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Would I Be Better Off Just Not Paying Navient?

Written by Steve Rhode


Dear Steve,

I borrowed $70,000 in private loans during my time at school (2002-2007). Since that time, I have had economic hardships, and I’ve also dealt with poor health, saddled with migraines, vertigo and a variety of physical ailments for the better part of a decade.

I am currently applying for disability, though I realize that doesn’t help dispatch my private loans.

That is simply for own personal well-being. Back to SallieMae/Navient, I used up all the other options possible – forbearance and interest-only payments – which has allowed my total owed to skyrocket to $125,000.

I am currently unemployed after being laid off. I am now being asked to pay either $1,200 per month, or select a temporary solution where the length of my loans gets moved five years back (2035 to 2040) and I pay a monthly total of $475 for the next 15 months while they freeze the interest rate at 1.5% on all my loans.

My unemployment check is $269 per month and I don’t have much in my savings. Suffice to say, I am struggling to make ends meet, let alone pay my student loans.

Would I be better off just stopping payment and embracing the consequences that are to come? Or should I select the 15-month route, essentially kicking the ball down the road to be addressed at a later time. Please advise me. I’m desperate.



Dear Adam,

Debt problems are often just math problems wrapped in emotion. From the math you shared, the answer is clear, you can’t afford any payment arrangement.

Kicking the can down the road might feel like it is better because it reduces the pressure you are facing right now but all it really does is make the problem worse later on. You’ve learned that one the hard way.

Obviously defaulting on the student loans has consequences. Your debt will increase, your credit will take a hit, and collectors will want to talk to you. You might even be sued. But so what. If you can’t afford the growing balance and payment they want, what does it matter. See this.

See also  Navient Claims All Private Student Loans Are Not Dischargeable in Bankruptcy. Court Disagrees.

Defaulting on a Navient private student loan debt also comes with some options. If you are sufficiently delinquent, Navient will settle the student loan balance if you know who to talk to. They will settle for a lot less than you owe and allow payments over time at a low or no interest rate. If you want to talk to someone about this approach, then get in touch with Damon Day.

Even if you were to be sued it often turns out to be an invitation to reduce the amount you owe and if you decided to file bankruptcy in the future, a good bankruptcy attorney might know how to deal with these debts in bankruptcy. There are many options to explore. See this.

Being chased by Navient for loans they let explode is not the end of the world. What is the end of the world is being dead broke and having no hope for the future. So let’s flip the script and put you in charge here. If you come to terms with the cons of this approach you can find peace in your daily life.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

About the author

Steve Rhode

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.


  • Thanks, Steve. My mission is to wage a campaign against the purveyors of student loan indentured servitude. I have seen too many lives destroyed by student loans. And a big thank you to the work you do here and the knowledge you share with debtors. It is invaluable!

  • Yup, very true Steve 🙁 But thankfully private loans due have a Statute of Limitations. It is important for anyone reading this to understand each and every loan they have. Navient services both federal and private loans. It is important to know which ones to default on!

    It is important for anyone considering a strategic default on their student loans to spend some extensive time researching it. There is a lot of information on this website and elsewhere that goes into detail.

    • You are correct. There are two BIG misconceptions about the Statute of Limitations (SOL) that seem to always trip people up.

      1. It’s not always clear when it expires. Moving, leaving the country, making a past promise to pay, etc. can toll (extend) the clock on the timing. I always suggest that anyone wanting to depend on the SOL should speak to an attorney licensed in their state about that specific debt.

      2. Depending on the SOL is a defense to be raised if you are sued. It’s not a protection against being sued or collections. In fact a debt can be collected on past the SOL. Nothing magical happens to an expired debt with the SOL. The CFPB was making strides in giving consumers some protection by requiring collectors to inform consumers when a debt was out of the SOL but under the current Trump administration all bets are off those protections will not be eroded.

      The SOL can be a tool if someone knows exactly when the SOL expires on their specific debt, knows what not to say to a collector to trigger it starting again, is willing to face continued collection activity and a possible lawsuit in the future, and is willing to do the homework as you suggest.

      BTW, I applaud you for your Reddit activity and helping people over there.

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