For the past three years I have been financing my education through KeyBank Student Loans which have an 8.5% fixed interest rate. It was very user-friendly, I just called them up each fall with my bill and told them how much I needed then WHAM! they sent money to the University at Buffalo and I got to take classes. When they sent interest bills I’d pay it off trying to keep my loan amount as low as possible so I wasn’t in debt for the rest of my life (HI! That’s why I went to a SUNY in the first place even though I wanted to go to Boston University).
UB is a good school but I’ve always kind of kicked myself for not going to a better one–I had stellar grades in high school and I have stellar grades in college, but in light of recent events I am more than happy with my college choice currently.
Yesterday I learned that KeyBank no longer offers loans to students. Now my bill is due in a month…when were they going to tell me this? I didn’t get any kind of notification that my loan handler for the past three years suddenly decided to just stop helping me become educated. I never would have known had I not called. Needless to say, I’m livid. First the government takes away my TAP money and now this? Why is it becoming increasingly harder for me and everyone else in my financial position to go to college these days? I thought President Obama was supposed to make college more accessible and more affordable. Apparently I thought wrong.
I asked my editors at The Gazette if I could write about it for a Sunday story and they said “yes” so I’ve been researching it all day and now I’m just depressed about my financial situation.
KeyBank will only give me a loan for school if my parents take it out in their name…my parents can’t take out a loan in their name for me. They still owe on our house and my mother will need a new car soon (they will never get money for a car if they have a college loan out for me). Why? No one I spoke to seems to know. “The economy” was the most popular answer. I smell BS. I smell greed. I smell a handful of kids skipping out on their loans and everyone else paying the price.
Maybe I’m financially naive (which I am, for the most part) but I ask KeyBank this: What’s the difference between me taking out a loan with my parents as co-signers and my parents taking out a loan for me. In the end, if I don’t pay it still comes back down to my parents anyway. What’s the big deal? I don’t understand, no one is giving me any answers and it’s frustrating.
So, I Googled other banks. All these banks (Wachovia, Chase, HSBC, Bank of America) try to lure you in with a promise of a student loan, but as soon as you click the links all you get are Federal loans which you can only get if you qualify. You can’t just apply for these like any other loan either–you are only eligible if your FAFSA meets the requirements.
Now, I get some federal aid for school but I’m in this weird demographic. My parents don’t make a lot of money, but they make just enough that I don’t qualify for a lot of aid. Because my parents are still together and because they both work a lot of overtime and second jobs I get the bare minimum from the government despite the fact that more often than not my parents struggle to pay bills when overtime isn’t available. We don’t needlessly spend like some people and we’re not deep in debt like most–but my parents work hard for what we have: a house (which they are still paying for), two cars (which cost a lot to maintain because my parents drive these things until they die in an effort to save money), and a yard.
My parents rarely ever take vacations. They work their asses off for our modest means yet because they work so much, on paper it looks like we have money. What the government doesn’t understand is that overtime is not always available for my Dad and the money my mom makes at her second job often goes to groceries and other such things.
We get by, but we don’t have a lot of extra money. The government doesn’t see this. All they see is a silly piece of paper with some overestimated annual income.
I, like many other people in America are stuck in a precarious position. We’re not rich enough and we’re not poor enough, so we get dicked over by federal aid–and now we’re getting dicked over by college loans because we’re not allowed to take them out in our names anymore.
Now, when I learned that KeyBank was discontinuing student loans yesterday I didn’t freak out. I figured I had other options for private student loans–then I started researching. The options SUCK. They all contain 13% variable interest rates and most of them don’t even defer payment until after graduation. The BEST option I’ve found so far is Chase which has a 10.68% variable interest rate but does defer payment until after graduation.
I am going to have to go even farther in debt than I thought I would. I thought we were supposed to be fixing the economy? Well, my generation is not going to have any money to spend with these interest rates, so sorry Obama, all this stimulus nonsense is going to be for nothing. We’re going to get out of college and not have two pennies to rub together.
It’s going to be The Great Recession Part Deux if the government doesn’t start doling out money for college and getting interest rates back on track. We’re not going to get any of these supposed new jobs that are being created because we’re going to be back at home with out parents barely able to afford a car.
I know creating jobs is important but shouldn’t we also focus on educating the youth to FILL those jobs? What good are they if there’s an uneducated workforce because we can’t afford to go to college.
In light of the lack of loans, lack of federal funds and rise in interest rates I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the college drop out rate soared this fall.
I feel like I’m being punished for wanting to go to school and that’s not right. Everyone talks about America as a land of opportunities but why do I feel like America keeps slamming doors in my face?
I just want to go to college and make a living without paying unfair and astronomical interest rates. Is that too much to ask?
I feel like I can never catch a break.