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Student Loan Sob Story

By JLP | August 26, 2009

I’m only writing about this because the guy in this story left a comment on this post along with a link to his website, No wonder why this guy wants his debt forgiven and why he founded his website:

My name is Robert Applebaum. I am a 35 year old attorney from Staten Island, NY and the founder of This movement began as a proposal I wrote one morning on a Facebook Group called “Cancel Student Loan Debt to Stimulate the Economy.” This is my story:

I am a 1998 graduate of Fordham University School of Law – an education I financed through the Federal Stafford Loan program. By the time I graduated from law school, I had amassed approximately $65,000 in student loan debt.

Starting in 1999, I began working as an Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn, N.Y. where my starting salary was $36,000 per year. With a strong desire to use my education to serve my community, I was forced to place my loans into forbearance because I simply could not afford to make student loan payments while paying rent at the same time.

Thanks to “capitalized interest” – a racket whereby interest continues to accumulate, which then gets tacked onto the principal, the amount I owed grew exponentially over time. After five years of service as an ADA, while watching my student loan debt grow at an alarming rate, I was forced to make the unfortunate decision to leave a job I loved simply because I felt that I needed to begin to pay down my student loan debt. But for that debt, I likely would have continued in public service indefinitely.

For the next five years, I made regular payments on my student loan debt, never once defaulting on my loans and I continue to make payments to this very day. Despite five years of regular payments, and because of the first five years during which my loans were in forbearance, my principal loan balance is more than $20,000 higher today than it was on the day I graduated. Unfortunately, I’m not alone.

Apparantly Mr. Applebaum has NO IDEA how interest works. You see, people and companies don’t loan money for free. The $65,000 Mr. Applebaum racked up had to come from somewhere. It was loaned to him with the stipulation that it would be paid back at some point in the future with interest. Mr. Applebaum didn’t understand this and then when he figured out he couldn’t pay back the loan, he was surprised to find out that the interest was being tacked on to his loan amount, and therefore increasing his debt.


Come on Mr. Applebaum. You’re a lawyer. You can’t figure this stuff out?

You made a mistake and it shouldn’t be up to the American taxpayer to bail you out. Instead, why don’t you look for a better job or move to a place with a lower cost of living so that you can afford to pay back your loan and pay rent?

I don’t mean to pick on Mr. Applebaum. But, publicizing his plight and asking for the Federal Government to step in and magically wipe away his debt is just too much for me to handle.

Topics: Credit | 67 Comments »

67 Responses to “Student Loan Sob Story”

  1. Lindsay Downs Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    I agree. I’m also wondering how forgiving this guy’s debt would “help the economy”.

    Other than the amount of debt, my husband and I have the same story, if you replace “studen loan” with “credit card”. Same thing: we borrowed money, didn’t make enough to pay rent AND the monthly bill (other than the minimum required), so our balance continues to accumulate interest and we are still making payments. However, we do not expect anyone to pay this for us, or even to “forgive” the debt. We have learned a lot from these mistakes and have changed our spending habits in order to pay off our debt. It’s our respnsility.

  2. JLP Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 1:44 pm


    The government taking over this guy’s student loan would help his personal economy…lol.

  3. JohnB Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Too many people don’t seem to understand that borrowing money creates a SERIOUS PERSONAL OBLIGATION to repay the money (as well as all of the interest). They seem to believe that if it becomes inconvenient to make payments, they should be able to default without consequences. In reality, this no different than THEFT. What did their parents teach them?

  4. Pat Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    This is no different than the government giving money to AIG, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, et. al. But that doesn’t make it right, it boils my blood just thinking about it.

    Just goes to show you that politicians are more concerned with the big corporations that pay to get them re-elected than with you or me.

  5. Rick Francis Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    I think that student loan forgiveness would be in order only if it was required to keep the position filled. I’ve heard of programs that forgive student loans to insure a supply of doctors and teachers for rural areas. That makes economic sense as it is a bonus to attract new applicants, not a bailout.

    If there are qualified applicants that will fill the Brooklyn ADA with the $36,000 salary then they should. Was it a problem filling the ADA position at that salary after he left?

    -Rick Francis

  6. Dave Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 2:46 pm


    It is not the same at all as bailing out the companies you mention. For example, the bailout to AIG is not a gift, but a loan of up to $85 billion from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. AIG’s borrowings will bear interest at a rate per annum equal to three-month Libor plus 8.50%. The revolving credit facility has a 24-month term and is secured by a pledge of all of the assets of AIG and its Material Subsidiaries.

    So to be the same, the government would pay off the guy’s student loan and then charge him a higher rate of interest than he probably is paying now, and take all of his assets as collateral.

    Do you think he wants treatment equal to AIG?


  7. LOL Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    If you want the debt forgiven, then file for bankruptcy and let a judge decide if in fact you are not able to pay.

    We already have a system, lets use it.

  8. JLP Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    I think I read somewhere or anothe commenter mentioned that student loans don’t fall under bankruptcy laws so the bakruptcy route wouldn’t do them any good.

  9. JC Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    the catch is student loan debt is not bankruptable in most cases.

  10. Beth Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Thanks, JLP, this made me laugh! I don’t think anyone’s financial struggles are funny, but I find it ironic that Americans can be so dead-set against paying for anything for anyone else (like healthcare), yet as soon as they’re in trouble they want tax money to bail them out!

  11. dogatemyfinances Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Couldn’t he have been a prosecutor in, I don’t know, anywhere but NYC? Would it really have been that bad to, say, go to ALBANY?

    I paid off my student loans by working for the man, like everyone else. It’s not that hard.

  12. BD Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Wow, a lot of angry people are commenting here. I actually think it’s a good idea to forgive the student loan debt of highly qualified people who go into public service. It’s cheaper in the long run than competing with private sector salaries or filling the District Attorney’s office with incompetents, and easier than convincing the independently wealthy to work for cheap.

    When selectively applied, i.e. not everyone with advanced degrees, and certainly not those who have taken the high-paying jobs their training prepared them for, I do think this is a good idea. Let those working for the public good keep (and spend) a little more of their money instead of it going to the banks – which enjoy some fat federal subsidies these days.

  13. Daisy Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Ugh. How sickening.

    How many people do you think would like to quit their current jobs to follow their dreams? Everybody. Is it realistic? No. Should we finance these people out of tax payers pockets? Absolutely not.

