I have been an elementary, public school teacher since 1999. I have been paying faithfully on my student loans since achieving my Masters in Education in 2003. This is also when I was persuaded, I believe by a Sallie Mae representative, to consolidate my loan into a spousal FFEL loan. I was young and had no other reason not to trust that the loan servicer had nothing but our best interest in mind. I had two young children and a mountain of debt. My husband’s loans were minimal compared to mine and were from a business college where he earned a graphic design certificate which cost around $10,000. Not wanting to have two separate loan payments, this sounded like the best option. Shortly after my husband earned this certificate, the college closed down and ended up not being worth the money we spent on it. Our loan total was close to $60,000 and after paying for almost 20 years, we still have over 60% to pay. As a teacher I have tried to apply for PSLF and did not realize it wasn’t possible because of the spousal consolidation. When the new waiver went into effect, I was so hopeful and excited but again my hopes were crushed when I found out that I could not consolidate into a federal loan.
I have written letters to members of congress asking them to consider these loans in PSLF. My own children do not want to go to college because of the amount of debt they will end up with. They feel stuck and don't know what to do for their future. We are not able to pay for their college because we are still paying on our student loans. The sad reality is that our house will be paid for before our student loans.