergrad and the loans are only from medical school. Your $80K salary 4 years out of college is $80K more than my husband’s salary at the same time. Residents earn very little – they’ll catch up later, but being years behind when it comes to starting to earn a livable paycheck with which one can afford $700/month to pay student loans means they can’t pay off loans in your arbitrary 6 or 10 year window.

    • Groanan says:

      I am in the same boat.

      I owe $380k; I will be paying 15% of my paycheck for the next 25 years, there is no way that I will be earning enough money to have a non-income-based repayment plan.

      At some point (which for me was after law school and before getting an LL.M.) it does not make sense to not do the extra year of school (in this job market) because you will be paying 15% of your paycheck regardless. It makes the interest rates a bit, well, a non-issue (if I went to work in the army, as enlisted, I would end up paying around 80k on my loan before it would be forgiven).

      • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

        If you really owe $380K then that means you went to harvard for 4 years ($60K a year inclusive) thus $240K for undergrad + another $140K for your Havard MBA.
        So you should have easily gotten $100K+ a year job right away with raises every year. You should still be able to pay it off in 10 years easy. After an effective average tax rate of about 20% not counting deductions you will make $80K after taxes or $6,600 a month.

        After paying your $3K month student loan payment you will have more than $3K to live off of.
        You should be fine with your harvard degree.

        Now normal people go to a state school that is $20K a year (inclusive of expenses) so they have an $80K debt with the same degree you get from harvard + another $40K for grad school.
        Total w/ grad school would be $120K but you will get about $80K a year salary, not the harvard $100K+ starting. This is a $1,600 a month payment for 6 years while taking home after 20% effective tax – $5,300 a month given them $3,700 to live off of per month.

        Now if you picked a crappy major and racked up $380K in debt then you should be paying for the rest of your life. You should never be allowed to get a forgiveness for being stupid.

        • thezone says:

          What world do you live in that new grads with Masters get 80k a year? I really hate it when people don’t know what their talking about. First off, you really shouldn’t have mentioned Harvard. You see they have so much money that if you are accepted you receive grants for your undergrad. So unless your parents make a boatload of money your tuition could be free. Second, there is more than tuition. There’s room and board. There are books and fees. There is a lot of stuff that could end up putting someone in a lot of debt. Now, maybe the amount of debt doesn’t make sense based on their future income potential. And back to Harvard. If you think the Harvard degree and a SUNY degree is the same you are nuts.

          • CosmosHuman says:

            I’ll never make 80k a year with a Masters in social work. I’m hoping to make 40-50k…if I’m lucky. I see it this way; the only way I can pay back the loans is by income based repayment. Sure, I’ll be screwed on the interest, but I’ll not have to exist on ramen noodles.

            I still think for me it is a good investment in what future I have left. Hell, I’m smart enough for a PhD. What a way to spend my retirement years! Just kidding.

            remember I will be competing with 20 somethings just coming out of school…even with my years of experience.

            • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

              There are majors that dont pay anything in the real world.
              Dont get crazy loans for one of those low wage/not in-demand majors.

              I really wish the government has a requirement on which majors you can choose.
              The government already tracks the starting and average salaries you get for a job on the onet website. They should use that to screen who they will give loans to.

          • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

            FYI, I gave all inclusives prices. Not just tuition. The prices I listed are for tuition, books, travel, food, apartment, gas, etc. What your loan would be for if you went full time w/ no job and need to loans to live off of.
            I listed the Harvard price as that is one of the most expensive and it would be the only way the OP could get $380K in loans with a Harvard undergrad + Harvard grad school.
            If you get the same degree in an in-state school your loans for undergrad + grad school would be $120K total (all inclusive price – tuition, books, housing, food)

            I got a $60K a year job with my undergrad at an in-state school (no prior work experience). Grad students usually get around $80K starting salary. (Harvard $100K+)

            • thezone says:

              The average undergrad out of school in 2011 made 42k. I don’t know where you’re getting your info from.

              • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

                You cant average junk majors with in demand majors.
                Look at the average for engineering, technology, sciences, math.
                That will be around $60K a year for undergrad.

                Choosing anything liberal arts and many other majors the average would be around $30K. If you choose those kind of majors you dont get many loans, you go to in-state cheaper tuition schools, you work while in school. Then you end up with only $20K to $30K in loans that is easily paid back.
                If you get $100K+ loans for a job you know only pays $30K a year then you already failed at life.

        • CosmosHuman says:

          What university did you attend? I’m going to CWRU and the grad school f/t tuition is just over 36k a year. But, I’ll be going p/t which is $1238/credit hour and I’ll have a partial scholarship. I hate to see how much my books will cost. But over 300k for an education??? Was the school on Mars?

        • Moniker Preferred says:

          There was a story about a year ago on NPR about how a complete graduating class at Harvard’s law school missed the boat. The grads said that typically Harvard grads-to-be are solicited in their senior year. Essentially, they typically have jobs waiting when they graduate.

          However, in that year (Summer 2011 graduating class, I think), the law firms did not come in, and the usual process for Harvard grads failed to function. Those grads were looking for work, just like so many others.

      • wade says:

        Please tell me how much each component of your schooling cost. Not that I doubt you, but I am just very curious as to how you got there.

      • Groanan says:

        Breakdown of my college debt for those interested…

        The Loans: $364k (this is with their added interest)(the government website lists my total as 374k, my servicers combined list it as what follows, what is the real debt? who knows..)
        1. San Jose City College, 2 years, Administration of Justice -> 7,608
        2. San Jose State University, 2 years, Philosophy -> 17,853
        3. Santa Clara University School of Law, 3 years, J.D. -> 285,222
        4. Santa Clara University School of Law, 1 year, LL.M. -> 52,692

        Cost of living while going to college: $268k
        Rent (1,300) Utilities (250) Gas (200) Food & Misc (for 2) (850) Internet (100) Phone (for 2) (200) Vehicle Payments (400) (only until 2010) = 3,300 a month / 39,600 a year, x 7 years of school (-when car paid off) = $268,000

        Medical Costs: $40k
        PTSD stress ground teeth into nothing since returning from Iraq, teeth not covered by VA unless you are 100% disabled, 3 root canals, every tooth crowned, rolled into SCU Law J.D. school student loan.

        Cost of the Actual School Units: $156k
        SJCC -> Almost zero, books cost a few hundred, but the classes were around $5 each.
        SJSU -> Same as SJCC, thanks to Pell and other grants
        SCU J.D. -> $1,400 per unit x 86 units -> $120,400
        SCU LL.M. -> $1,500 per unit x 24 units, – 17k from new GI Bill -> $35,983

        Income: $98k
        10 months as a security guard at 11 an hour x20 a week – taxes = $7,935
        10 months as an army reservist E-5 with 6 years in, ~275/month = $2,750
        DKF Veteran’s Scholarship (5k a year, 3 years) = $15,000
        Robert N. Chang Transfer Scholarship (3.5k? for 2 years) = $7,000
        Old GI Bill, $1,300 x 40 months = $52,000 (what I served 4 years in the Army expecting)
        New GI Bill, $1,868 x 8 months = $13,488

        Cost of Living (268k), Medical (40k), Units (156k) = $464k, – Income ($98k) = $366k student loan debt (plus 11k on credit cards)

        Once I had my J.D., and over 300k debt, I already hit the maximum I will ever pay monthly on my student loans (unless I got a really really high paying job); the system encouraged me to go ahead for another year of post-graduate education, and interest rates do not factor, at all, into my how much I will be paying off on my debt (if I only make 90k a year, I will end up paying $337,500 on my $364k loan)(at most, making $140k a year, I’ll pay ~$530k total over the 25 years).

