Students across the country have been struggling with school debt for quite some time, and unfortunately, the situation doesn’t seem to be getting any better. While student loans don’t include funding like federal grants, it’s still quite common for students to have tens of thousands of dollars of debt after earning their degrees.
Since the 1980s, the cost of attendance for a 4-year public or private college has nearly tripled, increasing by 171.1%. At one time, government financial aid covered almost 80% of the cost of a 4-year public college for students who came from working families, and now they cover just about one-third.
Now, it looks like host Michael Torpey may have a hilarious solution in the form of a silly game show. Learn about the student loan game show Paid Off and how you can become a contestant and erase your student loan debt!
What Is Paid Off?
Michael Torpey, who you might recognize from the hit Netflix show “Orange Is The New Black,” is the host of a new game show you can watch on truTV. Paid Off is a student loan game show where groups of three contestants compete for cash to help pay off their student loans.
On Paid Off, contestants put their college education to the test by answering trivia questions. After four rounds of questions, a single contestant is announced the winner and awarded money to help pay off their student loan debt. But that one contestant isn’t the only person who gets to bring home a cash price. Contestants who come in 2nd and 3rd place are also awarded a smaller amount of funds to help with their college debt.
In order to win, contestants must answer random trivia questions correctly. The subject matter of these trivia questions can range from pop culture, current events, history, and more. Contestants are not allowed to use outside resources such as the internet or friends/family members to help them answer questions.
Currently, every episode from the first season is on the truTV website, where viewers can watch it for free! There are more than 30 episodes, each lasting about 24 minutes, that viewers can enjoy.
Can I Participate in the Paid Off Game Show as a Viewer?
YES! Viewers can also participate in the Paid Off game show shenanigans. The final round of questions will be a Live Lightning Round, where viewers can answer trivia questions just like the contestants on the show. In order to win, viewers must answer a series of three random trivia questions correctly. Viewers can call in with their answers for a chance to win up to $3,000 they can put towards their own student loans.
How to Apply To Be a Contestant on Paid Off: Win a Chance To Erase Your Student Debt
Casting for Paid Off contestants takes place fully online with an easy application. There’s no need to create an account or sign in anywhere. Simply head over to the truTV Paid Off webpage to find the easy application form.
The application will ask the following questions:
- Email address.
- Full legal name as it appears on your government-issued identification.
- Birthday/confirmation that you are at least 18 years of age or older.
- U.S. citizenship status.
- Gender (there are options for male, female, and other).
- Cell phone number.
- The state and city in which you live.
- The highest degree of education you have earned.
- The name of the college/university you attended.
- Your college major.
- Amount of verifiable student loan debt.
- Amount of loans you have and what kinds.
- How much student debt you started out with when you first graduated?
- Your social media handles.
- Television history (if you have ever appeared on television before, and if so, where/when).
- If you have ever won money from a television show before.
- If you are currently being considered to appear on another television program.
- If you or another family member is or has been affiliated with Turner Broadcasting, truTV, CowbowBearNinja, Michael Torpey, or The House of Casting Built, LLC. If so, explain.
- If you have ever been convicted of a felony or misdemanor.
After you have answered those questions, all you have to do is electronically sign the application to confirm the information you provided is correct; then you’re done! Then all you have to do is wait for a truTV representative to contact you about appearing on the show.
If you only want to participate on Paid Off in the viewer Live Lightning Round at the end of the show, there is no need to complete an application.
Overview of the Student Debt Crisis
People have been talking about the student debt crisis since a 1988 study from the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. Their report suggested that the Guaranteed Student Loan Program of 1965 created an unsustainable market for student debt. The program was designed to provide low-interest subsidezed loans to thousands of college students, which in turn created a student loan “bubble.”
The study also showed that the Guaranteed Student Loan Program is directly correlated with a decline in support students receive from the state, which makes them even more reliant on the 1956 loan program. Within just the past five years alone, this federal student loan program has cost an average of $92.9 billion a year.
Since this 1988 study, the situation has only worsened. College graduates statistically make less money, making their school debt even more difficult to pay off. Now, the average student borrower takes at least 20 years to pay off their debt.
Other Ways To Pay off Student Loan Debt
Fortunately, an absurd game show is not the only way students can find debt relief. Below are a few other options you may consider when trying to pay off your student loan debt.
Government Student Loan Relief
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the government put a hold on federal student loan debt. This hold allowed students in debt to focus on other expenses during the pandemic instead of student loans. Fortunately, the government is providing further relief for students stuck in debt.
According to a statement from the White House, the Department of Education will provide up to $20,000 in debt relief to students who were awarded Pell Grants with loans held by the department. The Department of Education will also provide up to $10,000 in debt relief and cancellation to students who received non-Pell Grant financial aid.
Students eligible for this financial relief program must have a yearly income of less than $125,000 ($250,000 for married couples). After the debt relief program takes places, borrowers will resume making payments on their student loans as of January 2023.
Students who want to take advantage of the student debt crisis relief program can apply on the Department of Education’s website. Take note that this is the only place where you should apply for government student debt relief; any other entity claiming to provide student loan relief is most likely a student loan forgiveness scam.
You can also help ease the burden of student loans with debt consolidation. If you are unhappy with your student debt situation, refinancing and debt consolidation can be a great way to get a fresh loan deal with new rates and terms. If your credit score has improved since you first applied for your student loans, there is a good chance you may be approved for a lower interest rate and potentially more money!
However, there are some loans that do not work well for debt consolidation. For example, title loans and fast payday loans are marketed as bad credit funding solutions but usually just leave borrowers in more debt.
Some loans that work great for refinancing student loan debt are:
- Personal installment loans.
- Bad credit installment loans.
- Private loans from a direct lender.
The Bottom Line
Game shows like Paid Off are a fun way to ease the burden of student loans. However, this is not the only solution. Debt consolidation and installment loans are a great alternatives for students looking to get out of debt.
You can learn more about debt relief, funding solutions, and more with the free financial resources on the CreditNinja blog!
Paid Off with Michael Torpey | truTV.com
FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces Student Loan Relief for Borrowers Who Need It Most | The White House.
Student Loan Debt Crisis in America (by the Numbers) | EducationData.org