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Periodic Contributor

Fed up. Why doesn't college debt for older Americans count?

Where's the media out there for US?

What kills me is that older Americans who pursue higher education to improve their lives after they've figured out that whatever they've been doing for 50 years already isn't work aren't even mentioned in any of this.
We were told, "Oh, you'll have so many more opportunities with a degree, even if you don't work in a field related to it."
Jobs that care I have a BA - 0
Jobs that are in my field of study that care about my BA - 0
It's a con. You'll get government loans, you'll be told over and over that it will make a difference, you'll get a better job and earn more and pay those loans back quickly.
But actually you'll end up in retail and paying student loans until your body is cold and dead in the ground. You can't retire, because they'll garnish your social security check. You can't earn more because you have no experience and you're old, you're of no real use. You've lived out your turn. But they love making promises, adding interest, running your debt up and up and breaking you at the end of it all.
But no, media outlets, let's not talk about this group of people. Only the younger generations have actual potential to do anything useful.
Getting a higher education was the biggest mistake of my life. Because my only source of hope for a better life turned out to be a sparkly poof of air that dissipated into nothing but servitude to the dollar and the dollar you can earn to repay not only the loans but all the interest they accrue month after month, year after year. There's nothing left to live on. Can't sleep. Can barely afford to eat. 

Just looking ahead to the joy that may be the last decade, maybe two, of my life. 

No wonder I hate mornings.
Bronze Conversationalist

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Hello everyone, let's keep to the topic.  


The topic is about "Why doesn't college debt for older Americans count?".


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Honored Social Butterfly

Who is "They"?  Who told you?  Who made the promise?


Came back to add that in recent years, the US Dept of Education has cancelled student loans for a variety of reasons.

  • In December 2018 -  cancel $150 million in student loans connected to for-profit colleges that closed in recent years.  The discharge of loans applies automatically to about 15,000 students who attended now-defunct colleges that closed between Nov. 1, 2013, and Dec. 4, 2018.  Other students who attended recently closed campuses or who believe they were otherwise defrauded can still apply to have their loans canceled, the department said.
  • In March 2021 the U.S. Department of Education announced its new plan to help tackle debt for those who borrowed federal money to pay for student loans.  In a new streamlining process, borrowers who have approved claims that confirm their college or institution defrauded them or engaged in financial misconduct will be able to apply for full relief. 

    Officials estimate that this could help about 72,000 borrowers receive $1 billion in loan cancellation.

  • August 2021 The U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday that it will cancel $5.8 billion in student debt for more than 320,000 borrowers.  The debt forgiveness, which will go to borrowers with a total and permanent disability, will be automatically granted using data already available to the Social Security Administration.
  • In February 2022 canceled another $415 million in federal student loan debt owed by nearly 16,000 borrowers who were misled by for-profit colleges.
  • Under (current) US Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, the department has canceled about $2 billion in borrower defense claims from more than 107,000 individuals to date.
  • “The US Department of Education remains committed to giving borrowers discharges when the evidence shows their college violated the law and standards,” Cardona said in a statement.

So did "they" do anything illegal in your case?  What about a total and permanent disability?  There is also a backlog of forgivable loans based on certain loans for some critical professions after paying on them for (10) years.






It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
Periodic Contributor

They: The schools that said a degree would help make employers take me seriously, "don't worry about the loans, you'll earn plenty to pay them back." FALSE.

They: The government who approved me for the loans when they knew I didn't earn enough to pay them back at the start. MISLEADING. The schools and the federal government loan folks are perpetuating a myth, a very expensive one to the one who might have enough hope to believe it.

The lie that employers care about older people who have degrees is pervasive. Once they determine what my age is, they'll hire a younger candidate even if I'm qualified, because they can and they can make up any reason they want to hire the younger person.


It wasn't illegal. They flew under the radar. Shady, but not illegal. 

Why would I claim permanent disability if I'm not disabled?

When is the government going to care about situations like mine? If they can't make it better for me, perhaps they can simply fix the broken system. Because it IS broken, and if it continues this way it's going to become worse for everyone.


NONE of the items you cite above apply to my situation.

I'm 60 with no way out.

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Honored Social Butterfly

@LeKook wrote

Why would I claim permanent disability if I'm not disabled?


Didn't say to claim it if you weren't but that if you were perhaps there was some relief from the Student Loan debt.


@LeKook wrote

When is the government going to care about situations like mine? If they can't make it better for me, perhaps they can simply fix the broken system. Because it IS broken, and if it continues this way it's going to become worse for everyone.


The government doesn't MAKE people take out student loans - I guess they think that people should be able to make their own practical decision about their future - short or long term.