        I would have worked more, but keep in mind I was having surgery and/or was injured every year from 2005 through 2012 (chest cartilage injury, hip surgery, tonsillectomy, septoplasty, near totaled car accident (hit & run), totaled car accident (causing long lasting neck and back injuries), and 18 months of major dentistry where most of my teeth were just exposed nerves covered in a thin plastic casing).

        7 years, 4 degrees, full set of crowns -> $375k debt

    • leprofie says:

      College degree? It’s “affect” not “effect” here.

      • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

        To be fair, there was reference to the fiancee with student loans, the person who did not write the post. Unless one can marry themselves.

        LEGALIZE IT

  2. Cat says:

    I am of the opposing view:

    Government needs to get out of the student loan business, and STOP FEEDING THE MONSTER it has created.

    • thezone says:

      Stop feeding the monster of help with higher education? Stafford loans are an inexpensive way to allow lower income and middle class students to go to better schools than they could afford to other ways. It also allows them to pay the loans back over longer periods of time and at less cost than traditional loans allow. Without them student’s choices would be like they were back in the 50s where only upper class kids were able to get higher education.

      • Cat says:

        In theory, that’s what’s supposed to happen. But instead, the easy availability of huge amounts of money has caused schools to increase tuition far more than inflation. For no reason at all, other than “Because we can”, and people will just take out more loans to cover the costs.

        The law of unintended consequences applies here.

        • miguelggarcia says:

          Exactly.
          From Forbes (talking about the “student loan bubble”):
          “It worked just like subprime,” he explained. The feds bankrolled it. Guaranteed it. Regulated it. And conveniently didn’t notice as it got to monstrous proportions. Then, when it blows up, they’ll be there again, pointing fingers and promising to “regulate” more heavily.
          http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2012/06/04/student-loan-bubble-sets-up-to-be-subprime-disaster-part-deux/

        • wade says:

          But. . .but. . .EDUCATION!!!

        • thezone says:

          Sorry Cat you are totally wrong on this one. College is becoming more expensive for multiple reasons. 1. More kids are going. More students means you need more places to house and feed them. Unfortunately buildings aren’t cheap and that usually means increasing tuition to pay for it. 2. Technology changes. Many schools have to constantly update the classroom technology to stay competitive today. And classroom technology is expensive (projector bulbs may cost up to $500). 3. Lots of labor, once again more students mean more people to help them and labor costs are expensive.

          Don’t forget most schools are non-profits. They aren’t racking up millions of extra dollars to give to the shareholders. Educating people is just an expensive undertaking.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            You forgot competition. School are vying for your money, so every school has every major possible, which makes it inefficiency to run the school. Schools need to specialize more, which lowers cost.

          • sagodjur says:

            1. More kids are going. More students means you need more places to house and feed them. Unfortunately buildings aren’t cheap and that usually means increasing tuition to pay for it.

            But even schools like community colleges that don’t house students are raising tuition, so this isn’t a universal factor.

            2. Technology changes. Many schools have to constantly update the classroom technology to stay competitive today. And classroom technology is expensive (projector bulbs may cost up to $500).

            I agree with this one, but there are often technology fees that cover these things that are separate from tuition.

            3. Lots of labor, once again more students mean more people to help them and labor costs are expensive.

            Yet schools are already cutting labor costs by hiring a large number of non-benefited part-time instructors who end up teaching at two or three colleges to make ends meet.

            • thezone says:

              The increases in tuition at CC are less than private schools. They still have to update buildings and build new ones. They just don’t have to house students. The technology fees at most universities don’t even come close to paying for the technology. As for the professors that don’t have benefits, you’re right. Schools do these things to try to help keep costs down. If they weren’t tuition would go up even more. Why do you think tuition is increasing?

            • wade says:

              Don’t forget that with the easy availability of huge amounts of money gives no real incentive to these (non-profit!) schools to maximize the value of these additions and expenses.

              Build more buildings! Get more payers. . .I mean, students! Oh, cost overrun? Just raise tuition.

              Do we really need these new-new-newest, most expensive computers? Of course we do, they will attract more tuition money. . .I mean, students! Don’t worry about raising tuition; financing is easily available! It’s for education!!!

              I’ve wondered why there really hasn’t been much outrage over the colleges and universities that charge $100k for a degree in 18th century Scandaniavian women’s horticulture film studies. Everyone’s mad at who lent the money to pay for it, but nobody thinks about who took the money for it.

              • InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

                One thing I will point out – Do schools need the newest possible computers? Well, if they’re going to teach computer science that the students will still be able to use by graduation, then yes. And then there’s the software – a school needs to keep up with updated software for students learning programming. That updated software often means needing the processing power of a newer computer system.
                So, buying new computer equipment isn’t just about impressing prospective students. It’s about allowing the students to learn on equipement that they will actually encounter out in the real world.

          • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

            More kids are going because college degrees are becoming more and more like high school degrees, in that you shouldn’t consider hiring anyone without it.

            You can blame the public school system for that, lowering graduation requirements and distracting education with silly money makers like sports.

            Don’t forget to blame a society that places no value on intelligence or mental prowess. There’s a reason the USA has an education system as if it was a third world country.

          • Cat says:

            1. More kids are going.

            Because they will loan money to anyone with a pulse. Even people with no chance of making it through the first year, let alone graduation.

            And the schools don’t care. Remember, it’s not about education at all, it’s all about money – even for “non-profit” colleges.

            • thezone says:

              You don’t know much about universities. They spend a tremendous amount of time trying to pick the students that will be successful (don’t forget they make the best alumni). They also do a ton of work trying to find the students that need help before they get in trouble. There is program after program designed to give mentors where needed. Universities care about their students.

              • jebarringer says:

                Ha. Ha. Hahahaha! “Universities care about their students”? That’s rich! As someone who’s worked in colleges / universities at multiple levels (i.e. community colleges to private schools to Big Ten level schools), I can tell you that universities care about the students’ money. That is it.

                • thezone says:

                  Well then the university that I’ve been at for the last decade must just be special.

        • MathMan aka Random Talker says:

          Ding, ding, ding! Cat you are correct. There is not a strong incentive for higher education institutions to be fiscally responsible.

          http://www.ihep.org/assets/files/programs/2011%20msi%20symposium/The_Need_for_Institutional_Fiscal_Responsibility_FINAL_February_2011.pdf

          In fact, there is a whole new industry growing which is advising (consulting) higher education instructions on how to be more fiscally responsible as there is a belief that the funds easy gotten from student loans won’t always be there. Source: Friend in the consulting industry whose company has created a whole division to address this.

        • voogru says:

          WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO THE REAL CAT

      • aerodawg says:

        “lower income and middle class students to go to better schools”

        Why exactly do they need to go to a “better” school and pay a buttload of $$ for the name when much less expensive schools do the job for a lot less? When it comes to the impact on finding a paying job, for the average person it matters a lot more WHAT you get a degree in than WHERE you get it as long as it’s an accredited institution.

        • thezone says:

          Actually, where you go to school does make a difference. And it’s not just in your overall education. It matters for the types of networking opportunities (which can be as important as what you learned) you make. Being accredited does not mean the education is the same. It means that the college or university has a minimum quality. Now if you want to talk about how much you spend on an education based on what your future earnings will be we can talk. But merely saying the cheapest school is still the best is misleading at best.

          • rmorin says:

            As someone who works assisting graduating students into full time jobs, while finishing my own doctorate you are so incredibly wrong it hurts.

