Your Student Loans

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editor's note: This page is the Student Loan section of our 'Get Out of Debt' course. If you would like to start the course at the beginning, you can find it here.

You've all seen the stats. Student loan debt in the U.S. totals over $1.2 trillion! Over 7 million loans are in default! So if you're struggling to make your student loan payments or falling behind you have lots of company.

But, that's small comfort when you consider the costs of falling behind in your student loan payments:

  • Additional costs
  • Collection calls and letters
  • Damage to your credit rating
  • Demands for immediate payment in full
  • You may be sued
  • You lose deferment or forbearance options
  • Garnishing your wages or tax refund
  • Severe consequences of default

So you want to get out from under difficult student loan payments. But how to do it?

Try to work out an arragement with the lender. Contact your lender or servicer, the organization to which you're supposed to make your payments. Explain your situation and ask what they can do to help. If you don't know who your servicer is, use the National Student Loan Data System website to get the information.

Be careful. They may offer to extend the time frame or put your loan in 'forbearance'. Both options will increase the total amount of interest that you'll pay. Find out how the amount you owe will be affected by either choice before you make any changes. You don't want to make a bad situation worse.

Much as we love do-it-yourself projects, sometimes it's wise to call in a professional. We have working arrangements with two organizations that we know and trust.

The first is Student Loan When you contact them you'll be interviewed by someone trained in helping you reduce your student loan burden. Although the organization is young, we've known and worked with the people responsible for it for over 15 years.

The second organization is similar. They've been helping people with debt problems for over 20 years. There's no risk and no charge to talk with them. You can fill out the form below or use the toll-free number 1-866-359-7455. A trained conselor will review your information and discuss the best possible method of reducing the student loan burden.

If you're really not sure where to start, send us an email describing your situation. Tell us the important elements and we'll try to point you in the right direction.

If you are working to get out of debt, our free weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter can be a great tool. Each issue features great ways to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources. Subscribe today! Or you can like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. Simply look for posts marked with #TDSGetOutOfDebtCourse to get helpful ways to make extra cash and trim monthly expenses so you can free up additional money to put towards your debt.

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