Student loan forgiveness is a hot topic among graduates today. And while some borrowers with careers in education, healthcare, and public service may be eligible to have a portion of their loans forgiven – many don’t qualify for these types of programs. In these cases, there are a variety of alternatives to student loan forgiveness that can make repaying your debt much more manageable.

1. Refinance student loans

By far one of the best alternatives to student loan forgiveness is to refinance student loans. Refinancing means you pay off your existing debt by taking on a new loan with fresh terms. Though this doesn’t erase your debt, it does give you the opportunity to negotiate a lower interest rate, a lower monthly payment, and a shorter or longer loan term, as well as the ability to add or release a cosigner. To qualify, all you need is a good credit score and a full-time job.

2. Talk to your lender about your options

If you’re having trouble paying back your private student loans, speak to your lender about your challenges. While they won’t forgive your debt, they may offer various options that can make your payments more manageable. The important thing is that you communicate with them first – and never simply stop paying.

3. Consider deferment or forbearance

Federal student loans (and some private student loans) offer a deferment or forbearance option to graduates who are experiencing financial difficulties. In these cases, you can temporarily postpone making your loan payments or reduce the amount you pay each month.

4. Consider federal income-based repayment option

 If you have federal student loans, there are a number of repayment options that can not only make your payments more manageable – but can also forgive a portion of your balance. The specifics will vary depending on the program and type of federal loans you have, but in general your monthly payments will be lower when your income is lower, and if you still have a balance after making 20 to 25 years of qualifying monthly payments, your outstanding debt may be forgiven.

The bottom line…

Even if you don’t qualify for loan forgiveness, there are many ways you can make paying for your student loans more manageable. We encourage you to carefully consider all of your options and choose the one that makes the most sense for your unique personal and financial situation.

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.