            It goes: Ivy —–> Everyone Else ——> ITT tech … there is no other grouping.

            I’m not wrong, I’ve placed literally hundreds of students in jobs in the past four years. The U.S. news rankings mean absolute crap to employers, it is about the students accomplishments in and out of school. So yes it is absolutely worthless to get a degree at XX private college compared to YY public college. No please don’t quote “But the archaeology program is REALLY GOOD at XX”, it doesn’t matter. The students experience (which is independent of college, again trust me) matters not their college.

            • thezone says:

              Did you even read what I wrote? I said that it also helps you in your networking. If you think that a student that goes to UC Berkeley or RPI or U of M doesn’t have an advantage over students that go to podunk college #1 you are fooling yourself. Study after study shows that top notch schools with name recognition in their fields have advantages. Most of that advantage comes from networking and local recognition. I went to a very good engineering school. There is a point where the name of a college doesn’t matter as much but it’s not just the Ivys of the world.

              • rmorin says:

                I went to a very good engineering school.

                See you are going the entitled, arrogant, route which exactly what I said is bull!@#$. It does not matter. I have worked with tons of engineering students and the best predictor of job success is whether they have done an internship or co-op, nothing to do with their college. Which guess what? You can get an internship or co-op just as easily regardless of college. Again, you are just buying into the U.S. News Reports bull!@#$ that certain schools are “better” then others, when the success of a student even from “podunk college” (again showing your arrogance) is completely dependent on what the student puts in.

                But yeah you and your “very good” education know more then me, and 4 years of working with graduating seniors.

                • thezone says:

                  No I’m making my opinion based on articles like this one http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703597204575483730506372718.html
                  I’m also basing it on my years working. The top schools have better coop programs with companies. They have better alumni organization to help students. Yes, if you were a top student from podunk U you too can be successful. But what about the B students and the C students. An average student from U of M has more of an opportunity to succeed than podunk U. I mean come on. When I graduated we all had offers from companies before graduation. We didn’t need a person helping us like you do for other students. Call it arrogance if you want. I call it the truth. I’ve worked with techs from non tech schools and the average person from those schools have not been as prepared as students from the top schools. You can place as many students as you want but that doesn’t mean the education they received was as good and that their chance for success is the same. But I guess my 15 years in technology means less than your 4 placing people right out of college.

            • Costner says:

              “As someone who works assisting graduating students into full time jobs, while finishing my own doctorate you are so incredibly wrong it hurts.

              It goes: Ivy —–> Everyone Else ——> ITT tech … there is no other grouping.”

              You might find this interesting: http://www.payscale.com/college-education-value

              Long story short there is a lot more to it than simply dumping people into one of the three buckets you mention. I won’t suggest there isn’t some validity to what you are suggesting, but it isn’t quite so black and white. A lot of this situation depends upon geography – because within lets say 250 miles, people may be familiar with a specific school. Outside of that range if you say you went to “Augustana College” that may mean nothing even though people who reside in the city where Augustana College is located may feel it is a top tier institution.

              A typical HR person or hiring manager might have some experience with schools in their locale, but once you get away from there and assuming you aren’t speaking of well known institutions, then you are correct many of them probably get lumped in together.

              Most people also know the diploma mills that are near them, so they know the ITT Techs and the Colorado Technical Universities etc, but they are also familiar with Everest, Kaplan, and University of Phoenix… but there are a ton of for-profit schools that many people have never heard of, so to some degree once you get away from home base people are just guessing.

              Of course the actual position comes into play as well. Engineering companies who are looking to hire may know what the best engineering schools are. Top law firms are well aware of what the better law schools are, and it is safe to say a software company is probably aware of the best computer science schools.

              So in your case, you may have assisted hundreds of students to find employment, but your sample size is actually fairly small and restricted to the school you are employed by. If that school is not recognized as a top school in any particular field, I wouldn’t expect you to notice a difference when you are trying to place students. On the other hand if that school is known as a leading school in a particular field, you may find students in that field have an easier time finding work compared to their peers in other schools.

              The problem is you probably don’t have the data to compare against other schools to know what their placement rates are, and due to many other factors (the economy, workforce numbers of any particular field, demand, reputations, etc) it may be impossible for you to discern what is or is not helping a student to find gainful employment.

              There is a lot of truth to what thezone wrote – in many cases the school you graduate from has some weight even if what you learn is no better than another less known school. Also, the networking opportunities from going to a large state school might trump those from going to a smaller private school, even if that private school is well known in a particular field. I don’t think there is a specific rule here, but I would agree that where you go to school does matter… at least to some degree.

    • voogru says:

      what have you done with the real cat

    • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

      Student loans are easily paid back.
      I had 30K and have 7K left after 3 years. This year it will all be paid back.
      Government student loans were a good investment in me and made money for the government in interest.

      • sagodjur says:

        “Student loans are easily paid back to me and I can’t imagine that my experience might be different than anyone else’s.”

        FTFY

      • chefboyardee says:

        I completely agree with this statement. I paid mine back in less than 10 years, and I had over 60k. I worked hard, took on 2 or 3 jobs, and only took on loans that I knew I’d be able to pay back because I chose a worthwhile field of study.

        If you can’t pay it back, maybe you shouldn’t have taken out the loan. It’ll take decades to pay off your loan? Maybe you shouldn’t have been a liberal arts major.

        Suck it up.

        • sagodjur says:

          Again with the “my experience is every one’s experience therefore since I did it, everyone else should be able to do it too!”

          When did your experience become the standard against which society is supposed to compare everyone else?

      • Cor Aquilonis says:

        “Student loans are easily paid back when someone is employed full-time at a sufficient salary for the duration of the repayment period, and has no catastrophic life events that cause a payment to be missed.”

        FTFY

    • Costner says:

      It is in the best interests of the nation to have an educated population, and without government student loans (which are needs based, not merit based) anyone with less than a 3.95GPA in high school or very high ACT/SAT score(s) would likely be unable to pursue higher education…. unless they happen to have a trust fund.

      Eliminating all government student loans would be a disaster. I can see tightening the strings a bit and doing more to ensure the loans are paid back, but eliminating the entire program would spell disaster for many students, and we would find it impossible to fill positions which require higher education (engineers, teachers, doctors and nurses, lawyers, executives, etc, etc).

      I don’t think you really thought this one through.

  3. Karney says:

    I’m not taking a picture…but I have been paying back for 6 years now. Still owe $48,173.60.

  4. RandomHookup says:

    And then can we turn the pics into a Photoshop contest?

  5. kwjayhawk says:

    $35,000 (wifes). Will be paid off in May of 2015.
    $7,000 (me). Paid off in 8 months after college with both of us in the field of public education.

    This is probably my most frustrating topic I see on financial/consumer websites. We know what we signed up for when we took on the responsibility of loans and working like mad to pay it off. I cannot stand it every time I see resolutions that say ‘forgive student loan debt’ being passed around on the internet.

    Be responsible for your actions. If you can’t pay for it, don’t do it. If you work two jobs, you work two jobs (or three if you’re me) so that in 10 years you only have to work one. Then 25 years you’ll hopefully work none.

    Interest sucks, monthly payments suck but if it’s what you signed up for on the dotted line knowing this could happen you made your bed. Don’t just be mad at your lender, be mad at your institution of higher learning, too. Be furious at your school for raising rates and learn to be the process in which to hold the line or lower.

    Prioritize your obligations, people.

    /Rant

    I assume I’ll have replies saying it’s not possible in my situation etc. To each his own, I understand.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      SOCIAL CONTRACT!!!

