Private Student Loan Relief Programs

Are You Having Trouble Making Payments?

I’ve got good news!

2017 is shaping up to be the best year on record for those needing help with private student loan debt. Why?

First, President Donald Trump’s student loan forgiveness plan appears to promise a major shake up of the student loan and student loan repayment industry.

Second, the Federal Government’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has essentially launched an all-out war on Navient, the country’s single-largest servicer of student loan debt, creating what amounts to a Navient Student Loan Forgiveness Program that’ll help anyone who still owes money to the company (whether that debt is Public or Private in nature).

Third, The Federal Government has also successfully attacked several for-profit schools and colleges across the country, going after schools like ITT Tech, Corinthian Colleges (Everest, Heald and Wyotech), and DeVry, and forcing them to cover the outstanding student loan debts of some of their previous students.

For these three reasons, I think there’s more hope than ever before at getting actual financial relief from private student loan debt, and I’m happy to report that there are all sorts of options you will want to look into to see how much financial assistance you’re eligible to receive.

To find out how to deal with your private loans, read through this page and I’ll explain exactly what you need to do. If you’re in a hurry, if you have questions, or if you have a complicated financial situation that isn’t explained here, then I recommend calling the Private Student Loan Relief Helpline, which is a service that can deal with your debt on your behalf.

The call for the Student Loan Relief Helpline is 100% free, and you’ll be able to tell them the specific details of your situation, get some advice about what benefits you may be eligible for, then decide whether or not you want to pay them to handle everything for you.

You can reach the Private Student Loan Relief Helpline by calling: 1-866-530-9946.



Private Student Loan Debt vs. Public Student Loan Debt

The problem with private student loan debt has historically been that it’s not possible for the Federal Government to impose a comprehensive, universal debt relief program since the loans vary so much from state to state, and from lender to lender.

Private lenders do all sorts of things differently, from their application process to their qualification requirements to their maximum loan amounts, debt to income ratios, payment schedules and interest rates, and while there is some regulation in the industry, the rules on lending terms remain quite flexible.

And while all of this is still true in 2017, there has definitely been some momentum-building initiatives, new legal precedents, and other reasons to anticipate things getting better for those borrowers with private student loans, even in the near future.

If you’ve got private student loan debt and need some assistance with making them more affordable, then here are your current options for dealing with that debt:


Relief Programs for Private Student Loan Debt

You’ve got a few different options for receiving effective debt relief, but not all of these opportunities are available to every borrower, so you’ll either need to contact one of the student loan consolidation and debt relief companies, or do some research of your own to figure out which of these programs will work for you.

If you do choose to work with a service provider who handles the research and paperwork for you, then I recommend calling the Student Loan Relief Helpline. These people are absolute experts at analyzing your existing debt, finding out how to reduce your payments, as well as how to structure your loans (via consolidation, refinancing or other opportunities) to help you pay it off as quickly as possible. You can reach them by calling 1-866-530-9946.

If you do end up having them do the work for you, there will be a cost associated with the research, preparation and restructuring of your debt, but it’s free to speak to them and you will be able to get some questions answered without having to spend any money, so it’s definitely worth spending 5 minutes on the phone with them.

Here are the relief programs that you should be looking into:

  • Loan Forgiveness Programs
  • Loan Consolidation Programs
  • Loan Refinancing Programs
  • Declaring Bankruptcy (not a true Program, but an option)
  • Defaulting on your Loan (not a true Program, but an option)

Read on for details about how each of these different opportunities can save you tens of thousands of dollars with effective debt relief!


Loan Forgiveness Programs

We hate to be the bearer of bad news on this one, but there’s literally nothing available in the way of Loan Forgiveness for Private Student Loans.

Loan forgiveness programs are incredible opportunities because they allow you to completely walk away from your debt, rather than getting it reduced, restructured, or consolidated, but while there are plenty of forgiveness programs for federal student loans, those of you with private student loan debt don’t qualify for any of them.

Fortunately, loan forgiveness isn’t the only form of debt relief, and you do have other opportunities…

Loan Consolidation Programs

While you probably won’t qualify for any form of loan forgiveness on private student loans, you do have tons of opportunities to streamline your debt with easily accessible Private Student Loan Consolidation Programs.

