Organizations that provide assistance with student loans
Student loan default is not uncommon, but it hurts your credit and finances. That’s why it’s important to act as soon as you know you’re entering a cycle of late payments. If you’re looking for help with a student loan, explore these options so you don’t have to face setbacks again.
National organizations that can help with student loans
There are many national organizations that offer help with student loans, sometimes for free, sometimes for a fee. But you can take advantage of using these places and more.
- American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC). ACCC offers advice on student loans no matter where you’re paying off. You can talk to an advisor to learn loan repayment strategies and get advice on how to get out of a default.
- The Institute of Student Loan Counselors (TISLA). TISLA offers fast, free and fair student loan advice. There is no registration or payment required for assistance; TISLA works thanks to donations. You can get help finding out if you are eligible for the civil service loan forgiveness, if your loan is past due or in default, if you need to create a new repayment plan, or if you need to sign up for a. income-based repayment plan. TISLA can even offer advice on handling disputes with your student loan manager.
- National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA). If you are late enough with your student loan repayments to be in default or close to default, you can contact a lawyer through NACA. You can get help through lawyers, organizations, or even government agencies that offer help with student loans.
- National Center for Consumer Law (NCLC). The NCLC’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance Program can help you cancel student loans, manage repayments, and dispute collection attempts. Through the CLB, you can explore plans for consolidation, rehabilitation, or other repayment plans.
- National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). Sometimes you need a personal guide to explain your options, which you can get from the NFCC. Speak to a credit counselor for a detailed review of your finances, then receive a personalized plan to get you back on track. The NFCC is a non-profit organization, and depending on your needs, you can get free help.
There are other organizations that can offer help with student loans, including non-profit organizations that help settle other types of debt. Look for non-profit organizations that offer free or low-cost assistance to low-income student loan borrowers.
Local organizations that can help with student loans
Sometimes local non-profit organizations offer assistance with student loans. You may be able to find them if you are looking for student loan help near you. Other times, you can use national nonprofits to find local assistance; many local groups use national databases so that student borrowers can find help near them.
If you’re in a hurry, look for student loan counselors or lawyers in your area. They may charge a high fee, but some might direct you to organizations that offer free or low-cost help. Paying one-off fees can also be worth it in the long run if it helps you avoid the financial consequences of defaulting on your loans.
Other ways to get help paying off student loans
Sometimes you need substantial help with your student loans. These strategies might work for your situation:
- Contact your loan manager. If at any point you are about to be in arrears with your payment, contact your student loan officer and explain your situation. In many cases, repairers will offer difficulty programs to help get you back on track. The sooner you speak, the more options you will have.
- Request an adjournment or abstention. Deferral and forbearance temporarily suspend your student loan payments without damaging your reputation. Some private student loan lenders offer some form of forbearance, but this varies widely from lender to lender. Currently, the federal government has suspended student loan payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so you are not required to make payments until September 30, 2021.
- Consider income-driven repayment plans. Federal income-based repayment plans base your monthly payment on a percentage of your discretionary income and the size of your household. After 20 or 25 years, depending on your plan, the loan balance is written off. These plans are only available for federal student loans.
- Refinance your loans. Refinancing involves taking out a new private student loan that pays off all of your other loans, and then making a single payment on your new loan. Refinancing can help you get a lower monthly payment by offering you a lower interest rate or a longer repayment term, but keep in mind that you will lose federal benefits if you refinance federal student loans.
- Explore debt relief or settlement. If you are significantly behind on your student loan payments and have exhausted all other options, you may want to explore your debt settlement. That’s when a for-profit debt relief company pays off your debt for less than you owe. This is a dangerous option, as companies usually ask you to stop making payments on your outstanding debt and instead put money in an escrow type account each month that goes to the relief company. debt. Your student loan manager has no obligation to pay off your debt for less than you owe, and working with a debt settlement company does not guarantee that your student loan debt will be settled.
How to spot student loan relief scams
Settling student loans is not always a safe option. There are many companies that claim to be acting in good faith, but instead of paying your student loan officer, they take your money out of that escrow account and keep it to themselves. Avoid trouble by spotting student loan relief scams and avoid falling in love:
- Check if it’s legit. Your state’s attorney general will have consumer complaints about companies offering debt settlement on file. Sometimes company information doesn’t show up at all, which is another red flag.
- Find out about hidden costs or charges. Genuine debt relief companies will disclose all costs and fees associated with the proposed program you are enrolled in. If you don’t get that kind of disclosure, you won’t have a clue where your money is going. If a business charges a fee before relief or settlement has been implemented, it may not be a legitimate debt settlement business.
- Watch out for empty promises. If a company tells you about “new government programs” or guarantees relief of any kind, it may not have your best interests at heart. Settlement is not guaranteed and you shouldn’t expect it like the norm.