25 years ago at the end of this month, Steve and I exchanged rings and vows in a little church in Tenafly, NJ. That day, we were joined in hearts and souls and student loans debt. Together, we combined my $30K of loans with his $45K, and we started our new lives together with a $75,000 shackle around our ankles.
How did we accumulate all that debt? Well, both of us had some debt from undergrad years. Then, we both got terminal MAs; mine was in social science at the University of Chicago, his masters degree was in history at Cleveland State University. Back then, people were still getting masters degrees in the humanities, just because nobody told them it was a bad idea.
Then, we got our PhDs at a university that did not fully fund its students. On top of a full course load, we taught classes all over the city for the city university system earning less than minimum wage. I also had a part-time job in semi-exploitive policy center at the university. Even with all that hassle, there was no way that we could pay for our slum apartments and tuition without loans. We just signed the paperwork and got the checks.