Assuming you haven't already committed a big student loan borrowing mistake, like piling up loans without finishing college or borrowing extensively from private lenders rather than the federal...

You will have to go through a process called rehabilitation.

You do this by contacting the servicer, the entity you probably see with an 800 number on your student loan bills.

Bankruptcy rules don't allow people to get rid of their student loans unless there is an extreme hardship that won't let up, such as a serious disability.

If you've just finished college and are spooked by your student loans, you probably don't have to be.

When considering consolidation plans, be wary of origination fees and be conscious of the lifetime costs that may be affected by changes in your repayment terms.

Nevertheless, private student loan consolidation can be a smart solution.Uncle Sam can track you down through work and tax records and garnish your pay, which means taking money you've earned before you get a paycheck.The government also can keep any tax refund you'd normally have coming, and dog you as you age by taking some of your Social Security.Depending on your income, payments during rehabilitation can be as little as a month.Make sure you get assigned payments you can afford, because if you start missing payments again without asking for a deferment, you won't get a second chance at rehabilitation.With paperwork in hand, you specifically ask the servicer to put you into the official rehabilitation process with payments that are based on your income.