As a previous law student and student loan borrower, I have had many sleepless nights thinking about the enormous amount of money I still owe in student loan debt. I thought going to law school and passing the New York bar would immediately result in a lucrative career and lifestyle, but the reality is I have been financially upside down since I graduated. I have successfully made a living running my own law firm for the past 9 years, but I still owe Uncle Sam approximately $169,000.
I have no undergraduate student loan debt thanks to my mother’s great sacrifice and hard work. She was a single mother who raised me on her own. I attended Catholic school from kindergarten through college (Fordham University). To pay for my college tuition, she borrowed money from her 401K and I did work-study hours and worked for a recording studio on weekends.
After graduating college, I decided to work for a while before going to graduate school. After 6 years of working in the corporate sector, I decided to begin studying for the LSAT and preparing myself for entry to law school. I decided to go to New York Law School to save money on room and board and to stay close to my Mom, who was my main source of support throughout this entire process. By graduation, I had borrowed a total of $179,000 to go to law school. By March 2020, even though I was making payments of a little over $300 per month, I owed close to $228,000.
I am spreading the word about The Student Loan Interest Elimination Act because this powerful, innovative legislation was designed to reform student loan policies in a way that will immediately benefit borrowers. ￼ Co-sponsored by Rep. Joe Courtney of Connecticut and Sen. Peter Welch of Vermont, this bill, which was reintroduced to Congress on July 27, 2023, would allow existing borrowers to refinance their loans to 0% interest. For future borrowers, student loan interest would be based on a sliding scale basis based on the borrower’s income, but your interest rate would never exceed 4%. Finally, borrowers would be relieved from covering hefty administrative fees connected to borrowing student loans because under this bill, those fees would be repaid to Uncle Sam from the interest generated from a trust fund, which will receive and reinvest our student loan payments into conservative investments like treasury bonds.
In 2018, I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, but despite my medical condition and resulting decrease in income, I continued making payments towards my student loans. In late 2020, I had a recurrence. This time, my disease returned more aggressively in the form of stage two breast cancer. Though my loans were in forbearance due to the COVID payment pause, I decided to take advantage of the 0% interest to try to make a meaningful dent in my student loan debt. After paying a little over $37,000 from what I received of my supplemental disability dollars, only $10,000 went toward the original $179,000 I originally borrowed. The other $27,000 went toward the close to $52,000 in interest which had accumulated in just under 6 years.
If you agree American borrowers need immediate, meaningful student loan debt relief, please join me in asking Congress to pass the Student Loan Interest Elimination Act as soon as possible. We need immediate bipartisan support, especially from Republicans and this bill is currently sponsored only by Democratic leaders. Please visit the following links below to learn more about this critical bill and you can get involved:
For more information on the 9/1 restart of accruing interest on student loan payments, please see: https://www.forbes.com/sites/dereksau…
Don’t know who your Congressperson is? Click here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/…