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This is the story of life's financial struggles & victories through the eyes of a young woman up to her eyes in debt. Enjoy :)

Find me on Twitter! @OhStudentLoans

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Going Viral!

Thanks to Robert Applebaum, founder of a grassroots student loan movement website, we have a petition that is going viral. I think that anyone who stumbles upon this blog should sign it :) Sign and find out more information on the entire movement:

Click here to sign the petition!
Click here to find out more about forgivestudentloandebt.com

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Just as I Suspected

I went to Belmont today; NOTHING they can do for me. I spoke with a financial adviser who later on in our meeting (after many "I've already tried thats") asked his supervisor if he knew of anything in case there was something he was possibly overlooking. Their final suggestion, you ask? Try consolidating again, here is a list of places who offer it. My reaction? Here is my pile of rejection letters from every lender on your list. So disheartening. Over it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

From Here to Anywhere...

Belmont's motto is just that, "From Here to Anywhere."

So here I am, 2 years after graduating with 'anywhere' looking more like 'nowhere.' As I have mentioned before, I am heading towards a spiraling pit of debt with every closing minute. My mother has asked me once or twice to call Belmont to see if they have any suggestions on what I should do. And, unfortunately, I tell her that I have and not only can they do nothing for me, I end up educating them on something they did not know about the refinancing process. However, it has been a little over a year since I have spoken with someone in financial aid, so I am thinking of giving it one more shot before I give up.

After talking with my roommate tonight, who is also a Belmont alum, I have decided to go there in person instead of speaking to someone over the phone. If they shove me to the side with a bunch of "We can't help yous" then at least it will be harder for them to do in person. My roommate made a few good points tonight about alumni funds and how there could potentially be one out there to help certain 'qualified' people in this sort of situation. And, if there are no alumni funds that I qualify for, maybe Belmont could try to make a few phone calls to Sallie Mae or Wells Fargo. Even just typing it out right now seems like a long shot, but what do I have to lose?! Maybe some pride and dignity, but let's face it, they do not even have a clue who I am right now anyways. I am just a female graduate of the 2009 class that gave them almost $70,000.

So, I am not sure what day of the week I will go; maybe tomorrow, maybe later this week or next, but I will keep you posted as to what type of direction they give me. Here's to hoping they can get me anywhere but here...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

D-E-F-A-U-L-T

Smart thing to do? Too many consequences? Giving in? Totally ruining my credit? The only way?

All of these questions and many more float around in my head when thinking about the word default. So many say it is the only way to let the lenders really know you can't pay them. Others say it is merely giving in and ultimately hurting yourself. Which is it? I DO NOT know.

Thinking about it from a rational standpoint, surely defaulting on my loans will ruin my credit and plunge me into a 'financially unstable' branded person to all that inquire. However, thinking about it from a desperate standpoint, what if defaulting just means I lose 100+ points on my credit score and possibly have a wage that gets garnished? If Sallie Mae started to garnish my wages, surely they will not be able to get $600 a month in garnishments like they are getting from my on-time payments now. Will my absence of payment get it through their heads that I cannot pay them this amount any longer? Will I eventually have to go to court over this? Will the judge order that I continue my $600 per month interest only payments or else? I feel as if I am well educated about what is going on with my loans, but I am SO uneducated about the repercussions of what happens if I don't continue my current payments. Who in the world would have thought that it would come to this just a mere 2 years after graduating college? I can only imagine what I will be going through in 2 more years after my interest only pay option is up.

All of these default thoughts are deriving from the fact that I was denied, yet again, for consolidation last week. Wells Fargo denied me for the 3rd time. I added a co-signer and even that did not work. After that, I called local Nashville debt counselors to try and get any kind of advice I could and nothing came out of that. No one could help or even talk about debt relief when it came to private student loans. As soon as you say the words, "private student loans" to them they act as if you have just royally offended them. They start talking fast and basically hang up on you. One place actually did hang up on me, but whatever.

Anyway, on a somewhat lighter note, I watch out for student loan twitter accounts, web sites and videos like it is my second job. Here are a couple that are pretty informative and cool to see:


Oh yeah, on a positive note, I signed up for my 401k this week. Yay!

And, my iTunes shuffle just started playing, "We Don't Need No Education" by Pink Floyd. Just thought you should find some ironic humor in that as well ;)

*As always, opinions are always appreciated! Comment on this post and let me know your thoughts :)*

Friday, July 22, 2011

Winning!

Today I played a small role in someone's decision making when choosing where to receive a graduate degree. My friend and I have talked briefly about my student loan situation. I don't talk about it too much, but I occasionally make some sort of negative comment about it from time to time and she just happened to remember me saying something. She had the choice to go to Austin Peay or Belmont University. Once grants and other financial help was considered, she would graduate Austin Peay with less than $10k in loans and graduate from Belmont with almost $40k. She would add this to an undergrad loan of about $40k. She fully understood the cost difference, but was unsure about the name recognition. She wants the best education so she wonders if the $30k difference is worth the name drop? NO WAY. I talked to her about basically everything I have said here in my blog, but just in a nutshell. After telling her that Belmont's name has done nothing for me, and a little bit of advice from others at work who have the same bills piling on their counters, she decided to choose Austin Peay.

