Friday, April 8, 2011

Alone And Invisible? Life As A Defaulter

If you have defaulted on your loans, I would like to hear from you. While much has been done for prospective and current students, there has been little, if any, headway made to assist defaulters. It is a perfect case in which the 'moral hazard' argument is made, and that is why defaulters are simply invisible. More and more individuals are defaulting. Each day, I hear from at least two or three people who  tell me that they have defaulted. In many cases they are not the only ones that are affected by the status of their loans. There are the co-signers as well. Defaulters express deep anguish about their financial circumstances. They tell me stories of how their families have been ripped to pieces. Broken individuals. Broken families. Broken cities. Broken states. Broken nation. All of it adds up to an intellectually bankrupt nation, one which has turned its back on professionals and a robust middle class. These people have been turned into indentured educated zombies. Default, or so it seems, infects the mental health of a person. What sort of place has this country become? It's frighteningly distorted. Is it beyond repair? Will we continue to wage wars, and simultaneously impoverish Americans who pursue higher education? Can we bring back defaulters from their hell? What about the educated who are delinquent on their loans? What about the educated who fear that if something happens (a car wreck, a serious health problem), they too will be ruined? As of today, total outstanding student loan debt is over $902 billion (I presume that when you click on that link, it will have increased).

There is scant data about defaulters, and that needs to change. Furthermore, I want to explore it from a perspective that illuminates the human condition of a defaulter. Let's build a database with your personal stories. AEM will force policymakers to think about defaulters. The banks are demanding money. While the lenders have disturbing tactics, such as seizing money from people's bank accounts, they can't assume ownership of the education and knowledge inside a person's mind. How can they possibly seize that?

You are living with all that knowledge, but you are also in default. Tell us, what is that like?

If you wish to share your story, please email me ( If you would like to share your stories with other defaulters, there is also a Facebook group that I recently created here

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