Get Out of Debt Guy

My Degree Isn't Worth the Tuition I Paid With Massive Student Loans

Posted March 3, 2015

Dear Steve,

I'm not really sure that there is a solution to my issue but you seem to know about student loans so thought I would run it by you.

Back in 2007 I wanted to go to school to get into the graphic and web design industry. At the time I was working full time so was exploring online options - this led me to The Art Institute Online. The recruiter talked a good talk about how affordable an associates in web design would be and how many career options it would give me. I enrolled asap.

I had to take out loans to cover the cost and as my schooling continued I would keep getting notified from my student advisor that I would need to take out more loans - it seemed every time I was told "yes, this amount will cover the cost for the rest of your schooling for the associates" - a couple months later she would say I needed more loans.

I was young and naive and figured this was par for the course. Then enough was enough - I was up to more than 50K in student loans (half of that amount in private loans) and they were telling me they needed more money. I was months away from obtaining my associates degree - I couldn't take out anymore loans so they said I could downgrade to a "diploma".

So two years of schooling, over 50K in student loans and I walked away with a "diploma" in web design.

The quality of the education was sub par, I'm not a qualified web designer and could not hold a job in the industry. I tried to further my education at a local community college but found out that the art institute credits I earned were not transferable.

Over the last five years I have used every deferment/forbearance option that I qualified for as we were struggling financially. I have exhausted those options and now have over $400 per month in student loan payments.

What's even worse - my father is a co signer on all of these loans. I have pretty much accepted that it is what it is and that I have to chalk it up to "dumb tax" on my part, but now that I have two children it is a crushing weight.

If you have any ideas I may be missing, I would be thrilled to hear them.

Thank you,


Click here to read my answer to Jessica.

Steve Rhode
WRAL Get Out of Debt Guy

If you have a credit or debt question you'd like to ask about, how to get out of debt, just click here and ask away.

If you'd like to stay posted on all the latest get out of debt news and scam alerts, subscribe to my free newsletter.


Please with your account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all

About this Blog:

Steve Rhode has had careers in opthalmology, real estate and as the head of a nonprofit debt counseling firm. On his blog, he offers hard-won, free advice about getting out of debt, consolidation and making the right choices as you manage your money.