    Ugh. Seriously, thats my only reaction.

  14. People W/O Student Loans Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Student loans are not forgiven when filing for bankruptcy. It is one of the few types of debt that cannot be erased. LOL, please do some homework before posting on a topic like this.

    An assistant ADA job was fulfilling for this individual. These types of jobs are typically low paying but still need to be filled. Unfortunately, it did not come with any type of loan forgiveness.

    The cost of education is completely out of proportion with the amount of money people amass while going to college. The cost of a legal education is even greater.

    I went to a state school and received a degree in computer engineering. This left me approximately 25k in debt. Then, I decided to pursue a law degree. I was able to live at home during my 3 years at law school but amassed another 80k in debt. I finished my education 105k in debt and had 30 years to pay off my loans.

    Thankfully, I am a patent attorney and was able to land a job paying in the 6 figures. Unfortunately, a majority of law school graduates only make around 60-70k a year. Lawyers working in the public sector make even less.

    Trying to pay off your loans, save for a downpayment for a house, make rent, and also have a car is incredibly difficult for many graduates. When loans cost around $600-900 per month it is difficult for many people to get ahead.

    I am not saying that these loans should be forgiven by the government. I am saying that companies like Sallie Mae are loan sharks and shouldn’t be lending many people money. Also, debt should be forgiven for jobs worked in the public sector because people should be encouraged to work in these jobs.

  15. People W/O Student Loans Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Another thought, to those people telling this person to work somewhere other than NYC, who do you want to be ADAs in NYC? Someone needs to do this job or else there will be more criminals let out on the streets.

    Do you want the most qualified person to do the job or the person whose parents has paid for all of their education expenses? That is what this all comes down to. There needs to be lawyers working in the public sector. Law schools cost way too much for the loans of these workers to not be forgiven.

    Also, the person in this post was working in a job that he enjoyed. He was working in this job because he wanted to do that instead of slave away at a big law job paying 2x-3x times as much. In other years (years in which the legal profession was not hit with pay cuts and record layoffs), I am sure that this person could definitely have gotten a job at a law firm. That’s not the point. The point is that we need lawyers to work in the public sector.

  16. dogatemyfinances Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Most decent law schools pay back your loans. The few public interest lawyers I know have this, and they didn’t exactly go to Harvard.

    I’ve never even heard of this law school, so I’m guessing it’s not the best and brightest.

    So, yea, either go to a reasonable law school that pays back your loans (most), or work somewhere you can afford to live. Like everybody else.

  17. JLP Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 4:42 pm


    Check this out:

    The school isn’t cheap!

    Why anyone would pay that kind of tuition only to go into public service is beyond me.

  18. Robert Applebaum Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Here I go, walking into the lion’s den again. Oh well. First off, I think it’s important for everyone to know that I have NEVER defaulted on my student loans, don’t intend on doing so and have no problem paying back what I borrowed. In fact, if I was given the opportunity to get legislation like this passed with the only condition being that I couldn’t take part, I’d do it – because it’s not about me.

    To those who would suggest that bankruptcy is the proper avenue for discharging student loan debt, I suggest you do your homework – you can’t.

    All of that is beside the point though. Freeing up millions of hardworking, middle class Americans of their student loan debt repayment obligations could usher in a whole new era of freedom, prosperity, entrepreneurship and innovation. The gap between rich and poor has never been bigger in all of U.S. history than it is today. The middle class has been squeezed to the point where it’s in danger of completely disappearing. Educational costs have increased at a rate higher than that of health care – more than twice the rate of inflation.

    I would hope that we can disagree without being disagreeable. I did not personally attack anyone here and I can only ask that you refrain from the personal attacks on me.

    I put forth the proposal in question in the midst of the debate over the economic stimulus package, in the wake of TARP and all of the abuses that took place as a result. We’ve thrown TRILLIONS of taxpayer dollars at the banks and other institutions responsible for the economic crisis and it’s had no stimulative effect. Consumer spending accounts for 70% of the U.S. economy and until the middle class feels secure enough to start spending money, we’re doomed to continue spinning our wheels.

  19. kitty Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    “This is no different than the government giving money to AIG, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, et. al.”

    In case you didn’t know when Goldman Sachs repaid the LOAN earlier this year, it had to pay the goverment an equivalent of annualized rate of over 20%. This is because in addition to the interest on the loan, it had to repurchase the stock warrants it gave the government.

    Would you like the students to get the same treatment?

    It had been nice if people who are using TARP as justification for everything actually had some idea about the facts. Like that TARP is actually a loan that government gets quite a lot of interest on, that some banks were forced to participate. Or that Bank of America’s trouble stem in large part from it’s buying of Merrill Lynch – the purchase it was forced to complete.

  20. Joe Light Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    I have no opinion on the larger issues here, but a couple clarifying points.

    1. Fordham is a well-regarded law school and is pretty highly ranked in US News, if you believe those sorts of rankings.

    2. Like many law schools, Fordham does indeed forgive student loans for people who go into public service if they meet certain conditions. There are also federal and state programs that do this. See here: . But, I think for most schools, these sorts of things were a recent development. So I don’t think it would help people who graduated 10 years ago.

  21. TMS Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Giving folks an education they don’t have to pay for will just drive up the cost of education even more for everyone else.

    That’s why health care and college costs always increase way out of line with inflation – too many people getting a total or partial free ride lets the providers jack up what they charge year after year.

  22. JLP Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Very interesting discussion we have going on here.

    Robert, I appreciate you stopping by to face this discussion. However, I don’t think there’s much you can say that will make me change my mind on this issue.

    I was against the bailouts from the start. Some were merely loans, which were easier to accept. Outright handouts are of a totally different nature.

    Let’s face it, your plan would benefit YOU!

    I’m sorry for your predicament…I really am. However, we all do things that put ourselves in a bind (some more than others) and I don’t think you should be asking your fellow taxpayers to fork over the funds to extinguish your debt.

    Why don’t you get a high-paying job, pay off your debts, and then go back into public service if that’s what you love?

  23. ~D Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    I don’t think a lot of people realize the benefit of the bailout? of the banks.

    1st) We, the taxpayers, will (and currently are in the form of dividends) making money off of the money the goverment gave the banks.

