Is it a sin to take out a student loan you know you’ll get forgiven without full repayment?

I took out student loan debt (irresponsibly) in previous courses of studies, and then sometime after graduation decided to go to law school. I received no scholarship from my law school and ended up (more responsibly) taking out a lot—and I mean, A LOT—of student loan debt. In the middle of my studies for my J.D. I realized that the legal job market was a catastrophe and that I didn’t really even want to practice, anyway. But I finished my degree because I wanted to finish what I had started and I had planned on possibly doing further academic work into the future—and a J.D., frankly, looks really good on a C.V.

The position I’m in now is this. My wife works out of the home and I work from home while staying home with our baby daughter. We do okay financially and what we are doing now has some room for profit-growth. But there is NO WAY that we will be able to fully repay our student loans until they are forgiven. My wife, a teacher, will have her loans entirely forgiven after a period of time. I will have my loans—a more substantial amount—forgiven after a longer period of time, because I’m on income-based repayment. I actually plan on continuing to pay my loans literally until I die, at which point they’ll be forgiven. But we’re basically scraping away at the interest, which continues to grow on the principle. So unless we make our way in the very top of the tax bracket (highly unlikely), then my loans will never be completely repaid.

I now have an opportunity to do further graduate studies, but it will require yet more student loans (that will never be fully repaid). Knowing that they likely won’t be paid back, but will be forgiven at death or after a certain amount of time, is it a sin to take them out? The upside is that I’ll be better qualified for doctoral research and academic jobs, which, if it all works out, will allow us to pay back even more of our debt than is being paid now. The downside is that these are just more loans that we won’t repay, especially if the vocational route I’m on doesn’t end up working out. The program is actually an international one at a very good university that is almost fully funded. So we’ll have to opportunity to live and work in Jerusalem while I’m completing the degree—an added perk. Because it is a shorter degree and almost fully funded, it ends up being almost as cheap as going to the local school down the road.

We already live very, very thriftily and we really don’t splurge. The only “splurge” is this degree, which may open up further avenues for financial gain, but that is by no means a guarantee. Any thoughts?

Id say you are bound to the commitments you are made and are morally obligated to repay the loans. Since they effect the greater good. Someone has to pay for it and that will be the rest of us in one way or another.

So your efforts to better yourself are going to put a damper on everyone else. Sounds pretty selfish to me.

You should be commended that you are paying every month but you should have never taken what you could not pay back. Nor should you take more knowing full well you wont be able to. I would say your getting pretty close if not already at sin and I would suggest talking to a priest.

I have student loan debt, I am starting college again, which will give me more debt, and my ultimate reach for the stars goal is to get my DNP. LOTS OF DEBT. I think most people going to school and especially going on to pursue post-grad degrees will have tons of debt, unless they are fortunate enough to have parents who are capable of helping.
If it is a sin for me to try to learn as much as possible to care for my patients, it surely can’t be a mortal sin.

Loan forgiveness through income based repayment and teacher forgiveness programs = loans paid for by other people, namely **taxpayers **(i.e. most of the people reading this post).

So, should you take out more loans you **know **you cannot pay back so that you can go live in Jerusalem and earn yet a third degree you may or may not use and allow other people to pay for them through their taxes?

No. I do think it would be immoral.

I would love to go do all those things too, but I’m busy paying for your loans. (And, while that is somewhat tongue in cheek, really you should stop and think about what that “forgiveness” really means).

No one here forced you to take out these loans. You are able bodied, have a LAW degree. I see no reason you cannot take up the full burden of the debt you created and also see no reason for you to incur more.

Well, since you asked… :wink:

I think that borrowing money without having the intention to pay it all back is stealing. The fact is you’d be using money that belongs to someone else (the bank, shareholders, taxpayers, etc) to buy something you can’t afford. I get that there are a great number of perks involved (better qualifications, earning potential, opportunities to live abroad). But just because you really really want something doesn’t mean you ought to use any and all means to obtain it.

You’ve taken out debt for college and for a law degree. Despite that fact that you are now highly educated and highly qualified for a number of jobs, you still have mountains of debt and see no way of paying it off. You don’t see any way to earn more money, except by taking out more loans and getting more education? Albert Einstein is quoted as having said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

There’s only two ways to decrease debt and get yourself on a stronger financial footing: spend less or earn more. If you’re already living frugally, you can’t spend less (though, of course, I’d not spend more on education), but why is it that you can’t look for a higher paying job? Crunch the numbers and see if taking a full time job and finding someone to take care of your daughter wouldn’t make more financial sense. I think it’s great when parents are able to stay home with their children, but it serves the family for parents to be able to be financially stable.

Good luck. God bless.

