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Debt management

Okay, here’s an outline:

1. If you haven’t already checked the National Student Loan Data System (nslds.ed.gov), do that to get a complete global view of your loans, if you’ve taken out multiple loans. You can also get a free credit report from different services and see all three credit reports; this will also show you how many loans you have outstanding. If you’ve taken multiple loans, they will all likely have different interest rates and minimum payments.
2.a. If your loan(s) are federal, you can apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan to bring multiple payments and interest rates down to one. StudentLoans.gov is where you go to apply for that. This might come with certain time restrictions on repayment, but remember: student loan interest is TAX DEDUCTIBLE.
2.b. You can consolidate ALL loan types privately as well, although that may remove certain benefits of federal loan programs, like loan forgiveness for public service, and income-based payment options.
3. If you have one loan with a private lender, and your ability to pay the loan back has changed, then you can refinance the loan for a different repayment plan. This might also result in a better interest rate. In any event, the interest is tax deductible; hopefully you’ve been deducting!!
4. If you haven’t been deducting your student loan interest, go back and amend your federal and state tax returns as far back as you can go. Some states have refund limits, like VA where you can only be refunded for amended tax returns within 5 years of filing date.
5. As a last-ditch effort, hire a licensed fiduciary or accountant and get professional help. Although it sounds like I’m saying “spend money you don’t have!”, what I’m really saying is hurt a bit more right now to make the future less painful. Yes, it can run $100-$300 for a session, but it is seriously worth it to have someone with years of experience helping rich people stay rich look at your debt portfolio and restructure it for, do the negotiating for you.

I hope this is somewhat helpful.