(CNN Money) – When his 27-year old daughter Lisa died suddenly of liver failure five years ago, Steve Mason was as devastated as any father would be.
He and his wife Darnelle immediately took in Lisa’s three children — ages 4, 7 and 9 at the time — even though they knew it would be a huge struggle to support them. Steve earns less than $75,000 per year as a pastor, while Darnelle earns even less as a director at the same church.
Then the student loan bills started coming.
Mason had co-signed on the $100,000 in private student loans that his daughter took out for nursing school, and the lenders wanted their money.
Unable to keep up with the monthly payments on top of all of the other mounting expenses, the $100,000 balance ballooned into $200,000 as a result of late penalties and interest rates of as high as 12%.
“It’s just impossible on a pastor’s salary raising three kids to pay $2,000 a month on loans,” said Mason, who has been searching for a second job.
Read the entire story at CNN Money.