When you have student loans, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and alone with your debt. Watching friends live in luxury apartments and eat out every night can make you feel like you’re the only person struggling with loans.
But you are far from alone — even the rich and famous have struggled with student loans. Some celebrities still have student loans today that they have not paid off.
Find out about celebrities who dealt with student loans and how they managed their debt.
1. President Barack Obama
Becoming President of the United States is not cheap. Barack Obama went to Occidental College, Columbia University, and got his law degree at Harvard Law School.
In a 2013 speech, Obama said he graduated with a mountain of student loan debt. Despite his stellar education, it took years for him to pay off his loans. In fact, he didn’t finish paying back his loans until he was in his 40s, just before he was elected to the U.S. Senate.
Obama noted that he should have been saving for his daughters’ educations by that time, but his loans prevented that. And while that must have been a difficult choice, paying down your own debt before saving money for your children is a smart financial decision for the long-term.
2. Cecil Shorts
Cecil Shorts is a wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL and was first drafted in 2011.
In 2013, people were shocked when Shorts signed a four-year, $2.6 million contract. Not because of the deal, but because Shorts revealed he was still paying off a large amount of student loan debt.
Unlike many NFL players, Shorts did not get an athletic scholarship in school. Though he worked part-time jobs while he studied physical education, he took out over $70,000 in student loans to pay for his tuition and expenses. As of 2013, he still had about $30,000 left to pay.
Shorts stressed the importance of working while in school to minimize debt. He recalled that while other players would go out, he would work odd jobs like cutting lawns or landscaping to make extra money. That helped prevent him from taking on even more debt.
3. Miles Teller
Miles Teller is an actor who has starred in movies like Fantastic Four and the Divergent series, but he is also still paying six figures of student loan debt from his time at New York University.
He went to school to study acting and racked up $100,000 in loans. In his senior year, he got his break and moved to Los Angeles to film his first movie.
However, despite his success, he still has not paid off his debt. In an interview with Vulture, Teller said his business manager told him that interest on his debt is so low, it makes no sense to pay them off earlier.
While that decision might work for Teller since he has multi-million dollar movie contracts, for most people it makes sense to pay off your debt as quickly as possible.
If you can’t decide if it’s better to pay off your loans or invest your money, check out this payoff versus invest calculator to help you make an informed decision.
4. Kate Walsh
While you may know her from the hit show Grey’s Anatomy, Kate Walsh struggled financially early on.
Before beginning her career as a model and actress, she worked at Burger King and Dairy Queen. Later, she attended the University of Arizona.
In an interview with Refinery29, Walsh stressed how difficult it was to handle her debt.
“I am a person who came out of college with, oh, jeez, just thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars in debt. And the only way I was, honestly, able to pay off my student loans was at age 37, because I happened to get on a big, fat TV show called Grey’s Anatomy, and I was able to finally pay my student loan debt. And that’s insane — it was just interest accruing and accruing and accruing,” said Walsh.
Because of her experience with student loans, Walsh campaigned to encourage people to get out and vote in the most recent election. She cited student debt as one of the issues she’s most passionate about.
5. Kerry Washington
If your favorite show is Scandal, take comfort in knowing that Olivia Pope understands your student loan woes. In fact, Kerry Washington didn’t finish paying off her debt until she was cast in that iconic role.
In a speech she gave at the Democratic National Convention in 2012, Washington emphasized where she came from and how student loans made education possible for her.
“I’m here not just as an actress but as a woman, as an African-American, a granddaughter of Ellis Island immigrants, a person who could not have afforded college without the help of student loans,” said Washington.
What their stories mean for you
While you may not have the salary of the celebrities on this list, you can still learn from their experiences. All of them struggled with student loans and managed their debt differently. While some still have not paid them off, others scrimped and saved to pay them off before they even made it big.
Diligently applying even small amounts to your loan balance can help you pay your debt off faster and save thousands in interest. For more information on different strategies of paying off your loans, learn about the debt avalanche and debt snowball methods.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.30% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
APR stands for “Annual Percentage Rate.” Rates listed include a 0.25% EFT discount, for automatic payments made from a checking or savings account. Interest rates as of 11/8/2018. Rates subject to change.
Variable rate options consist of a range from 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term, 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term, 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term, 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term, or 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rate will change on the first day of every month (“Change Date”) if the Current Index changes. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes. The variable interest rates are calculated by adding a margin ranging from 0.98% to 3.80% for the 5-year term loan, 2.35% to 3.85% for the 7-year term loan, 2.40% to 3.90% for the 10-year term loan, 2.65% to 4.15% for the 15-year term loan, and 2.90% to 4.40% for the 20-year term loan, respectively, to the 1-month LIBOR index published on the 25th day of each month immediately preceding each “Change Date,” as defined above, rounded to two decimal places, with no origination fees. If the 25th day of the month is not a business day or is a US federal holiday, the reference date will be the most recent date preceding the 25th day of the month that is a business day. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term would be from $180.89 to $193.75. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term would be from $139.65 to $146.76. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term would be from $104.56 to $111.98. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term would be from $78.77 to $86.78. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term would be from $67.05 to $75.68.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.
All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.28% effective October 10, 2018.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.47% – 6.30%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.51% – 8.09%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.02% – 6.44%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.69% – 7.21%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.79% – 8.39%6||Undergrad & Graduate|