In general, you can’t simply “get rid of” your student loans. Repaying your student loans will continue to be your responsibility and there are no easy answers for anyone looking to shake off this burden.
It isn’t exactly possible to “negotiate” a lower payoff, but it is possible to arrange an alternative payment plan — some of these plans require very minimal payments for your first few years of repayment. Among the plans to ask your lender about: interest-only repayment; graduated repayment; income sensitive/contingent repayment, extended repayment, etc.
Federal Loan Consolidation is often the fastest way to lower your monthly payment and, sometimes, even your overall costs. It’s a good option for borrowers looking to extend their repayment term which, in turn, lowers the monthly payments, often significantly.
Will filing for bankruptcy get rid of my student loans?
Federal Stafford Loans cannot be forgiven, even if the borrower files for bankruptcy. Perkins Loans can sometimes be forgiven/cancelled/discharged when the borrower has filed for bankruptcy. However, I DO NOT recommend filing for bankruptcy on the off-chance that your Perkins might be discharged. It generally does more harm than good.
The only legal way to get rid of your student loans is through a Loan Forgiveness program. If you work for 5 years as a teacher in a low-income or subject-shortage area, all of your Perkins Loans and some of your Stafford Loans can be forgiven. Teaching is pretty much the only way to have your Stafford loans forgiven, but if you have Perkins Loans, there may be other careers such as law enforcement, corrections officers, those in the HeadStart program, early intervention service providers, PeaceCorps and ACTION volunteers, nurses, military personnel etc. can all have their Perkins Loans forgiven in part or in full. We’ve explained this a bit more in our article on how to get rid of student loans legally.
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