A man has gone viral on TikTok after posting about how he owed nearly $150,000 in student loan debt after attending culinary school.
Bradley, who goes by @baddie.brad on TikTok, posted the video on Thursday which has already received more than 1.2 million views.
More than 11,100 viewers also felt compelled to leave comments on Bradley’s video, with many saying they were “furious” that he had to pay $900 a month. Others shared that they also had over $100,000 in debt from attending college.
In 2022, the Education Data Initiative said about 44.7 million Americans currently had outstanding student loans.
“It’s incredibly hard for me to talk about it and I’m beyond embarrassed about it, but I guess it’s time,” he said on TikTok. “I have $147,000 in student loan debt.”
He explained that he decided to attend cooking school when he was 17 and graduated at 20 with loans and a job that paid just above minimum wage.
Bradley said he had no guidance in choosing schools and neither of his parents were financially savvy nor were either able to give him financial advice.
“So me, at 17, who had no idea what I was doing, really no guidance from my parents, I decided to go to the best of the best because I thought that if I went to the best school and working hard, I would then end up with a great life and that was an absolute lie,” he said in TikTok.
Bradley explained that he attended the Culinary Institute of America and had to take out over $130,000 in student loans to attend.
“I think it’s absolutely criminal to take naive, hopeful 17 or 18 year olds going to culinary school thinking they’ll be next with the TV show because they’re going into this classy school then that’s an absolute lie,” he said.
In the video, he explains that he paid off a $25,000 loan and made monthly payments of $900 for the past seven years on a parent plus loan, but his debt has only increased. ‘to augment.
“I pay $900 a month and with the high interest rate, by the time the next payment comes in, it had added practically $900,” he said. Newsweek. “So it’s been an endless cycle of going nowhere.”
Bradley said that after graduating he hoped to be able to pay off his debt because he received a “magnificent, prestigious degree”. He worked in the food industry for five years and earned between $12 and $15 an hour.
In the TikTok, he explained that it has been a nightmare for him that he has had to live every day for the past eight years. Bradley said his financial situation made him feel stuck and it had a big impact on his mental health.
“I’m just drowning and I really can’t take it anymore,” he said.
In order to pay off his debt, Bradley had to quit the food industry and get what he calls “adult work”.
The viral TikTok received more than 11,100 comments, including many viewers who said they were also facing student debt which amounted to over $100,000. Others said that was why more people should focus on student loan reform.
“I have 325,000 in debt,” one user commented. “I was making $35,000 a year with my bachelors and decided to get a master’s…biggest scam ever.”
“I can’t rent a car until I’m 25,” read another comment. “But sign [sic] your life ends in loans when you’re 17 that’s good! America!!!!”
Many mentioned that although they didn’t start out with a lot of loans, the interest is what has accumulated and is making it impossible to get out of debt.
“I have 100,000 student loan debt. You are not alone!!! Interest is a CRIME!!!!!!” said one commenter.
There is currently a suspension of student loan payments and a zero percent interest rate until May 1. After the COVID-19 emergency student loan assistance ends, undergraduate students with federal student loans will face an interest rate of 3.73% while graduate students will face 5. 28% .
“I’ve been so grateful for the payment/interest freeze during the pandemic,” Bradley said. Newsweek. “It’s been a lifesaver in a way that I can’t express. And that’s not even taking into account the loan in my own name worth $33,000 which started around $28,000, I But because of the low income I was making in the food industry, my income-based reimbursement was basically $0 most months.”