You’re Delinquent On Your Student Loan, Now What? You’re Delinquent On Your Student Loan, Now What? Millions of Americans need financial help to make the American dream become a reality. Thus, Americans are bogged down by student loan debt more than ever. Attaining student loans are always presented as the obvious option to choose when eager college-goers need money to finance school. Of course, student loan borrowers have every intention to repay their loans when they graduate and land a job, but unforeseen circumstances may get in the way. So you missed a payment; and this means you’re now considered delinquent. As soon as you missed a payment, your student loan status changes from current to “delinquent.” With federal student loans, you have up to 9 months before you go into default and it gets reported to the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). You don’t want to go into default as once this happens your entire student loan balance will become due! If you have private loans, you need to act quickly. When you miss a payment on a private loan, most of the time those get reported 30, 60 or 90 days past due. The timeline of how a missed student loan payment gets reported will vary from lender to lender. In either case, don’t let your delinquency ride out as it could potentially remain on your credit report for up to 7 years, affecting your financial future in a negative way. Here is a list of steps to help you recover after you’ve become delinquent on your student loan. Make Your Payment The easiest way to get out of delinquency is to make your missed payment as soon as you can. As soon as you make your payment your status will switch from delinquency to current. Of course, there is a reason you missed your payment. If you missed it because you didn’t have enough money to make the minimum payment, you might want to consider creating a budget or if you already have one, take time to re-work it. If you missed your payment because it simply slipped your mind, do your best to pay off your outstanding monthly payment as soon as possible. If your financial situation allows, you may want to consider making more than the minimum payment. This will help you get back on track with your student loans, and your payment will go towards the interest and principal payment. If you missed your payment because it simply slipped your mind, do your best to pay off your outstanding monthly payment as soon as possible. If your financial situation allows, you may want to consider making more than the minimum payment Call Your Lender Once you are delinquent on a student or personal loan, your lender will try to get in touch with you typically within the first fifteen days of a missed payments. If they try to contact you, use this to your advantage! If they haven’t called you yet, make the first move and contact them. You want to be on good terms with your lender. Explain to them the situation, and listen to what they recommend so you don’t become a repeat offender of missing payments. You should consider talking to your lender to see if there is a better way for you to repay your student loans. For example, an income-sensitive repayment plan is based on your total gross monthly income, which can help to ensure that you make your monthly payments. If you aren’t in too deep with your delinquency, then you may be able to qualify for deferment or forbearance. These two options will allow you to completely stop making payments for a period of time; however, with forbearance, your interest will still accrue. Additionally, when you speak with your lender, ask them if your delinquency has caused any late charges or fees on your account. If fees did accrue, you may want to cut back on some of your non-essential expenses to help pay this down. Prevent Missing another Payment You may want to consider signing up for automated payments to ensure you stay on track with your loans going forward. Depending on the lender, if you choose this option, you might also qualify for a lower interest rate. If you do decide upon automatic payments, be sure to check that you have enough funds in your account each month to make the payment. Consider setting a reminder on your phone to help make timely payments. If you don’t want to make automatic payments, consider changing the due date of your payment to one that lines up better with your payday. Don’t get too worked up, becoming delinquent on your student loan isn’t always the worst case scenario. There are ways you can recover if you take action quickly and don’t procrastinate when it comes to missing a payment. It’s essential to avoid defaulting on your loans which generally happens after 270 days of consecutive missed payments. Consider speaking with your lender or loan servicer and figure out the best way to make your loans current and your payments more manageable. Leslie Tayne Leslie H. Tayne has more than 15 years' experience in the practice area of consumer and business financial debt-related services. Speaker, Author of Life & Debt, Attorney and Founder of the Tayne Law Group, P.C., Leslie is working towards reshaping the debt industry by offering real, proven solutions to help her clients get back on the road to financial freedom.