Nicole JacksonA Miami, Fla.-based attorney is stiffing Sallie Mae and Direct Loans. Nicole Jackson, 44, has been reimbursing a $186,000 student loan bill for more than 20 years. Even when her student loan payments were higher than her monthly mortgage payments, she didn’t see a decrease in her balance. So instead of spending the remainder of her life sending payments to loan companies, Jackson has given up on reimbursing them and focus on saving for her three teenage daughters’ college educations.

“The way I see it, I’m already screwed,” Jackson told Business Insider. “I’d rather make sure my kids are OK. Unless I start making significantly more money [my situation] is not gonna change.”

Jackson accrued her massive loan bill while pursuing her law degree at the University of Miami.

Business Insider reports:

At the beginning of her story, Jackson, a native New Yorker, was one of the lucky ones. Her father, a doctor, paid for a year of her undergraduate studies, leaving her free to dodge student loans for a while. And with a well-paying job at a Manhattan law firm, she had more than enough funds to finance the rest of her undergraduate studies.

But when Jackson decided to pursue her dream of becoming an attorney at the University of Miami, it became impossible to avoid taking on debt.

“My intention was to go back to work after my first year of law school,” she said. “[But] I did so poorly that I didn’t think I could [keep a job at the same time]. So that’s when I started borrowing money.”

It was a costly decision. Jackson took out about $26,000 in federal loans for each year of law school and then another $20,000 in private loans to keep afloat while she studied for the bar exam.

She graduated in 1994 with more than $100,000 of debt. Within three years, she had one daughter, a surprise set of twins, and was earning less than $50,000 per year.

“It’s always been a struggle,” she said. “I worked for the state of Florida most of my [career] and the most I was making was $50,000/year. With three kids, it wasn’t enough money.”

Jackson began reimbursing her private loans, but found she couldn’t afford it with her growing family.

The payments were only $130/month, but since private lenders don’t offer the same deferment options as federal, it was either pay or roll out the welcome mat for debt collectors.

Meanwhile, her federal loans ballooned. With an 8% interest rate, they appreciated even after she consolidated, growing from a principal balance of about $80,000 in 1994 to $186,000 today. Other than her home and a car payment, it’s the only debt she carries to this day.

Eventually, her debt drove her back to New York, where she moved her family and took a lucrative job at a Manhattan law firm. She was finally able to start making federal loan payments, but the move took a toll on her family life.

“I was making six figures, working 13/14 hour days, and my kids were sad because I wasn’t around,” she said. “I wanted the money but I didn’t want my kids to be miserable. They were babies.”

After two years, they packed up and headed back to Miami, where Jackson continued plugging away on whatever legal cases came her way. Exhausted with state work, she started her own firm in 2008 with the hope that she’d earn more and could finally begin chipping away at her loans.

Last year, she was able to enroll in an income-based repayment plan for her federal loan, a perk that private lenders don’t offer. Her monthly payments were reduced to $74, though the prospect of paying $74/month on a $186,000 debt hasn’t exactly made the burden seem any lighter.

Jackson’s tale is familiar for many students. The United States is struggling with a $1 trillion student loan balance. Jackson hopes her daughters don’t fall into the same trap she did.

Jackson has established a college-savings plan for all three children. Her eldest daughter will start college in 2015.

“I’ve stressed to my daughter the importance of not borrowing any money. If she doesn’t get a scholarship or there’s money that needs to be found somewhere, I’ll borrow it myself and I’ll deal with it before I let her,” she said. “I don’t want my kids going into life with this over their heads.”

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays

    Where’s her partner/the father of her children?

    I’m not going to knock her decision not to pay her loans back, she’s a grown woman and can make that decision if she wants to. That being said, it would have definitely been easier on her if she had someone else in the household bringing in an income comparable to hers, or providing free childcare for her three kids by staying at home.

    Also, if she just started saving for her kids’ education a couple of years ago, she’s not going to be able to offer them much in terms of support with a 529.

    And for my final student loan soapbox point: I think a lot of people these days are wary of making any big moves with their loans (i.e. paying them off,) because they wonder if the government is going to do a bailout like they did for the big banks. I guess time will tell…

  • ArabellaMichaela

    That is not smart decision making. Jackson should keep paying the $74.00 each month. She’ll obviously never pay it off. Unless it’s a balloon, it doesn’t matter. Why ruin your credit rating. Also, in many states, your paycheck can be levied for delinquent student loans. She’s obviously already made some questionable choices (like even writing this article if she’s using her real name, and where’s the husband?). She should rethink this one.

  • Ask_ME

    I don’t have any sympathy for this woman. If she thinks she can “escape” student loan payments she is sadly mistaken.

    She can kiss her income tax check GOOD-BYE. Her credit is on its way to hell. She probably won’t be able to borrow to pay for her children’s education either (I doubt she will save enough money to pay for their education). The government is going to get its money one way or the other.

    She should not have borrowed a private loan to support herself. She should not have had children she clearly could not have afforded. She should not have given up the six figure job in NY for one in public service. She should not have gone to law school if she wanted to bust out this many kids (and apparently raise them on her own…where is their father). She has made a series of BAD choices.

  • Miakoda

    She must really love her kids if she would take on even more debt for them.

  • Marisa

    By outright refusing to pay I hope she doesn’t enjoy having good credit, or getting her income tax checks every year, because they could garnish those. Also private loans are a bad idea I got two loans but, they weren’t private which means the interest rates stay the same. I hope that debt is not passed to her kids or her and partner, good luck because the little people never get bailed out but, these billion dollar corporations have their debts rescued all the damn time.

  • angel

    i have hella student loans. it sucks but i pay them. i have to work long hours and there are times when i don’t see my kids as much as i would like but i pay my bills. it was my decision to go to school and it is my responsibility to pay them back with the terms i negotiated with my lender. i have credit card debt. some from unavoidable emergencies, some of it from things that i wanted but didn’t need. i am not a frivilous spender, but i have debt. its my debt. if i want to wax poetic about big business this and corporate america that, it is a waste of time and in my opinion, faulty logic if i am doing so to justify willingly defaulting on my debt.
    i’m sorry but i think it is irresponsible to just say f*&% it. what kind of example is that giving to her daughters? if they decide to accrue debt (be it from education, mortgage, credit card etc) and decide they want to change their life circumstances and not pay for the debt the accumulated (whatever reason) then the cycle starts all over.
    its one thing to try and negotiate a payment plan or just simply being so broke you don’t have nothing. but to just be like, oh, i’m not going to pay that irritates me, i’m sorry.
    we have to learn responsibility, accountability and integrity. i think she is wrong.

  • sixfoota

    I’m worried about how this will effect her in the future.

    I came to the conclusion a long time ago that my student loans are just gonna be a lifelong debt I will have, along with my mortgage. If I can pay it off by the time I retire, I would be blessed but I’m not holding my breath. I don’t have a car note & don’t ever plan on getting one so that really only leaves my mortgage & student loans, as far as debt. That’s more than enough for me. I learned that financing can be a bad, bad thing when abused. Took me getting bad credit in college to learn but I def did.

