Borrowers defaulted on nearly 6.7 percent of the student loans issued in fiscal year 2007, according to a report released in December of 2009 by the U.S. Department of Education. If you have missed student-loan payments, or are in danger of defaulting on your loan, you'll need to write a hardship letter to your lender requesting financial relief.
Gather together your recent paychecks, federal income tax return, credit-card statements and other loan statements to help prove to the servicer of your student loan that you have suffered a financial hardship that is preventing you from paying your student-loan bills.
Contact the servicer of your student loan at the number listed on your most recent statement. Tell your servicer that you have suffered a financial setback that has made it impossible for you to afford your monthly student-loan payment. A setback might be a recent job loss, drop in annual pay, the inability to find a job after graduating or a serious medical condition that has kept you from working.
Write your financial hardship letter. This letter explains why you have either defaulted on your student-loan payments or are in danger of doing so. List your financial hardships in this letter.
End your letter with a request for a modification of your student loan. Your servicer can choose from several options to lower your monthly payments to a level that you can afford. This might mean reducing the principal balance on your loan, lowering its interest rate or lengthening its term. This letter will potentially help lower your monthly payments.
Send to your lender the copies you made in Step 1 and your financial hardship letter. Your lender will study your documents before deciding if you qualify for a loan modification.
Agree on a specific loan modification from the servicer of your student loan. Make sure that you can afford your new student-loan payments. If you can't, you'll almost certainly become delinquent again.
Don Rafner has been writing professionally since 1992, with work published in "The Washington Post," "Chicago Tribune," "Phoenix Magazine" and several trade magazines. He is also the managing editor of "Midwest Real Estate News." He specializes in writing about mortgage lending, personal finance, business and real-estate topics. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Illinois.