What It Means To Be A ‘Student Loan Voter’

Student loan borrowers have done the right thing — working hard to get their education or job training and taking on the personal responsibility of paying for it. But $1.3 trillion in student loan debt is standing between them and a fair shot at the middle class. We need to get serious about real, common sense reforms to treat these hard working borrowers fairly before the crisis becomes a full-blown economic catastrophe.

Research has shown that student loan debt hurts all of us by slowing our economy.

Families can’t buy new cars or homes or save for their children’s education. Workers can’t save for their retirement. Entrepreneurs aren’t able to start the small businesses that are the bedrock of new job creation.

The unfortunate reality of the student loan debt crisis is that borrowers who took on the personal responsibility to pay for it are not being treated fairly by the system. Millions of Americans are being denied the fair shot at the middle class that they earned with their hard work in getting an education.

Common sense reforms like allowing borrowers to refinance their student loans, just like you can with a home or auto loan have been introduced both here in Wisconsin and in Washington D.C. And more and more policymakers are getting on board with the need to reform the system to make sure education remains a path to the middle class.

We need to change the system and it’s clear that means changing the minds of policymakers.

Student Loan Debt Stories

“I couldn't keep my house and make more than interest only payments at the same time”

— Kristen, Alabama

“The stress of my children possibly not being able to eat has caused me to not pay in order to put food on the table”

— Natosha, Alabama

“Student loan debt is a growing problem that needs to be solved as soon as possible”

— Rachel, Alabama

“So far the only thing that has come out of my Master's degree is the mounting debt that I can't even begin to touch”

— Susan, Alabama

“I am stretched to the limit and my health has begun to be an issue”

— Christy, Alaska

“I received a call telling me my mother was in a plane crash ... I didn't have any money saved for such emergencies”

— Norma, Alaska

“I've paid back the amount borrowed, and still owe the same amount as the original loan”

— Carole, Arizona

“If I had it to do all over again, I think I'd have been a plumber”

— Dale, Arizona

“I still drive a car from 2001 and will most likely never own a home”

— Dr. Rhonda, Arizona

“There has to be a better way to manage this than hiking student loan interest rates to an outrageous level”

— Ellie, Arizona

“I love my career but if something doesn't change, I'll never be able to pay off my loan”

— Erin, Arizona

“How can an older unhealthy retired person live with a debt forcing me to live in another country in order to live at all”

— Jade, Arizona

“I'm saddled with a lifetime of debt with no visible way to pay it back”

— Jim, Arizona

“I thought I was going to make a better life for myself, instead I'm living a nightmare”

— Kay, Arizona

“My life has been hell ever since I took out a SMALL loan”

— Louise, Arizona

“I borrowed $10,000 for school in my 20s ... I'm now 63 and STILL paying this debt off”

— Morgan, Arizona

“Only $1.97 of the payments were being applied to principal”

— Suzanne, Arizona

“Things were different in the 60s”

— Edward, Arkansas

“I'm literally one pay check from being homeless, and will be so for the rest of my life”

— Milinda, Arkansas

“The thought of trying to raise a family while trying to pay loans is terrifying”

— Aaron, California

“It is so painful to think that my two little children do not have a dime saved towards their own education”

— Alejandro, California

“I'm a university professor, and my existence seems to amount to nothing more than paying off debts”

— Andrew, California

“A heartless Sallie Mae phone employee said to me 'even if your son dies in the army, you're still going to have to pay'”

— Ann, California

“I would pay the rest of my life if the payment was reasonable and possible”

— Audrey, California

“If my car dies I don't know if I could get a loan to buy another”

— Bonnie, California

“I wonder now if his education was worth the cost”

— Carrol, California

“The thought of dating scares me because I am ashamed of the debt I have put myself in”

— Cassi, California

“I have taught them that a college education is the only way out of living poor; I don't know that they believe me”

— Christine, California

“I was still raising 2 girls, teenagers now ... It got to the point where I could not afford to give them what they needed”

— Christine, California

“I have completely given up the idea of pursuing Psychology”

— Claire, California

“I will most likely have to move to another country when I retire where I can live on a much smaller retirement”

— Dan, California

“Since when did the United States become a loan shark? I'd have fared better with The Mob”

— Daniel, California

“I have been accruing interest since 2008 and now is the first time that I have been notified of the amount of interest”

— Debora, California

“Student loan debt has destroyed my present and any possibility of a good future”

— Edgar, California

“But when we do retire I don't know how we are going to be able to continue paying on these loans”

— Elizabeth, California

“How do we prepare for retirement when our student loans will follow us into our 70s and 80s?”

