August 3, 2007

I can’t afford my student loan payments – what do I do?

Posted in The Financial Aid Process at 12:27 PM by Joe From Boston

So you can’t afford your current student loan payments?  Maybe you just graduated, maybe you lost your job – there are a myriad of reasons.

Here are your options

  1. Consolidate!  You’ve just graduated with a lot of debt and can’t afford to pay it all.  You probably want to consolidate your loans.  This will lengthen the repayment period, and you’ll pay more interest over the life of the loan, but it can shrink your monthly payments by quite a bit.  Also, the longer repayment periods aren’t a bad thing necessarily as federal loans can be paid early with no prepayment penalty!
  2. Deferment!  Student Loan Deferment is when your loan company give you a temporary reprieve.  Essentially, you are allowed to stop paying monthly payments for an agreed-upon period of time.   For this, you MUST call your loan company and you must qualify for this.  For example, you’ve gone back to school, lost your job or work for the Peace Corp.  Read this article from the US Department of Education to learn more.
  3. Forbearance! Student Loan Forbearance is for those who have difficulty repaying their loans but don’t qualify for deferment, which has stricter guidelines. Payments are postponed or reduced temporarily, and interest accrues while you are in forbearance. You MUST call your loan company for this also.  Read this article from the US Department of Education to learn more.

Yes, this talks a lot about calling your loan company.  No, the loan company is not the enemy here.  I mean, really – lets think about this logically – they don’t want your loans to go into default any more than you do as it hurts their bottom line.  It’s in their best interests to help you through your time of need and keep you on a repayment schedule of some sort.  If you hit the skids, call your loan company, they may be more help than you ever imagined.

And DO NOT let your loans go into default, it will haunt you for years!!!!


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  3. Belen said,

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  12. Jenny K said,

    The basic message here is that their are options if you get into this situation. Don’t panic, communicate with your lender, they may be able to help you work something out.

  13. adddam said,

    if people worked they would, pick the ones that do, you win, the end

    • tracy said,

      CONSOLIDATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You say Consolidated like it is an option to EVERYONE…..TRUTH BE TOLD : NOT EVERYONE CAN CONSOLIDATE!!!! I tried to consolidate with SALLIE MAE when I graduated, but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO……they wouldn’t allow me too, telling my that I’M NOT ELIGIBLE! So to all you stupid people out there….this cannot be done!

  14. Tarra said,

    So relevant, i can’t pay my loans I have been laid off for two years, I have a MBA and MA, and BA, and, AGS. NO Job and I can’t pay my loans what can I do, exactly nothing…

  15. tracy said,

    I like how people think there is always an option to consolidate…well NEWS FLASH! SOME OF US DON”T HAVE THAT OPTION, AND IF WE DO SALLIE MAE IS NOT ALLOWING US TO HAVE THAT OPTION. THE SCHOOL I WENT TO SOLD ME ON GOING BC OF THE CONSOLIDATION SITUATION, WELL GUESS WHAT I”VE BEEN OUT OF SCHOOL SINCE 2008, AND I STILL DO NOT HAVE THE OPTION TO CONSOLIDATE MY LOANS. OH, and you say well you can do deferment, or forbearance, or what ever the heck – but what you don’t understand for personal loans – you still have to pay something to do these things, and when you are not working, how in WORLD DO YOU THINK I AM GOING TO PAY THIS. At this point, I really don’t care, because if we die at the end of this year, all this worrying is not going to matter, and what is more important, me living or being dead. Me living, and right now all I can afford if that is my living expenses. I don’t have money to pay my taxes for the past 2 years, I haven’t paid for school in about 1 year, and I haven’t had any credit cards nor paid 5 of them back for almost 2 years. I don’t own any properties, I don’t even own my car, and it’s only a matter of time that the repo man comes. So at this point. the Financial Institutions don’t give a RAT’s BUM about ANYONE, as far as I am concerned.

    • Evonee Mitchell said,

      im about to go to college in a few months and i must say….some of these posts are terrifying 😦

      • adddam said,

        all you have to do no matter what is remember if your getting shyt that means the person, even if is president is saying we are all asssholes here….go somewhere else, keep moving, stay around positive influence, remember be the leader….

  16. MeW said,

    i think suicide is the only way out! I’ve been a stay at home mom for so many years…no one wants to hire me, no one! I can’t get my loan deferred because i can’t claim unemployment ( since i never worked) my monthly payments come to $486, i can’t ask my husband to pay that because we would have to live like church mice with almost $500 gone in loan payments. I can’t do that to the kids…i am looking to end my life and make it look like an accident, i am so depressed all the time and stress has taken a toll on me, i have two months left before my grace period ends…

    • GirlsFly2 said,

      Your life it worth more than a dumb loan. Let them come to you, what can they take, if you don’t have anything? Your children are more important than to think of ending your life!

    • vmathaux said,

      i am sorry….i wish you lived near me so you would have a friend to talk to

  17. Bitter? said,

    I had a buddy, we were best friends since we were in kindergarden.
    After hight school I decided to go to college. I had no money and relied on student loans. My child hood friend got into some trouble
    and ended up in prison. Many years later, I ran into him. I was suprised to see him in a suite. He received a bachelors and partial Masters Degree while he was in prison. I’m happy that he has changed and is doing good for himself and his family. But he has NO COLLEGE DEBT to pay back for his computer science degree. The company that he is working for is paying the remainder of his Masters Degree. So, no Debt! It really pissed me off to hear him tell me that. I worked in fast food restaurants, construction jobs etc just to help me get thru school and here he got 3 meals a day, go to the gym, not bills and attend college. I have about $48K in student loans, he has ZERO Debt.
    Why can’t citizens who are honest and really trying, get any help.
    I don’t think prisoners should have the luxury of getting educated on a tax payers dime. My restaurant jobs and construction jobs paid for his college.
    We are still good friends. He has a nice home and beautiful family. So do I, but I have my college debt. Am I just being bitter??

    • Tracy said,

      I agree with you a 100%….we do all the right things and we are the ones that get screwed. Good people have it hard, and people who screw up or get in trouble has the easy way out. Sometime I feel like our country is too SYMPATHETIC. What about the hare working men and women of this country – when do we get a bone or 2 thrown our way….but someone who messes up, we make excesses for them and let them slide under the carpet. Or what about screw up parents who have multiple kids without thinking – they get money left and right from the government and the state, and US- the hare working ones, what do we get – DEBT! NOT COOL, NOT FUN! SO WHAT IS AMERICA AND OUR GOVERNMENT REALLY TEACHING PEOPLE : “SCREW UP, and KEEP SCREWING UP, and DO IT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE So OTHER PEOPLE CAN PAY FOR YOU BECAUSE THIS IS THE AMERICAN WAY!” What a bunch of ridiculous people we have running out country. This is why if the world really does end, I won’t care. lol

  18. Bitter? said,

    I had a buddy, we were best friends since we were in kindergarden.
    After hight school I decided to go to college. I had no money and relied on student loans. My child hood friend got into some trouble
    and ended up in prison. Many years later, I ran into him. I was suprised to see him in a suite. He received a bachelors and partial Masters Degree while he was in prison. I’m happy that he has changed and is doing good for himself and his family. But he has NO COLLEGE DEBT to pay back for his computer science degree. The company that he is working for is paying the remainder of his Masters Degree. So, no Debt! It really pissed me off to hear him tell me that. I worked in fast food restaurants, construction jobs etc just to help me get thru school and here he got 3 meals a day, go to the gym, not bills and attend college. I have about $48K in student loans, he has ZERO Debt.
    Why can’t citizens who are honest and really trying, get any help.
    I don’t think prisoners should have the luxury of getting educated on a tax payers dime. My restaurant jobs and construction jobs paid for his college.
    We are still good friends. He has a nice home and beautiful family. So do I, but I have my college debt. Am I just being bitter??

  19. Shadow said,

    I stupidly went to a glorified art school/diploma mill and graduated with about $80K in debts. Because my loans would go into deferment and because I stupidly believe it would help me find work, I’m not in grad school racking up another $50K in debts (federal loans, which are easier to deal with).

    My issue is with Sallie Mae – I told them I had no job and that I could not afford $800 a month, so they lowered it to around $400. Motherf***er what did I just say about having no job? Where exactly am I supposed to get that money from? It was by sheer luck I could pay each month, and the pricks increased my bill a bit each month and by the time I’d been in repayment for about 8 months, my bill had somehow gone up to almost $600.

    Doesn’t help that the loans gather interest so rapidly, so you can feed them a few hundred bucks a month and the balance never goes down (it may go up). It’s like putting a fresh coat of paint on a wall every day when the color dries and begins to fade – you have an endless problem. And Sallie Mae has told me I should NOT consolidate my loans with them because apparently it will damage my credit and result in a higher bill.

    I don’t see myself ever finding a job with my master’s degree, but Sallie Mae will be holding their hands out for money like homeless bums the second I graduate. My best bet is probably going to be to work under the table and not keep money in the bank because Sallie Mae will empty your accounts if you don’t pay them. What are they going to do if you don’t pay? Send angry letters and phone calls? Sue you? I have to say I have never once heard of Sallie Mae actually following up on a threat of legal action against a delinquent or defaulted account. They are all talk and no action. I say let them wreck your credit, do your best to have a place to live and a car without needing stellar credit, and change your address or phone number. They can’t arrest you or repossess your stuff – they can only harass you. Send them a couple bucks a month and say it’s all you can afford.

    I have no idea what I’m going to do. I have contemplated moving to Canada if it gets too bad since I’m so close to the US-Canada border.

  20. jamar said,

    I owe 20 thousand in student loans but I found out school mite not be the thing for me I’m unemployed is there something I can do

  21. If you are struggling with student loans please join facebook page You’re not alone.

  22. kris said,

    My son enrolled in Ohio Technical College in Cleveland last August. He was disenchanted with his auto collision program as they spent little time actually working and learning about auto repair. He expressed his dissatisfacion several times. On May 13th, he spoke to the owner of the school about the lack of teaching and a host of other concerns. He was called names and was told to get out. Now he has $18,000 in debt and NOTHING to show for it. He has contacted the accrediation agency, senators, and even the governor about this school. So far he has heard nothing from anyone. He also consulted an attorney, but doesn’t have money to fight this. What can he do?

  23. sickofstudentloans said,

    I recently finished graduate school. I was always told that having a higher degree would mean I would make more money. The truth is, no matter how hard I try, I cannot get a job. I have a private loan (among several others) that I’ve already consolidated. This loan has a monthly payment of $500. There is no way I can possibly make the payments because I am unemployed. I applied for unemployment forbearance but was denied because it was previously deferred while I was in school. When I talked to the bank about my options they told me to have my friends give me money to make the payments! They also told me I have no option to lower my monthly payment. I am SO PISSED OFF! They are getting thousands of dollars out of me in interest alone, and they can’t be human enough to look at my situation to help me make this manageable. Seriously, if they don’t get my payments for a couple months it means nothing, but $500 a month when I’m unemployed it HUGE to me! I’m tired of banks and lenders and their bullshit. If you work for a lender I don’t want to hear any of your “your options are…” jargon unless you have some valuable suggestions.

