What to Do If You Can’t Afford Your Student Loan Payments

Student loans are a debt you have to pay back, even if you don’t finish your degree. However, depending on your situation and what kind of loans you have, you might be eligible for a different repayment plan or to get your loans forgiven. Moreover, when it comes to qualifying for these programs, there’s nothing a private company can do for you that you can’t do yourself for free. 1 

Do not ignore your loans if you’re having trouble making payments. The government offers several options that can help keep your loans in good standing, even if your finances are tight.

3 Ways You Can Keep on Track With Loan Payments

  • Change your payment due date. Do you get paid after your student loan payment is due each month? If so, contact your loan servicer and ask whether you’d be able to switch the date your student loan payment is due.
  • Change your repayment plan. What you ultimately pay depends on the plan you choose and when you borrowed the money. If you need lower monthly payments, an income-driven repayment plan is based on how much money you make.
  • Consolidate your loans. If you have multiple student loans, simplify the repayment process with a Direct Consolidation Loan—allowing you to combine all your federal student loans into one loan for one monthly payment.

If the options above don’t work for you and you simply can’t make any payments right now, you might be eligible to postpone your payments through a deferment or forbearance. However, depending on the type of loan you have, interest may still accrue (accumulate) on your loan during the time you’re not making payments.

How to Manage Your Student Loans” Video

Check out this video to learn more about changing repayment plans, postponing or reducing your payments, or combining your federal student loans. 2.


 View accessible version (WMV)


###Larry Marvin

LifeCrafter- Money $ense


Beware: Private companies may contact you with offers to help you with your student loans for a fee. Remember, you never have to pay for help with your student loans. The U.S. Department of Education and their loan servicers for free help. Learn more about avoiding paying for help with your student loans.
  1. ©2018 Larry Marvin, Image Credit:32671790441_dbc0255096_o.jpg
  2. https://www.StudentAid.ed.gov

Government Going Mobile With Financial Aid Form

On August 16, 2018, the government introduced two new ways to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form: a mobile-friendly version of the fafsa.gov website and a mobile app.12

These two improvements will make it easier for students and parents to access and complete the FAFSA form on the device that works best for them, with a particular focus on improving the experience on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Redesigned, Mobile-friendly FAFSA® Website

The fafsa.gov website has an updated look with new colors and has been redesigned so that the site pages will fit the screen size and shape of any device, including desktop or laptop computers and mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. You can now complete the FAFSA form on a mobile device with the same ease as on a desktop or laptop computer.

The new design of fafsa.gov also offers the following features:

  • The “Help and Hints” display box has been replaced by “tool tips” that provide information about each FAFSA question.
  • While the number of questions on the FAFSA form remains the same, the questions are displayed in a more user-friendly way, with some now grouped in a different order to ease navigation through the site.

Now Available: FAFSA® Completion on myStudentAid Mobile App

Federal Student Aid announced that students and parents may now download the myStudentAid app from both the Apple App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android). The myStudentAid mobile app will provide the following functionality:

  • myFAFSA: complete the FAFSA safely and securely from your mobile device
  • Profile: edit/manage an FSA ID
  • myFederalLoans: view federal student loan and aid history
  • gov: access FSA’s signature source of information on student financial aid products, processes, and services
  • Contact information for FSA’s contact centers

Making the FAFSA form accessible through a mobile device provides students and their parents with improved options for completing the form. myFAFSA’s ability to customize the experience based on a specific role also makes it easier for students and parents to understand and complete the form. Also, students and parents will have the ability to complete the FAFSA form on any device that they prefer.

Note: This beta version of myFAFSA does not offer all of the same features as fafsa.gov. An enhanced version of myFAFSA will be released this fall and will include additional functionality.

###Larry W. Marvin

LifeCrafter- Money $ense



In the future, Federal Student Aid will post an announcement including a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation containing information and screenshots about myFAFSA.

To download the app, visit Google Play or the Apple App store at the links provided below.

Google Play:


Apple App Store:





Federal Student Aid, a department of the U.S. Department of Education:   https://ifap.ed.gov/eannouncements/072418TheFAFSAFormisGoingMobile.html



  1. ©2018 Larry Marvin, Image Credit:screen capture-play-google-store-apps-details-2018-09-13-14_23_29
  2. https://ifap.ed.gov/eannouncements/072418TheFAFSAFormisGoingMobile.html

Paying for College

One of the most significant challenges facing parents today is paying for college. Jacob Gold, in an article he wrote for HuffPost, said: “We constantly see headlines about the increasing cost of education and the strain it puts on family finances.” He went on to say “There is no question that funding a child’s college education is one of life’s most significant investments. So how can you keep junior’s undergrad years from undermining your own retirement savings?”  1 2

The Best Way to Pay for College

The best way to pay for college is to use money from brokerage accounts,  40l(K) or other retirement accounts, 529 state-sponsored education accounts, and other traditional savings accounts. All of these methods of saving require time and planning during the younger years of the future college students in your household. If you do not have the cash set aside, then you will have to investigate the numerous types of financial programs that are available.

Several Types of Aid

There are several types of aid available to help you pay for your education beyond high school, including grants and scholarships, federal work-study jobs and student loans. The first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form at fafsa.gov. We will discuss the important details of FAFSA in another blog post. 3

Grants and scholarships

Grants and scholarships are free money. They should be your first choice to finance your education. Why? Because you don’t have to pay them back. An excellent way to apply for a grant is through your FAFSA form. You also can check your financial aid office at the college you want to attend, U.S. Department of Labor’s free scholarship search tool, federal and state agencies, your parent’s employer or even with your current employer, to name a few possible sources to find grant and scholarship opportunities.

Federal work-study jobs

Federal work-study jobs are another way to help pay for college. Work-study is a need-based grant that requires you to work part-time while you’re in school. To qualify for work-study, you’ll need to fill out the FASFA form and meet the needs-based criteria of the program. You are only paid for the hours that you work.

Student Loans

Student loans fall into two categories: federal loans and private loans.
Federal student loans come from the Department of Education. These include:
Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, Direct Consolidation Loans, and Perkins Loans. The specifics of the Department of Education loans will be discussed in a future post.

Private loans sometimes called “alternative loans,” are offered by private lenders, like banks and credit unions, and do not include the benefits and protections that come with federal loans. 4

Seek Professional Advice

Get help to make informed financial decisions about how to pay for college. Start by comparing financial aid offers or understanding student loan repayment options.

###Larry W. Marvin
LifeCrafter- Money $ense

  1. ©2018 Larry Marvin, Image Credit: Piggy-Bank-with-graduation-hat-tassel-and-money-sticking-out-of-slot-e1534873438869.jpg.
  2. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jacob-gold/paying-for-college-101-5-tips-parents-need-to-know_b_8330184.html
  3. Student Loans | Consumer Information. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/1028-student-loans
  4. Student Loans | Consumer Information. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/1028-student-loans