Student loans are necessary for many young people wishing to further their education. But, with so many student loan horror stories emerging, many people wonder if it’s a good idea to obtain one.
Let’s talk about the perils of student loans, and have a look at some student loan horror stories. We’ll also touch on alternative ways you can fund a degree if you want to avoid a loan.
First, let’s examine how common it is for people to fund their studies through student loans.
Are Student Loans Common?
Student loans in the United States are a significant source of financial assistance for people trying to access higher education. While this sounds like a good option for people who couldn’t otherwise attend learning institutions, it can turn out rather badly. Unlike scholarships or grants, student loans have to be repaid.
More than 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. face the reality of student loan debt. A staggering 44.7 million people in the U.S. have active student loans. While 30% of college students do not take out student loans, the vast majority do. Of these, almost half of the loans are for expenses related to graduate education.
Student loan debt has grown year upon year; there have been calls for student debt to be written off.
The Perils Of Student Loans
Countless stories are circulating about the consequences of student loan debt. With a total of $1.75 trillion in outstanding student loan debt, it’s not difficult to understand why.
Student loan debt can impact a person’s mental health. Financial strain can be incredibly stressful. It can also affect relationships, as many people are reluctant to commit to someone in thousands of dollars of debt. The debt can even prevent hardworking people from a comfortable retirement.
As more student loan horror stories surface, it is clear that this form of debt has far-reaching implications. Student loans are designed to give people access to education that will further their career prospects. But, most of the time it holds them back from leading full lives. Why?
Any loan, be it a student loan or otherwise, is a form of debt. And when not repaid, it accumulates over time, mainly because of interest. The longer a person takes to repay a loan, the more their debt grows.
Incremental debt can lead to undesirable financial situations, to say the least.
Horror Stories About Student Loans
Are you curious about how student loans can turn into horror stories?
Take a look at some of the top student loan horror stories below. These are just a few examples of student loan nightmares that have made recent headlines.
Relationship Fails Due to Girlfriend’s Student Loan Debt
One of the more common themes of student loan horror stories is relationship troubles. This was highlighted by a story of a man who, faced with his girlfriend’s $200,000 student loan debt, was considering terminating the relationship.
After three years in the relationship, he was reluctant to “take the next step” and commit. Why? He feared that her huge student loan debts would prevent them from having a financially stable future.
Doctor Struggles Under Weight of Student Loan Debt
Even successful doctors are not immune to the dangers of student debt. This story is of a podiatrist in North Carolina, who graduated from medical school in 1987.
She should have been enjoying the fruits of her success by now; however, due to student loan debt, she is still struggling financially.
Many students take out PLUS loans and consolidation loans to finance their studies. The temptation to apply for these is great when you’re a struggling student, but it places you under a heavy financial burden. Consolidation loans combine multiple federal student loans into a single loan with lower monthly repayment. This extends your repayment term, accruing greater interest over time.
This is why, many years later, graduated students like this doctor are still struggling to survive. With $277,000 in federal loan debt, this doctor is unable to enjoy a good quality of life despite a lucrative career.
Teacher Learns a Hard Lesson About Student Loan Debt
After twenty years as a public school teacher, one woman teaches special education classes at a prison. Unfortunately, this dedicated teacher has a tragic story to share about a hard-learned lesson in student loan debt.
Although you’re not obligated to start making repayments on your federal student loan until six months after graduation, it is not easy to keep up with repayments once other responsibilities get added to the mix.
Thanks to this teacher’s student loan debt, which now totals $155,000, she is unable to afford her retirement. This means that she is forced to keep working when she should be looking forward to a more tranquil lifestyle.
Attorney Crippled By Student Loan Debt
In this instance, one qualified attorney feels crippled by a looming cloud of student debt, totaling $347,000. This lawyer feels forgotten and helpless in their plight. The growing debt is compounded by the lack of a secure job.
The standard repayment plan for a student loan assumes that you’ll pay your debt within 10 years of graduating. Of course, you assume that your degree will pave the way to a great salary. Sadly, that is not always how it turns out.
Professional Unable to Pay Student Loan Debt Interest
A 34-year-old professional with $250,000 in student loan debt shares how she can barely make the monthly interest payments. After thirteen years of struggling, the end is nowhere in sight.
Congress sets the interest rates for federal student loans. The interest rates applied to these loans will not change for the duration of the loan period.
Despite this, it can be hard to keep up with large monthly repayments, as evidenced by this professional. The bigger the debt, the more the monthly payments will be.
Student Loan Debt and Self-Harm
Financial stress can be a huge strain on people and can have an extremely harmful impact on mental health. Student loan debt can be immensely stressful.
Unable to cope with the pressure of living under such debt, some people choose to end their lives. This was the case for a graduate student in organic chemistry from Illinois. Sadly, he is not the only case of suicide because of student debt.
A shocking number of graduates attempt suicide over their mounting debt concerns; unfortunately, many of them are successful in their attempts. Being in debt can cause anxiety and depression. Student loan debt can make graduates feel hopeless and overwhelmed.
1 in 15 people with massive student debt have contemplated suicide. 1 in 11 suicide deaths among young professionals is at least partly due to their student loan debts.
Do you want to know of other ways to fund your studies? Keep reading.
Alternative Ways to Fund Studies
Before you wander down the slippery slope of student loan debt, inquire about other options like bursaries and grants.
These don’t have to be repaid and allow you to pursue your education-based dreams without financial stress. Bursaries are offered worldwide and across all industries.
Some industries subsidize student loans in return for working a certain number of years in that industry. Research if such possibilities exist in your preferred industry.
This can solve two problems at once: you will have the funds necessary for studying, and you will have a guaranteed job waiting for you after graduating.
Get a student job to finance your studies. If you have any job while studying, even part-time, place some money aside each month.
Even if you have to take out a student loan, you’ll be better equipped to cope when you need to begin making repayments.
While student loans can offer you a way to study, they can lead to a lot of stress down the line. Millions of people battle student loan debt!
These student loan horror stories are enough to make anyone question taking out a loan. And you should! Before you commit to obtaining one, ensure that you’ve done your research.
What is your expected earning potential after your degree is complete? Is there an alternative way to finance your studies that you haven’t examined?
While a student loan can offer you a great opportunity, step into debt with caution.
Cat Collins is a freelance online content writer, based in Cape Town, South Africa. Having studied psychology and sociology, she eventually settled on writing as a career. When not writing awesome online content, she is always striving to learn more about people and their passions in life.