    On another note – kind of unrelated – but she’s making $50,000 as an attorney in South Florida? I heard the job market in South Florida has turned to crap (I’m from there) but this is ridiculous. I mean, she’s a professional with a terminal degree! She’s in $200,000 worth of a debt for a career that earns her $50,000 a year. Unbelievable.

  • http://gravatar.com/hsm36 Whatever

    I pay the lowest amount possible and make sure I’m always in good standing. I refuse to make large payments because I’d rather put that money in my savings account.

    I would suggest everyone do the same until you find a job with a salary high enough to allow you to save in abundance and make higher student loan payments.. Keep your credit score as high as possible and save and invest wisely. That debt will be around for years to come. Don’t let it hold you back. Save so you can attain home ownership.

  • Me27

    Purposely defaulting on student loans is a bad idea. Your credit will go to hell, your pay checks will be garnished, and any income tax refund you are expecting will automatically be re-routed to the federal student loan lender.

    Not to mention, she could possible ruin her children’s chances of receiving Title IV aid in the future, because you have to be in good standing on your student loan debt to receive any type of student aid funding (including Pell Grants, Perkins Loans, TEACH Grants, or Direct Loans). In this case, it is better to continue paying the minimum, than to not pay anything at all. If she can put her loan in forbearance, that would help to maintain her good standing; of course interest will keep accruing, but at least the loans won’t be in default.

  • Kacey

    “Where’s her partner/the father of her children?”

    I’m glad someone said it.

  • Rose

    Hopefully no one thumbs down your comment bc you’re speaking truth. Why have the kids when you clearly have no resources? Where’s the father? I mean, where’s the accountability? Education is important, yes. But not at the expense of being someone’s slave. After undergrad, I’m definitely working to get these loans down. Whatever programs it takes PeaceCorp, Teach for America, Americorps; get in some of these loan forgiveness programs.

  • M

    I think what bothers me most about this story is that she’s a lawyer. This doesn’t seem like something that’s well thought out or has any legal basis. It sounds like a whim. But her being a lawyer she should know this is a bad idea.

  • http:tontonmichel.tumblr.com Tonton Michel

    Piss poor decision making from begining to end. You took the deal live with it, nobody is forgiving student loan debt just because you decide you don’t want to pay it anymore. And yeah where is her kids daddy? Why is that conviently left out of this narrative?

  • Mademoiselle

    I’m going to say something very unpopular: $50,000 in Miami goes a long way even with children. Her problem is she wants to give them a middle class life on a working poor budget. Loads of families in the Miami area live on $30,000 and could do wonders with an extra $20K. The fact that she could choose to give up a six-figure job to move back to a locale that pays nowhere near what NY pays at all career levels makes me feel like she’s just another whiner. And I bet her justification falls in the realm of “why should I have to sacrifice my children’s lifestyle because of my debt”. Poverty doesn’t give a crap about your career dreams or education. When you’re in it, you cut back to bare minimum: kids share one room, home becomes the drabby yet still safe part of town, kids go to public school and are taught college depends on how many scholarships and grants they can earn with their grades, and mom pays her debt off so she doesn’t become her kid’s burden when they leave home. I won’t be shedding a tear for this woman and her entitlement woes.

  • Jasz

    You know what? I find it really sad that people in the comments are judging her so harshly. That is HER decision. She can do that. Do I think it’s wise? No. Do I judge her for it? Yes, because we all judge but as a person who has a student loan debt I can definitely understand. It’s a very precarious situation to be in, especially if you have children that need to be taken care of. And please stop with the comments of “Where is their father?” As if everybody in these comments have a Huxtable type of family. She had children because she wanted to have children. How dare you question that?!! Take a stadium full of seats and stop acting holier than thou. You may not be drowning in debt, but you’re obvious drowning in your own delusions of superiority

  • http:tontonmichel.tumblr.com Tonton Michel

    Gtfoh this woman made her bed and she needs to lay in it. The fact that her story is being told is an obvious attempt to draw sympathy and rally people to her cause as if shirking your responsibility is something to be proud of an apparently taught to her kids. She doesn’t want to be judge stay the hell out the media spot light.

  • http://gravatar.com/qlittlestar13 The Mighty Quinn

    I just don’t understand why while making six figures which I am sure included a hefty bonus, she did not knock this thing out. Frigging commute to work to get cheap rent, most firms pay for a limo home anyway when working late. And private U of Miami? Really? She is setting a bad, bad example for her children and like someone else, to top it all off, she is a lawyer.

  • Kaeli

    Taking on debt and choosing not to pay it pack is stealing. This lady is a glorified thief and is setting a poor example for her children. She can choose not to pay it pack but it back but she can’t make it disappear.

  • http://gravatar.com/hsm36 Whatever

    I agree. I didn’t understand why she left NY either. She could have sacrificed for 5 years and worked hard to save and put a dent in that loan. That would have allowed her to save for their education as well. She could have lived in NY making six figures on a $50,000 a year budget. Also, as a NY resident they would be eligible to more scholarships and grants to better city and state schools than in Florida.

  • http://gravatar.com/hsm36 Whatever

    You know, if we’re using that logic, giving out loans to young people to pay for their education in an economy where there aren’t enough jobs for qualified college graduates is entrapment. The whole system is fucked up in the first place because college should not be so expensive…especially when you aren’t guaranteed a job/career once you earn your degree. I don’t agree with her decision, but like someone else said, I understand her decision.

    What makes her situation unique is that she DID have that six figure job law school students dream about. Making $50k and living in that terrible Florida economy was her choice.

  • Ooh La La

    I’m glad these discussions of the reality of student loan debt are taking place. I’ve heard people say things like “student loan debt is the best kind of debt to have” and “it’s investing in your future so don’t worry about it.” I think those attitudes toward financing an education are dangerous. There’s no such thing as good debt. Maybe it’s not so bad when you borrow only enough so that you can afford to make reasonable payments in the future. But the reality is that there are a lot of people whose debt is reaching into the $100,000s. That’s not okay. With the tuition hikes increasing every year, soon only the rich will be able to afford higher education, while we poor (the middle class doesn’t exist anymore), will just be left to suffer in our “caste.”

    I hope something changes and soon, because it’s truly sad.

  • http://twitter.com/KiaJD Nakia (@KiaJD)

    That’s not surprising since she worked for the state. Public interest attorneys make SIGNIFICANTLY less than their corporate counterparts even though they have the same education and maybe went to the same school. It’s extremely difficult for attorneys who do the “good” work of helping the indigent, working for local and state governments, or striking out on their own with rates that are affordable for everyday people. Not all lawyers are out here pulling down six figures and more Although she was able to do so when she moved to NY, that’s a trade off with life because she would’ve had to work very long hours in a stressful corp environment.

    It sucks all around but her making 50K in a state job is not, unfortunately, abnormal.

  • The Comment

    How much did you earn when you got pregnant with the 1st child? Where is the father? Why did you get pregnant again? Where is the father?

    “we have to learn responsibility, accountability and integrity. i think she is wrong”.

    You have a law degree. All the lawyers I know put in 80 hr weeks. Some sleep in the office. Did she plan for this.

    This person has a history of making poor decisions even when given the opportunity to do something great is right in front of her.
    She may have passed the bar put she flunks in common sense.

  • tina

    I’m very glad she let people into this very private part of her life. So many young people are making this same mistake now. Perhaps her story can help someone see the error of their ways before they get in as deeply as she did.

  • tina

    She made a choice to be there to raise her children as appose to working sun up to sun down while they raise themselves. She chose them over the money. Wise decision.

  • tina

    The story is not about her children’s father. Its about her student loan debt. Perhaps they are divorced maybe he is dead maybe he’s at the house maybe they were never married. It doesn’t change the fact that she has 186k in student loans and the principle is increasing faster than she can pay it down.

  • http://twitter.com/skinnydcwriter Teronda (@skinnydcwriter)

    I’m sure she once had every intention of repaying her student loan debt. But the cost of living in Manhattan isn’t exactly cheap so because she earned six figures is irrelevant. And she definitely can’t repay earning $50K in Florida. I’m still in support of student loans because no one should be denied higher education because of money issues (and sometimes part-time employment while in school can be more detrimental than beneficial) but higher education needs to be affordable and accessible.

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    $130…. man I wish my bill was $130 a month! I can see if she was struggling and the bill was in the upper $200s or $300 something but $130 is manageable even if you have a family. Hell most people waste $100+ a month on unnecessary expensive. I honestly can’t say I feel sorry for her and her decision making is questionable because guess what if she dies today or tomorrow whatever assets she has is going to be acquired to pay her debt so she isn’t going to be able to leave her daughters anything essentially or continue to build and acquire for her children. And now that one of her bills is $74 dollars it is best that she pay it down or off by paying a bit extra on the bill than not at all. Essentially you can become student loan free it isn’t an easy road and requires sacrifices but if you were willing to sacrifice this debt for your education and to increase your prospects of living then you can sacrifice and pay it off. I’ am not trying to be mean but she was sort of ahead of the game when she had no undergraduate debt but made herself get behind.

  • justanotheropinion

    Oooo – this is a sore spot for me. THIS, this – this is the kind of ‘ish that makes me want to go the hell off. First of all, she categorizes this as ‘reimbursing’ her student loan! You ain’t reimbursing shi*. You took out the loan. You owe the money. YOU ARE A DEBTOR. Period.

    So you take out a bunch of loans (some warranted – but many NOT), you ditch a higher paying job in NYC cuz you couldn’t spend enough time with your kids (side note: cry me a river…I wish I could have spent more time with my kids when they were younger but I was TOO BUSY BUSTING MY AS* bringing in money so our lives would be better), so what, it’s temporary and it’s called sacrifice and paying dues. Then you move BACK to an area with low earnings, and figure since your $74/mo payments will have you paying forever, you bail?? F you and the horse your rode in on!

    She could have made better decisions i.e. delaying children, working while going to school LONGER in order to get the degree, SUCKING IT UP IN NYC for a few years to make a dent in her loans, relocating to a place that provided more of an income, NOT WHINING BASED ON BAD DECISIONS, etc.

    I wish to God, that ppl like this could have their degree yanked and their professional affiliations made null & void when they bail on their loan repayment. People like this give a bad rap to everyone else busting their hump to make their monthly payments while they are working jacked up jobs and trying to build a life while living a life that’s LESS than they desire so they can live up to their obligations. It ain’t easy. But they do it every.freaking.day. Her attitude is a spit in the face of those doing right. I wish ‘shame’ was even in her vocabulary.

    I’m sick as hell that my tax dollars go to subsidize loans for losers like this. You borrow the money, you OWE IT. You can’t walk away from this – personally, I hope this haunts her for the rest of her life, but I doubt it based on her stance. Stop looking, hoping and asking for a bail out. No one held a gun to her head. Didn’t read the fine print, tough. Didn’t know what she was getting in to, tough. Made bad decisions, tough. Join the REAL world – pay what you fricking owe!

    I know this is rough, but I’ve had it with free-loaders & ppl. not accepting responsibility for their decisions/choices. No one owes you anything. College prices are sky-fricking-high and one can easily argue their actual worth! I will have 2 in college in the Fall and I fully understand the costs, risks and debt to earning ratio. I worry every day how this will get paid for. There were schools & programs that weren’t an option due to costs. Believe me, I.GET.IT. However, WORK WITHIN YOUR MEANS. If it takes you more than 4 years or you have to go to school at night while you work a full time gig – so be it, you will still have a degree in the end and be less in debt. But don’t you dare take out loans that you KNOW YOU can’t afford while you roll the dice that you’ll land a big paying job that will allow you to easily pay them back, and then when those plans fall thru, bail on your obligations. How dare you.

    Getting off my soap box now…..I wish the best for her daughters – they will need it considering the role model they are working with based on this article.

  • LeonieUK

    *Helps brush your shoulders as you take a step*
    I too can not overstand what the hell this woman is talking about. You got debts pay it, you wanted children deal with it, no issues no crying just deal with. Maybe her lifestyle choices need to be re-evulated, and she needs to find a good financial advisor. Maybe we can just add the cost to her childrens college fund and see where that goes.

  • TJ

    This comment is beyond offensive. You clearly do not have children. You clearly do not know what it is like to

    Financial literacy and student loan debts in working class communities is not common.

    This is more about the idea that we sale the American dream to low income communities when what really need to talk to them about is generational wealth, privilege and how underserved communities were able to support the production of wealthy communities for generations. And though student loans have opened the door to underserved children who could not attend college to do so, the amount of money actually needed for college exceeds the amount of money these students will actually ever make in their lifetime.

    It’s like predatory lending.

  • http://www.lillian-mae.com Lillian Mae

    I was under the impression that after 20 years of consistently repaying loans, they were forgiven. Can anyone confirm this?

  • http://www.lillian-mae.com Lillian Mae

    If her loans go into default, she won’t have the credit to take on debt on behalf of her children. She will not get approved!

  • http://www.lillian-mae.com Lillian Mae

    Exactly! Between Sallie Mae and my gov’t loans, I’m paying almost $400 a month, making minimum payments!

  • http://www.lillian-mae.com Lillian Mae

    I was completely confused each time she mentioned she was reimbursing her loans…WTF?

    The term she’s looking for is repaying!

  • Desi

    Bus she can AFFORD to pay back her loans where as some of us struggle. While “justanotheropinion” stated some true but harse facts it is reality and yes school loans are predatory lending. I am a single mother of a child with a disability. I know what its like and I struggle to pay my loans back. Ms. Jackson was careless in her decisons but she does have a spouse to help her out. I understand not spending time with your children and the guilt that follows but I have a responsibility. I do not agree with Ms. Jacksons approach to student loans.

  • Hold Up

    This strategy only works if you’re just dealing with federal loans with low interest rates. For those of you with private loans (like myself) DO NOT PAY THE LOWEST AMOUNT POSSIBLE. Any financial expert will tell you that you must treat your private loans like credit cards. In other words, pay that ish off and fast! Don’t sacrifice food over it, and yes you should still save, but after your rent your main priority should be chopping down any private loans that you may have.

    Federal loans, take your sweet time. Do that ish with private loans- you will regret it.

  • Job

    Her father was a doctor and she finished undergrad before she foolishly chose to take on insane debt. That’s her fault. She should have counted the cost before had. Bad decision making.

  • World’s Smallest Violin

    My MINIMUM payment between Sallie Mae and fed loans is $800!!! Finally got a good paying job (which had nothing to do with the education I received) and I don’t even get to enjoy the money. Sigh. One day.

  • stef

    both of you get a thumbs down, this is just an extreme story of the American debt trap, this is the only industrialized country in the world where young people leave higher education with huge debts. This is especially true for black women in this country especially ones with advanced degrees which are far from cheap.

    what you should be outraged about and get on the soapbox about is that the cost of college had risen faster than ANYTHING in this country, that the amount of scholarships and grants has decreased while the amount loaned especially by banks that were bailed out for irresponsibility has risen, that this wave of online schools are stealing money from hundred of thousands of young people. This is the real outrage, not the fact the she has decided to say F the loans she have now.

  • http://gravatar.com/qlittlestar13 The Mighty Quinn

    The cost of living in Manhattan is not cheap at,all, unless you are living in upper Manhattan. It is OK for you to want to live on Park Avenue but ridiculous when you have 100K worth of student loans.

    There are 4 other boroughs she could have lived in with good schools that would have cut her living expenses drastically.

  • kimkam

    Sorry I meant to thumbs you up! I thought that was the case too!

  • http://gravatar.com/rastaman1967 rastaman

    A very thought provoking cautionary tale. Whenever I encounter someone who is considering taking on student loans in order to continue their education, I always advice them to be judicious in their planning. If borrowing is primarily how you plan to finance your tertiary education you may want to scale back on the college ambition. My nephew encountered that in attending an HBCU and due to his parents poor planning myself and other family members had to contribute, he was lucky he had us but he also made a personal decision to enroll in ROTC and got the US military to underwrite his college education. Not an easy choice for a young man to make when the country is involved in wars and deploying soldiers overseas all the time. He has completed his degree and his headed to grad school but he also owes the military 8 years of reserve service. Education the best vehicle for social and economic mobility is being taken from the people who need it most.
    I would advice prospective students to re-think the plan: scholarships, grants, community college for that AA degree and then transfer to a 4yr college, work part-time, in-state or commuter schools and or online courses. Going out of state to 4yr college with dorm living has unfortunately become a luxury in our society. Many high school students have dreams of that period in their life but in today’s world it is an expensive dream, one that could literally require a lifetime to pay off and that is if you are lucky enough to finish in 4 years.

    I sympathize with Nicole Jackson because it could not have been easy to open herself and her family up to the public scrutiny like that. 1+trillion $ student loan debt is no joke. I am lucky I left school before there was an explosion in college cost and also attended state schools; I thought having to work fulltime and attend classes was difficult but it definitely pales in comparison to repaying an education debt nearly 20 years after graduating.

    There is no good reason a college education should be so expensive, for most it’s just too long and too many credits are required. I understand the thinking from the educators for a comprehensive curriculum but with the spiraling of a cost college education we as a society need to re-think this current model.

  • dbsm

    I thought so, too. But I believe it is a program and you have to sign up for it…according to what I remember my friend telling me about her own husband….

  • dbsm.

    @tina. I agree. You don’t get those years with your children back. What I have observed with white women is that they go through their education and high-paying jobs and leave their kids to fend for themselves, only to later on have these fcuked up ass young adults. i’ve seen black women do it, too, but on a lesser scale. parental sacrifice is worthy and very hard to understand if you do not have a child.

  • Rose

    @stef

    Everyone understands all of that. However, with me understand the loan education crisis. I’ll tell what I WON’T do. I WON’T get pregnant by a man while carrying loads of debt (I can understand 20k, but 184k and you got kids!!!), continuing to be a slave. Especially, if he can’t help ease the burden. I WON’T go to grad school unless I get a fellowship/grant or go to a school abroad where tuition is way less.

    Like I GET it! I do, I’m finishing undergrad myself. But until the situation changes with these student loans. It’s okay to be smart about how I navigate my life until then.

    “A surprise set of twins” LOL, like really?! Again, where is the dad, is he gonna pay for college? smh

  • dbsm

    “sacrificed for 5 years”

    that she would NEVER get back. you know how critical certain years are with your children?

    “Also, as a NY resident they would be eligible to more scholarships and grants to better city and state schools than in Florida.”

    i don’t know if the state schools, over all, in NY are better than they are in FL (i would beg to differ based on my personal experience). However, her kids would have plenty opportunities for scholarships and grants in FL.

    look, people. she probably had a vision, made some plans, revised her plans, and revised her vision based on circumstances. its called living life.

    if there was a perfect plan for life, then wouldn’t we all be on it?

  • dbsm

    this is solid, strategic advice.

  • Rose

    Thanks, I’ll keep this in mind! What sucks is the friggin interest raes, hopefully legislation will lower them or at least keep them the same.

  • dbsm

    stef, i suppose it is easier to get mad a the individual instead of the “system.” people expect people to change, but it takes a revolution of courageous people to change a system. how many courageous people have you seen these days?

  • Know Better Do Better

    Ah yes, a perfect example of the black feminist lie. Wait….. don’t worry about marriage…… You can have it all…. family, career and great life without a man. Then marry later or not at all. The truth is these middle age black women (even those with a degree) are now living check to check barely able to pay their bills or broke with no man options. Who’s fault is that?

