The Great College Loan Swindle

from Rolling Stone

On a wind-swept, frigid night in February 2009, a 37-year-old schoolteacher named Scott Nailor parked his rusted ’92 Toyota Tercel in the parking lot of a Fireside Inn in Auburn, Maine. He picked this spot to have a final reckoning with himself. He was going to end his life.

Beaten down after more than a decade of struggle with student debt, after years of taking false doors and slipping into various puddles of bureaucratic quicksand, he was giving up the fight. “This is it, I’m done,” he remembers thinking. “I sat there and just sort of felt like I’m going to take my life. I’m going to find a way to park this car in the garage, with it running or whatever.”

Nailor’s problems began at 19 years old, when he borrowed for tuition so that he could pursue a bachelor’s degree at the University of Southern Maine. He graduated summa cum laude four years later and immediately got a job in his field, as an English teacher.

But he graduated with $35,000 in debt, a big hill to climb on a part-time teacher’s $18,000 salary. He struggled with payments, and he and his wife then consolidated their student debt, which soon totaled more than $50,000. They declared bankruptcy and defaulted on the loans. From there he found himself in a loan “rehabilitation” program that added to his overall balance. “That’s when the noose began to tighten,” he says.

The collectors called day and night, at work and at home. “In the middle of class too, while I was teaching,” he says. He ended up in another rehabilitation program that put him on a road toward an essentially endless cycle of rising payments. Today, he pays $471 a month toward “rehabilitation,” and, like countless other borrowers, he pays nothing at all toward his real debt, which he now calculates would cost more than $100,000 to extinguish. “Not one dollar of it goes to principal,” says Nailor. “I will never be able to pay it off. My only hope to escape from this crushing debt is to die.”

After repeated phone calls with lending agencies about his ever-rising interest payments, Nailor now believes things will only get worse with time. “At this rate, I may easily break $1 million in debt before I retire from teaching,” he says.

Nailor had more than once reached the stage in his thoughts where he was thinking about how to physically pull off his suicide. “I’d been there before, that just was the worst of it,” he says. “It scared me, bad.”

He had a young son and a younger daughter, but Nailor had been so broken by the experience of financial failure that he managed to convince himself they would be better off without him. What saved him is that he called his wife to say goodbye. “I don’t know why I called my wife. I’m glad I did,” he says. “I just wanted her or someone to tell me to pick it up, keep fighting, it’s going to be all right. And she did.”

From that moment, Nailor managed to focus on his family. Still, the core problem – the spiraling debt that has taken over his life, as it has for millions of other Americans – remains.

Horror stories about student debt are nothing new. But this school year marks a considerable worsening of a tale that ought to have been a national emergency years ago. The government in charge of regulating this mess is now filled with predatory monsters who have extensive ties to the exploitative for-profit education industry – from Donald Trump himself to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who sets much of the federal loan policy, to Julian Schmoke, onetime dean of the infamous DeVry University, whom Trump appointed to police fraud in education.

More here.

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21 Responses to The Great College Loan Swindle

  1. Nicholas Birchby December 1, 2017 at 6:16 pm #

    This article highlights the extremely difficult side of student loan debts. This man named Scott graduated from college with $35,000 in student loan debt. The bigger issue comes from the fact that his starting salary was a mere $18,000. After years and years of struggling to pay back his debts and missing payments, he began to use a rehabilitation program to pay them back. Instead, this program caused him nothing but trouble and continued to bury him deeper and deeper in debt. Collectors from this program would constantly call him asking about when he would pay them back, and with every call he began to feel worse and worse. So bad to the point that the school teacher named Scott seriously contemplated suicide. The problems with student loan debt comes from many separate issues. Up and coming students and parents typically are not informed of the various different ways that student loan debt can pile up, and how many different recovery programs are also scams in their own right. Since the market crash in 2008, college and student loans have quickly become the biggest scam in the entire country, possibly the world. Every year thousands and thousands of students agree to student loans that in four years they will not even be close to ready to begin paying back. However, receiving a college diploma still lines you up to make over $1.3 Million dollars more than someone with only a high school diploma over the course of your lifetime. Because of this statistic, students will continue to attend universities, while the prices per year at these schools will continue to rise. I have seen these issues first hand already. Being a student at Seton Hall University, I have seen the financial burdens that attending a school such as Seton Hall can place on a family and student. Many schools across the country have a tuition of over $50,000 per year, which is absolutely ridiculous. Luckily, with the help of financial aid and my parents, I am still able to attend this school. However, many people are not as fortunate as I am, like the teacher Scott. People like Scott could actually end up compiling larger amounts of debt after they graduate from college. This is due to those terrible recovery programs that I mentioned earlier. It is a scary thought truly not knowing if attending a four year university is even worth it compared to finding a job out of high school. Most kids who sign for these student loans do not even understand the process of paying them back at the time they signed, even more reasons that loan companies will find ways to bleed you dry. Interest on these loans is the real killer, people only pay the minimums, and the interest that is added will be more than the amount you are even paying! It truly is a vicious never ending cycle that is designed to make money, not help people succeed. College and student loans truly are the biggest scam in the country today. The driving factor is how the average price of attending a four year college has done nothing but get higher. When my father was 18, he chose to attend Purdue University. At the time, the tuition for an entire year there was only $6,000. My father is 45 years old. Today at Seton Hall the price for one semester is $27,000. Two entire years of college for my father, still costs less than one semester of college for me today. Perhaps the problem does not lay on the students, but the absolutely atrocious systems in place by the government. Any intelligent person should be able to see that these prices for education is not obtainable to the average person, when it sure should be.

  2. Vincent Scorese December 8, 2017 at 7:26 pm #

    Student loans is something that although people may not bring into too much light in the news is one of the biggest issues facing our country and its youth today. This article about this man who has gone his whole life for go and find his dream to pursue higher education and pursue his dream of being a teacher were almost thwarted by the idea and almost execution of his suicide. This is a good article to read because for those who don’t understand the real troubles and issues facing people with student debt this was a great example of the reason why something needs to be done. President Trump was quoted saying “Horror stories about student debt are nothing new. But this school year marks a considerable worsening of a tale that ought to have been a national emergency years ago. The government in charge of regulating this mess is now filled with predatory monsters who have extensive ties to the exploitative for-profit education industry”
    The pure fact of the matter was that the predatory monsters as they rightfully deserved to be called, nearly made this man who was married and had two young children, contemplate taking his own life because he didn’t feel like living was worth it anymore or that the only way her could get out of his debt is to take his own physical life. There is no way that is even remotely close to okay or even that being close to the American dream that so many hold dear to their hearts.
    Besides this man’s example there are plenty of people who take on these massive amounts of debts after college must move back home with mom or dad quickly after they graduate because they can’t afford to pay the loan and other costs of living that are required. Is that what the people who want to further their own higher education and try to put themselves in a better position or simply live a dream deserve? I don’t think so and I think that something needs to be done about student loans and it either starts with the rates on those loans or the actual cost of college itself which most could say is a bit high in price which leads to these amounts on these student loans that these people cannot afford to pay back and in some cases like this one they must declare bankruptcy. We are better than this and I just hope that something gets done sooner than later so we can have more people continue to live their dreams and be the future of the workforce we need them to be.

  3. Arielle Fortes December 8, 2017 at 8:13 pm #

    In today’s world many people know what they will do or have a general idea what they will do when they get out of their high school. They will go to college. America used to be a society where children would enter the workforce right out of school. However, that changed when higher education seemingly seemed to become more important to people, and America transitioned to a society where the majority of people decide to go to college instead of taking another option .This is due to a variety of reason but most people go to college because they need to go to college to get a decent job. Nowadays most employers do not want people without a college education. So unless the job is mostly unskilled work most people feel the need to get a degree in something, so they can be something. Unfortunately for almost everybody, college prices have been continually rising, and so it has become an increased burden to continue to try and pay for it. Most people have to resort to student loans because it costs so much money to go to college than it used to. And student loans and debt have become more and more horrifying for people.
    IN the article, it mentioned someone who was attempting suicide due to their student debt. Quite tragically, that is not too uncommon anymore. Debt seems to be something that is like quicksand and is continually something that once you stepped in it, it is extremely hard to step out of it. I think that if we want people to continue to get an education then colleges should find a way to make their prices more affordable. Scholarships naturally help people to do so, but scholarships are being cut which make it harder for people to continue with the rewarding systems of scholarships. Without going to college it is harder to find a decent well-paying job, so many people have no choice but to go to college. I think that if we had more options it would be better. On option that some people have been trying are overseas degrees. These degrees are much cheaper than degrees that are being gained here. Unfortunately this is not an option for people who cannot go overseas for the degree. Another problem with that option is that some employer would not like if people got their degrees overseas or some jobs require you to have a in country degree. I think that to fic this we need to continue to support scholarship and grants. We should also try and vote for people you are more based on trying to continue to support education and who are trying to ease the student debt problems that we have in our country. If we don’t try and fix the student debt problem we will see an increase on people not wanting to attend college as to avoid the financial burden or more people attempting to kill themselves because they cannot take the burden that came with their student debt,

  4. Tyler Grzybowski January 26, 2018 at 10:24 am #

    Student loans have become increasingly necessary as the price of tuition has skyrocketed. This article highlights several of the issues students who graduate with student debt face as they transition into the workforce. In Scott Nailor’s case he graduated college with $35,000 in debt which today almost aligns with the average debt of $37,000 for graduates in 2016. Now while $35,000 in debt may not seem like such an extraordinary amount to toss and turn over Scott’s part time teacher salary of only $18,000 made it nearly impossible for him to make payments. His inability to pay led him to default on his loans and declare bankruptcy leaving him to enter into a loan rehabilitation program. These programs offer borrowers the ability to get the default status on the student loan removed and have payments that reflect items such as disposable income, family size, rent, food, and housing. This program added to Scott’s overall balance and even with this new structured payment plan to get him back on track paying down his debts he still struggled. It can take up to 10 months to get the default status removed and any late payments will restart the process. He ended up in another rehabilitation program soon after with so much interest owed on his loans that his $471 monthly payments don’t even go towards any of the principle. Over a decade later and his debt now exceeded $100,000 roughly three times the student loan debt he graduated with. With no end to payments in sight Scott like 59 percent of millennial graduates today has no clue when that debt will be payed off and in his case he reckons never. Scott’s story is one that is very real for recent student graduates across the United States. Today going to college is so expensive that for most students their only choice is to either apply for loans or not go to college at all. While years ago skipping college and entering the workforce right away might have been a viable option today doing so is sure to greatly restrict future career opportunities and possible prevent one’s ability to achieve their version of success. The main issue surrounding these loans is not directly the loans themselves but more so the regulations and limited options when it comes to repayment. Every college graduate wishes to find a high paying job right after graduation but in reality that just isn’t the case for many recent grads. Competition in workforce is extremely tough and especially depending on the graduates field of study they might have to settle for a lower paying job like Scott until a better position opens up that they can take. If student loans could reflect this reality and have more personally tailored options for student loan repayment more students would be able to live a more financially stable life and be better off to pay off their loans when they have had the opportunity to get themselves in a better paying job.

