How can this graduate deal with too much student loan debt?

How student can face a mountain of debt
How student can face a mountain of debt

In a recent post in our Money College series, Fruzsina Eordogh described her personal financial crisis brought about by excessive college debt -- especially private student loans.

According to Eordogh, she borrowed $43,000 from Sallie Mae with an average interest rate of 9.5%. She has already accrued $23,000 in interest. She will have to make monthly payments of $690 for 14 years and 11 months before she is debt free.

In a weak job market, her problems are compounded. WalletPop editors asked me to offer some ideas for how Ms. Eordogh can improve her situation, and here's the bad news: It will not be easy at all. Student loans are the herpes of personal finance: nearly impossible to get of. They are not dischargeable in bankruptcy and, if she misses payments, she could end up in default and owe far, far more money.

Here's the bottom line: if Fruzsina is to have a prayer of a financial life in 15 years, she absolutely must find a way to sock away $690/month to make every single payment without ever being late. Plenty of financial aid experts will suggest that she talk to her lenders about getting a hardship deferment: make no payments while the interest continues to add up. The problem with that idea in her situation is that the interest rates are so high that once she starts playing that game, her debt hole will grow exponentially larger and she'll never get out of it. Here are some other ideas: