What Should I Do if I Can’t Make My Student Loan Payments?

If you can’t make your student loan payments, there’s no need to panic. There are several options available to you. Loan forbearance, loan forgiveness, and consolidation are just a few of the main choices at your disposal.

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If you can't make your student loan payments, you are not alone. Many college graduates find themselves unable to repay their student loans. Before giving up hope, explore your options to make repaying student loans less of a chore. Reducing your student loan payments is possible with a few simple steps.

Adjust Your Personal Budget to Make Student Loan Payments

It may not seem like a lot, but by reworking your personal budget, you may find that you have more free funds than you thought, which can be used towards your student loan payments. Figure out how much you spend a month on non-necessity items like entertainment, clothing, and dining out. Then come up with alternatives, such as using Netflix instead of hitting the theater every weekend, or shopping at discount stores rather than designer. You may find that you have more money than you thought for paying back student loans.

Do your research. There are many ways to make your student loan debt more manageable

If you can't seem to tighten your personal budget any further, then it may be time to explore other options.


When you find yourself struggling to make your student loan payments, contact your student loan servicer or the school that supplied the loan. You may qualify for forbearance or deferment on your payments.

Forbearance on your student loans is a temporary reduction or postponement of your student loan payments due to economic hardship. Forbearance of loan payments may be for 12-month intervals for up to three years. Before you stop making payments on your loans, be sure that your request for forbearance has been officially approved.

A deferment on your student loans means that you temporarily suspend payments due to economic hardship, re-enrollment in school, or unemployment. Apply for a deferment from the organization that handles your student loans before you stop making payments. Stopping payments without an official deferment could cause you to be delinquent or go into default.

Loan Forgiveness

For certain circumstances, the federal government will cancel all or part of your student loan. To qualify for loan forgiveness, you will need to:

  • Perform volunteer work
  • Perform military service
  • Teach or practice medicine in certain types of communities
  • Meet other criteria specified by the forgiveness program.

To find out whether you qualify for loan forgiveness, you will need to talk to the human resources department at your employer.

Student Loan Consolidation

Student loan consolidation entails combining several loans into one larger loan from a single lender, which is then used to pay the balance on the other loans. It works similarly to mortgage refinance.

The Federal Education Department provides student loan consolidation. You must first fill out an application and then wait for the department to send loan verifications and collect other necessary information from you and from the lenders of your original loans. You must continue to make payments to the holders of your loans until receiving written notice that your loan has been consolidated.

What Should I Do if I Can't Make My Student Loan Payments: Tips and Tactics

  • If you find yourself in debt after college, remember that you're not alone. Two-thirds (65.6%) of four-year undergraduate students who graduated with a bachelor's degree had some debt in 2007-08. Most students end up with debt totaling over $20,000.
  • Do your research. There are many ways to make your student loan debt more manageable. Whether it is simply reworking your personal budget, requesting forbearance, loan forgiveness, or consolidation – there are options available to you. Be sure to do your research in order to choose the best repayment option for you.
  • Get it done now. Prolonging the process is only going to increase your interest payments and late fees. After you've completed your research, do everything you can to get the process started as soon as you can.

People Who Read This Article Also Read:

Should You Consolidate Your College Loans?
10 Facts About Repaying College Loans
How to Handle Problems Repaying College Loans
Choosing a Federal Repayment Plan
Student Loan Forgiveness

See All Paying Back Your Student Loans and Managing Student Debt Articles


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