  24. joe said,

    Fannie mae also owns the credit agencies who come after you. The government pays fannie the loans people dont pay so fannie gets their money no matter what. then fannie uses one of its collection agencies to come after you and they get paid again! Also many politicians invested in Fannie and you wont see any real changes,,,, Obama was the second highest paid person from fannie ! yes fannie donated tons of money towards obamas campaigns,, obama has to pay them back1

  25. I really love your blog.I also appreciate your hard work.thanks very much for publishing about this topic.Great work

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  28. Donnatella said,

    I cant pay back my student loans because NO ONE will hire me.

  29. T in Texas said,

    Hi, I am behind in my student loans. I’m trying to find out about a program I read about in which you can request that they rehabilitate your student loan, do you know anything about this? Thank you.

  30. Kelly said,

    If your student loan debt was acquired prior to marriage – is your spouse liable for it in any way?

  31. Jojo Bizarro said,

    I’m in the same boat as Alvin above, who left the country as a default refugee like I did. I know I might not be able to return to the USA to work without the collection agency vampires breathing down my neck, and I don’t have anyone else to put my assets in the name of like Edward does, but it really doesn’t bother me. I started off planning to pay back my student loans, but a string of scumbag employers underpaying me put a damper on that plan. Having to live frugally, I simply stopped paying, since I need to conserve every (insert local currency unit name) to my name. I need this money far more than SallieMae’s Albert Lord-of-the-Flies does.

  32. T said,

    Im 26 years old and cannot afford to finish college . . . Have a F in Sociology. Cant afford school without financial aid., I ruined it with an F. So now what society drops me to the garbage? no wonder so many homegown terrorists are being born

  33. Kimberly said,

    What can someone do about non-federal student loans (signature) from Sallie Mae? I absolutley cannot make the payments they are asking, and even after getting into some sort of program to help me I am still going to find myself strapped and killing myself trying to pay them off because I can’t find a decent job. I’m currently working in a hair salon making less than 10 an hour and I have as of late been having a hard time finding another second job to supplement my income! I’ve already been told that debt consolidators and bankruptcy do not qualify for student loans, so I am desperate to find out if there are any other programs or anything that can help me.

  34. Jessica said,

    You know I have to say that I am also having a hard time with Sallie Mae. So far I owe them 36,000 and keep telling them I am unemployed and have been for quite a while my payments are $390 which they said they cannot lower any, and that they are not consolidating any more. Sometimes I talked to a bazillion different people and no one can help on what to do. Sometimes they are rude to me, they call all the time, and then expect me to pay $1,000 here and $1,000 like no big deal.

    Sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t have even gone to school, at this rate I will be paying the rest of my life, and I am only 27. I don’t know what to do to get the help I need. I try everyday to figure things out and try to get job, but have had no luck, so what are they gonna do? What can I do?

    • Jennifer said,

      Check out a new website, They help students pay down student loans through a gift registry. It’s $15 per year for a membership which allows each member to create their own personal fundraising page. Gift donations are directly deposited into student loan accounts. I encourage anyone with a student loan to consider using the site.

      • Jennifer said,

        Jessica, your blog makes me feel sad. I can’t imaging how frustrating it must be for you. There are SO many in the same boat. What kind of work are you looking for?

  35. You are the problem said,

    you unmindful people are irresponsible. Pay back what you borrowed. If you don’t pay it back THEIR terms and schedules then you deserve all the financial hemmorhoids that you get. You brought it upon yourself for being supremely unthinking before you signed the dotted line on their stationery. Fools.

    • Your mother hates you said,

      You are the problem….

      getting, then not being able to payback student loans does not make one unmindful. They just had no other choice.

      Unlike myself, in which my grandparents coughed up the 75k cash for my years at school…I hope someday you get in a horrible car accident and lose your legs maggot.

      for everyone with the loans…..there is always a way…fight that shit to the top. I would.

      • Jennifer said,

        Please check into a new website I started with three other moms. It may help. It’s called and it helps pay down debt through a student loan gift registry. Right now, though it’s not advertised on the site, we are donating $10 to the first 100 members. We’ve just started this week and so far there are only 10 people. It’s worth a look and we think it will soon get a lot of attention, so it’s a good time to be a member. Thanks.

    • For the greatest of these is LOVE! said,

      Problem Child,

      Get off of your high horse buck-o. I’ll bet if you tried to walk a mile in some of these peoples shoes you’d cry like a little baby! I’f you can’t at least be positive or helpfull find some place else to vent your grandeous bi-polar ass!!!

  36. Solomon said,

    Appreciate for posting this blog post. I just would like to let you know that I just check out your site and I find it very out of the ordinary and helpful. I can not hang around to read lots of your posts.

  37. don said,

    Why is it that a lot of people in the US can dump their credit card debt by filing bankrupcy, but struggling graduates trying to make a life for themselves have no other recourse or help given them? People that have graduated and are trying to be a positive part of our society should be given at least the same help as a person who doesn’t seem to care about their debt responsibility.
    Why is that?????? What about a reduced debt settlement(like credit card debt) The interest would stop and the person with the loan could see some light at the end of the debt tunnel. The way things are structured now, no one is winning.
    Thanks, don

    • Jennifer said, helps pay down debt through a student loan gift registry. Right now, though it’s not advertised on the site, they are donating $10 to the first 100 members. So far there are only 10 people so it’s a good time to be a member. Thanks.

  38. Lisa said,

    I now wish I had never tried to persue the so-called American dream ( more or less the American nightmare) and tried to get an education to better my life. I was one of the many victims of Sallie Mae when I got my loan from this horrid vampany I had good credit and so it was my understanding from what I read in the agreement I would not occur any interest while in school full time. WRONG ! the interest started raking up the day it was approved before classes even started for the fall. my student loan was originally 20k now its 80k in just 6 years even with payments it still went up and my payments even increased to were I can not afford to make the new payment changes. the payments were orignally 170.00 per month for four months now they are 1980.00. I have tried many times over the few years to make reasonable payment arrangements with the company and they would start shouting and one woman even said pay your D*%# bill or I will send you to collection. It has gotten so bad now they have even started calling my house almost every hour and I am not exaggerating at all but on a Friday I counted 107 calls in one day from sallie mae back in April 2009.
    I have now started thinking the only way to pay them is if I just up and die somehow then my life insurance would take care of that.

    • Jennifer said,

      There is a brand new website called which helps pay down debt through a student loan gift registry. Right now, though it’s not advertised on the site, they are donating $10 to the first 100 members. So far there are only 10 people. It’s worth a look and we think it will soon get a lot of attention, so it’s a good time to be a member. I hope it helps!

  39. Vicki said,

    My husband has a 33,000 dollar loan from Sallie Mae. We are three months behind. His payment is 445 a month. We have been talking to Sallie Mae and they keep sending us forms that we have already been turned down for. He doesn’t qualify for any of the forbearance/deferments. He makes too much money but if we pay the school loan, we can’t make the house payment. (1700 monthly)We can’t sell our house as we are upside down because of the housing market. We just have too much total debt right now. I’ve been unemployed for 4 months and haven’t had any bites which is why we are behind on his loan. We’re at our wits end as to what we can do.

    There’s no room in our budget and we aren’t frivolous spenders, my mom even looked at our budget and couldn’t come up with anything to cut out of it. We have a lot of credit card debt, which we aren’t paying now. Most of that was from the last time my husband was unemployed and we lived on credit. (A very bad idea but it was all we could do.)The last time my husband talked to Sallie Mae the gal basically told him he had no options left.

    The really bad thing is that my husbands parents live with us, they are both 84, on Social Security, and if we lose our house so do they. It just breaks my heart that we invited them to live with us and now we may have to tell them to leave because we won’t be able to keep our home and have a place for them.

    It’s not that we don’t want to pay our debt, we do, but current circumstances won’t allow it. We’re looking for any helpful advice on how to find a way to keep our home and pay our debt both.

    • Vicki,

      Have you asked why your husband doesn’t qualify for the deferments or forbearance? This is exactly the sort of circumstance they are designed to help with.

  40. christy said,

    I am sure this is nothing new to those of you viewing this page.
    I went with my daughter to her new college so excited to finally see her continue her education. She did not qualify for the amount of loan money she would need so the admissions person said I could “put a Parent Plus loan in my name.” Wow was that a stupid thing to do! When I asked if we could put the Parent Plus loan into her name she said “Yes”. Well , I should have looked into it myself because she misled me and my daughter. Now I am stuck with $35,000 in debt that will probably never get paid.
    As a single mom she helps where she can. I wish there was something or someone that could erase some of that debt..
    Any advice, I’ll take it.

    • Jennifer said,

      With two kids in college and debts piling higher, 3 other moms and I created a new website called (named after my daughter) to help kids pay down student loans through a gift registry. We charge $15 per year for a membership which allows each member to create their own personal fundraising page. Gift donations are directly deposited into student loan accounts. I encourage anyone with a student loan to consider using the site. Every little bit helps!

      • Nina said,

        I wish Canadian students were eligible. What a wonderful idea.

  41. edward said,

    I forgot to mention one thing — it is possible for the loan company to sue you, but they won’t get anything from me. I put my car in my father’s name and I’m renting. All my other assets I put in my sister and father’s name. Consequently, I’m liquid — I have no assets to take even if a judgment is held over my head. More importantly, the loan companies don’t want to go to court for this sum — it’s more than the amount allowed in small claims court — so they’ll have to send attorneys to go to court with me. I’ll keep them in court as long as I can and will make them pay a lot to keep this case in court. They don’t want that — esp. if they can’t get anything out of it. They would prefer to just settle with me and get something out of it rather than nothing. Don’t let them scare you with the “we’ll sue you” tactic. Tell them — go ahead. I have no assets, and you can’t garnish my wages. if they tell you we can, tell them to f… off. The law is the law. Don’t let some $8/hr person working at a loan or collection agency try to explain the law to you. Ask a lawyer or a friend. 90% of the time, these companies just want to scare you in order to get their money. Fight back America! Predatory lending is not right; neither are the ridiculous charges to become educated in this country. Many may see this as a dishonest method, but morality has no room in this equation. This is the law and I’m abiding by it. It’s not illegal or even questionable. The law is clear on this issue. I default (screw the loan company) and my credit is shot (the loan company screws me). Everyone wins and everyone loses! Fair is fair!

  42. edward said,

    I’m an attorney who recently got out of law school. I have approximately $300,000 in debt. I have debt from college, law school, and medical school. Although college was at public university, law school and med school were at private universities. I know what you’re thinking — “you make a lot of money; you don’t understand my dilemma.” But I do. Lawyers don’t make as much as you think when we’re young. I make approximately $100,000. With that, it is difficult to pay the $2500 per month in loan payments. Here’s what I’m going to do. Private loans are like credit cards — unsecured credit, not sponsored by the government. Therefore, they are not subject to wage or IRS garnishment. I play to default on these loans; put the money I would be paying in an interest bearing account, and in several years, offer to settle the debt for 50% or less. There’s really nothing that the loan company can do, other than hurt my credit. Oh well! I’ll have bad credit, but if I can discharge $300,000 for $150,000, without interest, it’s worth it for me. My credit will increase anyway if I pay off this huge sum. Default on a private loan will stay on my record for the same period of time as default on credit card (or chargeoff) — 7 years. That’s the price I’ll have to pay. But it’s better than paying the $400 or 500,000 I would otherwise pay over 20 years. I tried private loan consolidation, but it’s not an option these days, in this economy. So, what’s left to do? If you can’t afford the payment, don’t. Use the money for other things and settle in the end. Granted credit is important; but 7 years is a small price to pay at the beginning of my career to get out of this hole. Good luck all!