Loan consolidation companies are available for more than just student loan debt, and they offer an excellent opportunity to those of you having trouble making your loan payments on time, as consolidation allows you to accomplish some impressive financial feats, like:

  • Combining multiple smaller loans from a variety of lenders into a single loan from a single lender (meaning you’ll only have one monthly payment to make, one account to watch, one interest rate to pay attention to, etc.)
  • Reduce your monthly payments, by getting a better interest rate, a longer loan repayment term, or some other structural change to your loan

The biggest downside to loan consolidation programs is that private student loans can’t be consolidated with federal student loans, so if you’ve only got a single private loan, you won’t qualify for any of these programs.

Honestly, it’s not that big of a deal anyway, since if you’ve got federal loans you should be able to save significantly more money on them by checking out one of the many available Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Programs.


Loan Modification Programs

The good news about loan modification programs is that they aren’t just extremely effective, but that they’re also available to virtually anyone with private student loan debt.

Whether you have a terrible interest rate, a loan term that’s far too short or some other financial issue that’s causing you serious trouble with making your monthly student loan repayments, you should be able to get some relief via loan modification.

Loan modification is a simple process, but it requires getting your lender to agree to change the terms of your loan, which they aren’t required to do.

For that reason, it can be difficult to get approvals, but as long as you can prove that you’re facing some serious problems with making your payments, and that you’re in danger of missing payments or even defaulting on the loan, you should be able to get some concessions out of your lender.

The bad news on loan modification is that a lender who doesn’t want to budge won’t have to. If they don’t care that you’re having trouble making payments on time, then you just might be out of luck.

For those of you who are able to extract some concessions from your lender, you can look to saving some serious coin with changes like:

  • Reduced Interest Rates – Always a good thing as this is virtually guaranteed to save you money
  • Loan Forgiveness – Some private student loan lenders will occasionally agree to write off debt
  • A Longer Repayment Schedule – This may not save you money in the long-run, since all it does is extend the time you have to pay back your loan, making you spend even more money on interest over time, but it will reduce your monthly payment amounts in the meantime

To find out what you qualify for, you’ll have to contact either the lender who holds your private student loan debt, or one of the private student loan consolidation companies I mentioned above, and let them know that you’re looking for a way to avoid going into default. Tell them that if you can’t get their help, you’ll be forced to stop making payments, default on your loan or declare bankruptcy.

The first to ask for is whether or not they offer Private Student Loan Refinancing Programs, since that’s almost guaranteed to save you money, both in the short-run and the long-term.

You might want to speak to a lawyer before contacting the lender, because things you say during the negotiation process could come back to bite you later on. Be careful out there!



Declaring Bankruptcy on Your Loan

Before you even consider declaring bankruptcy because of private student loan debt, make sure that you’ve exhausted the other opportunities listed above.

Declaring bankruptcy is time-consuming, complicated, and expensive; it destroys your credit for up to seven years, making it nearly impossible to get an affordable loan of any sort (be it a mortgage, car loan, business loan, etc.) so it should only be done as a last resort.

To make matters worse, Congress also recently passed a law declaring that bankruptcy would no longer automatically discharge student loans, so there’s no guarantee that filing bankruptcy will actually reduce your private student loan debt.

However, with that said, you can Discharge Private Student Loan Debt via Bankruptcy if you can prove in court that your loans have placed you in a situation where you’re facing “undue hardship”, meaning that they’re making it difficult for you to provide basic needs like food, shelter and clothing for yourself and/or your family.

Sounds easy, right? It’s not, and the lenders have a lot more experience in fighting this process than you do, so don’t go down this route unless you really are having trouble meeting basic needs, and only if your private student loans are the main reason why you’re having trouble doing that.

If you’re living in a nice house, driving luxury cars and taking fancy vacations each year, then you aren’t going to win this battle in court.

We would advise speaking with a well-qualified, experienced bankruptcy lawyer before pursuing this as a debt relief strategy.


Defaulting on Your Loan

You really don’t want to do this, but you should know that it’s an option.

Just like any other loan, it is possible to default on your private student loan debt, but you should be aware of the consequences before deciding that this is your best option.

First off, defaulting on a loan will obliterate your credit, in many cases, doing worse things to it than even filing for bankruptcy would lead to.

Second, Defaulting on Private Student Loans provides your lender with a “cause of action” against you for what’s called “breach of contract” (failing to live up to the obligations you agreed to in your original loan terms).

This allows your lender to sue you for defaulting on the loan you took out from them, which could lead to you losing a court case, having your wages garnished, getting a levy placed on your financial assets, or even having a lien attached to any property that you own.

Trust us when we say this – default just isn’t worth it. There’s a reason that private lenders make loan modification and forgiveness programs available to their borrowers; they can save everyone involved a great deal of time and money.

Before you default on your loan, make sure to contact your lender and let them know what’s going on. Tell them how badly you need help, and ask what they can do for you to make your payments more affordable.

In many cases, you’ll find lenders are far more forgiving than you would have initially expected.



What Should I Do?

Unfortunately, it’s impossible for us to answer this question without getting more details about your specific situation.

Every private student loan is different, and every borrower faces different financial problems.

To get some good advice on how you should proceed, you’ll need to consult an expert and get them the information they need to provide you with a well-informed decision. Again, my recommendation if you don’t want to figure it out yourself is to call the Student Loan Relief Helpline at 1-866-530-9946. Their student loan experts know all the ins and outs of private student loan debt law, and they should be able to point you in the right direction, even without signing up for their document preparation or consolidation services.

I am also more than willing to help by answering any questions you have about what would work best for you, so feel free to ask them in the comments section below.

Please Help

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The more people that visit my site, the more time I can dedicate to writing up useful pieces of content like this, and helping you figure out what to do with your student loan debt.

Thank you for visiting my site, and thank you so much for your support. I really do appreciate it!


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Tim's experience struggling with crushing student loan debt led him to create the website Forget Student Loan Debt, where he offers advice on paying off student loans as quickly, and cheaply, as possible. His new website Forget Tax Debt, offers similar advice to people with back tax problems.

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Comments

  1. tami griesi says:

    I have some questions about student debt forgiveness- for schools that have shut down due to fraud.

    I attended Katherine Gibbs school in Livingston NJ from 2004 to 2006. I was so excited because I wanted to change my life around and do something productive with my self. I saw a commercial for a school that pertained to what I wanted to do. It was “CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROGRAM at Katherine Gibbs college. I called and had a brief interview on the phone followed by a appointment to have a face to face. I was so happy. I went to the school talked with a counselor and he basically told me everything I wanted to hear, now being young and not really knowing anything about school, the process and procedures I had no choice but to trust this man and put my educational life in his hands. He also told me that they were in the process of starting a Bachelors Degree program nationally because of the demand on Criminal Justice students and by the time of my graduation in 22 months it would be in effect and I could further my education.
    With that being said I signed all the papers, and got registered for school starting Oct 2004. Nothing seemed out of the norm. It was typical to see people dropping out here and there. Towards the middle of my education, I started noticing, teachers not really teaching, we would sign in and leave.. no “real exams” I went to the Dean at that time to discuss with her I was not satisfied with my classes and felt I was not learning anything, she said if I left then I would still need to pay back the entire loan anyway. She coerced me into thinking I should stay and finish and then would be able to transfer my credits to any other 4 year college.

    I, like everyone who has attended KG was told that they did job placement and that the school was accredited and the credits would be transferable to other 4 year colleges. He also said that I would graduate with 90 credits, (come to find out you only need 60 credits for an Associates degree) SO WERE DID THE OTHER 30 CREDITS GO? NOWHERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!))) they even gave us a paper that had a list of schools on it that would accept KG credit. This I later found out was false. KG never found me a job nor did they attempt too,they sent me on a interview to a place that did not exist.( the building was literally closed down.

    I went to continue my education and EVERY school denied me saying Katherine Gibbs credits was not transferable, I went on to attend Montclair State University, they also advised that Katherine Gibbs credits was not transferable because they do not have classes that are worth 4 credits and they do not have classes similiar to the classes I took at Gibbs. This forced me to change my major to Jurisprudence and none of the credits from Gibbs transferred over. I had to pay all over again for classes I thought I had already gotten out of the way.

    I WROTE THE PRESIDENT, THE DEAN AND EVERYONE ELSE THAT I COULD THINK OF, AND ALL I GOT WAS A RUN AROUND.. NOW THE SCHOOL IN LIVINGSTON THAT I ATTENDED IS SHUT DOWN, All the Gibbs are shut down now for fraudulent reasons.

    I did decide however, just finishing my BA with the Montclair State University.