    2nd) Without the Goverment intervention, we most likely would have had another Great Depression, perhaps one that was even deeper than the one in the 30s.

    3rd) Why do you think every bank want to pay back those TARP fund so quickly, if it’s such a great thing for them?… It’s a very bad deal, especially for the shareholders that were depending on those dividends for retirement.

    Systemic risk affects us all, that’s why the goverment intervened. The terms and restrictions weren’t favorable for the banks, that’s for sure.

    Student loans that are incredibly high, are usually the result of students borrowing to pay for something they couldn’t afford. I didn’t go to a expensive college because I couldn’t afford it, just the cheaper public schooling for me.

  24. Adam Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    I actually agree to a point. I’m not going to go to an extreme and say that any student debt should be forgiven, but similar to my beliefs on health care, I believe a healthy and educated population is important to our country as a whole. So it is definitely worthy of debate. These are issues where I believe our hardcore love of capitalism, or at least of ideal of such, will ultimately hurt us in the long run because it focuses too much on the individual and short term without much thought to long term societal issues.

  25. My Journey Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    This is literally no one’s fault than Robert’s. I graduated about 40 miles east of Robert, and from a MUCH worse law school in terms of rankings and Rep.

    “To those who would suggest that bankruptcy is the proper avenue for discharging student loan debt, I suggest you do your homework – you can’t.”

    Maybe you should have done your homework when you signed up for employment (regardless of how altruistic your reasons may be) that pays garbage; especially when compared to other local DA offices. Why not go up to Westchester? Nassau County? etc.

    What Med School student wouldn’t want to work with the less fortunate? Wouldn’t I love to work with ProBono Clients or maybe work as an ADA (maybe not an ADA but town attorney)? Of course but I understood when I signed my name on over $80K of law school debt that those dreams would have to be on hold.

    I understand the argument about freeing up dollars but this should never pass cause it only helps those with student debt (i.e. mostly people who had the opportunity to go to higher education).

  26. Kirk Kinder Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    One, the person could have gone to a cheaper law school if he intended to go into public service. Fordham is a good school, and he did not do a cost/benefit analysis. This means we shouldn’t bail him out with our tax dollars.

    For those making the argument that it stimulates the economy to get consumers more money, then let’s do a tax cut whereby each individual keeps what they have and can apply the money in the manner they see fit. Why let DC determine who wins and who loses. That is anti-capitalist and anti-American (no freedom there).

    Third, those claiming TARP is good cause we get a return on our money are misguided. The return we receive is well below what the market would have dictated. It is like a loan you get from your parents. You know that they aren’t going to charge what banks would.

    Fourth, letting them fail would not have caused a great depression if done in an orderly manner. FDIC could come in and sell off the assets. Any assets not sold would go to the bondholders and then shareholders in bankruptcy. But, the bondholders and shareholders would take the losses, not the taxpayer. That is the egregious part about the TARP. We protected the bondholders from taking a penny of losses.

  27. blu Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    Let the law of supply and demand fill the ADA job at an appropriate price point (they filled it for 36K and given the number of surplussed lawyers out there, will probably have no issue filling at that price point again). It’s not like filling a teaching position in the inner city or staffing a hospital in a remote area, where loan forgiveness programs are really a form of compensation. Loan forgiveness for lawyers in a surplus situation is bad public policy. Congratulate this man on accepting his responsibility, give him a break for considering this possibility and let the free market do what it will.

  28. Beth Says:
    August 27th, 2009 at 7:25 am

    This is an interesting debate! What bothers me is that I see so many students using their student loan money for things that aren’t necessary — like cars, electronic gadgets, spring break vacations, excessive alcohol consumption, drug experimentation, etc. I also knew people who worked like a dog at part time jobs just to afford school (even with student loans). There’s also the matter of lifestyle inflation upon graduation…

    My question is then who gets the “bailout”? Would there be a standard for evaluating who is really in need versus who spent irresponsibly?

    I agree that a lot of people are drowning in student debt — but isn’t that an argument for better money management rather than bailouts?

  29. Cathy @ Chief Family Officer Says:
    August 27th, 2009 at 7:27 am

    As an attorney myself, I have to say that I sympathize with Mr. Applebaum – but I don’t feel I owe him anything as a taxpayer. I had student loans. I knew how much they were when I graduated from law school. It was MY responsibility, and not anyone else’s, to ensure that they were paid off. Mr. Applebaum had and has that same responsibility, and now he’s trying to foist it off on taxpayers so that he can “contribute” to society. His contribution ought to come in the form of being a responsible, productive member of society. Once he’s paid off his student loans, he can go back to doing what he’d rather do.

  30. Stacey Says:
    August 27th, 2009 at 7:31 am

    So what are the differences between the loans? How about specifics rather than generalizations that don’t educate the reader and adequately defend your position…

    Here’s an easy way to avoid monstrous amounts of debt for an undergrad degree:

    1. Work at some job from ages 16-18. (At all ages!) ask for cash from relatives for all gift-giving occasions: birthday, graduation, Christmas, etc. Mow lawns, dog walk, house/babysit, etc for extra cash flow. Save this cash in a 529 account…Have your parents open a Upromise account for extra savings which can be transferred into the 529. Obtaining a Upromise-branded credit card from Bank of America will accelerate the earnings which can be deposited into the 529.

    2. Continue working at some job from ages 18-20 AND take classes at the local community college. Key is to live at home and stash your earnings for your next step at a 4-year university/college.

    3. From ages 20-22…or 23…or 24…or whatever it takes:
    a. Look high and low for any scholarships and grants available and apply (probably should do that for com college, too, now that I think of it!)

    b. Transfer classes from community college experience to 4-year college. Enroll at said college and commence your degree coursework and any general studies classes required. Work PT if you can. Apply all savings from working and gifts to tuition and other expenses.

    c. Last resort: apply for student loans

    It’s not that difficult folks!

  31. LOL Says:
    August 27th, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Student loans are not usually discharged in bankruptcy. It is difficult, but not impossible, to do so if you can show that payment of the debt “will impose an undue hardship on you and your dependents.”

