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Find student loan articles to help you manage your debt and pay it off faster.

Student loans cause big problems for millions of Americans who borrowed to fund their education. People often wind up with more debt than most entry level salaries can afford to pay back. So, while a higher education may increase your lifetime earnings, it leaves you in a whole with debt.

With that in mind, Debt.com strives to provide the latest news on student loans. We keep you up-to-date on changes to federal repayment plans and student loan forgiveness. And we compare options and get expert advice to help you eliminate your debts as quickly as possible.

A jar full of change for a college savings fund

Despite More Planning, Families Find College is Still Surprisingly Expensive

December 15, 2017 | Dori Zinn

Parents are underestimating the cost of college for their children by tens of thousands (and sometimes hundreds of thousands) of dollars.

Our scholarship winner has a student loan plan

Debt.com’s Latest Scholarship Winner Is Scared Of Student Loans

December 4, 2017 | Howard Dvorkin, CPA

That’s why she applies for 10 scholarships a week.

Betsy DeVos and a bear cub look at student loan paperwork (illustrated)

Why Is the Education Department Shrinking?

November 30, 2017 | Brandon Ballenger

Betsy DeVos already manages the smallest Cabinet agency, but she wants to cut her way to more savings. It won’t work, and it’s awful for struggling students.

A millennial woman explains credit to her peers

Americans Feel Positive Despite Large Student Loan Totals

November 30, 2017 | Ryan Lynch

Those closest to retirement are the most optimistic about getting out of debt.

student loan refinance

What Happens If I Can’t Afford My Student Loan Payments?

November 29, 2017 | Steve Rhode

A reader owes nearly $100,000 but takes home $850 a week.

Lance from Money Manifesto and his family

Hard Work and Sacrifice Helped Lance Pay Off Debt

November 22, 2017 | Brian Bienkowski

It’s a cliché but it worked for Lance and his wife.

Americans paying for college

Billions of Free Money for College was Left Behind by New Students

November 14, 2017 | Dori Zinn

This year, 1.2 million high school grads didn’t fill out a FAFSA, leaving $2.3 billion of free money behind.

Young millennial resting at his house and using laptop

Student Loans Are Stopping Millennials From Buying Homes

November 6, 2017 | Ryan Lynch

No savings, poor credit are adding up as problem for the generation.

Donald Trump-faced money (illustrated)

Donald Trump Wants People To Pay More For Student Loans – But Also Less

November 3, 2017 | Holden Miller

Donald Trump’s student loan plan would save students more money than Obama’s in the long run. It’s also better for the national debt.

Skeletons stealing money out of your bank? These real debt horror stories are worse

Money on the Street Interviews: What are Your Debt Horror Stories?

October 27, 2017 | Michelle Bryan

The Witch of Debt hits the street to ask people about their money nightmares and other tales of financial woe.

Congressional leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell look at student loan proposals (illustrated)

More Student Loan Ideas for a Hopeless Congress

October 26, 2017 | Brandon Ballenger

They’ve got — and are ignoring — a bill on bankrupting student loans. But what about these ideas states are considering?

President Donald Trump?

Can Trump Fix the Student Loan Crisis?

October 20, 2017 | Thomas Chiles

Some financial experts believe the president will find a way to help students with their loans — others not so much.

Can they garnish my wages so much I have to bust my piggy bank?

Can The Government Garnish My Wages Till I’m Broke?

October 4, 2017 | Steve Rhode

A reader earns only $11,000 a year, but she’s being garnished $300 a month.

Betsy DeVos and her bear order Richard Cordray to leave (illustrated)

Now the Education Department Is Mad

September 7, 2017 | Brandon Ballenger

The CFPB tried to pick up the department’s slack. Now the Education Department is pushing back.

Is student debt hanging over your head

Cheaper Cost of Living Means Southerners Pay off Student Loan Debt Sooner

September 4, 2017 | Dori Zinn

More Americans living in Southern states can put more money toward their student loan debt since cost of living is cheaper.

Reducing Student Loan Debt

Are Student Loans Going To Cause The Next Recession?