    • marshall said,

      hey edward. Would not the default affect your status with the bar?

    • Sherri said,

      Edward – very interesting how you handled the situation; my student loans are with ACS and Sallie Mae, so this would not work for me. I have recently found out I have a brain tumor, it is not cancer and I am still working, but will unlikely be unable to advance in my career because of it even though I have an MBA. My medical expenses can be high, have you heard of bankruptcy discharge due to undue hardship in these situations? Just wondering since your in the law field. Thanks.

  43. Leah said,

    I am in the same position as most other people. I was a divorced mother of two who returned to college with a grand plan. With help from Pell Grants, initialy, and then later loans I managed 3 years before I was told I had ‘maxed out’. I had only 3 classes to go for my BS in Criminal Justice-Forensics. I was told by the Financial Advisor at the college I attended that as long as I was enrolled for at least 3 credit hours I would be fine. I signed the paperwork, borrowed money from everyone I could to pay for the first class, and went on my way. I took the class, passed it, and waited for the next semester to come for the next class. However, I had an accident and did not attened that semester. In Novemember of 2008, I received mulitple calls at work, I work in a 911 center and almost lost my job because they would not stop calling, from a collection agency demanding $675 a month or they would start garnishing my wages. I didn’t even know I was in default! I recieved no paperwork informing of this. My boss told me there was no garnishment for me. The company was trying to scare me into paying them. The agent even had the gall, on a recorded line, to tell me to get another job. I called the Department of Education, sent them a copy of the conversation, and applied for Hardship. I got it. I no longer deal with that company.

    My problem is that my mother had a stoke and I missed Feb and March and the DOE sent my loan to a DIFFERENT collection agency. I had called and explained what was going on and told them I would make double payments the next 2 months to make up for it and they refused to accept that.

    Now, this agency is calling my work, threatening my job status, and not willing to work with me. I have refiled the Hardship paperwork with the DOE but have not heard back from them since March.

    Is there any other recourse I have left?

    Please help.

    • Leah,
      If I were you I’d call the DOE and find out what happened to my paperwork. Perhaps it got misplaced, or they’re missing critical information from you.

      It seems like you know exactly what you need to do, same as before, you just need to get the paperwork straitened out.

      Good luck!

    • Jennifer said,

      Please check into to help pay down debt through a student loan gift registry. Right now, though it’s not advertised on the site, we are donating $10 to the first 100 members. We’ve just started and so far there are only 10 people but it’s worth a look and we think it will soon get a lot of attention, so it’s a good time to be a member.

  44. UniversalCynic said,

    I think you need to start giving different advice:

    DO NOT TAKE OUT PRIVATE LOANS FOR COLLEGE. If this means you cannot attend, well, you’re better off than me and the other fools who thought a degree was a valuable resource. Seriously, would you rather live the rest of your life under the cloud of debt? Its not a difficult situation to wrap your head around. JUST SAY NO TO PRIVATE LENDING. You life is more important than the debt that will stress you to no end. Sallie Mae will even go so far as to sue your relatives for unpaid balances — after you’ve died. I’m not kidding. Either we all collectively say FUCK YOU and cause them to go under (which no one has the balls to do) or you can graduate in debt in a market with almost no options for employment and suffer the relentless phone calling by the insufferable and highly under qualified (no offense Monique) jockeys at Sallie and her contemporaries. Your choices are simple. 4 years of college will not make up for 25 or more years of living under a perverted form of slavery.

    TAKE HEED, lest you regret everything like I have come to…

    If you can’t get Federal loans, don’t go to college. Bottom line.

    • brenda said,

      I can,t find out any info on this problem anywhere!! I need to find out what culinary internships pay per hour? Is it ever within the law to pay below minium wage?????

    • pam said,

      my daughter is in the same boat as all of you who have a private loan through sallie mae. She is so depressed that i am scared for her that she doesnt do anything stupid. she cant talk to anyone there who speaks english and than when you get someone who does they just go around in circles. She is suppose to begin paying 1200 a month. A riduculous amount considering she has other bills and only makes 1400 a month. She travels over 100 miles a day to her job, which took 1 year after graduation from college to get, she is in bad need of a car to get to her job, she borrows mine which has over 90000 miles on it, and will probably live at home forever, she is 24 yrs old. they will not give her more years to pay these loans and keep telling her to put the loans in forebearance. The debt will still be there which they are too stupid to understand. I wish now she would of not went to college to better herself and just got a job at mcdonalds and made min. wages. at least she wouldnt have this debt over her head. She isnt sleeping and or eating much, i am scared for her health and well being. Please does anyone have any answers for her…..also she talked to someone at sallie mae tonight and they no longer consolidate their loans, how convenient for them. She just had to hassle with her credit card company and now this, i dont know how much more she can take. Her dad and I have our own money problems so right now we cant help her but hopefully someone out there can direct us in the right path for her sake. thanks pam

      • Pam – does she have federal or private loans through Sallie Mae?

      • Jennifer said,

        Please check into my new website I started with three other moms. It may help. It’s called and it helps pay down debt through a student loan gift registry. Right now, though it’s not advertised on the site, we are donating $10 to the first 100 members. We’ve just started and so far there are only 10 people. It’s worth a look and we think it will soon get a lot of attention, so it’s a good time to be a member. Thanks.

  45. Amanda,

    Unfortunately, you’re stuck with the dilemma that is a private loan. They are not as heavily regulated as federal loans, and the lenders are not required to give you deferments or forbearances. Have you asked why you were denied? Ask for he denial in writing. Heck, ask for all documentation of everything from them in writing!

    Private consolidation is coming back – probably this summer. I would try applying again then.

    Have you asked about “income sensitive repayment plans”? Don’t ask to lower your payment – that’s a bad choice of words. Use their buzzwords, it may help, as silly as it seems.

  46. Amanda said,

    I am having a nightmare with my student loans, and I am hoping someone can help me… My monthly payments are $1400 per month (I went to art school, this is the result of high interest rates not original loan amount!!!) I only make $2000 per month. I cannot afford to pay my rent, car, food, gas, insurance, etc if I pay my student loans. I’ve tried EVERYTHING. I tried to consolidate my private loans with a co signer (who has good credit) and I was denied. I tried a deferment, forbearance, and also just lowering my monthly payments. I have been DENIED all of them! Apparently I “Don’t Qualify” for any of these benefits that everyone else raves about. ?? To me it just doesn’t make any sense and no one is willing to help me. Unfortunately I graduated from college May 2007, and this problem has been on going since then (and has not just been affected by the recent recession) so I am afraid that even after the economy gets better, there is still no hope for me. I have Sallie Mae and AES as my lenders for my private loans. They both have not been willing or able to help. And they are very rude too! I can’t borrow money from anyone either (Believe me I TRIED) so please don’t suggest that! I feel like I’ve exhausted all my options : ( And wish I never went to school

  47. Bad news Michelle – private student loans cannot be discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

    Consolidation may be an option in about 6 months time. Right now no one is offering it, but there are rumbling that it will be around again in the fall.

    Have you applied for a deferment or forbearance with AES?

  48. Michelle said,

    I need help with my private student loan with AES. I am unable to pay my loan, my co-signer my father is unable to help me, and AES is unwilling to lower the payments for a little while so I can try paying them. I have to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy to maybe get a 4-6 month grace period of paying the loans, but I doubt that will help. I can consolidate, or discharge my loans. Are there any other options on howing to deal with this?

  49. Stephanie said,

    Hi Monique,

    Thank you for your response. Unfortunately he wasn’t well informed about federal aid during college, he never even filed a FAFSA so his entire private education was through private Sallie Mae loans. Hopefully there will be some better consolidation options later this year. He is in forbearance right now, but clearly that won’t last forever. He’ll have to start paying in May. His company actually just got bought out and they’re liquidating which makes things even more sticky, but hopefully that will at least qualify him for some sort of income-sensitive plan. Even though he was only making $30,000 they wanted him paying $20,000 a year because his loan debt is so high. I’m trying to explore the lawyer/ombudsman avenue in the slight chance that they can broker some sort of deal because he wants to pay and DEFINITELY wants to avoid defaulting, but it literally isn’t possible at this time.


  50. Stephanie,
    With private loans, your boyfriend has far fewer options because the industry in general is not highly regulated. Nor can these loans be dismissed in bankruptcy court.

    Now, the good news is that there are rumors that private loan consolidation MAY be making a comeback later this year. Nothing concrete yet, but some big players in the industry are at least talking about it again.

    Contacting a lawyer or ombudsmen may help. I don’t know much about ombudsmen, though. Has your boyfriend applied for an economic hardship forbearance or deferral?

  51. Stephanie said,

    Hi there,

    I’ve posted previously but I have another question that might be answered more easily. I’ve heard the term “ombudsmen” and while I only know a small amount about them from looking online I was curious as to whether this present can only offer advice/assistance in the case of federal loans. Can they offer advice for situations involving private loans? As I stated in a previous post my boyfriend is in quite a bind, owing about half his salary in loans per year. Unfortunately his bachelor’s was received at the exact time where private lenders stopped offering consolidation and the only offer he got didn’t help. We’re thinking of consulting a lawyer because he really wants to make some headway on these loans but Sallie Mae won’t offer income-sensitive payments or a longer payment plan, they said that what they offered is the only option. Any information is appreciated, mostly I’d really just like to know if there’s anyone I can talk to about this particular situation that might able to help figure out our options.

  52. Mike said,



  53. Mike – somehow I doubt that it’s Sallie Mae’s goal is to take over the world. It involves too much paperwork. I think they just want your money.

  54. Mike said,

    Believe me I already have. I have accepted the fact that they are not here to help us. They are all puppets taking orders of the global elites who want to take over the world and bring in a new world order. I don’t know how informed you are about this subject or maybe you are. If not, I suggest you go to and find out the truth!

  55. Mike, I’m sorry you feel I’m offering scare tactics. What I’m really offering is facts that most people don’t want to hear.

    The truth is that most people look for help when they’ve reached a point of desperation and are backed into a corner. Generally at that point, there aren’t many options left.

    If you’re so upset about people helping the bankers and not you, why don’t you call your senators and representatives in Washington and tell them?

  56. Mike said,

    It is so crazy that this lady never offers any real solution to the problem. All he can offer is a bunch of scare tactics “pay the money or you well get in trouble for life”. With the way the economy is right now and with no hope in site, we are all up the creek. They well not help us because we are not bankers.

  57. Nicole said,

    We’ve tried everything. You can’t pay what you don’t have. It’s bizarre to look at my life, to see my son and know that because I decided to go to college, that in a matter of months we will be homeless. I am at a loss…

  58. Nicole,

    There’s not much you can do about hte provate loans, but with the federal, have you and your husband each individually consolidated your federal loans? You can’t consolidate yours with his, but you can consolidate all of yours and he can consolidate all of his. The US Department of Education is still offering consolidation:

  59. Nicole said,

    OK – long story short, I lost my job when I had my baby (small business no maternity leave), six weeks later my husband lost his job. we moved and found new jobs where we make less than minimum wage, and we are a family of three with two college degrees. We have a mix of federal and private loans owing around $100,000 combined. Our monthly payments are over $1,000. Yeah, right. We can’t consolidate because married couples can’t consolidate together, and you can’t consolidate private with federal. No help there. We have deferred and forbeared as long as we can and have spoken with the companies numerous times and they keep giving us the finger. They will not help us in any way, shape or form. We are abolutely screwed, not to mention the fact that my cosigners (parents) are next in line to take the financial rape on their credit. What do I do? If I pay them, we starve and become homeless. If I don’t pay them, they garnish our wages and we starve and become homeless. Is this the new form of capital punishment? And does anyone know – what will happen if I just send them like $20? Can they send me to collections if I am at least trying?

