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Teacher can't afford to retire with $155,000 in student loan debt

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  • Lori Harrell owes $155,000 in student loans.
  • After a twenty-year career as a teacher, she can’t afford to retire.
  • She was denied by two federal loan forgiveness programs for teachers.

Lori Harrell, 60, is a teacher and has a bachelor’s degree in education and two master’s degrees, but she advised her son not to go to college.

“When I was born my parents said you either go to school or get a job, so I went to school,” she told an insider. My advice was that you don’t have to go to school unless you know exactly what you want to do.”

After more than 20 years as a public school teacher in New York City, Harrell is approaching retirement age. But with $155,000 in student loans, she doesn’t know how to make ends meet.

She is currently working as a special education teacher at the Wyoming Correctional Facility in Attica, where she has been for four years. She used to teach middle and high school special education classes, but switched to a government job in order to get better benefits such as a better pension and health insurance after her retirement.

However, her debt remains an elephant of £155,000, even though she has made plans to retire in the past few years. A few years ago, she merged federal and private loans. She also started a repayment plan based on her income. She was paying about $300 a month until her student loan payments were paused when the pandemic began. These payments were mostly interest, with little change in principal.

Many Americans are going through the same thing as Harrell, having to adjust their retirement, housing, and medical plans based on their total student debt. One often expects relief after 20 years of payments, only to face prohibitive bureaucratic obstacles or be turned down entirely.

“I’m about to retire in two years and I don’t know how to manage,” Harrell said. “I’m going to die with that debt.”

“Retirees shouldn’t have student loans”

Harrell said he had struggled to pay off his debts over the past few decades.

“When I was raising my son as a single parent, it was about rent, food, taking care of him, his activities, and those kinds of things.” I didn’t go, but it was tough.

Harrell said he never missed a loan, but was often late. Borrowers seeking income-based repayments are only available to those with federal debt and often report that the monthly payments offered by loan companies are unrealistic.

Early in her career, Harrell said, student loan companies estimated her salary, which determined her monthly income, as $30,000 more than she actually made. Decades later, she still hasn’t earned that amount.

Harrell was one of those considered ineligible for forgiveness through the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program because he had student loans since 1979, outside of his initial eligibility period in 1998.

She has also been denied public service loan forgiveness through the federal government. Prior to the Biden administration, 98% of borrowers who applied for the PSLF were denied due to paperwork errors and poor administration of the program by student loan companies It was done. As such, the Department of Education has announced program reforms, including exemptions until October 31, 2022. This allows previous payments, including those previously considered ineligible, to count toward loan forgiveness progress.

Harrell applied again months ago after the Biden administration implemented reforms, but has yet to hear back.

On the other hand, he said he was considering selling the property to pay off the debts of his mother, who died several years ago.

Debt “will be a problem when my income drops,” she said of her retirement. It will become a department.”