If you took out student loans to finance a university or other post-secondary degree, chances are good that you may be feeling the weight of those loans right now. Unpaid student loan debt can be an albatross around your neck when attempting to secure financing for a home, car or other necessary purchases.

Unpaid student loan debt has reached an unprecedented high. As of April of this year, there was $1.48 trillion owed to the government for outstanding student loans. The total delinquency rate on these loans is over 11 percent. Student loan debt is a nationwide crisis.

Private student loan debt soars as well

The Institute for College Access and Success issued its report in 2016 detailing the 2014-2015 school year’s private student loan debt volume — $7.8 billion. That’s an impressive figure and represents a significant asset for the lending institutions.

Private student loans typically have higher interest rates than their federal counterparts. They also offer far fewer repayment plans and don’t have forgiveness programs. But that doesn’t mean that private student loan debtors are without options.

Help is out there

If you’re seeking a respite from your private student loan debts, consider these options:

  • Communicate with your lender. Keeping your head buried in the sand and avoiding phone calls and emails about your debt will never solve anything. At the least, see if you can apply for either a deferment or forbearance to delay repayment until you are on more solid financial footing.
  • Refinance your loans. Consolidating your student loans can lead to lower, more budget-friendly payments while also making it easier to stay on top of your other expenses.
  • Explore new income opportunities. Taking on a part-time job could bring in the extra income you need to make your monthly student loan payments.
  • Stay abreast of changes in private student loan terms. A problem with the length and breadth of student loan debt tends to draw the attention of legislators. Laws regarding student loan collections frequently change with the administrations. Make sure that you stay on top of any changes.

Consider filing for bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is not generally a debtor’s first option. But it can provide a viable way out of the morass of debt that’s accumulated over time. Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy won’t discharge all student loan debts. But what it can do is wipe out enough of your other debts that you will be able to afford to repay your student loans once the process is complete.