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man commits suicide - burdened by student loans

joecollegedadjoecollegedad 458 replies98 threads Member
--Item today in the Chicago SunTimes. --

....My comment: the college financial aid process is a mess and needs fixing!...

http://www.suntimes.com/news/education/571489,CST-NWS-SUICIDE24.article

Crushing debt
SUICIDE | Man who owed as much as $100,000 felt trapped by his student loans and 'lower than low' that he had no job

September 24, 2007
BY DAVE NEWBART Staff Reporter/[email protected]
Jan Yoder was preparing for her son's funeral when the phone rang. It was another student loan collector wanting to know when her son would pay up.

Her terse response: Jason is dead. And, she said, "You are part of the reason he took his own life.''

It was those calls and the burden of crushing debt, she says, that led her depressed son to take the drastic action of killing himself late last month. He did so in the Illinois State University chemistry building in Normal -- in the very lab where he did his research to earn his master's degree....

"It made him feel lower than low to tell somebody every week, 'I don't have a job,'" his mother says now. "It drags you down. You feel like nothing.''

Jason, 35, owed more than $65,000, according to the National Student Loan Data Service. But it's possible his debt was higher because that figure only includes government-backed loans and not the high-interest private loans students increasingly rely on. He told family members his debt had grown to more than $100,000.

While relatives acknowledge Yoder had fought depression on and off for years, advocates for student borrowers say his case is another example of a student feeling trapped by student debt. Unlike most other debt, the loans cannot, by law, be discharged through bankruptcy, and collection agencies have extraordinary powers to collect them by garnisheeing wages or even Social Security benefits...."
edited May 2011
108 replies
Post edited by joecollegedad on
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Replies to: man commits suicide - burdened by student loans

  • MajesaMajesa 72 replies16 threads Junior Member
    Well...that's quite a story. I'm guessing that until at least a few more thousand people die in the same manner, lenders and friends will continue to look the other way.
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  • 2by22by2 375 replies12 threads Member
    Well- I know it is unkind to say- but once again, where is personal responsibility here? Where were the parents when the kid took out those kind of loans- is it really that expensive to go to UofI? And there are jobs, no not glamorous ones that we may have thought we earned going to graduate school but still - he was depressed- that's why he killed himself. Of course the grieving mother blames the student loans, in time she'll probably blame herself as well...it's the nature of grief. Does there need to be reform on lending especially to college kids? Yes, but is it their fault this young man took his life? No, I don't agree.
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  • tomslawskytomslawsky 1290 replies88 threads Senior Member
    He was a moron. Wanna bet he wasnt depressed when he was drinking beer and chasing women after he cashed the checks?
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  • princessbellprincessbell 1927 replies151 threads Senior Member
    It's not the fault of the lenders, but this is an indirect yet terrible call for reform. Private universities are out of control. Interest rates are out of control. This is getting completely ridiculous. And, yes, you may say, just go to University of XYZ, but then there are people like those on CC, not to mention the rest of the world, who say, go there and you're going to go nowhere. So this is something that everyone, colleges, lenders, governments, and even parents need to look at and remember and think about.
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  • red remotered remote 212 replies24 threads Junior Member
    I'd love to see this guy's credit card bills and grades from college.
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  • red remotered remote 212 replies24 threads Junior Member
    Also, it is his fault that he did not work hard enough in school and in his life to get into a need-blind school because he obviously was not too affluent if he killed himself over 100k
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  • mojojojo69mojojojo69 - 2497 replies74 threads Senior Member
    Hello? its not all his responsibility...its the school and the nations responsibility to provide affordable education to its students, regardless of state residency.
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  • kyledavid80kyledavid80 8053 replies40 threads Senior Member
    He was a moron. Wanna bet he wasnt depressed when he was drinking beer and chasing women after he cashed the checks?
    Also, it is his fault that he did not work hard enough in school and in his life to get into a need-blind school because he obviously was not too affluent if he killed himself over 100k

    Wow ... just wow.
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  • illuminarilluminar 631 replies17 threads Member
    I think some of the posts in this thread really indicate the skewed lense through which some people on these boards look at things
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  • warblersrulewarblersrule 10193 replies175 threads Super Moderator
    its not all his responsibility...its the school and the nations responsibility to provide affordable education to its students, regardless of state residency.
    They do. That's what public universities are for. I agree with 2by2, harsh though it may be.

    This is certainly a tragic situation, though, and I find it particularly disturbing since many posters have considered shouldering such debt (see the "Is Yale worth $100k" thread).
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  • mojojojo69mojojojo69 - 2497 replies74 threads Senior Member
    They do. That's what public universities are for.

