Get Started By Telling Your Student Debt Story

Hi everyone. I’m Tonya. I started school in 2008 at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh- Online for a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. I chose an online program because I am a mom of 3 who works full time and was told online classes would be the solution to being busy and not actually living close enough to a college to commute.

I was notified that I had run out of student loans and that I would not be able to finish. After this, I transferred to International Academy of Design and Technology in 2010 and was told by them that this would not happen again and that I would definitely be able to finish my bachelors. Again, this wasn’t true and I ended up taking additional loans to finish with IADT as well. During my time at IADT I was told that the amount of my loans covered everything, including books and supplies, which turned out to be a lie. There were times when I had to purchase art supplies and other materials for classes out of pocket. I was also told the instructors were all the best in their field and that we would be learning inside tricks of the trade to be able to get lucrative, high-paying jobs after graduation, also not true. Many of them were no more knowledgeable than myself and were doing teaching as a side job.

After graduating from IADT I went to Full Sail for an MFA in Media Design. I do feel that this was worthwhile, I don’t think it was worth the additional $40,000 that I ended up with in even more student loans.

I recently found out that IADT was closed in 2015 after being merged with Sanford Brown, and that’s when I discovered this group. Prior to this I had no idea about DTR or any other things going on with student loans and for-profit schools. I had been embarrassed by taking out such large loans for “school” and never really discussed it with anyone so I had no idea. While doing research for my DTR application I discovered that IADT was placed on accreditation probation WHILE I was enrolled there in 2012. I am mad about this because I know I wasn’t notified of this and I think that would have made a difference in whether I enrolled in my final year.

My current loans are over $132,000 (with a lot of it going up due to interest). I am currently a graphic designer but I had this job BEFORE I went to school and I am desperate to hold on to this job since I have come to realize that nobody will hire me in graphic design based on my education. I honestly feel foolish for getting myself into this mess and not realizing that they were only in it for the money. I’m actually even more mad about it this week after watching the Fail State documentary and realizing that this actually wasn’t new at all and that greedy people have been taking advantage of people who are just trying to better themselves.


My student debt story started back in 2011 when I graduated from Weststern Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts degree. I had around $20,000 of student debt at that time(would have been much higher but my Dad took out parent PLUS loans) and it has stayed roughly the same as I have usually just been making the minimum payments due to other debts to pay off(I.e. car loan, credit card). I got accepted into graduate school(MSW program) recently but I don’t know if I want to take on more debt to further my education even thought it’s something I would really like to do. It’s insane that we live in a country we’re most of us are forced into debt slavery in order to get a higher education. I have been thinking a lot lately about how to form collective action around creating some type of student debt strike to force change on this issue. I believe that if enough of us went on debt strike the system would be forced to change.


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I enrolled at Everest college in the city of industry , California back in 07 graduated 08 from the medical assist program . My current loans are sitting at 14,000$ with no ways to pay. During that time I was enrolled the school had me open 3 private loans in order to stay on the school or I wouldn’t be able to go any more . So they got me, And during that time I had three teachers who didn’t know what they were doing. Read a chapter take a test . My externship was terrible the staff quit on me and the dr offered to keep me without pay , and often made passes at me that were uncomfortable. Everest knew about it and still sent students to him . Career services didn’t help me at all. They jacked up my resume and never found a job for me . When I had called to check up on my status they told me I had already had a job at a small internal medicine office where I had done my externship (which i didn’t have knowledge or any idea of that ). Salle Mae harassed me with phone calls for 3yrs and once told me to sell plasma to keep current with my loans. I Haven’t had any luck finding a job since 08, I’ve went on several interviews and had Drs tell me my certificate wasn’t valid or accredited , and that I wasn’t current on the MA standards. I’m currently going through cancer treatment for Leukemia, My immune system doesn’t let me be around a lot of people since I can get sick easily. I am also not working due to that as well.


Hello everyone!
I attend North Carolina State University. However, I was unable to enroll in this year’s spring semester because of student debt. I am about $7000 in debt because of the cost of attendance this year is almost $23K with the university. I took advantage of a workstudy package as part of my financial aid for this year, but it wasn’t enough to carry me throughout the fall semester and I fell even more into debt. I do have the opportunity to re-enroll back, but not until my student debt is eliminated.

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Corinne here! I feel like as of right now, my life is shaped by debt and I can’t swim out from under it. Currently, I am 40k in student loan debt currently through Nelnet about 9k in credit card debt and 25k in auto loan debt. I work for a bank so I absolutley have to keep everything in check in order to continue to work. Thankfully, I’ve been fortunate enough not to miss a payment but that comes at a cost. I have nothing saved to put to my name. Right now, if an emergency happened and I had to stop working, I’d be screwed. It’s very daunting being absolutely terrified every second that I could run into a sitation that could throw my whole life into disarray.

