How far would you go to pay off your student loan debt? Would you sell all of your possessions? Embarrass yourself in front of a huge crowd? Lock yourself in a coffin for a few hours?
According to MarketWatch
, CollegeHumor has recently launched a show, Total Forgiveness
, that requires two if its personalities, Grant O’Brien and Ally Beardsley, to do just that – and so much more in order to pay off their student loan debt.
Currenty, O’Brien owes $95,441.73 and Beardsley owes $55,109.01. With each task that they complete on Total Forgiveness
, they receive prize money toward paying down their student loans. Tasks range in amount from $500 to $10,000 in the final episode, reports MarketWatch
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In one scene, O’Brien’s torso is covered in leeches while he talks to a counselor about student loans. In other scenarios, the two are confronting their biggest fears – bees and snakes. All of the stunts are filmed – as well as the pair’s friendship and how this entire process begins to affect their relationship with one another.
While the show seemingly makes light of the plight of those with student loan debt
, it exposes a harsh reality: that student borrowers would do just about anything
to eliminate the burden of debt. There are roughly 44 million Americans working to repay their student loans; and as it stands now, the average amount of loans a student graduates with these days is $37,172.
That load of debt prevents borrowers from buying homes and cars, saving for their own retirement and even getting married and having children. Though many borrowers don’t have the opportunity to bargain with their employer over student loan debt relief like O’Brien and Beardsley, they are going to extremes like working multiple jobs, deferring loan payments and moving back in with Mom and Dad.
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While Total Forgiveness
is unique in its approach, it isn’t the first reality show to tackle student loan debt. Last summer, the show, Paid Off
, debuted on truTV. It seeks to help contestants pay off their student loan debt by asking trivia as well as Family Feud-style questions. The winner gets to use the amount they earned throughout the show to pay down their student loans. Though it’s not usurping Jeopardy in the ratings, it has earned enough viewers to be renewed for a second season.
Most student borrowers will never get the opportunity to pay down their debt through a game show (although that shouldn’t stop anyone from trying to land one of those coveted spots!); however, there are ways to pay off student loan debt faster.
1. Talk to your employer about your student loan debt.
Be open with your employer and explain your situation. Many employers are offering employees student loan relief
in addition to health care, paid time off and retirement benefits. In fact, it’s one of the most asked-for work benefits these days.
2. Pay off the loans with the highest interest rate first.
While some financial experts would argue that it’s better to pay off the loans with the lowest amount first, it’s actually more beneficial to pay off those loans with the highest interest rates. It could save you hundreds – even thousands – of dollars over your repayment period.
3. Make extra payments when you can.
Some months, making the minimum payment may be a real struggle, while other months you have enough income or supplemental income to take a trip, go on a shopping spree or treat yourself. Instead, use that extra income to make more payments on your student loans.
4. Supplement your income.
Finally, consider getting a part-time weekend job to help make loan payments. This can range from working retail to babysitting or dog-walking. Making two monthly payments will certainly help you eliminate your student loan debt much faster.
View the trailer for Total Forgiveness here