June 29, 2013
Forever A-Loan: The Last Post You Will Ever Need on How to Pay for College



June 29, 2013
Article from the Huffington Post (College) by Jodi Okun

Is 2013 the Year the Student Loan Bubble Bursts?

Posted: 02/21/2013 5:12 pm

Our country has been hit by several financial “bubbles” that wreaked havoc on the economy when they burst. Remember the tech bubble and the real estate bubble? Now there is speculation that student loans may be about to join this infamous group. The Los Angeles Times recently stated that student loan delinquency rates had “hit the danger zone” after a report from FICO Labs showed that delinquency rates had risen to 15.1 percent, an increase of almost 22 percent in just three years. This debt burden represents not just a lifelong problem for the student borrower, but could have a massive impact on the broader economy as well.

In addition, student loan balances continue to rise precipitously. Last year’s average was $27,253, which was up 58 percent from the $17,233 that was borrowed in 2005. The sluggish economy and low job growth rate means that it will be tougher than ever for today’s college students to repay their student loans. This early failure to repay the holders of their student loan debt will affect their later ability to borrow money for houses or even to save money to finance their own children’s education. When enough people can’t borrow money, the economy suffers as a whole.

Community Research Partners published a report in January titled “Need-Based Financial Aid: A Tool for Supporting Ohio’s Education and Workforce Goals,” which showed the effect Ohio’s drastic cuts were having on need-based financial aid. The report concluded that college was becoming less accessible for lower-income demographics and strongly urged officials to increase financial aid funding levels.

What Can Today’s Students Do to Pay for College?

What all this means is that today’s students and their parents will have to be much smarter in determining how they will pay for college in order to avoid the alternatives of high debt or no college at all. The best way to avoid debt is to borrow as little as possible. Parents must take advantage of 529 plans to start saving money for education while their children are still very young. Skipping the coffee and saving just a dollar a day could be the start of a big financial difference for your child’s future.

As the child becomes a teen and starts the college application process, financial questions need to be an important part of the selection criteria. Billions of dollars of financial aid are still available but accessing this money begins with the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Many students lose out on their fair share of financial aid by failing to complete these forms early and accurately; additional funding is available through scholarships, but many students simply miss application deadlines. Work study programs can also help ease the financial burden.

When colleges send out their final acceptance packets, they include a financial aid package. These amounts may not be set in stone and it is possible for applicants to negotiate with the colleges to see if any of these offers can be increased. A professionally trained college financial aid adviser can help the family sort through the maze of options to make the wisest financial choices.

Once the student is in college, parents and child can work together to minimize expenses so any loans taken will be as low as possible. Student loans should not be used to finance a lifestyle or make costly purchases as this strategy will only cause problems down the road. With smart planning and informed decision-making, the millennial generation doesn’t have to be the one that breaks the economy’s back.

March 28, 2013
Closer to my dreams: I Get it Now


The whole Sallie Mae thing that everyone’s been talking about. I’ve tried everything to get my monthly payment of over $400 reduced but the organization doesn’t care if that amount is more than 10% of my GROSS monthly income, or that I don’t get paid for two months out of the year. It doesn’t care…

March 28, 2013
OCCUPY STUDENT DEBT: No Money to Start a Family, Biological Clock is Dying


I owe about $80,000 in student loans debt to the federal govermment, Chase Bank, and Wells Fargo. My monthly student loans bills exceed $2,000 a month. I have no money to start a family, no money to keep my work wardrobe professional, and barely any money for groceries ($100/month). I am making an…

(Source: occupystudentdebt)

March 28, 2013
Student Loan Crisis: what’s your story?


Debt for Life is a website where you can find articles, videos, and personal stories on the student loan crisis taking place both in the United States and abroad (yes, people are in student loan debt around the world). 

If you have a story you would like to share, then please do not hesitant to message me.

Good luck and Godspeed. 

