Over my head and so very unhappy. Help

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
Over my head and so very unhappy. Help
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 12:09am
I am so glad I found this site. I have a long story I have to share because honestly no one else wants to hear about it, and I can no longer talk to my parents about it because they feel terrible that they can't help.

My husband and I just consolidated our student loans. Together. I wish we hadnt now becuase it was consolidated at a median rate between out two rates and now we owe (are you all sitting down?) $160,000 payable over 30years which with interest adds up to almost a half a millon dollars. The monthly payments are $1300. thats more then half of our earnings! I know we qualify for a hardship deferrment but the interest still accures on the unsubsidised loan at a rate of $600 a month. We also found out that you cannot claim bankruptcy on student loans. There is just no safety net for over-borrowers!! We have nothing of value to sell either. I keep fantisizing that someone will just help me out of this terrible mess.

We thought he would have a full time teaching job at some university, but his PhD fell through, and I had to put my undergrad off until her was done. So we kept differing all this debt with the golden dream job just out of reach; until now. Our whole world seems to have collapsed. I cry all the time, lost 12lbs and I feel so overwhelmed. I don't want to go to work either. I have many moments where I feel so helpless and sick.

My husband is going to be unemployed shortly (and doesn't quilfy for unemployment) and I earn only $1100. a month, so we can't meet the payments, but we need too because I am 35 he is 39 and we will never as I see it own a home. I feel so guilty. I wanted my girls to have their own bedrooms in our own small home, but what mortgage company is going to give us a mortgage? None. I feel so jelious of people who own their own homes. They have my dream.

I am so grateful to be able to write this all down somewhere. Thanks.

ps sorry about the misspellings!!
Avatar for jajaadetton
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 8:49am
Many many hugs for you and your hubby but hugs wont' pay the bills. I'm so sorry for that to happen to you. I have no advice for you but know that I am praying for you to get that help you need. Sorry.

Keep posting and let us know your progress.

Andi D.

Avatar for zaboz
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 8:49am
Hi there. I'm sorry you're having such a rough time!

You're in a lot of debt and I can understand how things feel hopeless.

But they're not. There are ways out of this. It's just going to take some time

and some creativity.

The first thing I might look into is how your husband can get his Phd. You said it fell

through. Does that mean it's almost finished? Because it might be worth finishing

with the hopes that he'll be able to find a better job.

Another thing you might consider is some of the loan forgiveness programs.

Have you ever thought about the military? When I joined, I earned $36,000 for college.

I know it's quite a bit more now (that was over 12 years ago! holy cow, I'm old!).

I think it's around $50,000 now (don't quote me on that).

He would probably be able to go in as an officer. The benefits are the money toward

your educational loans, housing and a reasonable salary. It could be just the thing

to get you on your feet.

Another idea could be the Peace Corps or teaching. I don't know the details of these

programs but I'm pretty sure that they offer some sort of loan forgiveness.

Something like this would seem ideal. Your monthly payment is hard to make so you

have to find a way to get some of that loan forgiven. Here's some more information.


I hope you can find something that will work for you. Keep your chin up. I know you

want your own house but for the moment you just have to be happy to have each other

and a roof over your heads.

Sometimes I think about those families who have

someone in the Middle East and I just want to cry thinking how lucky I am.

Even though we're in debt and things aren't perfect, we have the chance to make things

better. So try to focus on the good things, even though it's hard.

Avatar for zaboz
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 8:53am
Hey, I forgot to add that if one of you does join the military, your chances

are much better for getting a house (through the VA loan program).

I know it seems like a drastic idea but it may be worth some thought.

Good luck! Hang in there!
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-04-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 10:20am

I have some ideas for you. If you have consolidated your loans that must mean they're federal loans. Did you know that you can defer your loan payments for financial hardship. I understand that interest still accrues, but it will give you time to get back on your feet. You can also defer or forbear for unemployment.

Also- are you currently paying on an income contingent basis? If not, please consider it. It might make the payments more affordable.

Please don't be down. There are many of us out there with student loans. There are ways to survivie and thrive!

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 10:56am
You are definitely in the right place for emotional support while you cope with your debt. I was going to suggest posting on the Student Loans board, but cl-assilemw has already responded to you here. Also be sure to visit our Debt Q&A board for information on HOW to repay debt. Hang in there, sweetie, and keep posting.

CM Ms Joe Cool

Senior Community Moderator


Ms Joe
CM Ms Joe Cool
Senior Community Moderator

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 11:56am
Have you ever heard of Phoenix Online? It's an acredited college via the internet, however they have classes all throughout the country where students go to class. Anyway, they are always looking for teachers (facilitators). I have a relative that started doing this and he keeps his regular job and teaches one night a week. He gets paid by the class. It's a very reasonable amount of coin. Maybe your DH can do this and put the money he makes here toward the student loans. I know you have to have a Master's to teach here and if DH is close to PHD that would even be better. If you tell me where you're from, I can find out if there is a Phoenix around you or else you can search the web. Don't worry 160,00 seems overwhelming now, but remember that is probably 8-10 years of college debt DH plus you) so you won't get out of it overnight, but coming here is a HUGE step in the right direction!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 5:22pm
Given the fact that incurring debt to pursue an education is considered "good debt" because you are investing in your future ability to earn a higher income with your specialized knowledge in your chosen field of study (of course, this depends on the marketability of your chosen field), you should look at your student loan debt as what it is: an investment in human capital (yours). The student loan amount may seem overwhelming right now, but you will have time to pay it down and in due course you will be able to buy a house. Based on your ages, you have approximately 30 years to pursue careers and to save and pay down that debt.

I would focus on your future earning potential rather than on what you have to pay down. It might be a blessing in disguise that you don't own a house right now: you may need to be flexible and move to an area of the country where your skills are in demand. A couple of thoughts on your job outlook: you mention that your DH was seeking his dream job of working at a university. Perhaps he will have to defer his dream for a bit and pursue a job in the corporate sphere. Depending upon his area of expertise (and yours), you could consider pursuing corporate jobs where applicants with specific expertise in niche fields are much in demand. For example, many Wall Street firms in the 1980s and 1990s hired individuals (including professors) with advanced math degrees to develop and run their emerging derivatives businesses, which require highly specialized knowledge of modeling, quantitative analysis, etc. Needless to say, the salaries offered through these firms far exceed those available through universities. If your DH's true love is teaching, perhaps he could consider teaching at a public or private school, while tutoring on the side, until the Ph.D. is attained.

You've invested years of your life toward your degrees; I would focus on the future and how to capitalize on your education. Keep posting here and let us know how you're doing.