After five years of undergraduate study and a year of law school, I am in serious debt to several financial groups and services. I took the poor advice of my parents (my sister, Paula, can corroborate their advice and so can Dave, as they passed that infinite wisdom to him, too) and took on too much student loan debt under the guise of “you can just pay it back over 30 years!” By chance, I am sure, they left out the parts about interest rates, interest accrued, and repayment terms, among other things.
After reviewing the current situation last night with Dave, we totaled my loans to be just short of $110,000. That is about what a small, old house costs in Ohio. Or the cost of four cars over 20 years, if you only drive each car for five years. Regardless, it is a lot of money. Now, spread it over thirty years, the repayment amount is closer to $350,000 with interest. That is 360 payments of almost $1000 a month.
Currently, that is more than one-half of my paycheck.
Luckily, my boyfriend and his parents are very empathetic towards my situation. I live for free with Dave and his family. My only expenses are my car (and the usual tag-a-longs that come with vehicles) and my cell phone. When Dave graduates, he promised to provide just about everything I would need so long as I just keep making those payments. If I did not have Dave and his family, I would probably need another part-time or full-time job for the rest of my life, or until I made a better biweekly paycheck. I could not afford housing, food, or basic necessities without them (or a second job), and I am thankful now more than ever for that. This process has been one giant, biting reality check.
So, I guess my question to the American Government and those public schools that are not-for-profit is this: Why did I have to take out so much money to attend your schools? Even half of the amount I spent would have been astronomical compared the estimates schools provide on what tuition costs. You expect me to attend your institutions, get the once-coveted-degree-turned-new-high-school-diploma, and find a job, but then how do you expect me to return my “investment” to the economy when you rape me senseless of all hope and ability to do so? I made mistakes, yes, but education, which is so integral to our “flat” global economy, is painfully expensive with little to no return. I know for sure you will never explain, and you wonder why so many young Americans lose respect for today’s politicians and leaders. You just lead us on.