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What are my options when dealing with student loan debt?

Though the economy is on a significant rebound since our last recession, many people are still struggling to find a place in the job market. Having the hardest time are recent graduates who are running into the old dilemma: employers want you to have 1-5 years of work experience for an entry-level job right out of college.

As you can imagine, this quandary forces recently graduated college students to oftentimes accept lowering paying jobs in order to pay the bills. If they're like most college students across Florida and the United States, much of their money goes toward paying their student loan debt. But low pay and massive amounts of student loan debt don't always mix, leaving a lot of recent graduates asking this age-old question:

What are my options when dealing with student loan debt?

Most financial experts would answer this question by telling a graduate to make a budget and try to live below their means until the student loan debt is a more manageable size. Others might suggest a more proactive approach, telling the graduate to consolidate the debt or setting up a payment plan. But while these suggestions are all well and good, they don't always work for everyone, especially those who are struggling financially despite their best efforts.

For those who simply cannot gain a financial foothold, despite their budgeting, talking to a lawyer about discharging debt in bankruptcy might be the best—and only—option for some. It's very important to note, however, that discharging student loan debt is extremely difficult to do and rarely granted.

If an individual can prove that paying off the debt would cause undue burden, a judge might grant the discharge. To increase one's chances of convincing a judge, obtaining a lawyer is highly advised and may be necessary, especially in certain complex bankruptcy situations.

Source: The Simple Dollar, "15 Ways to Deal with Student Loan Debt," Kristen Kuchar, July 30, 2015

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