GT, I’m absolutely terrified. I’ve gotten myself into a real shithole of a situation.

I’m THIS close to getting my master’s degree. Only a few credits away. But my financial aid is utterly, irreversibly fucked.

In order to receive a federal student loan, you need to be enrolled at least half-time. At my school, half time is 4.5 credits. The plan for me was to take 2 classes (2 credits each) while doing the practicum (1 credit) for a total of 5 credits. Perfect, right?

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Except I sent out resumes. Went to interviews. Nothing materialized. Nobody wanted to take me on for the practicum. So I was at 4 credits that semester, less than half time.

Okay, I thought. I’ll try again next semester.

Took 2 classes. Sent out resumes. Didn’t get any interviews. Fell into the deepest depression spiral of my life. My loans got rescinded.

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So that’s 2 semesters of being less than half time. No aid. I owe the school a little less than $12,000. There is a hold on my account. While on hold, you cannot add or drop classes, so you can’t apply for another loan for classes you’re not taking.

I begged my academic advisor to help me. She calmed me down and started me on a plan of attack to get me to graduate. In order to do this, I needed to get the hold lifted from my account. We got the student accounts office and the dean involved.

Dean basically told me I was shit out of luck.

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Student accounts office said no, we can’t lift the hold even for a day, payment plans are not an option, but we DO accept credit cards.

$12,000. On a credit card.

My academic advisor cheerfully gave up on me and sent a Leave of Absence form. So I filled it out. I’m planning to take a Leave of Absence for the full calendar year, and work at chipping away my hold.

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That was a month ago. This afternoon, I got an email from the school threatening to send me to collections and slap 33% of the balance on top of what I already owe.

I’m panicking. Extremely brilliant people of this community, do you have any suggestions for me? I don’t have that kind of money lying around. I’ve been told by an attorney and by a financial advisor that private loans (Sallie Mae and the like) are a terrible idea and not worth it. I don’t have wealthy relatives who I’m close with. WWGTD?

As always, so thankful for you guys for lending me an ear. <3