Well, I am hoping someone can shed some light on my situation. I currently have around 20k in federal student loan debt and over 80k in private student loan debt with Sallie Mae (and yes I am kicking myself now for putting myself into this situation, but hindsight is 20/20). I took on so many student loans because my parents were unable to help pay for my schooling. I actually worked full time during school to pay my own living costs and sent every other penny home to pay most of my parents' and sister's bills. Both of my parents have terrible credit, so the loans are only in my name. I was accepted to graduate school for this past fall, but my program was canceled a month before I left, which threw me into repayment on my outstanding student loans. I was able to consolidate the 20k I have in Federal Loans so I have started to pay on them, but my private loans are now a 200 ton weight on my shoulders. I put them into forbearance, because the estimated payments are $950 a month! I live alone and haven't been able to find a roommate. I work 2 jobs, one full time and the other almost full time, and am only bringing in around 23k a year. I have to finish graduate school to work in my field of study, and with the loan debt I am already in, lenders will not approve me for any more education loans for graduate school, so I am forced to pay down these loans some before I can continue. I have absolutely no one to co-sign a consolidation loan for me and I have tried several lenders and none will approve me to consolidate. I don't want to continue forbearing them, but with my present situation I feel I have no other choice.
And to top everything off, this past Monday the transmission in my car broke. I have no money set aside for another car and it will cost me over $1500 to get the car running again. I need a car to get to both of my jobs, neither is accessible from public transportation. My father offered to pay the out of pocket costs for a new leased car and the car payments for the first year, but I don't trust him. The last time I had a car with a payment (which was in his name thank God!), I was sending him money for the payment and he paid other bills with it and the car was repossessed. If I was making enough money to cover the payment myself, I might consider it, but I would be fully depending on him for that first year, and even if I did trust him to make the payments, I don't think it's wise to take out any more debt in my name considering my outstanding student loan amount.
So, given all of that information here are my questions...1)without a co-signer and with not so stellar credit, is there a way to consolidate my student loans that I haven't tried or thought of? 2) if there isn't, is there a way to get Sallie Mae to negotiate a lower payment plan other than interest only payments (which is still $790 and still too high for me to pay right now)? 3) would leasing a car be as bad of an idea as I am thinking it is, or should I just take the plunge?
Any other suggestion or insights on either of these situations would be helpful and greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
PS...here is some other pertinent info: I am 23 years old, with 5 years of credit history and my FICO is somewhere in the upper 500s or low 600s (I am too scared to look!).