    I agree that every person who attended KG should have they’re debt cleared. This is not right that we have to pay for this when the school was a scam and they are shut down because of it.. there has to be a way someone can help us. How can I go about having this debt from Gibbs cleared? This degree is worthless, it was not transferred, I had to pay for classes all over again… My mom was a co-signer and they will not leave us alone. My credit is ruined, I am in default.. I’M lost with where to get help for this? Can you help me?

    • Hi Tami,

      You need to consult with an attorney and start working on a Defense Against Repayment letter. I believe that you will be able to qualify for a complete loan discharge if you can prove that these schools violated some state law, or that they outright lied to you, leading you to make faulty assumptions about the quality of the programs, chances for employment, ability to transfer credits, etc. Please see my page about Defense to Repayment Discharges for details on how this process works, and FIND a local attorney who can help you draft your letter!

  2. Hi, my daughter is just starting out with about 120k in debt. I’m a cosigner with not enough income to help her qualify for a consolation loan. Is there any non profit loan company’s that help with this type of thing, most are private, little fed. One bank says no other will help with interest only for couple years…HELP! i know u have heard that before..

    • Hi Jeff,

      Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of assistance out there for what you’re asking about. I would try going to Google and making some very specific searches about assistance programs. It’s possible something like you mentioned exists, but if it does, I haven’t yet run across it.

      I’m more familiar with the official Federal programs, and the loopholes in private borrowing, and haven’t really become an expert on the intricacies of non-profit assistance.

      One other thing you could try would be posting at the Student Loans Subreddit, here: https://www.reddit.com/r/studentloans. These people may be able to point you toward a group that can help.

      Good luck!

    • rebekkah l says:

      Hi guys… Jeff, I’m guessing your daughter has federal loans totalling $120k, correct? If that’s the case, I believe I can offer some advice to help- it might not be what you two will want to hear, but I am pretty familiar with this system and unfortunately there aren’t many other options that will provide any type of solution at all…
      So $120k is a decent chunk of change; what did she go to school for/obtain her degree in, and more importantly: what is her field of employment? Also, have the loans been in good standing (i.e. not defaulted… deferrment and forbearance are OK)? I believe these will be the most important variables for her and the advice i will be able to provide her (and you) will hinge upon that info.
      I can definitely offer up some valuable and accurate knowledge, as I am too a victim of Sallie Mae, and I currently work in this field.

  3. I am a single mom of 3. I have $24k in a private student loan. I am unable to pay it. I have already filed for bankruptcy once to help with my other debt relief. I work full time but my pay goes to day care and to the other bills that I have on a daily basis such as my car and gas. The lawyers that took over my account from AES told me I had to pay $500 a month. I was unable to do that. Today I received a letter in the mail informing me of a lawsuit now against me. I don’t make enough for them to garnish. What should I do?

    • Hi Melissa,

      If you don’t make enough money for the company to garnish your wages, then I’m not sure if they have any other means of coming after you. Do you own a home/property? They might be able to put a lien on that, but if you don’t have anything for them to take, and they can’t legally garnish your wages, then you may be able to just ignore all this.

      I can’t offer you legal advice though, and I would absolutely recommend speaking to a lawyer about this. My first stop would be a local law school internship program or some kind of pro-bono community legal counseling program. You should be able to find free legal advice relatively easily if you live in a metropolitan area.

      Alternatively, consider posting your question about what to do on http://www.reddit.com/r/legaladvice. There are lots of practicing attorneys there who offer free suggestions for legal matters, and they may be able to help.

  4. does anyone have any #’s for private student loan consolidation, bancruptcy, modification; or can point me in the right direction? I need all the help I can get righht now, and these collectors are ruthless!

    • Hi Lauren,

      I would recommend speaking with a lawyer before making any decisions about consolidation, modification, and especially bankruptcy.

      If your loans are in default, and you’re being hounded by collectors, then it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to receive approval for a consolidation or modification, but bankruptcy may be a good option.

      That depends though, because it’s not easy to get approval for a Bankruptcy Discharge, and only a lawyer in your area will be able to give you a good idea of what odds you’re facing. It may not be worth the time and investment to pursue.

