Get Out of Debt Guy - Steve Rhode

Is There No Hope for My ITT Private Student Loan Being Affordable?

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Question:

Dear Steve,

Obtained B.S. at CSU Fresno. No available jobs and repaying these Federal loans under an Income-Driven Plan.

Attended ITT because they said they could help (I did not need the degree, I had a B.S. already) with job placement but needed a private loan in order to attend. Graduated a year later but they did not help with job placement and I couldn’t get a job in the field. My loan was with Sallie Mae and was only paying $60 then it was taken over by Navient and payment jumped up to $180. I have emailed them over and over telling them I can’t pay it. They charged me $50 every 3 months to get a Forbearance. I pay what I can but they said they do not offer an income driven option. I also applied for discharge since ITT closed and is being sued, they denied me because I completed the program. I can’t pay the amount they are asking. I make about $30,000 a year and this one loan payment hurts me financially. I have applied to multiple employment positions the last two years with no callbacks until recently when I removed ITT from my resume. I pay what I can with my second paycheck but not in full. I don’t know what my options are now. I am considering defaulting or bankruptcy just to get rid of this loan payment.

Are there any options for me other than default or bankruptcy? Do I need to get a lawyer? Is there any other options I haven’t considered yet?

Elizabeth

Answer:

Dear Elizabeth,

Sadly, there are no easy, simple, or clear cut options when it comes to these private loans. If it was a federal loan, you would have options, including total loan forgiveness. Because this is a private student loan, those options don’t exist.

It is mind boggling that private student loan lenders passed these loans out like water and then make no real allowance to help people who got “suckered” into these bad deals.

This isn’t really the typical case of someone getting taken as a victim but the larger problem involving assumptions that all higher education is good, all lenders will be reasonable, and all degrees are worth earning. The lenders won by generating loans, the schools won by selling their product and about three out of every four students lost by winding up with debt but no degree or with overpriced education.

Forbearance is a blind alley. The lender charges you for the privilege of not paying your loans, yet the unaffordable balances grow larger and larger. The likelihood you will be able to change your financial situation and be able to reduce this debt is short order is a grand wish but an unlikely reality.

So the options you asked me about are possibilities with consequences. Can you default and reach a solution, many do. My friend Damon Day is a great person to connect with to discuss your situation and talk about outcomes. When you default you can always be sued, you’ll be in collections, it will hurt your credit, your balances will rise, but with the right strategy and effort you may be one of the people who winds up settling their debt for about 40% of what you owe with payments over time.

When it comes to legal strategies like going after a defective loan or filing bankruptcy and challenging the loans. You should absolutely get a lawyer to represent you. Otherwise you’ll be going up against the experienced lawyers who represent the private student loan companies on a regular basis. Who do you think is going to be more qualified?

There are some articles you should read like this, this, this, and this.

Keep in mind, that because the options are difficult and you will have to fight to find the right lawyer to assist you, it doesn’t mean there are not options. It’s really, really tough but not impossible to overcome this situation.

Please update me in the comments below as you move down this path.


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