If you are looking for student loans, find Federal money – your best resource is to talk to your financial aid office. Stay away from private loans, which usually come with variable interest rates that seem low at first glance but can skyrocket over the loan's lifetime. Federal loans are safer; you can talk to them and extend your payment, ask for a refinance, or negotiate better terms. In the private sector, that is next to impossible.
Here are three student loan horror stories taken from the Consumer Protection Credit Bureau.
$100,000 in debt and out of a job
This student loan horror story belongs to a guy who applied to a well-known vocational college for a specific degree program. After getting financial aid for the school, he was told he had to take certain classes in order to qualify for theirs. Then he had to borrow more money to take those classes. “It's now 8 months since loans have run out and I couldn't complete my degree and I'm still looking for work.” The Lesson? Know what you are getting, what the school covers, if the loan is repayable before you finish school, and what your pre-requisites are.
$350+ per month on her loans for 14 years to no avail.
The student loan office at one University led her to believe that she had to consolidate and Sallie Mae was the only option offered to her. She paid them over $61,000 over 14 years. According to Sallie Mae she still owes $25,000. The lesson here? Keep track and know what you are paying off – from the beginning. This amounts to $86,000 so far; let’s home her income justifies the loan. Click here for many more articles.
Stuck – indefinitely.
Here’s another horror story: “I am a victim of a for-profit school that definitely seemed in cohorts with Sallie Mae. My original loan was $80,000 but has grown to $135,000 and all I can pay is interest only, which is already $700 a month. It looks like I will be stuck living in a low-rate apartment for the rest of my life and drive a 15-year-old car. I'm at least glad I found a really good job in the industry I was hoping for, but these loans are a real burden. Just thinking about them hurts my overall outcome each and every day.” Lesson: Private funding is a risk. Take that risk only if you can be assured you can make enough money to cover the loan payment every month.
These horror stories were taken directly from the Consumer Protection Bureau’s site. Not knowing the specifics, one would wonder what each of these individuals with approximately $100,000 in student loans, was planning to do to earn the kind of money to be able to afford the minimum payment. Lesson: Calculate what your income is going to be once you actually get a job, calculate what your payments will be, and determine if you can, in fact, ever afford to get out of debt.