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Can I Get An Income Based Repayment Plan for My $197K in Student Loans? – Ian

Written by Steve Rhode

“Dear Steve,

Due to the poor financial planning of both myself and my parents, I financed my undergraduate education primarily with student loans. Even worse, I went to an out-of-state school with high tuition.

After four years (and an abortive year in law school), I racked up about $197,000 in student loans. I know it’s an obscene amount. I have a private loan from my freshman year, and the rest is a combination of subsidized and unsubsidized loans and Sallie Mae loans. Really, I just want to know if there’s anyway I can lower my monthly payments so I don’t end up on the street.

I have a combination of public and private student loans. Is it possible to consolidate them and still qualify for an income-based repayment plan?


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Dear Ian,

Well I’ve got good news and bad news.

The bad news is the only payment options for private loans are what the private student loan lender offers. Most offer nothing except deferment which only increases the balance of those loans.

The good news is there are some good options for dealing with the federal and subsidized student loans.

See The Ultimate Guide to Dealing With Student Loans You Can’t Afford.

This will give you specific steps to take to do something constructive with your government backed student loans and that might make enough of a difference to help you make the private student loan payments.

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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  • Check your deferment terms for the government loans and see if you can get an automatic in-school deferment. If so, then try to find a really cheap but accredited community college near you and enroll half-time, usually 6 credits per semester, and defer the government loans for as long as you need to. Oh yeah, in the process, you also might get a degree or other qualifications so you can get a better job!

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