If you are behind on your student loan payments, you are either delinquent or in default. Delinquency begins the day after you miss a scheduled payment. It’s fairly common: plenty of people are late on a payment from time to time, due to disorganization or a temporary shortage of funds or even a mix up in the mail. When you catch up on any and all payments that you’ve missed, you’re no longer delinquent.
Default is more serious. If you go 9 months without making a single payment, you are in default, and the government or your private lender can take various actions against you to recover the amount you owe, such as wage garnishment, without any notice or service of a lawsuit.
If you are delinquent or in default on a student loan, your options depend on what type of loan you have.
What Options Available for Student Loan Rehabilitation
- If you have a federal loan, the government provides a variety of programs to help you rehabilitate or consolidate your loan, and is required by law to notify you about them. When you rehabilitate a student loan that is in default, most of the expensive collection fees and default interest will be lifted, and you will once again be eligible for pre-default repayment options, deferment, and income contingency repayment plans. (Note that as of August 2008, you are entitled to get out of default through rehabilitation only once per loan. There are also limits on how many times you can consolidate.)
- If you have a private loan, many of the protections described above do not apply. Contact us for help negotiating with your lender.