Consumer Watch: What happens when you don't pay student loans?

More Americans have defaulted on their student loans, worsening the student loan crisis (KOKH).

More people nationwide are defaulting on their student loans. After five years of declining default rates, the US Department of Education is reporting this uptick. If you just don't have the money, you need to know that lenders have a big incentive to work with you.

Fox 25 Consumer Watch talks a lot about the smart way to take out student loans, but if you’re in your thirties, and that whole life is past you, that might not do you so much good, but this information can point you in the right direction.

More than one million student loan borrowers defaulted on their student loans last year. To put that into perspective-- that's the entire population in Oklahoma City and Tulsa combined. The total number of defaulted accounts as of 2017 is 8.5 million. Basically, the population of the entire state of Virginia, the 12th most populated state in the US.

Here's what happens when you don't pay: First, your account is delinquent, after being 90 days late. Then, comes default after being 270 says late. It may take years, but eventually the government becomes involved, and tax refunds or even a part of your wage will be taken to pay the debt.

Talk to your lender about options before the loan goes into default because you will have more options if the loan is in good standing. It’s important to know that even those student loan forgiveness programs require years of on time payments.

If you have an overwhelming amount of student debt, and can't make normal payments, your option is to join pay as you earn or income based plans. In these programs, any outstanding balance after 25 to 30 years of repayment will be forgiven.

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