  • dee

    I sympathize with the author. We are all given a deck of cards and how we play each had can impact the rest of our lives. what makes me angry is that I did all of the right things. I went to school, got good grades, worked hard, stayed out of trouble and was focused on starting a career. When I decided to go to college I was always told, by financial advisors (including Susie Orman of all people) that “student loans are good debt” and unfortunately I believed it. I have student loans which will possibly never be paid off. With student loans your payments are based on gross income despite what you actually bring home and despite any tax obligations you have. So if I make $2300 (gross) every other week but I only bring home $1100, I still have to pay rent, my student loan ($700), utilities, transportation (public) and food. Try finding an apartment in NYC for less than $1,000/M. I know people who are working in fortune 500 companies but sleeping in a converted minivan because they cant afford rent. As a result of my debt I have chosen not to start a family or purchase a home, my credit is a hot mess, and because I work two jobs and a side hustle I am in the highest tax bracket and have to pay additional taxes every year. So the more I make the less I bring home. Basically I work every hour of every day and I will never see a light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t take vacations, my mother will never hear the words “grandma” and I dont have the time or energy to contribute or be an active part of my community. I take antidepressant daily and I am terrified to think about what will happen when I am no longer physically able to work and I am forced to retire because homelessness affect any and everyone no matter your age, gender or education level. I don’t blame anyone but myself and I am not asking for anyone’s sympathy but something’s gotta give becasue living with student loans is like serving a life sentence every day with no hope and trust me that is a horrible way to live and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. You know that this is what your life is so I just plug along everyday to make a student loan payment which is only a drop in the bucket. So I say all of that to say that many people make mistakes with the best of intentions. Foreclosed homeowners did it and people who use credit cards and struggle with payments do it only those of us who chose to get educations and training will suffer till the day our loans are paid off or until we die, and God forbid you have a balance because your heirs will be responsible to make your payments.

  • Me27

    What does not having a man have to do with this?

  • emme

    It’s interesting when people judge but don’t realize that they are also indirectly affected by student loans. How do you think your doctors and attorneys got through school? Ever wonder why your medical bills or legal fees are so high? Who do you think are teaching your kids in these underserved comunities? We are. One option of having 10% of their loans forgiven for 5 years of teaching in an underserved “at risk” community where they cant otherwise hire anyone. Not to mention that for those 5 years you are still responsible for making your monthly payment…how much do teachers make again? Why do you think people are not buying homes? Bad credit from student loans. Why do you think studies are showing that fewer people are starting families? Because we can’t afford it. Why do you think small businesses are dwindleing (the same businesses that start in our communities)? Student loan debt. Personally I can’t afford to do anything but work everyday. Volunteering, out of the question, Charitable outlets, out of the question. Judge if you wish but as the years roll on people will see the greater impact student loan debt will create.

  • Mademoiselle

    @justanotheropinion
    Your comment put a smile on my face. Agree, agree, agree!

  • Mademoiselle

    “you know how critical certain years are with your children?”
    - Do you know how resilient and incredibly forgiving children are?

    No one’s knocking her plans, but she didn’t get where she is for free. She agreed to pay a debt back, and that’s what she needs to do. No sympathy points are coming from anyone because EVERYONE suffers hardship, and hers just isn’t a particular hardship that is standing in the way of meeting her obligations. She’s choosing to be a freeloading thief, and we aren’t all ok with that.

  • dbsm

    @mademoiselle “- Do you know how resilient and incredibly forgiving children are?”

    This is probably about the worst thing you could have stated to me.

    About 7 years ago, when I entered the movement the brings to light violence against women, I learned that nothing could be further from the truth. That children are resilient is a horrible myth. I have worked with enough children of all ages, young adults, and older adults to know that if children were so resilient, then why do we have a lot of fcuked up adults, many of whom are on serious psychotropic meds? Adults who cannot get past the way that their parents treated them…the physical AND emotional absence…a lot of times as a result of the way society is so unkind to parents…to people.

    When you become a parent, whether intentionally or unintentionally, you make a lot of adjustments. There is no book. In fact a book or two were written about decades worth of advice that has been given to mothers, that were essentially rebutted in later years. You live and you learn. However, the time you miss with your children is something that you can never get back. It is irreplaceable. It is worth more than money and sometimes you cannot see this until you are already chasing the path.

  • ImJustSaying

    I’m not. What does the father of her children have to do with her personal student loans?
    She’s a college educated woman who seems to have taken every avenue to improve her financial situation.
    Maybe he’s dead.
    Maybe he’s a jerk that she knew wasn’t going to be helpful so she did the best for her daughters and left him behind.

    She clearly has a supportive family since she moved back home for a while. She’s also pretty damn good at her job since she was working at a successful law firm.

    Even if he was in the picture IT DOESN’T CHANGE THE FACT THAT SHE HAS THESE LOANS! Getting married r having a supportive partner doesn’t make debt collectors stop calling. Those are HER loans and they are looking at her name on those call lists.

    Geez first it’s SINGLE MOMS ARE AWESOME!
    Then a post with single mom shows up and everybody is all WHERE IS THE FATHER?

  • ImJustSaying

    Because no one’s birth control has ever failed.
    All children are from no-sense having fools who should have known better.
    Because you are perfect and have never made a bad decision in your life.
    Because an abortion is the easiest decision to make and no one will judge you for it.

  • ImJustSaying

    This whole thread of people judging this woman for
    1) her number of children
    2) her decision to finish her Law School education through loans
    Makes me sick. This is why nothing will ever change because people will find a factor they don’t like and vilify a person for it. No one commends her on doing the best she could until she just couldn’t anymore.
    I’m sure everyone on this thread has had a perfect life.

  • Mademoiselle

    @dbsm
    Unless this woman was using the limited time she had with her kids to actively abuse them, I don’t see how working the first five years of her kids’ life to pay off her debt so that she could dedicate the remaining10-15 years of their childhood to them would cause any irreversible damage. She dropped a six figure salary so she could be home to complain about her subpar salary more. So while she had twice as much money and could’ve been applying that surplus to her debt so that she’d have peace of mind, a more flexible income, and the ability to work for less so she could focus more time with her kids after 5 years, she opted to saddle their lives with her burdens. They’ll forgive her for that, but not for working long hours to prevent that? I don’t buy it.

  • dbsm

    @mademoiselle ” working the first five years of her kids’ life… ”

    i guess that you do not have any kid(s). the ideal time to work, for most parents, would be in the next set of 5 years. aka, when the kids start school, not in the formative years. but whatever works…

  • Mademoiselle

    Her decision to finish her Law School education through the proceeds of theft is the problem. No one has a problem with anyone taking out loans. You borrow, you pay back. The problem is the announcement that she has effectively stolen money. Whatever she did with that money is irrelevant. If her degree was tangible, it would be dirty.

  • apple

    stupid to have kids you can’t support. without them getting paid that super amount she made in nyc (assuming its 75k-100k) she could have stayed in a studio apartment for 5-7 years and pay off as much as possible.. its better to get these things over with while you have the money to then to wait when you don’t esp when it accrues interest .. anything can happen (accidents, economy, illness)..and her husband?

  • Mademoiselle

    Ideally, she’d pay that money back. Since her loans (just like everyone else’s) didn’t include a maternity leave clause, it’s up to her to arrange her life in such a way that she still meets her obligations. By the sound of it her kids aren’t living an ideal life either way. So instead of “suffering” through 5 short years of sacrifice, she steals money, which has an impact on her kids and every student who attempts to take out loans thereafter. How’s that for ideal? Let’s stop acting like a person’s life goes to crap after 5 years because of working parents. If that were the case an overwhelming majority of adults in this country would be on psychotropic meds right now.

