Occupy Student Debt

“I’d like to tell my 99 percenter story,” 23-year-old Stef Gray said yesterday at Occupy Wall Street in Zuccotti Park, now renamed Liberty Plaza. One of the two signs Gray held as she spoke read, “3 degrees cum laude. Facing eviction. Parents dead. $135K debt.” The other said, “Will work any damn job. Not ‘unpaid internships.’”

“I grew up poor and orphaned,” Gray said. “My dad passed when I was six. My mother passed when I was twelve. I spent my teens bouncing between homes of different family members where I was not necessarily wanted. I was told to stay in school and work hard… [so] I started college when I was sixteen [and] I got great grades.”

“I’ve worked two jobs to make ends meet pretty much the entire time while I’ve been in school,” said Gray, who’s in jeopardy of defaulting on her student loans. “Starting in January, I owe $700 a month on my $130,000 of student loan debt. That’s at 9.75 percent interest. The total amount just keeps snowballing higher and higher as I keep looking for jobs desperately. Right now, I can’t even pay my rent and I live in fear of homelessness and eviction.”

Listen to the story.

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