8 million Americans have defaulted on student loan payments

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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Chances are you or someone you know is buried in student loan debt. Maybe you've stopped making payments because there is no end in sight. Eight million people nationwide have done just that, and it's started a new social media campaign to push for change.

The federal government has started a conversation online using the #studentdebtstress to improve the system. With people complaining their payments are half of their paycheck, something needs to be done.

"I'm a senior home caregiver, and I like it more than anything I've ever done in my life," said Nan Guffy. Before that, she was in social work, but she said she's never made more than $35,000 a year, so paying back her student loans was a challenge.

"Something would come up that I just couldn't swing it," Guffy said.

Now, she's already drawing Social Security to supplement her salary, and she owes more than what she originally borrowed in the 1980's to pay for college.

"It's supposed to be low interest," Guffy said. "When it's that many years, it adds up."

"The lenders can come after you. They can garnish your wages, put liens on your property, and the government can garnish, if you will, your Social Security payments," said Michael Sullivan with financial education nonprofit Take Charge America. He said government lenders are more willing to work with you than private lenders are.

"Private lenders are typically not motivated to giving concessions, so all I can suggest there is to find the best interest rate possible, the best terms possible and pay off that loan as quickly as possible," Sullivan said.

He said in the future, the government should re-evaluate debt terms and limits, and consumers need to be more savvy when it comes to borrowing.

Guffy said she is hoping her debt will be forgiven.

"Now I'm really more stressed out about it than I ever have been before, now that I can see my income isn't going to increase," Guffy said.

For more information on this #studentdebtstress movement, visit: https://www.thunderclap.it/en/projects/26522-studentdebtstress.