“I don’t know how I'm going to pay it back,” Halterman, publisher of Out on the Town Magazine, says. “The economy has been so bad. I used up my three-month forbearance this year and they are calling asking for payments. My business is still struggling and I am trying to find a full-time job. Meanwhile, the interest builds up and they want their payments. I don't know what to do.”
For 40-something Generation X’ers, the news is more distressing. They are now struggling to put their children through college, but still face enormous debt for their own college educations. Generation X, unlike Baby Boomers, entered college just as the federal government in the Reagan years cut education grants. Instead, loans became the status quo, and borrowing limits were raised.
Angela Hunter, a university professor in Little Rock, Ark., earned three degrees and studied abroad. She currently has $80,000 in debt, which is down from about $112,000 of her original student loans.
“I have no idea how I'll pay all of them off,” she says. “I started paying one of the loans in the late '90s; it was a privately-issued loan and was not in forbearance when I went on for the next degree. I have been paying regularly on the consolidated version of the loans since 2004, when I completed the Ph.D and got a full-time job. I suspect I'll be paying until retirement.”