Melissa, Minneapolis

I was lucky to have parents that saved for my undergrad education. As an adult, I went to grad school to get my Master’s in School Counseling. Because I had a decent income at the time (made approx $35,000 working at a non-profit), I did not qualify for any grants, so I took out student loans to pay for my grad school education. Right after I finished my Masters degree, I was hired as a School Counselor at an alternative high school. I have been at the same school for the past 4 years. I love my job!

I was originally on the graduated loan repayment plan, and my payments were around $250/month. I then learned about the loan forgiveness program, and found out that if I switched to the income based repayment plan, I would qualify for forgiveness after 10 years. When I switched to this repayment plan, my payments went up to $350/month. I make a good income, but $350/month is hard to come with in addition to my rent, medical bills, car loan etc. As a single woman, I am solely responsible for paying all these bills by myself.

For the past 3 years I have been taking care of my landlord’s son for some extra money. I make approx $200-$800/month doing this. But I have still been struggling paying all my bills. So in addition to being a School Counselor and a babysitter, I just accepted a part-time evening job as an in-home mental health practitioner so supplement my income.

I got my Masters degree so that I could have the career that I always wanted….and I now have it! But, in order to pay back my loans, I am also having to work two other jobs…it’s too much!