student loans

Dealing with Student Loans After Bankruptcy

Question: I went to Culinary School not realizing my student loans would cost me around $1,000 a Month.

We had to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy to hold them off for 5 years, but I will still be hurting when it is over and Sallie Mae will not even consolidate the loans anymore.

I am now a police officer because cooking jobs in Alabama will not support my family, much less pay my loans. Any tips for dealing with student loans after bankruptcy?

Answer: Since you are now working as a police officer, your best option may be to investigate whether you will qualify for student loan forgiveness.

This is granted to certain individuals who work in public service fields. To be specific, look into the debt-forgiveness provisions of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which became effective July 1, 2008.

Its purpose is to help eliminate the student loan burden of public services employees, ranging from school teachers and social workers to fire fighters and police officers like yourself.

I don’t know many key facts about your situation, like whether or not you had federal loans or private loans, the exact total of all your college loans, and how long you may have been paying on them in the past. Nor do I have any idea about your income and expenses, or how long ago it was that you filed for bankruptcy protection. So it’s hard for me to give you more individualized guidance.

In any event, you can get additional information and advice about your loans online from the federal government at: http://www.studentaid.ed.gov.

Also, even though Sallie Mae appears to have told you that you can’t consolidate, I wouldn’t rely solely on their word. To find out if you are eligible for a federal direct consolidation loan (which would also help you qualify for loan forgiveness) call the Department of Education at 800-557-7392 or visit their loan consolidation page.

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