  60. loanmastre said,

    very nice topic., i like your tutorial about loan and money, may be we can link exchange

  61. George, if you can pay this month, PLEASE do so – one more month late and you’re in default. That will haunt your credit for the next 10-15 years, and you really want to avoid that.

    Have you tried asking about other repayment plans? Longer repayment plans? Who did you consolidate with? If you did not consolidate with Direct loans, try to re-consolidate with them. It’ll stretch your payments back out to the full term again, and, supposing you paid at least some of the loan off already, should at least knock a few more dollars of the monthly payment. And you can ask about longer repayment terms due to your low salary. They should be willing to help, based on your debt to income ratio.

  62. George said,

    Although I can’t really afford my payments, I seem to be in a much better position than many here. Payments of “only” $481 a month, but my salary is only at $24.6K a year right now and I don’t see it rising dramatically in the near future.

    Already consolidated, denied for both forbearance and deferment, and not quite sure where to turn at this point. Am two months behind, and can’t make a full payment for this month as I just don’t have $481 in my checking and barely existing savings accounts.

    Been job hunting for the last four months and can’t find anything that won’t entail a pay cut. Part of my problem is that I didn’t graduate, I had to leave school in my fourth year when one of my parents had a serious health issue and couldn’t afford to return.

    In any case, one piece of advice that I’d give to any high school students (and parents of), is don’t listen to the advice given to you by your high school guidance counselors. When I was in high school and going through the whole process of deciding what to do the mantra I would always hear (and this is true for many friends who went to separate high schools than I) was “don’t worry about money, there are always ways to pay, go where you want not where you can afford”. If I knew then what I knew now there’s absolutely no way that I wouldn’t have attended the state school and I wish to god I hadn’t been encouraged otherwise.

  63. Elizabeth said,


    I’m a parent of a freshman who is accepted in an out-of state state university. We filed our FAFSA and I think we will not qualify for a financial aid. I read about Federal Stafford Loans. What other names do Federal Loans come? I still have to wait for the award notification of the school before I can apply for a Federal Student Loan, is that correct? My daughter applied for scholarships but has not heard from them yet.

    Thank you.


    • Elizabeth,
      There are 2 types of Federal Loans, Stafford and PLUS. Stafford loans are in the student’s name and are awarded by the school. They will let you know in the award letter how much you qualify for, and whether it is subsidized or unsubsidized. Once it’s been awarded, then you fill in an “application”, perhaps better known as the Master Promissory note.

      PLUS loans are in the parent’s names, and are fixed-rate loans that you apply for after you see how much aid your freshman receives. You can borrow up to the cost of education minus any aid your child has received.

      Here are two sites that might help answer your questions:

  64. UniversalCynic –
    Because there is at least one company that IS STILL consolidating student loans. Have you talked to Direct Loans, the federal loan program directly through the federal government? They are still consolidating loans.

    They’re consolidation web page is:

    I suggest you talk to them.

  65. UniversalCynic said,

    so just about every person who has asked for advice in this thread has been given the same information. Its pretty straightforward and, if you’ve been dealing with Sallie Mae — as opposed to hiding in fear — then you should have a fair idea of what they are willing to do in terms of deferments and forbearance, etc. But in almost every response, the solution listed is consolidation. Having researched the topic fairly thoroughly, I agree that this is the best practice for those facing difficulty in managing monthly payments. I myself have exhausted all available deferments and forbearance periods (according to the dubious phone jockeys) and am considering consolidation as the only remaining alternative (less leaving the country, as someone thought to do above).

    My issue is this: If consolidation is the best bet, but no Lender wants to consolidate anymore (because its not profitable!?), then what next? Sallie posted on their site that they no longer consolidate, and the last person from that charming company that I spoke to, when asked what my options were, simply said “you should have found a better job.”

    So how come you are telling people to consolidate if no one will let people consolidate anymore?

  66. Amy – definitely consult that lawyer. Also, have you thought about consolidating the federal loans? You’ll pay less each month, though you’ll pay more in the long run. It’s designed just for people like you to spread the payments over a longer time period and allow you to maintain a standard of living.

    There are rumors that private loan consolidation will make a comeback this year as the financial sector begins to stabilize, so keep an eye out for that!

  67. amy scarano said,


    I am a social worker and make 50k a year. I have an apartment and car, not to mention living expenses. I paid the price for two masters’ degrees from an Ivy League institution and am now in a bind. I have over 150K in student loan, both public and private. I am currently in deferment, but will be asked to start repayment in a few months. My loan providers are asking almost $1300 a month–that more than 50% of my income. I have always made payments and have haggled trying to get a better rate with no success. I am in the process of consulting a consumer lawyer because I too was harassed via the telephone and letters.

    Do you have any suggestions?


  68. Liz,
    I’ve got bad news for you. The Private Loan industry is hardly regulated at all. They don’t have to offer you extended periods of forbearance or deferment, so they won’t. Limits are set by each company.

    They may offer an economic hardship deferment program – you’ll have to call them and ask as each lender is different and policies are changing constantly during these tough economic times.

    From the lender’s point of view, they want you to pay the loan back. It’s not in their best interest to keep offering you deferments and forbearance as you’re not reimbursing them for the borrowed money, and they want their money back.

    Now, if you have federal loans, you can consolidate those with the Department of Education – – and thought should help you at least a little. Some lenders are putting out feelers and are considering starting up private consolidation programs again, but that may be months away. As soon as I here more on this, believe me I”ll post on it!

  69. Liz said,

    My story is pretty much the same as everyone here, blah blah we’re poor, blah blah they want a RIDICULOUS amount of money primarily on our private loans, no one will consolidate, there is no relief in sight.

    My question is this: What are the limits on forbearance length and deferment lengths? I was told that I only have a few months left of in-school deferment because they only allow 48 months for that. Is there a length for economic hardship deferment? What exactly are the options when it comes to forbearance and deferment, and if there are only a certain amount of months you can use those, what are you supposed to do when those options are no longer available?

  70. Marcell said,

    Dear Everyone –

    No matter how much you owe, no matter how scary-high your payments are…do not default. Period.

    I went through a horrible divorce (expensive, over-due child support etc.) 3 years ago that wiped me out. At that time, my loans were consolidated at a balance of $25K and monthly payments of $230. During the midst of all this, I was in an automobile accident and stopped working for 4 months.

    Well, I stopped paying when I couldn’t get a deferment or forbearance. My loan was sold and after extra interest and collection fees, my new balance is $40,000. The collection company started an Administrative Garnishment against me. Before the 20-day reply period elapsed, I lost my job in construction. No severance – no notice.

    I spoke with the collection company yesterday. I was told “that if I did not pay $414 per month for 9 months – [you] would stay in default and the garnishment would attach to any new job [you] get.” Even after reporting I am 100% unemployed and could pay $200 per month, the answer was the same “We will take whatever you send us – it could be $400 per month. But that is still $14 short and we will continue to garnish and seek all relief including your income tax refund or anyother federal payment to you (hello stimulus check!) until you pay exacty $414 per month for 9 months.”

    I called the Ombudsman Office and was told that $414 was 1% of my balance and that was typically the smallest amount they would take.

    Now, I cannot even attend a local community college using our State’s Emergency Fund to Retrain Workers because of my federal default.

    I am unemployed, have a degree that is pretty much worthless, and when I do find another job, I will be garnished within 30 days.

    Do not default. Work 2 jobs, consolidate, get roommates, anything. Do not default.

  71. Stephanie said,

    Hi there,
    I’d like to ask a question for my boyfriend. We both went to a private school that niether of us could afford but had excellent programs for what we wanted to major in. He ended up having to take out private loans (five total) for each year of college and his loan total is about $125,000. The kicker is that he only makes $30,000 and his field is not one in which he will start making any big bucks soon. Sallie Mae wants him to pay $1200 a month and another lender’s loan payment is $400 a month, completely impossible to pay right now and live at the same time. His plan was to consolidate after college but NOONE has been able to offer him consolidation because either they’re not offering it anymore or he’s not approved because he doesn’t make enough (!!! isn’t that the problem if he DOESN’T consolidate, ironic). He has called Sallie Mae multiple times saying that he really wants to pay, is there anything that they can offer he’s just trying to pay them and they have been absolutely no help. He’s been forced to go into forbearance twice. Does anyone have any suggestions? The only thing I can think of is that he can pay maybe two of the loans and put the other 3 into forbearance until we are making some more money when I graduate from grad school. But with the interest accumulating I’m afraid it’s not enough…this seems so very hopeless and he is so distraught because he truly wants to pay and he thought that his showing that he wants to pay and not ignore it would cause the lender to offer a better deal but that just hasn’t been the case.

  72. raphaela morais said,

    My story is pretty similar to everyone’s. Only I am trying to consolidate $60K in school loans, but do not have a co signer. My father was the original cosigner on my loans, and he wont help me pay back the loans, bc he has problems of his own (his own business, mortgages…etc.)

    Is there a consolidation program that helps out people like me? Anything at all will help. I really do not know what to do, but cannot make payments of 900/month on school loans alone.

    I am seriously going insane on this. I had to drop out of school on my junior yr, bc i knew I couldnt afford it.

    I wish someone told me all about this before I went to school. I’d be working at a minimum wage job, but stress free…


  73. Laura –
    That’s one reason why I always recommend students go for scholarships first, federal loans second, and use private loans as a last resort.

    If you fall on hard times, you have much less recourse than with federal loans.

  74. laura said,

    Student loan companies actually are the enemy when you have a private loan. They don’t care if you’re unemployed because of the recession.

    Anyone that would dock the pay of a back up job at Starbucks is definitely an enemy!

  75. Good for you, Robert! Grants and scholarships are always your best bet, by far – you don’t have to pay them back!

    I wish you the best of luck in your nursing career.

  76. Robert said,

    Thank you much ^_^ I appreciate it. I managed to get lucky and received a number of grants which dramatically reduced my costs.

  77. Wow, Robert – you’re not doing too bad. Only $25K. I have some nursing friends with a lot more debt than that! Some of my doctor friends owe more than $100K!

    I think you’re referring to the Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program – visit this website to learn more:

    In a nutshell, you exchange years of service in an area with a shortage of health professionals or an economically depressed area in return for them paying your loans.

    By participating, you are entering a contract with the U.S. Government, and there will be penalties for backing out, so read all the documentation and weigh your options carefully before deciding what to do.

  78. Robert said,

    moniqueleonard, I am due to graduate next year and will have about 25k in student loans to pay back. I’ve been told that there exists government programs that will pay off a nurses student loans. Do you know of any that exist?

  79. Cassie J said,


    My student loans are about to become due in a month and I can barely breathe. The depression, of just knowing the total, is almost too much to bear and sometimes I worry about myself.

    I have federal and private loans, together equaling around 85k. I got a job soon after I graduated but was laid off. I am barely keeping up with my other bills…how can I afford 900 a month to Sallie Mae? Should I consolidate? I just want to be able to afford my payments…My mom is a cosigner and I don’t want to damage her credit. She isn’t in a place to help me with my loans.