  32. Courtney Says:
    August 27th, 2009 at 8:58 am

    @mam2222 – Today’s loans are all predatory loans? I graduated 6 years ago with about $9K in student loans for a $98K education…combination of scholarships, grants, and working two jobs over summers (I had on-campus work-study jobs during the school year for spending money). My loans were deferred for 5 years while I went to grad school on scholarship, and I managed to pay off almost 1/3 of the balance anyways. During that time the interest rate never exceeded 6.22%. My loan balance of ~$6K is now fixed at 1.75%…how predatory! I guess someone better come save me…

  33. Ashley Says:
    August 27th, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    When people amass large amounts of student loan debt it is impossible to know what they spent the money on.

    I know individuals that took only the amount of loans they needed and paid for just books and tuition then worked during school to cover their living expenses. I know people that used student loans to pay their all their bills for the semester because they didn’t feel like working. Also, I know people that took excessive student loans to pay for expensive spring break trips and plastic surgery.

    In my opinion “student loan” is still an umbrella term for “debt I didn’t have to accumulate”. Loans are not a necessity to attend a good school. I worked my butt of each year and saved money while in high school so I wouldn’t have to take out loans. Allowing student loan debt to be written off would result in a lot more people falling under that last category I listed.

    Yet still, there are still programs in existence to help people avoid defaulting on student loans. The Income-Based Repayment provision gives those unable to make monthly payments a chance to reduce them if they meet certain qualifications. To me this is a lot better than giving away money that was intended to be repaid.

  34. mam2222 Says:
    August 27th, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Response to Stacey #31:

    Here’s a few of the differences between the loans today and the loans yesterday – to list everything would take up several pages but, let’s just start with this. Congress has removed basic consumer protections from student loans and by 2006, student loans had been stripped of all standard consumer protections. Protections that have been removed: adherence to Fair Debt Collection Practices, adherence to state Statute of Limitations requirements and state usury laws, adherence to Truth in Lending requirements, bankruptcy protection, to name a few of these basic rights. You have, by the way, each of the above protections on your mortgage, your credit cards, your car loan, your personal loan, or any other loan you might have. Student loans are the only loans in US history to be devoid of these basic rights. Before you say they are guaranteed by the Federal government so they are different, know first that 1/4 of these loans are private loans (not guaranteed by the government) and the remaining loans that are guaranteed by the government are no different (except for being minus all those basic protections) than your mortgage that is guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac or the Veterans Administration, or no different than FEMA loans, or SBA loans or Farm Loans, etc. Except again, they (student loans) are void of all basic consumer protections that you enjoy on every one of your loans. Second, Congress has given powers to private entities that are enjoyed by no other company in our country’s history i.e. the power to garnish your wages, your SS check, your disability check, your tax refund and they even have the ability to remove your right to a professional license. The only other types of debt that have these rights (and this is government not private) are back child support and back taxes. These are criminal debts. Do you really think student loan debt should be criminal debt? If so, why isn’t your mortgage or your car loan or your credit cards that are in arrears criminal debt also? These are just a couple of the ways that today’s student loans are different than the old student loans and, as you can see, they are in a class by themselves so, hopefully, you can understand how stuck these borrowers really are. And, if you think they have dealt with great companies to get these loans, look no further than the New York Attorney General’s report on the incredible things done to students in the way of taking great advantage of them by, not just the private lenders, but by the colleges too. Please know that these borrowers are in real trouble and most of it is not their fault, contrary to popular belief. If you research this, I am sure you will agree. They need help and they deserve help.

    Response to #33 Courtney: You were quite lucky to get out of school with such low debt. Yes, I know you planned and worked but, so did lots of others and they were not as fortunate with scholarships or parental help or being able to have 2 jobs or getting into a school that helped a lot with financial aid or they got into a school with a low score so their interest rate is higher (private loans) or they went to a school that used the lender to provide loan counseling (not a great idea but it has happened quite a bit), or a school that didn’t help the student realize that they should take all federal loans first (remember most are 18 year olds), etc. So, as you can see, it is not the same for every person and much does depend on the school and even luck but nothing erases the fact that student borrowers have, by and large, been taken advantage of and need our support and help. It’s wonderful that you haven’t been taken advantage of but many, many, many, borrowers have been taken advantage of so please don’t judge the many just by your experience. If you search the internet you will find horror stories.

  35. Sam Says:
    August 27th, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Just to let you know that I am with you. Mr. Applebaum’s sob story and those of some of your commenters are totally unconvincing. If we really wanted to do something for the economy, we could just shut down half of the law schools in the country. That would do more to improve conditions than most anything else I can think of.

  36. Stacey Says:
    August 27th, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Sam, Sam, Sam…I don’t know if I should hug you or yell at you! Witty remark, yes, but not all lawyers are dogs…just as not all bankers/accountants, etc are bad. My honey is a law school grad who shunned being a “practicing” attorney. He just wanted the knowledge for his business career: negotiate, write contracts, etc.

    Now for my argument against forgiving student loans: we paid his off by putting it on our equity line to get the write-off, b/c we, too, were stung by the ridiculously low cap on deductible student loan interest. So forgive away…but you’re always going to screw someone. Remember JLP’s post on “fair”…can we just all take care of ourselves/family/business and stop looking for handouts. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY, PEOPLE! arghhhhh…..

    @ #35 mam…thanks for taking the time to expand on your position. Now I understand some of the differences. However, I think all debt that is “abandoned” should be criminal…so I differ from you in making student loan debt “noncriminal.” A promise is a promise is a promise.

    If people would take as much time understanding their legal documents, selecting spouses or bedmates, and voting for candidates as they do choosing a paint color for a room or shopping for shoes, our country would be much improved.

  37. Mark Says:
    August 28th, 2009 at 2:14 am

    Under the American system, most people have to pay for college if they want to go – either earn or borrow the money, or qualify for a scholarship.

    Unfortunately, life isn’t fair. Some people are more fortunate than others, and we don’t all have the opportunity to “follow our dreams”.

    Perhaps he should have worked in the high-paid corporate lawyer job for a few years FIRST, paid off the debt, and then followed his dream of public serice.

    Except that most newly-graduated lawyers seem to get used to the high life quite quickly – so probably the dream would have changed to include an expensive country house, fast cars, etc., etc.

