What Happened to That Girl With $200K in Student Loans?

Last November we introduced you to Kelli Space, a 23 year-old who graduated from Northeastern University in 2009 with an undergraduate sociology degree and $200,000 in student debt.

Some of you donated to help her out! Others sent her hate mail, because you are mean! Either way, we can all agree that Kelli Space represents a very new kind of American nightmare. She wrote us last week with an update on her debt status:

In total, since November, I've received over $10K toward my student loan debt. Since then I've also consolidated my federal student loan debt, lowered my private loans' interest rates (temporarily), and appeared on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams in a segment about how student loans are affecting both students and graduates. Pretty sweet.

I've been keeping people abreast of personal finance and student loan news on Twitter (twitter.com/twohundredthou), have been updating my blog a bit more frequently (twohundredthou.com), and have opened an eBay account (myworld.ebay.com/twohundredthoushop) - with all profits going toward my debt. Suffice to say, I'm still trying, obsessively!

What Happened to That Girl With $200K in Student Loans?

So, eight months after we wrote about her, Kelli has gotten $10K in donations, and still owes $166K. At this rate she could pay off the entire amount with nothing but donations in a mere... eleven years! But it shouldn't take that long, considering the payments she's making with her own money. So if she were to pay it all off in a decade, which is very generous, hypothetically, and then she were to land a good job making the midpoint of typical sociology grad earnings—$47,500—then, just 15 years from now, she'll be back to exactly where she would have been, financially, had she not attended college.

(Assuming that she didn't make any money in the 20 years after leaving high school, and assuming that 100% of her salary is profit.)

Education is priceless!

[Keep track of Kelli's travails here. Photo: Shutterstock]