THAT is insane. $500 a check? I have a friend who went to college but didn’t finish and defaulted on her loans. They eventually came after her and set up garnishment, but nowhere near that much. If you can demonstrate hardship, they are supposed to allow you to pay no more than like 10% of your income (a month not a check) and or the minimum payment for 10 years. Thereafter, the remainder of the debt can be forgiven.

I am terribly sorry you had to endure this. I can’t even imagine.

I was very lucky. On the two occasions when I needed to defer, I was not met with quite this level of hostility from my lender. I wrote similar letters to yours detailing how I would be unable to afford repayment and gave them a window of time. These days, I overpay and am nearly done with my loans. For a while, anytime I had any sort of windfall, extra money from a project, or tax return, I used it to pay off a portion of my loans, reducing the overall payment. But I continued to make the same payment and found a way to survive with it in my budget. Problem is, I don’t really use the degree I went to college for — like most people. I was a straight-A student and worked full time while I attended full time. Looking back, I wish I had done something else as 1. college isn’t necessary or for everyone and 2. I could be doing the same work I do now without it and just learned new skills online (essentially) for free. For some, college is just a scam; a promise of something better but rarely does it come to fruition.

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