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Beware of Companies Offering Fee-Based Student Loan “Relief”

June 5, 2014

Pick%20Pocket_jpgBy Chris Earnshaw

As someone who has been in the financial aid profession directly or indirectly for over 20 years, I’ve always been leery of companies that offer to help students and families navigate the financial aid processes – for a fee. While I certainly see the value in meeting with a financial planner to discuss strategies for paying for college and beyond, it has always been a head-scratcher when I meet with families who paid hundreds of dollars to get the FAFSA completed. And, more often than not, completed inaccurately. These families could easily receive help at any local college’s financial aid office and put that costly fee to better use.

Lately, we have seen the proliferation of companies who offer student loan “refinancing” and “debt relief.” These companies advertise heavily online, on the radio, and in print. For a fee that is often upwards of several hundred dollars, borrowers are offered the chance to consolidate at a lower rate or are informed of the many repayment plans that they “secretly” qualify for.

All of these options are available at NO COST to the borrower. As always, the borrower simply needs to contact their loan servicer, and the servicer will review all available eligible repayment strategies, from consolidation to deferments and forgiveness options to the new Income-Driven Repayment plans. Borrowers with questions about student loan repayment can be directed to their federal loan servicers. Nelnet borrowers can reach us 24/7 at 888.486.4722.


Christopher Earnshaw, Territory Manager, Responsible Repay

Christopher Earnshaw, Territory Manager, Responsible Repay

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