Its a sin of you incur a debt you know you will not repay and do it anyway knowing full well that debt you do not pay will have to be paid for by others.

On the one hand, the government established the loan forgiveness program and makes it available for people to utilize if they meet certain criteria. If people qualify and fill out their paperwork honestly, then it would seem to me that the blame lies with those who created the criteria rather than those who are simply taking advantage of something they qualify for.

But on the other hand, taking out massive loans knowing that you will not be able to repay them doesn’t sit too well with me. Taking advantage of the loan forgiveness program now is one thing. You took out the loans in good faith that you would pay them back, but your present financial situation makes that difficult and the federal government is giving you a way out. But taking on new loans with the expectation that you will never repay them seems like another matter.

I’d encourage you to talk it over with a priest and a financial planner.

Frankly, sir, you are a moocher.

And that is, IMO, a sin, perhaps a serious sin. Men are tried, convicted, and go to prison for taking less money for their own selfish desires than what you apparently have taken under false pretenses.

You dug your own hole. STOP DIGGING. No more loans. Get the best job you can with the education you have and live frugally for as many years as it takes to pay off the loans and interest.

Prudence. Foresight. Temperance. Fortitude. Honor. Integrity.

Stop making excuses. Man up. No sympathy here. You need tough love.

I do not want to pay for you to have an impressive resume (and minimal employment).

I agree with you Joe (amazing right!) While I’m ok with the loan forgiveness programs because they have been funded already I’m not ok with the other side of this equation of a person NOT in that situation.

For our friend above who wants to become a DNP great but be able to pay back your loan if you do and have every intention to do so. Don’t fall into thinking you will be helping people so you get the biggest and best degree you can while neglecting your burden financially. While you may be helping people (health) you would also be hurting people (financially).

I went in the Army initially it had nothing to do with college but after I was afforded the opportunity to attend and get a degree. But I paid both physically, mentally and financially to get it.

Those deferments are not a “get out of debt free” card.
It will look REALLY BAD on your credit report.
Do the right thing.

Loan forgiveness isn’t a deferment and it does not have a negative impact on the credit report.

He’s not getting a loan forgiveness from what I read his wife is capable of a forgiveness not him

I don’t know if I agree…my co-worker deferred and it ruined everything for her. Maybe she didn’t share other details with us though. :shrug:

I thought he was asking about deferment. Never mind.

The OP is talking about more than just deferments.

If you are in a specific repayment plan (regular or income based) and you work as a teacher or even just for a non-profit (like many Catholic parishes and other entities) and you make 120 acceptable payments, the rest of the balance is wiped away. Actually, it would probably improve your credit score because you won’t have as much debt on there. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m not amazed we agree. :slight_smile:

I think you’re right.

I was reading the OP in terms of the him utilizing the Student Loan Forgiveness program. But upon re-reading, unless he works for a non-profit or some other qualifying public service job, it sounds like the loan “forgiveness” he is waiting for would not happen until death.

I guess that makes some of my previous points non-applicable.

Yes, he is. The income based repayment plans all have a forgiveness component. ICR, IBR, and PAYE all put the loan into negative amortization due to the low monthly payment based on percent of discretionary income (the payment can be as low as $0).

After making 20 or 25 years of payments (depending on which repayment plan) the balance of the loan is forgiven.

Public service loan forgiveness, which includes teachers and some others, happens after ten years of payments. However, PSLF can be combined with an income based repayment plan, greatly increasing the amount that gets forgiven.

The “forgiven” amount is basically money the taxpayer eats because all these loans are backed by or loaned directly from the government in the first place.

You want to look to the next fiscal crisis-- look at trillions of dollars loaned out to students who never repay the treasury and are “forgiven” after years of low payments.

Yes, this is basically the moral teeter-totter that this presents. The problem is that my earning capacity—yes, even with a couple degrees—is not what it needs to be to pay off the substantial debt already accrued. The question isn’t, what awesomely lucrative job can I land to pay off this debt, because if it were then the answer is obvious, right?

Further academic work is one possible way of increasingly my earning potential. It is perhaps the best way given my skillset, experience, and abilities. The problem is that another degree is not a guarantee of a better salary. So the real question is whether I should keep on keeping on, looking for a better salary and paying whatever I can, or take a plunge using student loans to only POTENTIALLY increase my earning capacity specifically so that I can pay back more on my loan debt.

My spiritual director—a very orthodox guy, too—seemed to brush off my concerns about accruing more debt precisely because the overall goal was to be able to make more to pay more back on the loans. But as you can see I’m still uncertain and uneasy.

No, the loan forgiveness happens at the end of the term for the income driven repayment plan-- IBR, ICR, or PAYE.

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