My name is Rae Roca and like so many others, I borrowed money for school and I am currently drowning in debt.I have a BA in communications from a small liberal arts college in Ohio (Ohio Northern University). I graduated in 2007 and my original balance of around $75,000 has now ballooned to over $107,000, despite making over $14,000 in payments since 2008. But my outstanding balance has increased by over $35,000? How is that even possible?
I did everything I was supposed to do.
I graduated high school. I went to a good college. I got a degree that would make me "accessible" and keep me "versatile" so that I could enter any field. I still ended up waiting tables for 2 years just to make ends meet while I waited for a career to come along. Only over the past 19 months have I been employed full-time with good insurance and great benefits. But at this point, unless I made 6 figures, there is no way I can foresee paying off my debt.
I am not voluntarily defaulting on my student loans nor do I advocate that. I pay what I can rather than what Sallie Mae demands of me. I keep detailed records of my payments and correspondences between myself and Sallie Mae. I even started an organization called Loan Reform Now in the hopes that while I'm trying to make a life for myself, I can help change the system so that people like me who are trying to live the American Dream can someday own a home, or a car...or anything. My credit is destroyed so I live on cash. I have no other debts and refuse to go into other forms of debt so that some bank can tell me how much I'm worth. I pay my rent on time. I live frugally. I work hard.
So why can't I ever get out from under this debt? When will our lawmakers realize that the system needs fixing?
With 2/3 of students borrowing money for school and 1 out of 5 defaulting on their student loans, we clearly need swift and serious action. We are suffering and want to contribute to society but we're drowning in debt.
Rep Jim Moran, please support the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012 (HR 4170) so that I and others like me can have a fighting chance.