  38. mam2222 Says:
    August 28th, 2009 at 3:41 am

    #37 Stacey: I agree that if all debt was in the same category (meaning they had no basic consumer protections and you were unable to enjoy any on loans you may have), then yes, all debt would be criminal debt but, the part you are missing is this: student loans are set up by the private companies or the middle man whereby (unlike all your other loans), they can and do put you in the position of defaulting on the usury loans (note that basic protection is not on student loans) by “not receiving your paperwork, or receiving your paperwork late, or one of many other excuses” and they do this because………they make even more money if you default. Unlike all your other loans, they get the prinicipal and interest from the government and then it is turned over to a collection agency (sometimes owned by the student lending giant) that adds lots of penalities and fees, and then…….adds a 25% collection fee (which comes off the top of anything you pay) so…in essense they have you trapped in a circle of debt for life. This is not the way it is with any other loan. Why is that?? Perhaps, a strong lobby and lots of campaign contributions help make these loans very “special” and deserving of lots of punitive extras and perhaps a lack of concern from the American public for our young. I submit that if every one of your loans enjoyed these “special” extras, you and the rest of the country would be very upset. It is not fair and it is shameful and somehow or other, we just think these “bums” should pay their usury loans (some as high as 28 or more %) even if they pay 2, 3, 4 or 5 times more than they borrowed and they will never be able to pay it off and be out of debt. Very different than any of your loans but, the attitude seems to be, it’s just our young, no big deal, they need to be taught a lesson. I think you are mislead by a sense that these people are not worthy of help and got into their own mess. Yeah, that’s right, let’s keep the then 18 year olds in a cycle of debt for life – unlike your loans – that will show them. I do not agree and hope you consider the damage and destruction that is being done to our future leaders and hope they won’t feel the same way about your old age benefits and add lots of “extras” when they are running the country.

  39. mam2222 Says:
    August 28th, 2009 at 4:10 am

    And, by the way, the government is helping the 30 years olds, and the 40 year olds and the 50 year olds with their sub-prime (note same word as usury) mortgages. Humm……. government backed loans……….usury loans………predatory loans……. Why is that okay? Oh, the difference is these loans have consumer protections and these loans are not for school – just for a house – and we think these Americans should be helped and don’t need a lesson taught. Humm……………..Too bad our young won’t ever be able to afford a mortgage or maybe then they could get our government’s and our public’s attention and concern then.

  40. Stacey Says:
    August 28th, 2009 at 6:47 am

    I hear you, mam…but some (of these future leaders) already ARE running the country (and some states!) and the “extras” will be paid by me, my husband, and children for decades to come in the form of higher taxes from the trillions in debt we’re in. And let’s face it: there won’t be any (or enough) “old age benefits” by the time I need them in 30-40 years…So I feel I’ve been getting screwed by The Man for awhile now, and will continue to be. Short of denouncing my citizenship, which is expensive in and of itself (and I would never do!) that’s just the way it is going to be. I have faced reality…and it won….

    So you’ve convinced me student loans might need reforming, but I still stand by the need for personal responsibility.

    PS Are you on 3rd shift or just an insomniac? :)

  41. ZFarls Says:
    August 28th, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Well, let me start off by saying WA, WA, WA. You are not entitled to work in a job you love, especially when you made the decision to borrow that amount of money. Whose to say you can’t find a better high paying job or go get another one and clean up your mess before returning to your current job.

    I just turned 23 last week and paid off my humble state funded 20k of student loans in 8 months. Did the government do anything for me during this time? NO, I paid back the money that I borrowed by working my butt off and NOW I can get into some work I enjoy more. You will never get very far in life by taking that attitude and where do you think the money is going to come from for your loan forgiveness? Your neighbors and friends who probably already have enough on their plate.

    I really have no sympathy for people that take out insane amounts of student loans. Hope that piece of law degree paper was worth it, but clearly it wasn’t. Be honest though, whats your car payment on your BMW? Are you doing everything you possibly can to get rid of it?

    I make less than you did starting out and it took me 8 months, I eat student loans for breakfast, in fact I might go take out a couple thousand more just to kick sallie mae in the nuts again.

  42. Tori Says:
    August 28th, 2009 at 8:43 am

    My husband wanted to go to law school for about 4 years after graduating from undergrad, but he only went after I got a good, high-paying job so I could support him during the 3 years; he chose a high-ranked state school instead of a more expensive school; and he had no delusions about working in a position that pays half (!) of what I make per year after getting his JD (seriously, you can’t take a $36k/yr job with Robert’s level of debt — you just can’t). We don’t have any debt because we “lived like law students” during his schooling (a la the old saying), and pinched every damn penny for 3 years. Plenty of his friends (who, mind you, went to the same school with its low in-state tuition), lived like laywers during school and will now have to live like law students to pay back their hefty loans. So it’s not like it’s uncommon for bright law-school grads to be poor financial planners.

    Also, my sister is an ADA. She still has loans, but pays them back every month on time. She WANTED to be an ADA and she PLANNED for it by amassing only a reasonable level of debt that she could repay. I suspect Robert fell into being an ADA instead of planning for it. Otherwise, I don’t know why he’d choose to rack up such a huge debt when it’s extremely common knowledge ADAs do not make much.

    It bothers me to see so many people nowadays acting like they are entitled to go to whatever school they want, and take whatever job they want, without regard for what they can afford.

    Look, Robert, I’d love to spend my days devoting myself to charity and the public good like some wealthy heiress, but the reality is, I’m not rich and I have to work all day for a living. So do you. If you want to be an ADA badly enough, then work hard and pay off your loans and go back to it when you can afford to. Be a hard-working, decent person who pays back the debts he knowingly incurred and then devote yourself to service.

    Then you’ll have everyone’s respect.

  43. mam2222 Says:
    August 28th, 2009 at 9:07 am

    Stacey #40: I am happy to convince you that student loans need reforming. I also know and concur that personal responsibility is required. There is no doubt that some borrowers did not borrow responsibly however, I must point out, that it is a scientifically proven fact that 18 year olds do not have a fully formed brain and particularly the part of the brain that is able to make sound reasoning and decisions. I believe it is somewhere around age 26 before the brain is fully formed and able to make sound decisions. I personally believe we should not allow an 18 year old to sign a contract. And, in this instance, borrowers sign for the loan BEFORE they see the terms of the loan. How that is permitted I don’t know (ask your Congressman) but not only are they unable to really know fully what they are signing but they are signing blind. It really is a bad situation all the way around. Now that I’ve convinced you of the need for reform, would you please let your representatives know that it is time to fix this mess. If all of us do this, maybe, just maybe, we can get Congress to correct what they screwed up. Thank you.

