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College tuition in collections - should I pay in full or slowly pay while focusing on credit cards?
I recently accepted a job that pays more, so I can start seriously tackling my financial problems. My two largest problems on my credit report right now are (1) an open collections account and (2) using 90% of my available credit cards.

Credit Karma score: 630.
Collections account: opened Oct. 2009, $2,100 balance (original balance $3,500).
Credit cards: 2 with the same interest rate, one is at $4,150 ($4,500 limit) and the other is at $350 ($500 limit).

I have college tuition in Maryland that was sent to the state collections unit. I've called them and they say that they don't settle collections and that they are not held under the same collections law since they are state-run (which seems to be legit.). So it seems that I cannot get this removed even if I pay in full.


1. Is it worth sending them an offer to pay the debt in one lump sum in exchange for removing from my credit report? If you think this is a good option, do you have any sample letters I could use?

2. If they will not remove the report (which is likely), is it better to aggressively pay off the collections amount or focus on paying down credit cards? I've heard that paying off a collections account doesn't really help you in the short term since the damage is done when it is reported as in collections and you kind of have to live with it for 7 years. So should I pay off this collections account or pay down my credit cards first?

3. Since the collections account was opened in 2009, my TransUnion report says that it is expected to be removed in 2015. Is that only if the amount is paid by then?

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