Celebrities Who Have Struggled With Student Loans


When you have student loans, you can feel overwhelmed and alone with your debt. But you are far from alone in your fight against student loans – even the rich and famous have struggled with this type of debt. Some celebrities also took a long time to get rid of their student loan debt. Here are the stories of some celebrities with student loans and how they handled their debt.

Celebrities with student loans

1. President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama
2. Lost Cheryl
3. Miles Teller
4. Kate Walsh
5. Kerry Washington
6. Jon Hamm

More: What their stories mean to you

1. President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama

The road to the US presidency is not always cheap. Former President Barack Obama attended Occidental College and Columbia University before earning his law degree from Harvard Law School.

In a 2013 speech, Obama said he and former First Lady Michelle Obama graduated with many student loan debt, especially after law school (both studied at Harvard Law). He also did not finish repaying his loans until he reached his forties.

“We all graduated from college and law school with a mountain of debt,” he said in the speech. “And although we got good jobs, we barely finished paying right before I was elected to the US Senate.”

Obama noted that he should have saved for his daughters’ education while still paying off his own student loans. And while it must have been a tough choice, paying off your own debt before saving money for your kids can be a smart financial decision in the long run.

2. Lost Cheryl

Writer Cheryl Strayed is best known for her best-selling book, “Wild,” which went into a major film starring Reese Witherspoon. But before she achieved success and had a movie star playing her on the big screen, Strayed had money issues, including high student debt.

“My husband (and) I were both buried in student loan debt until our forties (we both grew up in the working / poor class with families who couldn’t / didn’t contribute to our studies), ”she tweeted in 2019.

Strayed attended the University of Minnesota as an undergraduate student and went on to earn a master’s degree in Creative Writing from Syracuse University in New York City.

In an anthology on writers and their money problems, Strayed also discussed how she was only able to pay off her student loans when she finally got the advance for “Wild.” “She also had about $ 85,000 in credit card debt at the time.

However, you don’t have to wait until you have a windfall to start managing your student loan debt. Here is six ways to pay off your student loans.

3. Miles Teller

Actor Miles Teller has starred in films such as the “Fantastic Four” and “Divergent” series, but, as of 2015, he was also paying off student loan debt from his time at New York University.

In a 2015 interview with Vulture, Teller said his business manager told him the interest on his debt was so low that it didn’t make sense to pay it off sooner.

While this move might work for Teller because he has multi-million dollar movie deals and may be making other investments, for some people it makes sense to pay off student debt faster.

If you can’t decide whether it’s better to pay off your loans or invest your money, check out this Student Loan Repayment Calculator Versus Investing 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 from the start. In her youth, she worked at Burger King and Dairy Queen. She later attended the University of Arizona.

In a 2016 interview with Refinery29, Walsh pointed out how difficult it is to manage your debt.

“I’m a person who came out of college with, oh, damn, just thousands, thousands, and thousands of dollars in debt,” she said in the interview. “And the only way for me, honestly, to pay off my student loans was at age 37, because I happened to be on a big, big TV show called Grey’s Anatomy, and I was finally able to pay off my student loan. . debt. And that’s insane – it was just interest accumulating and accumulating and accumulating. “

Partly because of his experience with student loans, Walsh campaigned to encourage people to come out and vote in the 2016 presidential election.

5. Kerry Washington

If your favorite show is “Scandal,” rest assured knowing Olivia Pope understands your student loan issues. In fact, actress Kerry Washington didn’t finish paying off her debt from George Washington University until she was chosen for this iconic role, she said. It magazine in an interview in 2016.

In a speech she gave at the Democratic National Convention in 2012, Washington highlighted where she came from and how student loans made education possible for her.

“I’m not here just as an actress, but as a woman, as an African American, the granddaughter of immigrants from Ellis Island, someone who couldn’t afford a college. without the help of student loans, ”Washington said.

6. Jon Hamm

Actor Jon Hamm played the role of Publicity Director Don Draper for years on the highly acclaimed “Mad Men” television series. But before he found serious success, he also struggled with debt in his days as a student at the University of Missouri.

At a political rally in 2014, he told the crowd that although he graduated from college in 1993, he was not able to repay his debt until 2004.

“It shouldn’t be that way; it really shouldn’t, ”he told the crowd. “It should be easier.”

What their stories mean to you

While you might not have the salaries of the celebrities on this list, you can still learn from their experiences. All of them struggled with student loans and handled their debt differently. While some still haven’t paid them off, others have saved and saved to pay them off before they even go big.

And it’s not just celebrity stories that can inspire you. Read here to learn more about a man who paid off his student loans in two years, then started again.

Diligently applying even small amounts to your loan balance can help you pay off debt faster and save money in interest. For more information on the different repayment strategies for your loans, discover the Debt avalanche and debt snowball methods.

Rebecca Stropoli contributed to this report

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