  5. I have $122K in private loan debt with ACS. I am 62, a widow with one dependent. I entered business school in 2004 for which I took on private loans (a big mistake, as I owned property at the time and could have used a home equity loan). (but did not get that advice as school loan officer pushed private loans). Since finishing my MBA in 2006 I’ve worked and earned a good living for the last 5 years, until I was downsized out of two good-paying jobs. Since losing job in June 2013 I’ve been self-employed and received unemployment for 20 weeks. In terms of my private loads I have applied for forbearance but my lender tells me I will default if I don’t pay the minimum next month.
    I have 20K in credit card debt to pay for living costs over the past 15 months. Freelance Income this year of 44K. I’m have actively sought full time employment, interviewing but no offers.
    I depleted my 401K, to meet living expenses. What advice do you have in pursuing bankruptcy to clear these debts, as I age i’m feeling less and less confident in restoring my earnings, despite the fact I’m healthy and have good experience.

    • Hi Susan,

      I’m sorry to hear about your situation. It sounds like the school loan officer pushed you the entirely wrong direction – I wouldn’t be surprised if he or she was receiving kick-backs of some sort from the lender that she promoted.

      It’s a terrible travesty that people across the country are being suckered into these private loans, when Federal loans or other safer forms of financing are readily available.

      I would advise that you speak with an attorney about your options. I would have to imagine that you may be able to pursue a Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Discharge based on the fact that you are nearing retirement age, out of work and carrying so much debt.

      It’s much harder to receive approvals bankruptcy discharges when the court rules that the petitioner has their entire working life to come up with the money to pay off their loan, but considering that you’re just about 10-15 years from retiring, and having trouble finding steady employment, you may have a good chance at receiving some relief.

    • Susan,
      I realize this was written a few years ago. I’m so sorry that you’re experiencing this. But hope is still out there. I don’t know if your situation has changed in any way.

      In 99.9999% of the cases, student loans can’t be discharged in bankruptcy. If you have your student loans current, depending on the lender of your private loans, and all of the federal government loans include in this, if you have a disability, you can ask the lenders for an application for what’s called, “Total and Permanent Disability”. Your doctor will have to provide written documentation on it. But it’s a viable option for you if you are disabled.

      In regards to your 401k, was it a traditional 401k or a Roth 401k? If it was a traditional, why did you do that? 401k debt is protected against bankruptcy. Credit card debt, it’s not a big deal. Even if you don’t pay it, it’s still far better than taking a loan from your 401k. I don’t want it to sound like I’m preaching and lecturing you.

      I hope this helped. I wish you the best of luck.

  6. I am truly desperate. I am a single mom and have not been able to pay my loans. Please advise!!

    • Hi Jissenia,

      Are your loans Federal or Private? If they’re Federal, get on an income-based repayment plan, or look into deferments and forbearances.

      If they’re Private, then you have to figure out how badly the loans are impacting your life. Are they placing an ‘undue burden’ on your finances, meaning that you can’t afford to pay for housing, food, etc. because they’re so expensive?

      If so, you may be able to qualify for having the loans discharged during bankruptcy proceedings.

  7. I have two private loans and cannot afford the payments. I filed for bankruptcy this year (my lawyer told me that my loans were not eligible to be included in the bankruptcy filing, so they were not discharged), I am unemployed and cannot afford to pay my loans at this time. The lender (American Education Services) will not reduce the payments (let alone defer them). I am unsure as to what I should do. I was able to make past payments with help from family members, but this option is no longer available for me. My mom is a co-signer on this loan and cannot afford the payments either. What are my options?

    Thank you so much for your time,

    Mary

    • Hi Mary,

      I’m not sure why your lawyer didn’t have you attempt to discharge the loans in bankruptcy, because if you truly can’t afford them (as in, it’s causing you to be unable to pay rent, buy food, etc.), then they should have been eligible for discharge.

      It’s possible that having your Mom on the loans as a cosigner would make that problematic, but I would try speaking with another attorney and asking their advice.

      For Private Student Loans, the unfortunate reality is that there just aren’t a lot of options.

    • Mary, except for filing bankruptcy, I am in exactly the same predicament that you are in (unemployed, AES private loans, Mom co-signer). I’d like to get in touch with you, if you’re open to that, to compare notes so to speak. I’ve been paying AES for 10 years ($600 month), I took out multiple loans and my Mom cosigned because my income at the time wasn’t high enough to secure the loan on my own. BIGGEST MISTAKE I’VE EVER MADE! It’s prevented me from being able to live on my own and is ruining my relationship with my Mom because of the stress.

      If you’re open to getting in touch, please let me know and I’ll reply with my email address.

      Good luck!
      Julie

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