Ask The Expert: Why Can My Girlfriend Get Her Student Loans Fixed And I Can’t?

Question: My girlfriend and I both have lots of student loans. We Googled “student loan consolidation” and got some sketchy-looking websites. But we’re desperate, so we entered some info into some fields. They said she could get her loans consolidated but mine couldn’t be. Is this for real?
— Bill in Iowa

Howard Dvorkin CPA answers…

After getting some information from you, Bill, I figured out the discrepancy: Your girlfriend took out government loans, while you have a substantial number of private loans. Why does that matter? I made this video to explain the differences…

How to save money on those hefty student loans

For more on the differences between private and government student loans, consult our in-depth advice at Federal vs. Private Student Loans. The news isn’t all bad for you, Bill: You have both kinds of loans. You and your girlfriend can take advantage of several federally mandated programs. As you’ve experienced, however, some of the businesses aren’t exactly confidence-inducing.

Think about it this way: You can do your own taxes, or hire an accountant or tax-preparation firm to do it for you. That’s very similar to how student loan consolidation works. You can do it yourself — and shows you how in Do-It-Yourself Student Loan Consolidation — but that can be overwhelming.

The federal government offers various programs depending on your circumstances. (You can get a plain-English rundown on them in our section called Options for Paying Off Your Student Loans.) The businesses that help you through the process charge you a fee, but the ethical ones never charge in advance, and they never charge more than a fraction of what you’re saving. How do you know you’re dealing with one of those ethical businesses? That’s what is for.

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We partner with companies that offer all sorts of debt-related services, and they must abide by our Code of Ethics. When you call us at 1-800-810-0989, one of our experts matches you with a company best suited to help you. It’s worth the call, because while the options can be complicated to navigate, the savings can be huge.

Have a debt question?

Email your question to [email protected] and Howard Dvorkin will review it. Dvorkin is a  CPA, chairman of, and author of two personal finance books, Credit Hell: How to Dig Yourself Out of Debt and Power Up: Taking Charge of Your Financial Destiny.

This article by Howard Dvorkin first appeared on and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.

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Steve Rhode

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