Regarding student loan forgiveness; I’ve been paying for 22 years…

I’m a private school teacher who’s been teaching for 7 years, after a career as an artist (read: no savings, a little bit of credit card debt). I’ve been repaying my student loans since 1989, but some of the loans dated back to 1981, when I borrowed to attend a private college for two years.

That proved too expensive, so I transferred to a state school after saving for several years. I never defaulted but consolidated a few times and had to take a few forebearances along the way, so some interest got capitalized etc. etc. At this point, I have repaid way more than I borrowed, and yet according to Sallie Mae I still owe about $5,000. I live paycheck-to paycheck. I’m turning 50 this year and it would be nice to have paid for my Bachelor’s Degree when I reach the half-century mark.

The education financial industry really does seem abusive. I’ve given up on my long-held dream of going to graduate school.

Is there some option for “forgiveness” for someone like me?


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4 thoughts on “Regarding student loan forgiveness; I’ve been paying for 22 years…”

  1. I’m in the same situation as Mary.  My balance is about $3,000 and I’m turning 50 this year. There is no relevant information in any of the links or suggestions that are offered here.  The Obama Student Loan act does not apply (and is a broken link) to existing loans.  The volunteer suggestion offered below sounds good in theory but is not likely if 1) you are already working full time and 2) you don’t have a “specific” skill to offer them, and  3) most volunteer organizations will take a “true” volunteer over someone who is asking for assistance on a 22 year old loan!

    It seems to me that just heaping on accrued interest, over and above the original loan note is abusive, unrealistic and unsustainable. The Sallie Mae loan I took out in 1989 was for 10 years. While I am fully responsible for the amount of time I have taken to make payments, if the amount of my payments equals more than half the amount of the original loan THAT should be illegal.  There should be a federally mandated cap on the amount paid on a loan in relation to the original amount.

  2. Check with your company.  Sometimes if you agree to stay with them for a certain period of time, the company will help pay your student loan.  Also, some volunteer programs that need your specific skill can help you pay your loan if you commit to volunteer with them.


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