11 Steps to Relief From Federal Student Loans

Students and parents can negotiate lower debts, smaller payments, or temporary reprieves

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[Read more tips from the collections manual]

10. Try to fix your record while you wait for a final agreement. Lenders typically urge borrowers to keep making payments during negotiations. But borrowers who can't make payments can ask for retroactive deferment or forbearance.

11. Get help. If you're having trouble with your collection agency or servicer, call the Department of Education's ombudsman. If you need outside advice, contact the National Consumer Law Center or your local legal aid office.

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