The day has finally come: FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) STUDENT LOANS ARE NO MORE. The milestone of debt-freeness (I might have just made up that word, oh well) is one which words cannot express how satisfied I am. It is like winning a championship in your favorite sport or achieving a perfect 4.0 in school: not many people do it as quickly and easily as I did. Conquering something that has had so much weight on your shoulders is gratifying; so much weight that you don’t even need a gym membership because you’re “that” in shape.
The 6 total loans spread from 2011 to 2015. Each year you have to fill out the FSA application to determine how much money you will be granted. All of these funds have to be paid back if you do not qualify for Pell Grants (which are basically free money). Some of the loans are subsidized, while others are unsubsidized. The former equates to no interest being accrued while you are in school. The latter has interest while you are in school. By the time I graduated in 2016 with my MBA, I had just under $10K in interest that had been accumulating.
I am beyond humbled and grateful for the support and motivation my family and friends have provided. My family loaned me 2 lump sum amounts of $5K each. One loan I paid off within 2 weeks. The other loan I will be repaying within the next 4 weeks. Most people do not have this luxury of cash liquidity. I call this type of financing “bootlegging”, or straight-up using the resources you have right in front of you. Borrowing low-dollar amounts (okay, $5K can be “high” depending on how you look at it) and paying them off quickly, can give reason to the creditor (my parents in this case) to not charge interest. Not having that money for 2-4 weeks isn’t that big of a deal, right?
While paying off the FSA loans, I did help others in need when they came knocking at my door. I planned appropriately and trusted them. That trust was never lost (thankfully!). However, I do understand that you cannot trust everyone and caution is warranted when loaning dollar-dollar bills y’all.
The overall journey was tough, sacrifices were made, and lessons were learned. I am here to openly discuss and provide bad and good advice (for free of course) to anyone who would like or need it. Contact me on my cell phone, email, or DM. Best of luck to those of you that are still grinding.
The screenshots below are a summary of my total principal. I started repaying my student loans in October of 2016, and finished paying them at the beginning of November 2018 (roughly 2 years). Total principal debt from my undergrad and grad was $61,500 for all FSA loans. The servicer was FedLoan Servicing.
As a side note, I still have over $5K to pay off to the University of Utah. The loan is separate from FAFSA and will come to an end briefly. Stay tuned for that execution, my friends and family.
My questions I pose to you all are: How do we fix this? Who is the “we”? When will tuition stop increasing more than inflation? When will more colleges like ASU offer free tuition (e.g., full-time MBA program)? Will there be a student debt “bubble” that will burst and lead to the ultimate downfall of the American economy?
*Never accepted this loan, hence the $0 Original Balance.