If you've been to college – undergraduate, or post-graduate – then it's likely you have a number of student loans in your name. It's also likely you're one of the many people who can not find a job that will help you kindly repay those loans, or the balance you owe far exceeds the income you can earn from your chosen field.
If you have failed on your loans, and debt collectors have started to call, do not panic, but do act quickly on your own behalf. There are things that you can do to protect yourself.
Determine Who Holds Your Default Student Loan
Private loans are handled differently than government loans. If you have private loans, you may or may not be able to consolidate them with your government loans in order to get a lower monthly payment. If, however, you owe only government loans, you may be able to get deferment and lower monthly payments. When contacting your loan holder, be honest about your situation and ask what options are available to you in your present situation.
Consider Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
It is extremely difficult to get student loans discharged during Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but it is not impossible. If you are able to prove that the loan amount to be repaid is an "undue hardship," the student loans can be eliminated completely. However, this is very a very difficult process and should be done with the consultation of a seasoned attorney.
With a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the payment terms of your student loans will be set by the court, and repayment can take place over the next five years. Then, after that time has passed, collection actions can start against you again. At that point, you may want to try to have them discharged again. Still, this should be done with the help of a legal representative.
Do Not Tolerate Harassment
With student loans, there are several actions that debt collection agencies can take in order to collect on the debt. Lawsuits, wage garnishments, tax refund interceptions, and federal benefit garnishments are all tools in the arsenal of the student loan collector. But these can be challenged in court. Again, make sure you consult an attorney with experience in collections and student loans. Still, though, no collector is allowed to call you repeatedly, make threats, or otherwise embarrass you to try to make you pay.
If you need help, are being harassed, or need to dispute a loan, it's best to find an attorney who is experienced with student collections and can help you get the debts discharged or make payment arrangements that everyone can handle. Once you have an attorney, debt collectors are no longer allowed to contact you, and everything will be done through your legal representative. When it comes to repaying student loans, do not wait for a lawsuit to come to your door. Be proactive, and save yourself time, money, and further difficulties.
Source by Sergei Lemberg, Esq.