  • apple

    5 years she wont get back? guess what now that she has defaulted ,she will def give up more than 5 years when they come back asking for their money.

  • Me27

    No it’s not forgiven after 20 years of consistently paying. You must pay the entire debt in full.

    There are programs out there that offer debt forgiveness, but you must be enrolled in it and meet whatever requirements are specified within the time frame specified before the debt is forgiven.

    Do your research. There are a lot of myths out there about student loans. It’s sad, but it’s these myths that get a lot of people in financial trouble. Most people walk into student loan debt with their eyes wide shut. We get tricked into believing that we are going into debt for a good reason. But most people don’t use it wisely and that’s mostly because they haven’t been taught to.

  • http://gravatar.com/cocovabarbie KemaVA

    I feel sorry for her as I am in the same situation. Single mother two kids and big student loan. But I cant agree with her decision to not pay. Especially since the bill has been lowered. Just pay the $74/month for the rest of you life.

  • http://gravatar.com/purpl3rain purpl3rain

    I know for some loans (federal) you can have them forgiven if you stay in public sector work for ten years. She should have just stayed where she was, continued to pay what she could, and have them discarded later. A lot of people don’t know about the public sector forgiveness loan option, but once you leave, the year count starts over. I get the impression she didn’t research all of her options….

  • Mademoiselle

    Right. She’s tanking her credit and her kids’ access to financial aid just to save $74 a month. Even if she lives to be 100, she would’ve paid just under $50K off, which means she’s basically been forgiven for over $130K, but that’s not good enough I guess.

  • Mademoiselle

    I find it funny that people keep asking about her husband as if all men are debt free and willing/able to spend their money on other people’s debt. Chances are if she were married, that home would be facing twice as much debt right now with the addition of his student loans (unless everyone’s assuming she’d be married to someone who didn’t go to college). This isn’t a marital issue. It’s a “living within your means” and integrity issue.

  • apple

    yea MANHATTAN, luckily there is brooklyn, queens, harlem and the bronx, as well as jersey city, long island and staten island all accessible by bus, light rail or subway

  • http://twitter.com/scbeauty77 SCBeauty (@scbeauty77)

    I agree having a man does not have crap to do with this thread.

  • noodle

    If you want to suspend loan payments, take 6 credit hours at juco for a semester or two or for a couple of years. If you owe 100,000 in loans..smh, it may be to your benefit, pay $240 that will stop 4 months of payments for as long as your alive, or bite the bullet and pay each month.

  • nessa

    you can’t take law classes at a junior collge

  • Rose

    @Imjustsaying

    “Because no one’s birth control has ever failed.
    All children are from no-sense having fools who should have known better”

    I point you to your nearest black community. Come now, let’s not pretend this isn’t an epidemic in the B.C. You and I both know that the single black mother thing is out of hand. So I guess in majority of single mother cases, birth control failed. OH EXCUSE ME!

    “Because you are perfect and have never made a bad decision in your life.”

    I tell you one thing I haven’t done-have a bunch of kids and can’t take care of them. There are bad decisions and then there’s exposing your children to those bad decisions. Neither of which I’ve done, and even if I did-I would be accountable and not whine about it. I wouldn’t blame a system that’s been in place for years leeching money off of students, especially when I have control over how much I borrow.

    Whatever man, you all keep stroking and supporting bad behavior. All the questions still remain: Why quit the job in N.Y.? Why take on a $50,000? Why have kids? See you all jump up and spew the b.s. but we all know if ANY one of your daughters started making foolish choices, you’d chastise them too. Na, you’d probably stroke them to death. Keep sipping the koolaid, it’s only going to get worse in the B.C.

  • Again, you miss the point

    The difference between the medical field and law field, is that a doctor and a nurse will generally have a job anywhere they go. There’s no overpopulation of doctors and nurses, especially when you’re talking about specialization (neurology in particular and child neurology). The thing is: there’s a return on your investment. After a doctor finishes residency, they start making more money and gaining more experience and can eventually start their own private practice-again, more money.

    With lawyers, depending on where you are, you can be flooded out of the market with competition. Let’s take a look at Cali and N.Y., in NYC there’s an overpopulation of lawyers. Especially, if you just graduated and trying to find a job-good luck. Law is SUPER competitive, especially if one wants to eventually become a judge or work for the government. With medicine, the market isn’t all that competitive especially if a doctor decides to specialize in an unpopular field-you’re talking money money money. Medicine is hard in terms of mcats and getting into a good school, so in that since there’s competition, but the job market…naaaa. I’ve NEVER met an unemployed doctor.

    I say all of this to say, doctors will almost always see a return on their investment (medical school loans). Especially if they specialize or work for the army in which the gov’t pays for everything.

  • noodle

    The point is AFTER you finish school or no longer in school and you cant handle the payments, take 6 credit hours of something and you wont have to pay loan installments for at least 4 months. Exploit that loop hole aka “in school deferment” to ones advantage. You can literally do this for decades. $500+ dollars a month vs. $300 a semester to buy some time. The choice is yours

    if you owe over 100,000 in loans, cant make the monthly payment and are worried about your credit. Then I suggest doing that, it will stop the calls and it will stop monthly payments..

  • emme

    You picked a specific part of my comment but a good one because that’s exactly how loans are sold to all students. What I have learned is that you can’t guarantee anything and the last economic downturn proved that. Debt is debt and sure you can take the bet that once you finish school you are guaranteed a return on your investment but life happens. What if you are injured and cannot work…sorry you still gotta pay. What if (for example) you are still a resident and getting your experience so that you can specialize and you are not making enough to cover your loan…technically you are out of school so you don’t qualify as a full time student so if you can’t defer your loan then sorry you still gotta pay. What if the specialty you are trained in does not pay enough….sorry you still gotta pay. What if you die…sorry your heirs gotta pay. Life happens and that is the part of the dream that your not betting on. I am talking about the average person with dreams of doing good work and becoming contributing citizens. They are sold a dream that says educational debt is good debt and are advised that they are guaranteed a return on investment but then life happens and that dream becomes a nightmare you will never wake up from. The larger discussion I am trying to bring out is that student loan debt is a major issue and is not isolated to a small group. Just like with the foreclosure fiasco there is a student loan debt bubble waiting to explode on a national level and it is a problem that will affect everyone.

  • Ooh La La

    @emme It’s pretty clear that you don’t know much about how healthcare professions work. It practically is as secure as a job can be. When a doctor finishes medical school it’s true that they make relatively very little (enough to not starve and make loan payments) during their residencies, but that only lasts for a few years. After that, they see huge return. The only hindrance being having to pay for malpractice insurance and loans at the same time, but they still make out better than most who choose other professions. But the advantage being that there’s always a job for a doctor. Always. Nurses too.

