AmyP | Arkansas news, politics, opinion, restaurants, music, movies and art

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Recent Comments

Re: “When college doesn't pay for itself

Correction: When I wrote, "... I began my post-college working life making 30-50% less than that, for several years...." what I should have written was that I began my post-college working life making less than 30-50% of my current pay, and this lasted for several years. This means that I made less than $12,000 - 23,000 for several years.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by AmyP on 01/23/2012 at 7:17 PM

Re: “When college doesn't pay for itself

Natasha McElderry: I am so glad you were able to pay off your loans.

I do have some questions about how you were able to do this so efficiently:
What year did you graduate?
What was the interest rate on your loan?
Did you consolidate your loan for a lower interest rate?
Was your loan sold from your original lender to another?
Were you able to get a well-paying job shortly after graduating?
Did you have to go back to school at any point to update your education?
Did you receive financial help from family, a spouse, an ex-spouse, child support, or a scholarship/grant for single mothers?
Did you ever have to put your loan in forbearance?
Did you have any of your normal expenses like food or housing subsidized?
Did you ever have to move to find work or receive a promotion?
Were you able to use tax refunds to pay towards your loan?
Were you able to use the internet to research student loan options, make payments, and track your repayment progress?

-- I ask these things to point out that each of these factors can dramatically effect the repayment timeline and process. -- My point is that basic life circumstances can effect one's repayment ability.

I graduated in 1994, and began repayment two months after consumer protections were dissolved. This was also before the internet was a useful resource for such research. In fact, it has only been since 2008 that billing statements have had a "new" sense of transparency.

Consider this, too: it has taken me 17 years to make the average household income; I began my post-college working life making 30-50% less than that, for several years. --As I noted in my comment here (posted above), I've paid more towards my loan as I earned more. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that this is the smart thing to do, but it does take the realistic increase of income.

Don't forget that there is now more student loan debt in the U.S. than credit card debt. Credit card debt may be refinanced or discharged through bankruptcy. For those that decry the mortgage lending practices that caused the country serious problems in recent years... a home mortgage may be refinanced. Student loans are not instilled with such benefits.

I encourage others to research how these loans are structured, and how the structure of these loans have changed over time, effecting people differently. I included links to a few informative resources in my earlier post.

Again, congratulations.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by AmyP on 01/22/2012 at 11:34 PM

Re: “When college doesn't pay for itself

B Rock Sucks: What would be your response if I were in the same student loan debt boat, but graduated with a degree in mathematics instead and became a math teacher? You’d be surprised what fine arts majors make… most of us are thoroughly trained in creative thinking and so our skills, knowledge and talents are desired by many employers—we make great software developers, graphic designers, architects, advertising creators, web developers, product developers, marketers, teachers, etc. That Starbucks cup you are holding—a creative person was behind logo. The computer you type on—creative person. The ads that you will see during the Super Bowl—creative person. The shirt you are wearing—creative person. The home you live in—creative person. That bridal portrait of your niece—creative person. Your favorite TV show or song—creative people. That online video that makes you laugh—creative person. In fact, our skills are in great demand in the “new” economy.…

No, I did not expect to strike it rich… but I am not going to feel bad about my income either because, after all, I am doing as well as many math teachers in our state. We do not “choose” an artistic path because we cannot function in any other capacity, or because we are unintelligent… Many creative people are considerably intelligent. We directly influence your daily experience.

Perhaps you see so many fine arts people featured in student loan debt articles because maybe we are a little more vocal about such issues. Truth is this happens to people from any major or career path.

Serving in Americorps (national service) was my “foot-in-the-museum-door” job. I have worked in museums since 1997. Though I am frustrated that my generation was not considered for the “service forgiveness” legislation, I do not expect to have my debts wiped clean. (And that is over-simplifying how these programs work anyway. The students affected by such legislation actually spend 10-20 years making payments towards their debt. So, if I did qualify for such a program I would have paid off my loan in that time and then some.)

