I have a big problem, and I don't know what to do about it. When I was young(er) and dumb(er), I got mailers telling me I could get private student loans of up to $40,000 a year that I could use for any expenses involved with school. I was young, but I had good credit, and so I took a few of these over the course of three years, stopped working during school, and concentrated on just graduating. Well, the brochures the AES sent out made it look great, promising "low monthly payments", and flexible repayment options. The problem is, they're neither.
Now, this isn't a whine fest, so I'm not looking to be chastized for not reading the fine print. In hindsite, $120,000 at over 10%apr was the stupidest thing I've ever done, and I'm paying for that mistake now. I just want to know how to get out of it.
I've graduated college, and I work a full time job. Part of my employer rules are that I'm not allowed to have a second job, so that's not an option. I make around $30,000 a year. The problem is, the student loans are $22,800 a year, meaning if I pay them, I'll have negative cash flow. I've paid off my credit cards and closed them. My car is paid for. I rent an apartment for $550 a month. It's just simply NOT possible for me to pay these payments, and AES has been completely unwilling to do anything at all to help, other than to remind me that I signed the notes, and that they're protected by the same laws that federal laws are. I"ve offered to pay them what I consider to be a reasonable payment, and all I get is steady no's, and no options. As of now, my balance is at about $160,000 and its climbing. It's completely demolished my credit, so it's not like I could go and buy a house, and then hope they attach a lien.
So my question to you, dear fico readers is this- Has anyone ever seen or heard of this situation, and found a way out? I"m not trying to shirk my responsibilities here. I borrowed the money, I owe it, and I WANT to pay it, but even if I did manage to sneak a part time job in, over the course of the next 20 years, I'd still not have it paid off. My job isn't exactly a lucrative high paying career field, so it's not like I"ll be pulling in 6 figures 5 or even 20 years from now.
So what can I do?
I don't know much about private loans and how they work (I only used Stafford loans when I was in school), but you should check to see if you can consolidate your loans with the U.S. Department of Education's Direct Loans program. Because it is a federal agency, they are easier to work with, in my experience, than private lenders, and in addition have very reasonable repayment programs, including Income Contingent and Income Based. Both of these plans base your payment on your income, no matter how much you owe (even if the loan negatively amoritizes). As long as you pay, then your student loan on your credit report is reported as "pays account as agreed."
You should check out the website for Direct Loans, and I wish you the best. My experience with DL has been outstanding.
Call these people. It is a free organization, they negotiate your debt with the lenders, and they are Clark Howard recommended.
www dot cccsst dot org
I too have way too much in private student loans (with NelNet) and they also would not honor the flexible payments, etc as promised. Althought I was not able to consolidate these loans with a federal condolidation about 6 years ago when I did my federal loans, that might have changed by now. I was able to finally get a more reasonable payment because of what their CS rep indicated was new legislation. You might try and go back to AES and request again. I would also recommend speaking to a supervisor since that sometimes has better results. Good Luck.
Moved for better exposure
Jason, I know this is an old post, but do you have an update to this? I see you are still active on the forums.