    PS – No, I don’t work the 3rd shift but I have a sleep disorder and therefore get very little sleep.

  44. Laura Says:
    August 28th, 2009 at 9:46 am

    I wasn’t going to comment on this, but I thought about it too much! I worked two jobs all through undergrad and spent my spring, fall and summer break traveling with a team for the school that helped pay my tuition (one year I even toured during Christmas). I had no vacation at all for four years and managed to finish undergrad debt free.
    Now I am on my last graduate school class. I work two jobs along with taking my classes and maintaining the rest of my life (mortgage, groceries etc). I managed to pay for part of my tuition working the two jobs but have accumulated about $20,000 in debt. But I knew that was going to happen and have planned for it! Yes, if I lose one of my jobs it will be REALLY tight. But I knew what I was getting into when I started.
    If people’s student loans are forgiven and loan companies start going under, how are future students going to be able to get loans? It’s a loan, not a handout. While some people abuse the system, some people use the money purely for their education. I would hate for my friends taking out small student loans to go to community college to miss out on that opportunity because other people thought they should be let out of their commitments.

  45. Nazim Says:
    August 28th, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    JLP said: “Let’s face it, your plan would benefit YOU!

    Why don’t you get a high-paying job, pay off your debts, and then go back into public service if that’s what you love?”

    Two notes, in reverse order: the advice you give seems to be what Mr. Applebaum is already doing. Most suggestions for reform you make on this blog also benefit you.

    I don’t think what Mr. Applebaum is asking for is novel or rare. Loan forgiveness is part of the compensation package of many govenment positions. If it were not, those positions would only go to people who were either independently wealthy, or only obtained the cheapest of education. I’m not saying that a cheap education is a bad one. But I know of only one law school that has a tuition of less than $22,000 per year. Narrowing the applicant pool by not offering loan forgiveness would unacceptably restrict the type of candidates to a portion of the population that should not be the only ones allowed to enter those positions. Goverment needs different people to run, especially in the legal branches. Since student loans, or a large part of them, are borrowed from the government, it’s easy for the government to subsidize the relatively low pay that these public service positions call for with some loan forgiveness.

    Give the pre-existing nature of loan-forgiveness programs, it seems reasonable for Mr. Applebaum to ask that they be extended to other positions. He’s not asking for a handout. He’s asking for an additional form of compensation for these positions that is pretty ingenious, because it raises the compensation without actually raising the standard pay, and because it makes the positions, which should be undertaken by all kinds of different people, available to all kinds of different people, and not just the ones that were rich, or lucky enough to get into a cheap school.

  46. JLP Says:
    August 28th, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Nazim wrote:

    “Most suggestions for reform you make on this blog also benefit you.”

    Not true. My reforms are about fairness, not putting my needs above someone else’s. Mr. Applebaum’s motives are selfish, pure and simple. Do you think he would take it upon himself to be a crusader for such a program if he didn’t owe $85,000 in student loans? I think not.

    He chose the school, he chose his career, and now he wants someone else to foot the bill.

  47. Nazim Says:
    August 28th, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    JLP, you’re obviously not reading the same blog I am. I’m not criticizing your reform ideas. I’m strictly talking about who they would benefit. And most of the reforms you suggest would benefit you. Don’t deny it. I’m not saying the ideas wouldn’t be unfair. I’m saying it’s unfair of you to criticize Mr. Applebaum on that specific basis.

    JLP wrote: “Mr. Applebaum’s motives are selfish, pure and simple. Do you think he would take it upon himself to be a crusader for such a program if he didn’t owe $85,000 in student loans? I think not.”

    Robert Applebaum wrote: “In fact, if I was given the opportunity to get legislation like this passed with the only condition being that I couldn’t take part, I’d do it – because it’s not about me.”

    Now, JLP can play the “I don’t beleive him, he’s lying” card, but anyone can do that (this is, after all, the internet). But even more to the point, this allfinancialmatters entry was about Mr. Applebaum’s post, his idea, not whether he meant it or not. So be critical of the idea, but be fair to it. You’re not doing that here.

  48. JLP Says:
    August 28th, 2009 at 6:45 pm


    Okay…they benefit me by NOT favoring someone else over me.

  49. Andrew Says:
    August 29th, 2009 at 10:31 am

    I don’t know that forgiving loans would be that stimulative. I work my butt off because I’m in debt. I have 60k of student loans and have to work 40 hours a week to pay them off. I would work much less if I didn’t have to.

    I thought I’d play the Milton Friedman card. Maybe lawyers have too much debt because the ABA or whatever is a union that inflates its wages by restricting entry to the profession. Law schools are then faced with the task of intensive training for a stiff test that a significant portion will fail. He made the same argument for doctors.

    Theoretically, you could have lesser trained doctors and lawyers to accomplish simpler tasks. They would receive lesser wages and cheaper schooling.

    Also, I don’t think it matters if the man’s suggestion is selfish. He makes an argument for why it would be beneficial to forgive debt. His argument needs to addressed based on its own merit, rather than ad hominem attacks.

    I empathize with Applebaum. I blindly accepted the wisdom that the pay increase from a college degree would outweigh the cost of debt. I apathetically went along with it and paid for everything with debt and did little to attain scholarships.

    I fell into the trap that many Americans fell into, the notion that debt is benevolent. In economics, we learned that as long as profits outwieghed interest, a decision is economically sound.

    I now see that I am chained to a huge minimum payment and am afraid to look for a better job, for fear of losing the stability i have with my current one.

    I have only recently learned the serious drawbacks accompanying debt. My parents just got divorced because of debt. I just didn’t know. I and many Americans got into student and credit card debt, naively failing to recognize how it would impair my freedom and comfort.

    Currently I am paying 80% of my income toward paying my debt early and have become highly anti-debt. What I know now would have been difficult to teach to me when I was making my decisions in high school and college.

    Applebaum’s cause is a noble one: freedom, prosperity, etc. I think that this would be better achieved my convincing high school and college students about the horrors of debt.