  5. Caroline Jean Philippe January 26, 2018 at 8:32 pm #

    Student loan debt is a growing epidemic in the United States. Student loans lead college graduates into a financial sink hole before stepping in to their first jobs. Student loans help students to achieve their goal of becoming a college graduates however it is unfair how universities and loan companies like Sallie Mae take advantage of families financially. As a college undergraduate I can honestly say that student loan debt is brutal. It is also disappointing how the people who are making decisions for the middle class and lower income families are people who are in the top one percent and who will never know what it is like to wake up and go to a job that doesn’t pay five hundred thousand dollars a year.
    The problem with student loan debt is the unspeakable amount of interest that gets piled on to an already copious amount of money. I agree with Matt Taibbi that college loans are a scandal into making prospective students into mini investments for loan companies. From his article I learned about rehabilitation programs for people who need help with student loan debt. These programs should be stopped because they truly are criminal for not helping people and turning large loans into even larger ones. The cost of college education is also adding to the prospective college graduate financial dilemma. According to Taibbi Tuition for a halfway decent school now frequently surpasses $50,000 a year. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program which helps people who have student loans gain loan forgiveness is being taken away by Donald Trump. This will add to the student loan debt crisis because seven hundred thousand people have been kicked out of this program.
    There really needs to be reform in the way that the system works. Trump should not be making decisions for the middle class and lower class families of America because he has proven that he is on the side of the millionaires who want tax breaks. I can understand that universities are businesses and so are the student loan companies but they need to understand that people can only take so much so if they could be more understanding than maybe things would stop being as bad as they are.

  6. Timothy Wiamer January 30, 2018 at 10:30 am #

    The college debt problem is a real issue that haunts Americans. For most, they will be paying off their college debts well past them having children of their own. The epidemic, as this article states, is only growing. Students feel obligated to go to college because they are instilled from a young age that if they do not, they will be working at McDonalds for the rest of their lives. And of course, that is not the dream that we have for the rest of our lives. The rationale for attending college and putting so much money into the college system is that by the time student’s graduate, they will find a job and be able to pay off their loans immediately. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Most students cannot find a job in their field right after graduating and a huge percentage of students who graduate college never find a job in their field. They end up doing something completely different, which is a waste of money and puts them in debt for no reason. College is a money-making business. They take and take and take money from students claiming that tuition must increase because the money is needed to support the school, the professors, the programs, and expansion procedures. If you really break down where the money goes, you will see that college tuition does not need to be $50,000. Seton Hall is actually one of the most expensive schools in New Jersey so all of us student’s who go here will end up contributing to the college debt epidemic once we graduate. Those of us who are fortunate to have parents who can afford to pay off their debt will obviously be the outliers in the situation. But for most of us, this is a reality that is waiting to happen. The problem with the increase of tuition is that students are paying more and more for colleges, more than they can afford. When they take out loans they think that they will only be paying the amount that they borrowed, forgetting that they have to take interest into consideration. Paying back student loan is something that most students will have to deal with once they graduate. One thing that the article mentions is that it is easy for students to find the money or loans to pay off college. I have to disagree with this since I am currently in a situation where I cannot find a loan without a cosigner and without a company that makes it difficult for a cosigner to qualify. This to me is what makes paying for college impossible. The places that do offer loans to students make it hard for the students to pay back the money because the interest rate, although we don’t realize it, is a lot. I personally know former college graduates whose $40,000 loans are now almost $80,000. Until something can be done to revamp the college debt system, we have to recognize that we will all have college debt once we graduate. And that’s a scary thought.

  7. JN January 30, 2018 at 8:57 pm #

    Every year students struggle financially to pay for their colleges. To cover their college expense they turn to loans. Those loans at times may seem minimal but as time goes by with interest can be three times more than what you received. Scott Nailor’s story is no different. Education adds value to any country. If college rates are high, it will discourage people to pursue a degree after high school. Education is important but to what extent. Being a college student listening to stories are really horrifying. Future is uncertain but is it worth batting everything on the job that one must find after they graduate. This is so unfortunate. Since education shapes a country the government should pay close attention to it and make it free. Student debt is a problem that is growing rapidly in the United States. Every year the statistics of student debt is only going up. The education system is turning out to be a rabbit hole where most students get lost at such a young age. The amount of debt burden college students carry on themselves it’s unbelievable. It hinders the place for creativity. Students sometimes sacrifice what they actually want to do. They rather go for a major that would help them get a high salary job. This whole situation encouraging students to dropout of college every year. Sometimes it’s too late for them to realize it. In a Forbes article, it was mentioned that “The greater the financial strain, the more likely you are to experience symptoms of depression, anxiety and overall ill-health that can leave you feeling distracted at work”. This indicates that students with debt might not put their best put forward, as they feel miserable and unhappy.

    Student loan and depression might not be the highlights of social media, but raising awareness for it is definitely crucial. In a blog published in huffingtonpost mentioned: “There have been no epidemiological studies attempting to find a correlation between student loan indebtedness and suicide or suicide attempts”. Personally, I think there is a correlation between student loans and students. This is also resulted because of the lack of education about loans and debt. I remember being a freshman in college and feeling overwhelmed by the different loan providers. I was confused by the fact that how will I know which one would be best for me. Trying to choose between different options of interest rates. I also thought that I did not have to worry about paying them back since I am getting the money in real time. This is one of the reasons why “36 million Americans have outstanding federal loans” (huffingtonpost). The title of the huffingtonpost blog post says it all “The Ones We’ve Lost: The Student Loan Debt Suicides” In this blog post it was nicely described that not everybody like Scott Nailor actually gets saved. One of the story in that blog post was about a guy named Jason who ended up killing himself because he could not see a way out of his student loan. Ironic enough, Jason studied organic chemistry and he was found dead in a lab due to nitrogen asphyxiation. This incident raises so many moral questions. Scott Nailor says “My only hope to escape from this crushing debt is to die.” The backbone of the society is the education and all education has to value. However, the society is teaching us to give up on our dreams, if it does not have the demand in the market. If one does not have the financial freedom more likely one will be unhappy about life. A person can face depression at one point in their life which will only add more to the path of being suicidal. The reality draws a very fine line between the importance of education and the cost of education. It’s hard to prioritize one over the other one. Many students are being the victim of this dilemma every year. Some of them are too young to understand the consequences and some of them have no other choice but to take out loans. Alternatives being scholarships and other resources of financing like a part-time job. These alternatives methods of financing are not advertised enough in high school or anywhere else for that matter. Early on in students career, it is important to introduce them to the concept of students debt. Helping them understand this process of paying for colleges save many potential young lives. By adding the financial work in the school curriculum can help alleviate the problem.

    Sources:
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/melodywilding/2016/10/24/stressed-by-student-loans-5-pain-fr ee-ways-to-deal/#6e4be24929b5

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/c-cryn-johannsen/student-loan-debt-suicides_b_1638972.html

  8. Tanner Purcel February 1, 2018 at 5:23 pm #

    Student Loans are one of the biggest obstacles for young adults. A college degree is the second largest expensive in the country, right behind buying a new home. In the article, Scott graduated college with $35,000 in debt from student loans. His $18,000 a year salary from teaching was clearly not enough for him to be able to pay off these debts. The rehab program that he joined years later was supposed to push him in the right direction; however, they just led him to more debt and stress, as the collectors would harass him for the money. This unfortunately led Scott to the verge of suicide, and sadly, this is not uncommon for those who are in great debt.
    One of the major problems is that the students and their families are not fully informed before accepting their loans and going to college. Many people believe that they will have a good paying job right after college, but that is not the case. For those who are lucky enough to find that high paying job right out of college, it will still take years for them to pay off their college debt. College and Universities are supposed to be a place where kids go for success, but many of them come out with just debt. The question that arises is if a college diploma is even worth the cost. Being a student, I can see how much stress student loans cause both on students and families.
    President Trump wants to help students with their student loans. He has already said that he does not want the federal government gaining money from student loans, so he wants to return student loans to private banks instead of the federal government. He also wants colleges to take more responsibility in the student loan problem. He said colleges should “pay” when to many of their students are found not being able to pay off their student loans. He has talked about shortening the student loan forgiveness period for undergraduates but lengthening it for grad school graduates. Trump has also advocated for alternatives to college for some people, which includes tech school and apprenticeships, as well as controlling subsidized loans.

  9. Zachary Corby February 2, 2018 at 12:20 am #

    First, let me begin by saying that this article scared the living hell out of me. I, like the majority of people in this world according to the article did not realize what I was really getting myself in to when I signed up for my student loans. My mom made it very clear that I would have to pay back the principle plus a lot of interest, but I figured I had no choice if I wanted to go to college. That is exactly the thing that the majority of people fail to understand is that no one WANTS to take out student loans, but they have no other choice. Since there is such a demand for student loans banks can virtually charge any amount of interest, they want because students have no other options. The scary thing that this article mentioned frequently is what happens if you fall behind on your loan payments. It seems as if you are forced to go to these rehabilitation programs for loans and are never quite able to dig yourself out of debt once you end up there. I also question what exactly the goals of these rehabilitation programs are. From the article, all it says is that they make people who are struggling to pay off their debts already, have to pay more debt without repaying the original one. On top of how hard it is to already repay student debts, universities seemingly do not care in the least bit as they continue to raise tuition costs. The finding about the University of Wisconsin holding around 650 million dollars in reserve was very disturbing. How do these huge universities continue to raise tuition rates if they have that much money just laying around and doing absolutely nothing? There are a ton of things that the money could be used for to improve the university, and that is what we are supposed to believe is being done with the money they continue to add on to our tuition bills annually. For example at Seton Hall the food is subpar, the elevators are always broken, only half of the washers and dryers work, and parking here is at a minimum. Yet we are being charged over 50,000 dollars to go to school here and there are still tons of things that are below standards. Besides that, degrees are becoming increasingly common in today’s society. Having a bachelor’s degree today is not nearly the same thing as having one 20 years ago. So why do we continue to spend more if the value is not worth as much? It is because colleges and universities have planted the idea in our heads that we will fail in life if we do not have a degree. Yet despite the price and the decreasing value, the government encourages us to go so far into debt to go to college. Apparently, we are not responsible enough to buy alcohol, tobacco products, or gamble, but plunge into a hundred thousand dollars of debt? That is encouraged by our government. The problem is much like alcohol or tobacco products, 18 year old kids do not realize exactly what they are getting into when they sign for the loan. The government offers little to no help with loans. From my experience they give 5,000 dollars in loans at small rates which is nothing compared to the 40,000 dollar loans I had to take out for my first college year. The program that Bush tried to implement to help students with their loans has been disregarded by the current regime. Eventually I foresee the student loans crisis ballooning into a huge issue much like the housing crisis was about 10 years ago. If colleges continue to charge obscene amount of money and there is not help from the government the economy will suffer in the end. The government needs to step up and have a system that regulates tuition rates, and the interest rates for student loans. Until then taking out a student loan is playing with fire.

