If you have completed your college education, there is a very good chance that you have at least some amount of student loan debt. Many students unfortunately have a large amount of loan debt, with some students incurring more than $100,000 throughout their college career. Having a large amount of student loan debt can make any student uncomfortable, and there are people out there that are trying to take advantage of this by ensnaring desperate college students in loan debt scams. If you have student loan debt, make sure you fully understand any “relief” that is offered to you.
According to Clemens (2015), the new scam involves students receiving “a phone call, email, or . . . ad promising to erase student loan debt as part of a new government program” (pg. 1). Please be aware that there is absolutely no government program that will do this. These types of deceitful companies will request a large fee up front with the promise of helping to reduce or erase student loan debt. As with many things in life, if something sounds too good to be true, it more than likely is. Follow the below tips to avoid being scammed.
- If you are having trouble making your student loan payments, you should always contact your loan servicer first. Your loan servicer is absolutely the best option to discuss repayment options.
- Never contact an outside/private company in lieu of your loan servicer, unless you are directed to do so by a trusted source. There are some reputable companies out there; for example, APUS collaborates with ECMC to help students who are struggling to pay back their student loans. However, more often than not, using an outside company will result in you being scammed.
- The blunt truth is that you decided to utilize these student loans, and it is therefore your responsibility to pay them back on time. Do not look for an easy way out.
- If you are unsure of how to approach your loan servicer, try talking to a financial aid advisor at your school. They will be more than happy to provide you with common options and suggestions for how to handle your unique situation.
No student is excited about having loan debt. In fact, it makes nearly all students uneasy and uncomfortable. It is a major responsibility to pay back student loan debt, especially if you had to borrow a lot during your college career. Remember, it is absolutely up to you to pay back the funds you utilized. If you are struggling, the two best resources to use are your loan servicer and financial aid administrators at your school. Unless otherwise instructed by a trusted source, outside/private companies should rarely be used to ease the burden of student loan debt.
By Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS