What If I Can’t Pay My Student Loans?

What If I Can’t Pay My Student Loans?

Student loans are a universal struggle for many college graduates who have not found the highest paying job or have other financial concerns. Some graduates are unable to start paying their student loans when the payment period starts, leading to a lot of financial stress. You may have options if this happens to you. Exploring these options might help you avoid worst-case scenarios like bankruptcy. However, if you find yourself falling into bankruptcy, do not hesitate to ask a Chattanooga bankruptcy attorney for help.


There are a variety of initial steps you can take if you know you will not be able to start paying your student loans when the payment period starts. Your options when you are unable to pay student loans depend on your current situation. Ask yourself what your financial obligations are, make a list, and prioritize them.

Once you prioritize your finances, you can figure out whether anything else is competing with you paying your student loans. You may have bills that cannot go unpaid that leave just enough money left for food each week. In that case, you may have to explore other options for paying your loans.

However, if you account for all your monthly expenses and find that you have some money left over, you might be able to start making small payments. Cutting unnecessary monthly expenses can also help some people cover their monthly student loan payments. When this is less feasible, you can contact your loan lender to see if the monthly payments can be lowered.

Many loan lenders are prepared to offer lower payments at first, but if not, you can try consolidating your loans for a lower overall monthly payment. You can also ask if you can delay the payment period through deferment. When this fails, ask your lender about any other options.


You may have to try out other methods when all else fails. Look into loan forgiveness programs and do not be afraid to ask your lender about loan cancellation and discharge. In some cases, you could have your student loan balance completely wiped out through either of these options.

You may qualify for loan forgiveness if you work at a government or non-profit organization. Your loan could be discharged if your school shut down, you become disabled, or you file for bankruptcy. When this does not work, knowing the consequences of unpaid student loans is important:

  • You will enter default if your loan is unpaid after 270-360 days
  • You could be sued by the lender
  • Portions of your wages, Social Security benefits, and other financial assets could be taken
  • Your credit score will fall
  • Any license you hold can be revoked


Defaulting or falling behind on student loans can make some people slip into bankruptcy. Feel free to call us at Tom Bible Law today at (423) 690-7712 to see what your options are for bankruptcy. Our experienced Tennessee bankruptcy lawyers might be able to help you discover different financial options. You can find us located in the Tennessee cities of Chattanooga and Tullahoma.

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