  10. Alexis Candelora February 2, 2018 at 4:59 pm #

    This article is so scary to many college graduates and students because the reality of this story is so tangible. Student loans and the ever-piling debt is a very serious and realistic problem many individuals carry throughout a great majority of their lives, if not the entirety. With the current political circumstances added on to the already profound debt ensnaring higher education, the amount of debt one can expect to have after graduation is terrifying. The nightmare of paying off such a debt is especially tough for individuals such as Nailor since the profession he pursues is so incredibly underpaid for the amount of money he invested in college. Such is the case with many teachers throughout the country. However, teachers are not the only individuals who suffer from student loans. As the article states, millions of Americans face the reality of life-long debt which will probably be forever unfulfilled.
    The amount of student debt in America needs to be taken into serious consideration and acted on to prevent needless tragedies. While Nailor did not follow through with his suicide, many other individuals in his situation cannot say the same. For others, the burden of their debt and the pressure from creditors becomes too overwhelming to deal with and results in them choosing to end their lives. This is the ongoing tragedy consuming American graduates. The solution to such an epidemic is to either lower the price of higher education to make it more affordable and easier to pay back student loans, or to significantly increase the salary of many underpaid professions which require college degrees such as teaching careers. In the long run, it seems raising the minimum salary of these innumerous professions would be much more difficult and expensive for the government to handle. Thus, a more realistic solution would be the former. Lessening the burden of student loans by reducing the cost of higher education, especially for those who wish to pursue less profitable careers would be beneficial to society as it would prevent tragic suicides and would give back to communities and individuals such as Nailor who become teachers give back to the society by educating the population. It’s time for the government to stop turning a blind eye to these issues plaguing the nation. It’s time to end the student debt epidemic by creating a program designated to regulate and lessen tuition fees.

  11. Nathaniel Valyo February 2, 2018 at 5:48 pm #

    Articles like this one make me extra grateful for my scholarship money. But, even though my cost of attending college is significantly defrayed, I still take out student loans just like everyone else. As a current college student, I can’t help but feel discouraged over adults like Scott Nailor and Veronica Martish, who are still held down by student loans decades after attending college in the first place. These two people are essentially looking forward to death, simply because it means no more student loan payments have to be made. Who is to say that their thoughts and circumstances won’t become mine in a few years?

    I have long been skeptical of the education system in the United States, and whether or not having a bachelor’s degree really separates you from the rest of the pack. After all, going to college does not guarantee a well-paying job in the near future; it merely increases your odds of getting one. Universities, and subsequently the government, are giving off the impression that not attending college will only lead to very inadequate, low-paying jobs, scaring young high school students and their parents into forking over thousands of dollars for another diploma. The crippling amount of debt they will have to pay off in the future does not matter to high school students; all that matters is that heavenly extra piece of paper. It seems to be more of a scam than an actual education.

    A specifically outrageous incident regarded the University of Wisconsin in 2013, when UW increased their tuition and claimed it was due to a lack of state funding. After further reconnaissance, however, it was found that UW was hiding $648 million in reserves, and not only did they affirm the finding, but they also admitted that they were not alone, and that many other state universities across the country were doing the exact same thing. It doesn’t take any further proof to see that this is unethical and unjust towards the students.

    Education is power. It should be used as the passport to a high-functioning, successful society; not only another way to put money in the pockets of universities and the federal government. Also, the fact that President Trump and the current federal government want to cut loan forgiveness programs like the Pell Grant program and put more money towards military defense is alarming. To me, it seems as if the greater war in question is a domestic war on the students, rather than abroad.

  12. Matt Henry February 2, 2018 at 5:50 pm #

    In today’s society, going to college is a social norm. High school classes are based on preparing students for higher level education and the administrators want to make sure everyone has a plan for applying to colleges. As helpful as this may seem, college is not for everyone. High schools brag about how many students they send off to college each year and consequently students are left with the idea that they will not be successful if they do not attend college. Adults urge that college is a place where students can figure out what they want to do, but who wants to pay $50,000 a year to repeatedly change their mind until they run out of options and pick a random major that will ultimately have no impact on their profession. The pressure stemming from adults makes many kids think college is their only option and they agree to taking on a lifetime of debt without considering their other options.
    Rolling Stone’s article “The Great College Loan Swindle” spotlights a 37-year-old schoolteacher who is still struggling with his student loans and sees suicide as his only option. Combined with his wife’s loans, the Nailor’s debt totaled more than $50,000, and with only an $18,000 salary, the two were forced to declare bankruptcy. This resulted in paying off a rehabilitation program at a price that did not allow the Nailor’s to pay off any of the original debt. This cycle is faced by numerous college graduates and it becomes harder to break the cycle the longer the debt accumulates. According to Student Loan Hero, 44.2 million Americans have student loan debt totaling $1.48 trillion. As college tuition continues to rise, these statistics will continue to get worse. I am responsible for paying for my own education, and although I am not as shocked as I should be by this information, I am nervous to be in the same boat as the man in the article. I always viewed college as an investment, but it seems hard to get a return on my investment when I am starting out with so much debt.
    The government needs to take action to prevent this trend from getting worse. The article highlights the inexperience of Trump and DeVos on loan policy. It states, “The government in charge of regulating this mess is now filled with predatory monsters who have extensive ties to the exploitative for-profit education industry.” Education should not be exploited, and any logical and realistic options should be sought to make universities more affordable.