-Debt for Life

(Source: )

March 28, 2013

Every day, at least 4-6 times a day. They leave at least 4 voicemails. It’s a recording asking me to call a 1-800 number. I call it, they claim I owe them. I explain it’s deferred because I’m enrolled in school. They ask for enrollment verification, I fax it, they start again 3 days later claiming they’ve never received it.
I have sent them 7 enrollment verifications since January 1st. I don’t need to set an alarm in the morning. I could just leave my ringer on full volume because they’ll call me at 8 AM every goddamn day. I know I owe when I graduate, in accordance with the contract I signed. Until then, I don’t and this is harassment.
Welcome to being poor and trying to pay for education. We’re gonna harass you ‘til you’re afraid of your phone mmm’kay?


Every day, at least 4-6 times a day. They leave at least 4 voicemails. It’s a recording asking me to call a 1-800 number. I call it, they claim I owe them. I explain it’s deferred because I’m enrolled in school. They ask for enrollment verification, I fax it, they start again 3 days later claiming they’ve never received it.

I have sent them 7 enrollment verifications since January 1st. I don’t need to set an alarm in the morning. I could just leave my ringer on full volume because they’ll call me at 8 AM every goddamn day. I know I owe when I graduate, in accordance with the contract I signed. Until then, I don’t and this is harassment.

Welcome to being poor and trying to pay for education. We’re gonna harass you ‘til you’re afraid of your phone mmm’kay?

February 8, 2013
53 Percent Of All Young College Graduates In America Are Either Unemployed Or Underemployed

The Economic Collapse
April 23, 2012

If you are in college right now, you will most likely either be unemployed or working a job that only requires a high school degree when you graduate.  The truth is that the U.S. economy is not coming anywhere close to producing enough jobs for the hordes of new college graduates that are entering the workforce every year.  In 2011, 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor’s degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed.  Millions upon millions of young college graduates feel like the system has totally failed them.  They worked hard in school all their lives, they went into huge amounts of debt in order to get the college education that they were told they “must have” in order to get a good job, but after graduation they found that there were only a handful of good jobs for the huge waves of college graduates that were entering the “real world”.  All over America, college graduates can be found waiting tables, flipping burgers and working behind the register at retail stores.  Unfortunately, the employment picture in America is not going to get significantly better any time soon.

All over the United States, “middle class jobs” are being replaced by “low income jobs” and young college graduates are being hurt by this transition more than almost anyone else.  Massive numbers of young college graduates are now working jobs that do not even require a high school degree.  Some of the statistics about young college graduates are absolutely astounding.  The following is from a recent CNBC article….

In the last year, they were more likely to be employed as waiters, waitresses, bartenders and food-service helpers than as engineers, physicists, chemists and mathematicians combined (100,000 versus 90,000). There were more working in office-related jobs such as receptionist or payroll clerk than in all computer professional jobs (163,000 versus 100,000). More also were employed as cashiers, retail clerks and customer representatives than engineers (125,000 versus 80,000).

Can you imagine working really hard all throughout high school and college and always getting good grades and then ending up as a bartender?

Sadly, many hard working college graduates cannot seem to find a decent job no matter how hard they try.  The following is one example from the CNBC article mentioned above….

“I don’t even know what I’m looking for,” says Michael Bledsoe, who described months of fruitless job searches as he served customers at a Seattle coffeehouse. The 23-year-old graduated in 2010 with a creative writing degree.

Initially hopeful that his college education would create opportunities, Bledsoe languished for three months before finally taking a job as a barista, a position he has held for the last two years. In the beginning he sent three or four resumes day. But, Bledsoe said, employers questioned his lack of experience or the practical worth of his major. Now he sends a resume once every two weeks or so.

Have you ever been there?

Have you ever sent out resumes week after week, month after month, only to get absolutely nowhere?

Many recent college graduates are being advised by “career counselors” that they should go back and “get more education”.

But is that really the answer?  The truth is that there are lots and lots of unemployed and underemployed Americans with advanced degrees too.  For example, a recent Business Insider article profiled a law school graduate named Erin that is actually on food stamps….

She remains on food stamps so her social life suffers. She can’t afford a car, so she has to rely on the bus to get around Austin, Texas, where she lives. And currently unable to pay back her growing pile of law school debt, Gilmer says she wonders if she will ever be able to pay it back.

“That has been really hard for me,” she says. “I have absolutely no credit anymore. I haven’t been able to pay loans. It’s scary, and it’s a hard thing to think you’re a lawyer but you’re impoverished. People don’t understand that most lawyers actually aren’t making the big money.”

