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If Student Debt is Weighing You Down, You Have Options — The ISBA Clarifies

Question: What happens if I can’t pay my student loans after I leave school? Answer: If you fail to make loan payments, you may be reported to credit reporting agencies as “delinquent.” If you have not paid on your loans for nine months, your student loan will go from being delinquent to being in “default.” You may be granted a “deferment” in the nine months before you default on your loan. After that, your only option will be “forbearance,” when your lender reduces the amount of your payments or allows you to stop making payments for a short time. Student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, as a general rule, unless you can show that making payments creates an “undue hardship.” For more information about Illinois law, visit If you have a legal question, send it to Illinois Law Now is a series of newspaper and internet posts prepared by the Illinois State Bar Association that address legal issues of interest to the public. For additional information about the law, visit