Now that we are in the middle of the graduation season, you will find many stories about the mounting level of student loan debt. There are now over 40 million borrowers with an average balance of around $29,000. The total amount of debt is up to about $1.3 trillion and there will be tens of billions more by the time this graduation season is complete. That is a lot of money that must be paid back and therein lies the challenge for so many borrowers. It is estimated that over 13 million people have past due balances and that one out of every twelve student loans is in default. You may be confused by the whole process and not realize the different options that are available to deal with a large amount of student loan debt. You may not even know how many loans you have, who your lenders are, or how much money you owe. Clearly, student loan debt has become an unmanageable problem for millions of borrowers. It can also spiral out of control very easily. When past due student loans go into collections or default, then potentially your wages can be garnished and your tax refund from the IRS and state agencies can be seized to repay part of your student debts. Lateness on student loans will also impact your credit score negatively. In some cases, your professional license can be revoked and your driver’s license can be suspended as a result of defaulted student loans. One of your best options to deal with a lot of student loan debt is to consolidate many loans into one. Consolidation brings many loans together so that you have one payment to make each month instead of many, often at more favorable interest rates than you have now on many loans. Consolidation also offers several payment choices including the Income Based Repayment (IBR) program. The IBR program generally bases payments on income, marital filing status, and the number of dependents a borrower has. Under the IBR program, you pay on your debts for 10 years and then no matter how much you owe, the rest of the debt is forgiven. You can qualify for the IBR program if you work for a non-profit agency, if you work for the local, state or federal government, or under several other conditions. These plans have the potential to greatly reduce your loan payments and to extend the amount of time you have to pay off the debts, which can reduce your monthly payments. These plans are freely available to all borrowers, but they can be complicated to understand and apply for. I recommend that you consult an expert to see if you qualify for and could benefit from a consolidation and/or the IBR program. Correctly developing a plan to consolidate your loans to avoid or get out of default is much easier when assisted by a team of established and proven professionals who know the rules of this complicated game. My favorite resource to help you accomplish this is The Student Loan Help Center which you can contact at www.consolidatecollege.com or by calling 855-305-1878. Don’t let your student loan debt burden overwhelm you—do what you can to get the situation under control with the help of these experts!