I’m Running Out of Options to Deal With My Student Loan Debt


Dear Steve,

When I was 18, I got pregnant with my first child. I had to quit the college that I was going to on a full scholarship because they had no programs for families and I couldn’t afford to make it on my own and still go to school. I moved back home, but still wanted to get my degree. I had no help from my parents, so I took out the max loans that I could while collecting welfare, food stamps, child care assistance, and low income housing to raise my son and get my degree.

After I got my degree, I couldn’t find a job that paid me enough to pay off my loans and still afford to live. I deferred my payments for years. When deferments ran out, I took out one forbearance after another. I even went back to school to get my masters @ the University of Phoenix to defer my payments even longer.

I have run out of forbearance and deferment options and have signed up for an IRBP, but it makes it so we have no extra money nor can I contribute to my retirement. When I was able to contribute, I had to cash that out to pay off other debt to afford to pay my new monthly school loan bill of almost $800.00.

I am now married and between my husband and I, we have 6 kids. With his child support obligations, he brings in just over $600/month, which goes to cover child care for just our youngest child.

We are starting to accumulate debt again and are running out of options as we have refinanced our house twice to pay for things that we had to. We are stuck.

My question is, what are my options for discharging my student loans through bankruptcy or other means? I make a decent income on paper, but when you take into consideration all of our other debt and obligations, we really can’t afford to make this monthly payment. Thank you in advance for any advice you can provide.

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Dear Ranae,

Are all of your loans federal student loans? The mention of the IBR tells me at least some are. But I wonder if you have some private loans as well.

Considering that you went to University of Phoenix I would assume you have some high loan balances.

One thing is for certain here, you are absolutely going to have to find a way to live within your current income. With the refinancing just fueling your adventure deeper down this hole, it’s not a sustainable strategy.

Soon the Department of Education will release a new repayment program called REPAYE that may lower your income based payment even further.

If you have lingering private student loan debt that you did not use for school, then that could be discharged in bankruptcy today. See These Private Student Loans Can Be Easily Discharged in Bankruptcy.


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.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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