    Someone please help me…

    • Hi Cassie, don’t panic! It’s OK. With a little leg work, you’ll be fine.

      In your case, I would take a serious look at consolidation – that’s what it’s original purpose was, to stretch out the life of the loan to make monthly payments smaller.

      Also, since you’re unemployed, ask about deferment and forbearance. Read this post: – it explains them and has links to good resources for learning more. Then, when you are employed again,. you can put your loans back on a repayment schedule.

  80. Yes, consolidation is a possible option for Vicky. Unfortunately, it is getting harder to find a company willing to consolidate.

    For federal loans, like the Stafford and Plus loans, try the department of education. Their website is

    For private loans, you’ll have to call your lender and see if they have a program. Most companies do not these days.

    And – NEVER consolidate federal loans with private, always keep them separate. If you roll them together, they turn into private loans and you’ll lose all your federal protections.

  81. Debt adviser said,

    Debt consolidation program is the best option for you to repay the student loan . It will help you to get out of debt gradually as you will get a longer period to repay. So you should take the help of some expert debt adviser.

  82. Debt adviser said,

    To get out of the situation,debt consolidation is the best option for you. This program will eliminate the debt gradually.

  83. Hi Vicky,

    The first thing you need to do is stop panicking – it’ll just drive you crazy. There is always hope.

    Next, I want you to research deferment and forbearance. Once you understand the difference between the two, dig out your loan paperwork and try to find the corresponding sections about what you may or may not qualify for.

    Now that you are armed with that knowledge, call you private and federal lenders and talk about your options – deferment, forbearance and possibly even income-sensitive repayment plans.

    Remember, it is in the lender’s best interest to work with you as they earn money through interest. As long as you prove yourself willing to work towards a common goal and don’t default on your payments, you should be able to work something out.

    NEVER default – it’ll ruin your finances for 10 years, and they’ll just garnish your wages and get the money in a way much less comfortable for you.

    Good luck!

  84. Vickie said,

    I am a senior in college and although I have another year to go before I graduate and 6 mths after that before I pay my payments, I am freaking out. I have almost $80,000 in private student loans with Sallie Mae and Aes, and $30,000 in federal with NelNet. I took the private student loans because I was going to an out-go-state school. I thought that I would not have a problem paying them because I was “going” to consolidate the private ones, work in a poor area for forgivness on the federal, and my husband-who is now my ex of 4 months- made a good income to help me pay them off.

    I am a single mother now–he is not the father–and going to college and now have all of this loan debt and it seems that private consolidation has flown out the window. My salary is going to be about $26,000 a year and the payments look like they will be about $1300 a month (not including the federal loans). With my mortgage I have now and other regular bills, My monthly BILLS are about $1600. This would give me $2900 a month to pay in total BILLS and that is impossible!!!! Sallie Mae is set at a Prime rate and the AES is at Libor. I am in big trouble and already broke because of the divorce. You guys and your stories are making me have nightmares about my future. Is there any hope??

  85. Ronnie –
    I can address a few of your issues. Very few companies are consolidating anymore because, quite simply, they can’t afford to. STudent Loan companies are for-profit, and if they lose money they will stop offering a product – that’s what has happened here.

    On a positive note, the Department of Education IS consolidating loans still. Visit to learn more.

    Regarding loan forgiveness for select jobs, such as teachers, it is to attract people into jobs where there is a serious shortage in skills. In this case, inner-city teachers are the target as very few people are willing to work in inner city school systems.

  86. ronnieK said,

    I see that many people as well as me are having a lot of financial difficulty’s when its coming to paying back loans. Does anyone know why Sallie Mae does Not consolidate anymore? I have tried to see if I would qualify for deferment, forbearance, etc… but I keep being told that I do not qualify for anything except if I pay 150 for a 3 month forbearance but I cant afford that right now. I can hardly afford the bills I do have right now. I dont know what to do anymore. I have asked questions but yet no one seems to answer them. Oh and why do they have loan forgiveness for Teachers and such? Do they have such thing for people who cannot afford to pay back their loans? I dont even know what to do about consolidation..I would like to see if I would be able to consolidate but I dont know Any companies that I could talk to..if someone could help me or direct me in another direction I would really appreciate it.

  87. Kathy –
    To the best of my knowledge, a parent cannot discharge a Parent PLUS Loan to a student. These are loans specifically designed for a parent or guardian to take out to help their child. You can try calling your loan companies, but I’m almost certain that what you are asking is impossible.

    Now, if you want your children to accept some responsibility for their college education, perhaps you could set up a repayment schedule where they pay you, then you cut the check to Sallie Mae, etc.

  88. Dubb said,

    I have no idea what to do here folks, I feel like I’m about to have a nervous breakdown.
    I graduated college in 99 with a Bachelors in Psychology. I worked in sales for the next 5 years or so, making payments on my undergrad degree, which were manageable. I decided to do a career change in 04, just because sales wasn’t for me and I was just so sick of the stress. Anyway, I always had a passion for cooking. I decided to sit down with someone at the local culinary school and I was sold. That person led me to believe that I’d make a ton of money in the culinary industry. I figured, why not, I love to cook and if I can make a lot of money as an exec chef, lets do it. I spoke to the financial aid office and got approved for a 40k private loan to pay for school. I was never told what my payments would look like once I graduated…I didn’t care to be honest with you, I just wanted to start school and my new career.
    Let’s just say I could have learned more out of a cookbook than from the instructors I had in culinary school. Some were great, but most were awful. After I graduated I took jobs up on the west coast but made absolutely nothing as a “chef.” I decided to come home and try to find a good paying chef job. Not only could I not find a good paying job, but most had no benefits. I’ve used up all my forbearance and next month I am due to make my first $1400/monthly payment. I can’t even get these things consolidated.
    Well, I was forced to go back into sales just because I dont have the time to work for pennies for 10 years as a chef or sous chef in hopes that one day, I will be running a fancy restaurant, making 6 figures. If I did that, not only would I default on my loans, but I’d starve. So yeah, Im back in sales, not making much, and now have a 1400/month bill for CULINARY SCHOOL which I have to pay for the next 15 years.
    Not sure what to do, I dont want to sound like a coward but I am so depressed about this that I hope I dont off myself. All I want to do is lead a normal life, raise a family and be happy. Now with these payments I have no desire to find a girl (who’d want a loser with no savings and 100k debt)? I dont know what to do…I fear for myself and the 1000’s that are in the same boat as me. The economy is awful and I can’t even come close to making a 1400 payment, every month for the next 15 years. It seems as if my life is over.

  89. Kathy said,

    At what point can a parent get off of a Parent Plus Loan? I have been making the payments for both of my kids because I don’t want to have to use forebearance. With the 3 srikes you’re out rule, that would have expired a few years ago with their low income status. I just want them to get the darn things into their own names and they can wreck their own credit all they want.
    Any help on how a parent can get off of these loans. They are with Sallie Mae and Citi Corp

  90. Amber said,


    The advice for deferment and forbearance is great for temporary loan relief, but what if your life circumstances are *never* going to improve? My mom has almost $90,000 in PLUS loan debt, consolidated with ACS. The interest rate is locked in at 8.5. My mom works as a bagger in a grocery store. I went to film school and make enough to pay my bills and the loans in my name, but not enough to make payments on the PLUS loan as well. I wish I had read the advice about not taking out huge loans if you’re going to art school when I was 17, but it’s too late now (I graduated in 2002). Regardless, the loans are not in my name, they are in hers. She is not going to get a better job. We have sent a letter trying to work out lower monthly payments and are waiting to hear back (the loan is in deferment now and has been since I graduated). Assuming that doesn’t work out, what other option is there? And even if we do work out a lower monthly payments, are we really going to have to keep paying until she dies I feel it’s predatory for loan companies to give loans to people who obviously won’t be able to repay them.

  91. Alen, you’ve been hit by the credit crunch. At this point, college students and recent graduates are VERY unlikely to get private loans or private consolidation loans solely on their own credit.

    Banks have tightened their credit restrictions a lot in the past year and now a cosigner is practically required in order to get the loan. The banks can’t afford to take the risk on a sole borrower with poor credit because of the mortgage crisis and other problems in the market.

    Consolidating will go a long way towards easing your financial burden as it will lower your monthly payments by spreading them out over time. This will allow you to build a little nest egg in case of emergencies. (Always keep 3-6 months living expenses safely tucked way in an accessible location in case of emergencies)

    And yes, in case something happens, god forbid, deferment and forbearance are there to help just for those reasons. Deferment and forbearance are designed to get someone through a temporary financially difficult time (such as temporary disability or unemployment) without being penalized.

    Remember if anything does happen, contact your lender ASAP and get the paperwork started. DO NOT let your loans go into default; it’ll take 10 years for your credit to recover.

  92. Alen Abdula said,

    Great article.

    I graduated from school in January of 08′ and I’m into my 4th month of paying my private and federal loans. Amount of about $96k. I’m just getting by making all the payments, but I’m worried if some unforeseen circumstances should happen. So, I’ve tried to consolidate my private loans and had no success with that at all. I have 3 private loans from Sallie Mae and 1 from Wachovia. I wanted to get them all under one account and make one payment instead of 4, but no luck so far. When I tried consolidating trough Sallie Mae, few of my loans say that I’m not qualified for consolidation. I went to and applied for consolidation without a co-signer and was denied. I will try again with co-signer. Is there any other resources for consolidation?

    So from what I’m reading in this article and in visitors comments, if something should happen, god forbid, Deferment is my best option, followed by Forbearance?

  93. Mandy you’re doing the right thing. Get your loans into forbearance and give yourself some breathing room. That’ll also give you a few months to try passing your state exams again.

    As for your internship – it sounds from your fears that your bachelor’s degree is not in teaching and thus you haven’t had any classroom experience. Have you thought about doing substitute teaching to get yourself used to a classroom?

    As for living your dream all I can say is stop panicking – you’ve got your whole life ahead of you. Perhaps things haven’t happened as quickly as you’d like, but who’s to say they won’t happen at all? Keep your chin up and keep fighting for it!!

  94. Mandy said,

    I have a question…I have consolidated all of my loans and am hoping right now to have them on forbearance till next February when I hopefully can start to afford to pay them back. My question is how can I get help — I was working towards my MA in Elementary Ed, but am stuck right now — I have not been able to pass the local state exams — have 2 classes to take alongside either teaching training – which I cannot do as I can’t live without money for 4 months….or hope to get an intership at a school that is not doing well — but I do not have any idea who would hire someone who has had no teaching experience and secondly I am scared that if I was to get hired then from day one I would be in charge of a class full of youngsters!!!! So I am now stuck in a job that I do not like and where I am just about making ends meet — yet my repayment schedule will go up every 2 years I think and right now I am so scared – I have not managed to achieve the dream I wanted — in many ways I wish I had never tried to improve my lot in life — as it has only got me further and further in debt and I am scared about it all — if any one knows where I can go for help — I do not want to default on my loans but I need help — any one with any ideas


  95. Hello,

    Well it depends on what kind of loans she has, public or private. If you simply stop paying, Sallie Mae can demand your tax returns and garnish your wages earned in the US. (If you ever intend to return to the US, you will need to keep filing taxes I believe, unfortunately – that’s how you “pay” for embassy services). Also, it will ruin your US credit for the next 10 years.