— Gina, California

“I am now 42 years old, and I would like to just give up”

— James, California

“We are revising our future”

— Jane, California

“We are educating the wealthy ... Students from middle class families are being shoved out”

— Janet, California

“I'm only grateful the interest isn't in the double figures”

— Janet, California

“It seems to me that it should be illegal to threaten to cut off access to health care to collect a debt payment”

— Janet, California

“Let's get our priorities right”

— Joan, California

“I also urge groups to take up the fight to lower the interest rate on the parent loans”

— Joe, California

“For most of the years since I graduated in 1996, I have not earned enough to make payments on my student loans”

— Judith, California

“The University of Phoenix is a diploma mill taking advantage of people”

— Judy, California

“I am so angry at them for not warning students and for happily screwing up everyone's credit”

— Katherine, California

“It rules my life ... Everything revolves around paying my student loan bill”

— Kathleen, California

“There came a time in my life when I thought that I could do better for myself and the family that I always dreamed of”

— Kenneth, California

“At a time that I should be saving for retirement, that money goes to the government in the form of student loan interest”

— Kirt, California

“I am harassed daily by collection agents”

— Kristoff, California

“I don't own anything not even a car and rent”

— Laura, California

“Luckily I was so broke that I qualified for deferments”

— Lenika, California

“I have paid around $850/month for my student loans for the past seven years”

— Leona, California

“They can take the $200 out of my social security leaving only $800 a month to live on”

— Linda, California

“My kids can't believe that I'm still a college student, at 52 years of age”

— Lisa, California

“If I could tell anyone to avoid student loans, now, I would”

— Louis, California

“I will never forgive or forget how these blood-sucking banks killed the future of my children”

— Lutz, California

“Because of my student loan debt, I have been denied the possibility of ever buying a newer car or ever owning a home”

— Mary, California

“My student loans seriously deteriorate my quality of life”

— Melissa, California

“I live with my boyfriend and can't even afford to pay half his mortgage, let alone speak of utilities”

— Melissa, California

“Times have changed and our country has gone completely stupid when it comes to education”

— Michael, California

“I thought going to graduate school would guarantee both of us a shot at home ownership”

— Nadia, California

“The educated are getting poorer”

— Nicole, California

“That student debt has haunted me for twenty years now”

— Nicole, California

“The last collector literally took half my grocery money for three months, in order to 'fix' things”

— Patricia, California

“I had opportunities to buy a home thwarted because of the debt”

— Paul, California

“Staying in school allows me to defer my student loans though they continue to rack up the interest”

— Paula, California

“The banks got bailed out, but who is going to help the brighter minds of this generation if we don't get them some help?”

— Randolph, California

“These loans get bought and sold for pennies on the dollar yet the amount they want me to pay has doubled”

— Renee, California

“I make a monthly payment of $79.96 – out of my disability income!”

— Richard, California

“I live in my friend's shop doing my best to also keep up with my loan payments to the best of my ability”

— Rick, California

“I am happy I have an education, but the debt that comes with it keeps me up at night”

— Sandra, California

“I am desperately hoping a miracle happens so I can figure out how to get out of this mess of debt”

— Sarah, California

“If I were to get sick tomorrow they would have to roll me into a ditch and let me die”

— Sean, California

“My life is over and I see no way out of this”

— Seyed, California

“I was told to go to school, work hard and study ... To follow my dreams and everything would work out”

— Stephan, California

“I completely forfeited a chance at the type of adulthood my parents enjoyed”

— T. Miriam, California

“I attempt to foresee a future where I don't have to worry about student loans and can maybe afford to move out on my own again”

— Valerie, California

“I am now in my mid-forties and could be paying off student loans until retirement”

— Wade, California

“They called my work and said that I would be paying that no matter what”

— William, California

“All of our income goes to paying bills to live and paying on our debt”

— Anonymous, Colorado

“Why is educating our children and ourselves so expensive?”

