Meet the First Generation Lawyer Who Has $347K in Student Loans, Can’t Find a Job, and Says ‘So Many People Like Me Have Been Forgotten’

Steve Pederzani with his father and nephew (left to right).

Steve Pederzani (left) with his father at the swearing-in ceremony after passing the New Mexico bar exam.Steve Pederzani

  • Steve Pederzani was told that law school had a bright future ahead of him.

  • However, he is unable to find a stable job and is buried in $347,000 worth of student loans.

  • He hopes to repay what he has borrowed, but hopes people with law degrees aren’t fired from the bailout.

Steve Pederzani thought going to law school was the best decision for him.

After graduating from college and working as a social worker, Pederzani, now 32, wanted to continue helping people, and a law degree was her next big step. As a first-generation student, he said he was frequently advised by lawyers and those around him that getting a law degree would make him wealthier.

“I grew up in a working-class family. I don’t want to worry about when the next meal will be. I don’t want to worry about putting food on my plate,” Pederzani told Insider. Well, everyone said I don’t need to worry about those things.

But after graduating from law school in 2017, Pederzani now has $347,000 in student loans and it’s growing. He took out his alumnus PLUS loan to attend Seattle University Law School and was able to cover all of his tuition, but complications with his fiancé delayed him from taking the bar exam and his fiancé Since their passing, their gross income has taken a huge hit. didn’t work.

As a result, Pederzani could no longer afford the rent in Seattle and temporarily moved to Nebraska to live with his fiancée’s family. They currently live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where Pederzani took and passed the bar exam, and are currently on the Rental Assistance and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance programs. is the highest federal loan type, highest interest ratecurrently at 7.54%.

These loans are part of President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive up to $20,000 in student loans for federal borrowers earning less than $125,000 a year.But the relief is currently on hold as two federal courts have ruled so far I was blocked This is in response to lawsuits filed by conservative groups seeking to permanently waive loan forgiveness.

In any case, Pederzani said he would have no problem repaying the amount borrowed. In fact, he would like to. But he hopes more people, and the president, will recognize that high-paying jobs don’t benefit everyone who pursues them.

“There are people who consider the $10,000 bailout from Joe Biden a miracle,” Pederzani said. “But there are quite a few people like me who are forgotten. We are left behind.” It is.”

“Paying off student loans is the last thing on my mind right now.”

Pederzani said he chose to take out student loans to fully cover his attendance costs because he assumed he would get a job after graduation and earn enough to pay off his loans. It hardly applied to him. After deferring his bar exam, he turned to his alma mater for help in finding a job, to no avail.

He could work as a clerk for a personal injury company for a short time, but moved to New Mexico during the pandemic and jobs were in short supply.

Since then, he has not been able to keep a steady income. He has an income-based repayment plan that allows him to drive his monthly student loan payments to zero, but interest continues to accrue, and the only way to get out of the bottom is to win the lottery or be buried. He said he would need a “treasure”. that.

“It’s not going well,” Pederzani said. “Whoever said that lawyers have an instant ticket to the middle class, it may have existed 10 or 20 years ago, but it doesn’t exist anymore. It’s the same job anymore.” It’s not the market.”

The idea that students with a law degree won’t need to be forgiven for their debt because they’ll be successful so quickly is one thing Biden has touted many times, and it’s been criticized by prestigious institutions like Harvard and universities. Those who earned advanced degrees in Pennsylvania didn’t need loan forgiveness Republican Senator Tom Cotton tweeted that if Biden canceled student debt, taxpayers would “earn $300,000.” I would have to pay a law school loan for a lawyer who is out of town.

According to the Department of Education, about 70% of law students leave school in debt, with an average of about $138,500. and, Investigation A 2020 study by the American Bar Association found that law school debt left some graduates “worried and unable to sleep at night,” and “constant anxiety and stress,” and many graduates were unable to buy a home. and postponed marriage.

Pederzani can attest to that – he said he put off buying a house and adopting a child because of debt. , it’s out of the question for now.

“We don’t even have enough money for next month’s rent,” Pederzani said. “Paying off student loans is the last thing on my mind right now.”

Read the original article at business insider