Question: I need help with my student loan. I’m 64 and got my MBA in 2015, and I still can’t find a job. I have been to several interviews, but no one will hire me either because of my age or because I committed a crime at 27, even though he has since been acquitted and cleared. What can I do?
Have a question about getting out of a student loan or other debt?
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To respond: The good news is that if you have federal student loans, you have several options. Although your federal loan payments will likely be suspended until May 1, 2022, when you need to start paying them back, you’ll want to make the payments manageable. So the pros recommend considering an income-driven repayment plan. “If your Discretionary Income is set at $0, your monthly payment could be set at $0,” says Rebecca Safier, Certified Student Loan Counselor and Higher Education Financing Expert at Student Loan Hero. (Note that if you have federal loans, refinancing is probably not a good option because it will strip the loans of federal protections like income-based repayment options.)
Not sure which income-tested plan to choose? “You can read about different income oriented income plans to see which option would work best for you, or you can just ask your loan manager to pick the one with the lowest monthly payment,” says Safir.
Another option is to request a deferral or forbearance once the federal student loan payment break is over. Both programs allow you to temporarily suspend your loan repayments due to financial hardship or other eligible reasons, but note that in most cases interest will accrue on your loans. (Learn more about adjournment and abstention here.) Although an income-based repayment plan is preferable, opting for a deferral or forbearance will not negatively impact your credit score. But the pros say it’s not a long-term solution and the interest accumulation can be heavy.
Private student loans, unfortunately, are not eligible for these federal programs, but your loan officer might be able to work with you to adjust your payments or even temporarily suspend them. “It’s worth calling your repair person to discuss your situation and see if they can help you. You could also explore refinancing your private student loans, which could lead to a better interest rate and new monthly payments,” says Safier. (To see the best student loan refinance rates you can qualify for here.)
One thing to consider is that if you choose a longer term, your monthly payments might go down, but you’ll pay more interest. “If you don’t currently have any income, however, you’ll likely need to apply for a co-signer to qualify,” says Safier.