      /s

      My fiance would love to pay off her loans. She just needs a full time job.

      • iblamehistory says:

        Same. I’d love to use my master’s degree to even get a part time, minimum wage job. If someone wants to tell me to get a job, I’ll gladly hand over my resume, since they’re clearly hiring.

        • MathMan aka Random Talker says:

          What’s your master degree in and related work experience prior to getting the masters?

      • Derek Balling says:

        Can you forward me a copy of this “social contract” I allegedly signed? I seem to have misplaced my copy.

    • thezone says:

      If all of your loan debt is the low interest loans I hope you are being smart and not making extra payments.

      • MathMan aka Random Talker says:

        I have some old loans from years ago, 0.45%, yes that’s right, 0.45% or .0045. You better believe I’m making the minimum payment. I’m better off putting the extra in my 401k or other investment vehicle or towards my other loans….

        I have some new grad loans from the last two years. Fixed 6.8%. Holy crap these suck. Luckily I have a portion that is subsidized should I need to defer due to financial hardship in the future.

        Just a heads up, Everyone, you no longer have subsidized loans as an option as a graduate student:
        http://money.cnn.com/2012/01/25/news/economy/federal_student_loans/index.htm

    • Doubting thomas says:

      Good for you (and me, my old loans are paid off and I am back in school borrowing more.).

      I think an addendum would be teaching basic accounting and budgeting principles in High School. I don’t think it is unreasonable to make someone who desires a higher education to prove that they have the mental facilities to understand simple and compound interest and be able to work out how much money they will pay back and how long it will take before signing a taxpayer backed loan.

    • qwickone says:

      I disagree that we knew what we were signing up for. I was 18 when I signed that first loan doc AND I was more financially savvy than every person I knew my age. I didn’t have a grasp on what my loan mean in terms of how much money I was likely to make after getting out of college and what portion of my budget should be reasonably allocated to paying the loan each month. So I “knew” what I was signing up for (amount, rate, repayment terms, etc.), but I didn’t understand what that meant. I was lucky in that I planned to work my way through college so my loans were minimal and the payments are completely reasonable for me now, but I had no idea what I was really signing up for. I think more needs to be done for students to understand the total implications of those loans. A good financial education is hard to come by and I think it’s wrong to take advantage of people in this way.

      /counter rant

      P.S. I generally agree with the sentiment of “if you agreed to these terms, then stick to it”, but I think students lack of education is being taken advantage of.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Yeah! Don’t I need an education before I’m smart enough to fully understand these things? The country should offer free classes on finances. Maybe make them mandatory.

      • Derek Balling says:

        You were old enough to know you were signing a legally binding document.

        You’d have to be obtuse to not know “people can get screwed by legally binding documents” by the time you reach 18 years old.

        Because you didn’t hire a lawyer to explain the contract you were signing is on YOU, not the rest of us.

      • corridor7f says:

        The job markets and it’s demands can fluctuate, but that’s part of the risk and should influence how much you’re willing to spend and for how long.

    • britswim04 says:

      Dude $7k? I had to take that out FOR A SINGLE SEMESTER. Good job.

      My parents who grew up in England at the time when University was free (it’s still excessively cheap compared to here, but significantly harder to get into and much more intense and focused overall) didn’t get it and refused to pay anything for my education.

      I left college with $40,000ish in debt and as of right now am just shy of the $25,000 mark after 5 years. Not all of us were so lucky.

      • piror says:

        Intense and focused, so what you’re saying is when you spend that (smaller) amount of money you get a better course and might learn something, as opposed to the US system where you pay a lot more and by your own words, is less “intense and focused”.

  6. Upthewazzu says:

    I had a bunch coming out of college 7 years ago and it’s almost all payed off. Why should I feel bad for these kids that knew what they were getting into and are now whining about it to Uncle Sam?

    • AcctbyDay says:

      I think it’s the interest rates that are the concern here. It’s nigh impossible to discharge a student loan, so why should the interest rate be higher than many other types of loans that can be discharged.

      6.8% interest on a loan that it takes death or a list of other difficult situations to discharge seems like a bit much. I personally believe the interest rate should be below 3% on student loans.

  7. BigDragon says:

    I owe $0.00. I used to owe nearly $20k at the 6.5% rate. I say raise the rates. Rates in the 3’s for student loans is just insane. Low rates just give colleges more room to raise their tuition and fees. They’ll cut back when people can’t afford to go to college. College spending is at runaway ridiculous levels. I worked for 2 colleges and was disgusted with the way they completely ignored the value of money.

    • BigDragon says:

      Correction: It was $24k and change. Also paid it off ahead of schedule. I love it when these people complain about the loans they voluntarily entered into and then take out an iPhone to post something to whatever social site they like. Do you think I have an iPhone? No, I don’t. Not having an iPhone allows you to put $700+ a year towards student loans. Simple.

      • thezone says:

        Well if you paid your loans ahead of time and they were the federally backed one’s you didn’t do the right thing. Second, I work in higher education and I worked for years at small companies and large corporations. The worst atrocities I ever saw were at corporations. They spent money like it was nothing and if the bottom line was off they just fired people to make it right. Also, telling someone they would be saving $700 a year or more without an iPhone is wrong. Most students today have one phone for everything. The cell phone is cheaper than many land lines and unless you have the latest and greatest iPhone you can essentially pick one up for free.

      • whgt says:

        I would like to see some kind of infographic of the EXIF data from all of these photos…I’d put good money on lots of iProducts and other smart phones as the sources. 100% agree with you!

  8. lawnmowerdeth says:

    I owe zero, I paid off about $40k two years ahead of schedule, some of it at 5%, the majority of it about 7%. Where’s my bailout?

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      Your bailout is the good night’s sleep you can get knowing that if you got laid off tomorrow due to no fault of your own, you wouldn’t have un-dismissable debt attached to your name for 20 years.

    • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

      Lesson learned: No good deed goes unpunished.

      That’ll be $40,000.00. Thank you.

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

      On your wall. It probably says “Diploma” on it.

  9. gqcarrick says:

    I’m hoping the government won’t end this program before everyone starts to qualify: http://www.finaid.org/loans/publicservice.phtml

    I figure I’ll be paying on my private loans for a while still. I started paying in 2003, and still owe $31k+ in private loans and $26K+ in federal loans.

  10. miguelggarcia says:

    $0.00 :D Yay!!

  11. corridor7f says:

    I had about $7,500 from college – it’ll be paid off in 2 years from now (total of 4 years). It’s what I could afford, simply put.

    If I’d gone straight from high school to college / uni, I’d likely not be as pragmatic. I think a 2 year break plus some work experience should be mandatory for high school grads.

    Look at their naive smiles. Hehe.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I agree with the sentiment completely. If I had 2 years to explore the world either through work or internships or something, I might have gotten a degree in the field I’m in now, and been better off.

      That, or require community college for 2 years first or something else that let’s them be free of High school and act like an adult.

      • thezone says:

        So you think that it should be mandated that everyone follow the rules of the Lowest Common Denominator of students? No thanks. So you have a bunch of 18 to 20 year olds looking for what jobs for two years? What makes you think that two years would have set you straight?

  12. vliam says:

    “lots of lawmakers in Washington seem to agree that the rates need to remain low, they can’t come an agreement on how to pay for it”

    We’re projected to sink $396 billion into this new jet fighter.

    Start there.

  13. Jacob says:

    This is misleading. The rate would only be increasing for Stafford loans. Some of the student loan balances shown are much higher than the maximum amount of a Stafford loan.

