The following is an anonymous question submitted to Your Money Line and was answered by one of our highly-trained Financial Concierges. All identifying information has been removed.

I am overwhelmed with student debt. When I first started college, I had a hard time getting past the first week of school because the classes weren’t paid. So I ended up being withdraw from the class, but the school had gotten my student loans though I never received the credit. Back then I didn’t know all that I know now about withdrawals and loans. I now owe $23,396 mostly for some loan I never received for a class I was withdrawn from. What can I do to get help from this? This is so overwhelming. Thank you for reading I look forward to your response.

Dear Overwhelmed,

I’m glad you wrote in on this topic because student loan debt in the U.S. is a huge issue today and you are not alone in your struggle. It is very overwhelming, especially given your circumstance.

There are some actions you can take to ease the situation, but unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a way out of paying the loan back.

With that said, let’s look at what we can do to help you get this burden off your back as fast as possible.

There’s a program called PSLF, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, that provides student loan relief if you work for a government organization (federal, state, local or tribal) or a qualifying Non-Profit. If this sounds like something that might apply to you, this site has detailed information about the PSLF program.

You might want to consider refinancing your loan but most likely, you already have a low rate so refinancing won’t provide any relief.

Since we can’t make the loan go away, the next thing to do is have a plan for paying this off as fast as possible so you can get on with other financial goals. We can help with that! Check out this article Peter Dunn wrote that lays out why exactly you want to pay off your loans fast and how to do it!

So what will it take to pay this off? Assuming your loan is 5% and your goal is to pay it off in 10 years, you’ll have to make payments of about $245. If you can find $435/month, you can have this loan gone in 5 years!

Where’s that money going to come from? We’re going to start with your current spending. I know this may seem like a lot so I’m going to ask you to go through spending analysis to find money that can be freed up for loan repayment. I’d like you to look at your last 2 months of spending and review it for unnecessary expenses. Things like coffee out, dining out, shopping, and anything else that isn’t necessary should be eliminated. Really examine your groceries, rent, car payments and other items to see where you might be able to trim your spending.

After going through this with a fine tooth comb and you can’t find it in your current spending, you may have to get a temporary second job. Remember, the goal is to pay this down as fast as possible. Taking a second job for a specific goal is a great plan. Direct all extra earnings to paying down your debt and you’ll be amazed at how fast it will disappear.

I’m sorry I don’t have a solution that would eliminate this loan but I hope the guidance here will help you get rid of it as fast as possible.

Best wishes,

The Your Money Line Financial Concierge Team

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