Problem is, I'm not sure that some people can make this decision for several reasons.  Age, interest, what they may be good at - the dollar signs they have in their eyes.  Parents and others aren't the best source of info either - best way is to try it to see if you like it - work in the (whatever field) before jumping in full fledge.  Plus, thing change, actually change relatively fast too - automation, technology, got to just continue to learn - I've been retired a very long time and some days I wish I could stop learning anything else new.  


We are constantly having to fight off those who attempt to sell us something - always.  


I'm a believer in IF the government just got out of the higher learning loan business, cost would come down and people could manage to pay for much of it themselves.

Make two-year public school low cost or even free like public schools.  That would give students (2) years to figure out more about their lives and them perhaps make a better decision after that about what they want to do - trade school, higher degree, entrepreneur - stay home and raise the family - whatever.


@LeKook wrote

I'm 60 with no way out.


I was thinking the other day that if those who have had their student loan payment on hold for the last few years could just pay something on the principal during this time - they could whittle down the amount of principal and in turn the interest.



It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
Periodic Contributor

Hi. 😊


I can't argue with what you said here (I like your 2-year school idea).


What gets me was the hard sell by the school and the government going, "No problem, take the money!" Of course it was my choice but built on false promises. The one time in my life I have optimism that I can improve my circumstances and it turns out to be a horrible mistake. 3.9 GPA only qualifies me for (at best) entry level clerical jobs. Or I can work retail.


I contacted my loan servicer 3 times and was told to not make any payments during the Covid freeze because it will change my income driven plan to something worse as far as monthly repayment is concerned.


I'm tried refinancing the loan but have no credit on my own and my husband won't co-sign. I don't want him to, it was my decision to go to school, not his.


Anyway I apologize for being snippy. But I also know I can't possibly be the only senior in this situation.


Thanks for your insights. 😊

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Social Butterfly


Was this a (i) public school (eg:  state university, etc), (ii) a private college/university (eg: Harvard, Yale, et al), or a "for profit" mill such as University of Phoenix, DeVry University, Trump University, Argosy University, etc.?


The first two types don't have much of a vested interest in flogging college loans, the third type pretty much has a business model of getting students into programs, using loans of all stripes, programs that the students may not be qualified for or truly able to be successful in, or that will actually result in an economic pay-off for them.


This third type of school has really become "big business" in the past 20 years. Many such schools have run afoul of authorities over the years for some type of "racketeering" academics or in the financial end. It's reported fairly regularly in the press.


Maybe you went to a legitimate public or private college and were simply swept up in the enthusiasm of the admissions office. Or maybe you were truly victimized as easy pickins' by an unscrupulous for-profit university. I don't know (but would be interested).


I also went back to college at a "late age" (so I thought then). After fits and starts, I went full time for a couple years and graduated with my BS and MS in Engineering when I was 31. The MS was strictly for my own self-satisfaction; it likely paid few career dividends. I was fortunate and did not have to take out loans; I do realize that many or most people might not have had the support that I did.


But the economics of "going back to college" has long been of interest to me. In the economic upsets of the 1980s and 1990s (Japan, etc, eating the lunch of our US manufacturing sector. etc.) many people tried to gain more education. Some could handle, many could not (poor high schools I imagine). Many of these people were sold a bill of goods too by the for-profit colleges.


For many people a better solution is an economical two year community college and their vocational programs. Very low financial cost and quick entry into some remunerative job. Not everyone needs to have a B.A. in something. And I don't want to be dismissive of the "somethings", I myself love to study literature, history, all the humanities, but unfortunately there are few jobs in such fields that pay a living wage. Thus it is up to every individual student (and their parents sometimes) to balance out the cost-benefit equation of what they want to do. I have seen some be very successful taking such risks, but I've probably seen more people burn out, be unsuccessful, and left with a huge debt. You really have to know yourself, and take a good hard look at what the expected returns may be.

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Honored Social Butterfly

"....For many people a better solution is an economical two year community college and their vocational programs. Very low financial cost and quick entry into some remunerative job. Not everyone needs to have a B.A. in something....".


Exactly correct. The real issue is that "blue collar' is seen by too many people as 'too dumb to get a real degree' or some such nonsense. The real situation out there is that people in the trades do very well financially, better than most degreed people. And, with a 2-year degree and vocational training, you are educated enough to be successful in many areas. What I'm really happy to see are the many people who are pushing for vocational training and many companies offering paid training. In Chicago, there are some programs that focus on Black Women, for example, getting them training in electrical, plumbing, and building trades, showing that anyone that can do some physical labor, and has the desire, can learn trades that will keep them employed forever.


"...Why is everyone a victim? Take personal responsibility for your life..."

Exactly! Everyone cries about what is wrong. Too many people put the blame on someone/something else. Buck up and take responsibility for what you have or haven't done. Some people feel entitled for just existing. Find some motivation and make your future!!!

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