Reply To: Identifying Scams – Student Loans
Hi Becky & Dan,
I hope you don’t mind if I interject here, but I have worked in the educational financial aid industry for over 30 years assisting and counseling students and parents on all aspects of student loans including borrowing, rights & responsibilities of the borrower, as well as affordable repayment.
I would be extremely hesitant of working with any company that has solicited you to assist with lowering your interest rate and/or monthly payments. I would also like to add to Dan’s suggestions on websites for more information, to also go to StudentLoans.gov which is a federal website that has a wealth of information, including the ability to register on the website and you will be able to view the student loans you have and see several repayment options on your loans. This does not include private student loans you may have taken out, which generally run at a higher interest rate. You can only take advantage of the forgiveness program if you meet the criteria set by the federal govt. and through your loan servicer so long as you do not convert your loans to another type of loan. There are also other options for example, graduated repayment plans, as well as other repayment plans or if needed, deferment or forbearance if you are having a hardship situation. The other tip I would also offer, is if you have several student loans at various interest rates, be careful about consolidating (if you meet the consolidation criteria) your loans, as you may lose the interest rate on any student loans that you borrowed when the rates were lower. Combining loans may be a good option, which is a bit different than consolidation. The federal government resets the interest rate based on the annual Treasury note auction, whether fixed or variable rates every July 1st and has done so for as long as I can remember, so if you borrowed over a period of several years, you probably have different interest rates on each loan. There is a chart on what the interest rates have been historically as well as currently, which I can provide the link to if interested. Incidentally, the interest rates will be dropping slightly this July 1st, but that is only beneficial to new borrowers. I hope this is helpful!