    I am a debt collector, and I feel that if I could expose youths to sub-prime lifestyles and spending mentalities I deal with every day, they would put the effort in ahead of time to avoid such misery.

    My father would not have ran up the debt he did had he known he would lose his wife over it and alienate him from his children.

    If this memo seems scattered, its because i’m typing in between calls on an autodialer to delinquent credit card accounts.


  50. Angie Says:
    August 30th, 2009 at 10:12 am

    I don’t know much to say that hasn’t already been posted. But this guy is only 33 he still has plenty of time to pay it back. Do what all the rest of us with large student loans do. Take a high paying job you hate. Put 50% of your income or more towards your loans. Make a plan for payoff and then a plan for exit. There’s no simple solution. Just like everything else!

    Yeah it will be horrible to have to be fake and live frugally while you are surrounded by lawyers living the good life. But it’s either that or drag ou your debt through the full 30 year term.

    Oh and those with ridiculously low interest rates. Don’t you know there is a cap on he balance where you need private loans to fill the rest. They are at 8-9% if you are lucky.

  51. Larry Winget Says:
    August 30th, 2009 at 10:55 am

    This is sadly typical of the entitlement issue facing our society today. Borrow money, agree in advance to the conditions of the loan and then when you are bored of making your payments or decide that you don’t want to do it any more because you are better than to have to keep your word, or your conditions change, you want to walk away from your responsibilities. Yep, that big ol’ ugly word “RESPONSIBILITIES!!!!!!!!” Buck up Robert and pay your debt like you said you would when you NEEDED it. By the way, I am betting you are a defense attorney right? Getting the guilty off because they changed their mind about following the laws?

  52. ZFarls Says:
    August 31st, 2009 at 11:21 am

    My brain may not be fully formed at Age 23 yet, (I guess) But I already know that life isn’t fair.

    I agree that in situations student loans should be part of payment plan ex.

    Teachers going to teach in inner city or with specific special needs for 2-3 years after graduation.

    I would assume some similar program with lawyers working with inner city and abused people for some time of loan repayment included with your “low salary”

    Otherwise pay back the money that you borrowed whether you were brain was fully formed or not so that I don’t have too. Thanks, I sincerely hope you do some day get to work your dream job and hope that you are willing to put other things on hold until that day.

  53. kitty Says:
    August 31st, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    “In my opinion “student loan” is still an umbrella term for “debt I didn’t have to accumulate”. Loans are not a necessity to attend a good school. I worked my butt of each year and saved money while in high school so I wouldn’t have to take out loans.”

    Ashley, you aren’t a doctor or a lawyer, right? I don’t know about lawyers, but I do know a few doctors:
    1) Medical schools are expensive even state schools. I doubt it is feasible to earn enough in high school to pay for 4 years of medical school in addition to pre-med.
    2) People usually go to medical schools that take them and it just may be possible for someone to be accepted to a private school but not a state school.
    3) Medical school is really full time i.e. you cannot work in the evenings simply because you don’t get time in the evenings.

    Basically, without student loans only the rich could become doctors.

    As to the subject at hand, as much as I don’t want to bailout anybody, I think there have to be some incentives for people who go into public service. E.g. for family doctors in areas where there is shortage of doctors, for doctors willing to work in free clinics and for lawyers doing pro bono work. So I wouldn’t have a problem with some education subsidies in exchange for public service for a certain number of years after graduation.

  54. Ray Coble Says:
    August 31st, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    If you only have an undergraduate degree and little debt, you will be fine. However, there are many professionals (like attorneys) who took out large loans b/c they thought they would obtain a well-paying job after graduation.

    Guess what? The economy changed and legal jobs are much more difficult to find. My wife and I both graduated with six-figure debt, but yet the only jobs we can find are those paying around $40,000 per year. What a joke!

    You can’t save enough for most law/med schools, and you can’t work while you are there either. Being a law or med student means you study 24/7.

    I don’t want a handout. I am willing to work hard and take a low-paying job like an ADA, but I would need the government to provide a certain degree of forgiveness.

  55. Stacey Says:
    August 31st, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    @#54 Ray: I disagree that working FT thru Law School is impossible. My husband did it by taking classes at night (w/2, then 3 children…Our last son was a “December Law School Final Celebration” baby…BTW, today is his #9 birthday!!

    So it can be done…but you’d better have a strong marriage and an even stronger wife (or husband) who will be bearing the load of managing the family’s “life.”

    PS Try working in the business world rather than as a practicing attorney. I bet your pay will exceed $40K…

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  57. Ray Coble Says:
    August 31st, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Rely on my wife? How? She was in law school too!

    Working through law school when you are on Law Review is NOT possible. Trust me.

    Also, my law school had no part-time program.

  58. Stacey Says:
    September 1st, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    I guess you picked the wrong law school…But good luck in your careers!

  59. Robert Applebaum Says:
    September 2nd, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Just curious at to whether I’m still banned from this debate. Apparently the owner of this blog didn’t like my rational, well-reasoned, non-personal explanations for what I’ve proposed and, thus, chose to censor me instead.

  60. JLP Says:
    September 2nd, 2009 at 9:46 am


    “Rational, well-reasoned” is debatable.

    I didn’t censor you. I don’t censor commenters unless they are:

    1. Leaving off-topic, rude comments.


    2. Spamming my blog.

    What I want here is a discussion. You can’t have a discussion if you censor opposing points of view.

  61. Robert Applebaum Says:
    September 2nd, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Oh look, the ban was lifted. Not sure exactly what I said last week that was not allowed to be seen by the rest of you, but let me address a few of the comments that have been made.

    #1 – I did not attend Fordham initially with the intention of becoming an ADA. If that was my goal at the beginning, I’d have gone to Brooklyn Law or something similar. Believe it or not, things happen over the course of 3 years and my priorities changed during that time. So, had I known then what I know now, my choices may have been different. I don’t think it’s necessary to crucify me for changing career paths between the ages of 21 and 24.

    #2 – “I’ll bet you’re a defense attorney. . .” Uhhh, no. Try reading. I’ve put myself out there – explained my story openly and honestly only to illustrate some of the inherent problems in the system. Again, I did not propose this for myself and I’m not complaining about myself. I can and do pay my loans back.

