How to Find Help Paying Student Loans

 We call Student Finance 101 a 'help-site' because it blends resources and info in one place to help you get out of student debt.

But really, it's a 'help yourself' site. Most people use it that way, but sometimes we get questions. And the #1 question is "Can I get help paying my student loans?"

And what they usually mean by 'help' is government aid, such as loan forgiveness. (Which by the way, usually doesn't forgive your whole loan, but that's another story).  

Well, different loans have different government aid programs and we don’t know who your student loan lender is. Canada's federal government? US federal government? Provincial loans? Private loans? Other?

It also makes a difference if your loans are defaulted or in good standing.

So we can't answer that #1 question. But we can help you help yourself.

Question: "Can I get help paying my student loans?"

Here's how to get a reliable answer!

Step 1
. You're already on this website, so you might as well start here if your student loans are from Canada. Go to Step 2.

If your loans aren’t Canadian, you need different directions. So click If Your Student Loans Are Not From Canada.


Step 2. If you don't know the names of any student loan repayment aid programs, jump to Step 3.

But if you DO know the name of an aid program, use the search engine at the top right of our site (above 101).

             Example: You've heard about the Repayment Assistance Plan (RAP), which combines interest relief and student loan reduction/forgiveness in Canada.

Just punch RAP into our search engine and presto -- there's all the info on our site about RAP. We've even interviewed a government official about RAP, on your behalf.

So just click on each one of our RAP articles and read what you like.

Does RAP look good to you? Then go to Step 4.

If RAP doesn't look promising, go to Step 3.


Step 3. See those 3 big square 'buttons near the top of our homepage? Click If You're Repaying -- or If You're in Crisis. That helps you browse for more aid info.

        Not sure which button fits you? This'll help:

'Repaying' means you're up to date with your student loan payments. You might be paying or you're just covered by some program, but you're in 'good standing'. This makes your government student loans eligible for help -- if you fit their rules, that is.

Once you use the Repaying button to find some aid programs, use Step 2 to track down the good -- and possibly bad -- about these programs. Then go to Step 4.

'In Crisis' means you're in a financial crisis. One or more of your student loans is in default. You're either paying your loans through collections agents or trying to avoid them. So, to access student loan aid, you'd first need to 'rehabilitate' your defaulted loans.

 So if you're In Crisis, use our search engine for terms like 'default' and  'bankruptcy'. We have lots about topics like that. These won't lead to government aid. Instead, they'll help you check out other options, such as a settlement offer or bankruptcy. 


Step 4. Contact your student loan lenders and say you'd like to apply for that program you’ve learned about (such as RAP).

Unlike us, your student loan lenders can look up your personal records. So they're the only ones who can tell if you're eligible.

If you are eligible, they should help you apply.

If they're not helpful or they sound confused, you probably just got a lemon. No worries, just call back to get someone else (or ask for a supervisor). 

                                              Good luck from Student Finance 101!


© Jeannine Mitchell 2013 - 2014