You might know the basic rules and policies for federal loan programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness(PSLF) and Income-Driven Repayment Plans(IDR). But understanding exactly how to take advantage of those programs (and how to save thousands of dollars in the process) is another story entirely. That’s why only 1% of people who qualify for PSLF end up benefiting from the program. If you want help taking advantage of these government programs, a student loan advisor can play an important role.
What Does a Student Loan Advisor Do?
As in the example above, a student loan advisor can spot when you’re not on the right track to qualify for programs like PSLF. They can quickly help you get back on the path to eligibility so that you don’t make any more wasted payments.
Below is what you can expect to receive from a student loan advisor.
The first service any legitimate student loan advisor offers is a free consultation. During this initial phone call with the student loan advisor, you’ll explain your issues and questions. The advisor will walk you through the programs that are available in your particular situation, including loan consolidation, loan forgiveness, IDR plans, deferment and forbearance, and more.
A reputable student loan advisor will not charge for this first crucial step. Access to information about federal student loan programs is freely available to everyone, by law.
Help with Federal Programs
If you decide you want help with any of the programs the student loan advisor has described, you’ll pay a fee to continue working together and receiving valuable advice and services.
It’s important to keep in mind that you’re not paying for the advisor to settle debts for you, get you out of student loan debt, or enroll you in government programs.
Instead, you’re working with a professional who understands the exact requirements for each federal loan program. With the advice of a student loan advisor, you can take better-informed steps to manage your own student loan debt.
The service offered by a student loan advisor is similar to the services of an accountant. While you receive professional advice and services, you’re ultimately responsible for managing your debts.
The ultimate goal of working with a student loan advisor is to save money. The way you save money on your student loans depends on your unique scenario.
You might work in a public service field, which means you’ll want to look at PSLF, which can save you thousands of dollars. If you have federal loans and don’t work in a public service field, there are still many programs that could benefit you.
If you have high credit and steady income, but you still have loans with high-interest rates, you’ll want to look at refinancing.
If you or the student loan advisor don’t think you can save money with the help of student loan advising, the advisor won’t recommend proceeding with the service.
They Won’t Provide You With Private Student Loan Options
Student loan advisors typically work with the federal programs available and help you navigate the laws and complexities of those programs. They do not typically offer advice, or advise you to pursue private student loans. If you think you can save money with a private student loan refinance, follow this link.
Estimated 15 minute phone call
What Does Student Debt Relief Do?
Student Debt Relief is not a student loan advisor. As a company, Student Debt Relief connects you to reliable and reputable student loan advisors who have your best interest in mind. In a field where there are some less-than-scrupulous service providers, Student Debt Relief plays the crucial role of middle-man.
We’ve vetted every student loan advisor we work with, so you can feel confident that you’re receiving legitimately useful advice and assistance.
The process begins when you call us at Student Debt Relief. When you call, we’ll connect you with a student loan advisor who we trust as a partner, to give you the best student loan advice possible.
Is Student Loan Advising Legal?
You’ll often see student loan advisor services portrayed as a “scam”. However, offering services as a student loan advisor is entirely legal.
What is not legal is portraying student loan advising services as “student loan forgiveness” or as the only way to access programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Loan advising companies who offer “student loan forgiveness” as a product aren’t advertising their services honestly.
Instead, a reputable student loan advisor will advertise its ability to help you meet the requirements for federal programs and to help you manage student debt in general.
What’s more, legal student loan advising helps you meet the requirements of federal student loan laws. It’s one of the best ways to make sure you benefit from the federal loan programs to which you’re legally entitled.
It’s true that you can access those programs on your own. However, the qualification and application process for programs like PSLF is often prohibitively complicated. This is evidenced in the fact that the vast majority of student borrowers who would otherwise qualify for PSLF miss out because of ineligible loan payments or employment.
We always suggest you attempt to learn the programs on your own first. Everything you need to know is available on this website. If you don’t have the time or don’t feel comfortable going at it on your own, then we suggest seeking professional help.
Do You Need a Student Loan Advisor?
As mentioned above, you don’t need a student loan advisor to apply for federal programs. You also don’t need a student loan advisor to manage your private student loans. If you want to consolidate or refinance your private debt, all you need to do is contact your lender or loan servicer for details.
