by Ms. Bobbie
(Winter Park, FL, USA)

I took out a Student Loan 27 years ago to complete some classes and to renew my State Teaching Certificate. I only borrowed $3,000 for the Tuition and Fees at the Graduate School. I did very well in the classes but I did not handle my business well and as a result 2 consequences occurred.

(1) - The classes and grades were sent out to cover my certification. But I was never allowed to send for my transcripts that...I was unable to repay the loan of $3,000 as scheduled.

(2) - This highly affected my future career as those 15 graduate credits never were verified by my Graduate University because of my debt.

Later, as my finances became better, I set up a payment schedule with the Department of Education. Then, subsequent to my separation from my husband and as a single parent of 2 small children, money became very, very tight.

I continued to teach Mathematics at the high school and I enjoyed every minute of it; but, each month I failed to realize that the missed payments would come back to “haunt me.”

Then, I noticed a pattern. It became apparent to me that each time I called the Loan Holder and made a few payments I would later get a NEW CONTRACT with a NEW LOAN HOLDER ( In other words, my Loan was sold to another company!). I would get a NEW CONTRACT in the mail from a NEW Loan Holder who had purchase my Student Loan.

To the best of my knowledge—I recall my Student Loan of $3,000 was sold over 15 times and when I finally realized why my payments did not appear to matter—at all. The total Balance of the Student Loan was constantly going up. I decided, immediately, to recheck the paperwork that I had stored from the various companies. I discovered a very, sad business process was taking place. (Each time my Student Loan Principal was sold, the new company added the old interest and fees to the principal, and the total became the NEW PRINCIPAL!!


My OLD BALANCE, including principal, interest and fees was $3,444. And the fees and interest were $301. The new company then used this total as the principal of my load and continued to add more fees and interest each month. Thus...$3,444 became $3,745 due under the new company!!!

I struggled to repay my Student Loan. And, when I couldn't pay I often called and sometimes reset my payment schedule to try to continue any payments. And each year I filed my taxes, my refund was credited to my Student Loan. So, after borrowing $3,000 in1985 to go to graduate school...I now have a balance of over $7,000 ($7000+) still after 27 years!!!

I am now 65+. I have retired from teaching Mathematics and I am presently drawing my Social Security. An amount of 15% is being deducted each month from my Social Security Check. After 27 years, my loan balance is still over 200% of the original.

My Advice To Other Students...

(1) Please try NOT to take out a Student Loan unless you truly believe you will be able to repay it within a few years of leaving School. Make this form of financial LAST RESORT!!

(2) Search for Scholarships and Grants which DO NOT have to be REPAID!

(3) If you MUST take out a student Loan....Please search for career locations which offer some reimbursement for your services.

(4) If you have taken a Student Loan, try to pay off the entire amount within the first 3 years of your career.


FIND A WAY TO REPAY THE STUDENT LOAN...AFTER 5 YEARS even if you have to take out a Private Loan from your Bank, etc. !!!


Try to avoid taking a Student Loan!

Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Ms. Bobbie very much for sharing your student loan experience with other students. Yes, this sounds like a horrible nightmare for you. Loans can be very difficult to pay back. Before taking out a loan, consider all other options and read the fine print. Federal loans generally offer lower interest rates and better terms. There are also some programs for student loan forgiveness for teachers and recent federal rules to consolidate your student loans , with any balance forgiven after 25 years.

Forever Investments

(by Julie, Iowa)

It keeps going, and going, and going… This theme comes to mind when I think about the debt I have accrued in my quest for educational advancement. Since 1996, I have earned a BA in elementary education, an MA in educational technology, and an MA in k-12 school counseling; including additional endorsements to become a middle school generalist and to teach high school Spanish. Needless to say, these experiences have helped to shape me into the school counselor I am today, but also have created a large amount of educational debt.

As part of my exit requirements for my undergraduate degree I had to attend the student loan repayment meeting that everyone else attended. I remember sitting in the meeting scared out my wits as I looked at the debt that I accrued and wondering how I would repay this debt. It was at that meeting that I also learned of “loan percentage rates”. As if I wasn’t frustrated enough, now I find out that I would be repaying thousands of dollars I never even spent. The advice of the counselor that day was to pay a little more than the monthly payment to help knock the cost off of the back end of the loan. That was the best financial advice I have ever received.

In all, my education has a personal price tag of $100,000. Due to the rising loan percentage rates, it seemed like my student loan kept getting bigger and my payments would never end. And then about 5 years ago, I made it my number one goal to pay this amount off as soon as possible, especially since my loans have been purchased by the government and have a 6.8% rate on them. I took the advice I received on that spring day in 2000 and have put it into practice. Now that I am just around the corner from making my last loan payment, the amount that has kept going and going each month OUT of my paycheck will soon be mine.

As a school counselor, I feel it is my duty to explain my student loan experience and assist students in the borrowing process, just as the college loan counselor did for me. Loans are definitely different now than they were when I took out my first loan in 1996, but money conservation practices are much the same. I am fortunate to get to tell my story from a financially successful point of view. The process was long and I had to make many financial sacrifices along the way, however I would do it again all the same. As my grandma always told me, “You can never put a price tag on education. It is something that will stay with you forever.” It is my hope that this mentality keeps going, and going, and going…

Read more tips on Student Loan Repayment from other students and parents who have been through the student loan process.

Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Julie for sharing your experience with student loan repayment and those forever investments in your future with education. Be sure to let your students know about our Scholarships for College so they don’t need as much loan money! Best of luck to you.

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