  14. celinesci says:

    Don’t have access to a camera at the moment I’m at work. Graduated in 2007, owed $21,000. Currently only owe $6,600.

    • corridor7f says:

      Impressive!

      • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

        I graduated in 08 with $30K (paid my own way through in-state tuition college lived in dorms, got 1 year free for being an RA).
        I now have $7K left. Should be all paid off by the end of the year.

  15. keith4298 says:

    A lot of these numbers show me that people should not have gone to college and did anyway.

    • dolemite says:

      The vast majority of people that go to college do so on student loans. Not everyone has 30,40k lying around.

      • keith4298 says:

        I’m not saying that they do – i’m saying that many of the people going to college should not have done so. It’s a bubble that’s going to burst very soon.

  16. incident_man says:

    Part of the problem of the cost of education is the cost of textbooks.

    When I went to college in 1988, my average textbook cost per term (roughly 3 mo) was $150-200 total for ALL classes, and I was an engineering major.

    Two years ago when I briefly worked as a tax preparer, the average cost per term I saw was almost $2000……AT THE SAME FRICKIN’ COMMUNITY COLLEGE I WENT TO.

    There is literally NO REASON I can rationally come up with as to why college textbooks should cost so much except for one: GREED.

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      You can’t mean that all those liberal…sorry, I mean “progressive”…college professors are greedy? Just because they tell their students they absolutely must have the very latest, very expensive edition of the book that they wrote or that their colleague wrote or contributed to in hopes of getting reciprocal endorsements? Come on now, that can’t possibly be the case.

      • incident_man says:

        I don’t think the author has much to say regarding the price of the book. Rather it’s my theory that the publisher dictates the price and the educational institution tacks on a very healthy profit on top of that.

        • TheMansfieldMauler says:

          Right, but demand is controlled by the author and the author’s friends…which means the prices can be set that high. Competition from used older versions is eliminated.

          • Sanspants says:

            And that’s a huge reason the prices are so high. The publisher (or whoever) is only making that one sale. It’s like when movie studios/distributors charge a huge amount to movie rental chains. The studios make money off that one sale.

            I’m not defending the prices, but I don’t think professors are to blame for high prices.

    • unpolloloco says:

      I think I averaged about 300/semester in engineering. That said, it would have been 3x if I bought from the bookstore…

  17. crazymikie says:

    If the .gov would stop giving out my tax money like water, then schools would have to lower their tuition or else, attendance would drop. It’s pretty simple math, folks. When interest rates are high, prices fall (like houses), and when they are low, prices go up.

    We already saw what enabling rates that were too low for the mortgage market did…Is anyone paying attention? Spend what your means allow. Not beyond.

    • miguelggarcia says:

      Unfortunately, common sense doesn’t seem to apply with some policymakers.

    • thezone says:

      Mike, please explain how the government is giving your money away when it is a loan that you are earning interest on? Oh and I forgot that the parents of those kids aren’t tax payers either. And if you own a home I wonder if you will be ok when a renter comes to your house and yells that the government is giving away their money to you (because they actually are).

  18. iblamehistory says:

    Just under $115,000 and my ass is currently being saved by Income Based Repayment. No private loans (I made it a point to avoid them), and based on our horrible income right now, I pay $0 per month. That may change in the future based on income increases, if that ever happens.

    Bachelor’s in psychology and master’s in social work. I never expected to make six figures per year, and I expected to be paying off the debt forever. In my mind there was no other option and I knew it was very common for people to be paying off student loans. I couldn’t avoid them. I went to grad school out of necessity, since I could NOT find a job; anything that required a degree, I was too inexperienced for, and anything that did not require one I was overqualified for. Turned down either way. Unfortunately this still held true after grad school. My required 1200 internship hours? Useless, because it wasn’t “paid employment experience.” I graduated in May 2011. Still unemployed, age 26.

    Verdict: I should have worked right out of high school, and I’m not too sure that I will encourage my kids to go to college unless they truly want to. My peers who took minimum wage jobs right after high school are now the store managers who reject me because I am overqualified and yet inexperienced because I’ve never worked retail. Meanwhile, I have a fancy degree and even some letters behind my name (licensure, yo! Which cost me even more to get!) and it has all been useless in helping me find a job. And because of that, I have no idea when or if I will be able to start paying on these loans. I will not pay it off completely before the standard forgiveness time, that’s for sure. We’d be lucky to find a way to make $30,000 a year. That, with our family size of 3, would mean we pay $10 a month to cover both mine and my husband’s loans. But at this point $30k is a completely unfathomably high number. I just want to be able to pay my damn rent after spending 6 years in college.

    Oh well, live and learn. Buying into the myth of “work hard, get an education, do well” was a catastrophic mistake.

    • incident_man says:

      If I could do it all over again, I’d skip college and go directly into a union apprenticeship program, like for electrician. My math grades in high school were definitely good enough to qualify and union electricians in my area earn about $33/hour.

      • iblamehistory says:

        Exactly. I kick myself every day for blindly accepting the “fact” that college is the only way. I didn’t go to any dream colleges, either. For undergrad I went to a school that was one step up from community college prices, in that it was a 4 year public school with the option of on campus housing. Great school, but absolutely “affordable” and realistic in terms of colleges. For grad school, I had no choice: the only place that would take me–when I needed to start, and with my lack of experience–was a private school. Again, great school, except this time it was $860 per credit hour.

        People have mentioned college savings for my kids, what we’re doing about it, etc. I can’t say that we have any plans for right now and our first child is due at the end of August. I won’t do what was done to me and lie to my kid about the necessity of going to college. I love learning and getting an education and if it was feasible I’d still be in school for something else, but not when there is zero payout for such horrible debt that I now know I will never be able to repay. If my kids show the same love of learning then college will be their choice; if they’d rather take another path, though, I will be extremely relieved.

        Had I told my parents I didn’t want to go to college, I would have been absolutely exiled. Of course these are the people who now insist that I’m not working just because I don’t want to, and that if I wanted a job, I could walk into “any restaurant or McDonalds” and apply “to be a manager” because “you have a college degree and they will hire you.” The only food I’ve ever worked with is what I feed myself. I’d gladly work in food service, because it would be a paycheck, but I won’t get hired without experience and I sure as hell won’t be hired if I list any college experience on my resume.

      • corridor7f says:

        Yep. Right now I’m doing fairly well as an administrative office drone, even after working for 4 years out of high school and going back to college for something practical. I’ll admit as well, some of my decision to go back to school was pressure from friends / family. The laugh of it is, I was hired at my current job because of my experience and with an unfinished college diploma.

        I’m approaching 30 now and I think my time’s running out to easily make a career change… plus I’ve still 2 years before that debt is paid off.

        People forget that while their toiling away in school, the job market is shifting.

    • Derek Balling says:

      No other option besides perhaps making choices that wouldn’t have put you in a massive debt that wouldn’t be accretive, ever, essentially?

      It must’ve been weird spending all those years of college and post-grad work with a guy standing behind you with a gun to your head.

      • iblamehistory says:

        Since I was out of money and was being hired for absolutely no job (no experience cleaning toilets? You’re not getting hired to clean toilets, then, apparently), my other option would have been to not be able to pay my bills and become homeless. It was grad school with loans for tuition, books, and living expenses (rent, utilities, and food–basic necessities only), or I wouldn’t have a place to live for much longer. That’s essentially a gun to the head, yes, unless being homeless is an option for you. It wasn’t for me. Not everyone can run home to mommy and daddy if they run out of options. I hoped that being able to get a graduate degree would be a benefit to the scenario, but it was not.

