Apr 122005
 
Authors: Anne Farrell

Some things inescapable in life are death, taxes and student loans.

However, two graduates from accredited New York institutions have attempted to evade this concept by doing the next best modern thing: launching a Web site asking people to pay their loans for them.

Payourstudentloans.com was started in January of this year and so far has received around 2,500 hits. However, it was not intended to be just an easy way out for its creators.

It was designed as a portal for information about federal laws relating to financial aid and information about how the financial aid system works. The site also has resources relating to how to pay off loans.

The Web site founders, Susan Paier and Kendra Loons, graduated about three years ago from accredited New York universities and work together at an education company. The founders did not want to name the schools they attended because they said it distracted away from student loans as a federal issue, rather than how much their schools cost.

Together Paier and Loons have accumulated $108,200.98 in loans and they have been paying toward their debt since their undergraduate graduations.

"On the one hand college taught me so much both inside and outside the classroom. On the other hand it's literally costing me my life," Loons said. "I wish I'd had a better understanding of just what I was getting into instead of just blindly believing that college equals a better life. I'm going to be in debt until I am 53 assuming my current repayment rates."

According to CNN Money magazine, 64 percent of graduates from 1999 and 2000 graduated with student loan debt. Thirty-nine percent of those have debt levels that are considered unmanageable as their monthly payments are more then 8 percent of their monthly income.

"You borrow money, you have to pay it back," said Leon Orpi, a freshman open-option major who expects it will take him 20 years to pay back the loans he will need for education, "Every business has to make interest. You should want to pay it back."

Since the inception of the site, the creators have received $92.80 towards their loans. Ten percent of what is donated is saved in a scholarship fund, designed to eventually help others in their situation. Establishing a scholarship fund requires $10,000 and currently $9.28 is credited toward the account

Even with numerous resources available on the site, the concept still receives much criticism.

"I don't think it's fair," said Younes Bendrahim, a senior electrical engineering major who added he does not have much experience with the topic because he does not have any loans.

When asked if the debt was worth what she gained in education, Susan Paier said, "Yes and no. Yes in that I believe education is important and I know I wouldn't have the job I have now without the degrees that I have. No because I think about how this debt is going to be a burden on me for the next 20 or so years and will prevent me from some opportunities because of a lack of financial means and will prevent planning and saving for my future."

At the rate of current repayment it will take more than 21 years to finish paying off her debt.

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