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October 22, 2012

Frustrated Student Loan Borrower Sings the Blues

According to a recent comprehensive study on private student loans by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Americans now owe more than $150 billion in private student loan debt!  Cumulative defaults on private student loans exceed $8 billion, and represent over 850,000 distinct loans.  As many of you already know by now, Heather has a generally low opinion of private student loans due to their higher than average default rates, less flexible repayment plans, and fewer borrower protections as compared to their federal loan counterparts.  The experts agree that students should look first to grants and scholarships, then federal student loans, and should only consider private loans if money is still needed to cover the costs of your education.

All of that said, one frustrated student loan borrower, Joshua Turner, chose to not dwell on his massive private student loan debt, but rather to channel his frustration into song.

This is his story:

My name is Joshua W. Turner and I am a 24 year-old musician.  Like many others, I have over $133 thousand dollars in student loan debt, and it hurts. I attended Berklee College of Music in Boston in 2007 and Musicians Institute in Hollywood in 2010.  As you may or may not know, Berklee College of Music is an extremely expensive private music school, and the only possible way for me to attend was to take out private loans through Sallie Mae.

First off, I was 18 years old when I chose to take out these loans, with no education on what it meant to take out a loan due to 'student loan education' not being taught to us in high school.  At the time, I just thought that going to a well known music school with direct connection to the music industry and my personal drive would get me into a position where I could make at least enough money to steadily pay off my loans.  That was not the case.  Like many other job markets in today’s era, the music industry does not make anywhere near the amount of money it used to make, and the musicians who have “made it” are lucky to at least make a somewhat decent living making music, but still nowhere near the amount of money it would take to pay off what it costs to attend a private music school anytime soon.

I don't blame anyone for this student loan debt epidemic, because there are already enough people in massive amounts of student debt to do that for me. I just thought at this point, the only thing I can do is to use what I was taught (and paid for) at Berklee and Musicians Institute to give a voice to what millions of people in the world of student debt feel like inside…through song.

So I would like to present to you my original song entitled "Sallie Mae'd."



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