Any Older Student Loan Borrowers?

I was in my 50’s when I returned to school to attend the University of Phoenix, and then Jones International University to earn my Bachelors and two Masters degrees. I am now in my 70’s, and have never used my education due to age restrictions in the workplace. I am now retired. I received my certificate of graduation from UOP, but even though I completed all of my credits, I never got my graduation certificate from Jones International. It is heartbreaking to put in so much work and investment that I could never use.


Hello, thank you for bringing up this point and reaching out to others with this prompt. I am encouraged to follow suit and break the isolation of living with student debt and being older and know it is often powerful to join forces.
So, to qualify: I am 55. I went to college when I was 38 and then immediately to graduate school.
The debt I hold is around $50,000 and less than many here are burdened with.Still, it has been a source of shame and despair for me for years. Just can’t seem to get ahead of it.
When I went to college during a recession and layoff, I had hoped I was being deliberate and would logically secure more steady income; expanding my access in a field I had existing skill in. I made college choices from a pre-educated perspective and really only came to see myself as a consumer of education mid stream. I signed up more than once for debt forgiveness working in nonprofits, but cannot find any record or documentation. Starting again on that thread.


55 with around 100k, mostly federal.
I also went to college in my 30s after I already became a single parent.
I had a student loan in the 80s for business school and it was simple to repay so I didn’t think twice about taking loans when the grants ran out.

Being the sole supporter of 2 boys meant there was no money left after housing, food and transportation.

I still have one at home and I’m still trying to dig out of a hole of medical debt which leaves nothing for student loans. Sometimes I even have to put groceries on a credit card


I’m 58, with $325K. I have checked every forbearance and forgiveness for the past 20 years but none are for me, even though I have been a teacher over 23 years, on pslf past of it and an urban public school teacher at that! It’s depressing.


As a 58-year-old single mother in debt with a student loan since 1989, I can relate to some of the comments on this topic. When the Biden Administration canceled millions of dollars of loans for students defrauded by the for-profit schools they attended, it only covered a certain amount of years.

The cancellation did not include student loans from the 80s and 90s when for-profit schools first began defrauding and misleading billions of students, which led to the annual increase in defaulted loans. The executives in charge of schools in the 80s and 90s were never held accountable for their actions which allowed them to continue using deceptive practices in schools until the scandal and collapse of Corinthians Colleges more than 20 years later.

The Biden Administration and Department of Education should Grandfather-in any student loans before 2000 that match the guidelines under the new rules for loan cancellation.
I will be stuck with this debt until my 90th Birthday if my loan is not canceled.


I agree with you about how crooked schools were in the 80s. I am trying to reach out to people for support by writing letters to the Biden Administration to request that student loans from the 80s and 90s be Grandfathered-in under the new Borrower defense rule. I was defrauded by my former school in the 80s. The former owners of the defunct Corinthian Colleges started as the executives of my old school before it closed. They used the the buy-out money from my school to open Corinthian in 1995. Those guys got rich for more than 30 years while students are still paying off their loans


Jerry, marriage and family therapist, veteran business owner and Dad to a T21 kid. I also produce narrative storytelling podcasts. I joined the military to help with college costs which began around $28,000 and grew to a monstrous $127,000. It’s created a dilemma which has resulted in a lot of unhealthy struggle around guilt, shame, resentment and sometimes blame.


I’m 51 btw


66 and owe $66,000 - no way I can pay since I’m unemployed. Have racked up at least $11,000 in interest because I’m always in forbearance. I’ll have to take this debt to my grave which, undoubtedly, I’ll reach sooner than later because of this debt.


60 years old. My student loan has ballooned from its original $27k to over $150k. I have offered many times to repay to original amount with reasonable interest (up to $35k) and have been told over and over that these loans cannot be negotiated. Everything is negotiable, these loans should be also.


51, -$ 100,000 now, orihinal loan was - $60,000 went to school at later age assoc. Degree by 1999, didnt finish B.A., in foodservice management worked restaurants resorts, catering, foodservice of al types, I busted my tail but never made a living enough to pay more than my basics. Insurance? What is that? Investments? Whuh? Always scraping by, only own a basic vehicle.
What was the question? I can hardly PAY attention…


35 here, took out 62k and now owe 108k through the IDR program. Had Navient and was put into forbearance for 3 years instead of IDR at the start of my repayment. Had my student loans for almost 14 years. My family has struggled to buy a home but the first 2x the lenders refused to take my IDR paperwork to factor in our debt to income ratio. We are on our third time in the last 7 years and attempting once again in the worst real estate market and this is our last shot. Not only that when I signed for my loans no one ever said that I wouldn’t ever be able to pay it back or that compound interest was a thing. It was sign here, and you will have no problem at all with this graduate degree. I went to Troy for a Masters in Counseling and Psychology only to get to the end of the program to be forced to quit as I was a working student. The last part required internships which required once again to quit my job. I couldn’t afford to quit so I had to abandon my degree. Troy should be held accountable for false advertising but never will be. Navient and the Department of Education need held accountable for issuing loans that they knew I could never pay back. A counselor makes 40k a year. Come on, 100k in student loans. I wish I knew what I know now back when I was just a naive student. This whole thing is like selling your soul to the devil and you are slave for the rest of your life.


That’s what I think, too. Why can’t we pay the original balance and NOT all this interest. Even that forgiveness would be welcome.


Whoa. That’s an enormous burden. I’m so sorry.

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Well put.

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I’m 44 years old with a balance of about $88k, down from a high of $159k, was originally a mix of FFELP and private loans. Serviced by Sallie Mae —> Navient. I’m third-generation Mexican-American, and had the American dream success path drilled into me from a young age. College was always a pre-requisite for doing better than my parents and grandparents.

