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Student Loans

July 7, 2011

I have really been dreading this decision. Namely, the decision of whether to continue on with school and add to the already ridiculously high dollar amount of student loans that I currently owe, or take a break to focus on paying down those loans and improve my financial position and then finish my degree.

I’m sure a lot of you would immediately say, “Oh J, you silly girl, of course you should continue going to school. Education is the great equalizer and you’ll never get anywhere without a college degree”. Don’t worry, that’s what I tried to convince myself of as well.

Forcing myself to add up my total amount of student loan debt was very eye-opening, though.

Are you ready for it?

In Federal student aid, I owe a total of $28,690. Oh, just you wait…there’s more…

Sallie Mae became my friend as well and loaned me a total of $16,992.18

A total of $45,682.18.

You may now heave, because I know I almost did.

Let me tell you what happened, because I know you’re thinking “J, you are clearly not an unintelligent individual. What were you thinking?”

I wasn’t. To be fair, the Sallie Mae loan did finance my nursing education and I am the proud holder of an Ohio Licensed Practical Nurse license. I have gainful employment because of that license, and I proved to myself that I could start something and stick to it.

The Federal money, however, was used to take a lot of classes between several major switches that now do not add up to a degree. I’ve never been able to definitively say what I wanted to be when I grew up, and according to my assigned academic advisor this is common for a lot of students. But while it’s helpful to know what behavior led to an outcome, the explanations are neither here nor there at this point.

It comes down to deciding whether to continue on digging my “debt ditch”, or to climb out of it and fill it in. I’m grabbing a shovel and going at it. I’ve never been afraid of hard work, and I’m not about to start now.

There are several ways to go about paying off student loan debt, what with debt consolidation loans and deferrments and forbearances and whatnot. The important thing is that the decision was made.

Check back soon for the meat and ‘taters of this student loan business!

I’d love to hear about your experiences with student loans. Did you finish your education? If you had the chance to do it all over again, what would you do?



10 Comments leave one →
  1. July 31, 2011 9:53 am

    Education has become so expensive. The best way for a single mother to independently support her family is through a better career which usually means a college education. But if a single mother has to use student loans to pay for most of her educational costs, she must be careful to choose wisely. She needs to research the field and career prospects and not fall for the advertisements.

  2. Rosina permalink
    July 16, 2011 1:10 am

    I feel your pain. I am 90K yes 90!!!! After, junior college, 4 year degree, going back for 4 more years just for a certificate and then a master’s. I don’t really know how I will do it as a single parent on a teachers salary but someday I will.

    • July 16, 2011 1:15 pm

      Thanks so much for reading! Good job on following through and finishing everything you’ve started (school)! It is completely frustrating and scary to look at your total loan amount and compare it to your income, and even more frustrating that higher education doesn’t always translate to wages that reflect that education.

      It’s like that old saying about eating an elephant…do it in small bites, because you’ll choke on the whole thing (or something like that!). Tweaking the budget and being ultra-disciplined with whatever is left over is the bread and butter of single parent finance. I am no expert at personal finance, but I’m trying to teach myself. I hope you’ll keep reading and commenting!

  3. July 8, 2011 6:08 am

    I’ve got $45k of student debt myself — but I graduated 4 years ago. Slowly but surely digging myself out of the same hole : )

    In our town, a nursing license gets you far. Hopefully it’s the same way in Ohio, with or without a degree.

    • July 8, 2011 9:16 pm

      I think that’s the most frustrating thing for me – with the amount of student loan debt I have, I should have more, credential-wise. My nursing license did land me an amazing job, though, right when I needed it.

      It’s always nice to know that you’re not alone in your debt boat. Thanks for reading!

  4. July 8, 2011 12:31 am

    More education does not necessarily equal more career opportunities. Sometimes, more education is detrimental to one’s career goals. Do not (I repeat: DO NOT) go for more school just because you think it will result in a higher salary.

    Research the program and the career prospects of its graduates. And be careful: some programs like to advertise that 90% of their graduates are employed within 3 months of graduation (for example). What they don’t tell you is that half of that 90% are selling cosmetics door-to-door.

    • July 8, 2011 10:11 pm

      Thanks so much for reading! I really had to go against my gut instinct with this decision, but I do agree with you about more education possibly being detrimental. I think education can always be a good thing but the debt I would incur to continue would likely be inversely proportional to the salary I would make for quite a few years.

      Good advice about researching education programs!


  1. Ethics Roundup – 7/7/2011 - Pilant's Business Ethics | Pilant's Business Ethics
  2. Student Loan Consolidation Considerations « Single Mom Money
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