    #3 – “Pay your loans. . .take personal responsibility” – Good advice. That’s precisely what I’ve been doing. Go figure – had you read what I’ve written, you’d have already known that.

    #4 – “Nothing you can say will change my mind” – Fair enough. Glad to know you have an open mind and are open to rational, civilized debate.

    #5 – “Sorry about your predicament.” Again, I don’t have a predicament. I borrowed money for my education, I’m paying it back. This isn’t about me. This is a proposal I’ve put forth as an alternative to spending TRILLIONS of taxpayer dollars on bailing out the very institutions that caused the economic mess we’re in.

    #6 – “Get a high paying job, pay your loans back and then go back to public service if that’s what you want to do.” Again, good advice. Again, try reading. I left the DA’s office 5 years ago precisely because of my loan situation. I made the unfortunate, but responsible decision to leave a low-paying job I loved to take a higher paying job so as to pay those loans. I didn’t like it, but I did it because I AM responsible. I’m NOT looking for a handout. I’m merely proposing an alternative to throwing trillions of good dollars after bad with the hope and belief that propping up the middle class is a better use of OUR tax dollars.

  62. JLP Says:
    September 2nd, 2009 at 10:02 am

    You were never banned.

  63. LOL Says:
    September 3rd, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    #61 Robert) You didn’t address my argument:

    File for bankruptcy if you want the debt forgiven.

    A lot of posters erroneously stated that student loans can’t be forgiven, but they can be:

    I’m my opinion, if you don’t file for bankruptcy, then that means you actually can afford to make the payments. And if you can afford to make the payments, then YOU SHOULD MAKE THE PAYMENTS!

    I understand completely why the litmus test is harder for student loans — because we can’t repossess your mind and take back the education that you are trying to get for free.

    (FYI, JLP doesn’t ban people — cause I’d be the first :)

  64. Jay Says:
    September 19th, 2009 at 1:46 am

    Where is your outrage regarding the bailouts to the banks? And for everyone stating that the money is now being paid back, you have bought into the delusional PR from the Wall Street machine. What is being paid back is TARP loans. TARP is the money that came from the approved $700 billion bailout. That is only one part.

    What about the $12 trillion in financial back stops that are still in place? Do you realize that Goldman Sachs is back to high frequency trading using the Federal Reserve as a short term loan with rates near zero? What about the backstops at Citi and Bank of America?

    I understand the outrage with student loans. No bailout, agreed. Yet I find the outrage with this one issue misplaced since I don’t remember a “hell no” regarding the financial bailouts of the banks.

  65. Mac Says:
    November 11th, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    In the interest of further argument, I totally support your suggestion Mr. Applebaum. This country offers a variety of public service programs to assist those who have a ‘higher’ calling and want to serve. Why not do the same for attorneys who are willing to make c— for money. There are many like you–passionate, bright, committed– who would have and should have stayed in the system if the system paid more. This country appears to be more interested in bail outs which have not proven to be particularly successful than supporting this part of our infrastructure. There is a huge turnover in DAs’ offices. Our ADAs work as many or more hours than private attorneys and get paid as much as or less than some of the secretaries who work in their offices–if they’re lucky enough to have one.
    The feds have finally figured out (as a result of years of lobbying) the critical need to help DAs with their government loans for this very reason. Still, there are hundreds, dare I say, thousands of ADAs who decided during law school to work within the system for the greater good only to discover that even if they CAN afford to pay back their private loans, the chances of say, owning a home, or putting money away for retirement is slim to none.
    We can continue to take newbies out of law school and hope that they are in the unique position of having paid for law school (or parents paid). If they stay, the system will run more smoothly. Take a look at the turnover rate. It’s not pretty. That does not make for a consistently well run system. I support your contention that we should review this. If we want to attract and keep good attorneys in our DA offices, we need to look at this problem and not accept the status quo.

  66. Matthew Says:
    November 14th, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    I dislike big business, but lets be real about what Mr. Applebaum agreed to. How about being a man of your word instead of crying about what you signed up for! His student loan payment does help the economy, it’s just that he doesn’t get to choose where to spend it! Yes, your plan would benefit you! If everyone had their loan forgiven, than what’s the value of a loan? I can just take out a loan for my pleasure and decide not to pay it back because it may be forgiven some day. Money is not loaned for free! What is this guy thinking? I was screwed with my student loan debt and worked my butt off for years to get even! For fregkin’ years, and sacraficed a lot!Now this dude wants me to pay for his student loans with my tax money so that he can have an easy life playing around with his easy law job. Great, this guy gets a law degree for free! Thanks to me and all the other tax payers out there? No way dude! Go live in a box for free and work your butt off like I did! You’re only 35 years old. With hard work and little expense, you can pay it off easily within 10 years, if not 5. Sacrafice 5 years of your life to be a man of your word. It’s not like someone changed the rules on you Mr. Lawyer! You’re just sore and lazy!

  67. Sandra Says:
    August 17th, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    you all mseem so smart…so why is it you dont get that the student loan industury and it’s “special” rules set many people up for finicial failure. with other loans you can get insurance to cover the loan if you become Ill, and are unable to work and pay, not with these loans, with other loans you get documentation on your payments, interest rate, who owns your loan Etc, you have many more safegards with reg loans then student loans…why? And thanks to degregulation the whole student loan indurstry has to be invistigated. do you know that they have no rules, they are not accountable for what they do or “forget to do” and they refuse to email you any information (because you cant prove what they have “told” you over the phone), or provide documentation to you about your loan. the are not “accountabel” for any errors they may have made to your account. My online access to my account said it was paid off (yeah) I questioned this and never got an answer that made any sence…just no longer had any access to my loan history…still dont. PA must be the wost..its been a horror dealing with AES, I could go on and on about the “way they operate” but whats the wont change a thing…we are all at the mercy of an agency that operates by there own rules and owes no answers to us the consumers who are forced to pay what ever they say for as long as they say…with out providing any documentation to us to confirm the payments or charges…no wonder they can afford to give employees bonus (and what they are being given bonusis for is another issue!) they go on trips, and top guy gets huge salery W\Bonus. we have been had and no one is going to reform these agencies. I should have borrowed from the loan shark instead..he has more integreaty and more honist!!