I’m Here on a Green Card and Need to Consolidate My Credit Card Debt


Dear Steve,

I came into this country as an international student for the purposes of attending college. I did not have a job and I couldn’t work legally because of my status. I did odds and ends jobs to survive because I had tuition to pay and also I was living alone as I did not have help. I racked up tons of debt both credit cards and student loans with the help of a cosigner. I am presently paying my loans with Navient and I also became a green card holder. I am part of the NYC teaching fellows and I work full time in a public high school.

I would like to know how can I go about consolidating my credit card debt into one payment. I am in grad school and still pay a small amount for my degree and I also have rent, bills and student loans with Navient of about $589 a month. Any kind of advice would be greatly appreciated.



Dear AM,

It sounds as if your student loans may qualify for eventual forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. You should get your student loans qualified for forgiveness under PSLF if you plan to continue in teaching or public service.

You can consolidate your federal loans into a new Direct Loan and then opt for an income driven repayment plan which will give you the lowest payment now.

On the credit card front you can always “consolidate” your cards in a credit counseling program. If you are currently able to afford your credit card payments and able to continue to build your emergency savings fund at the same time then a credit counseling program may reduce your interest rates and help you to pay off your debt for less.

What I would be concerned about is how your student loan payments may change once you are out of school and if that would impact your ability to make your consolidated credit card payments at that point.

There is no sense starting a five-year repayment plan through credit counseling only to have it blow up in two years later when your student loan payment changes.

You could also look into a unsecured debt consolidation loan but I’m not sure if the interest rate would be higher than what you are paying now.

As far as bankruptcy. you have not given me any information that would indicate it would be worth considering at this time.

Steve Rhode
Get Out of Debt GuyTwitter, G+, Facebook

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This article by Steve Rhode first appeared on Get Out of Debt Guy and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.