    • thezone says:

      I totally understand the frustration you feel. However, do you really think it is good to make a decision on what is good based on the worst economy since the Great Depression? Yes you cannot find a job as a new grad and that is horrible. But to say that you maybe should not have gone to college is wrong. If you take a look at the unemployment rates for people with only a high school diploma is 8.1%. The unemployment rate for people with a bachelor’s degree is 3.9%.

      If you look at the lifetime earnings of people with Bachelor’s degrees vs those without you will see the same thing. Yes, you have been unemployed for over a year. But don’t be so shortsighted. You have no idea what your salary will be 5 – 10 and 20 years from now. Don’t let your first year in the workforce in the worst economy in 80 years determine what level of education is good.

  19. aerodawg says:

    I fail to see why I need to be on the hook for the interest on a loan taken out by someone who in theory should be college educated and making at least decent money.

    Lets do a little math to see why it’s even more ridiculous to even be thinking about foisting the interest off on taxpayers.

    90% of student loan borrowers owe less than $54,000 when they exit college.

    A $54,000 debt, on 10 year amortization @ 6.8% is a payment 621.43.
    A $54,000 debt, on 10 year amortization @ 3.4% is a payment of 531.46.

    That’s a difference of less than $100/month. I’m sorry but if you’re college educated, you should be able to work your budget to come up with $100/month. If not, I’d suggest you were educated in the wrong field…

    • aerodawg says:

      ETA, and I say this as someone who has $150k between myself and my wife to pay back. Of course most of it is hers because she has MD after her name but still, asking us to pay back our loans plus the interest on somebody else’s loans is BS….

    • Blueskylaw says:

      Yes, but $100 a month for 10 years is $12,000 dollars and you don’t need a college education to know that’s a lot of money which could be part of a nice down payment on a house.

    • sagodjur says:

      We bailout corporations that extract value from the market. Bailing out students who will recirculate their bailout money back into the market seems like a smarter idea.

    • thezone says:

      How are you on the hook for interest? The only way to escape a student loan is death. They will get their money.

  20. jsweitz says:

    THE RATE CHANGE ONLY APPLIES TO NEW LOANS!

  21. Bladerunner says:

    Can someone explain how the government has to “pay” for the lower rates? The interest rate is (barring some administrative fees) pure profit. Considering you can’t discharge them ever (unless you have Asperger’s), the fact that the interest is as high as it is already seems kind of ludicrous, since interest rates are, I thought, supposed to be related to the risk lenders took in loaning. Since there’s next to no risk for student loans, it seems to me that it’s weird the rates are as high as they are already.

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      That’s how liberals think. Remember how the Bush tax cuts were going to “cost” the government billions? It’s the same thing here. They call any money not collected a cost, or a loss. That way they can claim this stuff costs money, when in reality it’s just a drop in revenue that should be offset with an equal drop in spending.

      That’s what happens when your perspective is that the government owns all money and allows people to keep some of what they earn, instead of believing people own the money they earn and that they should be able to keep as much as possible.

  22. Eremis77 says:

    My entire student loan balance just got transferred, without prior notification, to a company called “Aspire Resources Inc”. I was notified by email today, the same time it was done.

    I don’t like this one bit.

  23. bnceo says:

    $0

    Want to know why? Because I knew based on my finances that I couldn’t go to my dream school of University of Miami. Instead, I went instate to NJIT and worked two jobs. I had plenty saved from my high school working days.

    Took out a loan to try living on campus for one year and didn’t care for it. Paid it off before I had to start paying into it.

    Oh, and I’m a first generation American. No rich parents. Broken home. All that jazz.

  24. Taylor Rolyat says:

    Just submitted one!

  25. chucklebuck says:

    One of the guys in the slideshow has $716,000 in student loan debt, apparently to become an orthodontist. I am clearly way out of touch because I had no idea school could cost that much, even law & medical school! My combined undergraduate and graduate education barely cost 5% of that total (in the early 1990s and early 2000s respectively).

    At that point, it seems like you’re just better off not going to school because your odds of ever making that back are microscopic.

  26. Jane_Gage says:

    Corinne: sorry, but you were foolish to borrow 70K to pursue an education major in a liberal arts discipline. It’s an over-saturated field not likely to be impressed with your poor planning skills and vanity private school, so you’ll probably wind up working in some gutter where they’ll smash your car windows. I do like the martyr-esque “all so I can teach your child how to read” closing thought. You do know you could have spent those last four years volunteering in afterschool, AESL, and library programs teaching reading the whole time, right?

    /community college/full four year scholarship, 5K borrowed and paid off aggressively in little over a year, teaching kids but also modeling *responsible* behavior

  27. dulcinea47 says:

    After paying for a decade, I still I owe $11K and guess what, my interest rate is SEVEN PERCENT. Because that’s what it was when I consolidated my loans in 1997.
    Theoretically I think raising interest rates on student loans is a bad thing but in reality I don’t feel sorry for people at all.

  28. wackydan says:

    A lot of these signs lack context. The degree they pursued perhaps? The school they chose? All have some weight in regard to whether they spent/borrowed stupidly.

    The dentist with $716,000 in student loans? WTF?

    A woman with $45k in student loan debt for a teaching degree…. and she has been teaching for 24 years? WTF?

    So spare me the tears…. and tell me why some of these people have the debt they have… Don’t bother making a stupid sign if you aren’t willing to put what degree/area of study, region of the country or school.

    Context means EVERYTHING. Stupid slide show is stupid slide show.

    • Miraluka says:

      +1

    • corridor7f says:

      The fact that they know the number at all is an accomplishment – though I shouldn’t be too hard on them, most adults don’t even know what their total debt load is…

      • wackydan says:

        LOL True…

        The other part of this is that their parents obviously failed them too… along with the k-12 system in general. Somebody should have been there holding their hand, keeping them realistic…Managing expectations.

        And… Math isn’t hard…. And the fact that EVERYONE deals with finances every day of their life whether they are buying gas, food, or paying some entity for something… means they should understand the value of a buck… Perhaps it is a problem because so many parents these days pay for everything…hand their kids money and never teach them that lesson about planning and saving… etc…

        I digress.

        • corridor7f says:

          I think so.

          I likely would be the same way if my parents weren’t flat broke and couldn’t have spoiled me if they wanted to. I think I got $10 at the age of 9 to open a bank account from my father – after that, all I got for free were the basics.

  29. Kialani says:

    I’m 2/3 through with my masters right now, and I’ve only borrowed something shy of $12k, just enough to pay for the classes themselves, and I borrowed on a loan that doesn’t collect interest while I am in school. I plan on paying for my last 5 classes out of pocket so I don’t have to take a loan with interest that collects while I’m in class.
    So next year when I’m all done I’ll have just shy of $12k for my masters. I graduated with my BA without taking any loans either

  30. aciddeath says:

    The dejected look on some of these faces is absolutely mind bending.
    Seeing some of the numbers and the depressive looks makes me feel “not so bad” that I owe $20k (Down from $34k!!)

  31. vliam says:

    For the anti-consumer idiots that post here constantly,

    You do realize that even 3.4% is much higher that the current treasury yield on a 30 year note, right?
    It’s currently sitting at 2.71%.

    When this cut was enacted in August 2007, the 30 year treasury yield was at 5.00%.

    You’ll see a flood of marketing from the financial sector if these rates reset to 6.8%.

  32. chiieddy says:

    I owe $40k+ but I consolidated shortly after graduating in 2005 to set in a fixed rate on my plan, which is 2.125%. I also have an unsubsidized Stafford load and another 13 years of payments. Still not sure the MBA was worth it.

