The problem being that during the term of the loan she followed advice to consolidate her debt so she wouldn’t have to keep track of all the separate payments. She did this without being aware that she would not be able to refinance. Now at 57 years old, Rosemary is worried that when the time comes, her social security check will be garnished, making financial independence impossible. She testified this week to a senate committee on aging saying, “I find it very ironic that I incurred this debt as a way to improve my life, and yet I sit here today because the debt has become my undoing.”
It seems like Rosemary Anderson is not the only one. The Miami Herald reports some of the GAO findings:
“The percentage of households headed by someone 65 to 74 years old with student debt increased to 4 percent in 2010 from 1 percent in 2004. In 2005, the outstanding federal student debt for this age group was about $2.8 billion; by last year, it had climbed to more than $18 billion.”
Our first logical conclusion was that the debts incurred by this age group must be on behalf of children or family. But we were wrong, the GAO found that 73 percent of the 50-64 group, 82 percent of the 65-74 and 83 percent of those over 75 years old were paying off their own, rather than another’s, education.
Although the most common type of debt held by this age group is still mortgages and credit cards, the GAO figures show that the number of student loan debtors is growing and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass has joined others in a request that something is done about it.
“We can’t just bury our heads in the sand and hope that it goes away,” she said. “We need to face it head on, and find solutions that will reduce the burden of student debt and provide real protection for borrowers who find themselves struggling to pay back their loans.”
(Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey)
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