Do you want private student loan forgiveness? Of course.
But are you likely to get it?
The truth is private student loans forgiveness programs don’t exist. At least not in the way they do for federal student loans.
Still, there are some options for a small number of you to get rid of your private student loan.
In this post, I’ll go over those options.
But before I do that, let’s talk about…
Where to find private student loan help
Let me guess:
Your private student loan lender refuses to give you a permanent payment that you can afford?
Sure, Sallie Mae, Navient, or Discover will lower your payment on your private student loans for a few months.
But that’s all they’ll do.
No matter how much you beg. No matter how much you plead with them. They’ll refuse to understand the financial struggles you’re facing.
So what do you do then?
I’m guessing you’ll probably go to Google and type in:
But when you do that you find yourself staring at 143 million results.?
And a whole bunch of ads trying to get you to sign up for more private student loans.???
That’s not really helpful, is it?
Let me let you in on a secret:
There’s not much private student loan help out there.
Sure, there are debt relief companies that will try and help settle your student loans. But many of those companies end up doing more harm than good. And occasionally, these companies promising you private student loan help are simply scamming you out of your money.
In my opinion, the only person you should trust for help with private student loans is a student loan lawyer.
Further reading: How to Find a Qualified Student Loan Lawyer
Of course, being a student loan lawyer, I’m biased. But that doesn’t make what I’m saying false.
The truth is, you want to hire someone who has a legal duty to put your best interest ahead of their own. That’s what a private student loan lawyer does.
And when we’re talking about the thousands you owe in private student loans, do you really want to mess around?
I think not.
Where to find private student loan forgiveness programs
Let me set the record straight:
There’s no one place you can go to find a list of private loan forgiveness programs.
First, as I said earlier, there are no official programs to get your private student loans forgiven. Second, when private student loan forgiveness does happen, it’s usually because a company was sued because of their shady practices.
For instance, back in 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued Aequitas Capital Management, Inc.
The CFPB sued them because it believed they saddled Corinthian College students with private student loans they couldn’t afford.
The last I heard, Aequitas settled the lawsuit and agreed to:
- Reduce the principal amount owed on private student loans (Genesis loans) by 55%;
- Forgive accrued interest, fees, and charges on some loans; and
- Forgive all of the Genesis loans that were in default for more than 270 days as of March 2017.
That’s just one example.
Right now, the attorney generals of California, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Washington have each sued Navient for its handling of both federal and private student loans.
What does that mean for any potential Sallie Mae loan forgiveness (Navient took over a lot of Sallie Mae’s private loans)?
All anyone can do is speculate.
In the meantime, we need to worry about things you can actively do.
And that brings me to my next point...
Some companies offer private student loan forgiveness if you’re disabled
Remember earlier when I said only a small number of people can qualify for private student loan forgiveness?
These are the people I’m talking about:
Those of you who are totally and permanently disabled may be able to get your private student loans forgiven.
Not every company offers private loan forgiveness.
In my experience, here are the companies that have forgiven private loans:
- Sallie Mae (forgiveness of Smart Option Student Loan for Total and Permanent Disability); and
- Wells Fargo.
But what about those of you who aren’t disabled?
I’m sure you’re wondering…
Can private student loans be forgiven if I’m not disabled?
If you’re not totally and permanently disabled, the only way you’re going to get private student loan forgiveness is if the government sues the company holding your loans. (Like I mentioned above.)
Other than that, your options to get out of paying your private student loans are limited to:
- Waiting for them to sue you and hope they don’t produce the paperwork;
- Filing bankruptcy and argue the private loans are an undue hardship or aren’t a qualified education loan; or
- Stopping payments and hope the statute of limitations runs out.
These options aren’t without their risks. For example, let’s say National Collegiate Student Loan Trust sues you. They might show up with the right paperwork. They might not.
If they do, they could potentially get a judgment against you for all that you owe plus, interest and attorney’s fees. And on top of that, the judgment might allow them to garnish your wages and put a lien on your home.
A bankruptcy carries different risks. So too does praying the statute of limitations lapses. (Let me let you in on a secret: they usually don’t.)
Final word on private student loan forgiveness
Here’s the deal:
In the absence of the government creating a private student loan forgiveness program, there’s no easy way out of these private student loans.
Yes, there are ways to get them forgiven or canceled or settled. But doing any one of those things usually takes hard work, diligence, and a lot of luck.