Interesting article here about how debt relief firms are misleading student borrowers. I am obviously not against charging for assistance. In fact last week I rolled out options where I will help students for a fee. What I am really focusing on is “know your options” and don’t do something out of fear when perhaps you are perfectly able to do it for free.
Let me explain. A big problem we are experiencing right now is from predatory 3rd party companies charging BIG money to do things like loan consolidation, income plans, or public service loan forgiveness. In many of these cases they prey on a borrower’s fear and make them believe they hold the key to some secret government programs.
Here is the truth in case you do not know it:
-You can apply for an Income-Driven plan on www.studentloans.gov
-You can apply for Public Service Loan Forgiveness yourself (start by talking to FedLoan Servicing who is the exclusive PSLF holder)
-You can apply for consolidation loans yourself at www.studentloans.gov
Does that mean all these companies are bad? Of course not. I’ve seen plenty of great ones.
The best difference I read online was the grass cutting analogy. I personally do not cut my own grass. Instead I pay someone else to cut it for me. This is not because I don’t think I can do it for free but because I choose not to.
So if you are a doctor in residency that is too busy and wants to hire someone to take care of your paperwork, great do it. If you have talked to your loan holder, tried to do it yourself and feel truly overwhelmed, you may be a great candidate. But the point overall is you need to not be taken advantage of and know you have options. Also as a result do as much research on these companies as possible to make sure you get someone who is reputable and is out to help you as much as they are themselves (if not more).