Ask The Get Out of Debt Experts Sallie Mae Student Loans

My Life is on Hold Because of My Student Loan Debt. – Sandy

Written by Steve Rhode

“Dear Steve,

Deep in student loan debt ~ Approaching $300,000 ( I cannot go and look at the exact total as it will freak me out)

The federal ones are manageable $136/month

AES $95 a month (been paying over 3 years and it has barely made a dent in the loan payoff total)

Sallie Mae – $1170 a month, and that is with some loans in forbearance. They are just growing and growing. I’ve tried to renegotiate interest rates and such but haven’t gotten serious help, just forbearance.

I owe taxes because in 2011 I worked with a 1099, had no clue about it and was paying on loans with my money that was meant for taxes. So I’m trying to pay almost $8000 in taxes. I don’t understand how the Govt wants $8000 out of $28,000. That is a significant chunk.

My credit cards are in consolidation and I pay $332 a month on those.

I made $48,000 last year, I am a dental hygienist. It is very hard to manage my income as it isn’t steady. For instance, usually I’m at work now. But my morning patients cancelled out, so I don’t go in until 3 pm. It’s hard to budget when I don’t know exactly what I will be making.

I made stupid choices. I didn’t know any better I was never taught about finances, taxes, loans, credit cards. Seems those topics should be mandatory in high school curriculum, as it translates to real life.

I was told by the financial aid office that the loan companies work with you on payments you can afford. Not true. I cannot afford the minimum. I live a meager lifestyle and my only indulgence is going to the gym. I really thought as I was applying for these loans to NYU, that the loan companies were really confident that I would be making serious cash, or they wouldn’t be approving my loans. Now I have done my research and I know about predatory lending. I didn’t even know that existed before. Naive.

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I am about to turn 33 soon. My boyfriend and I would like to get married, but with my debt it is impossible. I don’t want to drag him down with me, money problems tear people apart and I won’t be surprised if it ruins us. I’d like to have children before it is too late and I don’t want to be the mom that works 6 days a week and doesn’t see/raise her own children. I’m so depressed.

I’ve read that some people are able to prove undue hardship, more people than the media likes us to know. Do you think I have a chance?

I’ve been thinking about representing myself, because I definitely cannot afford a lawyer. I have to do something.

I can’t seem to make enough money and it is highly unlikely that I will win the lottery (although I try two times a month). I had no idea private student loans were like this, I didn’t even know the difference.

Please help me with some guidance. You seem like a wonderful man.


help woman

Dear Sandy,

Since the majority of these loans are private student loans there are few options currently. In fact, the only options for those would be what they might offer.

The loan in forbearance worries me. As long as it sits there it becomes impossible to payoff because the balance is increasing.

With your current debt your credit cards should not be in a consolidation program. You need to file bankruptcy to clear those debts away to leave you with room to better serve your student loan debt.

Depending on the amount you owe on your federal loan, you might be able to lower it even further if you looked into consolidating that loan and you were eligible for some of the reduced payment programs. See Student Loan Consolidation Payment and Interest Rate Calculator.

Hopefully, some of the loans Sallie Mae is servicing are federal loans as well that could be included in the consolidated approach.

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Until legislators change the law and make it mandatory for private student loan lenders to offer reasonable repayment plans, I’m sorry to tell you this is the best approach.

Oh, and if you follow this plan, it will not impact your future husband.

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

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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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