Personal Finance Aug 20, 2015 02:21 AM EDT

Student Loan Hero CEO recounts struggle after defaulting on student loan

By Staff Writer

Education promises a brighter future. But for most of the students in the country, it means a $35,051-worth of student loans after graduation. In America, there are 40 million borrowers that collectively own more than $1.2 trillion. Out of all the borrowers in the country, some 8 million default on their debt.

So, what really happens to the graduates who defaulted on their student loan?

Andrew Josuweit is the CEO of the Student Loan Hero, a website that helps people save on their student loans. When he graduated in 2009, he had a total of $104,000 of college debt from 16 various student loan services.

Because of this humongous amount of debt, his relationship with his parents suffered. He had to take multiple undignified jobs.

He had to live in Southeast Asia, where the cost of living is cheaper, and he couldn't even get approval for an apartment when his girlfriend moved in with him. He found out that after 270 days of not paying, the college loan will go into default and the creditor will transfer the debtor's information to a collection agency.

So what he did was sign up for an income-based repayment plan to pay for his federal loans. Then he enrolled in a rehabilitation program to erase the default on his credit history after making nine consecutive monthly payments.

He makes sure he pays his highest-interest-rate loans first and the other loans that have the smallest principle balance. He refinanced the rest of his loans, which helped lower his interest rate by 1.5 percent. This helped improved his credit score. Also, thankfully, his online business made $68,000 in 2014 and is getting better.

There are serious consequences when defaulting on a student loan. For those who defaulted on their federal loan, the government can get your tax refunds, garnish your salary without going to court; they can even get money from your Social Security checks.

Besides Andrew Josuweit, another graduate who defaulted on her student debts is financial education manager Kristin Bastian. She entered in a debt rehabilitation program and applied for an income-based repayment plan. Magazine Editor John V. entered a debt consolidation program as well, got part time gigs until he landed in a full-time job.

One thing is common among these graduates. They said they hated having these kinds of loans and learned their lessons.

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