Screw You! I’m Never Paying Back My Student Loans
This blog post is a warning to prospective art students who want to borrow thousands of dollars to pay for an art degree without having a plan or intention to pay those loans back. Everything I wrote about here came from my own personal experience.
As for well-intentioned students who borrowed money and then fell on hard times, this blog post and the message contained therein is not about you.
If you’re thinking of sticking it to the man by borrowing thousands of dollars for college with no plans of ever paying back your student loans, think again. You’re actually being screwed by big banks who are sticking it to you—hard.
Borrowing thousands of dollars in student loans without having any intention of paying it back is like walking into a car dealership and driving off the lot in a new vehicle knowing that you never plan to make a single payment.
While many artists wouldn’t qualify for a car loan, student loan lenders care less about your ability to repay. No matter if you’re an 18-year-old with no credit or a 58-year-old with bad credit, student loan lenders will gladly hand over a hundred thousand dollars for college and related expenses.
In the beginning, your lender seems cool when you you’re late on a payment and they’ll probably let you defer. In fact, they might even prefer it because your interest is growing fast. They also might not tell you that you’re going into default (270 days without paying) until after it’s happened. Why? Because the federal government reimburses the lender for your unpaid principal balance plus any interest owed when you default.
So the lender gets their money and they still get to collect from you. Meanwhile, your debt grows and your two-to-four years of college ends up costing you your freedom.
So, your college got paid, your lender got paid, you still owe, and you still don’t care. What happens then?
While the federal government can’t imprison millions of outstanding debtors—at least not physically—they can and do jail you mentally. Your conscious act of theft is the worst kind of crime because it leaves a paper trail that leads creditors right back to you, the thief who stole their money.
It’s easy to say “whatever” if you’ve never had creditors calling you all the time. Changing your phone number every few months is a pain in the ass and it can prevent you from getting artistic opportunities because you can’t be reached at the number your contacts had from last year.
You can ignore incoming phone calls but your family will no doubt become annoyed when creditors start calling early in the morning and late at night. They call parents, siblings, and cousins with the same surname. Happy Thankstaking!
Meanwhile, the federal government can grab up your tax returns. Your paycheck can be garnished, meaning they’ll reach in and take a little right from your job each week and your employer will know about your debts. Your Social Security benefits can get altered. You may not care about that when you take out your loan but when you’re older and looking to get SS benefits, it might suck to have them limited.
They Have to Catch Me First!
It’s easy to be broke when you’re broke, but it gets tiresome. If you try to rent a car or get a credit card, you’ll find it isn’t as easy as getting a student loan. What’s worse is that being in default means you’re always financially on the run. You can’t get any kind of loan. Your credit gets shot and finding an apartment becomes a pain in the ass. Forget about buying a house. Your insurance rates climb and you might have to put down deposits just to get utilities. Basically, you’re on the run.
Knowing that your income will be taken away from you, you start to hide your earnings and look for ways of making money under-the-table, like waiting tables or working construction.
Always living your life knowing that you owe is heavy. It can kill your spirit. It weighs on your muse. The constant demand of your time and money takes a toll on you. Like your degree, massive outstanding debt is a mental construct that will never go away. Unlike your degree, the debt is like allowing someone to attach a small straw to your integrity and suck away at it a little or a lot at a time, every moment of every day.
The Man is Sticking It to You
So if you think that banks were dumb enough to loan you money for school, you’re mistaken. You can’t beat them at their own game. You’ll be giving them twice the money as their indentured servant. Why not just stay out of debt and keep making art instead? If you’re already planning to live on the run, don’t borrow money to go to art school. Rather, go to the car dealership and drive off the lot if you can. At least you’ll have a new car to live in when you drive to Canada.