I felt a victory dance coming on, but restrained myself once I realized there was one less person to share my boat with. Is that a bad or good thing? Good for my friend not to jump in the sinking boat with me, but bad for the rest of us who have one less person on our ship to send out non responsive distress calls from the middle of the ocean to alert whoever will listen that we are slowly sinking and will surely drown soon. Maybe there are power in numbers, maybe not in this case, I don't know. But today I feel like my mistakes have helped someone I care about not do the same thing. And that, my friends, is winning!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Up A Creek

While googling 'Private Student Loans' yesterday, I stumbled upon this article. The article is, for the most part, bad. The editor talks more about how to get out of Federal loan debt than she does Private debt. Obviously she knows not how to stay on track with her 'Tackling Private Student Loans' title she selected herself. Here I am seeing the word, 'tackling' and thought I was about to embark on an aggressive repayment plan to later be told the more I read that "You'll just have to bite the bullet". Needless to say, the article is a waste of time, but the comments below the article are where it gets good. Or bad I should say.

The one paragraph comments from readers below the article are like quick punches in the face. Or like experiencing a brief moment of water boarding, either one. They tell you how much they owe, who they are in a nutshell then tell you they cannot do a thing about their debt no matter what they try to do. Almost every one of the comments end on a depressing FACT. The fact being there is NOTHING any of us can do about it.

Maybe the editor was right, you just have to bite the bullet; but I believe we should bite the bullet while still putting up a fight. Anyway, read the comments. They might give you a sense of community like they did me. It is good every now and again to read about someone else and know you are not the only one without paddles.

Click here to view the article.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Oh so sorry I have not been blogging.

There really is no excuse for not keeping up with this, other than merely not wanting to talk about it so that maybe it would disappear ;) It is around 3 months shy of a year since I last wrote on this page and not a lot has really changed. In fact, I had ramen noodles and Kroger brand Doritos for dinner just the other night (I swear I remember graduating college 2 years ago). Anyway, as of February, I moved out of the townhouse that my college roommate and I rented right after graduating. I now live in an older house with 2 girls from my work. Adding a roommate and subtracting about a decade worth of visual appeal lowered my rent by $200 a month, so I guess operating outdated appliances and hearing every move either of us ever make is worth it. Now that we are all caught up, here is what I have been doing in regards to my private student loans....

Back in September I received the news that Sallie Mae was taking applications for their consolidation program. I jumped to the phone immediately. After finally getting through to an operator whose accent I could understand, my application process began. I told the man my annual income, how long I had been living in my townhouse, how much I paid for rent, and all of my basic information. He then pulled my credit score which told him how much I owed on my car, credit card and student loans. He commended me on a good credit score, but told me that my debt-to-income ratio was rather high. Thank you, Captain Obvious. He asked for me to be placed on hold while 'they' entered all of my information into their consolidation formula. He later came back on the line to tell me that I was denied and he could not approve my loans for consolidation due to my insufficient annual income.

After Sallie Mae's consolidation attempt failed, I went on to apply for consolidation through Chase and Wells Fargo. Both came back denied due to my debt-to-income ratio.

This is the point in your student loan journey that you begin to feel truly lost. You know there are others out there like you, but you feel as if you are the only one. It is so hard not to be a complete mental disaster and feel pure bitterness in your heart towards the world. I understand that you have to pay for your education and that there are other ways to go about it rather than taking out private loans, but who would have ever thought the repayment system would be this unjust?

Even being a 23 year old, I know I am up a creek. I am aware of the amount I owe as well as the amount that my monthly payments will skyrocket to. Yesterday, after talking with some friends who are somewhat in the same position as I am, I began to dwell on my debt well into the night. It was absolutely all I could think about. For once, food, television, nor the radio helped calm my brain. I felt severe guilt and intense regret about having private student loans. The only word I think can describe the mood that night is, anxious. Even though I am aware of what it means, I looked up the actual definition in order to get some descriptive words relating to it. Oh, and the word that is in bold, underlined, and has '*' on both sides of it, would be the word that I feel sums up my entire relationship with the definition. Here it goes:
Anxiety: Distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune. The root meaning of the word anxiety is to 'trouble'; in either the absence or presence of psychological stress, anxiety can create feelings of fear, worry, uneasiness and dread. Anxiety is a generalized mood condition that can often occur without an identifiable triggering stimulus. As such, it is distinguished from fear, which is an emotional response to a perceived threat. Additionally, fear is related to the specific behaviors of escape and avoidance, whereas anxiety is related to situations perceived as *uncontrollable* or unavoidable. Anxiety is considered a normal reaction to stress. 

I assure you I am not some fearful girl cooped up in her room on a bunch of different medications from all of the stress of everyday living. I am quite the opposite. I take zero medication, I am social,  I have a lot of great friends, I stay active and I love living life. I just for once know now how anxiety feels and I know my private student loan debt is what opens the flood gates to the uncontrollable thoughts that zap in and out like lightening. It really puts a whole new meaning to the phrase brain storming. Ha, sorry, I'm aware that was cheesy.

In conclusion, private loan repayment sucks. Hopefully what you have gathered from this blog entry (If you have even read this far-sorry so long) is that I am merely seeking direction on what I can do now, while I am young, in order to prevent a nightmarish adulthood.