I’m a Single Mom and Up to My Eyeballs in Student Loan Debt. – Debbie

“Dear Steve,

Single Mom. In debt up to my eyeballs. College loan from 1985 just wont go away. Originally owed 12, 400, approx. Now I owe over 24,000. I have exhausted all options to get help. I am on a graduated repayment program. The only thing left for me. This means my payment will go up every year until its paid off. OH GOOD!! In the early, formative years I was irresponsible, took about as many forbearances as I could for as long as I could. Interest built up. Then, in my adult years, I lost my house, my marriage and a child. I needed more help, forbearance, condolidation. Thats why I owe twice as much as I used to. Now, I have a 17 year old who is going to college next fall. I want to be able to help her, but mainly I want this debt paid off before I retire in 5 years. I am 49. I have worked at the Post Office for 25 years. I have a stable job and income. I lost my 2nd home..bought it as a single mom, interest only, refi…part of that group!!! I wanted to provide well for my daughter and did the best I could but I was upside down. I rent now.

I am reading more and more about Obama’s student loan repayment program. My mom was so happy to hear on the local news that there may be help for me…possibly even loan forgiveness. Well, I was excited for myself and the millions of other people who may have even more loan debt than myself. I was excited, let me stress that. As I continued to read this morning, I realize there may not be any help for me yet again. It appears that this will only help those who take out loans 2012 and later. Those before 2012 MAY be able to get help according to their income. Well, here we go again. I am in the working poor catagory. I never qualify for anything. I make 53k a year. It is going to take me till the day I die to pay this thing off. 9% interest. I’m stuck, I think. Can you wave a magic wand and give me some hope? Can you tell me something I may not know? Is there any hope for me? My loan is with ACS-Affiliated Computer Se rvices…ACS. They are the Department of Education’s primary outsourcing company

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Dear Debbie,

Well I might have some good news for you. I’d contact your loan servicer and get off the graduated program and get on the Income Based Repayment (IBR) program which will lower your monthly payment and can eventually lead to a discharge of your student loan debt.

You can always call your loan servicer and talk to them about what options may be available for you. If you have any doubts about government program eligibility you can use the CFPB student debt repayment assistant tool to see what is available.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.


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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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5 thoughts on “I’m a Single Mom and Up to My Eyeballs in Student Loan Debt. – Debbie”

  1. Debbie.

    I would gladly trade your loan for mine. I owe a total of $90,000 , am paying the minimum (which is getting me nowhere), I have 2 kids, I am a single mother and I dont even own a home. Dont think I could ever own one. I make MUCH LESS than 53k a year. I’m sure you are frustrated, but as far as debt, many others would switch with what you have.


    I dont know if I will ever get out of what I owe and I dont think that I will be able to help my girls go to college, but I still do have hope. With hard work and discipline I may find a way out.

    Good luck.


  2. Steve, how do I read peoples reactions, noted below?  I see one from Jasmine via Twitter but cant read the message.  2 from you also..hmmmmm

  3. Steve,

    I did as you suggested and checked ino the IBR program with ACS, my loan company.  As I suspected, I make too much $.  They suggested I contact Direct Loans and ask them to buy my loan.  Well, they would. I qualified for the graduated loan program.  My payment would have gone down by $30 my first 2 years and then go up every 2 years after that will I’m 70 at which time I would have paid back over $53k, double what I owe now.  Interesting isn’t it?  So, there is no hope for me.  I have tried everything.  I have a debt that will get paid back.  I was just hoping for a bit of reprieve.  Thank you for your advice though. 

  4. At 9% you should be able to pay it off in 5 years if you could put $500 monthly towards it.  4 years payoff if you could do $600 per month and 3 years at $760 per month.

    If not in your budget, maybe it would be possible by cutting various expenses with lower cost alternatives & trying to make a little extra money to make up the difference.

    I know it’s really hard with student loan debt, especially with the gov making it so difficult to discharge through bankruptcy.

    • Thank you John.  I wish I could put 500 towards it.  Great idea.  I lost my home recently and have accumulated debt from it.  After I get that under control, hopefully within a year, I will tackle it as you suggest.  I also am looking for a part time job. This is a funny one too.  I’m finding I am too old for some of them..lol.  I couldnt even get hired at Fleet Farm as a cashier.  The application process is a wee bit different than it was 25 years ago.  I keep plugging along though.  I appreciate your input…do you have a magic wand by chance?


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