Life can get tough when you have student loan debt, but no degree. You don’t get any of the benefits or financial promise that comes with finishing college – but you still have debt that needs to be dealt with. What’s more, recent reports show that a whopping 62 percent of people who defaulted on their student loans in 2009 had no degree, which makes a lot of sense. People with college degrees earn substantially more than those without, so your bank account will probably take a hit if you invest money in a degree that you never earn.

The good news is, it’s not that hard to face your debt head on and deal with your loans. Here’s how to get started:

1. Know that you still have to deal with your debt.

There’s a misconception that if you have debt but no degree, you don’t have to repay your loans. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Doing nothing about your student loans is not a smart move and it will cost you in the long run. Your first step is to accept the fact that you have to face your loans – even if you haven’t earned a degree. Don’t let your debt linger and don’t try to forget about it, because it will be much harder to deal with once you’ve defaulted.

2. Figure out what you owe.

To tackle your loans head on, you first have to know what you’re up against. Depending on how long you were in school and how much you had to borrow, you’ll probably have different loans from multiple lenders. You’ll want to keep track of them to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

If you don’t already have a detailed record of what you owe, check out your credit report to track down your lenders. Create a spreadsheet and insert all the information you need – including the lender, amount owed, interest rate, and any login information to manage your accounts and pay your loans online.

3. Look into your repayment options.

If you have federal loans, income-driven repayment plans are probably going to be your best bet. Your payments will be tied to how much you earn and, in many cases, your remaining balance will be forgiven after 25 years of qualifying payments.

Please note that the information provided on this website is provided on a general basis and may not apply to your own specific individual needs, goals, financial position, experience, etc. LendKey does not guarantee that the information provided on any third-party website that LendKey offers a hyperlink to is up-to-date and accurate at the time you access it, and LendKey does not guarantee that information provided on such external websites (and this website) is best-suited for your particular circumstances. Therefore, you may want to consult with an expert (financial adviser, school financial aid office, etc.) before making financial decisions that may be discussed on this website.