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How Can We Lower Our FFEL Student Loan Payment? – Holli

“Dear Steve,

My husband and I graduated from college in 1998 and 1999 and then got master’s degrees in 2004 and 2005. We have FFEL loans that have been consolidated into one loan/payment and the total of these loans (after years of deferments/forbearances) is a little over $131,000. Our monthly payment is 880.00 right now. We can not afford this payment and have exhausted all of our repayment options. We do not qualify for the income sensitive plan. We are in a mess that we got ourselves into and just want to figure out what to do to get out.

What can we do? What will happen if we just pay what we can afford every month even if it isn’t the full amount due?


Dear Holli,

If you do not qualify for the Income Based Repayment (IBR) program then your options in lowering your payment are limited. Deferment and forbearance will cause your balances to grow without actually tackling the debt.

If you have not done so already, call your government backed loan servicer and ask about any other specific options that might be available to you.

You may be able to discharge a part of the loan if you qualify under the FEEL discharge program. Details can be found here online.

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


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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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.

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