    I guess illinois state university (the school that buried the guy in $100,000) is not a public school. You are right...its totally affordable!
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  • mojojojo69mojojojo69 - 2497 replies74 threads Senior Member
    from the article:
    ISU chemistry Professor John Hansen said Yoder did "very well'' in school but rarely spoke of his debt. However, it took him several years to finish his master's thesis in chemistry, increasing his loan total.

    When he graduated in summer 2006, he was unable to find a job despite sending out dozens of resumes. Meanwhile, he watched his loan balance grow. He moved back in with his mom, who lives in a small trailer home in Normal.

    ....That could tip potential employers to his credit woes. Collinge said many employers won't hire people with bad credit.


    How can you guys make fun of him? he was a good student, and he was poor. It wasnt his fault. In this case, it was the school!
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  • Roger_DooleyRoger_Dooley Founder 6083 replies100309 threads Senior Member
    I don't think suicide is a typical response to student loan overload, but there is a cautionary tale here. Lenders WILL lend to students who don't have a clear plan for getting out of debt after they graduate, who major in fields with limited job prospects, etc. One can't fault the lending process entirely - they can't pick which students will succeed in their chosen profession, which will move on to law school or business school, and which will leverage their undergrad degree into a series of jobs that barely pay the rent.

    I do think that colleges need to put the brakes on their tuition and fees, which have outpaced inflation every year for decades. Most colleges, though, have a surplus of applicants and most of them come up with the money - we'll probably have to wait for the baby bust to see some price competition arise.

    Any student contemplating heavy debt load needs to run the numbers and get some experienced financial input, whether it's from a parent or someone else. A big loan that will come due many years in the future is something that's hard for anyone to evaluate, but particularly difficult for younger folks who haven't paid off a house or even a car.

    I'd be cautious in planning any debt amounts greater than the Stafford limits, particularly when starting as a freshman. Leave some room for unexpected circumstances, like parental job changes, needing an extra semester, etc.

    In reading CC's forums over the years, I've seen some students get hung up on the belief that there is one perfect school they need to attend, even if it means racking up big debt. That's not true, and spending money that you don't have to chase that dream isn't worth it.
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  • warblersrulewarblersrule 10193 replies175 threads Super Moderator
    I guess illinois state university (the school that buried the guy in $100,000) is not a public school. You are right...its totally affordable!
    mojojojo, it doesn't say that he did his undergrad at ISU. His MS, yes, but not necessarily his undergrad. The cost of ISU's grad school is approximately $16,500 per year as of 2007-2008. Even if he borrowed ALL of the money needed to pay this, his debt should be ~$33k, assuming he finished his MS in two years like most people.
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  • fencersmotherfencersmother 1904 replies71 threads Senior Member
    He was 35! What had he been doing for the past 12 years? I suspect Mr. Yoder had many many more problems than crushing loan debt.

    I agree: where was his personal responsibility? I feel horrible for his remaining family; are they still responsible for his debts?
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  • 3bm1033bm103 4123 replies86 threads Senior Member
    I guess my question to the person saying that the lender and friends will continue to look the other way: What were they supposed to do? Deny him the loans? Talk him out of it? It's tragic and I wish education was more affordable, but you can't blame the people who allowed him to take out the loans.
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  • UCBChemEGradUCBChemEGrad 10221 replies56 threads Senior Member
    2by2 wrote:
    Where were the parents when the kid took out those kind of loans

    The guy was 35, he doesn't need his parents to rubber stamp his loan application.

    I agree there needs to be personal responsibility. No lender put a gun to his head and said take out this amount of money...he was probably spending the loan money to subsidize an increased living standard. The debt was probably hiding bigger issues.

    Sad story...but lets not turn this into a liberal cause where the government should be giving bailouts, like the Dems are proposing with home mortgages. People in the U.S. are living beyond their means, and society needs to wakeup.

    OK...I'll step down from my soapbox now.
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  • RootBeerCaesarRootBeerCaesar 1317 replies60 threads Senior Member
    The nazi loan firms do not care how many die. I'm sure those loan firms are sad about his death too, but only because he didnt pay back his loans before he died.


    He was innocent, and trapped by the evil system of cruel loan-company pigs who are scum on earth.
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  • notthatgood4notthatgood4 . 519 replies24 threads Member
    This is exactly why I would rather go to a "mediocre" college for very little money than go somewhere "great" and be in debt all my life.
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  • astrifeastrife 434 replies50 threads Member
    Where is the personal accountability? I'm sorry he killed himself of course, and in my mind it was completely unnecessary. However, I cannot help but wonder why he took the loans out for the degree if he was not sure of the job market when he got out of school. He should have gone to nursing school instead of getting a masters in chemistry; if he had done that, the loans wouldn't have been an issue.

    Where was the psychiatric intervention though? This guy needed to see a doctor to help him with his depression, maybe then he would've had a better shot at landing a job.

    If anything I blame the people around him for not getting him medical treatment.
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