    I work in healthcare and I know of doctors who only work 10 days a month making $20,000/mo. There’s one who is actually somewhat of a rookie in the field finishing his residency 3 years ago making that kind of money. The senior physicians make even more. There’s one who literally only works 5 days a month in the ER! You don’t even have to specialize honestly. Even general practioners tend to ultimately do well. It’s crazy. Don’t even mention how if you go to work as a military physician or if you choose to work in an “underserved” (i.e. urban/rural area) certain hospitals will pay off your debt for you provided that you commit a certain number of years to them. I don’t know of any such opportunities that exist for lawyers.

    Also, the comment about death/injury doesn’t hold up, because if I’m not mistaken death or disability are the only valid existing loopholes for forgiven debt. Maybe not for private loans, but definitely for federal ones.

    Ultimately, I think the issue is that people are taking on high amounts of debt to enter fields that don’t yield high return to begin with. $100,00 loans toward medical school is MUCH different than $100,000 loans toward an art history degree.

  • Karhai

    @ noodle – That is terrible advice. So basically in order to NOT pay back student loans, a person should stay continuously enrolled in a class for 6 credits hours a semester for THE REST OF THEIR LIFE? I’m sorry – this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

  • Karhai

    I agree. $74 a month isn’t nothing, but it’s a lot lower than what should could be paying for over $100,000. It’s like another cell phone bill.

  • Karhai

    So we should all go to college to be doctors? So that we can pay off our student loans?

    So what about teachers? No one should go into teaching anymore because there is no return on your “investment?”

    How about banks stop making big bucks off our education? Why is my car loan at a lower APR than my student loans? America has its priorities messed up.

  • Karhai

    This was me 5 or 6 years ago. I went to school out of state and amassed $99,000 for my undergrad degree. For my first two years out of school, I was a teacher in a low-income community and received a $10,000 grant to go towards my loans.

    Still, $90,000 was too much for me to pay on a teacher’s salary. My monthly payments were upwards of $900 – my rent was $600 (in North Carolina). So I had to bite the bullet and move home. I’m lucky that my parents had space and heart enough to allow me to live with them.

    I paid my loans off in four years and earned my master’s degree during that time (paid $10,000 for that). I brought home $2400 a month as a teacher and put $2200 a month on my student loans. For four years.

    It sucked but I’m glad it’s over. I had a great college experience but if I could do it over again, I would’ve gone to community college and then transferred to a state school.

  • Karhai

    My thoughts exactly – move to Jersey and commute each day. Lots of people do it everyday and make way less money than a lawyer.

  • emme

    Again, the true discussion is not specifically about doctors and their loans. If you are trying to pursue any type of degree more than likely you are subsidizing your education with a loan, and not everyone who went on to pursue a higher education wanted to become a medical doctor. Students across the board are taking out student loans because they are chasing the dream to a better life for themselves and their families. Isn’t that what we tell our young people everyday “go to college, graduate and you will get a high paying job”? Students go in with an understanding that educational debt is good debt and that they will get a return on that investment. The fact is that many students will graduate with debt they cannot pay. As a result it’s their debt that determines their future not them, and this is the part of the story that we are not making sure people understand before they get into education debt. The point I am trying to make is that this is a national issue, and when we start pointing the finger and judging people for the decisions they made we miss the ability to solve the problem for those students who are now entering these institutions. That’s what the real issue is, not doctors vs lawyers and which degree is better than the other. Student loan debt on a national level is over a trillion dollars and this is going to explode just like the foreclosure market did and whether you took a loan or not the fact is that this problem is going to affect everyone. So before people judge what this woman should or shouldn’t have done the fact is that it’s done and there are a multitude of others out there just like her.

  • justanotheropinion

    TJ – clearly, you didn’t read my post. I do have kids – 2 of them. I sacrificed time with them when they were young in order to get a better handle our financial future. I have 1 finishing his last year of college in the Fall and the other starting her first year in college in the Fall. I completely understand the situation. You make sacrifices to provide & prepare. However, those sacrifices do not include WALKING AWAY from your obligations.

    What’s so offensive about my comment? That I think she should be held accountable? That I think she should pay back the loans she took out? If that’s offensive, then I will continue to be offensive every fricking day of the week. It’s no different than taking out a mortgage. You sign on the line to pay a certain amount each month for a loan of a certain amount. If you stop paying, the bank has every right to take your home. Period. End of statement. I only wish they could take back her degree for bailing on her loan payments. That would be just.

    The issue is that she CAN afford to pay her loans. Albeit, $74 a mo is a joke and she’ll never pay the loans off, but she should consider herself lucky. She just doesn’t want to continue to pay. Many pay more than half their mo. income ea month on their loans and can barely afford to eat. Do they like it – No. But they pay every month. Why should she be any different? She’s getting blasted for WALKING AWAY from her responsibility to pay back these loans because she knows she’ll never pay them in full. Tough shi* – I ain’t hearing it.

  • noodle

    better than defaulting isnt it.

  • Mademoiselle

    It’s still theft, so no it isn’t better than defaulting.

  • dbsm

    you might want to ask new grad nurses about whether there are any jobs for them. when schools starting offering more money, and private for profits started opening on every corner, it flooded the market. this has been going on for at least 6 years. read the real talk on allnurses.com.

  • noodle

    By your logic, going into default is theft, since lenders are not getting their money regardless.

    The choices are:

    1.) Going into default and dealing with comes along with that.

    OR

    2.) Not going into default, buying time and not dealing with the troubles of defaulting, not having your wages garnished and still being able to at least get a decent apartment or what else.

    Again, the point is know all your options, keep morals and feelings off the table, lenders dont care good intentions, why should you.

  • Mademoiselle

    Yes, defaulting on loans IS theft. That’s why banks have legal recourse to pursue what’s owed to them in court. This game of hiding from repaying loans by taking smokescreen classes is also theft if the intent is to never repay money that was lent to you. I care because these thieves are why people who DO repay their debts have to pay interest. The options you’re laying out are steal and face the consequences or steal and run from the law. I say pay back what you owe and leave the tricks to cereal.

  • noodle

    Call it what you want to, no one will ever be convicted because it is not a crime. FEELINGS have nothing to do with whats on the table. If one wants to default, he or she can. If one dose not want to default you can always take more credits.

    But hay, you can always write your congress man about it.

  • Nic

    Yes, I was wondering where the father of these lovely girls was as well. It is valid b/c with a supportive partner she could have kept the job that let her pay this money back OR she could have had someone help her out.
    It doesn’t sound like she had any support here or her kids could have probably tolerated her long hours better.
    There are two lessons in this story even if people get upset about the mention of the second one (not having children with people who aren’t committed to you, won’t be committed to them,and who can’t help take care of them in any way and don’t care that they don’t).
    She’s kind of ignoring the fact that if her credit is bad, she can’t borrow money to help her kids through college. I had friends who had that issue, and it meant some semesters when they were holding their breath that everything would balance out.
    Those surprise twins didn’t magically appear in her womb. Where is their father? Why can’t he help send them to college. No part of her story mentions anything about a husband or father to those kids, and that is a HUGE problem (also, picking partners who can carry their weight and the weight of a family is important).

