Westside resident receives presidential letter

By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

A Westside resident took matters into his own hands when he wrote former U.S. President Barack Obama.

In 2011, lifelong Westside resident Julian Murphy wrote President Obama about outstanding student loans he has from a school that is no longer open.

“I attended a school, which taught HVAC, heating and cooling in the late 1980s and early 1990s,” said Murphy.

The school closed.

Murphy spent thousands to participate in the 12-month program. However, he learned that his education was lacking.

“They didn’t teach us how to do wiring or schematics,” Murphy said. “Those are key items you must know how to do to work in this industry.”

He applied for several jobs in the industry without much success.

“A short time later the school closed,” Murphy said. “I was unable to work in the industry because I didn’t learn the things I needed to know and I couldn’t afford to take out more student loans to complete a different program.”

Today, Murphy works various jobs, including landscaping.

“I never was able to work in this industry,” he said. “I just couldn’t pass the tests they needed me to pass due to the poor education I received.”

Despite the school being closed for more than two decades, Murphy said he still is responsible for paying back the student loans he took out to attend the school. Owing around $68,000 because of interest, Murphy says he never gets a tax return because the government takes the funds to pay back his loan.

“I wrote the president because I wanted to know why I have had to pay back these loans for 25 years when the school is closed,” Murphy said. “In 2011, the president was campaigning on forgiving student loans, so I wanted to see if he could help me.”

On Jan. 16, 2017, President Obama wrote Murphy back, however none of his questions were addressed.

“I appreciate that he had the respect to write me back,” Murphy said. “But, to me it was a generic letter and didn’t resolve my issue.”

In the letter, President Obama does not address Murphy’s specific concerns, but offered more generalized statements about listening to concerns of Americans.

However, Murphy says he has no intention of giving up.

“I’m going to keeping fighting this,” he said. “I will never give up until I don’t have to pay back these student loans.”

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