I Went to Flight School But Now I Can’t Afford to Repay My $118,000 in Private Student Loans. – August

“Dear Steve,

This is a tough one. I am 35 years old, single home owner with a very nice low mortgage of $650 per month. I have some equity, but my credit is not good enough for a refinance to get money out.

I went to flight school and accrued currently $113,000 in student loan debt. I also have about $9000 in another student loan debt. Both are private loans not fixed interest. I have other student loans that are subsidized or unsubsidized equalling about $18,000. My Credit card debt is currently around $23,000.

I think that is it other than my mortgage. I lost a great job in 2008, and am currently doing contracting work, making about $20 an hour. I have made many poor choices in my past and have finally made the choice if I don’t do something now I will not have a future. I am allowing my debt to mentally hold me back from achieving the great things in life I had once hoped for. I need specific help to get my life back on track and to find out my best options for digging my self out of this hole. I have always had a hard time with budgeting and spending money and need to take some drastic steps to change my life. I have almost lost hope that I can recover from this. I am ambitious and creative and can achieve anything if only I could manage my finances. My credit is still in good standing, however I will not be able to pay back my flight school loans when they are due. I just don’t know what to do.

Can you please help me find a way to financial freedom. I am willing to try anything and need personal coaching on how to make this happen.


Dear August,

I had the following questions that I’d like for you to answer before I can answer your question.

As soon as you can post the answers to my questions above I’ll be able to help.

If any reader wants to

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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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7 thoughts on “I Went to Flight School But Now I Can’t Afford to Repay My $118,000 in Private Student Loans. – August”

  1. I looked up chapter 11 and it say’s I need debts in the sum of 300+ thousand dollars. 🙁 Looks like I’m going to be an indentured servant with horrible credit for the rest of my life.

  2. I currently am not paying and am deferring the student loans, but will need to begin repaying them the beginning of next year. Payments will be around 750-1000$ depending on the current interest rates. Great lakes financial and ACS are the servicer of my loans. As far as credit cards I pay about 400 a month just minimum payments.

    And yes as far as the inflexibility I am very concerned that my options are extremely limited on that. Which is why I’m so concerned. 🙁

    • August,

      Your options are very limited and you should be concerned.

      There are no good options in situations like this. If you could prove that the loan creates a severe financial hardship then you might have a shot at discharging the loan with a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. You’d need to discuss this with a bankruptcy attorney licensed in your state.

      Outside of that you may need to go bankrupt, discharge your other debt, and adjust your lifestyle to be able to afford the $750. As you’ve observed, all deferment does is grow the balance.


  3. Steve,
    I currently cannot afford any more money towards this goal at the moment, but I am trying to build a contracting business that should help me out in the coming year. But I’m not sure how much just yet.

    No I am not currently a pilot. The last physical I went to my vision in my right eye was 20/25 corrected (with glasses). Which disqualified me from attaining a class 1 medical certificate needed to be an airline pilot my ultimate goal. Eye surgery is out of the question as I cannot afford it.

    Key bank is the holder of the flight school loan a private student loan. They are also holding the $9000 loan as well which was for computer training that I had years ago.

    Thank you so much for your help and advice. I feel I am in a terrible position and just cannot get ahead with all of this hanging over me.



    • August,

      I have almost nothing good to say about private student loans. They are inflexible with many of the repayment options a government backed student loan offers.

      Who is the servicer of Key Bank student loans these days? Have you talked to them about reduced repayment options?

      How much is your loan payment on this debt and how much do you pay each month to service your unsecured credit card debts?



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