Tuesday, September 18, 2012

CNN Money "Broke college students turn to fertility clinics, sugar daddies"

This CNN Money article, which discusses the darker side of how students are trying to pay for college, was just published today. However, Arianna Huffington discussed how women were seeking out sugar daddies on the Lawrence O'Donnell show in August of 2011. On that note, I want to applaud my fellow reporters for continuing to cover this crucial story - the more exposure, the better.

Here's yet another reason why we MUST solve the student lending crisis. 

It's just sad. But it shouldn't have to be sad. It should just be solved. Period. 


Nando said...

Yes, "higher education" is THE KEY to one's future. However, the story may be quite different than the one you pictured.

Anonymous said...

I know we've (and by "we," I mean people like Cryn) have made a lot of progress in the last few years in calling attention to the student loan crisis... and for that I am grateful. I am feeling anxious about if/when change is going to happen. Last night, my situation became even a step worse. I haven't eaten in over 24 hours because I'm so upset and have no appetite. I really, really hope that change is coming. I just need a reasonable chance to pay off this private and federal debt. We all do.

Justine Valinotti said...

We should be happy that college students are becoming prostitutes, egg and sperm donors or lab rats because it's giving them "valuable experience"?

What kind of country is this becoming?

Cryn Johannsen said...

@Anonymous 12:37 PM - what happened to you yesterday that has made your situation worse?

I am sorry to hear that you are upset and worried.

I absolutely agree. Something needs to change. We can't wait any longer.

Anonymous said...


My private loans are in the process of coming due. I have been keeping my federal loans "at bay" (allowing them to inflate to unholy amounts due to interest) by remaining in community college because I figure that it's better to amass interest than it is to default. These private loans however, are coming due quickly and unexpectedly (read on).

To make a long story short, I was misdiagnosed by a general family doctor with an alleged mental disorder (bipolar) in college. The reality is that I was just emotionally unstable due to a divorce - sad and upset but certainly not bipolar. My point is that I was prescribed mind-altering medication that caused me to behave erratically and actually put me in the hospital with a rare, life-threatening allergic reaction called Stevens Johnson Syndrome. One of the side effects of the medication is memory loss. In addition to several other things that I apparently did during the two years that I took the medication, I allegedly signed for $100,000.00 in private student loans in addition to my federal loans while attending a state university. Why is this relevant? I DO NOT REMEMBER taking these loans upon myself. I have been randomly getting letters in the mail telling me that new loans are starting to come due now that I've graduated. I received one such letter last night.

Since I just found out that more loans are coming due, I have to move out of my apartment within the next 8 days so that I can afford my SL payments, rendering me essentially homeless. I'm several hundred miles away from any family, so I have some very tough decisions to make in the next few days.

Why are 18 year old kids, particularly those who are not of sound mind and do not even recall what they've done, allowed to destroy their futures like this? Is this really my America? There is NO way I would have done this in my right mind.

I appreciate your concern, thank you. It doesn't pay the bills, but it sure makes me feel a little less lonely. I hate to admit this, but I'm scared. I really am. I hear my dad's voice on the phone while he listens to me choke back tears and it makes me so sad because I know he wishes he could help me but debt at this level is... literally impossible to repay.

Anonymous said...

P.S. I wonder if some of our efforts should be directed toward the banks themselves? We've seen the power of bad publicity in Sallie Mae who now applies forbearance fees to loan balances rather than keeping it for themselves. Check out this petition:


Thanks to this couple, Citibank now cancels debts of deceased student loan holders rather than going after families and estates.

Any thoughts? I'm I crazy for thinking this might be an answer? I believe that we need general policy change, but these little steps couldn't hurt in the meantime.

Cryn Johannsen said...

@Anonymous - thanks for opening up. This situation sounds terribly difficult, and it angers me that you are facing such a financial crisis. I realize it might not be of much comfort, but you are not alone. And I - along with others - are working around the clock to try and come up with solutions that will aid you and others NOW. I agree with you: this is not My America either.

I'd like to share your story on AEM - if you have a problem with that, let me know.

Hang in there.

Who knows? Lightning could strike in DC tomorrow and things could be solved. I know neither of us are expecting that, but things do happen . . .

This isn't about wishful thinking. In my opinion, the tide is turning, and it's in our favor.

I want these lenders to fall like the tobacco industry fell. People thought the tobacco industry would triumph, and look at what happened to them.


Cryn Johannsen said...

Little steps can always help - absolutely. I am aware of that family's situation, and have been in touch with others who had things changed for them. We just need to take it to a large scale level, and I think that can be done.

Anonymous said...

Cryn, feel free to share my story. I read through it again and found several grammatical errors - I am sorry. You can address those before posting so they do not reflect negatively on you. I am glad you don't believe that that change is just wishful thinking anymore. Something has to change, it just does. I hope that the winner of the presidential election will have a heart and will urge Congress to act on our behalf.

I told my mom last night that I am a prisoner without bars in front of me. I wish I had the courage to give the industry the middle finger and protest by not paying, but we both know that they'd destroy me even more.

Cryn, if there is a heaven, I believe that there is a special place there for you. I read your blog often and it is sometimes the only thing that gives me hope. I am sorry to remain anonymous - I just have my reasons for the time being.

Thank you for all that you do.

Gordon Wayne Watts said...

Cryn, your blog here is front-page news at the following links --both in the main section (top-right) as WELL as the unabridged ( * Other Resources: below*) section >>

1. http://GordonWatts.com/Higher-Ed-Tuition-Costs.html
2. http://GordonWayneWatts.com/Higher-Ed-Tuition-Costs.html
3. http://ThirstForJustice.net/Higher-Ed-Tuition-Costs.html
4. http://Gordon_Watts.Tripod.com/Higher-Ed-Tuition-Costs.html

I would advise you to follow the link above, and click on the **_Read_this_first:______________.
* "Why College Prices Keep Rising" link, which will take you directly to Alan's op-ed, and, then, after that, read the editorial comments below -as well as *_my_* op-ed at the top of the page. These are not too terribly long.

Then, and ONLY then, will your peeps be prepared to write letters to the editor --or argue with your local state or federal lawmaker -or newspaper editor.



Gordon Wayne Watts
Editor-in-Chief, The Register

Anonymous said...

I'm hanging from a thread, have been for several years now. I wish so much I could commit suicide but, sadly, I don't have it in me. (I literally don't have enough money to sustain my life, and I can't live in a homeless shelter, so suicide would solve my problems. I have no choices and no hope for a future. My life is over. Completely over.) But that's beside the point. No one cares about me or about any of us who are suffering.

Mostly what I hear is that it's my fault for being an English major. Apparently, the Liberal Arts are devalued by most Americans. I know that I'm intelligent, talented, etc., but nothing I do matters 'cause I don't have money or connections. Frankly, I'm disgusted by my fellow Americans because most don't care at all about those of us who are suffering. As long as they are okay, they just don't give a s***.

As far as most Americans are concerned, if you're not rich then you're just not "doing the right things." I've tried talking w/college students, warning them not to take out loans and they just look at me and say, "Oh no, I'll get a good job when I graduate." They think there's something wrong with me personally that I didn't succeed.

Nothing's going to change in this country until the majority of Americans start to suffer themselves. To the extent that it's someone else suffering, Americans just don't care.

Terra said...

I am feeling anxious about if/when change is going to happen. Last night, my situation became even a step worse.

Cryn Johannsen said...

@Terra - what has happened that's made your situation worse?

Founder & Executive Dir
All Education Matters, Inc.