Friday, February 29, 2008

The Verdict

The price of a college education goes beyond everything they teach you there, even more than the impossibility of finding a job in your obscure field of study. It means fifteen or more years in debt up to your eyeballs and it means being unable to stand on your own merits when attempting to borrow a Great Big Wad of Cash™.

"Oh, yes, everything is perfect. Your reference checks out, your background is flawless, your credit score is unbelievably excellent, your track record with your creditors is superb. We'd be happy to give you a GBWC™, if it wasn't for those seven years you have left on that pesky student loan - when compared to the half of your state's gross median income that you take home (before taxes) every year."

And there's the non-obscure short of it: even with only seven more years to pay on my student loan, my debt to income ratio is too great, and they just can't justify giving me that GBWC™ that I need to buy my house.

That is, unless I have a co-signer.

The truth is that all is not lost. But it still feels like a blow to the gut, and I still feel like damning my damn damnable desire to be the only person in my damn family to graduate from a damn university. An accomplishment that means nothing to me now, aside from that grim reaper-like debt. Everything else is good enough, just not that.

It is a slap in the face: that my attempt to break free of my abominable dependance on my parents requires one of them pinch-hitting for me. Some would call that irony.

Mom was undaunted, "She said one of her guys said 'if you have a co-signer, you have a loan.' I don't know what my credit score is, but Daddy's is good. He'll do it." A pause, "Won't you?"

Dad raised an eyebrow, "What exactly does being a co-signer mean?"

In my understanding, "I means they can come after you if I default on my loan." A pause, "How much do you trust me not to default on my loan?"

Mom again, "Oh, you're not going to do that. You're prepared to eat hot dogs!"

I appreciate her joke, it's nothing less than what I've been saying, "No, no. Ramen noodles! Ten cents a block, baby!" Joking aside, I'm not sure mom understood why I wasn't exactly jumping for joy.

It's only because it would have been really nice to do this on my own. But, in all honesty, I'm not too proud. If the road to my independence from my parents means that dad has to hold my hand for awhile, so be it. I know I don't make a lot of money, and I know I've got Sallie Mae behind me with torches and pitch forks if I default on their loan. Needing an extra hand (with pen, ready to sign) is just one of those things. Still, I'm disappointed that otherwise stellar credentials don't count in the real world.

So, I placed a call to Monty, who can give me all the co-signing details so I can accurately explain them to dad and hopefully dissolve whatever reservations he might have. Then, I get to call the sales lady tomorrow morning and happily exclaim, "I have a co-signer! What's my rate going to be?" Dad's signature or not, the affordability of the loan really comes down to that rate. Here's hoping.

"On my planet, hope really does spring obnoxiously and stubbornly eternal."
~ Sara Susannah Katz


Anonymous said...

Woman, don't worry! I was 33 years old, had my MD, I had NO student loans (courtesy of the Army--they paid for my med school, and I had already paid off my college loans) and excellent credit, but when I went to buy my first house here in PA, I had no job yet (I was pregnant). My husband had gone through a divorce that left his credit shot. I had to ask my parents to co-sign the loan for me...which they did. I paid every month out of my savings, and eventually got a job, and all was good.
Just make sure you can pay that mortgage every month...and that you have a decent life insurance policy so that if anything ever happens to you, your parents can have help paying off the debt (I know it sounds morbid, but just think about it). I'm sure it will go through...good luck and blessings! Laurel

Fyrecreek said...

Thanks for the tale and tips. I also learned that I miscalculated my gross monthly income (shorting myself a good $200 a month), because I calculated as if I got paid twice a month, but I really get paid every other week. I don't actually see that money every month, but that's quite a difference when they're looking at my DtI ratio. I wrote up a letter advising them of my error and hopefully they'll add that in to their calculations. Maybe I won't need dad to co-sign. He still has to fill the application out though, just in case. Still hoping!