Cindy from Howe, IN

Faces of the Federal Budget

I started college at IUSB in 2001, right after my divorce was final. I was a single mom with 3 kids, eager to begin a new life. Two years into my education, I was in a car accident in which the airbags caused whiplash-induced migraines for about 6 months. I believe my injuries were more from the airbags than the accident. Anyway, I don't remember everything clearly, but I think I had two classes that I didn't drop because I couldn't hold my neck up without a major headache. I was crushed. College was supposed to be my ticket out of factory hell. I still owe IUSB for those classes I didn't attend, somewhere around $800. I know I'm close to an Associate's degree, but I can't get my transcript until I pay the bill. The bigger issue is the student loan, though. I'm not sure of exact numbers, but I think I had it paid down to about $11,000. Since I wasn't able to work consistently, I paid a year at a time with my tax return. The plan worked beautifully until the year my car needed replaced. I probably could have handled it differently, but since transportation was the priority, I stopped paying it. When I talked to them several years ago, the balance had jumped to around $28,000. They needed $400 a month just to cover the interest. I was still only making $10-$12 an hour in a crappy factory, at about a 25% income tax rate. That's a bring home of $300-$360 a week. I still had three kids at home. I offered to give up my grocery budget before I hung up on her. I was stuck. I'm still stuck. And I'm frustrated. I have never made more than $14.25 an hour in my life. My school-to-escape-the-factory plan failed miserably. My credit rating is ruined forever. I can never own a house. I'm still stuck in a factory. I feel defeated and hopeless. My life was devasted in several major ways by a car accident. It's going to take a miracle to get me out of this mess. Or at least a reasonable compromise.

Cindy from Howe, IN | Map

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