    Instead of simply stopping payment, why don’t you try calling Sallie Mae and tell them you’re moving to a foreign country with a lower salary base. You may be surprised that they’re willing to work something out wiht you. Remember – they want you to pay back, that’s how they earn their money and jumping through hoops to garnish wages, etc, costs them money. It’s in their best interests to work with you to come up with a solution.

    It’s important you do this BEFORE you stop making payment – once you simply stop paying, it shows Sallie Mae that you’re not willing to work with them therefor they have no incentive to work with you as you’re not trustworthy. Remember, your wife signed a Master Promissory Note swearing to pay back the money she borrowed.

  96. to said,


    I recently got married and soon found out my wife had around $40k in debt to none other than Sallie Mae. As frustrating as this was to find out, I can live with this as long as she stays on top of it. She has.

    The twist to this this story comes now as we are planning to go back to her home country, Costa Rica, and live. As I am sure you can imagine, the salaries there are not what they would be in the states and I am not sure what is going to happen in the case that she falls behind.

    The question is this……What will happen to me (if anything) in the case that she, or we I suppose, stop paying the school loans? I am more concerned about if this can fall onto my shoulders…her debt. Can it? Will it? What recourse do the powers that be have against me?….in a foriegn country……


    • Jojo Bizarro said,

      As long as your assets reamin outside the USA, they can’t do anything to you.

  97. It depends what kind of loans you have. If it’s a federal consolidation, ask for a deferment – that puts your loans on hold for a time. Once you are fully disabled, you will qualify for some sort of help, I believe.

    If you continue to pay only half your loan payments each month, then yes you will likely go into default.

  98. justin said,

    i stopped going to school in 2004 after 2 years. I had barely minimum wage jobs for a few years, then in 2006 got a break, getting a decent (still only 14$ per hour) job. in november of 2006 i was hit by a truck while at work. this effectively ended my income, and i am still dealing with the accident.

    despite pleas with sallie mae, the ‘best’ they could offer me is the select step program, which, as noted, is a complete waste of money (ahem, thats assuming the regular payments werent a waste) and does not move me forward with the loan payment one bit, as Select Step is an interest only payment (still almost 300$ a month).

    I have consolidated once, and dont think it could happen again, as, due to these loans and my medical situation, my credit is totally destroyed. It has pushed me to the edge of suicide, no joke.

    i get calls every single day. my latest select step payment is 30+ days past due. I make a 10$ payment online about every other day (so that would take about 60 days to make one monthly payment)

    my question is – if i am at least making this 10$ payment, but still far past due, will my loans default? Medically, i am still listed as temporarily disabled for a while, till the ‘full disabled’ status can be court appointed. is there ANY way to get them to back the hell off of me for a while while i try to recover?

  99. Hi Holly,

    Consolidation won’t wreck your credit at all – it might help, even, because you have one loan instead of several to pay off. I can speak from personal experience on this one – many friends and family members have consolidated their student loans, and they’ve gone on to buy cars and houses just fine.

    I’m not certain how deferment will affect credit. I can tell you that thousands of people o it every year, though.

    I’m certain that deferment won’t affect your credit nearly as much as defaulting on your loans. NEVER default on a loan – it will completely ruin your credit for up to 10 years!! If you’re nearing a default, deferment will be much better for your credit health in the long run.

  100. holly said,

    Hey Monique,
    Thanks for the advice! I have a couple more questions…
    So I understand the whole consolidation thing, and deferment…but my question is this: how does that affect your credit rating? I am told that these steps are for survival only, but what about credit?
    If you don’t have credit, you can’t get a car, an apartment or sometimes even a job!

  101. These unsecured loans’ features will also help you to build a budget and stick to it easily. When credit cards are included in a budget, the complexity increases because you have to foresee many things in order for the budget to be useful. Predicting ones behavior is complicated enough, if you have to predict market conditions and income variations in order to see if you will be able to meet credit card payments that keep changing as a consequence of a variable rate, things can get really complicated.

  102. Cando said,

    I am in a situation with my student loans that’s about to become really ugly. I am a Canadian student who came to the states for my education. After three degrees, I am now in debt about $225,000. I make about $110, 000 in the medical profession. I have one loan with Sallie Mae in the amount of $55,000. The other is with MEFA which is in the amount of $170,000. Salle Mae has agreed to extend the term of the loan, which really helps me out. But the other loan company will not under any circumstances do anything to help me. My student loan payments next month will amount to almost $3000! I have attempted calling almost every consolidation company and bank and credit union out there and have been unsuccessful. I have also done hours of internet searches as well. The current state of the economy is causing most of the lenders for consolidation loans to suspend their programs. Moreover, since I’m not a US citizen, I cannot qualify for any government consolidation loans. I am wondering if anyone else out there has any advice or suggestions. I’ve exhausted all options, and am not sure what to do. Please, please, PLEASE help!

  103. Thanks Jane, that is very sound advice! Thanks for sharing your personal story with us all, and for offering another experienced perspective on how to handle to student loan debt.

  104. Jane said,

    I’d like to say that Monique is providing some very sound advice here, and I don’t believe she works for Sallie Mae. I too work for a student loan company (also not Sallie Mae), and I can attest to the fact that what Monique is saying is true. Deferment, forbearance, extended/graduated repayment plans and consolidation are all useful and realistic tools for people to manage their student loan debt. I consolidated after I graduated because I couldn’t afford the monthly $211 payment on a $24k salary (a pretty reasonable starting salary for a college graduate in my area with a non-technical degree). Consolidation reduced my payment to about $135 a month which was easier to stomach, but I still had to be careful and manage my money with a watchful eye. Since my salary has gone up over the past 6 years, that payment is really easy to make. It seems to me the problem most of you are facing is that you paid much too much for the education you received. WHY does anyone think that $180k for art school is a good idea? You are not going to make a huge salary with an art degree. You’d be lucky to even find a job dealing with art. But it is slightly understandable for an 18 year old just starting college to do something like that. Most 18 year olds have no concept of budgeting, loans, interest or money management in general. It is NOT understandable for your parents to allow you to make that mistake, much less take out a mortgage on their house for art school. Parents are adults with life experience; they should know better and advise you accordingly. If you want an art degree, you should get it from a reasonably priced state or public school so that you will be able to pay for it with your not-very-high salary after college. But now that you have this debt, you have to deal with it. You MUST contact your lender as soon as you think you will have trouble making payments. Do not let yourself get 30, 90, or 180 days behind on your payments because you will be in much more trouble then than you are now. It only takes 270 days of non-payment to go into default – less than a year. At that point, like Monique said, you have fewer options and your credit is ruined. Default will affect your ability to buy a car, a house, get a job, all sorts of important things.

    If you have more than $60k in federal loans, you can consolidate those loans on a 30 year term which will make the payments much more manageable, though at the end of that 30 years, you will probably have paid double the amount you originally owed due to interest. Private loans are a different beast altogether. DO NOT get private loans unless you absolutely have to (and at that reasonably priced state school, you shouldn’t have to). Private loans have variable interest rates, usually based on Prime, which is the same basis for credit cards. Your interest rate can go up and down monthly and put you at the market’s mercy. And private loans don’t generally have all the flexibility of federal loans. You’d be lucky to find deferment, forbearance, or repayment options on a private loan.

    If you do have $100k in student loans and you manage to find yourself a decent $30k a year job just out of college, or you are unemployed, you should call your lender and ask for economic hardship deferment or income sensitive repayment. You’ll probably have to provide a month’s worth of pay stubs to prove your income (or lack thereof), and then they can put you on a payment plan that recognizes the fact you can’t afford $1,000 a month payments. For high balances, I would also definitely look into the new forgiveness programs from Direct Loans where you can work in public service for 10 years and have the remainder of your loans forgiven. Those of you with a reasonable amount of undergraduate debt probably wouldn’t benefit as much as those with the astronomical amounts, because if you’ve only got $20-30k in student loans, most of that will be paid off after 10 years anyway (assuming you are making your payments). With a high balance, you can get an income-contingent repayment plan that makes sure your payment is not more than a certain percentage of your income each month – so you still have enough left over to pay rent, feed yourself, and put gas in your car. Also, you want deferment before forbearance if you can qualify for it. If you have subsidized loans, the government will pay your interest while you are on deferment. Not so with forbearance.

    If anyone reading this is just starting college, please give a lot of thought to where you are going to school and what you major in. Those expensive private schools are fine if you have a full scholarship or daddy can pay your tuition out of pocket, but if not, don’t go there. There’s nothing wrong with state schools, and their tuition costs won’t suck the life out of you when you have to pay back your student loans. Also, major in something that you can use. If you are thinking of a major that you can’t easily attach a job title to, such as philosophy or art, don’t expect to make tons of money after college. The US Government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics website is a good source for researching what different jobs pay on a national scale. If you are already in debt, contact your lender for help right away. They can tell you what options are available to you. And as long as they aren’t Sallie Mae, they will probably be a lot nicer and more helpful than you expect. If you are with Sallie, see if you can consolidate somewhere else. You can consolidate your federal loans with any lender you want, as long as they will take you. Direct Loans will take just about anyone as long as they aren’t too far behind. You’d be dealing with the federal government, which may not be much better or more efficient, but at least it wouldn’t be the evil behemoth Sallie.

    • Big Mike said,

      I cosigned for a loan for my daughter. She graduated and passed away a few months later. I am now responsible to pay for her loans. I cannot afford the payments due to the house I bought 4 years ago. I am in the process of selling it but the market is terrible. Is there any recourse for student loans if the student dies? She was married and started paying the loan when she died.

      • Shadow said,

        I’m terribly sorry to hear about your daughter. But from what I know, loans must be forgiven if the borrower passes away and it is not the family’s responsibility to repay them on the student’s behalf. If you are being hounded to pay the remaining balance, someone is doing something illegal. I may suggest meeting with a pro-bono lawyer to discuss what can be done and if there’s lawsuit fodder.

    • Mike said,

      Who the hell are you to judge that young lady! You are the one who works for the lenders… why dont you answer that question? You are probably the one who gave her the loan in the first place. We dont care how easy it was for you. I think your post is a bunsh of crap. You dont care about use. All you care about is the money!!

  105. Robert Howard –

    I am very open about the fact that I work for the Student Loan Network, not Sallie Mae. That’s why I know about student loans, because I work with them every day.

    If you don’t like what I’ve posted here, why don’t you make some helpful suggestions? As I’m not in the mortgage business, I do not know anything about how to help with 2nd mortgages.

  106. roberthoward said,

    Bet you dollars to donuts that Monique Leonard works for Sallie May, since she gave absolutely no advice that could be helpful to someone who had a loan, just an observation.

  107. Well, Holly, There are no programs that will instantly relieve your debt.

    There are programs that will forgive debt after 5 or 10 years, for example if you work in an at-risk school system or certain other fields.

    If you’re looking for instant relief and you have some Student Loans (as opposed to the 2nd mortgage) you can consolidate those loans together. This will create one monthly payment instead of many and will extend the life of the loan from 10 years to 20 or 30 years (time depends on your loan balances). You’ll pay less each month, which will help you get back on your feet, though you’ll pay more in the long run.

    I don’t know much about 2nd mortgages, so I can’t offer any help there other than to say reduce your living expenses to help out your parents. For example, live with multiple roommates to help defray rent costs. Also, cooking at home is cheaper than eating out.

