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by sitecore\RMcGruder on March 08, 2010

The burden of repaying student loan debt is overwhelming for many college graduates. According to Mark Kantrowitz of, there is an estimated $730 million in outstanding federal and private student loan debt and only 40 percent of it is actively being paid. What’s even worse is that most people will spend 10 years or more repaying their debt.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 67 percent of students graduating from four-year colleges have student loan debt. That’s approximately 1.4 million students graduating with debt. Common types of loans include subsidized (where the government pays the interest while in school) and unsubsidized  (where interest accrues while in school) federal loans.

In addition to federal loans, the National Consumer Law Center reports that the number of private loans taken out has increased over the last few years. Unfortunately, private loans are often more expensive than federal loans and there are typically fewer options for repaying the loans.

Repayment is the only option for getting out of student loan debt. Most student loan debt is not dischargeable in bankruptcy.  Even after death, lenders can seek repayment from your estate. While student loan debt may feel like a never-ending nightmare, refusing to repay the debt can lead to dire consequences. Some include:

  • a damaged credit report;
  • additional collection costs;
  • wage garnishment of 15 percent of your paycheck and withholding of social security;
  • the inability to renew a state professional license;
  • legal action against you for the total amount owed; and
  • having your tax refund withheld.

If student loan debt repayment is weighing you down, contact your student loan provider and ask about different repayment plan options. You can also research your options online.  For example, offers excellent solutions for repayment help. Some common options include:

Level repayment schedule - The monthly amount remains the same throughout repayment.

Graduated repayment schedule - Monthly payments are expected to increase as borrower advance in his or her career.

Income-based repayment - Plan is for borrower who is experiencing extreme financial hardship. Monthly payments are extended past the standard 10-year payment schedule.

Income sensitive repayment - The monthly payment amount is based on borrower’s gross monthly income and student loan debt.

25-year extended repayment – Payment option for borrowers whose balance is at least $30,000. The first loan must have been disbursed on or after October 7, 1998.

There are additional options to dealing with student loan debt such as delaying payments through deferment or forbearance.  Under rare circumstances, loans can also be discharged. To see if you qualify for the Loan Forgiveness program visit,

Need help understanding your student loans?  Unsure what programs are available to help you pay back your debt and get your finances in order?  MMI now offers student loan counseling.  Our trained counselors can help you understand your options and create a plan to get your student loan debt under control.  Visit our Student Loan Counseling page for more details.


Jamel Rose says:
March 11, 2010

my student loan is in default for over 20 yrs. haven't worked much had kids parents and loved one got sick died. Now i'm receiving ssi diabled and read government is going to start taking money out of that check barely making ends meet now . Any decent suggestions. Is there a way I could get break and pay only half of what i owe, they are doing for other circumstances.

james says:
August 07, 2013

i need an ugient loan email me on jamesimthloancompany

Janet Phillips says:
March 18, 2011

need help with my student loan

Kim at MMI says:
July 06, 2011

Stacy, I wanted to share this link to information about Public Service Loan Forgiveness: This program offers some student loan relief for people working in certain fields such as education and social work in a public child or family service agency. Kim

Kim at MMI says:
March 11, 2010

Jamel, It is not common for student loan debts to be settled for less than the amount owed. I have heard of cases where a lender will forgive a portion of a student loan's interest and fees. I recommend that you contact the Department of Education ( or 1-800-621-3115). The Department has many programs to help delinquent borrowers.

Matt says:
June 01, 2011

i absolutely agree with Oscar. I am currently up to my eye balls in student loan debt, paying close to $800 per month. Its incredibly stressful and I certainly wish I had done things differently, but I can't change that now. I made the agreement, I knew what I was getting into, and SO DID YOU.

Ms Tosha says:
October 25, 2012

I myself am absolutely drowning in debt thanks to student loans. I am a mother of 3 kids w/no child support, completely struggling, and hopeless. It was either we eat or I make my loan payment. Everyday I have to talk myself out of putting a gun to my head. My loans recently went into default and soon will be coming out my paycheck and I absolutely do not know how we are going to make it. If anyone out there has a religion, please pray for me.

musician says:
October 24, 2011

I read some of the comments, when its true we agreed to paying the money, we were also promised the job the college degree would give us. If we dont work and earn money how on earth we could pay? since 2007 I never got a job that would enable me to pay my loan....its very discouraging. I wish I could get a job and pay my loan as any citizen. With the job I am working right now its impossible to even try or I go hungry.....why anyone never wanted to help students? Isnt true that when people buy a house they promised to pay it for 30 or so years? or any other organizations that are getting attentnion and help? I know the logic behind that is poor students dont have a voice .....thanks to the economy and the riches. I have hoped Obama would do something ......I am amized.

Nicole says:
March 30, 2010

I am applying for grad school and finding it difficult-nearly impossible to find grant and and loan opportunities. The Pell Grant is only available to undergrad students. There should be more funds made available for people who want to continue their education after receiving their undergard degree.

Oscar At Real Life Money Management says:
April 17, 2010

It amazes me how many people want to get out of paying money they borrowed and agreed to repay. That is what is wrong with everything today. When you borrow money you pay it back fair and square. If there are circumstances beyond your control then your debtor should help you out every way they can and most will. Just remember they need to be beyond your control and not just something you are making up to get out of an obligation you made. Lets all be ethical about this.

Pamela says:
March 20, 2012

I don't believe that most people are trying to get out of paying their loans, I think they want help managing payments and interest. I paid $8,000 towards my student loans last year and $5,600 of that was interest. I feel like I'm drowning and it's not because I don't want to pay it back.

Paul Phillip says:
July 19, 2013

To reply to people saying it's unethical to not repay back your borrowed money then how is it ethical for millionaire/billionaire CEO's not to go to jail over making me pay for their mistakes. You have to start from the top if you expect fairness and integrity. America today is not the America of the 50's. I have two graduate degrees with $100k + debt and on average it is taking over a a year to get a job - a job that doesn't pay enough to live on plus a $1300 student loan payment. Most American's are not smart enough to realize that banks borrow this "invisible" printed money which we "borrow". It never really exists. How is it that creditors can borrow billions ten cents on the dollar and have to pay back an unfair amount making life unbearably while putting the banker in the sauna with two prostitutes? Capitalism is grand I tell you. Only in America. ;)

Peter Salvati says:
March 15, 2010

My daughter owes $28,000 of a loan that was originally $16,000. Her monthly payments will double next month. With all the bail outs for banks, why doesn't this country have some kind of bail out for people who owe on student loans? I lived in Turkey for a year, and the government there pays for college students education. U.S. schools give athletes scholarships, but neglect the good students that don't necessarily carry a 4.0 GPA.

Stacy says:
July 06, 2011

I also would have made better decisions in borrowing and paying back. Now I have fallen behind and am not sure what to do. Are there at least any programs to help social workers out? All I ever see are for nurses and teachers.... HELP!

Vici says:
April 20, 2012

I am a Special Ed. teacher in a Title 1 school and don't make enough money to pay the house bills AND the student loan. I am like most who genuinely WANT to pay, but can't. I have used up my forebearance time and STILL can't afford an extra 450.00 a month coming out of my already small check. It is very frustrating for me to read comments from people suggesting I "get a job" when I am already working 60 hours a week! I'm trying to help kids...maybe yours! Have some compassion, please. If you can offer genuine suggestions, great! If not, don't be mean...I already feel bad enough...

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