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Looking for "defaulted student loans for dummies" articles.

Started by Fool#1, June 28, 2020, 01:29:41 am

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Fool#1

I started reading through this forum and very quickly felt like I was reading a bowl of alphabet soup!  i never knew there were so many acronyms.  Below is a short (honest, it is 1/3 the length of the original article) description of my situation. 

I have a student loan that is seriously in default.  I went to school for one year 2008/2009 and then went abroad to teach because I could not find a job during the bust of the economic bubble.  1 year passed and I was not in a position to begin payments.  It has been 10 years now and I have not been able to (or just did not because of uncertainty) make one payment.  After I got behind, a couple of legal sources told me just to save up the money and then pay it off - it would be ok.  I have made some noble attempts to do so, but have been thwarted each time - most recently by a bout of skin cancer.  I still live abroad, so have little contact with collection agencies, etc.  The last letter I got showed a principal of about $20K, interest of $7K and an administrative fee of $8K.  The university was a private one.  The last letter that I got was not from a government agency. Iirc, the original loan was held by Wells Fargo, but that is not the name on the letter now.  Can you please help me read between the lines?  I think loan rehabilitation does not include people who have been delinquent for 10 years. 
I am in a position to put away at least $1K a month now for the next 2-3 years (barring some other medical crisis).  I have a job now that provides excellent medical insurance.  If things go well, maybe $1.5K a month.    What are my options?  Is there any way to get the admin fee waived or reduced? 
More about me: I am an English teacher in China.  In the past 10 years, I taught in a small town in the USA in the northern plains for 2 years.  It is very likely that I will be returning to the US to teach (also small town USA) starting in 2022/2023.  I make about US$30K a year here.
Related to this...obviously I am not good at managing money.  If saving up for a lump sum payment is a good idea, ss there some kind of savings account that I can open that will not let me take money out (unless for personal emergency)and also maybe give me a little interest?   I am still living abroad.   I have no assets to use as collateral for a loan.

I am looking for help in any form now.  I am especially interested in links to articles that will explain all of these terms - and any that are relevant to me.  I don't mind doing due diligence reading and studying but I have NO idea where to begin.