    Good luck!

  108. holly said,

    Hi, My name is Holly and I am going to graduate in a month, I am in debt upwards of 180,000 dollars (art school) and I am trying to start a new life for myself, and yet I am swimming in debt. Not only that, but my parents took out a second mortgage for these loans and if I can’t pay them back, my entire family will lose our house. Are there are programs to help new graduates get off the ground and into a stable situation? Or is it really as cut-throat as I have been lead to believe?

    Seriously concerned,

  109. Hi Scott,

    There’s something I’m not sure I understand. You say “a lot of money which if I consolidate will be an amount that is too crazy to pay”… you imply that it’s easier to afford without consolidation?

  110. Scott said,

    Not sure what to do anymore, I currently have a loan with Sallie Mae for a a lot of money which if I consolidate will be an amount that is too crazy to pay at my age. Unfortunatly I don’t have the help of my parents. With the economy the way it is how can anyone afford to pay such payments. I tried calling many numbers to see what my options were and still cannot find a solution. They all say “Yea sorry nothing we can do”. It makes me wish I never went to college. Does anyone have any advice?

  111. Lets back up a few steps.. what loan calculator did you use and what did you enter into it?

    You know that you should consolidate federal loans into a federal consolidation and all private loans into a separate private consolidation? NEVER combine them – you lose all the benefits of the federal loans when you do.

    Now you’ve got a few options – deferment and forbearance. If you are truly in economic hardship and cannot afford to pay anything, you can get your payments put on hold for a time for you to save up money. You may also be able to negotiate a graduated repayment plan with your lender.

    THe important thing to do is to call you consolidation lender and work with them. If you stop paying, your credit will be ruined – I’m dead serious, it will affect your ability to buy a house or car for more than 10 years.

    Remember, it’s in your lenders best interest to work with you. If they work with you, they will eventually recover their investment in you even if it takes a little longer than they planned. If you default on your loans, then they lose everything so they really, truly want to work with you to come up with a payment plan.

    It’s also important to start talking to your lender BEFORE you go into default. Once you’ve defaulted (stopped paying) your loans, your options are more limited.

  112. Cecilia said,

    I am having a hard time wrapping my head around this.

    I have to start repaying my loans in less than a month. I’m not done with school yet for (stupid) personal reasons but am trying to go back this fall just so I can be done. I’m disappointed, frustrated, but most of all on my way to becoming severely depressed.

    I’ve been looking to consolidate my loans (both federal and private) and according to a loan calculator I just used my payments WITH the consolidation should be somewhere around $880. I don’t know where this money is supposed to come from–I live in Iowa where most of the established (meaning not college kids) make about $1000 every two weeks and bring in about $50,000 a year. I’m not anywhere near being as established as they are and am in the midst of searching for a job that will pay more.

    The advice above is good–I completely agree and want to consolidate my loans, but this seems less and less feasible. I’m thinking I’ll need to find some other alternative. Is there any way to erase student loan debt? Even if I had to work a job that has nothing to do with my real interest (despite the fact that college was supposed to be a way out from the cubicle monkey path–or maybe that was just a fantasy?), at this point I would do it. I’m desperate and Alvin’s advice, albeit illegal, sounds more and more appealing.

  113. I should note that what alvin says above is, well, illegal…

    You signed a contract saying you would repay the money, then you fled the country without repaying.

    • Jojo Bizarro said,

      It’s not illegal, actually, certainly not in the country where Alvin is living now, and the most they could do to him in the USA is sue him. You can’t be arrested for a student loan debt.

      • JJ said,

        Jojo is correct, thank goodness. I am about to do the same thing..head for Europe and simply stop paying Salliemae. I have paid over $40K in student loans and my total debt load has gone..wait for it..UP! This is insane and I’m finished with it.

      • linda said,

        I also moved to Europe (Ireland). But before I left the states, I called Sallie Mae and told them were I was moving too. I had all intentions to pay my loans. I even sent them a bank draft, but they didn’t want it because it was in euros.
        But to make a long story short. I couldn’t find work because of the economic collapse and I can’t pay my student loans.
        I’m married and have a baby, so my focus isn’t on repaying Sallie Mae, it’s on my new family. Sallie Mae doesn’t know my married name and they keep misspelling my address (I’m surprise it even gets to me).
        I was wondering what can Sallie Mae do to me here in the Republic Ireland? And if I go to the states for visit, would anything happen to me?

  114. alvin said,

    As sad as this might sound, I had to leave the country and move to Europe. I could not afford to make $780 a month payments and the lender would not work with me.

    Well, it was a very hard decision but I moved to Europe. Found me a new life,new job, new friends, etc. I live a free stress life. I do not feel like a prisoner any longer.

    Please consider this an option. Dont let the Sharks ruin your lives. Move to Canada, Asia, Europe, somewher else as long as you dont have to pay back these bustards.



    • Interested in Europe said,

      Hi Alvin, when you moved to Europe did you simply stop making payments? Did you communicate with the student loan people anymore?


      • JJ said,

        I’m also interested…what communications did the student loan companies come up with after you left for your overseas home?

    • Sam said,

      i’m sorry to say this but all of you took out student loans knowing they had to be paid back. What did you think was going to happen? I go to a expensive private university and I work 40 hours a week at the same time. Maybe you should have worked while in school or maybe you guys should get a second job. Banks are businesses too. They deserve their money bank. People like you are the reason the economy is like it is today.

  115. I hate to break it to you, but suing your lender because your economics teachers couldn’t predict the present state of the world economy probably won’t stand up in court.

    • Mr Marve Fred said,


  116. dave said,

    I just wanted to throw out an idea. Lets say for example, that you majored in economics when you received your student loan, and you obtained the loan from the university where you went to school. I wonder if any of us would be able to join in a class action suit that would determine the content of our education to have been a complete fraud? Nothing we learned has turned out to be solid information, and can not be used in most cases. (ENRON, Hedgefunds, 401Ks, NAFTA, etc. Trade deficits have tripled, the real estate market is a complete fraud, domestically produced oil has been fraudulently replaced with imported oil, something we learned would be profitable through speculation.) I am sure this stands true in many other subjects.

  117. shelsie said,

    Even with consolidating my loans. I can’t and probably never will be able to afford my payments. They are almost half of what I make every month.

    Considering moving to South America. Becoming the white whale.

    It’s funny that I have a college degree but can’t afford to eat. I wish it were just as simple as asking for a raise, but no restaurants can afford to pay a person enough to be able to live and repay this crap. It sucks that I will have to leave my chosen profession. The one I went to college for, and have a degree in, to pay off my loan for said degree.

  118. Nathan –

    Perhaps you can consolidate your private loans. There are still a few companies left who will consolidate private loans, although that number is dropping because the mortgage crisis has affected the student loan industry.

    A consolidation will spread out your loans over a longer repayment period meaning you’ll pay more in the long run, but you’ll pay less each month.

    Aside from that, perhaps it’s time to ask for a raise?

    • Mr Marve Fred said,

      Improve your financial situation now!!!

      Do you need a business or a personal loan? Investment Capital? Welcome to International Financial Source, we provide reliable
      financial services/loans with low interest rate and high approvals.

  119. Nathan said,

    So I think my story is similar to everybody’s.

    Private student loan. It started around $80K in order to pay for three years + 1 summer of college (I tried to speed through as to keep my loans as low as possible. It was a VERY expensive c ollege though). It’s now up to a little over $100K. My monthly payments are $1,034. I work on a $30,000 salaray + commission. Granted that it’s a starting salary, it’s EXACTLY WHAT MY EXPENSIVE COLLEGE DEGREE WAS MEANT FOR. My job is a cookie-cutter, exact realization of my college education. In that regard, it was completely worth going to school where I did and it was the only reason that I got a foot into this industry because of their Alumni association and because the school’s name carries so many heavyweights in the industry as well.

    I have been in forbearance since November 2006. My last forbearance was in December 2007. Without any notice, they requested a good-faith payment. $1,034 + ($150 x 3) = lots of money. I live honestly, and I live honorably. I am sometimes barely able to put food in my stomach. I have nothing in my life that was a huge “gift purchase” on my behalf. If they were to dip into my wages and paycheck, then it would literally starve me to death. I don’t know what to do.

    From what I was told my last phone conversation in December 2007 with Sallie Mae, I can only forbear for one more 6-month-term, coming up here starting in June 2008. After that, I have to start repayment, I believe. They mentioned that there are only a certain number of consecutive forbearance-claims you can do back-to-back. Does this sound right? Am I doomed to starve to death in approximately 11 months from now?

    Help, please.

  120. Susan, I would be VERY careful with payday loans.

    They are short-term loans with VERY high interest rates – they can get you into a lot more trouble than your student loans can. Student loans can have forbearance or deferment, but payday loans do not.

    Personally, I would stay away from payday loans to pay for student loans.

  121. Susan Knight said,

    I found this excellent site for when I was having problems paying my student loans. The site is called National Payday and you can find it easily by doing a google search on the company name.

  122. Klaudia –

    Have you tried consolidating your loans? This spreads the loan payments over a longer period of time. You pay more in the long run, but it eases your monthly burden. This is what many people do after graduation to help them afford monthly payments.

    I would suggest looking into this right away. Sallie Mae has the legal right to limit the amount of time you can put your loans in forbearance, so look into consolidation right away.

  123. Klaudia said,

    I am so frustrated and I practically want to cry. I have applied for forbearance for 2 6 month periods after graduation, since I had never had a job that could afford pay over $750 a month. I could barely pay their forbearance fee of $150!!!! Well I tried to apply for a 3rd forbearance and was told I need to make a good faith payment PLUS the forbearance fee. My other options include a partial pay forbearance of about $380 (which is a week’s salary) or a select step interest only payment plan that the Sallie Mae rep admitted was a waste of money. I’ve called, I’ve written letters, and emails. They are giving me no choice but to default because I can’t make these high payments. How can they expect recent graduates to make that kind of money right away? I know of none of my graduating peers who can afford it!! I don’t see how they can do this to people who truly do want a good credit and want to pay their bills on time and who haven’t racked about thousands of dollars in debt paying for new televisions or clothes but rather just had trouble getting a job. As someone said, this can’t be legal.

    • Mr Marve Fred said,

      i promise you that i can give you the loan you can contack

  124. allan said,

    Hi Jon and moniqueleonard,

    Be very – VERY careful when you go down the route of consolidating your private loan.

    I am a victim of salli mae and fully understand about that 18% interest rate. I had a credit score around 700 when I started school, I missed a couple of CC payments and my student loan interest rate sky-rocketed. A few companys said they will consolidate my private sallie mae loans with an interest rate of 1 % over prime.

    At first that was great, prime + 1 was around 6% .. now its 8.5%. My minumum payment is $504 for a 30 year loan. The orginial loan amount was for 68K. After about 2 years of repayment, they formerly CFS Suntech (now Chase Student Loan Services) have received 12K in INTEREST payments. ONLY my first and 2nd payment went towards interest, A whooping $100.

    So if anything get a FIXED student loan, even if the interest is higher – say 9% … at least you know what your minium payment will be and a guarentee of x amount going to principle and interest.

    I still don’t understand how this is legal, for hey hindsight is 20/20 right?

  125. Hi Jon,

    Private loan consolidation is possible, it’s just not as common as federal loan consolidation. You can visit to learn more about it ( you can’t miss the info, trust me).