September 4, 2017 | Howard Dvorkin, CPA

With more than $1.3 trillion in student loan debt in this country, it’s long been a mantra that “student loans are too big to fail.” However, they might now be too big to succeed. In July, Citi released a 166-page report innocuously titled, Education: Back to Basics. Buried on page 81 was this hand grenade… […]

Donald Trump kicks student loan borrowers when they're down (illustrated)

We’re Paying Off Student Loans More Slowly Than Ever

August 31, 2017 | Brandon Ballenger

And we’re not getting any relief from Donald Trump.

Millennials and money: Financial fears have them stressing at work and beyond

Millennials Are in Fear of Their Finances — Especially Debt

August 29, 2017 | Joe Pye

They’re worried about money more than their jobs and relationships

Americans paying for college

Americans Are Getting Better at Paying For College

August 14, 2017 | Joe Pye

For the first time in a decade, scholarships and grants cover a third of college costs.

Portraits of James Duren, Jennifer Asiaka, and Tina Willis, who shared their debt stories with Debt.com

Part 2: What’s Your Dumbest Debt Mistake?

August 11, 2017 | Thomas Chiles

What not to do: Join a pyramid scheme

Banking regulator nominees Joseph Otting and Randy Quarles shake hands with Donald Trump (illustrated)

I Agree With Trump’s Top Banking Regulators

August 10, 2017 | Brandon Ballenger

The biggest risk to the economy is this $1.3 trillion consumer debt — which Trump is doing nothing about

Illustration of three Americans who made financial mistakes because of spending habits and budgeting

What’s Your Dumbest Debt Mistake?

August 4, 2017 | Michael Koretzky

Our favorite answer: Marrying the wrong person.

Betsy DeVos looks at a classroom of lawyers (illustrated)

18 States Say Betsy DeVos Is a Failure

August 3, 2017 | Brandon Ballenger

The education secretary is being sued for siding with for-profit schools over students. But at least she’s learning from her mistakes.

student loan debt collection

Does The Government REALLY Want To Help Me Pay Off My Student Loans?

August 2, 2017 | Howard Dvorkin, CPA

This week: A reader is trying to find legitimate ways to lessen his payments, but it’s not easy.

An upset college graduate rests her head on her hand after she hears recent student debt statistics

Student Debt Hurts Women More Than Men

July 21, 2017 | Dori Zinn

Women are suffering from student loan debt at a higher rate than men, and this first-person account of drowning in debt shows it.

Perspectives on how the student loan debt in America stacks up

Money on the Street Interviews: What’s Your Opinion of Student Loan Debt in America?

July 13, 2017 | Michelle Bryan

Half-clothed beachgoers give some very serious answers about their thoughts on federal student loans and the debt they cause.

Families unsure about how to save money at the store are also unsure about how to teach kids money

Parents Still Don’t Know How to Teach Their Kids About Money

July 11, 2017 | Ryan Lynch

Even though parents want to have a conversation, bad habits are passed down through generations

A young women leans across at table with a residential home blueprint and a piggy bank, savings can make housing costs easier

We’re More Confident About Saving When We Don’t Have Much Saved

July 10, 2017 | Gregory Cox

Despite stashing less than they should, Americans feel comfortable with their retirement savings

Betsy Devos and Rich Cordray fight over student loans (illustrated)

Is It The CFPB Versus The Education Department?

July 6, 2017 | Brandon Ballenger

Looks like Richard Cordray and Betsy DeVos are going to fight over student loan forgiveness.

529 college savings plan

The College Savings Option Everybody Forgets

July 5, 2017 | Gregory Cox

21 years later, 529 plans get no respect — even though they save on taxes, too.

The Financial Panther

The Financial Panther Avoided Lifestyle Inflation

July 5, 2017 | Brian Bienkowski

And he embraced the personal finance community as he paid down debt.

John Pawloski

This Scholarship Winner Is No Joke

July 3, 2017 | Howard Dvorkin, CPA

John Pawloski is making a career change you’ll never believe.

Illustration of a credit invisible man being handed a credit card

CFPB Says Low-Income Americans Are ‘Credit Invisible’

June 27, 2017 | Dori Zinn

Low-income consumers are 240 percent more likely to start their credit history with negative records, like a debt collection.

