Minn. law student risked life in Army to pay off $100K student loans

Publish date:
Updated on

CNNMoney has the story of a University of St. Thomas law student who, saddled with $108,000 in student loans, joined the Army even though he knew there was a "100% chance" he'd be deployed overseas.

"I was just being realistic. I'd be paying those loans off forever and I knew interest compounding would make (the total) go up," Thomas McGregor told CNNMoney. "I couldn't think of any better options."

McGregor, now 31, graduated from law school in May 2008 and quickly realized he would have a tough time getting a job as an attorney. He took a $15/hour job driving a forklift.

So he joined the Army and served in Iraq for two months in 2010, where his very first convoy came under attack, CNN reported. He served in Afghanistan from May 2012 to March 2013, where he and fellow servicemen were regularly fired upon. The Army College Loan Repayment Program paid down $65,000 of his loans, and used his Army salary to pay off the rest, CNNMoney reported.

"I paid off $108,000 of law school loan debt," McGregor, 31, told CNNMoney. "All I had to do was put my life on the line."

Minnesota college and university graduates carry some of the highest student loan debt loads in the nation. Meanwhile, congressional lawmakers have been bickering over subsidized federal student loan rates, which doubled July 1.

In Litchfield on Sunday, family and friends said goodbye to 95 Minnesota National Guardsmen deploying for one year in Afghanistan.

Next Up