Albright said he worked full-time at a local pizza place after high school in order to save up to go to college and, at age 25, he enrolled at Millersville University in Millersville, Pennslyvania. Being older than most students, Albright said he was ostracized by his classmates and found it difficult to balance coursework and continuing to work full-time.
Once the bills began piling up, he took out student loans and thought he would find a job after graduation and be able to pay the loans back.
"I wanted that diploma, and I was willing to work for it. Everyone always told me it would be worth it," Albright told theRecord.
Instead, Albright said he continued delivering pizzas and applying for jobs in public relations. He moved back in with his parents and fell behind on student loan payments.
"I was expected to make a $400 loan payment every month, but I had no money, no sustainable income. College ruined my life," Albright told the newspaper.
Student loan debt statistics, reported in the first quarter of 2018 by the Federal Reserve, indicate that $1.52 trillion is owed from individuals who borrowed money for college. Over 44 million people owe money on their student loans and 10.7 percent are in default on their loans, meaning payments are over 90 days late.
“She said, ‘I have no desire to return back home,’” Albright recalled. “That’s when I started looking into teaching overseas.”
With his parents’ blessing, Albright decided to make the big move in 2011, when he was $30,000 in debt, and began teaching English in the city of Zhongshan.
He only earned about $1,000 a month, he said, but it was enough to cover his rent and he was still able to enjoy his income because the cost of living in China is so low compared to back home.
“Things I never got the chance to do in America because of my student debt,” Albright said. “My life was so much better once I left. Why would I ever go back?”
Albright did eventually go back to the US, but only to visit his mother.
And after a few years teaching in China, he moved to Ukraine, where he now is a permanent resident and working in sales.
"I have a higher standard of living in a Third World country than I would in America, because of my student loans," Chad Haag, a Colorado native who moved to India, said.
Haag graduated in 2011 with $20,000 in debt. Though he told CNBC he knows his debt is less than most Americans, being unable to make a living wage meant that the debt he accrued is "devastating."
Katrina Williams, another graduate who currently lives in Japan, said her $700 a month student loan bill required her to take on multiple jobs.
"I was working every day. I had enough money left over to put gas in the car," Williams told CNBC, adding that she lived with her mother and couldn't afford health insurance.
Williams moved to Japan to teach English in 2015 and said that she has considered moving back home, but knows that if she does she will be hit with wage garnishment and collection calls. Her student loan debt is now over $100,000.
Albright, who now lives in Ukraine, said he doesn't think about his student loan debt and told theRecordhe hasn't checked his loan balance in eight years.
"I miss a lot of things. Of course I miss my family, I miss the country I grew up in, I miss watching football with friends. Everything American, you know, I miss," Albright told CNBC, "The only thing I don't miss is our stupid educational system."
“I want this to get the attention of my congressional and Senate leaders,”Albright said.“This is a huge issue, and it seems our government would rather go to war with Iran than fix a serious issue that’s affecting 50 million Americans. That’s what disgusts me.”
▲‘Like a debtors’ prison’: American who fled to CHINA from $30k in student loans(via rt.com)
But it is known to be that way, so right or wrong, this person WILLINGLY took to loan so is 100% responsible for repayment. Its called being an adult. Nobody forced anybody to take any loan.
If I were a candidate for the next president of USA, I would make their loan debt "zero."
My son witnessed many fellow students that bought gaming systems with loan money. They enrolled in the minimum hours to be considered a full time student and didn't miss a party or spring break trip. Most did not graduate and the ones that did were on the five to six year plan. My son worked during school and full time during the summers graduating in four years. I feel for these loan students but I would feel really bad for my son who worked his rear off and graduated in the least amount of time to lower the cost of the degree.