I agree that it is frustrating to see first-time homebuyers receive start-up money that you did not receive. But if I adopted such logic, I would be upset to know that my paying tons of interest on my loan is actually enabling recent graduates the opportunity to take advantage of loan forgiveness programs--and that I am essentially paying off their loans. Another example of such logic: I went to school, performed well while there, worked part-time throughout, graduated with a high GPA, did everything essentially the way a person “should”… and yet I am penalized. I choose NOT to think this way.

And when you say, “…But personal responsibility in (sic) written each month to Sallie Mae when I make my payment…” are you saying that I do not take personal responsibility? I think this article makes it evident that I do. After all, the article makes it clear that I have worked multiple jobs for over 9 years (as well as another stint right after graduating) just to fulfill this responsibility.

Dogtowndiva: Yes, not consolidating and low interest rates are KEY to being able to pay these loans off more efficiently. Two incomes help, too. So would selling a home for profit and using that to pay off one’s loans. So would “equal pay.” This system IS a racket. This article on the Forbes site discusses how these policies are contrived and governed:… .

Truth is, even if students and parents were aware of the pitfalls of such debt and a good number of the students have no other choice. Many students either take the loans or don't attend college. Period. --Regardless of whether they have been counseled on the realities of the rigging or not. They have no other choice because of inflated tuition costs and because such students have no other monetary resource. Education has been sold as THE way to pull one’s self up. And education has been touted as THE way to get a job and earn more.

What is really evolving here is akin to a caste system: Wealthier families afford their kids more (better?) education. These kids, regardless of intellect or ability, are ensured greater economic futures. They are not instantly saddled by debt. Those families who are not fortunate cannot afford to send their kids to college without loans.

Also see:…

I did not always make this amount of money… this is after 15 years in the field. So only recently have I been able to pay more towards my student loan debt.

And yes, one key to reforming student loan policy would be to allow re-financing of the loans, for competitive lower interest rates. One can refinance a boat, a home, a car… why not a student loan?

Ron Rizzard: Yes, loan policies were different in the 90’s and that is why some people have different student loan debt hardships. We also do not have the repayment, “forgiveness” opportunities that more recent graduates have. (Again, see the Forbes article above.)

Doigotta: Agreed. As I said above, I did not always make this amount of money (15 years in the field). I pay more towards my student loan debt as I make more money.

Orville Fulbright: I will spare you a vehement, crudely-laden retort and will respond this way instead: You’d be surprised how many lawyers, accountants, doctors, etc. are also struggling to pay off their loans. After all, more education tends to result in more debt. Unless, of course, one is already well-off and can afford it.

Cliché criticisms like “What did you expect?”; “Arts major?! HA!”; “Did you think someone was going to pay it off for you?”; “Get a real job.” are not surprising. No, I did not expect to have a story written about me. But I do expect to have a voice. Only recently have people to spoken up about predatory student loans; perhaps we have been dismissed before because we are “young” and are believed to not have much political clout. There ARE some fundamental problems with the student loan structure.

And what good does it do a society or community to saddle the educated with lifelong debt? It actually has negative effects… the article mentions the problem with affording the purchase of a home. What happens when more cannot afford marriage or kids? Or support charitable clauses? Or when people have to work more and cannot devote time to family--or volunteer? Or practice the professions for which they went to school? Relationships, households, communities, and local/national economies are adversely affected. Student loan debt now eclipses credit card debt in the U.S., so this will be a significant problem in the near future.

Bopbamboom: The Forbes article (above) is great for explaining how stuff like this happens.

Bayou: Yep, I actually graduated college a year before the Internet. I didn’t have a cell phone (no one really did). I didn’t even have a TV, much less cable, in college. I also didn’t have a driver’s license (couldn’t afford insurance back then) or even a car until I was 25. Yes, I grew up middle class—barely.

Ironically, I did call a bank and a credit union a year and a half ago to meet with a financial planner for advice. I was told that there really isn’t such a service for someone like me.

14 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by AmyP on 01/11/2012 at 11:55 PM


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