Ask The Get Out of Debt Experts Student Loans

I Went Back to College Late in Life But I Still Have the Debt

Written by Steve Rhode

“Dear Steve,

At the age of 40 I got a AA degree with Federal Student Loans. I do not work in my field of study. I am now 55 and I did miss a few payments after wife got sick and lost job and that chewed up our savings.

I have been paying steady for the last 4 years and paying over each time. The wife is now on disability.

How can I get rid of this debt before I retire at 67.


Dear David,

Clearly it is time to explore some of the available repayment options that may lower your payment. The Income Based Repayment plans can give you a reduced payment based on your income. The downside to these plans is they will only eliminate your remaining student loans if you make it the full 25 years on the plan. If you did, you’d be 80 years old. For more information on these programs, click here.

The other issue is if you have other consumer debt obligations that are holding you back from being able to afford your federal student loan payment. If so, you may want to seriously consider filing bankruptcy to eliminate your other debt and get back to making the remaining student loan payments.

If you graduated 15 years ago, clearly you are not on the regular 10 year repayment plan. Which one are you on? Or did you miss quite a few years of payments?

The primary focus right now needs to be to either eliminate the student loans quickly or lower the payment knowing you’ll probably not live to see the loans forgiven. You absolutely must avoid raiding the limited retirement funds for anything else.

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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