If You've Defaulted on Private Student Loans

Borrowers in default on private student loans will have different options for repayment than those with defaulted federal loans.

 Examine the private student loan contract you signed as the first step. What you can do after default may become clearer with this information. Then, think about the subsequent actions:

Get in Touch with Your Loan Servicer: In contrast to federal student loan servicers, private student loan lenders are not required to participate in hardship programs. However, there are many private lenders who have hardship plans. If you're having trouble making your payments, it's a good idea to contact your lender to see if you can work out a payment plan that includes a temporary reduction in your interest rate or your monthly payments.

Pay Off That Student Loan! If you fail to make payments on your student loans for an extended period of time, the lender may file a lawsuit to try to get their money back. However, avoiding costly and time-consuming litigation by reaching a debt settlement agreement with your student loan servicer may be preferable.

Though not all creditors will agree to a settlement, if you want to reach an agreement, you should offer at least half of the total debt. If the lender agrees to your terms, get a written confirmation before making any payments toward the settled balance.

You should think about getting new loan terms by refinancing.

To consolidate existing private student loans into a single, more manageable loan, borrowers can refinance. A lower interest rate, a longer repayment period, and smaller monthly payments are all potential benefits of refinancing. However, if your credit score is severely damaged due to default, it may be difficult to qualify for student loan refinancing.

One option is to find a creditworthy co-signer, such as a reliable friend or relative, and refinance your student loans under their name. If you have fallen behind on your student loans but are otherwise qualified for a refinancing, this may help you. Make sure you can afford the new monthly payments and terms of the loan after refinancing; otherwise, you'll be in default again, which will have repercussions for your co-signer.

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