Unfortunatly you are about to find out how much the field has been tilted against you. CNN money ran a story about people who are forced to leave the country because they can't pay the loans off. These people aren't your typical dead beats but simply took private loans out to get a college degree. The fee's and payments were so bad that no amount of payments could ever make dent in them. They were faced with the prospect of paying them off over 30 or 40 years if ever.
And this from here
"Since 1997, student loans have become the most profitable, uncompetitive, oppressive, and predatory type of debt of any in the nation. This has occurred due to legislation that was paid for by the the lobbying machine of Sallie Mae, the largest student loan company in America. Vast personal fortunes are being made by both Sallie Mae executives, and others who paid for this legislation, at the expense of decent citizens who were not able to capitalize on their education. This has effectively crippled MILLIONS of decent citizens who want to repay their original debt, but are prevented from doing so by staggeringly higher amounts being demanded from them by both "non-profit", and for-profit student loan companies. This has truly created a swath of economic destruction across our land." and
"According to Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren in a Wall Street Journal piece by John Hechinger last year, "Student-loan debt collectors have power that would make a mobster envious."
It should be noted that this is a very hot topic around cyberspace, so expect loads of flaming between bits of usefull information. Do post back and let us know how it works out for you.