— Beth, Colorado

“I have failed my children because there is no way for me to afford their college education after paying for my own”

— Debbie, Colorado

“Although I never foresee my loans being paid off, I'm happy to do what I love”

— Elizabeth, Colorado

“Am 66, still working part time, can't afford Medicare”

— Jan, Colorado

“I remain angry that those who wish to be of service to the community, do so at such a high personal price”

— Laura, Colorado

“I took responsibilities of my loans when I left college and made paying them off my biggest priority”

— Lisa, Colorado

“Would leave this damned country if I could because of the student debt problems”

— Steven, Colorado

“I don't count on anything from anyone, except to be let down”

— Susan, Colorado

“I was stuck with paying an amount that I don't think I owed”

— Suzanne, Colorado

“I'm not sure how I am going to be able to feed my kids”

— Tiana, Colorado

“These student loans have haunted me throughout my entire profession”

— Valerie, Colorado

“This drain on society is leading me to drink ... But this is the price I pay for learning how to think”

— Chris, Connecticut

“I have not been able to accomplish the American dream of owning my own home”

— Karen, Connecticut

“Today, the student situation is much more difficult for education”

— Mario, Connecticut

“Families have to go bankrupt for their children to obtain a higher education”

— Mary, Connecticut

“Because of the interest, she working 3 jobs to pay it off”

— Peter, Connecticut

“A dream should not cost $130,000”

— Tiffany, Connecticut

“Before anyone judges me, they must first realize that completing my college degree has been a lifelong dream”

— Alyssa, Florida

“If I default I understand they will take it out of my social security check, and I cannot make it financially if they do”

— Barbara, Florida

“One of the most onerous experiences in the repayment of student loans has been the interaction with Sallie Mae”

— Boyd, Florida

“By the time I graduated I could barely stand”

— Carole, Florida

“I am trying to ask for forgiveness, but have not been successful”

— Collette, Florida

“Not able to find a career in my new field, the loans became a huge burden”

— Cristy, Florida

“I will never in my lifetime pay off my student loans at my income level”

— David, Florida

“I am still trying to pay off my massive student loans from law school even after 23 years”

— Donna, Florida

“Loans always should be adjustable to the circumstances”

— Helen, Florida

“Panhandlers do better than me”

— Ileana, Florida

“I don't foresee ever having this paid off and I'm afraid of wage garnishment”

— Jeffrey, Florida

“They have made it almost impossible for her to graduate”

— Joanne, Florida

“This debt hangs over my head and at this very moment”

— Karen, Florida

“I'm trying to keep it at a minimum but it's getting so expensive I doubt I'll ever be able to pay it all back”

— Katherine, Florida

“I can truly say that getting a college degree was the worst mistake of my life”

— Kevin, Florida

“Student loan debt collectors were cruel, all because I wasn't paying back my loans ... I couldn't afford to”

— Kristin, Florida

“I had to file bankruptcy to get an acceptable payment plan and consolidation”

— Lauren, Florida

“My loan from 1975 is now over 10,000 and its crushing me”

— Lewis, Florida

“I struggled immensely until I finally gave into foreclosure”

— Lisa, Florida

“I was the first one in my family to go to college, and I did not know the full picture about student loans”

— Maria, Florida

“Chronic pain adds to the daily financial struggle”

— Mid, Florida

“In 2006 and 2008 I went on military deployments overseas ... When I came home I couldn't keep paying”

— Paul, Florida

“I am 60 years of age and I don't know how I will ever get this paid”

— Randi, Florida

“I've been living at home and filing deferment after deferment – depressingly so – in hopes that 'I'll find work soon'”

— Raymond, Florida

“I am stuck ... I am about to be homeless”

— Rhonda, Florida

“I just cannot afford to live and pay for a loan that I had been promised I could get forgiven”

— Rhonda, Florida

“I'm not sure I would even be able to pay it before my life is done”

— Ricci, Florida

“I owe over $150,000”

— Robert, Florida

“Since then I have not had a job that has allowed me to pay back more than $1,000 of that”

— Sean, Florida

“I am scared because I don't want the loans to go into default, but if we can't pay what other choice do I have?”

— Vicki, Florida

“It's either going back to school or working to make money to live off of, or they will garnish my paychecks”

— Virginia, Florida

“If they don't restore consumer protections to private student loans so I can file bankruptcy, I'll be leaving the country”

— Brendan, Georgia

“Something’s wrong with our system”

— Cathy, Georgia

“There‰'s nothing like paying that amount of money and getting nothing in return for it”

— Christina, Georgia

“I would have loved to continue, but I just can not afford it”

— Cynthia, Georgia

“My concern now is how can I continue to pay my student loan and the mounting medical bills without the part time job”

— Diane, Georgia

“I did all this hard work for nothing and ruined my credit”

— Dixie, Georgia

“I was diagnosed with Lupus as soon as I graduated and was not able to use my degree for 3 years”

— Doreen, Georgia

“I have been disabled since 2008, but I want to work”

— Ellen, Georgia

“This the biggest scam I have ever seen”

— Glenn, Georgia

“The $750 check I wrote to Sallie Mae for years nearly shut down my ability to pursue a career”

— Janice, Georgia

“My family knew nothing about student loans, most were still living in poverty”

— Kenya, Georgia

“My concern was that student loans should be forgiven especially for those who chose to provide services to the most needy”

— Malikah, Georgia

“Is this what I have to deal with for wanting to make a difference in our young and special needs children?”

— Md, Georgia

“My interest is more than what I borrowed”

— Robin, Georgia

“I will very likely die in debt”

— Sharon, Georgia

“I have been paying his student loans for him”

— Shirley, Georgia

“I do not have any benefits at all, so I live my life praying I never get sick”

— Stephanie, Georgia

“By the time I pay student loans and credit card debt I would have enough money left to eat dog food”

— Tracy, Georgia

“The cost of attending law school has definitely not been advantageous to me”

— Wanda, Georgia

“I valued my education, as I knew I was going into debt for it! Just how much debt, I could NOT have ever imagined”

— Janel, Hawaii

“Student loan is a major crisis causing many students like myself a problem to get an education”

— Troy, Hawaii

“The student loans are coming due and I have no way to pay”

— Brenda, Idaho

“Most of those are private loans, which do not give me the flexibility and payment options that the government loans do”

— Amir, Illinois

“As everyone knows, the longer I am not paying the interest gets larger”

— Arlene, Illinois

“The high cost of education has become all 'smoke and mirrors””

— Barbara, Illinois

“I anticipate my home being foreclosed on and see no end in sight to paying off the loans”

— Catherine, Illinois

“He has found himself underemployed in an unrelated field”

— Christine, Illinois

“They are unwilling to work with you on making affordable payments”

— Cindy, Illinois

“Neither one is able to pay off these loans”

— Clarence, Illinois

“I ignored the matter and was ignored until five or six years ago, when harassment started by various collection agencies”

— Craig, Illinois

“I feel permanently shackled to that debt, and I feel cheated”

— Danielle, Illinois

“As a veteran, a responsible citizen, a life long educator, I am very disturbed that I have no recourse to repay my loans”

— Douglas, Illinois

“It is extremely difficult to save any extra money or even get out in front of the debt”

— Erik, Illinois

“I have felt for a long time, I am better off dead than alive!”

