Not everyone can have his or her student loans forgiven. If the public service sector just isn’t your calling, then you won’t qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. However, you have some options even if you still have student loan debt.
Even if you can’t get rid of your debt completely, you can still make sure that you’re paying back your loans with the plan that fits you best. Check out the different income-driven repayment plans. If you don’t know which plan you’re already enrolled in, you’re probably paying under the basic Standard Plan. But the Standard Plan is just that—it’s standard. Which means it might not work best for you. There are five other types of income-driven repayment plans that you can choose from:
- Extended Plan
- Graduated Plan
- Income-Contingent Plan
- Income-Sensitive Plan
- Income-Based Plan
One of these might work better for you. If not, there are still more alternatives to help you manage your debt.
You may want to consider consolidating your loans. If you consolidated your loans, then you would have only one larger monthly payment instead of several different monthly payments. This works because when you get a direct consolidation loan, that loan pays off the smaller loans. Then, you pay off the direct consolidation loan instead of paying off all the other loans individually. This is nice because it makes loan payment convenient and organized, but there can be a downside. If you have special benefits on your original loans, you’ll lose those benefits when you consolidate the loan. Also, you cannot reverse loan consolidation once you have done it, so think carefully before you choose that option.
Deferment and Forbearance
If you can’t pay your loans at all right now but you can’t get them forgiven, you may want to try to have them deferred or try to obtain a forbearance. If you have a subsidized loan, interest won’t accumulate on it during a deferment. You can defer your loans if you’re in school, under economic strain, or serving in the military or Peace Corps.
You can get a forbearance if you’re in poor health or have sudden, unforeseen personal problems, such as an ongoing family emergency. If you have a forbearance, however, you should be aware that interest will still accumulate on your loan. You just won’t have to make your payments at the moment.
You don’t want to default on your student loans, even if you’re having trouble paying them. It can seriously mess up your credit and harm you later in life. If the worst should happen and you have to default on your loans, be sure you know your options. If you’re lucky, you can get a student loan settlement. In that case, you can pay a lump sum to your loan company and they will cancel your remaining debt.