Life happens. Sometimes you can not avoid defaulting on your student loans. It is unfortunate but you can recovery once you are financially stable enough to resume a payment plan. I hope to simplify your options a little:
To see if your student loan is a federally back loan: click here
Student Loans Remediation / Rehabilitation
In my opinion this is by far the best program if you can afford the monthly payment. The biggest advantage is that you can have the negative information from your credit report removed through this program.
To see if you qualify, call the servicer or lender currently holding your loan. If you do not know your servicer then click here. Ask them specifically for the “Remediation” program. They will use your currently budget information to see what your monthly payment will be. Unfortunately, through this program you can not negotiate your monthly payment. It is what the formula says.
As long as you can afford this payment and you make 10 months of on time payments [within 20 days of due date] then they can erase the negative reporting from your credit report.
You may not qualify for this program if you have been convicted of loan fraud or are already being garnished for your student loans. Once your loan is rehabilitated, you may even qualify for future loan forgiveness or forbearance programs due to financial hardship.
Forbearance is a temporary delay or reduction of student loan payments due to financial hardship. You can contact your servicer or lender directly to arrange a payment plan. Under forbearance plans you can negotiate your monthly payment. Most plans have to be a minimum of $50.00 per month. Interest still accrues on the unpaid balances.
Deferred student loan payments are available to to those the re-enroll in school, are unemployed or facing economic hardship. You may also be eligible if you are disabled, certain military service and a time thereafter. Interest does NOT accrue on the unpaid balances.
Contact your student loan servicer or lender to make payment arrangements.
Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAPs)
These are programs that are offered by schools, employers, states, and the federal government. They usually make the minimum monthly payment for you on your student according to their own guidelines.
You can start your search here on Google