But what “more education” will do is that it will get you into even more debt.  Student loan debt can be one of the cruelest forms of debt, because it cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

As I wrote about a few days ago, total student loan debt in the United States recently surpassed the one trillion dollar mark.  Students keep on racking up student loan debt in the hope that they will find “the American Dream” at the end of the rainbow.

Sadly, many students do everything “right” and still end up in the middle of a nightmare.

But it is not just young college graduates that are suffering in this economy.

As I wrote about a while back, the U.S. economy is not producing enough jobs for anyone at this point.

The mainstream media keeps telling us that unemployment is going down, but the truth is that the percentage of working age Americans that are employed is not increasing.  In March 2010, 58.5 percent of all working age Americans had a job.  In March 2012, 58.5 percent of all working age Americans had a job.

Does that sounds like improvement?

Of course not.

Unlike what we have seen after every other recession in the post-World War II era, the employment to population ratio is not bouncing back, and that is really bad news.

The main reason for this is because of the bad economy, but also it is important to understand that we are transitioning away from an “employment economy”.

Today, most large corporations view employees as very expensive “liabilities”.  The goal for most large corporations is to minimize those “liabilities” as much as possible.  In fact, these days some large corporations lay off huge numbers of workers even while they are making huge profits at the same time.

Once upon a time, Henry Ford made a conscious decision to pay his workers enough money so that they could afford to buy the cars that they were making.

Today, most corporations simply do not care about the living standards of their workers.  They simply want to maximize profits to the fullest extent possible.

Many small businesses would like to hire more workers, but the federal government has made hiring workers so complicated and so expensive that it has become exceedingly difficult to make a profit on a worker.  Most of the time it is simply easier to try to do more with what you already have.

The number of Americans that can work a job (“just over broke”) and still live “the American Dream” is steadily shrinking.  Increasingly, the financial rewards in our economy are being funneled to the very top of organizations and workers are finding that their living standards continue to slowly go down.

At corporations that belong to the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index, CEOs earn380 times what the average worker makes at those companies.  In 1980, CEOs only earned 42 times what the average worker made at those companies.

A fundamental shift is happening in our economy and it is not going to be reversed any time soon.  Workers are not valued at most companies anymore.  No matter how much of yourself you give to your company, when the day comes that you become “disposable”, you will be cast aside as so much rubbish.

That is why I try to encourage people to start their own businesses and to be their own bosses.  There is no job security anymore.  The job that you have today could be gone tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the federal government is actually spending your money to train foreign workers to take our jobs.  The following is from a recent Daily Caller article….

While the president has been urging “insourcing,” the government has been sending money to the Philippines to train foreign workers for jobs in English-speaking call centers.

According to New York Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop and North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones, this is unacceptable and “shocking.”

The pair are calling on the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to immediately suspend what is known as the Job Enabling English Proficiency (JEEP) program.

Can you believe that?

Over and over again, our politicians talk about the need to keep jobs in the United States and then they go out and do things that have the exact opposite effect.

It is truly maddening.

So what are the hordes of American workers that cannot find jobs supposed to do?

Well, one thing we are definitely seeing is a huge rise in the number of Americans that are dependent on the government.

For example, at the end of the Reagan administration the ratio of workers on Social Security disability to active workers was about 2 percent.

Today, it is over 6 percent.

During the first four months of 2012 alone, 539,000 more Americans were added to the Social Security disability rolls and another 725,000 submitted new applications.

Another federal program that is experiencing explosive growth is food stamps.

Last year, one out of every seven Americans was on food stamps, and the Congressional Budget Office is projecting that the number of people on food stamps will continue to grow through 2014.

It is so sad to see what is happening to America.  Our economy is being dismantled all around us and the future looks incredibly bleak.

Right now there are millions upon millions of Americans that are sitting at home wallowing in despair.  They don’t understand why nobody will hire them and they are rapidly running out of options.

The following is a comment that a reader left on one of my recent articles about the middle class….

I cannot believe my present situation…

I worked hard in school and college so that I could escape the low income uneducated mess I grew up in.

I made all the correct decisions with my career, finances, etc. I cannot figure out how I got to where I am at now.