  33. awesome anna says:

    $3700.00 That’s it… and I don’t have to start paying it back until I graduate. That won’t be for another 3-4 years (hopefully sooner) But I work 40 hrs a week and also get financial aid. Although I will say it really pisses me off when my books costs as much as my tuition each semester. That’s where it hits the hardest….. But I only took out a loan for the short term and not to fund my entire education.

  34. BelleSade says:

    I’ll have about $10000 once I graduate, but it’s because I studied abroad through a real prestigious program to learn a critical language. I’ve played my cards so that what I’ve studied is useful (not an engineering degree, but not an art history degree either) and I have the skills needed for the jobs I want.

  35. MaytagRepairman says:

    Who is in the photo? I don’t see a link to Flickr so is it a member of the Consumerist staff?

  36. LissaKay says:

    I’ll pass on posting a sob story with a picture …

    Six years ago, tired of working low paid, mostly temp/contractor positions in computer support, I decided to go back to school. I was a single mom with two teenagers, and we were barely keeping a roof over our heads. I carefully calculated the costs at a state university and the potential income with a computer science degree and how the repayment of loans would figure into that.

    The loans, combined with Pell were enough to pay for school and help with living expenses while I still worked at a low pay help desk job. The classes were all online, so I studied on my own schedule. I finished, found a job that paid more than twice my previous job and started repaying the loans. I borrowed almost $40,000 and have just over $20,000 to go on the standard repayment schedule, plus a few more dollars each month. I should have it paid off in three more years.

    I’m tired of whiny-assed crybabies complaining that they can’t pay their loans they took out to get degrees in women’s studies, anthropology, literature, creative writing and the like. These are the same idiots out marching around at OWS protests griping that people like me make “too much money” and should pay for their stuff. Nonsense … you want it, you WORK for it.

    • thezone says:

      Good job graduating and making a better life for yourself. But I think you are a bit off base. Unless you are making almost $400k a year OWS isn’t saying anything about what you make. OWS talks about the top 1% and you’re not there yet. Also, it’s not just liberal arts people complaining. Many in the medical fields and law where advanced degrees are required feel the burden of loans. Oh and come back to me when you get laid off and your 40k in loans start to pile up. You need to walk a mile in these people’s shoes before you call them cry babies.

  37. CosmosHuman says:

    I’m going back to school this year for a Masters degree in my field. Potentially when finished, it will make me more marketable…hopefully. There are no guarantees in life. It is a three year program. I’ll need loans, but I was able to obtain a partial scholarship. I am age 55 now. In all likelihood, I’ll never be able to pay back the loans…I’ll probably die first. Just kidding. I still owe 4k from my undergrad days…still paying that off in an income based payment; never late.

    I don’t give a crap what others may say.

  38. AcctbyDay says:

    I don’t understand why interest rates are so high on student loans. There is risk when you are lending money in excessive amounts to students yes, but they are nigh impossible to discharge.

  39. tralfaz says:

    My student loan balance is $0.00 – I worked on and off campus, tried out for and won scholarships and grants, and took a loan (one year only). The loan was paid off in 18 months.

    Parental contribution: a place to stay and food. No money. Certainly no tuition or book money.

    • do-it-myself says:

      “Parental contribution: a place to stay and food. No money. Certainly no tuition or book money.”

      Lucky you. This is what most of my loans ended up paying. Tuition was dirt cheap. Cost of living? Not as much. I didn’t live the life of luxury either.

  40. Velifer says:

    No, show us how much of that student loan money was used to buy beer and iPhones.
    Grow up. Take some personal responsibility. You whining shits are going to make me all Republican, and I hate you for that. Also, my lawn, get off it.

  41. nicoleintrovert says:

    I wish I would have known 10 years ago that I could just cry and not have to pay for student loans. Then I would have chosen to go to a 4 year and get a Bachelor’s instead of the community college Associate’s that I paid for with cash. (And I do admit a little help from my father.)

    Silly me for doing the responsible thing.

  42. xspook says:

    -1250.00

    That’s right negative. I’m in the black. Thanks Post-911 GI Bill and company TA!

  43. RandomHookup says:

    For $18k, the young lady in the photo seems like a good deal. Costs more than that to get a wife from Russia these days.

    • LastError says:

      Eh. The Russian brides are usually cuter than that girl, and they tend to have cute accents. Sigh. But this woman does seem to know where to get a cheap haircut. I like frugal.

    • LastError says:

      Eh. The Russian brides are usually cuter than that girl, and they tend to have cute accents. Sigh. But this woman does seem to know where to get a cheap haircut. I like frugal.

  44. Sad Sam says:

    I had $35,000+ for professional school, paid it off in 5 years.

    Mr. Sam had $30,000 for his MBA, we paid off the last $27,000 in one year, when we combined finances after we got married and got super serious about our money. We paid off $55,000 in debt that year, 2007.

    I don’t remember what the interest rates were at present. I do remember that when I took over the finances and started working on Mr. Sam’s student loan debt, I realized his payment was set up as an interest only payment, meaning he never would have paid that sucker off.

    http://adventures-of-sam.blogspot.com/

  45. majortom1981 says:

    Shouldnt people have comnbined alll there loans into 1 anyway ??

  46. Budala says:

    I’ll take a picture of $0, which is the exact sand amount of money I borrowed. I graduated in 2007 with a Bachelors in Finance. I didn’t have rich parents to pay for my education either, but I worked ever since high school.

    I went to a community collegge first for 2 years and took the basic classes there. That saved me about $6,000 per year in tuition and another $5,000 per year as I was a commuter student. After that I transferred to a local state University where again I saved $5,000 per year. During the 5 years I was enrolled I never stopped working, sometimes I even worked a full-time job. Everybody can do the same thing that I did and not be a burden to all the tax payers.

    The government does need to get out of the way of student loans and stop giving it to everybody who has a pulse and wants to study the most useless degrees that are out there. First with the unlimited borrowing of the government the universities can raise prices as much as they feel like as nothing will stop the government from giving those loans and second the person who went to get an education in these useless degrees now can’t find a job that will pay them enough for them to pay back the loans they took, and they are still idiots, even with the education. Those 2 combined are the reasons why people can’t afford to pay the loans they take out.

  47. Budala says:

    I’ll take a picture of $0, which is the exact sand amount of money I borrowed. I graduated in 2007 with a Bachelors in Finance. I didn’t have rich parents to pay for my education either, but I worked ever since high school.

    I went to a community collegge first for 2 years and took the basic classes there. That saved me about $6,000 per year in tuition and another $5,000 per year as I was a commuter student. After that I transferred to a local state University where again I saved $5,000 per year. During the 5 years I was enrolled I never stopped working, sometimes I even worked a full-time job. Everybody can do the same thing that I did and not be a burden to all the tax payers.

    The government does need to get out of the way of student loans and stop giving it to everybody who has a pulse and wants to study the most useless degrees that are out there. First with the unlimited borrowing of the government the universities can raise prices as much as they feel like as nothing will stop the government from giving those loans and second the person who went to get an education in these useless degrees now can’t find a job that will pay them enough for them to pay back the loans they took, and they are still idiots, even with the education. Those 2 combined are the reasons why people can’t afford to pay the loans they take out.

    • thezone says:

      What unlimited borrowing do you know about? Oh and are you complaining about the unlimited subsidies for home owners?

  48. Budala says:

    I’ll take a picture of $0, which is the exact sand amount of money I borrowed. I graduated in 2007 with a Bachelors in Finance. I didn’t have rich parents to pay for my education either, but I worked ever since high school.

