Get Out of Debt Guy

I Can't Afford My Sallie Mae Student Loans

Posted June 11, 2013

WRAL Reader Question

Dear Steve,

I have had about 5 student loans from Sallie Mae Inc since 2007. I am one of many people who is having issues paying them back due to their high monthly payments.

The initial loan balance for all my loans totaled $39000...I am now up to $57000. I have paid over $4000 dollars since last year to see the balance rise because they say I am barely covering the interest.

I have looked online to see that everyone is having issues with this company because they make it absolutely impossible to pay off your student loans!!!

What is my best option?? I have tried consolidating and no one will touch it because I do not have a co-signer. I am stuck because my father is cosigned on most of these loans and they will try and collect from him if I do not pay.


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Dear Andy,

The first step would be to figure out if your Sallie Mae loans are subsidized loans or straight private student loans.

If they are government subsidized loans, as some Sallie Mae loans are, then you have some good options for dealing with the debt. See The Ultimate Guide to Dealing With Student Loans You Can’t Afford.

A cosigner does complicate the issue. Lenders require a cosigner to go after when the primary borrower can't afford the payments. Basically a cosigner has all the liability and none of the benefits of the loan. If anyone ever asks you to cosign, say no.

If these loans are private student loans and not eligible for income based repayment programs from the government then your logical choices are to earn more, ask your father to help pay the loans each month, or if you have other debt that is holding you back from making the payments you should consider bankruptcy.

A chapter 7 bankruptcy won't eliminate the student loans but it will terminate other debt in about 90 days and leave you better able to make the private student loan payments. 

Student loans are an exploding crisis, and I mean a massively exploding crisis. More is owed today on student loans than on all credit cards. And student loans have the fewest solutions and options to deal with the debt. People who took out student loans, especially private student loans, are essentially financial slaves until Congress changes the laws.

Up until 2005 private student loans were able to be discharged in bankruptcy. Once that was eliminated by Congress the private student loans lenders starting pouring out loans like water without regard to affordability or repayment. It has created a growing class of people who can barely make ends meet while paying the student loans and it leaves them unable to save sufficiently for retirement.  

Steve Rhode
WRAL Get Out of Debt Guy

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  • wildpig777 Jun 13, 2013

    student loan debt--the untold story. many students misuse the student loans to fund pizza, beer, and concert tickets. this misuse is widespread and rammpant. the loans are actually used to fund living expenses while in college and this is by and large the reason for such huge balances-- i just tole you what all the others wont.......

  • NiceNSmooth Jun 13, 2013

    I don't understand how the government allowed this financial institution keep ripping students up setting them up for failure.

    lol.. thank Bush for that

  • common tater Jun 12, 2013

    Society now teaches kids that the only way to be successful is with a degree, and they'll do anything to get it. It's sad to see so many in this boat.

  • steverhode Jun 12, 2013

    @alexandra33028 Did you ever ask the school for an accounting so you could see how the funds were applied?

  • kikinc Jun 12, 2013

    I purposely didn't use Sallie Mae. Then my lender sold my loans to Sallie Mae. Grr...

  • alexandra33028 Jun 12, 2013

    Sallie Mae is a Big Scam!!! I made a loan for personal finances while was in college and never see the money. Instead sending the check directly to me they reimbursed it to school leaving me double debt and high interest that keep raising up like a snowball. I don't understand how the government allowed this financial institution keep ripping students up setting them up for failure.

About this Blog:

Steve Rhode has had careers in opthalmology, real estate and as the head of a nonprofit debt counseling firm. On his blog, he offers hard-won, free advice about getting out of debt, consolidation and making the right choices as you manage your money.