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February 17, 2012 11:00 AM Servicing Student Loans

By Daniel Luzer

nocollege

Single mothers are apparently turning to prostitution to feed and clothe their families.

(Hang on; this has a higher education component.) According to a blog post by an (understandably) anonymous author at OffBeatMama, after her husband divorced her she had trouble supporting herself:

I tried to go to the government, but there was no help there. Every job I could find made enough to disqualify me from welfare programs (no Food Stamps, no Temporary Assistance, no Daycare Assistance, nothing) but never enough to make ends meet. My biggest problem was my student loans. None of those public assistance organizations take student loan repayment into account. I spend more on repaying my student loans than all of my other bills COMBINED. If I default on those, I’ll never be able to get ahead. The interest and penalties will continue to build, and I’ll be financially sunk. I don’t get to file bankruptcy on student loans.

The escort service part is probably not the important thing to worry about here. “Student loans force women into prostitution!” this is not. The woman in question could have found other work, though it might not have been as lucrative.

It’s just that, well, student loans make people poor. And the services designed to help people who are poor or in debt don’t take into account student loans. That’s the reality.

Despite the fact that loans are mandatory expenses that impoverished people can’t even discharge in bankruptcy, despite the fact that education debt is now greater than credit card debt, American policy still doesn’t really treat student loans as a serious financial burden. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer