My life with student loans started back in 1995. I was 18, renting an apartment and living on my own. Since I still had to submit my parents tax returns and my award was based on that, I got all unsubsidized loans and had to take an extra semester before school to earn the out of pocket money. So far, I wasn’t all that annoyed I just dealt with the situation.
The next school year, my award was cut in half because I wasn’t a freshman anymore. (Meaning: we’ve sucked you in and transferring is a bitch.) That meant as a 19 year old I was supposed to find $12,000 somewhere for SUNY, non-resident tuition. Since I lived in state all year and paid my taxes, I asked if I could get in-state tuition. No, because I went to high school out of state. At this point I was annoyed and I had to take a year off and I moved to PA.
After a year in PA, I transferred and went to college there. I applied for state grants, and once again I was not a resident. This time it was because I asked the college for information before I lived in-state for a full year. WTF?! So, I asked, WHERE AM I A RESIDENT!? The answer was, nowhere. It is possible to be a resident of nowhere in this system. Once again, WTF?! So, I sucked it up yet again and worked 35 hours a week while taking 18 credit hours.
I finished my coursework and I had an extra semester of student teaching. Since student teaching does not add up to a full-time credit load, my loans went into repayment. So, my day starts at 7:30, I have meetings after school until 6:30, and I manage to work two days a week. I can’t even feed myself and the PA loan people manage to screw up my paperwork for a forbearance so many times, my checks were about to be garnished. (Thank you to the student loan ombudsman for straightening that out.) At this point, I am on the verge of an aneurysm.
Now that I have all the school stuff finished, I figure that I can find a way to straighten out my $48,987 in loans. My payments were supposed to be almost $600 a month (That’s half of what I take home a month as a teacher.) I went to the loan office got a list of my umpteen loans and consolidated them. Well, the office forgot to list the most recent loan and was sending the bills to my address in NY. (I hadn’t lived there for five years at this point.) I had no idea there was a problem until it went into collections. With over $40,000 being taken care of I was in danger of having my wages garnished because of a lousy $3,000! All I can do is laugh now, otherwise my brain will explode.
Then I decided to get a job in an inner city school with the offer that up to 60% will be forgiven. I got my application back today, rejected, because some of my loans were taken out before 1998, when the Urban Relief, blah blah law was passed. Now, I understand the concept of no ex post facto laws (college education at work) but even my loans AFTER 1998 will not be considered.
I’m moving to Canada, now.