Debt.com debt news illustration by Ivan Benavides: Female student walks towards hole as businessman considers housing market

Debt News You Probably Haven’t Heard — But Should

June 26, 2017 | Howard Dvorkin, CPA

This week: clueless about student loans, passionless about work, passionate about boycotts.

3 young Millennials sit in a minimalist office blurred in the background, with a hand depositing a coin in a while piggy bank

Students Relying Less on Parents to Pay for College

June 20, 2017 | Ryan Lynch

 Facing higher costs, teens are relying more on scholarships, grants and their own savings.

millennial with student loans

Student Loans: What America Doesn’t Know Is Killing Us

June 20, 2017 | Joe Pye

Most borrowers have no idea what they’ll owe in the future – or even how many years their loans are for

A young hipster man sits at his apartment kitchen table, pouring over his budget and finances with calculator in hand

Millennials Out-Save Older Generations

June 16, 2017 | Joe Pye

They are more conservative with their money at younger ages than previous generations

An older Gen X man sits in front of a laptop looking a bill for a debt he owes, showing signs of financial stress

How Do I Stop Being a Co-Signer On A Student Loan?

June 14, 2017 | Howard Dvorkin, CPA

A reader wants to know how to stop being financially responsible for someone else’s debt.

What if I stopped paying my credit cards?

Middle Class Millennials Struggle With Employment

June 13, 2017 | Joe Pye

Having a credit score under 700 is related to difficulties holding onto jobs and living on your own.

student loan debt collection

How The Government Adds To Student Loan Debt When It Tries To Lower It

June 12, 2017 | Howard Dvorkin, CPA

What happens when an obscure lawsuit sways a federal judge? Chaos.

prioritize debts

Are You Paying the Wrong Debt First?

June 6, 2017 | Dori Zinn

We’re paying off unsecured personal loans faster than auto loans, mortgages, and credit cards and we probably shouldn’t be.

moving back in with parents

College Grads Moving Back To Mom’s And Dad’s

June 6, 2017 | Joe Pye

College graduates value their degrees even though they can’t afford to live on their own.

biggest regrets of college students

College Seniors Struggle To Pick Careers

June 2, 2017 | Joe Pye

One reason: They focus too much on class and not enough on what else colleges offer.

Graduates stare at a tsunami of student loan debt (illustrated)

Student Loans: Too Big to Fail? Or Too Much to Succeed?

June 1, 2017 | Brandon Ballenger

The “student loan crisis” is so massive, we can’t even comprehend it anymore.

Betsy DeVos rides a bear at the circus with ringleader Trump (illustrated)

Donald Trump’s Student Loan Circus

May 25, 2017 | Brandon Ballenger

He wants to ditch almost everything that helps students save money and manage debt in order to “prioritize students” and “empower parents.”

A team of 2 firefighter of a German fire brigade after an exhausting training session with protective gear

Can Volunteer Firefighters Get Student Loan Forgiveness?

May 24, 2017 | Howard Dvorkin, CPA

A reader wants to know if you need a real job to get real debt relief.

Student loan debt crisis leaves millions strapped for cash

Man on the Street: What’s Your Take on the Student Loan Debt Crisis?

May 18, 2017 | Michelle Bryan

We hit the streets to ask people about the student debt crisis and how they hope President Trump may take action to provide relief.

student loan refinance

Why You Should Refinance Your Student Loans

May 10, 2017 | Dori Zinn

As college costs continue to grow, graduates should refinance their loans sooner to lower interest rates, which means you could pay off your loan sooner.

debt management plan

3 Steps to Become Debt-Free and Chase Your Dreams

April 28, 2017 | Robert Beiler

A little sacrifice can go just as far as hustle

A couple looks at their finances and struggles to decide if they should pay bills like credit cards or save for retirement

How Do We Save For Retirement And Pay All Our Bills?

April 19, 2017 | Howard Dvorkin, CPA

A reader wants to know how to survive “the sandwich” — without evicting his mother-in-law.

