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Should I Go With Student Loan Assistance Center for Help?

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Question:

Dear Steve,

Student Loan Assistance Center SLAC said that they would help me with my student loans. I currently have $307,500 worth of them right at 50 when I checked myself. I currently don’t have a source of income, and I still have two children in the home. They wanted me to come up with $799 for a loan origination fee to consolidate all of those loans, which I have been unable to do by myself, and $39 a month to remain in the program. I would not owe the government anything all the money went to them so $9400 would basically absolve me of $307,500 now, which includes $60,000 in interest, but over the 20 year payback I would have paid $800,000 back to the government. I see the appeal of these programs especially when you have no money to pay them back. My card did not go through my only saving grace.

What should I do? You say I can do this on my on, but I go to studentloan.gov and click on a link to consolidate it takes you on a circular path. You try calling them to get answers 3 hours later they send you back to the website saying the information is there. Is there some help for me?

Millicent

Answer:

Dear Millicent,

While it is true you can due all of this yourself, it is also true it is entirely confusing. I personally have no issue with you making a fully informed decision about what solution you need and paying an experienced company or an expert student loan counselor for assistance.

According to the BBB, Student Loan Assistance Center in San Diego is reported as no longer in business.

A Student Loan Assistance Center at studentac.org could be the same one you mentioned. I’m not sure. However, if you look at the fine print for this company they say, “Student Loan Service helps prepare documents for consolidation and does not make any loans or negotiate with your lenders. Student Loan Service is a document processing company, not a loan consolidation company.” – Source

If they are just a document preparation company then what kind of expertise can they have in helping you to find the right program?

If you have not already done so you could consolidate your federal student loans into a new Direct Loan and then opt to repay the loan using an income driven repayment program. However, you should avoid REPAYE if you ever plan to be married and filing joint income tax returns. Also keep in mind that income based repayment programs can have some serious consequences. Read Why Income Based Student Loan Payments Can Be a Terrible Trap.

You might also want to start your research by reading The Ultimate Guide to Dealing With Student Loans You Can’t Afford.


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