  • Kara Zor-El

    All the people on this thread criticizing single mothers and asking about where her man/husband is look dumber than usual, because if any of you had bothered to actually click on the “Business Insider” link and read the original source article, instead of just the excerpt here, you would have noticed the second paragraph, second sentence where it says . . .

    “At $1600 per month, her monthly loan payments eclipsed her $1200/month mortgage and she and HER HUSBAND are raising three teenage daughters”

    Evette probably left that fun fact out on purpose just to bait you reactionary twits that have all the time in the world to write volumes and finger point at single mothers, but not enough time to do some extra reading before sliding off your soap boxes.

  • noodle

    That’s a good point, however, the vote bots will thumbs down this little bit of information, im even more surprised that it did not get deleted.

  • http://www.lillian-mae.com Lillian Mae

    Thanks for your response!

    RE: But most people don’t use it wisely and that’s mostly because they haven’t been taught to.

    Honestly, I don’t believe folks have their eyes wide shut! Money isn’t free, and you sign a contract agreeing to pay back the loan, on the bank’s terms. Having been in college, i can attest to the fact that it’s not always the case that the financial aid is only paying for the educational necessities (room, board, food)…It’s about using your resources wisely and not borrowing more than you need, just for the sake of a refund check!

  • Yas

    I should have went to a public college. I regret the choice to this day. There needs to be much more education on this subject, because when you’re young and naive, you have no idea how much hot water those loans will get you into–especially when under employment and unemployment is the norm.
    Pay your debt–you owe it. Try to pay back what you can when you can–even if it’s a small amount, and make consistent monthly payments. Delaying it only increases the bottom line. Luckily, there is a new loan forgiveness program.

  • http://gravatar.com/addassamari addassamari

    YIKES! I guess I should not complain about my current balance. I guess I am fortunate, I had a loan processor who gave me some great advice that have saved me at least $40,000 in student loans, still my current bill is nothing to sneeze at.

    Now if only I could land my dream job…I can have all my loans paid off in five years; if not, it may take a little longer but would never think of stiffing the loan program because that makes it more expensive for the next person who needs money to go to school.

  • http://gravatar.com/addassamari addassamari

    OH, wow! $74 a month. I have former classmates who are paying back upward of $700 a month in student loans for a bachelor degree in education; some are single parents, some are separate household supporters (read divorced paying maintenance, child support, etc), others are married. Still they manage to make it.

    She is an attorney and find making a $74 monthly payments a hardship? And that is the payment based on income? I am an accountant and a financial skeptic and I say there are factors not being reported here. Somebody is not telling the whole story here. True, $74 means she is not even making interest payment and at that rate the loan may well outlive and her kids, but still…she made an agreement and she needs to keep it.

    She does run a real chance of finding her pay, tax refunds/rebates, and non-child support payments garnished; then she really will be in a pickle

  • http://gravatar.com/addassamari addassamari

    This is what a loan processor told a group of first time borrowers, I was one of them. The first thing you need to do is make a budget. Then:

    (1) Avoid private loans, their interest rates are outrageous
    (2) Use only what you need for tuition and books (grant monies first, subsidized loans, then unsubsidized loans, last resort -private loans)
    (3) Start making repayments while in school, this will reduce the principle (get a student worker job; use any extra money to make these payments – skip eating out, fast food adds up)
    (4) Pay down those loans with the highest interest rates and make more than the minimum payment.
    (5) Use your grace period wisely (sock away money to make that first payment)
    (6) When possible re-negotiate payments with your lender (see #3)
    (7) Take advantage of everything you qualify when repaying your loans
    (8) Rent or buy used textbooks where possible and shop back to school sales for supplies
    (9) When you have a job, remember you still have to pay those loans; make a new budget.

    This advice save me one year teaching salary in student loans.

  • ImJustSaying

    @ Rose and any others
    My point is that all who are viewing this woman in a negative light are choosing to ignore her positives. We could note that she is a college graduate showing her children that education is important to get ahead in life. Instead everyone fills in the blanks painting her as an idiot. I’m not going to “stroke my daughter” or “drink the kool aid” on loans but this is a situation MANY people are in of all races. This happens to be a site focused on Af-Amer women so of course Clutch would choose her as a focal point on loans.
    You make plans and those plans are subject to change without notice. She seemed to exhaust every option before giving up.

    Imagine if this were an article on a woman choosing to stay home with her kids instead of attending law school? She didn’t want to take on any loans so she’s stay on at her dead end job w minimal benefits so she can pick her kids up from school. Is she doing the right thing?

    Better yet imagine if this was a man who finished school w loans and three kids? We’d be praising him for being a good father.

    I just wish that everyone would choose to see the positives and the POSSIBILITIES rather that the perceived mistakes they think someone made in their lives.
    I have friends that made stupid decision (and I have my share too) I’ve shared my thoughts with them and let it go. Everyone is grown and doing what they think is best. Whether I agree or not I don’t tear them down for thing that can’t be changed.

    If this isn’t a prime example of schadenfreude, I don’t know what is.

  • Roger

    @Kara Zor-El

    It still doesn’t excuse the fact that she made children she could not adequately provide for.

    Man of Steel this fri!

  • Kara Zor-El

    @Roger

    Except I didn’t say anything about people not having kids that they can’t provide for, now did I? Reading if Fundamental, there, Skippy. Why don’t you stick to the merits of my comment, if you’re going to address me.

    I’d refer you to the book version of Man of Steel, but I think you’d be better off just watching the movie. It’ll be easier for you to digest.

  • rlridley

    My son has seen what having $60,000 in student loans has done to me and he is going to community college for the basics and an Associate’s and then will work and/or apply for scholarships when he goes for his Bachelor’s. I’ve been paying on my loans for 9 years and had just started seeing a dent in it when I lost my job. So, it’s going right back up. I recommend that every one instruct their children to cancel their loans upon their deaths as soon as they get your death certificate. I did that with my mom’s because she was still paying on her student loans at the time of her death out of her SSI check, $20 per month on a $2000 balance that never went down.

  • mufassa

    Don’t have kids until you are out of debt. Simple and plain. If you’re still in debt, then you CANNOT afford kids. Really you shouldn’t have kids until you have 100,000+ in liquid assets (not including a mortgage — a house that the bank owns is not an asset). I get that the twins were a surprise. But getting pregnant isn’t.

    I think this woman does a bit of a dis-service to other female lawyers out there that have sacrificed starting a family earlier so that they could pay off their debt from law school. Those are responsible people who clearly understood the situation they were getting into.

    The lady just cheated the whole system because she wasn’t responsible about when she decided to have kids.

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