I Went to a Second-Hand College and I’m Deep in Student Loan Debt. – Amber


“Dear Steve,

In 1999 I went to a second-hand school that due to a family situation I was unable to finish. At the time I didn’t realize I was taking on a loan that was double the amount of my schooling.

I am now recently unemployed with 3 children and my loan is in default. A company called VanRu has purchased my loan and started garnishing my wages…When I called to make some kind of payment arrangements they wanted me to pay more than they were garnishing. They have since started taking my taxes and now I only owe $5500.00.

Do you know of any grant or program to help me get this paid off so I can get my credit in order and me and my new husband can move on.


Dear Amber,

There is a technical term for your situation, it sucks. But the good news is that your student loan debt is a fraction of most people. Student loans are one of the nastiest types of debt you can owe. People always assume it is “good debt” and launch into school without truly knowing the consequences of not finishing. Unfortunately, now you do.

You could try to go for a chapter 11 bankruptcy and claim that the payment of the student loans creates an undue hardship. You’ll need to talk to a local bankruptcy attorney about that.

But it seems that a reasonable course to follow is for you and your new husband to do whatever you can to pay this balance off as quickly as possible. The sooner you pay it, the sooner you’ll be done with it and can move on. Get second jobs if you can and throw every extra dollar you can towards the debt.

It might as well feel like you owe a million dollars, and I know you want this pain to be gone as soon as possible but if you both just make this a priority and make it a project, I think you can power your way through this debt and be done with it.

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I didn’t avoid your grant question, there are no grants available for this.


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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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