    I went to a community collegge first for 2 years and took the basic classes there. That saved me about $6,000 per year in tuition and another $5,000 per year as I was a commuter student. After that I transferred to a local state University where again I saved $5,000 per year. During the 5 years I was enrolled I never stopped working, sometimes I even worked a full-time job. Everybody can do the same thing that I did and not be a burden to all the tax payers.

    The government does need to get out of the way of student loans and stop giving it to everybody who has a pulse and wants to study the most useless degrees that are out there. First with the unlimited borrowing of the government the universities can raise prices as much as they feel like as nothing will stop the government from giving those loans and second the person who went to get an education in these useless degrees now can’t find a job that will pay them enough for them to pay back the loans they took, and they are still idiots, even with the education. Those 2 combined are the reasons why people can’t afford to pay the loans they take out.

  49. TheWraithL98 says:

    Out of college just over 12 years and I still owe about $4000 in loans.

  50. Froggmann says:

    Me: $0.0 No degree, just worked in the trenches for a while and am now making a little over 60K.
    Wife North of $110,000.00. Has a BA in Advertising. Graduated at the bottom of the resession. Never found a job outside of a ride operator at Disneyland. Current Income $0K. She wants to go back to get a teaching degree but we’re scared of any additional debt.

  51. sliverworm says:

    These people that have been paying their loans for 10+ years that started with below 100k are likely making the minimum payments, or differed their payments. The smart ones borrow as little as possible and make above minimum payments..

    • thezone says:

      I’ve been paying the minimum for years. You see you’re not the smart one. My interest is at 5.25% so you have to look at the extra money to see where it could go. Right now you can deduct up to $2500 in interest which is the entire amount for many people. If they’re in the 25% bracket that effectively makes their interest about 4%. If you take into account 3% inflation the real cost of borrowing the money is 1%. Now would you rather that money go there or towards your retirement where the historic rate of return is closer to 8% (5% after inflation)? So I say pay the low interest debt last and make that extra money work for you. That’s the really smart thing. The same goes for your mortgage and low interest car payments. If you can’t be the stock market (over a long period of time) then put it in there.

  52. a354174 says:

    $0 because I don’t take out loans I cannot afford.

  53. Booboobunnygirl says:

    I just took a look… I owe… $112,255.45 and pay about $1,300 a month.

    and have been for about 5 years now…

    :X

    • thezone says:

      Why do you pay so much? That seems high. Are these private loans? Or are you trying to pay things off more quickly. I owe 21K and I’m paying just over $150.

  54. rockelscorcho says:

    I owe 17,500 and i’m a teacher. I hope to get the federal loan forgiveness to pay that off, but that is after 5 years of teaching. This isn’t bad, and I really do feel that people with thousands more in debt are the reality today.

  55. Phexerian says:

    $127,000 in the hole for me.

  56. LastError says:

    Zero dollars. Since you cannot pay off zero, I will owe this amount for infinity +1.
    If that makes anyone feel bad, I do have other debt.

    It seems to me the main reason there’s so much college debt is that so many schools are in an arms race of sorts to have ever-increasing revenue, so they constantly raise prices for that reason alone and not because it really costs that much more. And when it does cost more, it’s often because other schools are putting upward pressure on the prices. They’re doing it, so we have to, too, or else we look cheap.

    Ultimately something is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. If you don’t pay, somebody else will. Now raise the price. Do they still pay? Raise it more. Repeat until they won’t pay any more.

  57. Cerne says:

    How about they also hold a sign showing how much extra life time income their college education will bring them?

    Education is a voluntary investment that pays off if you do it right.

  58. ned4spd8874 says:

    No pic, but I owe about $15,000 still on a $19,000 loan I took out in 2000! I’ve conceded to the fact that I will be paying on this for the rest of my life.

    Oh, and the kicker? The classes that I took were NOT official Microsoft classes that I was lead to believe they were. I received no certifications, nor was I able to take the certification tests. The classes basically did nothing for me or my career. It was a joke and I’m still paying for it.

  59. Chuzzley says:

    Absolutely zero. I’m lucky enough to be from the Isle of Man, which due to the insane cost of fees and the resulting lack of students choosing to go to university and then bring the knowledge back to the island, pay the fees if you acheive the necessary grades.

  60. Groanan says:

    Breakdown of my college debt for those interested…

    The Loans: $364k (this is with their added interest)(the government website lists my total as 374k, my servicers combined list it as what follows, what is the real debt? who knows..)
    1. San Jose City College, 2 years, Administration of Justice -> 7,608
    2. San Jose State University, 2 years, Philosophy -> 17,853
    3. Santa Clara University School of Law, 3 years, J.D. -> 285,222
    4. Santa Clara University School of Law, 1 year, LL.M. -> 52,692

    Cost of living while going to college: $268k
    Rent (1,300) Utilities (250) Gas (200) Food & Misc (for 2) (850) Internet (100) Phone (for 2) (200) Vehicle Payments (400) (only until 2010) = 3,300 a month / 39,600 a year, x 7 years of school (-when car paid off) = $268,000

    Medical Costs: $40k
    PTSD stress ground teeth into nothing since returning from Iraq, teeth not covered by VA unless you are 100% disabled, 3 root canals, every tooth crowned, rolled into SCU Law J.D. school student loan.

    Cost of the Actual School Units: $156k
    SJCC -> Almost zero, books cost a few hundred, but the classes were around $5 each.
    SJSU -> Same as SJCC, thanks to Pell and other grants
    SCU J.D. -> $1,400 per unit x 86 units -> $120,400
    SCU LL.M. -> $1,500 per unit x 24 units, – 17k from new GI Bill -> $35,983

    Income: $98k
    10 months as a security guard at 11 an hour x20 a week – taxes = $7,935
    10 months as an army reservist E-5 with 6 years in, ~275/month = $2,750
    DKF Veteran’s Scholarship (5k a year, 3 years) = $15,000
    Robert N. Chang Transfer Scholarship (3.5k? for 2 years) = $7,000
    Old GI Bill, $1,300 x 40 months = $52,000 (what I served 4 years in the Army expecting)
    New GI Bill, $1,868 x 8 months = $13,488

    Cost of Living (268k), Medical (40k), Units (156k) = $464k, – Income ($98k) = $366k student loan debt (plus 11k on credit cards)

    Once I had my J.D., and over 300k debt, I already hit the maximum I will ever pay monthly on my student loans (unless I got a really really high paying job); the system encouraged me to go ahead for another year of post-graduate education, and interest rates do not factor, at all, into my how much I will be paying off on my debt (if I only make 90k a year, I will end up paying $337,500 on my $364k loan)(at most, making $140k a year, I’ll pay ~$530k total over the 25 years).

    I would have worked more, but keep in mind I was having surgery and/or was injured every year from 2005 through 2012 (chest cartilage injury, hip surgery, tonsillectomy, septoplasty, near totaled car accident (hit & run), totaled car accident (causing long lasting neck and back injuries), and 18 months of major dentistry where most of my teeth were just exposed nerves covered in a thin plastic casing).

    7 years, 4 degrees, full set of crowns -> $375k debt

    • Groanan says:

      Which of course was supposed to be nested to my comment on the first comment, and not made into its own comment at the very end.

  61. Rick Sphinx says:

    Before you take out student loans, you need to research what your education will cost, VS what you will earn when you enter the working world. You need to weigh this out. I’ve seen people rack up $100K in loans, for a job in a field that just doesn’t pay much. So Think!