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Ask Dave

Should We Go for Forgiveness?

Ralando wants Dave's opinion about whether a government school loan program is a good idea.

QUESTION: Ralando in Indiana has been working his debt snowball the last three years. He recently got married and obtained his wife's $60,000 in student loans. He has $70,000 of his own and they make $110,000 to $130,000 a year. If she works for the state 10 years or more, the government will forgive the loan. He wants to know if they should pay his loan or her loan first.

Dave's ANSWER: Since she has the possibility of forgiveness, you could run hers first and yours second on the debt snowball, but here's the thing: You make $130,000 a year, so how long does it take you to pay $130,000 in student loan debt? It won't take you 10 years. It won't take you seven years. If it only takes you three or four years, you won't be taking advantage of this forgiveness unless you choose to stay in debt so that there is federal forgiveness.

I'm not doing that; I'd rather be done with it. You lose four years of your life so that the government might step in. But maybe they step off a cliff and some of these forgiveness programs go away.