Law Grad's Ballooning Student Debt Will Exceed $1.5M by the Time He Retires

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A Touro law graduate who financed his education with a $69,000 loan in 1996 says he’ll owe more than $1.5 million by the time he retires in 23 years.

John Koch, now 46, was unable to pass the New York bar exam, despite three tries, according to Cable News Channel 12 (sub. req.). He has worked as a compliance manager, an insurance agent and a painter. He is also a law school scamblogger who uses the pseudonym JDPainterGuy, Legal Skills Prof Blog reports. The video is posted at YouTube.

When Koch defaulted on his loan, penalties added $40,000 to $50,000 to the balance, he tells the television station. He currently owes more than $300,000. Now he is deferring loan payments under a federal program, which adds $2,000 in interest to his balance each month. As a result, he will be charged interest on interest, a debt expert tells Cable News Channel 12.

Another expert, Cryn Johannsen, tells the TV station that huge student debts contribute to depression. People find her blog by searching online for the words “suicide” and “student loan debt.” Johannsen is a journalist and an advocate for student loan debtors who runs a nonprofit called Education Matters.

Koch tells News Channel 12 the debt burden harmed his former marriage and affected his mental outlook. “When I’m 69 years old, I will have carried student loan debt for 50 years,” Koch tells the reporter. The station broadcast the interview on Feb. 12 as part of a series called “Student Loan Trap.”

Updated at 10 a.m. to add information about Johannsen’s background and to identify her as an advocate for student loan debtors.

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