  13. TB February 2, 2018 at 11:50 pm #

    When I think of student loans I immediately equate them to chains. It’s so easy to harass someone and demand money without showing any sympathy when you don’t know what it feels like. I believe if loan offices knew what it was like to have a dark cloud of debt looming over your head constantly reminding you that you owe money you don’t have, they would be more empathetic and reasonable because they’d know how it feels.

    Though I equate the loans themselves as chains and shackles the loan offices I equate to hunters, hunters that prey on the ignorant and naive. Every college student’s intention their freshman year right after enrolling and signing their life away to a loan company is to work hard in school so that when they graduate they can get a well-paying job that they love so they’ll be able to pay back their loans. However, unfortunately, this is rarely the case for most college graduates. Many of them end up like Nailor because unfortunately, Scott Nailor’s situation isn’t a rare one, millions of people worldwide who suffer from depression turn to suicide as a solution for their problems.

    Depression is a serious issue and what many people fail to realize is that being in debt can easily cause someone to develop depression, because what many people who haven’t experienced being in debt or indebted someone don’t know is it make you feel like a failure you made a “promise” of sorts to pay back what you owed and you’re unable to do that so you feel as though you failed. And maybe it’s not even your fault, maybe your or a loved one had medical issues and you had medical bills to pay, may your car broke down and you couldn’t go to work so you lost your job, maybe you got in an accident and you are no handicap and unemployment, or maybe even you were a young naive baby-faced teenager fresh out of highschool that knew nothing of the world and a loan office/company took advantage of your naivety, and now your fresh out of college with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt hanging over your head and you have no clue what to do. You feel lost hopeless, confused, betrayed and tricked, maybe you’re just like Nailor, maybe your 37 years old, maybe you have a wife children and a job you hate that no matter how long you work there you know you’ll never pay back your loans, and now you not only have worry about your futures but the future of your wife and children. So you do what you think is the only option, the only solution to free you and your family form this financial burden. You decide to end your life because you feel lost and confused and consumed by stress.

    The stress messes with your head, your sanity. Makes you feel like your back in college again stressing over finals living off of caffeine and, not eating, not sleeping barely breathing, all because of a few loans. Student loans are a serious issue and the loan forgiveness programs are subpar at best and something needs to be done to save a new generation of college graduates front suffering through the pain of being in debt.

  14. Gabrielle Pietanza February 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm #

    When it comes too many college students, including myself regarding certain aspects, student loans are a mystery. Students know that college is expensive and with tuition prices continuously rising student loans appear to be a great option. Although many students receive a great deal of scholarship moneys and may have saved up a great deal preceding college this is not always the case. Individuals who apply for and receive loans do not always realize the interest that accumulates and the hole they may be digging for themselves. We as a society must strive to better understand the terms of our student loans and every other contract we sign. The most prominent issue regarding loans is not the loan itself, but instead the regulations regarding repayment.

    Scott’s story in this article is one millions of American students can relate too. College is an investment but many individuals do not realize all they are agreeing to in order to make the process possible. We should strive to educate the youth on how to better understand their loans so they can be better equipped to repay it without issue. I find issue with the fact that after hearing Scotts story I am not shocked of his suicidal thoughts. Many individuals believe they have no other option and that taking their life is the best thing they can do for themselves and those around them. With this idea being not only present, yet relatively common, in society speaks volumes regarding how change needs to be made and how the student loan process should be amended in some capacity. By altering terms of the loan agreements such as less interest or longer payment periods, students would be able to repay the money they have borrowed without it hindering their lives. Landing a high paying job directly out of college does not happen everyday and once graduated most students are not ready to immediately begin making large payments on their loan. Bearing this in mind we must continue to look for reform regarding this system so individuals feel as though they have the ability to repay their loans and are not fearful in pursuing a higher education.

    Debt, especially regarding student loans, is nothing new but in this day and age this issue seems to be worsening. This Trump Administration has obvious ties to the for profit education industry. This is a troubling fact for those who are seeking reform in this area. Especially for those middle and lower class families of which student loans are often looked too and depended on. Ultimately, we must all educate ourselves on the agreements and contracts we sign up for and work hard to ensure loans and other payments do not stack up.

  15. John Whale February 8, 2018 at 4:37 pm #

    Student Loans are getting out of hand and this article is a perfect explanation why. Even back in the days of the 90’s student loans were immense. Imagine begin a 19 year old having to ask for money and when getting out getting hit with 35 thousand dollars’ worth of debt. Just out of college you are getting your life together. It should have been a proud moment when Nailor got an assistant teaching job straight out of college. This was not the fact at all, he had an 18,000-dollar part time job and faced double with that in debt. Not only is that double his salary but the loan will keep growing larger and larger. Now you have people coming after you for money, and life gets even more stressful. Having to try and pay for that while paying for your wife and kid must be the worst thing possible. Than even considering suicide is crazy, student debts should not be a thing at all.
    Over 8 million students are in student loan debts. College should either move their prices down or something because this must change. Everyone thinks that colleges equal jobs, and colleges make that pitch that “Don’t go to college, and you’ll be standing on soup lines by age 25”. Now they feel like they must spend that type of money and must get an education or they will be a failure in life. Then this puts the pressure on the parent’s, they will do anything for their child to succeed in life. The offices that give out loans, give a false hope to the kids. When they borrow a certain amount the students think that’s what they pay back. Signing that loan, in a sense could be signing your life away.

  16. Rayjohn Felicia February 16, 2018 at 10:16 pm #

    It is no secret that one of the biggest fears that my generation is facing is student debt. With the skyrocketing rates of tuition, many students are being forced to take out loans in order to attend universities. The fact that in some colleges, including Rider University, an average student will be charged over $200,000 over the next four years is absurd. Of this amount, students these days will be LUCKY if they only had to take out loans to cover HALF that amount. It is unfathomable that students have to pay this much for a college education. This also does not include interest, which can skyrocket how much is owed in the repayment of loans in the long run. What the Trump Administration is doing in regards to education presents a scary situation to lower/middle class families: Trump wants to decrease federal spending on the Pell Grant system by $3.9 trillion. For years, this system has been a source of financial survival for students from lower class families. By cutting this, it is making options for families more difficult when sending their children to colleges. To complicate matters, according to the article, the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education and Julian Schmoke as an education policy advisor, will make obtaining the already slashed funds even harder for students. Many of them grew up in affluent families, where they have no first-hand experience with having to take out a college loan.
    In my generation, students are no longer focused on the pressure of going to school, graduating, and finding a job. They now have the burden of figuring out of they will pay their loans. There have been many examples of how student loans have affected the people in my personal life. Whenever I am with my friends or classmates, at some point the conversation of student loans will come up. Most of the time we are very serious in our conversations. Other times, we crack very dark jokes about it. For instance, I would walk up to my friend and say “Well, time to sign my life away” when I have to contact my financial aid office or bank.
    In my personal life, I have seen the devastation student debt can cause. One of my very first friends I made when I was a freshmen started college at age 20. He came from a family that had no means to support him financially in college. For the past two years, he had worked 3 part-time jobs at a time in order to save money for college. Even with the 3 jobs, and the money he saved, he still needed to have a loan. When he attended school, he was only able to afford one year of college. Even with that, he dropped out after the first semester. When I questioned him, he broke down and revealed to me that he dropped out because of his fear of drowning himself into debt. Even today, when I recently came across him, he told me that he continued working 3 jobs just TO PAY THE LOAN. This extremely angered me for the fact that he only went to college for one semester, yet he is still paying off a student loan from 3 years ago.
    Another example will be one of my relatives. For him, it took him 5 years to complete college and, in between found out he had ADHD. For him, the loans have mounted for him. He has told me that he will be paying upwards of $160,000 before interest on all loans in his life. He has fears that with this loan, he can never be a homeowner, have a family, etc. One of the things any of these student loan studies have revealed was that they only measure students who have completed a 2-year or 4-year program within that timeframe. In this country, more than half of all college students will not finish their degree within 4-years. Meaning that they will have to pay additional tuition and more loans when they

  17. Sapna March 2, 2018 at 6:33 pm #

    The article is about a man named Scott Nailor, he’s a teacher who is in debt. After taking a loan to attend college, he graduated with a debt of $35,000. After he became a teacher, he earned a salary of $18,000 per year. He struggled with payments monthly, and him and his wife consolidate their student debts, which added up to more than $50,000. After, he started attending rehabilitation programs that added more to the debt, and he ended up starting to pay them off and not his student loans. The collectors started to be more on top, and called him consistently. With Scott paying $471 per month towards the rehabilitation programs, he believed that his debts with be more than that of a hundred thousand. Eventually, he got so sick of it, and was contemplated suicide. He convinced himself that leaving his song and young daughter was the best thing to do, that they would be better off without him. However, his wife managed to change his mind and told him to keep fighting.
    Student loans are a big deal. Since 2007, the total student tbt has tripled with people with loans land to 44 million from 28 million dollars. In 2015, statistics show that about 70% of college seniors graduate with student debt, and their average tab triples to $30,100. When it comes to student loans, every penny counts. It shows that students who graduate with excessive debt are about 10% more likely to be delayed in their personal life, such as getting married, having children, or even buying their own house. The debt also has an impact on their employment plans, making them work in jobs that they are not entirely practiced or comfortable in, and sometimes even working more than one job, and working more hours than preferred.
    These results make people think about whether going to college is worth it then, if they end up with so much debt, what’s the point? This unfortunately means that they don’t have jobs that pay good money, because most jobs required a degree. It is important to realize the impact that student loans have over the students, educationally, financially, and personally.

