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How Can I Make My Private Student Loan More Affordable?

06/09/2015 04:40 pm ET | Updated Jun 09, 2016

While there are numerous programs available for federal loan forgiveness, there are not many options for private student loan forgiveness. Students who have taken federal loans have more flexible terms due to the loans being connected to the government and, therefore, connected to public sector forgiveness opportunities to help aid career shortage regions.

If you feel like you're drowning in private student loan debt, you are not alone. Don't let the lack of private student loan forgiveness programs make you feel helpless! If your employer does not offer student loan forgiveness incentives, try the following tactics to make your private loans more affordable and manageable.

Negotiate With the Lender

Discuss your circumstances with your lender to see if you can reach a better agreement. Be prepared to submit banking and credit card information to your lender to further prove that you cannot afford the monthly payments. The lender may offer the suggestion of extending the loan to lower your monthly payments. If you need relief in the short-term this may be a wise decision and you can always prepay on months you are ahead to help reduce your term.

If you need further help, see if you can get late penalties waived or see if your lender offers interest only payments until you can get back on your feet. If you can get through the hard times and avoid a student loan default this will produce a positive impact on your financial future.

Look Into Refinancing

Refinancing and consolidating your private student loans with a new lender can unlock significant savings if you are eligible for a lower interest rate. This process will also help manage your payment if you have multiple loans with multiple lenders. Be sure to shop around and consider adding a cosigner on your loans in order to qualify for the best rate possible.

You can choose to save money with a variable interest rate loan since rates are currently much lower now compared to fixed. If your rate begins to rise, you can always refinance again and lock in at a fixed rate and enjoy the saving and lower payment when you were at a variable rate.

Private Student Loan Discharge

Under extreme and rare circumstances, a private student loan might be discharged. Discharge is awarded in the event of a death or permanent disability which affects how you earn an income. Some private lenders have this discharge written in their terms, while others may require you to bring up your case with a judge.                   

While repaying your private loan is challenging when finances are tight, do everything possible to avoid late payments and missed payments. Forgoing payment on your loans will not help your financial situation and will decrease your chances of being able to negotiate with the lender or refinance your loan and ultimately get ahead of your student loans.

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As an independent, transparent marketplace for student loans, Credible helps borrowers understand all of their student loan repayment options.

People Who Paid Off Their Student Debt Super Fast