I have federal and private student loans that definitely amount to more than I ever wanted. I felt like I was drowning with them for a very long time. (Didn't help that right after college I made some bad decisions regarding money and missed a few payments...)

Anyway, I finally feel some slight relief after I refinanced recently. Rates were better than what I had started with so I figured "why not?" Now I have a slightly more manageable payment and I see the balance getting a little smaller each month. Still not as much change as I want of course.

Other options that I'm aware of are working in public service positions to get forgiveness. The most popular I know of is teaching, even something like ESL for adults or overseas. It's tempting for federal loans, but it doesn't apply to private, I believe.

To get any relief from your public student loans by working in the public sector isn't what most think it is.  You have to pay 120 on time monthly payments on your loan while working in the public sector.  That is 10 years to wait to see if any or all of your remaining balance will be forgiven.  Most public loan repayments are set so that the loan is paid in full in 10 years.  

I spent 10 years paying back my loans, but pay them back I did, and that was working at jobs that did not pay well.. believe me, there were many months I had to choose between making that payment and having heat. I guess I don't understand the thought process behind taking out LOANS and then expecting them to be 'forgiven' instead of paid back. That's why they're called loans and not gifts.

But to be helpful, get a job... or two... or three... and pay them off. Work with the lender if the payment's are too high, I'm sure they'd rather have something than nothing. It can't hurt to call and find out what they'll be willing to settle for every month before they send it to collections... which will result in ruining your credit on top of everything else.

And for those who are trying to make this a case of "I took the loan and now I don't want to pay," your rationale escapes me.  Anyone who can't understand the near impossible feat of balancing stagnant income against off the charts interest and the escalating costs of attending college is apparently not engaged in the state of the nation's present affairs. Geeze!!!

Any real traction with easing or lifting the student loan burden will have to come from one of four entities: government or politically influenced pressures (questionable at this juncture),  more billionaires stepping up to offer support (as with the billionaire and the recent Morehouse graduating class), or creating a side hustle  to bring in extra income for make a dent in these  (otherwise) lifelong debts.  I'm dealing with the loan issue, too, and have learned that the suspect relationship between loan servicers,  the government and these schools collude to thwart any attempt to resolve most of their brazen corruption.  In the meantime, the side hustle appears to be the most viable option for me, and  I encourage everyone to take a look at Chris Guillebeau's website: The Side Hustle School.  You might be pleasantly surprised with an "Aha" moment that will work for you!!

My son is also fighting the uphill battle with student loans.  He says it seems like every time he gets a pay raise the interest rate on his student loan goes up.  Between that and health insurance he feels as though he will never get his paid off either.  He is employed with a public system but he will hopefully have his paid off before he is eligible for any reduction.  

When i worked at Walmart, and I had my sister, file my income taxes I was suppose to get back $4,000 dollars,when I got my incomes taxes back. I got back $1,000 the government had taken out money. i owed for my student loan. Well all I can say now is that I  no longer owe, for a student loan any more. And I will not be going back to nobody school.

Joyce Taylor:

I understand how disappointing it can be when you don't know in advance what to expect.  As a senior citizen and first time college student, I was very unhappy with the feeling of constantly being surprised when certain things would come up.  I've gotten better at finding out some things on my own, but it's sad that more transparency isn't required by financial aide officers when enrolling students. 

The blessing is that you can now take a lot of college courses for free!!!  (You won't get the degree but sometimes, just having the knowledge will get your foot in the door).  MOOC courses are outstanding and they're being offered by the top colleges in the nation!  And if you decided to get a degree for a MOOC course,  the cost is affordable.  But for the sake of broadening your knowledge or studying something you're really interested in, the free courses are really great!

While my experience with college got off to a rocky start, I don't ever want to stop learning.  And unless and until some serious changes are made to the loan and financial aid process, I won't go back either.  But I will keep learning thru MOOC and very low cost learning sites like UDEMY (I LOVE Udemy),  we have the ability to access learning and to continue expanding our knowledge without going into debt.

Ashlee posted:

Hey! Here is a recent article about debt forgiveness programs for student loans I think you all might find helpful: https://bit.ly/2nqmmAv 

Probably the best summary of avaiable programs I have seen online. I don't have a problem with paying my loans, but it's the interest rates that get me. I have been in the loan forgiveness program for about 5 years now.

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