Sign up to get your free e-book “Take Back Control: Manage Your Student Loan Debt” Click here

Its time to take a stand against the dragon
By: Genevieve Dobson

The media, the universities and the lenders all realize how much trouble students are in but other than a bunch of talk nothing is being done about it.  It’s as though we see the dragon sitting on the top of the hill but don’t feel the need to take action yet.  Maybe its time to be proactive and slay the student loan dragon before it destroys us.

Despite the fact that student loan debt has reached over a trillion dollars.  Despite the fact that over 85 Billion Dollars in student loan debt is past due (Yes I meant to say Billion).  Despite the fact that Sallie Mae has been reluctant in putting students into a reduced payment program.  Our government has not done nothing to resolve the student loan crisis.

I wish student loan debt was a happy and cheery conversation about puppies and rainbows and I’m sure more people would read this if it were but its not.  Student loan debt is a dragon sitting on the top of the hill waiting to destroy our economy even more so then the mortgage crisis and yet we do nothing.  We stick our heads in the sand and do nothing.  Why?  Because its easy to do.  We blame schools and universities for over charging or not properly training students on what debt really is.  We blame our government for not regulating the schools or capping the cost of education.  We blame lenders like Sallie Mae and Nelnet for rushing borrowers off the phone and not giving accurate information (and maybe we should). However, it is ultimately up to all of us with student loan debt to claim it and seek out the information we need to help ourselves.

There are many borrowers out there that never even realized there was a program like IBR that would reduce your payment and give you subsidy payments each month (money the government pays towards your balance that you don’t have to pay back).  Even less borrowers realize that there are forgiveness options for all borrowers; not just for teachers working in less than ideal environments.

If we don’t know that red means stop and we run a red light do we complain that we weren’t given the correct information?  If we don’t balance our checkbooks correctly and overdraft and get an overdraft fee from the bank do we complain that our schools or banks or parents never taught us how to balance our books?  Ultimately the things we don’t know how to do we have to either learn or hire someone to do them for us.  Many of us hire a tax account (CPA) or go to places like H & R block and pay someone to do our taxes for us.

Student loan debt should be no different.  If you have more than $25,000 in student loan debt you should be seeking help to make sure you save as much money as possible.  If that company was able to advise you on how to have your remaining balances paid in full in 10 years and cut your monthly payment in half would it be worth it to you?  Or would you rather spend 20 years paying down debt with higher payments and more  interest accruing each day?

Student loan debt is not something that any one of us wants to pay back.  Yes, we all feel bamboozled by our education system, by our government and by the ones we love who never told us that our education may not be worth anything one day.  Many of you are walking around with degrees but no jobs or jobs but with little pay and yet you still are getting billed for an education that has failed you.

Your not alone.  There are over $5 million people that don’t make enough money to pay back their student loans or struggle to pay on time but don’t realize there are options.   Here are 5 things you can do about it right now:

  1. Verify if you qualify for a reduced payment: You will want to check to see if you qualify for one of the reduced payment options and you can do this free by simply scheduling a free consultation with Degrees of Success.  You can get your free consultation with no strings attached.  Simply Email Us with a subject of “Free Consult” and we will provide you with the instructions you need to get your free consultation.  You can also do this on your own by going to the IBR website.  Just keep in mind, there are other payment reduction options besides IBR so it may or may not be the best option for you.  You can contact your servicer to verify.
  2. Apply for a reduced payment plan: Once you determine you qualify for a reduced payment you can contact each of your servicers and request to be placed into the reduced plan that you qualify for.  You will want to make sure you complete the correct paperwork with each servicer and submit your tax documents.
  3. Make sure you know who your servicer is: Its vital you know where your loans are.  Many times companies sell your loans or hire different servicers to service your debt.  To verify where your loans are you can go to NSLDS and retrieve that information.  Once you have all of your servicer information make sure to update them with your address if you haven’t done so.
  4. Consolidate variable interest rate loans: If you have variable rate loans it may be in your best interest to consolidate them.  However, you will want to only consolidate the variable rate loans and leave out the fixed higher rate loans.  If you consolidate them together this takes away your ability to pay down the higher rate loans faster in the future and will end up costing you more money. You will want to make sure to specify all the loans to be included and all the loans to be excluded on the application.  (Keep in mind Direct Loans messes this up at least 50% of the time so you will want to recheck to make sure your consolidation is being done correctly before it is finalized).
  5. Set yourself up for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF): More people qualify for public service loan forgiveness then you may think.  For example, if your an accountant at a 501(c)(3) company you would qualify for public service loan forgiveness.  You do not have to be a teacher in a less than ideal environment.  Rather there are many positions that qualify.  Also, if you do not qualify for PSLF you could still qualify for the IBR forgiveness program after 25 years.  To learn more on whether you qualify you can go Here.  Then you can follow the directions or talk to your service about setting your PSLF up.

Navigating your student loan debt is not easy but we are here to help.  If you have any questions about your debt or what options you have you are welcome to contact us.  Our goal is to help slay the student loan dragon so you can live the life you dreamed of when you went to college in the first place.

I am confident that our economy will get better in time but it has to start with recognizing the student loan crisis and beginning to come up with logical steps in resolving the many issues the student loan world has.  We have to take on the Dragon together or we just wont be able to win.

Visit my Facebook for regular updates on the news regarding the crisis and tips on how you can save yourself from the Dragon.

Also, if your like many others who would prefer not going it alone you can hire us to take on the Dragon for you.  We can contact all of your servicers, consolidate your loans through Direct and set up your reduced payment plan all for a price that is affordable for you.  If that is something your interested in just schedule an appointment by going to our Website and we will get you started!

Don’t be a statistic…beat the Dragon!