“I started TrustPlus at a time when my credit was not great, I was living with a roommate, I was just dead with student loan debt, and I just saw no way out.”
Milly, a comedian and writer living in Brooklyn, says “even in my standup, I would joke ‘what’s a savings account?’ I had no idea how I could manage anything. And within a year, my credit score went up 60 points.” She found out about TrustPlus through a
community outreach effort, offering critical support and financial coaching to those in need, which reached her online community of local comedians. Milly’s family always emphasized their goal for her to graduate from college but nevertalked about the potential downsides of student loans or how the credit system works.
When her college suggested she take out $20,000 in private student loans to pay for the balance not covered by her federal loans, she had no reason to question their recommendation. Her sister, with the best intentions of supporting Milly’s college dreams, co-signed on two loans, totaling $20,000.
In the 10 years since she borrowed the original $20,000, Milly has paid $33,000 but still has a balance of $17,000. Her college’s financial aid office did not make clear to Milly that private student loans can feature high and variable interest rates, not the low- and fixed-rates characteristic of federal student loans. Her lender did not accurately assess Milly’s ability-to-repay and failed to clarify for Milly’s sister the implications of co-signing the loans.
Milly has done her best never to miss her $350 monthly payment, but over the years she was forced to make difficult decisions, prioritizing rent, utilities, and food expenses over paying her student loans. These missed payments threw her repayment schedule off
track and damaged her and her sister’s credit, which strained their relationship for several years.
Had her college offered Milly recommendations for scholarship or grant opportunities or enrolled her in a payment plan with the school directly, she might have paid off the balance years ago; she estimates that she would have saved an extra $13,000 to date.
Working with her Financial Coach, Ashley, Milly decided to make several lump-sum payments towards her private loans—and even paid one off in full—while her federal loan payments are suspended.
“Before I started coaching, [this loan] just seemed like a hopeless, insurmountable issue.”
Now she is prepared to avoid predatory loans in the future and feels empowered to tackle her debt head-on. With Ashley’s guidance, she refinanced the second loan with a lower interest rate and without her sister as a co-signer. After years of being denied a refinance loan due to her poor credit rating, it was a moment of celebration.
“Ashley has not only kept me on track and kept me moving, but also her coaching has really transformed my relationship with money.”
For the first time in her life, Milly has a savings account with enough to cover one month of expenses and a prime credit score. She moved into her own apartment without roommates in 2021, a long-time goal. With her student loans under control and her housing situation stable, Milly plans to support her family, even in small ways, without expecting to get paid back.
Another long-term goal remains unchanged: quit her day job and earn a living through comedy, writing, and acting.
“I am finally seeing the light at the end of the student loan tunnel.”