Failed to graduate? Can’t get a job? Didn’t really get much out of college? Haven’t been able to make the required student loan payments for a while? Thinking that falling behind on a student loan can’t possibly be that big of a deal?

Get ready for an avalanche of consequences. — everything ranging from getting sued, garnished wages, being unable to renew any professional licenses you hold, becoming ineligible for any loan deferments, and having your tax refunds intercepted.

Not paying back your student loans can tank your credit score. A bad credit score make it tough to get a job, make big purchases, or recent an apartment.

Getting Out of a Bind

Borrowing money for college is a serious obligation. Many people fail to realize how serious it is until they are in financial trouble. Of course, there may be circumstances where an emergency causes you to fall behind.

No matter what problems you have with repaying student loans, there are ways to get back on track. The most important tip of all is to begin now and continue paying your loans. Consistent payment is a prerequisite to qualify for various repayment relief programs.

Not Enough Monthly Income

Let’s start with what to do when your income isn’t enough to make monthly loan repayments. Your first action should always be to notify your lender.

Tip: If you have a federal student loan, contact your lender through the Student Aid Website.

Other Bills Prevent You From Paying

What if you’re able to make payments but your student loan payments come at the same time as other bills?

You can request a change of due date, again by contacting your lender.

You Need a Lower Monthly Payment

What if you need a lower payment, even for a few years? Is an extension possible or even a sound financial decision?

With the standard repayment plan, the loan term is at or under 10 years, depending on the amount you owe. There are also extended repayment plans that stretch out the time you have to pay back your loan.

There are also graduated repayment plans. As the name suggests, they begin with lower payments that increase over the term of the loan.

Finally, there are income-based repayment plans. They vary depending on your income, your debt amount, and other situations.

Each plan has specific requirements for qualification and repayment. Most of these programs apply only to federal student loans.

Talk to your loan provider about your unique financial situation.

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