— George, Illinois

“I've had every intention of paying my student loan debt but, have not been able to due to supporting my entire family”

— Janice, Illinois

“With no communication I was expected to give money to a bank who had just been BAILED OUT BY OUR GOVERNMENT”

— Lauren, Illinois

“They make it entirely too hard for the kids to go to school and get an education”

— Lisa, Illinois

“I am frustrated and sometimes depressed that it is taking me so long to get back on my financial feet”

— Lynne, Illinois

“We are in desperate need of help and are falling behind because of all of this”

— Melissa, Illinois

“However, nothing has been resolved regarding my years of payments”

— Norma, Illinois

“I will never get my parent plus loan paid and will have to pay for it as a retired person”

— Patty, Illinois

“It doesn't matter that that my previous years wages were well under the poverty level”

— Rebecca, Illinois

“It is impossible for me to move out of my parent's home at the age of 34”

— Robin, Illinois

“A way to get off of the streets and have a better life for myself”

— Rowynn, Illinois

“Because I was the only student in my family to go to college it was hard to understand all the language on the paperwork”

— Scott, Illinois

“I will still never be able to pay off my loans, I don't even make a dent in it now”

— Shannon, Illinois

“I think about this every day, I pray for a windfall, but let's face it we're in serious trouble”

— Sherri, Illinois

“Because I decided to go to college, I live the American Nightmare, instead of the American Dream”

— Wanda, Illinois

“I can't live like this for much longer”

— Cathy, Indiana

“I have yet to reap any financial or emotional gain from the 12 years I spent working towards a better life”

— Dartanion, Indiana

“My degree cost $49,000 to achieve”

— Daryl, Indiana

“So, I go back to being a truck driver for a living”

— David, Indiana

“I really don't know what to do aside from desperately playing the lotto”

— Jonathan, Indiana

“Should we have even let them go to college at all?”

— Nancy, Indiana

“We have worked like slaves, only to realize, we are slaves”

— Susan, Indiana

“I want to feel secure, just once”

— Wendy, Indiana

“I am a single mother who cannot put her own daughter through college because of my student loan debt”

— Angela, Iowa

“I live in absolute poverty and am treated less than a citizen”

— Crystal, Iowa

“I need a better way than the current loan options”

— Donald, Iowa

“No wonder I plan to emigrate!!”

— Mary, Iowa

“I'm now working for a fast food ... I'm 61 years young and I don't know how I'm ever going to pay my student loan bills off”

— Richard, Iowa

“I do believe that financial circumstances should not keep someone from obtaining post high school degrees”

— Sharon, Iowa

“I borrowed from the devil and now it is clear that he has snared many more”

— Tom, Iowa

“I want to pay my debts ... But I need relief”

— Clay, Kansas

“We rent because we cannot qualify for a mortgage due to our high student loans”

— David, Kansas

“Even with all of the penny pinching I still must ask my parents for assistance at times”

— Erin, Kansas

“College was suppose to make my life better ... Instead it has only made it harder”

— Misha, Kentucky

“I will probably NEVER pay off this loan, so I am screwed for the rest of my life for a degree I can't use”

— Philip, Kentucky

“I feel I am being punished for trying to do the right thing”

— Donna, Louisiana

“Student loans changed everything about my life and the life of my child”

— Linda, Louisiana

“But my credit has now been ruined along with my good financial history and dreams of a comfortable retirement”

— Lynda, Louisiana

“Though the school loan payment is manageable, the impact of having such high student loan debt on a credit report is not”

— Diana, Maine

“Mine is one of those 'good old days' stories”

— John, Maine

“It makes our financial situation tenuous.”

— Julia, Maine

“They are simply not acknowledging the realities our young people are facing”

— Pamela, Maine

“I am so stressed about this as I have always tried to pay but had circumstances happen beyond my control”

— Sandra, Maine

“College was 'prepaid' by spending 4 years in the military during the Korean war so I had the GI Bill”

— Walter, Maine

“I was certainly better off as a grocery clerk, but I wanted to make a difference”

— Anne, Maryland

“Every penny that I make is devoted to getting myself out of debt”

— Arnold, Maryland

“I am having a very difficult time repaying”

— Cindy, Maryland

“They can write off the debt but I can't?”

