Best Answer: The simplest way is to get your repayment term extended. To accomplish this you can do one of the following.
* Consolidate your loan(s). Consolidating will allow you to (1) extend your repayment term beyond the standard 10-year term associated with most Federal loans sometimes up to 30 years, depending on how much you owe and (2) "fix" your interest rate at today's rates [technically, the weighted average of all your loans' current rates, rounded to the nearest 1/8th of a percent]. Consolidation is a good idea for you if you like the predictability of a single payment and a fixed interest rate. With Stafford rates scheduled to rise to 6.8% on July 1st, by locking in today's rates, you will probably lower the amount of interest that will accrue over the life of your loan (and, as a result, shave a little bit off of your monthly interest payment, too); or
* Call your lender and simply request "extended repayment" for each of your loan. This will leave your loans unconsolidated but will extend your repayment term beyond the standard
10 year term. You can always pay it off sooner or make a larger monthly payment at any point. Extended repayment is a good idea for you if you don't want to consolidate or want to retain the repayment incentives (or possible interest subsidies) that might be lost by consolidating. (Read about the "pros and cons" of consolidating here: http://www.finaid.org/loans/consolidatio. )
Generally, extending your repayment term will cost you more in the long run because it costs you *less* monthly. As such, you might want to seek out some more "temporary" ways to reduce your payment. You could.
* Request the ability to make "interest only" payments for a while
* Apply for a forbearance or a deferment until you have saved up enough to make your usual monthly payments a bit more manageable again.
* Request "income sensitive" or "income contingent" repayment. With this plan, your lender will determine your monthly payments based on your ability to pay.
* Request "graduated" repayment where your payments will start out small but increase over time.
FinAidGrrl · 9 years ago