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I attended ITT Technical Institute from 2005-2009. Graduated with honors with both my Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree. Ten years later, still ranking these years as the biggest regret of my life. After graduating and 6 months later being hit with a $900+ monthly bill ($80,000+ total), going through hell to find all my loans and consolidate them, signing up for IBR, and then submitting my DTR claim in 2016, I’m still waiting for relief. This debt has hindered my life tremendously. I went into massive depression which required therapy and medicine. I took out my anger on my loved ones which negatively effect my relationships. When I finally landed a job to make a decent paycheck, I always felt like I was just working to pay these loans. Even with IBR, the monthly payments were just covering interest so my principal is never dwindling. And of course I can’t utilize IBR on private loans so that’s another issue. I’m scared to get married, have kids, etc because I don’t want my family being bothered with these loans. My story is long so I tend to just put the main bullet points.

· Inquired ITT Technical Institute in St. Rose, LA. Was contacted by recruiter for a meeting. Went to meeting where I was shown around the school and was given tons of paperwork. The main things that were shown to me were about the graduation percentage and the percentage of people who received jobs in the field of study there applied for. I was going for video game design and the percentage was about 7-12% stating that many people had received a job in video game design. However, we were the second class that was part of that program. The first class didn’t even graduate yet. So it left me wondering how anyone got a job in that field if they just started that program.

· I was constantly called to follow up on me attending the school. No different than a car salesman. I was even asked to take an entry test that I never saw my score, but was told I was eligible to attend the school.

· I knew I would have to take out loans. Asked the finance department if payments would be reasonable each month. I was told they would be and that everyone does it. And if everyone does it, then that is proof that payments are reasonable.

· After attending for a year, I was told that they would have to take out private loans since my federal loans were maxed out. They really didn’t explain what that meant and made it sound like it was very similar to federal.

· The whole while I was in school, many teachers would come and go. They were swapped out numerous times and teachers were even assigned to classes they did not even specialize in. Our math class was taught by another teacher who specialized in 3D modeling/graphics. He did not have a degree in Math at all and learned along with us.

· We even had teachers provide answers to final exams because if they passed a certain percentage of students each semester, they would get a bonus.

· After I graduate, I started receiving my monthly bills of over $900 per month. I called the school’s finance department constantly asking to help straighten this out and I was either never called back, or I was disregarded. No one at that school was able to sit down with me and figure out my options on how to consolidate, lower, or even help me understand all my loans and options.

· Last, but not least, I was contacted by the career department at the school and they offered me a job at Best Buy. I did not go to ITT to work at Best Buy nor can that career pay off my student debt. Once I found a decent job on my own with a small business, I was contacted by ITT career department to give them my current employer’s information so they can add them to the career list to help students get jobs. So basically I did their job for them.

I’m fed up and I really need some relief here. Some claim I’m just asking for a hand out, but it’s far from that if people know the facts. This school was a scam and suckered me in good. And if my monthly payments were at least decreasing my principal, I wouldn’t be as bad off as I am. I’m done, I’m tired, and I want some results.

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welcome to the platform!

Hello. I’ll m pretty much like everyone else here. Graduated from ITT with the promise of a good job in the field of study and found out it was all a big scam. Fast forward over 25 years later with a wife on disability while raising 3 kids and yep, they want to garnish my wages. It would be one thing if I was able to get a career in my field of study but I’ve never used my degree, it is a totally worthless piece of paper.

I’ve submitted the DtR and have a question for the group. Will the DtR at least postpone the garnishment? I received the notice Monday and submitted the DtR this morning. My only worry is that I’ve kicked this can for so long there’s not much of a chance I’ll see anything positive.

Thanks for the forum and any positive feedback is appreciated.

Hello, Thanks for joining the Debt Collective and submitting your DTR. In answer to your question, Yes submitting your DTR application should place your loans into administrative forbearance and stop collections for now. If this does not happen, please contact your servicer to let them know you have filed DTR. You can also re-post here if you have problems with your servicer about this issue.

I have $180k+ private loans and $100k+ federal. Working on PSLF for federal. I once had hopes and dreams and have found myself in basically, debtor prison (with work release!).

Originally took out $144k in private. Have paid $70k. Still owe $180+k. Navient called the police on me and I was mental health arrested from work a few months ago. PSA: don’t tell them that your life insurance is your plan to pay them back.

So, now just waiting.


welcome to the debt collective…you are not alone. we are here organizing together for a debt jubilee and free college

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