— David, Maryland

“I want to get the degree but I am afraid that I'd simply owe more money and still not get a job”

— Faith, Maryland

“The cost has made me wonder if it was really worth all of the frustration and financial stress”

— Francine, Maryland

“I can only get $50 food for my son and I for these 2 weeks”

— Kimberly, Maryland

“With each consolidation my loans became unsubsidized, and the inflation game was on”

— Adrienne, Massachusetts

“I am in the hole for almost $200K and when my daughters are done with school”

— Carmen, Massachusetts

“After all, I just wanted to work and take care of my 3 kids”

— Catherine, Massachusetts

“In 2008 I received my PhD ... While this was a proud moment, it came with a loan of over $160,000”

— Col, Massachusetts

“Unable to pay bills so I am filing for bankruptcy”

— Eileen, Massachusetts

“I will be paying off my Stafford Loans for the ten years after I graduate”

— Kathryn, Massachusetts

“Soon I will find out the damage”

— Leslie, Massachusetts

“The debt has been a yoke around my neck”

— Ronnie, Massachusetts

“I do not make enough to pay any each month”

— Amanda, Michigan

“We have long since realized that the American dream will not exist for us”

— Bambi, Michigan

“I have been unable to find employment despite three years of constant attempts to find work”

— Christine, Michigan

“Instead, the prime years of my adult life were spent struggling to pay off student loan debt”

— Dr, Michigan

“I am terrified of what my loan debt will be when I graduate”

— Jenna, Michigan

“It sure as hell would be nice to have had a clean slate when I graduated from college”

— Jess, Michigan

“No matter how hard I try, I can't get ahead”

— Judith, Michigan

“I can't even begin to consider paying my student loans making the wages I do right now”

— Justin, Michigan

“If it isn't Sallie Mae on my answering machine 5 times a day, it is someone else who didn't get paid”

— Kathy, Michigan

“I was informed that I could not keep my job if I didn‰'t also have a master‰'s degree”

— Larry, Michigan

“I did see the results of the GI bill that was enacted after WWII”

— Mary, Michigan

“It feels like we were pitched and promised high-speed Internet, yet really only received a telegraph with morose code”

— Michael, Michigan

“I will never be able to pay back my student loans during my lifetime”

— Sarah, Michigan

“Unfortunately, the thing that I saw as the way to all this has actually ended up being the greatest hindrance on my life”

— Heather, Minnesota

“My only debt is my student loans”

— Jillian, Minnesota

“I now fear that I may never earn enough to pay my student debt in my lifetime”

— Julia, Minnesota

“More debt added to more debt”

— Kimberly, Minnesota

“At my age, going for a degree seems redundant”

— Lynette, Minnesota

“And I'm still not using my degree”

— Mary, Minnesota

“Some 35-plus years later some collection agency has come after me for this loan”

— Phil, Minnesota

“When I was young and naive, I clearly didn't realize how crippling it would be for my future hopes”

— Shawna, Minnesota

“Looking back my contributions could have been much greater if the rewards for higher education were more practical”

— Tamara, Minnesota

“I just can't believe that I still owe $14,000 when I have been making payments”

— Terrie, Minnesota

“The system was set up to exploit people like me”

— Tanya, Mississippi

“Now, when I decide to retire, I'll be collecting social security and paying it right back to the government”

— Bonita, Missouri

“I am unemployed and have used up my savings to stay afloat”

— Don, Missouri

“We just want to feel an ease in our debt so we can provide better for our family”

— Erin, Missouri

“I do want to pay them back ... I don't need a 'get out of jail free' card”

— Jessy, Missouri

“It is rough to pay every month”

— Lindsley, Missouri

“I will be dead before it's paid off and no one cares”

— Marie, Missouri

“My business failed ... My health failed ... Then for years I was underemployed”

— Michael, Missouri

“Obtaining a higher education has become a new form of indentured servitude”

— Cory, Montana

“The idea of living on the street here in Montana is suicide”

— Diane, Montana

“Our economy depends on education”

— Richard, Montana

“Most of the time, I had to work 2 jobs just to pay the bills and still could not make a living”

— Tina, Montana

“I began then being able to repay some of the now $15,500 loans, when Hurricane Katrina and all of its happiness struck”

— Tommie, Montana

“Try to avoid private loans, they will feel like they are sucking out any effort you try to make to improve your life”

— Chris, Nebraska

“My mother tearfully asked if I wanted to see my parents living in the street because of loans they couldn't afford”

