We Have a Martial Consolidation Student Loan and Payments Keep Going Up


Dear Steve,

My husband and I were encouraged to do a marital consolidation in the 2000’s. We are still married but can barely make our $800+ loan payment. Years ago we were about to default so they put us in a Program to prevent it that ended up doubling what we originally owed and made it even harder to pay each month. That seemed very questionable.

We did owe about $50000 together and now it is over $100000. We also have both worked in public service for over 20 yrs. We are on an IBR plan but over $800 with 3 children is nearly impossible. We have used all our forbearance time and are literally staving off default month by month. We feel completely out of hope. We are 43 and 44 and should be making progress.

Any suggestions or advice for our situation?



Dear Jamie,

Your question raises more holes of information than it answers. You can either do some homework for me and post the answers in the comments section below or privately talk to a Debt Coach like my friend Damon Day.

Here are my questions:

  1. I’m not quite clear on exactly what type of consolidation loan you have. It sounds like a spousal consolidation loan but the IBR statement makes me question that. To confirm what kind of loan you have you can log in to the National Student Loan Database System and get details.
  2. It sounds more likely you were on a deferment than an Income-Based Repayment (IBR) program. While both would lead to an increase in your balance due, the IBR would not increase your monthly payment unless your circumstances changed.
  3. While you are both employed in public service, your loan may not qualify for forgiveness unless you have a Direct Loan. As the Department of Education says, “If you borrowed before July 1, 2010, some or all of your loans may have been made under an older federal student loan program called the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program.”
See also  Am I Stuck With My Ex-Wife Forever Because of Our Old Spousal Consolidation Loan?

The trap the Department of Education has left people in with true spousal consolidation loans is saying they are not eligible for refinancing into a conforming Direct loan and thus not eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.

So the first and most important piece of information here is to uncover the exact type of loan you have.


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.

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Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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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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