My Wife Went Back to School for a Special Education Teaching Credential and We’ve Got Loads of Sallie Mae Debt Now

“Dear Steve,

My wife has $38k in new student loans for a Special Education Teaching Credential, the loan is through Sallie Mae. We make $160k/year in California with 8 children, total family of 10. We file Married Jointly. Initial repayment is around $400/month. My wife is currently employed as a special education teacher, full time.

Our income may seem like a lot but in California for our family size it’s not nearly enough to live on, we struggle greatly without many frills. Realistically what are my options for forgiveness, deferment or payment reduction?


Dear Bill,

If this is a private student loan that is managed by Sallie Mae then the options are not great. In that case it’s up to Sallie Mae if they want to offer you any alternative plans or payment reductions. Don’t hold your breath. They may offer your wife a temporary deferment on payments but that increases the total balance owed. I’m not a fan of those plans unless you just want to watch your balances rocket up.

However, if these are government backed loans that Sallie Mae is just servicing, then you’ve got some great options. These include both an income based repayment program and probable full forgiveness of the loan balance after ten years through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

For more on these solutions, click here.

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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Steve Rhode
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