My name is Yana and like so many of you, I took out private student loans in order to cover the cost of my education. Many of you may know the big name in private student loan lending: Sallie Mae. This predatory loan company feeds off the lack of knowledge that many college-seekers don’t quite understand about taking out student loans.
Fast forward to five years later, and here we are. At the age of 17, I had taken out $36,000 worth of student loans. If I had tried to do the same in order to purchase a home, I would have been quickly denied. But when it comes to student loans, borrowers can take out as much as they need, just as long as corporations like Sallie Mae are profiting additional cash in their wallet.
From the time I had taken out my loans in 2017, to the time I graduated in 2019 (pursuing a Bachelor’s was not a financially wise decision for me after graduating with my Associate’s), my loans had accrued thousands of dollars worth of interest ALONE. Fast forward another three years, and my loan balance is just shy of $50,000. Meanwhile, my federal student loans have gained a mere $58 worth of interest. Yep, you read that right. $58.00.
I have written emails to the White House, started a Change.org petition, and fought to have my story shared on my locals news station. These efforts don’t seem to be enough, and I am trying to do everything in my power in order to fight against Sallie Mae and to show that borrowers need relief, and we need it now. As much as we would love to have our loans forgiven, I just don’t see that happening anytime soon unfortunately, however, loan companies need to give us the benefit of the doubt and allow for income based payments and interest rates that aren’t 19.25%. Yep, 19.25%. That is the current interest rate on ONE of my loans.
“Oh well, have you tried to refinance?” Yep, I refinanced three separate times and each time got denied due to my debt-to-income ratio.
“Oh well, you shouldn’t have gone to college.” I was young and thought that college was the path to a successful life. No one in high school told me otherwise. The pressure was to go to college, or end up working a minimum wage job (which I still do to this day).
“Can’t your cosigner help?” Nope, my cosigner (aka my father), has other expenses to pay for, such as a mortgage. With the cost of living going up significantly every year, it’s just not doable for him at this time.
So you see, trying to win the battle against student loans is like trying to breathe in air that’s clogged with pollution. I urge you to #StandwithStudents and sign my petition to have Sallie Mae work with borrowers in order to lower interest rates and create more affordable payments for all. Click the link below to sign. Thank you!