However, preparing for federal programs correctly, and even refinancing in the right way, can be worth thousands—or tens of thousands—of dollars. If you’re not entirely sure whether or not you’re taking advantage of every government program which applies to you, you could be missing out. Additionally, if your interest rate on your private loans feels especially steep, you’re probably paying more than you need to.
By making a small investment in a student loan advisor, you can potentially earn back that investment tenfold. Working with a student loan advisor can also free up the hours you would otherwise spend trying to become an expert in student loans. With student loan programs becoming more and more complicated each year, a professional in the field can give you peace of mind.
How to Choose a Student Loan Advisor
If you want to work with a student loan advisor, there are a few steps you can take to make sure you work with one who is reputable. Below, we’ll go through those steps.
Only Choose Vetted Providers
One of the best ways to set yourself up with a reliable student loan advisor is to work with a service like Student Debt Relief. Student Debt Relief has vetted all of the student loan advisor companies that we partner with, so you don’t have to.
Avoid Pressure Selling
As with any other business relationship, you want to avoid working with a company that pressures you to buy. Some illegitimate student loan services will present you with a sense of urgency and make you feel like there’s a deadline. However, you should always take your time to make an informed decision when it comes to financial advising.
If you ever get the sense that a student loan advisor is presenting itself as something it’s not, don’t be afraid to test the company with questions. A representative should be transparent and honest about his or her abilities to help you with your student loan debt.
Ask whether you can do a particular step on your own, for no charge. The company should be completely honest about the fact that you can apply for federal programs and work with your loan servicers on your own, any time you’d like.
Watch Out for Red Flags
If the company responds that you cannot apply for federal student loan forgiveness programs on your own, that’s an obvious red flag.
Another sign that you shouldn’t work with a particular student loan advisor is if they portray themselves as directly connected to the Department of Education.
The Department of Ed only contracts with a select few student loan servicers, and any loan advisor who claims to be associated with the federal government is likely telling less than the whole truth.
Take Advantage of the Free Consultation
Any legitimate student loan advisor you work with will provide a free phone consultation before you agree to work together. Before you go into this consultation, do your research on the company, and jot down any questions you might have. Gather together your loan information—federal and private—and make sure you have all of the relevant facts and figures.
The free consultation is the perfect time to run your ideas past the student loan advisor and address your primary concerns and issues. Bring up the main points you want to target—i.e., PSLF or private loan refinancing—and see what they have to say. Take notes, and get a sense of whether this is the right partner for you, or not.
Estimated 15 minute phone call
Student Loan Advisor: Summing Up
Although a student loan advisor will charge a fee if you accept their services, that cost often has a high return on investment. A student loan advisor can provide crucial assistance with your student loans. They don’t just fill out the federal paperwork that you can easily submit yourself.
If all you want to do is apply for federal programs like PSLF and IDR and you’re sure you’re on the right track, or if you want to simply refinance your private loans, you don’t necessarily need the help of a student loan advisor. However, most borrowers aren’t experts in student loans, and they could benefit from the insight of someone who is.
If you want to get connected to a student loan advisor you can trust to save you money, call us at Student Debt Relief.
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Student Debt Relief Loan Refinancing Advertiser Disclosure
College Ave: College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
College Ave Refi Education loans are not currently available to residents of Maine.
1 – The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as the borrower or cosigner, if applicable, enrolls in auto-pay and authorizes our loan servicer to automatically deduct your monthly payments from a valid bank account via Automated Clearing House (“ACH”). The rate reduction applies for as long as the monthly payment amount is successfully deducted from the designated bank account and is suspended during periods of forbearance and certain deferments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
2 – $5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees. Information advertised valid as of 04/26/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
3 – This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.
ELFI: Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. To qualify for refinancing or student loans consolidation through ELFI, you must have at least $15,000 in student loan debt and must have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from an approved post-secondary institution.
LendKey: Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
CommonBond: Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate.
Splash Financial: Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval.com
Earnest: To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest’s fixed-rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with autopay) to 7.89% APR (with autopay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.50% APR (with autopay) to 7.27% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms of 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 0.26% and 5.03% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 23, 2019 and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay Discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 04/23/19. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice.
Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 303 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.