Lifeline Balloons into Burden

Seattle Times – A public-health caseworker is worried about how she’ll manage the $1,000 payments she must start making on school loans next year, but she also wants to learn to take charge of her finances.

Student loans were once a lifeline for Sue Ferguson and her family.

With her husband unable to work because of a medical condition, loans covered not only her college tuition, but also the family’s living expenses and child care for her daughter while Ferguson earned a master’s degree in education.

Fast-forward 17 years and those loans have ballooned into a $140,000 albatross for Ferguson, a public-health caseworker for Snohomish County’s Kids Get Care program. Through various loan consolidations and programs that give more time to borrowers who are facing economic hardship, Ferguson has yet to make a payment.

Now 52 and closer to retirement age than student age, Ferguson, who is no longer married, faces monthly loan payments of $1,000, which she must begin making next year.

Read More