THE BLOG
01/11/2015 04:19 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Does a School Have to Provide a Real Skill for All That Student Loan Debt?

Dear Steve,

My friend somehow got her grants changed to loans when they made her reapply right before the school year started as they were installing a new system. She doesn't know what happened as she was actually going thru a tremendous amount of turmoil due to robberies, harassment from juveniles (she was working at the detention center at the time when a new kid moved down the street, saw her at work & caused H to break out for her).

The degree they talked her into is totally worthless. On top of that, the things that school had her read & write about (violence, starvation, juveniles, guns) put her in a deep depression. She begged them to let her write about other topics but they refused.

She landed in a Disability & Rehabilitation program for PTSD, anxiety, memory & focus problems plus flashbacks of a crime that was committed against her when she was 15. She was in bad shape but the DARS program only got her into SL debt & didn't help her w/ anything.

Turnover was high & every new DARS counselor said the same thing, "I have A HUNDRED clients". She wanted to drop the school & get a job but she just couldn't.

Is there SL debt relief for medical reasons for those who somehow landed student loans when they qualified for grants plus were unemployed then & yrs later, still is? Especially when the "worthless piece of paper" gave them not ONE skill, let alone an employable one? When they were always able to just grab another low-paying job after a layoff until they went to school? Don't schools have the responsibility to provide at least ONE skill in 2-4 yrs of coursework?

Al

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Dear Al,

You raise an excellent point when you say, "Don't schools have the responsibility to provide at least ONE skill in 2-4 yrs of coursework?"

The real answer is they don't. Schools sell education and butts in seats, not employment or even marketable skills. Yet you wouldn't think so from the for-profit school ads that make you believe enrolling is a guaranteed pathway to a job.

Your friend sounds like a good person deep inside but there is a lot of trauma to break through to find a better future.

I'm convinced she obligated herself to student loans on the advice of others. I'm less convinced she didn't play a part in this by agreeing to the suggestions. That can make it impossible to lay the blame at the feet of others.

Ironically I believe the financial problems she has been going through actually make her PTSD issues, worse. Financial PTSD is a little understood reality but I've written extensively about it.

Hopefully these are federal government student loans because if they are, and she is permanently disabled, she could get her loans forgiven. Click here for more information on making the loans go away because of a disability or at least getting the payments reduced.

If these are private loans then there are few options outside of eventually defaulting on the loans. But, that's not the end of the world. Read this article.

It always strikes me as sadly odd that some private loan lenders seem to look at total disability as a temporary event and rather than eliminate the loans, they just give a temporary payment break. Practically useless.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

Before I go I wanted to leave you with three easy action items you jump on right now to address your situation. Just click here.



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