Like many here, I took on loans, graduated, and entered the job market in 2001 just post 9-11. Unable to make payments I was pushed to use up all deferment and then forbearance time. I went back to school for a graduate degree because in-school deferment provided some breathing room.

I did get a better job after graduating but still only made about $10k more. I consolidated my loans for a better interest rate and rather than IDR I was pushed toward a graduated repayment plan that lowered payments initially with no income calculation. In 2017 I tried to get my parents removed as a co-signer from one of the private signature loans, but was told the principal balance was too high. I’d have defaulted if it wouldn’t have put their credit in jeopardy. Instead I used credit cards to stay afloat, paying all my utilities, car insurance, etc with them and moving the increasing balance around from one low interest offer to another.

Over the last 2 years I’ve had an incredible career progression and salary jumps, yet they’ve almost been completely eaten by my debt payments. I’ve paid off my credit card debt and my private loans, and still have so far to go.

My remaining balance of $88k is FFELP loans and I was thrilled at the prospect of the 20-25 year repayment forgiveness coming for federal borrowers even if they’d never been under an IDR plan. Unfortunately, I just found out that my federal loans are not only serviced by Navient, they are OWNED by Navient. Therefore they are not Direct loans and not eligible. I’m ashamed that I never understood the distinction. I thought all federal loans were WITH the federal government.

The only way for me to be eligible for any forgiveness being discussed today is to consolidate through a direct loans servicer, increasing my overall balance by another $10-11k. No one can tell me if I will actually be eligible or not. I spoke with reps at who said the only way to be considered is to apply for a consolidation and THEN see what happens.

I’m weighing whether it’s worth the risk. Or if I should just keep plugging away at my existing debt through Navient and hope to keep my current salary level long enough to make it through to the other side.

My partner defaulted on his FFELP loans years ago, and had his wages and tax refunds garnished to repay them. His private loans are still outstanding.

Two of my three step-kids are college-age. We’ve been candid that we have no ability to fund their education. The eldest joined the US Marine Corps. The middle child is going to apply for loans, though I’ve begged her not to.

My sense of failure is overwhelming. I hate myself for the mistakes I made and feel like an incredible disappointment to my family. Still, I’d make a deal with the devil today to keep paying off my debt to the last cent if it meant no one else ever had to go through the same.

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Hi there!

Thank you for this post! It is great to know that there are people older than 30 who are pushing for debt cancellation.

So, now that you have a list of responses from people in their 40s and beyond, what is the next step?

Thank you,


Wow, I see that I’m not alone in this. I’m 67 and have about 350K in student loans, and increasing about 1K every month. My initial amount borrowed in the 90’s was 75K. I’ll never be able to repay. Actually it was before the 90’s . I was young and ignorant to this loan business. When I was in school, I wasn’t working, so, when the school said I could easily get money, why not ? I was in a doctoral program and unfortunately I wasn’t able to finish due to a cancer diagnosis at that time. I tried going back, but I was never the same, and couldn’t finish. It honestly wasn’t on purpose, but I’ve never paid into it. I have some mental health diagnoses (I didn’t know at the time), and I job hopped like there’s no tomorrow. Luckily, I got my nursing degree so I was able to make a living with that. However, every time it was time to pay on my loans, I wasn’t working. Every time, Navient gladly put me in deferment or hardship. When they said I wouldn’t have to pay, well, I gladly took it. I had absolutely had no idea what compound interest was. They should teach this in schools. I didn’t realize at the time, but why was Navient so eager to have me go into deferment. I never paid, well, 150.00 was it. Now, I think it may have been better to go into default. I’m not in default, I’ve been on Income repayment plan, and have been for awhile. I’m retired, and work part time since my ss doesn’t cover my cost of living. No pension since I never stayed long enough anywhere.
My monthly payments are 0. I called them, and asked to forgive this, or when. It’s been on my credit report for some 30 years now. I think they said it’s NOT 10 years or something on the income plan. Also, the supposedly forgiveness will go on my income taxes ? That’s ridiculous,
how would I pay that ? No, I can’t get a mortgage. Luckily my Dad left me some money to get a manufactured home.
I’ve only thought of bankruptcy (yes it’s hard, but I heard it can be done) I don’t want to hurt my otherwise good credit. I could go with disability, but I’m not on ss disability.
Meantime, the amount goes higher and higher.
I blame Navient, and the whole education system for this. I don’t know where to turn .
If Biden or whomever, forgives 50K, that won’t help me.
Sorry this is so long, but I needed to tell the whole story. I hope you can please help us.
Not that it would do any good, but I’m also going to copy and paste this and send to President Biden.

Hi there!
I’m 48 years old and my debt started out as like 50k and nows it 80k. I was told can’t afford it, just defer it. So I’ve paid on and off, but I owe more than I borrowed.

Don’t own a home, no kids and I use my degree but not all the time.

Biden can cancel it now, or even cancel the interest, but if not I guess I’ll take it to my grave.

Yep. 48 yo - borrowed $49k in federal loans. Went into repayment in 2000. I’ve paid back $57k since then - at times I’ve been in deferment, I’m not sure if I’ve been in forbearance prior to Covid forbearance - I never defaulted, never nonpayment when required. There were times my payments were lowered to $200 a month (typically payment are almost $600/month). There was a two year period I paid $2000/month. Even with all this, I still owe $54k.

I have no idea if I qualify for discharge of loans since I’ve been paying some amount or in deferment/forbearance since 2000? There is not assistance or guidance here. The debt is oppressive. Desperate to get my kids through college without debt that stays with them for decades like mine.