I’m a Single Woman With Navient Student Loans Doubling in Forbearance


Dear Steve,

I’m a 43 single woman who made some terrible mistakes with my student loans. I’ve kept them current but they have been in forbearance a lot and now the interest has more than doubled what I owed to the tune of almost $150K. I’ve been trying to do the income based payments the last few years but I’ve finally started making a decent income and that payment is getting way too high and I feel like it’s not even making a dent. I’ve also consolidated my loans once before in the past and they are now with Navient.

And as far as I know bankruptcy won’t help. It’s causing me a lot of stress. Do you have any advice on how I could possibly get some of this interest erased? Or what the best way to move forward is? Do I have any other options? I wish I could just start over but I know that is wishful thinking.



Dear Karen,

Sorry to hear about the stress. I’m assuming these are federal student loans because of the income based repayment plan.

Dealing with student loans in bankruptcy is possible but it is also very difficult to find a competent attorney who has experience with this. So many bankruptcy attorneys are still saying it’s not possible.

Just today I published Bankruptcy Court Wipes Away all the Accrued Interest on a Married Couple’s Student Loans by Richard Fossey. It specifically talks about a bankruptcy case that sounds similar to your situation.

We will have to wait for the appeal and see what the final court decision is.

As far as hunting for the lowest student loan payment available today without forging the wilderness of bankruptcy, try this online calculator.

Besides the bankruptcy route or forgiveness through completing an income driven repayment plan, there is no standard process for eliminating interest in federal loans. However, it is an evolving area so keep an eye on future posts about this topic.

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The big issue is forbearance. Interestingly, Navient was recently sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for not disclosing the impact of forbearance plans. See Navient Sued by CFPB for Failing All Student Loan Borrowers.

As the CFPB said:

Steers struggling borrowers toward paying more than they have to on loans: When borrowers run into trouble repaying their federal student loans, they have a right under federal law to apply for repayment plans that allow for a lower monthly payment. But the Bureau believes that Navient steers many borrowers into forbearance, an option designed to let borrowers take a short break from making payments. But interest continues to add up during forbearance. Certain consumers with subsidized loans end up paying a heavy price because they could have potentially avoided those interest charges. From January 2010 to March 2015, the company added up to $4 billion in interest charges to the principal balances of borrowers who were enrolled in multiple, consecutive forbearances. The Bureau believes that a large portion of these charges could have been avoided had Navient followed the law.”

So we will just have to see what the results of that lawsuit against Navient generates, if anything.


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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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