Open letter to President Obama

I have something very serious on my mind, Mr. President.  It’s called student loan debt.  It’s a big fat nightmare.

I remember the SOTU address when you first mentioned the student loan debt issue.  I was thrilled; I’d been hiding for years behind my burden of student loan debts, thinking I was the only one with this problem.  I heard you mention how you and Michelle both had student loan debts and how you’d struggled with it.  I was hopeful that there was some solution, some way to ease the burden I felt.

But the reforms for loans you mentioned didn’t affect me; in fact, the reforms didn’t help the millions already stuck in repayment.  Forgiving student loans after 20 years of repayment and capping payments at 10% of one’s discretionary income did nothing to help me.  I felt sick.

I kept thinking to myself:  I did the right thing; I went to college, I graduated, I got a higher ed degree.  I kept asking myself—was it worth it?  Why am I in so much debt when all I was trying to accomplish to get a better position in a field I loved?  And how had my loans—which were substantial, I’ll admit—now tripled in size due to interest?  I felt completely and utterly helpless.

Then the economy tanked, and I worked 3 jobs just to make rent.  I had a Master’s degree, yet no commensurate job or income.  I now still work 2 jobs and make less than $30k annually.  Was the MA worth it?  You do the math.

Mr. President:  the changes you made did not give any help to the more than 37 million Americans already in student loan debt hell.  The student loan industry is a fraud.  There is absolutely NO consumer protection for students.  Universities and lending corporations have turned us all into cash cows.

Mr. President, I want to know what you are going to do about this problem?

The student loan debt is on the verge of $1 Trillion dollars.  All because Americans wanted to go to school to better themselves and give themselves better opportunities in the workforce.

WE DESERVE BETTER THAN THIS.  EDUCATION SHOULD BE A RIGHT, NOT A COMMODITY.

Mr. President, I am tired of being embarrassed and ashamed because I did the “right thing.”

Education is NOT a commodity.

Bankruptcy laws cover back child support debt and gambling debt, but have NO protection for those of us who wanted a higher education and got screwed.

I will stand up to the student loan industry, and what I want to know, Mr. Obama, is will you stand with me?

DON’T FORGIVE STUDENT DEBT; ERADICATE IT.

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