In late 2008 I was laid off in the IT field. I was a go-getter, and I didn’t let anyone tell me the economy would make it difficult to find a job. I had another within 4 weeks.

Was laid off from that job last year. I qualified for unemployment, but then my employer decides to bring a bunch of lawyers and fight my eligibility. After I won again, they appealed again. I finally couldn’t afford to keep paying attorney fees. I finally lost the appeal. I had to pay all that money back.

I’m still trying to find a job in my field. Being the go-getting I am, I immediately took a job waiting tables which amounted to a 75% pay-cut.

I had saved 6 months of expenses and that is completely dry. I have completely drained my retirement and savings. Still cannot find a livable wage job after almost a decade in my field.

Things are slowly going into default and it feels utterly hopeless and stressful. My pristine credit rating is gone, my savings and everything I worked for is gone. I haven’t missed a payment on my mortgage, but it is coming. I can’t cut anything more than I already have.

I just can’t figure out how this could have happened to me. I played by the rules and made all the right choices. I skipped vacations and time off to prove I was a good worker and had what it took to be a valuable employee.

I really am just at a loss at this point. I’m single and have no family. This is really make-or-break for me. I have no fallback plan. The feeling of failure is just gut-wrenching.

Please say a prayer for that reader and for all of the other hard working Americans out there that are desperate to find a job.

If you are at the end of your rope, please do not give up.  Even in the darkest moments, there is always a way to turn things around if you will just keep on fighting.

Sadly, way too many people are giving up on life because of the economy.  In Europe, economic conditions have deteriorated so badly that there has been a dramatic increase in suicides.  The following is from a recent article in the New York Times….

The economic downturn that has shaken Europe for the last three years has also swept away the foundations of once-sturdy lives, leading to an alarming spike in suicide rates. Especially in the most fragile nations like Greece, Ireland and Italy, small-business owners and entrepreneurs are increasingly taking their own lives in a phenomenon some European newspapers have started calling “suicide by economic crisis.”

When the next major economic downturn happens in the United States, we will probably see a similar thing happen here too.

But people need to realize that our lives are not about how much stuff we own.

Even if every single thing is taken away from you and you are left with nothing that does not mean that your life is over.

Even if you have not been able to find a job for years, that does not mean that you should give up.

In life, everyone gets knocked down.

But unless you are dead, there is always a way to get things turned around in a more positive direction.

One thing that I have learned in life is that you must never, ever, ever, ever give up.

The years ahead are going to be really hard for the global economy, but that doesn’t mean that they have to be horrible years for you.

The years ahead can be the very best years of your entire life, but that will never happen if you decide to simply give up.

February 8, 2013
Debt Collectors Cashing In on Student Loans

In 2011 the Department of Education paid $1.4 billion to collection agencies to find defaulters, a group that includes nearly one in six borrowers with a balance.

February 8, 2013
One thing I wish I could change about myself


I worry about money. All the time. I think about it all the time. I count ahead in my calendar, adding and subtracting as I go, to see when I might have enough money to feel comfortable again. I lose my breath, and straight up have trouble breathing, just trying to not worry about money.

I thought when I got hired full time with a salary this would change. When I was working a $9 an hour part time retail job I justified my constant fear with the fact that, well, this was in fact a $9 an hour job that couldn’t hire me full time and I was living in New York.

When I was hired at the firm that now employs me, I felt as though all my problems had been cured. I knew something was wrong with the fact that I thought money would cure my life, but I couldn’t help it. I was just so happy. I could pay rent, bills, and maybe get a drink during happy hour! Heck, maybe I would even buy lunch once in a while. Goodbye, sandwich bags and cheesesticks. Hello, tomatoes on my sandwiches and Chobani yogurts.

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Beautifully written! And, like someone else pointed out - you are not alone. 

Here’s hoping for a brighter, more prosperous future for all of us. 

February 8, 2013
New York Students Rising: Student Debt: Why Race Matters


By Biola Jeje

At the City University of New York, we are seeing tuition hikes of three hundred dollars per year until 2016. Many would argue that despite this, CUNY is still more affordable than a lot of other public colleges in the United States and that as students we should count ourselves…

(Source: nysr)