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Kardamom's avatar

How can someone consolidate and/or reduce their student debt?

Asked by Kardamom (31305points) October 31st, 2019 from iPhone

One of my old friends, with whom I have recently re-connected, has a boatload of student debt that she acquired in the late 90s, when she got her master’s degree.

After working in her field for quite a few years after she graduated, the economic fall in 2008, and a few other un-related setbacks almost did her in, and she is no longer working in her field, and is merely existing, financially, even though she works full time. She trying to dig herself out of debt.

I don’t know any of the particulars, because we only started talking about this, but I know she has spoken to someone about repaying the loan, at a rate that won’t financially cripple her more than she already is. I also don’t know if she is working with the financial institute who originally made the student loan.

Sorry I don’t have all the information.

Does anyone have any experience with this type of situation? I’d like to direct my friend to get some financial help, but not sure what to suggest.

Would filing for bankruptcy help, or make her situation worse? Is there any legitimate debt consolidation companies that can help?

My friend wants to deal with this situation, honorably, and legally, but right now, I think she is feeling overwhelmed. Any ideas?

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8 Answers

chyna's avatar

I understand that it’s very hard to include a student loan in a bankruptcy filing.
Not knowing your friends’ area of work, I can only generalize. Some jobs will offer to pay your student loans for you. She could try to find a new job that would offer that benefit. Joining the military can wipe out the debt also.
I work with a 68 year old who is still paying on his student loan. Those damn things follow you through life.

Sagacious's avatar

Go to credit counseling; it’s free at many places.

hmmmmmm's avatar

@Kardamom: “Would filing for bankruptcy help”

Bankruptcy is now difficult.

My wife and I just paid off our student loans (at 47 years old). My children will die with their loans.

Sagacious's avatar

@hmmmmmm You can’t bankrupt out of student loans that are guaranteed by the government. Maybe your kids will take another approach, such as working a year; going to school a year, etc., if they can live at home that is particularly doable. When rent goes into the mix it’s hard, but I know many smart people who did it that way, and are doing it that way now. Avoiding loans…......well, I don’t have to tell you what a hindrance repayment can be.

Kardamom's avatar

Yikes! This sounds terrible.

Inspired_2write's avatar

I did credit counselling of which they put me on a four year plan that was affordable and fair that made it much easier than I thought. The payments were low, so it didn’t curb my living expenses.
Although this was in Canada and they took my first year of tax refunds and the last year
( of payments) tax refund to pay down a portion of the Student Loan debt.
I also had to cut up all credit cards and had to wait 7 years to apply again for credit cards
( when all is wiped off the records).
I have since cleared all debts and received a good standing to get a credit card.
Apparently Banks realize that in life many have to file for Bankruptcy and thus they forgave after I met all the requirements and was committed to paying off the debt minus the interest, which was the deal to begin with.
Good luck. Check it out.
My Doctor ( in his 70yrs of age) now is still paying off his Student Loans from his younger life.He is only paying off the minimum…and still the interest.?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Student loans are predatory lending. They end when you either pay them or you die as you cannot bankrupt them. I could write a wall of text about how bad this is and how corrupt the lenders are but the bottom line is they have to be paid as you have taken them and are responsible for them. I do not believe in bail outs, tax payers should not carry the burden of poor decision making. I’m fine with 0% interest rates though. If you borrowed the money it is your responsibility to pay it back and you pay it back before you take on other financial burdens like buying a house or car. I cant tell you how little sympathy I have for someone complaining about their $40k in student loans when they have a $50k SUV sitting in their driveway. That should be no debt and a $10k SUV.
Without knowing the particulars if your friend has the means to essentially liquefy any or all assets and pay the loans in full that would be about the best bet. It’s so much easier to save when you are not saddled with debt.

gorillapaws's avatar

Her best bet is to try to get Bernie Sanders elected. I’m not being facetious; that is literally her best option short of taking a second job and slowly grinding her debt down. You can’t default on student debt in the US (we can thank Joe Biden’s donors for convincing him to push that through).

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