Her mom was helping pay off her student loans. When she passed away, the debt had doubled.
person holding brown leather bifold wallet

College is expensive. Parents work multiple jobs, put pressure on their children to perform at the top of their class in order to earn merit scholarships, all in the hopes for college to be mostly paid in full. Inevitably many students and parents have to take out student loans in an effort to fill in the gaps left by financial aid.

In the case of one Twitter user, Michelle Miller, her mother agreed to pay back half of Michelle’s student loans to ease the burden on the new graduate. After graduation the daughter owed approximately $30,000 and, split between the two of them, it meant they would each need to pay back $15,000.

Michelle lamented on Twitter about how her mother insisted on paying back her agreed-upon portion of the student loans though the daughter offered to take over payments. When Michelle’s mother informed her that the original $15,000 turned into $40,000 after interest, Michelle decided to save money in preparation to take over payments. However, her mother refused to allow it. Miller’s mother was expected to pay $400 a month on the student loans, but this would cut into her retirement, leaving her below the poverty level. To her mother, it was worth it to hold up her end of the bargain. Unfortunately her mother became unexpectedly ill and passed away before she was able to retire or pay back the loans. When going through her mother’s paperwork after her death, Michelle was met with a shock.



The loan amount had doubled. Michelle’s mother hid that the interest rate on the loans had brought the grand total to $80k that she could never afford to pay back. But this story is not unique. Many borrowers go into debt thinking the benefit of the degree will outweigh the burden of student loan debt but the cost of an education continues to skyrocket and the interest rate on loans makes paying it back nearly impossible. When you go to school and take out loans, you expect to be able to afford monthly payments and hope to pay it back in a timely manner, eventually freeing up income, but that’s not always the case. A lot of people find themselves in a similar situation as Michelle’s mother. They take out a dollar amount that is repayable, only to look up and see they’ve repaid the original balance but they still owe more than they originally agreed to borrow.

man wearing white top using MacBook Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

If stories like Michelle’s are the norm, why aren’t we doing more to regulate student loan companies? Presidential candidates like to talk about student loan forgiveness, and some have come up with actionable plans, but it doesn’t solve the long term issue of student loan practices. The truth of the matter is that children who three months prior had to ask permission to use the bathroom are now expected to understand the long term implications of borrowing money from a company that doesn’t care that the average person can’t pay it back plus interest.

Seventeen- and 18-year olds with a dream of attending college and questionable loan practices is a perfect storm for continued crisis in the student loan arena. Until we can figure out how to better regulate the lending companies in charge of student loans, the next generation will repeat the cycle. People shouldn’t have to choose between pursuing their dreams and taking debt to the grave.

Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy asked his Senate colleagues the questions millions of Americans have after a mass shooting.

Another school shooting. Another mass murder of innocent children. They were elementary school kids this time. There were 18 children killed—so far—this time.

The fact that I can say "this time" is enraging, but that's the routine nature of mass shootings in the U.S. It happened in Texas this time. At least three adults were killed this time. The shooter was a teenager this time.

The details this time may be different than the last time and the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that. But there's one thing all mass shootings have in common. No, it's not mental illness. It's not racism or misogyny or religious extremism. It's not bad parenting or violent video games or lack of religion.

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Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


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