You can rehabilitate you loan by making nine successive on-time payments. You can regain the ability to get federal assistance after the sixth payment. But you will still have to complete the seventh, eighth and ninth payments to get out of default. Discuss the matter with your loan holder and request that your payment be no more than what you would pay under an Income Based Repayment formula.
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You can rehab a loan at ANY TIME. You just need to ask for it. Note, the law doesn't necessarily require student loan debt collectors to advise you of your options.
Call the collection agency and ask to rehab the loan.
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