  18. Grace Galuppo March 2, 2018 at 8:33 pm #

    Student loans have skyrocketed in the past several years due to the increasing costs of tuition. After reading this article, I began being anxious over my own student loans and went over my scholarship letter agreement along with the debt I took out for this school year. I figured out that for the first year of college that I am debt free, which is a huge relieve after learning how a small debt can grow astronomically. For instance, Veronica Martish, who had student loans amounting to $8,000 and graduated from a community college, but ended up paying $63,000 throughout her life and still has $27,000 to go. There is nothing wrong with a community college education; however, it is not worth $90,000. The student loan problem is present today because many young people are unaware of the effects interest can have on a loan. In addition, many students look at schools in terms of reputation rather than whether they can affordability. Therefore, students do not look over the interest rate when they are accepting a student loan because they need the money right away to attend school. I think that students need to be better informed before entering college, so that they can be prepared for what will be awaiting for them after graduation.
    My parents helped me in terms of paying a part of my tuition, understand student loans, and learn the importance of hard work. When I was looking at colleges my junior year of high school, my parents informed me that they would only give me a certain amount a year and that I would have to take out loans or use my savings to come up with the rest. Keeping that in mind, I did not look at expensive schools, but rather schools that were known for their scholarship money. I ultimately choose Seton Hall because they gave me a hefty scholarship and because it is a half an hour away from my house, which would save me the cost of living and food. Unlike me, many of my friends looked for schools that they loved without a thought to the school’s price tag.
    The article mentioned a solution to the student debt problem that George W. Bush launched, which gave students who pledged to work for the government or a nonprofit for a total of ten years a way to get their debt forgiven. However, in order to have the debt forgiven, students had to use a complex formula to make payments for ten years. This year would mark the end of the ten-year payments for the students involved in the program, but out of the 700,000 participants, only 500 are scheduled to follow the work plan. The number of people who qualify for the plan are low because the other students could not keep up with the payments for those ten years. From a glance Bush’s plan makes sense and would diminish debt for students; however in hindsight the complicated payment plan that enrollees had to keep up with for ten years sets students up for failure.

  19. Alyssa Heagy March 2, 2018 at 10:45 pm #

    Reading this article, I cannot help to think of me. As I am a college student who will be graduating next year coming out of college with hefty debt from loan problems. Reading this article is very saddening because I believe that this is the biggest problem in America. Trying to get a college degree costs an arm and leg and it is ridiculous. College should not cost this much to go and get an education and reach your goals. Last year I had the privilege to study abroad which I am forever grateful. At my school abroad, there were so many students from other countries who have different governments and different educational systems. Some of the students talked about how it is ridiculous how much we, Americans, pay so much just to have a higher education when they pay far beyond less and one of the students was getting paid from the government to be abroad. Looking at America’s education system it seems broken and that only the rich can afford higher education when in reality it shouldn’t be based on money it should be about intelligence. In these other countries, these students have harder test but this is because these tests are making sure they are learning the materials. Why should money be the thing that keeps us from reaching our goals and jobs and higher education. I think this is where America has gone wrong. When I come out of college it is going to be rough to pay back my loans and it will be for everyone who has loans. But I will never go to the extreme level of suicide. People have killed themselves because of loans and the American government should be taking this as a wake-up call.

  20. Samara Simboli March 6, 2018 at 9:04 pm #

    As I read this article, I could not stop thinking about myself and how in about a year I will be out of college and having to pay my student loans back. Which at this point in time could probably buy me a brand new Mercedes Benz or any other luxury car for that matter. I do feel that I might get swallowed by my debt and end up having to file bankruptcy and ruin my credit. However, I would not consider suicide as a way out of paying my student loans back. In our society, we value education, which is great but we do not mention that education can come with a hefty price tag. In order to get a decently paying job in the workforce, it is essential that one has at least a Bachelor’s degree. Not everyone is fit to go to college because not everyone wants to put themselves through the amount of work and financial debt. Being that most of us college students will graduate with a loan amount that could equate to buying a small house outright, we are scared that we may never be able to pay it back. Being that we already owe what some people take out on a mortgage for their house, before the interest of course. Will we want to ever consider buying a house? I know I do not want to end up with half a million dollars worth of debt.
    Defaulting on my loan or not being able to get a job that will allow me to pay my student loans back and even allow me some extra income to invest or allow me to live my life, is something that genuinely scares me. But, even if I wanted out on my loans I would never be able to get out of them if I die then my estate would have to pay it back. I wish that the price of college was more affordable as I do not want to spend the rest of my life having to pay loans back or a mortgage payment. I do get a scholarship to come to college, but that does not cover everything that I owe, that only covers about 60% of the cost so I have to take out loans to cover the rest. In foreign countries, you would need to take a test to go to college and that test would be very hard but the price of education is a lot cheaper. It seems like an American thing to graduate from college with loans that are as high as they are. Some people in other countries may have $20,000 worth of loans graduating from college after four years, but I will probably be graduating with at least $150,000 worth of loans. I would have an exact number but I would rather not calculate that at this point in time because I do not want to freak out. The fact that some people have turned to suicide as the only way out of their loans, should be a wake-up call to the government and to our society.

  21. Sydney V March 30, 2018 at 4:45 pm #

    “Student loans.” Every current college student as well as college graduates cringe at the word. The price of college is immense, and unattainable for most people. With the help of student and government loans, it has given so many people, including myself, the opportunity to attend college. From a young age we are told that good things will come from attending college, however, the closer we get to actually attending college, the more apprehensive we become because of the cost. I strongly believe that anyone that has the opportunity to attend college should, not only for the education, but for the valuable experiences, relationships, and networks that they provide. However, the opportunity comes at a tremendous price. In Scott Nailor’s case, even after graduation these loans are still affecting every life decision. While in college it affects how much money you spend, your interest rates, and other decision. Then, after graduation even after landing a great job in your chosen field, it’s still impossible to pay them off. My parents had saved money for my college tuition since I was a child and everything they saved still wasn’t enough for me to attend a four year private institution. The student debt crisis is out of control, and there is no sight of it slowing. In Nailor’s case, he was willing to end his own life just to escape his debt. Even after filing for bankruptcy, it still wasn’t over. As a student I am concerned for my family, future generations, and myself. Will it get better? Will anything change, or will it just continue to grow and grow until the cost of college is too much for everyone?

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