I could be paying my student loans until I'm 77

After graduating, I took a job in Durham, N.C., at the Herald-Sun daily newspaper. Eventually, over 15 years and several pit stops, I made my way back to my hometown news organization, the Detroit Free Press.

I did drag my feet on repayment early on when I was making $11 an hour as a journalist in the early 1990s, putting off the monthly bill so I could eat, and perhaps drink a few beers. But I’m going to lay more of the blame on a public policy that allows student loan debt to balloon for some who put it off or simply can’t pay. And the loans cannot be extinguished in bankruptcy.

I only bring up the B word because some students don’t make it professionally or financially, and they are forever stuck with the debt, a financial life sentence. We’ve written about twentysomethings living in their parents’ basements or cobbling together income from a series of part-time jobs that don’t have benefits or enough extra income to dispatch the loan debt without extra interest accruing.