Adventures in student loan repayment. Not that such an issue is likely to be relevant to your interests, as we all grew up in an era when gout-addled aristocrats acted as patrons for young academics studying the body's humours.
money, student loans, repayment
Burn it down. Burn it all down.
Reading this made me almost as stressed out as dealing with AT&T customer service.
@Ophelia Don't remind me! I happily pay their dominating competitor more for internet just so I will never go through that trauma again.
@whizz_dumb If I didn't need my iPhone to work overseas, I would've jumped ship this summer. Blergh.
@SarahDances Don't do it. Don't leave! Ever!
@SarahDances Im in my last (I hope) semester of my PhD and just had to take out my first student loan. Ive been suffering from this wonderful combo of fear that my loan will go like this and that I someday have to leave or take out another loan.
@SarahDances Isn't that kind of like being terrified of leaving the department store since they won't make you pay your credit card bill while you're still standing in it?
Ahhh what is it, student loan day? I just sent a repayment-plan adjustment paperwork blob this morning. Apparently applying for IBR while two of my three loan groups were in their grace period means it only applied to the one that wasn't and now that the other two came out of grace I had to send new paperwork to get them on the plan, despite the fact that I was told by Suzanne on 2/13 (I WRITE THINGS DOWN) that the first application would automatically apply to them when they came out of grace.
Ahhhhh, finance-induced migraines. I have these.
@Scandyhoovian Ugh, my boyfriend goes through this constantly. Sends in his IBR paperwork... whoops, it's somehow TOO EARLY (two weeks before the first payment is due). He asks them to keep the IBR paperwork on file for two weeks, they agree, then he gets a bill three weeks later warning him that he is past due (and also the bill is for the full, non-IBR amount.) They put him in forbearance while they get it straightened out. They do not get it straightened out. He calls for a progress update. They have lost his IBR paperwork, and also, did he know that he was past due? Oh, by the way, the previous forebearance that they put him in to straighten their mistake out expired after one day. On the bright side, I guess there's only another 250-300 years of this until we get them paid off.
My undergrad loan of about 20k somehow did not show any appreciable decline in balance after 5 years of paying double the required payments each month. Thanks to ACS's tortuous justifications for why I couldn't pay down the principal (also known as usury), we ended up taking out a bank loan to pay it off and preferred to just deal with the bank.
When people would rather deal with a bank than with your company, that is a bad sign.
@lavender gooms Ohhh man, i had a similar situation with Sallie Mae. I applied for IBR, they "lost"?? the paperwork, I applied again and they said that my loans didn't qualify, I called and they said that well maybe ONE would qualify, I applied again..etc etc. Skip to THREE MONTHS LATER and I am BROKE and I call them almost in tears and the lady says, Oh, they didn't apply it because you didn't write the loan number on your application.
The application never asked for the loan number. I have six separate loans. I had to apply SEPARATELY for each one. NO ONE EVER TOLD ME THIS I HATE YOU SALLIE SO MUCH HATE.
My husband totally paid mine off. I am grateful to the universe.
I honestly can't read more than a few sentences about how evil the student loan system is without feeling a panic attack coming on. Mine aren't even as bad as some, but thinking about the financial mess I'm going to be in after grad school makes me want to take a long walk off a short pier. Except not because then my family will have to pay the money back.
@The Attic Wife Nah, if you die, your student loans are supposed to be canceled according to the massive pile of paperwork I filled out several times over the process of consolidating mine. So your family would presumably just have to send in lots of forms and call lots of people over a period of months instead of having to pay anything!
@daisicles They are supposed to be cancelled, but there are several horror stories floating around out there about dead people whose parents were hounded by servicers after their death and the legal struggles they had to go through to get them *actually* cancelled.
@WaityKatie Oh, I'm sure that happens a lot. Earlier this year I spent months trying to convince my student loan providers that I'm eligible for deferment owing to that whole being enrolled in school full time business and then I still had to mail off more paperwork to keep myself enrolled in the 'I am really, REALLY poor' income-dependent payment plan for said deferred loans. They are all champions at one hand not knowing what the other's doing, truly.
But in *theory*...
While student loans, in general, suck (and by suck I mean they are the worst thing ever) and I am happy to have finished paying mine off back in March, I do have to thank the organization who, um, owned(?) my loans because they had the nicest, most helpful customer service people. I called them several times and always got hold of a real human who helped me out quickly and easily.
So if any of ya'll out there have loans with Fedloan Servicing, fear not! The website isn't the easiest to use, but I only needed to get on it twice in the whole time I had my loans.
@olivebee Seconding this! (mostly.) I had lots of questions when my loans came out of the grace period and I was unemployed and then I was employed but needed IBR, and I was trying to become a **financially responsible adult** For the most part the Fed Loan people are really helpful, and at the very least, always really friendly and courteous.
Their website could use some work but the more I learn the easier it is to figure out.
The loans, however. Still terrible.
Just reading this got my heart pounding. Fucking hell - student loans! I'll be declaring bankruptcy the SECOND the law changes to allow student loans to be discharged (...hopefully the law will change...!).
It horrifies and infuriates me that my financial future is FUCKED by these loans that were so, SO easy to get and there is ZERO way out and ZERO incentive for anyone on the loan side to help me - and not one person who should have known better (not my parents, not my schools' financial aid departments, not the loan-givers although of course you can't expect it from THEM) ever cautioned me against taking on so much debt. Just take out another loan! No worries!
I think I've defaulted on my private loans (doing great with my fed loans - YAY IBR!), but there's been zero communication from anyone since last September and I don't even know who "owns" my loans at this point. I'm too scared to investigate and maybe fuck myself further. HOW LOW CAN MY CREDIT SCORE GO? Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
I recently dipped below $20k in student loan debt. Does that count as light at the end of a tunnel? Not really since it took me 4 years to pay off $6k and I've never had more than $2k in savings for very long. This is a comment for The Billfold.
@whizz_dumb Ah, I feel ya. I started with around $20k in loans (I forget the total), and the loans stressed me out so much that for 4 years (starting my junior year of college) I worked 4 jobs just so I could pay them off faster. I had zero free time and zero social life, but I got rid of all my loans in 2 years (though my husband did help me with $2k of it). I don't know if working extra jobs is feasible for you, but it helped me get loans the fuck out of my life a lot faster.
@olivebee Wow, you are amazing! I've been on the fence about looking for a second, part-time job...this may be the motivation I need.
@whizz_dumb If it makes you feel better, I started out with $18K, 10 years ago, and I am just now down to about $3k. It helps that, over time I've been able to pay a bit more per month, but it IS doable.
@Is It a Hat? Thanks! While it's a big bummer to not have as much free time, it allowed me to make higher payments on my loans each month (it was mainly the interest accrual that scared me) and save some money for myself, too. I don't know how you feel about kids, but one of my four jobs was babysitting, and that is the best possible second-job to take on. No taxes taken out, fairly easy, you can do whatever you want when the kids go to bed, and depending on your location, a high hourly salary. My other additional (i.e. not my full-time job) jobs were in retail and doing social media part-time for a new business. Anyways, good luck with whatever you decide to do!
I was reading this live the other day (thanks to a tip from the Billfold), and found it totally enthralling. They outsource their letter sending to Texas? All her old forms are not accessible to her new account holders? It's all just madness.
The only way out of the debt at this point is to secure a Mexican bank account and live/work off the grid to avoid collectors. I just can't wait to see what happens when this bubble pops like all of the rest, and your average arts degree has all of the value of a box of generic tampons--that is, even less than it already does.
@MovieTheaterIntifada The problem isn't the actual value of arts degrees - obviously, they are not worth anything, or people would be getting jobs with 'em! It's the amount people are willing to pay for them. It's like if the housing bubble continued even while people were being foreclosed on and were underwater on their mortgages.
The geniuses who now administer my student loan send me a separate invoice every month for each year I was in school. Red Tape much? They also maintain one of the least user-friendly websites on The Internets. I feel like they are just strewing landmines everywhere, just waiting for me to lose my focus and KABOOM.
My perspective on what an average student loan amounts to is skewed thanks to my old school. I first moved to San Francisco to attend the Art Institute of California-SF. I was studying animation, but when my financial aid changed on my 3rd quarter, I couldn't get approved for a loan so I decided to leave that school because the cost was just too much. Even though my education was interrupted for a time, I feel lucky I didn't finish there (also, I realised I like watching animation more than I like making animation, oh ho!) And when I transfered to SF's City College, I couldn't even transfer any of the classes I took at AI because CA's higher ed system doesn't accept their accreditation. Grr.
Most of my friends who went there and graduated are looking at student loan debt that totals to a little over $100,000. All that for a creative arts degree. It's a scary, scary number.
I don't know how much med school or law school costs, but hot damn! That school is way too overpriced considering how few graduates seem to get a job in their desired field of study. One of my friends who graduated with a Video Game Art and Design degree has over $200K in loan debt because he didn't take a full course load and had to repeat a few courses. I think each class there is like… $800? When people like him would calmly tell me they failed a class, I wanted to cry for them.
Needless to say I'm super happy I am not there anymore. Moral of this story? Unless your parents/family can hook you up with many thousands of dollars for school, avoid for-profit schools like the plague.
@Toffamu so I am replying to myself like a weirdo, but I forgot to comment on the actual article. Good for Legal Eagle/Jenni Dye to call that loan servicing company out like that! I've had pretty bad phone experiences with everyone except the Federal Government (Direct Loans Services). Recently I haven't had to call any of my providers and I have been doing everything online, but at least Nelnet (one of my loan servicer) has a decent website. They even sent me a "happy birthday" email, although when I see it I was like "Eff you, we are not friends!"
Well, this pretty much gave me a panic attack. Going to eat the rest of the cookies now, and pretend my student loans don't exist.
@maybe partying will help I haven't read the article...and have barely skimmed the comments here, and I still have a panic-twinge in my stomach. I was the genius who took out student loans and never finished my degree! OH GOD I WANT TO CRY FOREVER.
Ha, she said "mansplain". That just entered my lexicon via "Some Incredible Men" earlier today.
The Canadian federal and BC provincial student loan systems were actually surprisingly easy to navigate when I was paying them back. Getting them, on the other hand, was so difficult I ended up basically forging paperwork when they refused to give me a loan until I could prove I was registered at the university, but I had to pay two semester's worth of tuition before I was allowed to register, which I needed the loans to do.
F that guy who tweeted to her "This makes me so glad I never had to take out a student loan."
Why would you tweet that? Oh, thanks lucky guy whose parents made more money than mine. Could you rub it my face a little more please?
Is it bad that one of the main reasons I am excited to go back to school is that I can defer my student loans some more? I mean, the secondary reason for excitement is LEARNING. The tertiary is that I might get a Pell Grant; I don't even know exactly what that is but I know it is money I need right now (especially now that my hours are getting cut because it's Fall and I won't get food stamps anymore now I'm a student)
@Nutmeg No. Not at all. I graduated a year ago and have had absolutely no luck in finding a job. I'm strongly considering trying to get in an MBA program at on okay-level college near home. Partially to defer, partially to give me something to do with my life, and partially because I hope that it would help me find a job.
I'm in that "reading this article and the comments makes me feel all panicky about my soul-crushing mountain of debt" camp. I lucked out (?) and didn't have to do private loans, just state and federal for the most part. I remember doing my exit counseling online and crying.
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