Once you sign on the dotted loan and accept the student loans which will enable you to complete your college education you make a commitment which cannot be discharged. Bankruptcy will not save you from the obligation of repaying your student loans but in certain circumstances they may be waived with your death. The federal government student loans will not be pursued if you die, but any private loans you have will pass to your next of kin.
As dying early isn’t probably a good strategy for discharging your student debt you are left with the only option, which is to repay it. The best way to handle the debt is to try and pay it early to prevent it hanging around your neck until you find yourself drawing your pension. If immediate payment is not a possibility you can arrange to defer payments in some circumstances but you will damage your credit score by doing so.
There are certain programs open to graduates who are eligible which will forgive or pay a portion of your student loans for you. The Federal Forgiveness program will pay some of the loans if you are willing to give up the chance of a possibly high flying career and work in a program in the public domain. Typically teachers are sought for schools which are in areas where it is hard to recruit staff, or for subjects which teachers are in short supply in. Individual states sometimes also offer this type of program provided you stay within state to meet their requirements. There are also forgiveness programs available for those who enter nursing.
If you want to consider volunteering for a term after graduation there are programs which provide a living stipend and a lump sum upon completion which you then apply towards the loan. Both the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps offer such programs but they are popular and you need to apply early. They provide the satisfaction of volunteering for a year or two whilst enabling you to reduce your outstanding student loans with a payment towards the principal. Your federal loan repayments are deferred whilst the programs are in operation.
Even if you do partake in either a voluntary program or a government forgiveness program you will still be responsible for the repaying the rest of your student loans and you may not choose to take the payment awarded and use it for other means than repaying your debt. However they are sensible routes to take as can provide a solid start to your working life at a time when other pressing financial obligations have not yet taken hold. If you have the opportunity to qualify for a federal forgiveness program they are recommended as an astute way to reduce your student debt quickly, and are generally for around five years.