Monday, April 10, 2006

College debt for students is not new...

An article in today's NY Times quotes someone at BU saying that students taking on college debt, instead of parents "It's such a new phenomenon that there's not a lot to compare it to" is naive. We graduated from undergraduate school in 1984 and 1985 and we are still living with the effects of college debt.

My husband and I both ended up paying for our college educations, despite our parents attempts to help. As we both started college, they tried to help, but by the time we got there, other family problems took over, and he and I were both left to take out students loans to pay for the rest of our college educations. In addition, I accepted a job as a co-op student at General Motors in Lansing, Michigan, which helped me to pay for my college tuition. I essentially worked every other semester from my freshmen summer until I graduated, leaving absolutely no time to try much else--though I did squeeze in one semester "abroad" in NYC in an arts management internship.

To make matters worse, I decided to get an MBA full-time, which my parents were very clear that they would not support, since I was married. I consolidated both loans and I am still paying off this debt on the 20-year plan to the tune of $204.02 per month. My husband was much smarter about his graduate education--Michigan paid for his PhD.

The reason I was stuck with the 20-year option, however, was that my husband was forced to borrow the rest of his Princeton tuition from a family member who insisted on a 7-year repayment option. We got married right out of college and immediately had an instant mortgage of $500/month. We were married for 14 years before we were able to purchase our first home, and it was because of this massive debt we had from the get-go.

Now, we are extremely happy with our educations--they have provided us with amazing opportunities, but we sincerely hope that our children do not have the same limitations starting out in life that we have had, as a result of college debt.


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