When the Debt Isn’t Worth It

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One recent college graduate is so high in education debt that she’s worried she won’t be able to make minimum payments, so she’s started a blog to generated money for her cause. How much money? Well that’s the thing. According to Hamilton Nolan at Gawker:

Kelli Space is 23. She graduated from high school in 2005, and went to Northeastern University—”the first person in my family (including extended family!) to attend college,” she says. Unfortunately, that may have deprived her of the opportunity to have someone tell her that the American college dream isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

She currently owes Sallie Mae alone nearly $190,000.

At her website, two HUNDRED thou, interested parties can donate money to help her pay back her loans. She’s currently raised $1,869.83, or about nine tenths of one percent of the total.

She works as an office manager in New York. Space, a sociology major at Northeastern, obviously made a lot of mistakes on the way toward getting her degree. The situation in which she finds herself is her own fault. She acknowledges this. But it’s still truly awful.

Northeastern costs $36,360 a year. According to Space she received “no grants – just aid in the form of federal loans.” This obviously wasn’t a financial plan that was going to work for her. She shouldn’t actually have gone to Northeastern at all. With this sort of burden she’d have to pay, beginning in November 2011, $1600 a month for the next 20 years. (Current payments are $891 a month.) There is no job available to someone armed only with a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Northeastern (or really any other school) that will allow her to make those payments comfortably.

Space should have known this. Space’s parents should have figured this out. Northeastern should have told her. Sallie Mae should have warned her. And yet no one did. No one cautioned her that this was a situation in which she couldn’t come out well.

Why didn’t that happen? In the current discussion about student loan troubles, Space is clearly an exception. But why does someone like Space even exist? [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer