Tuesday, February 16, 2010
By EMILY DONOHUE, The Saratogian
SARATOGA SPRINGS — When he was a high school student looking at colleges, Salem resident Matt Saari thought a school with a good reputation would lead to a successful career. He graduated from St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in history and about $60,000 in debt. The student loan bills have all come due, but the good career he planned for has been more elusive.
Saari works at the Ace Hardware distribution center in Wilton and spends about $400 a month, plus an additional $300 quarterly, to repay the student loans he took out to finance his education. His job at Ace Hardware does not require a degree.
“The money’s OK, but it’s certainly not what I had imagined,” he said. “I guess in my darkest moments, I wonder if I wouldn’t have been better off just enlisting (in the military), maybe getting a practical skill set.”
He contacted all of his loan lenders to try to reduce his monthly payments, but only one lender agreed.
A $500 monthly payment on one loan was reduced to just under $300. The other lenders wouldn’t budge, though. “I’ve tried to discuss other options,” he said. “They’ve claimed that the options aren’t there.”
Saari said he doesn’t regret going to St. Anselm College, but he didn’t imagine that he’d be struggling to make ends meet after he graduated. He lives with his parents to save money now.
“I cherish having gone to college,” he said. “The economy kind of bailed on me.”