During college, many students rack up enormous amounts of debt in the form of student loans. And although many private student loans that are credit based may be eligible for discharge during a bankruptcy proceeding, those loans that were obtained from the United States Department of Education do not qualify for discharge under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. If the majority of your past due and delinquent debt consists of student loans, bankruptcy is usually not the best option.
Better Options For Student Loan Borrowers
Bankruptcy can represent a new beginning for many borrowers, but the effects of filing bankruptcy can be felt on your credit file for as long as the next decade. Although many borrowers, especially students with massive amounts of student loan debts, often feel that there is no other option or that there are other alternatives, managing your student debt can be accomplished in other ways.
Forbearance and Deferment Options
Once you have graduated and received the last degree that you will be working on, most student loans are written so that you must begin repayment after six months. However, if you are unable to find work, there are ways to get around paying on your student loans until you become gainfully employed. One such way is through forbearance. During forbearance, your student loans will continue to incur interest, but you will not be required to pay.
Forbearance can give you a reprieve from paying on your student loans until you are better off to do so financially; however, forbearance will only be granted for a short period of time and a limited number of times over the life of your accumulated loans.
A better solution to forbearance of your student loans may be deferment, which is an entitlement under the U.S. Department of Education. Deferment is much like forbearance, although in certain instances, interest may not continue to accrue, although that fact differs from lender to lender.
Student Loan Consolidation
Another option is student loan consolidation. As a student loan borrower, you no doubt have multiple loans with multiple lenders or servicers, which means that you will make multiple payments. During student loan consolidation, student borrowers can consolidate the entire bulk of their student loans into one big loan with one monthly payment that better meets their financial ability to repay their student debt. You can consolidate both private and government student loans.
Defaulting on Your Student Loans
Managing your student loan payments may be difficult, but by actively working with your lender or consolidating your student loans, you can get through the repayment period and get on with your life and your career. The outcome for those who do not take repayment of their student loans seriously is grim. The U.S. government can seize any income tax refunds that you are entitled to, and can actually garnish your wages at your future place of employment.
Additionally, your credit rating will bear the scars of defaulting on your federal student loans for many years, and you will always owe the government (and the government always collects). The only way to have your loans completely discharged is if you become legally disabled.