— Allison, Nevada

“So she is in limbo like so many others in this 'lost' generation”

— Gale, Nevada

“The debt makes me feel like I went to school later in life for no reason”

— Kristopher, Nevada

“My wife has student loan debt of about $160,000 and the best job she can find pays $11.00 per hour”

— Vince, Nevada

“The collection agencies throughout the years would call and make threats to me such as, 'you should drop dead'”

— Bonnie, New Hampshire

“We'll literally be retired from our jobs and will be still be making student loan payments”

— Melissa, New Hampshire

“I still owe the Department of Education more than double the original amount”

— Sharyn, New Hampshire

“Let me paint you a picture of my life as a victim of Sallie Mae private loan”

— Alejandra, New Jersey

“They have threaten to take my mom's social security to satisfy the debt ... My mom is 84 years old”

— Andrea, New Jersey

“I could only afford to rent in the poor housing sections with high crime”

— Angel, New Jersey

“I work up to 18 hours a day at two jobs just to make ends meet”

— Bill, New Jersey

“We have a combined total of $200,000 in student loan debt that we will be paying until we are in our mid 80s”

— Charles, New Jersey

“Student loan debt is the worst thing I could have chosen to do but it was the only option”

— Dennis, New Jersey

“I lost my family, my own clinic, and my American dream and, I am still trying to pay of a debt that is going on 26 years”

— Frank, New Jersey

“Why does the U.S. have the most feudal system in the world when it comes to funding education?”

— Gary, New Jersey

“It seems as if I'm paying towards nothing, because the amount that's applied to my balance is so minimal”

— Ivory, New Jersey

“The programs for private loan consolidation are few and far between”

— Krista, New Jersey

“The children of our future will suffer”

— L, New Jersey

“I remain underemployed, only able to secure part-time work”

— Lisa, New Jersey

“I can't imagine facing what our young people are forced to face now just to have a shot at a decent life”

— Carol, New Mexico

“This seems to me a stark contrast of economic governance, against democracy”

— Craig, New Mexico

“It is a shame that I have spent a life living at the mercy of this debt”

— Deborah, New Mexico

“I am very frightened that once I receive Social Security they will take it from me and I will be living on the streets”

— Deborah, New Mexico

“I was harassed for repayment while I was still in graduate school”

— Doreen, New Mexico

“My only hope of paying my debt is death”

— Estevan, New Mexico

“They seize my federal taxes each year and can't even give me an accounting of where it has been applied”

— Jeanie, New Mexico

“I know the work I do is valuable”

— Katherine, New Mexico

“I will not be able to pay it back until I die ... Is that what they are waiting for?”

— Laura, New Mexico

“I feel like I am on a financial tightrope”

— Marsha, New Mexico

“It meant a lot of work, and a lot of sacrifice”

— Raymond, New Mexico

“I am currently owing about $69,000 in student loan debt and I am not done with school yet”

— Sarah, New Mexico

“I tried to apply for the forgiveness program and I was told that I didn't meet the requirements because of one loan”

— Tracy, New Mexico

“I never had anyone helping me pay for school, so loans were the only way I could afford to go”

— Amberlynne, New York

“I began with nearly $45,000, and today still owe almost that exact amount, even after 15 years of payments”

— Barbara, New York

“I have deferred a few times, not because I didn't want to pay, but I couldn't afford to with the hourly jobs I had”

— Carlito, New York

“I can barely make ends meet without student loans so I have to apply for deferments every year”

— Darren, New York

“She can't even afford to finish a College education”

— Diana, New York

“Every month I have to choose which prescription I am going to go without”

— James, New York

“I first had unemployment deferments, then, after cancer diagnosis, medical deferment”

— Jeanmarie, New York

“I accrue over $800 in interest every month – that's more than my rent”

— Lianne, New York

“Today's student loan market has created a new form of indentured slavery for many students”

— Megan, New York

“I am now 31 years old, starting a family and don't have enough money to put a down payment on a house”

— Meghan, New York

“I understand this is my responsibility and I have to pay it off but I feel robbed”

