A TikToker went viral this week after claiming that despite making monthly student loan payments, he still owes more than the original amount borrowed.
The first video, posted to TikTok by user Bradley (@baddie.brad), lays out his predicament, and two follow-up videos further clarify the situation. Bradley’s first TikTok about his situation has over 1.2 million views.
And it’s on 7% interest
The initial video shows the TikToker posing while text overlaying the video reads, “Never miss a student loan payment in 7 years.”
After a few seconds, it cuts quickly to Bradley collapsed on his bed.
“I owe more than when I started,” the text now reads.
In the first follow-up video, Bradley offers more details about his situation.
“And that’s why I never shut up about my student loan debt, because I want to educate people and stop anyone from doing the stupid shit I did,” he tweeted. , which is in response to a comment questioning his initial video.
The creator says he graduated from college in 2013 and has invested around $60,000 in his loans since.
“But, because the interest is so high, even though I’ve paid over $60,000 for my debt, I still owe more than when I started,” Bradley continues.
He states that he has a loan of $114,000 with an interest rate of 7%, which he pays $900 per month. “But because the interest is so high and the amount of the loan is so high, every time it comes time to make a new payment, that $900 is basically clawed back on interest, and it’s not advancing anywhere.” , he said.
In a video laterhe reveals he had a total of $130,000 in student loan debt for a degree he graduated in 2013. He claims that after paying around $60,000 over the past nine years, he currently owes $147 $000 in total, which is $17,000 more than the original amount he borrowed.
@baddie.brad Reply to @vivaitalia4life ♬ original sound – Bradley
In the comments, some users berated other commenters who criticized Bradley for apparently not understanding the terms of his student loan debt.
“The comments didn’t pass the vibe test. Some of you are forgetting that we take out loans while we’re still kids…literally 17 and 18,” one user wrote. “The whole thing ‘just pay more per month’, remember some people can’t??? I went to the same school as him, it’s not his fault at all, they are such a rip off when it comes to finances there.
“Instead of blaming him for taking out a loan, why don’t you all blame the ridiculous student system [loans?]“, concluded the same user.
Others simply sympathized with Bradley.
“University Debt [has] been one of my biggest regrets in life,” one commenter shared.
“I’m making the smallest payment possible and I think I’m going to die with it,” another offered.
The latter is a common thought among those with student loan debt. In 2021, Investopedia reported that “nearly one-third of all American students now must take on debt to complete college, and average student loan debt hit an all-time high of $40,904 in 2021. Collectively, they owe about $1.75 trillion dollars”.
Plus, “1 in 5 Millennials in Debt Expect to Die and Never Pay It Back,” NBC reported in 2019.
Bradley’s problem stems from the fact that when he makes payments, the money is apparently applied to interest, not to the principal loan. This means that each time he pays, the money only goes to the additional debt accrued through interest, not the base amount. For this reason, he can expect to keep paying indefinitely unless he can pay more to make up the principal.
His problem persists even after the federal government paused on student loan interest rates and monthly loan payments required in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While interest rates on most student loans have been at 0% for more than two years, the break is set to end on August 31. Although this measure may have given many people with immense student debt a chance to reduce the debt accumulated by interest, it is not known what type of loans Bradley took and whether or not the break applied to them.
TikTok commenters have offered their own solutions, such as making education free or low-cost (something already done by many countries around the world, for example). Top Universities), by lowering or eliminating interest rates or, as some activists are proposing, by canceling student debt entirely.
However the problem is solved, TikTok users are fed up with the current system.
As one user wrote, “Our system is so broken!”
We reached out to Bradley via a TikTok comment.
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*First published: June 17, 2022, 8:45 a.m. CDT