A Story, a Decision, and a Resolution: a very happy tale!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Today, I'm going to tell you a story about a girl.

It was the fall of 2003.  This girl, let's just call her J, was a freshman in college.  She didn't know what she wanted to do with her life, but she knew she was where she needed to be.  She loved everything about college... the campus, the classes, her friends.  She just didn't know how she was going to pay for it all.  She borrowed her first semester's tuition from her grandmother, but when spring tuition came due, she didn't know how she was going to pay for it.  Finally, at the last possible second before they were going to make her move out of the dorm, she got a loan from a bank.  At a terrible interest rate.  She was just so glad to be able to stay in school that paying it off seemed like an abstract idea for the very distant future.  After sophomore year, that loan ran out and she got another one through FAFSA.  That interest rate was better, but it didn't matter to J if it was 10% at that point.  She would have done anything to stay in school.

J graduated in spring 2007 and her first loan payments came due in December.  The combined payments were about $320 per month... for the next 20 years.  J was scheduled to pay them off when she was 42.

J was never angry and never questioned whether it was worth it or not.  College is always worth it.

Fast forward 4 years and 3 months, and J and her husband decided that the time had come.

It was time for this burden to be lifted from their shoulders.

They refinanced their cars at an extremely low interest rate (1.99%), and used the equity money the bank gave them to pay off one student loan.  It was a no-brainer really... 1.99% beats 6.5% any day.  The car loan would be paid off in 4 years, which was obviously much shorter than the 16 years left on the student loan.

Then they decided that it didn't make sense for money to sit in their savings gaining 0.15% interest, when they could use that money to pay off the second loan.  So they did.

Long story very short, J now has no student loan payments.  They're gone.  Done.  Even though, technically, one student loan is tied in to her car loan, the payment isn't any more than what it was before because of the low interest rate and the equity she already had in it, plus the new loan was extended two more years than what was left on her existing loan (4 years instead of 2 years).

Clicking that "submit" button for the final time on each student loan was a lot like Christmas.  Except better.  J's college is now completely paid for.  And she's not even using her degree (ha!).  But that doesn't matter, because college isn't really about getting a degree.  Okay, well it sort of is, but it's about more than that.  It's about learning to live on your own, to be responsible, to make friends and lifelong memories, to be a part of something.  

Goodbye $36,419.43... I won't miss you.

P.S. Go Mountaineers!

P.P.S. Big shout out to my wonderful hubby, for without his help, this would have never been possible.  Love you!


  1. Wow, congratulations!! You are so right - college is so much more than the degree and what a wonderful story of perseverance you have to share about it!

    sara @ applestonedrive.blogspot.com

  2. Congrats!!! I'm so happy for you! What a great feeling!