Student loan debt is the second highest consumer debt in the United States, and a deep, dark hole of financial woe that many people aren’t sure they’ll ever be able to get out of. But when Lacy M. Johnson shared her experience with eleven years of trying to pay back her grad school loans, it revealed that the reality surrounding the student loan debt crisis is even bleaker than some people realize.

“When I left grad school in 2008, I owed $70k in federal student loans,” she wrote. Despite making $60,000 worth of payments, she says she still owes…$70,000.

The horror of her situation is one far too many people relate to, and other Twitter users were quick to chime in with their own stories about how the loans they took out to get an education, and theoretically get a better job than they could have otherwise, has crippled their finances.

“Same. Graduated grad school in 08 with nearly $100k in debt, have paid over $100k since then in interest, still owe $100k,” one user commiserated.

Jumping into student loan debt is something a number of people have said they didn’t understand would end up being as damaging as it is. Part of that can be chalked up to how discussing finances has long been considered taboo, something that many are hoping to change with these open and frank conversations about how the economy and government are basically screwing everyone over.

“Honestly, I’ve felt embarrassed being an accounting pro while looking back at the student debt I borrowed,” one person shared.

“My parents had no money for school and there was nobody who had gone ahead of me who could give me advice,” tax lawyer Kelly Phillips Erb responded, saying that she doesn’t regret school, but she does “hate that we stigmatize debt.”

People who haven’t had to deal with predatory student loans, or who received their education in a country other than America (land of the interest and home of the brave souls who aim to one day finally pay it off), are also sounding off in the comments, shocked at how our educational system could be so stacked against students.

“Health and education are supposed to be an investment in society, not a way for rich corporations to keep poor people in their place,” Canadian journalist Brennan Leffler pointed out.

But still, this is the America we live in, at least until we band together and find a way to fix it, and some of the stories truly are heartbreaking to read.

The dark cloud unending student loans cast over the possibility of ever retiring is a common refrain throughout the thread. A bleak future, but one many with debt seem resigned to face.

“I think that’s the way most of us see things now,” one person said. “We hope to have enough money to have a decent life when we die on the job.”


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*First Published: December 13, 2019, 6:53 am