    One word of warning – no one will consolidate if she is in default. Also, her past defaults will count against her because it makes her a higher risk. Don’t forget that people lend money in order to make money, and from their point of view your fiance has already stopped paying once and is high risk.

    Also, your private loan interest rate is partially calculated by the risk associated with the loan, and as your fiance has proved herself a high risk, I’m not too surprised they won’t drop the rate.

    There’s not much regulation on private loans by the federal government at the present time, but given the current political climate I’m betting that will change soon. Maybe it will help you, who knows?

  126. Jon said,

    My fiance is having the same issue with good old sally mae. She went to school abroad (dont et me started), she financed her loan with sally mae. He debt was 45k 2 years ago at 18% interest. she also had other loans that went into default which i am wirking with to pay them off. sally mae is now 90k still at 18% interst and will not drop the rate after multiple phone calls, letters, ceritifed letters, cosigners with perfect credit. they will not droip her rate. Her current payments for sally are over 1700 a month. and all they will offer her is pervarence payments for 650 a month for 3 months. this will never get paid at this rate. from what i have found there are no lenders out there willing to consolidate her loan even with a cosigner with perfect credit scrore of 800. does anyone know of a comapny willing to consolidate a private loan? i can’t find any.


    • Mr Marve Fred said,

      have a loan for you to get back to financial status

  127. Janet said,

    I cosigned for a student loan and Sallie Mae calls me twice a day. The loan is going into default. I have made deferment payments and forebearance. The student has never made a payment and from the 256 calls they have made to him he has never answered. They were leaving messages at his mother’s but she recently told them to quit calling there. I am not in the financial position I was at the time of cosigning and cannot possibly make $900/month payments. The loan is going into default and I’m sure they won’t be able to get anything from the student but they can take my house and garnish my wages! Is there anything at all I can do to get myself out of this. I just read the post about and will go there but if anyone has any other suggestions they would be much appreciated!

  128. Susan said,

    For Olga and anyone else in need of help with student loans, go to This is an organization that is growing by leaps and bounds because there are many of us who cannot repay the skyrocketing penalties, fees and interest rates. is, among other things, lobbying congress to stop the predatory lending that the student loan industry has gotten away with for far too long. When you go to this website, you will see there are many people in your predicament and we are all trying to work together to get relief.

    • Mr Marve Fred said,


      get a loan.

  129. Olga said,


    I had a loan 18 years ago, at the time the loan was only 18000. Do to many years of divorce, death, and loss of job, my loan has tripled. This loan has been on the credit reporting for over 12 years. I have attempted to pay as what can and they refused to except it. It was their offer or none. I am a mother of 7 children and now I am finally supporting my last as a single mother. Please help me for now after all these years the US Dept of Education is wanting to garnish my wages. I am in dire need because I will be back homeless again if this happens.

  130. Elyssa Davis said,

    My name is Elyssa and I am currently 90 days late on paying sallie mae. They call my house at least four times a day and I always awnser if I am here. It has been a year since I have recieved a paper statement or a bill. They recently released my loan information including my social to a consolidating company that harassed me as well. I recently requested a deferment and I never recieved a letter or a person contacting me about my application for deferment. I recently just started a new job and are playing catch up with my utilities and child’s daycare and preschool. A lady from Sallie mae stated to me when I told her I have no money that sometimes you have to rob Paul to pay Peter. I clearly stated I am not like sallie mae I don’t rob anyone I just try to survive. In deep fusteration and regret for taking a loan from them, Elyssa M. Davis

    • Jessica said,

      You have my sympathy. they call my mothers house atleast ten times a day. They have put my loans in default, i am unemployed with ) income, i spend my days hitting the bricks looking for work, unfortunately she co-signed. she pays what she can afford, she is ill and they told her to stop taking her meds so she could pay them, we make a payment every two weeks but we are behind, i have spoken to one considerate person there the rest are shall we say…………..I told them our finacial situation doesn’t change by the week never mind the hour, the calls start at 8am and end at 9pm doesnt’ seem that one knows what the other is doing,,,, nightmare./

  131. mark said,

    Is it not shameful that the federal government spends more on building prisons than on educating its citizens? Meanwhile allowing these “draconian” threats to hammer down on some of our most noble,yet poorly paid pro-fessional people,like public school teachers,who really should have had their tuition paid for by the government,anyway..As a taxpayer,I would much rather more $$ was spent on education and financial assistance to our own citizens than trying to save the world and give free education and medical care to foriegn nationals who barely care enough to learn our language.No wonder no one wants to teach our kids anymore.Shameful.No other word for it.That is why we are losing ground internationally.Proud of yourself,Mr.Bush?

    • Riley said,

      No, the government shouldn’t be paying for anything. The government doesn’t owe anyone an education. It is our life, and the more the government stays out of things, the more free we are to make of it what we will. It is when the government steps in that we lose the ability to do things on our own. government-run public education system = poor quality, failing standards, unable to compete internationally or with private schools. subsidized higher education for minorities, the poor, and international exchange students = rising tuiton costs for everyone. other goverment systems that fail to be profitable and/or successful: postal service, social security, medicare/medicaid.

      If you truly want a top-notch education system, then you need to realize that what you really need is less goverment, not more. It is the privitization of industries without regulation that create value. Public schools don’t have any competion, so they dont innovate. Whereas private schools compete with each other for the best students, so the private schools are constantly innovating new educational methods, competitive costs, etc. Just take health care. The government create regulations that prevent health insurance companies to compete with each other across state lines. Now what is the result? Each state is dominated by one or two heath insurance companies, they have no competition, so prices continue to rise. And now goverment says they need to step in to fix a problem that they created by stepping in in the first place. consider auto, life, and home-owners insurance…is there a crisis going on with those? No. Because they are allowed to compete across state lines. As a result, companies compete for customers with lower prices, better service. Of course peoeple still have problems, but that will never change. The point is that when competition is increased, the quality for everyone goes up, and continues to go up. When customers, or in the case of education, students, have the ability to pack up and move on to greener pastures when the quality is bad, it forces school to up their game, to be creative, and find newer and better ways to be the best in their industry.

      More government involvement always seems like the answer, but it is really the cause of the problems, not the solution.

      • Jennifer said,

        Actually, the United States has the highest tuition out of the whole world. They increase tuition every year, making it impossible to not be in debt. I have been in school for 6 years, and there has been an increase every year. I was actually contemplating on not finishing. I do think it is the governments responsibility to make sure tuition stays at a minimum. I am going to be 26 years old and have almost 100,000 in student loan debt. Ridiculous.

      • Keaton R. said,

        I’m sorry Riley, I am just so offended by your post. Private schools do not “fight for the best students”, they fight for the students with the richest parents, or the students with extremely poor parents so that the Government will guarantee the payments. For those out there like myself who a part of the: Caucasian/male/grew-up through middle class/above average, but not 4.0, we are SCREWED. I don’t want to sound conceited but my IQ is in the top 0.7% and I still could not get any scholarships other than the MEAP which a $2,500 scholarship for scoring high in 5 different tests taken throughout highschool ($500 for each subject you receive 80% or better in) With that money, I was able to pay less than 1/3 of my first semester tuition. Now, graduated and off into the real world, I currently have 2 jobs. I work as a Host at a restaurant making $9.00/hr (no split tips) and receive about 26 hours a week. I also work as a Electronics salesman at a big name chain, paying $8.75/hr, and receiving 15-20 hours a week. Not only am I not progressing towards the career I have gone to school for, but my student loans are about 50% of my income. I have gone to a private school, and the reason I believe these schools have better percentages of their students getting jobs in their respective fields is not because they are smarter or have worked harder, but because they came from money. Their parents have “in’s” or they go straight to a company their parents work for.

        Point being, there are many of us out here in the United States of America, that financially cannot afford to go to these excellent schools. If we decide to do so, the benefits we believe we will receive (better job placement, better education), are just statistic thrown because of the large amount of students who have connections and money through their families. Instead of being able to take an internship in my field, or take a part-time low paying job so that I can move up in the field, I have to take jobs that will hire me NOW and pay me NOW. You tell me how the government paying for my school would have hurt me and my education. Because in actuality, all it would do is help me to one day contribute to this country and pay more taxes so my children and other children like myself who have no parental/family support, can do the same thing. And yes, in THEORY you sound like we could maybe advance the schools and education by keeping the government out, but let’s figure it out first. Maybe if everyone in the US defaulted on our loans, the schools might start requiring the government to step in and guarantee to help people like me who don’t have mommy and daddy to pay for our school. Because that’s what the government currently believes. The believe that our parent’s should be the ones paying for our college, whereas my parents haven’t given me a DIME since I turned 18 years old. I take that back, my parents gave me $300 for graduating high school and borrowed the $550 deposit on my apartment.

      • tiffany said,

        I graduated with $100,000 in stuent loans. I had a deferment while doing my PhD. So I have an in-school deferment. Once I started paying on them I had them consolidated. As I made more payments it was determined that one did not get consolidated then went into default. So I got them all consolidated again, only to have the interest rub to over $200,000 now. This was not my fault but attorneys say i ahve to live with it.

  132. Thanks, Frank, that’s very nice of you to say. I try to offer the best advice I can on the ever-changing world of Financial Aid. I wish the best of luck to you and your friends.

    Consolidation may get messy, but I don’t think it will change all that much, just less favorably. Consolidation takes the weighted average of all one’s loans, so the younger students who will receive the lower interest rates might actually benefit more than you!

    • Aida Avdic said,

      Hi there,

      I did my bachelors and masters in the US. Paid off my bachelors but not my MA. Now I am living abroad and can not afford the 350 dollar payment. I also tried writing to Sallie Mae but they just pushed off the repayment of my principle amount for another two years, during which period I will be paying more interest. At one point I even thought of not making any payments since they can’t take anything from me. What is your suggestion for me?

      Thank you

  133. Frank Palmer said,

    This blog has excellent advice. There are many new graduates who don’t realize how quickly their loans go into repayment — they have more important life decisions to make such as finding their first jobs out and deciding what location to settle in, etc. Anyhow I’m referring a few of my new graduate friends here just to get a quick student loan tutorial! And I agree that consolidation is a number one priority; in fact, I just consolidated with the Educational Loan Company, who I believe has better rates (and a cleaner slate) than Sallie Mae at the moment (I’ll get a 2.5 interest rate reduction after two years of on-time payments, etc…how does this compare with rates other people got? I’m curious). The only unfortunately thing is that due to the new student loan reform, consolidation could very soon get messy for current sophomores, juniors, and seniors who won’t benefit from the new regulations but will have to suffer the consequences from lenders. It’s a pity they couldn’t have made the transition between the old regs and the new a bit smoother, but oh, well. I guess all you can do is consolidate quickly, right?

  134. […] Original post by moniqueleonard […]

    • Bobbie Jo Brown said,

      I cannot afford to pay back loan for us department of eduction because I am disabled. What do I do?

      • Have you applied to have your loans discharged due to permanent disability? I should warn you that it’s a bit more stringent than just getting a doctor’s note. You can learn more here:

      • Mr Marve Fred said,

        Improve your financial situation now!!!

        Do you need a business or a personal loan? Investment Capital? Welcome to International Financial Source, we provide reliable
        financial services/loans with low interest rate and high approvals.

        Get the convenience of choosing a comfortable loan amount and repayment duration. Contact us now for more details.
        Contact E-mail:…………..

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