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Extreme Student Debt Solution: Leave the Country

'Vice' writer talks to 'dodgers' who moved to Berlin
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2016 12:59 PM CST
Updated Jan 23, 2016 7:30 AM CST
Extreme Student Debt Solution: Leave the Country
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – It's a sign not only of how bad the student-debt situation is but just how crushing that debt feels to those beneath it: Some young Americans are leaving the country, perhaps for keeps, to escape it, writes Alexander Coggin at Vice. Coggin doesn't have stats, but he's at least got anecdotal evidence in his adopted home of Berlin, where he interviews four such Americans ranging in age from 29 to 34 with debt ranging from $35,000 to more than $160,000. "I was, for sure, intending to pay the loans back," says a 29-year-old identified only as Brian, who owes $40,000. "Our mentors and teachers told us that we would pay this education off for a long time, but everyone in America is doing it so it's almost like eating breakfast. That's how Americans are raised." He views not repaying the loans now as a "small protest" against an unethical system.

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Another interviewee is 31-year-old Zoe, who owes $35,000. "Once you move abroad, you just kind of turn off that whole part of your life off," she says. "They can't touch you; you're elusive. But they started calling my parents, my grandparents, my past employers." So is she right about the "can't touch you" part? Probably, seems to be the consensus from the experts Coggin interviewed. Essentially, if someone is working outside the US for a foreign country, not paying US taxes or collecting Social Security, it's unlikely the loan companies can get at them. But if they ever return to the US, it's a different story, of course. "It sounds slightly unbelievable," writes Coggin, "not to mention probably a bad idea from a long-term personal finance point of view, but these debt dodgers are real." Click for the full story. (Read more student debt stories.)

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