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Americans have accumulated $1.2 trillion in student loan debt, exceeding even the level of credit card debt in our nation. Seven in ten college seniors who graduated in 2012 had student loan debt, with an average of $29,400 per borrower. Because federal law treats student loan debt as nondischargeable in bankruptcy proceedings except in the case of undue hardship, borrowers can be burdened with this debt for a lifetime even if circumstances make it unlikely that the borrower will ever be able to repay.

There are ways to alleviate the problem in accordance with U.S. Department of Education guidelines. Smith & Weer is knowledgeable of what options exist for student loan borrowers, or for parents who obtained a parent direct plus loan.

Student debt relief depends upon a number of factors such as the type of loan(s) you have – federal or private; how much debt you have; whether you are working, and if so, your annual income?

If you are a co-signer such as a parent, grandparent, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, or friend, it’s likely that you co-signed for a loan through a private bank, or other qualified private lending institution. These are generally referred to as private loans. Private student loans are like any other private, consumer loan such as a car, mortgage, or line of credit, with one major difference: private student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy unless the borrower can convince the bankruptcy court that the student loans is an undue financial burden. The less you have in private student loans, the better. The more you have can lead to significant adverse consequences unless you have the income that permits you to make the required minimum monthly payments. It’s important to know interest on student loans compounds, meaning that unpaid accrued interest is added to the principal balance. This is unlike mortgage, or car loans where the interest is simple; unpaid interest is not added to the principal balance. Think about it.

For federal loans, go to the government website, There, after registering and obtaining a PIN, you will find a list of all your federal loans, the amounts, the accrued interest on your loans, and the name of the institution that services your loans.

Private student loans are not listed at You’ll have to pull your credit report to see those. Ideally, you’ll have copies of your loan documents you signed when you borrowed the money. Not everyone has these. This can be a problem, but one that you may be able to resolve by contacting the lender and asking for copies.

Now that you’ve gathered the necessary information, we can meet to view the big picture, and see what options are available to make repayment of your loans as easy as possible. To enable us to further assist you, we’ll also need a copy of your most recent paystub and last year’s tax return, if you’re working. If you’re not working, but have a source of income, we’ll need to see proof of what your other income is. Once you have all this information gathered, then contact us. We’ll quickly be able to assess your situation, and guide you to the most feasible course of action.

To contact us, click the Contact link, provide us with required information, and someone from our office will be contacting you to make an appointment to get started. Believe me, the sooner you act, the better. What you don’t know, can hurt you.

How can we help you? Contact us for a free consultation. We’ll answer all your questions, and explain your options. There is no obligation.

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