5 Things to Know about Repaying Your Student Loans

#1: You may need 2 repayment strategies – federal and private

Not all student loans can use the same repayment strategies. That means you should really break your repayment strategy into two categories; you have one strategy for federal student loan debt and another for private.

This allows you to use federal repayment plans and loan forgiveness programs if you qualify. Those don’t apply to private student loans and you can’t include private debts in federal programs. Although you can use private loan consolidation on both types of debt, don’t do it! This converts federal debt to private, meaning you have fewer options available for relief.

If you have both types of loans, keep them separate and figure out the right repayment strategy for each.

#2: Interest rate reduction doesn’t really apply to federal loans

With many types of debt reduction – credit cards, private student loans and even tax debt – reducing the interest rate applied to your debt is a big part of seeking debt relief. The more you can reduce interest charges, the easier it is to repay your debt quickly. So, a higher credit score means lower interest rates and faster repayment.

But that really doesn’t work with federal student loans. Interest rates are not dependent on your credit score. Instead, rates are set based on which academic year you took out your loans. The Department of Education announces new rates each year; in the current system, rates are based on the 10-year Treasury Note Index.

When you consolidate your debt or enroll in a federal repayment plan, the new rate is set by taking a weighted average of the loans you include in the program. Unless you convert your federal loans to private (which we advise against above), rate reduction should not be your goal. Instead, you should aim for:

  1. The fastest repayment method possible
  2. The payment structure that fits your budget (i.e. monthly payments you can afford)

#3: Federal programs are subject to change

As with any federal relief program, student loan repayment plans and forgiveness programs are subject to change. Both Congress and the executive branch through the Department of Education can change or cancel these programs.

Congressional changes tend to be more drastic, but they take longer. Meanwhile the DOE can make small changes at their discretion, meaning adjustments happen much faster. But even those small changes can have a significant impact on how you repay your debt. For example, the DOE under Betsy DeVos have “tweaked” the eligibility requirements for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. This led to people who had previously certified their eligibility receiving notices that they were no longer eligible.

The moral of the story is that you can’t wait around or procrastinate when it comes to student loan repayment. In most cases, if you enroll in a program that gets changed or cancelled, you stay in under the rules that were there when you signed up. But if you sign up the day after a rule change, things may be different. With that in mind, never wait on solving your student loan debt. If a program fits, get in before they have time to change it.

#4: You can’t discharge any student loans during bankruptcy

No matter whether you hold private student loans or federal, it doesn’t matter -neither can be discharged through bankruptcy. The federal government changed bankruptcy filing regulations to prohibit student loan discharge except in cases of extreme hardship. This is extremely rare.

Once those rules were in place, private lenders made sure that limitation would extend to private student loans as well. As a result, even private student loans taken out through a traditional lender can’t be easily discharged. You must prove that repayment of your loans will cause extreme financial distress – and given that you’re already sitting in bankruptcy court, you can imagine how hard that would be. Essentially, you have to show your loans would put you right back into bankruptcy and keep putting you there. And that no amount of payment restructuring or settlement is possible.

For what it’s worth, Rep. John K. Delaney (D-Maryland) proposed an amendment this year that would change this rule. It’s called the Discharge Student Loans in Bankruptcy Act of 2017. Unfortunately, we checked with our Senior Policy Editor Brandon Ballenger; after some checking, he says that the bill has a less than 1% chance of passing.

#5: Federal student loan default works differently, too

On a normal debt, when you default it leads to a negative item in your credit report; this occurs once the creditor moves your debt to “charge off” status. You also incur negative items for each payment you missed leading up to the charge off. These negative marks decrease your credit score, and they stick around for seven years from the date you incur them.

Federal student loans are different (again). But here the difference works in your favor. If you fall behind on a federal student loan, simply make payments on time for six consecutive months. This moves your loan back to a “current” status and erases any missed payments as if they never happened. You can eliminate the credit damage so it’s easier to borrow and get approved for new credit.

This only works on federal student loans. It’s also important to note that you lose that ability to erase credit damage by using a debt consolidation loan. You can use Federal Direct Consolidation Loan to consolidate student loan debt; it brings defaulted debt current automatically. However, it does not erase the credit damage caused by missed payments.