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Many students decide to attend college or graduate programs to increase their chances of securing their dream job, or at least a stable income. Still, graduates often find that when they enter the job market, it can be difficult to get a position in their field, let alone one that pays enough to cover student loan bills.

After years of rigorous studies, you don’t plan on drowning in debt. Unfortunately, there is no easy way out of your student loans. You typically cannot discharge your student loans through bankruptcy. Instead, consider ways to manage your student loans alongside other debt so that you do not find yourself living paycheck to paycheck or, worse, credit card to credit card.

You can explore a few options to prevent student loan debt from overwhelming you:

Consolidate loans

If you have loans from multiple lenders, it’s easy to miss a payment and face more fees. You can consolidate your loans, which means that another company manages the payments. This allows you to make one monthly payment to that company, which will distribute the funds among your lenders. Do your research to ensure that a consolidated loan will be at a reasonable percentage rate and makes financial sense.

Pay more than the minimum

The minimum payment for student loans can be misleading. Because your loan will continuously rise over time with interest, a good long-term strategy is to pay beyond the minimum when you can.

That being said, it’s hard to maintain life expenses like groceries and house payments when you have less money available. Reviewing your last few months of expenses, calculate your average budget to see what you can afford to contribute to your debt.

Loan deferment or loan forbearance

For some people, deferring their student loans temporarily might be an option. You may also qualify for forbearance on certain loans. Learn more about these programs for federal loans here.

When it becomes too much: Considering other options for debt

When student loans are one of many bills you have to pay each month and you find yourself accruing more debt than you can reasonably handle, it may be time to consider other options for debt relief. While you typically cannot discharge your student loans in bankruptcy, it may be possible to discharge other debts such as medical bills and credit card debt, thereby making it easier to manage your student loan debt.

Filing for bankruptcy is not admitting failure. Life takes unexpected turns. If you would like to explore your eligibility for bankruptcy, you can speak with an attorney to determine the best option for your specific situation.