I have a background in Payroll and have never, ever seen a student loan removed from a credit report. If it is a government backed loan once you find a steady job they can (and usually will) attach your wages (take money directly out of your paycheck). Even in states where there are wage attachment or garnishment laws to protect employees the government can attach your wages. I am surprised this has not happened to you already.
$5200 is hardly anything. It isn't worth ruining your credit. You can pay it back in 5-10 years. I have $29,000 and have never been delinquent. My payments are $169 a month on the graduated payment plan. I told them I couldn't afford what they wanted me to pay and they set me up with that $169.
As a payroll representative I have seen the student loan servicing center work out payments as little as $52 a month for people who are delinquent.
When I was unemployed in California for 6 months I had an unemployment deferment which meant I didn't have to make payments on my student loan. All I had to do was prove to them I was looking for a job. Once I found a job my payments started back up and I had no marks against me on my credit report whatsoever. The Student Loan Servicing Center really is on your side as long as you are straight with them. They have been very good to me. AES won't even report delinquencies until you are 60 days past due and they really work with you. I also have a privately backed student loan and they suck. So, it depends on what kind of loan you have.
Oh, and by the way, I know a lot of young people and people in general are having a hard time finding good jobs. The thing that frightens me though is that I don't think enough college students know what is available to them in the way of working with any SLSC (student loan servicing center). I grew up in a bad neighborhood. My family struggled just to eat. Without the gov't back student loans I would not have been able to get a degree at all. I am very grateful for that loan, which is why I have always been upfront with them with any problems I am having.
But in this day and age b/c of all the delinquencies SLSC won't even consolidate most loans anymore. It is sad. There are plenty of graduates who just don't want to pay their loans back (I'm not saying the poster here is one of them. I understand his/her plight). I have read about graduates going to foreign countries to avoid payment. I believe in Karma and it will come back to haunt these folks. My point is that I hope everyone does everything they can to reply their student loans or make some kind of arrangement. For people like me, I would hate to see the student loan program scrapped to the point where only the wealthy will be able to attend college.
I completely agree with Libragirl, Direct and blh77.
I have a student loan and I am paying it off, because I agreed to do so when I accepted the money.
This is said in the most friendly and supportive manner possible.
I would like to say more....but I know I would be admonished.
The solution Nathan gave is the best & ultimately what will need to happen. However, if you're in dire straights..there are different kinds of deferments & forbearance that you may be eligible for. Usually the max is 3 years of forbearance, 3 years hardship forbearance and unlimited while at least a 1/2 time or full time student (that depends on when you took your first loan out).
However, just like when you research information (one librarian always knows more than the others) - some student loan customer service folks are more into customer service than others. I have been fortunate to usually have good people assist me and when I could tell I knew more than the person trying to assist me I merely excused myself with an emergency and called back later. Always get the person's name, the time you spoke with the person and the date; so when you call back to follow-up you have the information and refer back to it. I have called been told verbally I was qualified and granted deferments but never received the paperwork; however when I called back with the information - the folks were kind enough to stand by the information I was provided even when they might not have usually granted a deferment. Keep good records and keep copies of what you submit with confirmation records of the submittal.