If you are struggling with your student loans, you are not alone. Over 45 million Americans have student loan debt. Read the borrower stories below to see how the student loan crisis impacts Americans across the country. You can share your story with us on our story page.
Borrower from Wyandotte, Michigan
I am a teacher with almost 20 years in Education and Social Service background and am drowning in over $100,000 debt!
Borrower from Corona, California
I have over $100,000 in student loan debt dating back to 2002. If I were debt free I could move on with my life, become unstuck and achieve my new American Dream. This school loan burden as a public service worker shows no end in sight. I have also been taken advantage of by my servicers!
Borrower from Lake Wales, Florida
I took out Parent Plus Loans for three of my daughters. The Parent Plus Loan Application was based on my husband’s and my salary. Our credit was poor, but we were approved for loans for three of our daughters. My husband, the primary earner, did not sign the loans because we did not think it mattered. He passed away in 2017. I am retired and live on my Social Security. $295 has been deducted from my meager Social Security check for several months now to repay these Parent Plus Loans. This leaves me with less than $1,600 per month to live on. It is a hardship as well as unfair and unfathomable that the Parent Plus Loans cannot be discharged because it was my husband who died and not me.
Borrower from Round Rock, Texas
I have so much interest accrued over the years that my borrowed amount has doubled. The amount of salary that my college told me I would get has never added up. I am 68 years old and have had a lot of hardship forbearances. Social security will not cover all living expenses, so I have to work. Any help in this student loan situation would be appreciated greatly.
Borrower from Tampa, Florida
I attended a school that (1) was not accredited, (2) accepted me for my VA benefits, (3) made me exhaust all my student loan options, and (4) obligated me to take online classes due to the very small group of teachers on campus. Now I am left with $80,000 in student loan debt and unable to live the American dream of purchasing a home due to my debt-to-income situation. Horrible outcome.
Borrower from Jacksonville, North Carolina
I have in the ballpark of $16,000-$18,000 of student loan debt, both federal and private loans. My school program (not the whole school) closed. I was forcefully placed on a leave of absence to wait to return to school, but all of us in this program maxed out our leave of absence days waiting to return and were then forcefully dropped from the school. There are no other schools that will accept me or my credit hours, so I’m left here with no certificate and no license with thousands of dollars in debt. How do I pay back loans for a license/certificate I never received?
Borrower from West Pawlett, Vermont
I am so confused at this point as to whether my loan would even qualify for forgiveness. I don’t know whether I really have an accurate picture as to what happened with my loan. I originally received a disbursement in 2002 for $44,239. I can’t even find on the website when I first entered into an IDR repayment plan. I thought I was in an IDR plan from the beginning, but I was told today that I entered it in 2011. So now I only have 115 of 240 qualifying payments towards the 20 year IDR forgiveness when I actually made 211 payments during the lifetime of my loan. My loan has now grown to over $95,000, and they tell me I have more than 10 years of payments to make to qualify for IDR forgiveness. I am almost 60, and I cannot see how I will be able to continue making my $500+ a month in payments.
Borrower from Elkridge, Maryland
I have over $100,000 in debt, although I only borrowed $80,000. I grew up in West Virginia and 17 year-old-me took out loans at the advice of my parents in the year 2007. More than half of my undergrad was funded by scholarships but in graduate school I was less lucky. My final year of graduate school I met my spouse who is active duty military. I graduated, began working and paying $1,000 a month on my loans. Two years later the military moved us and I was unable to find employment like most spouses. I accumulated almost $15,000 in interest on my loans during our tour overseas. We moved back in 2019, and I struggled to find employment again. With over $100,000 in loans, we don’t make investments or buy houses. The debt is insurmountable and every time the military moves us it becomes bigger.
Note: stories may have been edited for clarity and to protect the borrower’s identity.