Private Student Loan Troubles Echo Mortgage Complaints

Chris Young knew he had committed to years of payments when he took out nearly $80,000 in private loans for college.

But he never thought he’d be stuck with a debt he couldn’t afford.

Initially, it didn’t look that way. The 2007 Duquesne University graduate was working at a weekly newspaper in 2009 and paying about $350 a month on his private loans when he learned his monthly payment was doubling, effective immediately.

A customer service representative for the bank explained Young had been on a graduated repayment plan, paying only the interest on his loans. Now, he was expected to begin paying off the principal.

“I told them I couldn’t afford that, and I was able to renew the graduated plan for another two years,” he said.

Earlier this year when that plan expired, Young’s monthly payment jumped to $870.

Because he is on full fellowship at graduate school, that payment is on hold until he graduates.

A report on private student loans — those issued by financial institutions as opposed to the federal government — from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau suggests Young’s surprise wasn’t unusual.

Click here to read the full article published in The Tribune Review (October 21, 2012)

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