Mom's Student Loan Debt Prevents Daughter From Enrolling in Spelman College

Nayaa Martinique (R) and her mother Tjai Downs.
Nayaa Martinique (R) and her mother Tjai Downs.
Screenshot: Fox 59

Nayaa Martinique and her family took the eight-hour drive from Indianapolis to Atlanta so the college freshman could start her journey as a Spelman woman.


“I was just excited to move in and go to college,” Nayaa told Fox 59.

But once the family arrived, there was a slight problem. It turned out that Nayaa wasn’t financially eligible to start school.

According to the news station, the family believed that one of the many loans the teen had already taken out to pay for her schooling included room and board. However, when they arrived on campus they learned that Nayaa still needed to pay for her room. Nayaa, who was already maxed-out on loans, was unable to apply for another.

“When we got to Spelman, that is when I became aware of this outstanding balance that was stopping me from being able to take out a loan for her,” Nayaa’s mom, Tjai Downs told Fox 59.

Downs, who is a teacher and veteran, told the news station that in 2008 she’d taken out student loans for her education, but was unaware that they were negatively affecting her credit because she’d never received notifications about the loans. She attributes the entire mess to a change in address and believes that the loan paperwork was being sent to an old address.

“This is a small thing that happened so many years ago but has reared its ugly head and I think a tweak in my own organization skills would have helped prevent this situation,” said Downs.


As it stands, Nayaa and her family are scrambling to raise the money by August 15, the school’s deadline, so that the college freshman doesn’t have to miss any schooling.

“I am upset but I am trying to remain positive,” said Nayaa.

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.


Mud Dedoochka

Nayaa, who was already maxed-out on loans...

How did we allow ourselves to create a society where even a high school student *must* live in un-repayable debt to fucking corporations and banks? Was it a boiling frog thing? Ronald Reagan? Capitalism containing the seeds of its own destruction?