— Michael, New York

“I'm hoping things will turn for the best for everyone and myself who are struggling with this problem”

— Michael, New York

“Maybe I should start playing the lotto. It may be my only hope to get ahead of my student loan”

— Nikaury, New York

“It makes one heartsick to calculate the interest required for the loan”

— Patrice, New York

“Even after a professional degree and a full time job I'm still asking family and friends to spot me a few dollars”

— Paul, New York

“I am a Decorated Combat Veteran ... I don't own a home, I have little to no savings”

— Robbie, New York

“I am now $100,000 in debt and I am basically just paying the interest”

— Stacey, New York

“I have to make a choice to eat or pay my mortgage”

— Cheryl, North Carolina

“The loan payments are about to start”

— Debra, North Carolina

“I'm barely able to make the monthly payment”

— Debra J., North Carolina

“I am now 70 years old paying a Student Loan that I could not possibly pay off”

— Joann, North Carolina

“It's terrifying and I live with the constant stress and fear of indigence in my old age”

— Kathryn, North Carolina

“My 'investments' in my future have turned out to be nothing more than shackles”

— Kristen, North Carolina

“I landed some part-time teaching jobs here, but have never made enough to pay my bills and make the full loan payment”

— Margaret, North Carolina

“We both earned various scholarship monies but we still had to borrow”

— Mark, North Carolina

“I have no place to turn to find a solution to the student loan”

— Rebecca, North Carolina

“We declared bankruptcy in 2008”

— Rebecca, North Carolina

“I'm now 51 and the loans have spiraled hopelessly to over $300K”

— Suzanne, North Carolina

“I went back knowing that I would have to face the horrors of student loans”

— Yolanda, North Carolina

“The school promised me job placement assistance, but this was misleading”

— Ben, Ohio

“I had to choose between keeping my house, or keeping my health insurance”

— Christy, Ohio

“I have written a congressman, and the President ... Nothing has worked”

— Christy, Ohio

“I have my dream career but now I am at risk of losing everything I worked for”

— Diana, Ohio

“Without student loans I would be doing quite well ... That's the hardest part of all”

— Drew, Ohio

“I do wonder where the end is to this crisis”

— Helen, Ohio

“Although we would do anything to help our children, it has put us in a financial bind”

— Joan, Ohio

“It is becoming harder for senior citizens to even exist”

— Katherine, Ohio

“I was the first person in my family to go to college ... It should be something to be proud about”

— Kerry, Ohio

“I don't know if I will have enough money for my retirement if and when it comes”

— Kim, Ohio

“This is VERY hard on my barely surviving small business”

— Lydia, Ohio

“Forgiveness of student debt in the US would continue the economic growth, pumping money into the economy”

— Marie, Ohio

“I literally begged and pleaded with them to work with me so I could pay back my loans”

— Pete, Ohio

“I want to pay back my loan as I'm grateful that I was able to get my Master's degree, however, I'm not able to do it”

— Sharon, Ohio

“I could not afford to pay on my student loans and deferred them as much as I was allowed with interest building”

— Teresa, Ohio

“I feel I was taken advantage of by the private industry and even by universities”

— Theresa, Ohio

“It is obvious that I will never be able to pay off my student loan”

— Christopher, Oklahoma

“About 10 months later I suffered a spinal injury and ended up being fired for being unable to do my job”

— David, Oklahoma

“And I have four months to do it before I'm unemployed ... Thanks a lot, Washington”

— Doug, Oklahoma

“Trapped in a downward spiral”

— Gary, Oklahoma

“As we searched for scholarships and grants, it became obvious student loans would be needed”

— Gary, Oklahoma

“The sad part is I cannot even use the degrees I earned”

— Linda, Oklahoma

“I don't mind paying the money back so that others can go to school, too, but the problem is life happens”

— Lou Ann, Oklahoma

“I hate and despise Sallie Mae and the profits that they have made off the backs of people like me”

— Nancy, Oklahoma

“Buying a new car seems only possible if we win the lottery”

— Rachel, Oklahoma

“I was at a point that payments far exceeded my ability to even make a monthly payment”

— William, Oklahoma