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What if I Just Pay Less Than They Want on My Student Loans

Written by Steve Rhode

“Dear Steve,

I received my master’s in 2011. I worked in my field for about 6 months until the job was dissolved due to a change in contract. During this time my son had major health problems and now I say home with him during the day and work part time in the evenings.

My wife make good money but our debt to income ratio is high due to medical bills and related loans. My student loans can no longer be deferred. Nelnet said to get a consolidation loan to cut payments from $435 to approx $200. I can afford $100.

If I pay less than what the monthly payment is for my student loans (and additional as I can), can I be penalized or have my wages garnished?


Dear Travis,

If you don’t make the agreed upon payments you can be sued or have your wages garnished without being sued for federal student loans.

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If these are private student loans then there is some basis for not paying them at all if they are not affordable. See Top 10 Reasons You Should Stop Paying Your Unaffordable Private Student Loan.

But all that being said, it seems if other financial obligations are getting in the way a real consideration should be to eliminate those debts using the law. By eliminating your other debt by filing bankruptcy you can not only rebuild your credit quickly but also get back to repaying your student loans to eliminate them as quickly as possible.

When it comes to federal loans the government feels their debt is a priority and no other debt you’ve elected to enter into is important.

Would you be able to make your student loan payments if you eliminated your medical bills and other loans? That’s the most important question to answer first.

Otherwise, read The Ultimate Guide to Dealing With Student Loans You Can’t Afford.

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

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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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