I Got Out of the Military, Went to Wyotech, and Now Want to Kill Myself Over Student Loans. – Dustin

“Dear Steve,

I guess it all started after I got out of the military. I knew I needed to go to school in some capacity to hold a decent paying job. I decided life as an automotive technician would be great, I knew lots of relatives that had a modest life with such a career, which is all I wanted. I paid upfront a total of 38,000 Dollars for 9 months of schooling, at Wyotech. In the last 4ish years I have paid more than 22,000 dollars towards my loans (6 if I remember), about 19,000 is interest. Not a mark on my credit, and because of prior year income with the Army I was saddled with almost 28,000 of it being private loans, at an interest rate of 12.5 percent. The rest were between 6 and 8 percent.

I am not personally happy with my career choice, as I am faced with fraud and abuse on a daily basis. And because of that, I no longer work. I feel I have been stripped of the one hobby I really enjoyed. The abuse was broad and rapant. I worked for 6 different employers, giving one a second chance. The companies I have worked for frequently overcharge, pad labor and part charges, perform inadequate repair or fail to repair the vehicle at all, doubling up labor charges for similar tasks to increase pay, extorting customers out of vehicles with ridiculous estimates and then offering to buy for pennies on the dollar. The list really does go on and on. I understand that we as a whole are in this together, and it makes me sick seeing this on a daily basis, informing management, and then being punished or forced out of work as a result. I am left with poor references because I am not a “team player”. And the wages I need to make to stay solvent are long gone. I have to pay nearly 500 Dollars in student loans every month, plus rent/utilities, and my tool payments, running close to 300 Dollars a month as well. As such I can no longer and will no longer pay on my loans, as I feel I was overcharged, and left in a workforce that does nothing more than the same.

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I do understand personal responsibility to repay, but the amount of debt I had to borrow to get into a decent line of work was more than I could bear at one time. I have no other credit, as credit is the prime reason for our problems as a nation. I am thoroughly tired of this situation, and contemplate why it even matters anymore. I tried to do the right thing by going to school, but all I have done in enslave myself to a new master. I am 26 and will be 46 years old before these are paid off, to the tune of 112,000+ including the interest.

Just to add, I am a 5 year technician, Honors graduate of Wyotech, ASE Master Technician, and Advanced Level Specialist.

I have student loan debt that is unbearable, in a career field that is equally unbearable. I cannot discharge this debt and even university law students say suicide is the only true solution. I feel like I made another very poor financial move and just want to start over in a career that wont cost me my entire future, as it already has. What can I do? Is suicide the best option?


Dear Dustin,

Many feel the same way you do. It is tragic that private student loans are like an educational IED.

Was any of this training conducted under your GI Bill benefits? If so then there may be some intervention assistance available from the VA.

Otherwise, the lender is going to say the choice of school was yours. The lender paid the school and the school provided you with the education.

Do your family members in the automotive repair business say those bad activities also go on where they work as well?

Would taking your skills and relocating offer you any better prospects for employment?

I don’t think you have any issue with the quality of your education but the lack of moral conduct you’ve experienced in the automotive repair business.

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Just to be clear, what is the balance due on your remaining student loans? I’m not clear on the balance due and who is servicing your loan. Is it a total of $28,000?

For private student loans the place to start on any payment adjustments is with the lender or servicer. With government backed loans you could contact the Department of Education.

This trap of private student loans is terrible. This year I wrote Suicide Over Student Loans. Tragic But Understandable. People think they are doing the right thing, only to wind up in horrible debt. What’s even more surprising is that 75% of people with student loans, never graduated.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

3 thoughts on “I Got Out of the Military, Went to Wyotech, and Now Want to Kill Myself Over Student Loans. – Dustin”

  1. The starting balance was $38,000. $28,000 was private student loans at 12.5 percent from Sallie Mae, the rest were Stafford/Perkins loans at 6.8 percent. I currently owe $35,000 in principle including the compounded interest. So I knock off about a $1,000 a year in principle. I’ve put the federal loans in forbearance, but Sallie Mae refuses to defer the private one. I have to make minimum interest payments, or default on it. My minimum payment is $269.28 a month, in interest alone. Doing this has added close to $5,000 if not more to the life of the loan.

    I have an issue with the price of my education. With what I paid I should have gotten a lot more for my money, but since that is not really possible, it should have been more affordable instead. Interest or not, Ive paid $22,000 to-date, I feel I have paid enough.

    The people I talked to in my early life had great automotive careers. My best friends dad was apprenticed in, and worked his way up with age.

    The problem is today shops DO NOT want trained and seasoned professionals. They want cheap labor. I need to make $20/hr to pay for my loans, tools (did I mention these are expensive?) and living expenses at a minimum. For that rate, they can hire 2 people with little or no actual experience and train them in. I’ve experienced this so I know it happens.

    I moved from Kansas to Illinois hoping to improve my wage and job prospects. Its as if the two months it took me to move here, everything went to hell, no one will even look at me when I tell them my previous wages. A transmission rebuilder only offered me $15/hr, and that line of work requires knowledge and skill. Many of the places I apply to work on “gimmick” services. Performing services on your car that are not required in any capacity, and paying top Dollar for it. That constitutes fraud to me, and I will not work in any environment that condones it.

    I guess I am just at my wits end. Because Sallie Mae will never stop calling. They will never stop threatening. They will never let me live in peace.

    • Dustin,

      I agree with many of your statements. Yes, private technical colleges are too expensive, like many for-profit colleges are. It is especially tragic that a number of schools were found to actually target veterans to take advantage of their GI Bill benefits. Even Wyotech has a site focused on the military. http://military-benefits.wyotech.edu/?dmredirect=IFWMYMIL

      And I completely agree that companies want cheap labor. Good old hands on labor is not something that can be outsourced but companies can drive down the cost of labor to increase their bottom line.

      The bad news is that since 2005, there has been no relief for private student loans since they were removed from being eligible for immediate bankruptcy discharge. They are eligible for discharge once they have passed the statute of limitations. But yours sound rather recent.

      On a bit of good news, a little bit, you should look into consolidating your Perkins and Stafford loans and then put them in the income contingent repayment plan rather than leaving then in just forbearance. This will give you the lowest, or no payment necessary on those loans for now. Visit https://loanconsolidation.ed.gov/loancalc/servlet/common.mvc.Controller?controller_task=startCalculator

      I talked to WyoTech and they stated your campus has a career placement center that can provide assistance. I’m a bit skeptical but have you contacted them for job placement assistance?

      • I never paid for the GI bill, many of my colleagues also didn’t because of the lack of options available, and the disbursement method used to repay the costs. Because my program was only 9 months long, I would only be eligible for 9 months reimbursement, which I have looked at and would have not even put a dent in my debt, maybe enough to cover half of my living expense, if that.

        Sallie Mae refuses to unpackage my loans at all. When I started repayment I attempted multiple times to pay off the smaller loans (IE Stafford/Perkins) individually, and I was told that was not possible, they would not state a reason.

        I have been to their career fairs twice while I was enrolled, most employ nationally, which I guess can be an advantage of being single. I am married, and my wife is going to graduate school, so that is not really an option for me. Even if it was, I would feel like I was being sold into the perfect job, just as I was when I enlisted, and every job I held afterwards, only to realize it was all a dream in my head. I know we all have to do what we have to do, but at some point you need to ask yourself how desperate does the situation need to get before you say something. I don’t see the point of conforming to that way of living. You hurt everyone, including yourself, in the end.


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