When Michelle Bisutti, a 41-year-old family practitioner in Columbus, Ohio, finished medical school in 2003, her student-loan debt amounted to roughly $250,000. Since then, it has ballooned to $555,000.</p>
<p>It is the result of loan payment deferrals that Bisutti got while she completed her residency, default charges and relentlessly compounding interest rates. Among the charges: a single $53,870 fee for when her loan was turned over to a collection agency.
*"Maybe half of it was my fault because I didn't look at the fine print," Bisutti says. *"But this is just outrageous now."
The entire balance of her federal loans will be paid off in 351 months, when Bisutti will be 70 years old.
Her damaged credit has prevented her from buying a home or a new car. She says she and her boyfriend of three years have put off marriage and having children because of the debt.
Half of it?</p>
<p>I think learning how to read, taking the time to read what one is signing, and actually thinking about what one just read before signing, would be advisable. There are too many students who pay little to no attention to the terms or totals and the consequences of the loans they're taking on. Even some otherwise intelligent people seem to skip some of this most basic bit of practical common sense. We've seen some of it here on CC where some parents have kindly informed the student (or other parents) of the impact of paying back the large loans and the reality of it. Too many people are simply living in the present and not considering practical long term consequences. Fortunately this example is somewhat extreme and not the norm.</p>
<p>Bottom line - think through the real impact of the cost of college and loans rather than simply dismissing it as a triviality. Use amortization calculators; consider the realistic salary received and when it'll be received (i.e. some docs make a lot of money, eventually, but not necessarily immediately); consider the costs of living, and how the loans will really impact your lifestyle. Consider living within your reasonable means.</p>