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What You Absolutely Need to Know About Your Student Loans

Published: July 17, 2017

Whether you’re thinking of taking out a student loan or already have one you’re working to pay off, there are a lot of different stories out there about what you can and can’t do. Don’t believe the wrong ones. Predators and debt relief scams can get you in trouble and cost you money! This is what you absolutely need to know about your student loans:

If it sounds too good to be true, it is! Pretending to help students pay off or reduce school loans, fraudulent companies steal millions of dollars from consumers each year. The Federal Government does its best to protect people with student loans, but you have to protect yourself. Although there are some legitimate loan consolidation agencies in the U.S., here are some warning signs that you’re dealing with the bad actors:

·         Their website looks like an official U.S. Department of Education site, but it has no actual affiliation with the Government.

·         They require upfront fees.

·         They charge for loan consolidation.

·         The aggressively advertise on social media.

·         They make unrealistic promises to drastically reduce or eliminate your loans.

You actually may be able to consolidate or reduce debt. Among all the claims that debt relief agencies make, there are some kernels of truth. For example, with good credit you may be able consolidate your high interest rate loans into one with a better interest rate, thus reducing your long-term costs. And there are special circumstances that can help you manage or reduce your debt. Income-based repayment plans allow you to cap your payments to a percentage of your income. And some professionals, like teachers, doctors, and nurses, are granted loan forgiveness when they use their talents in low-income areas.

Deal directly with the lender. Did you receive a loan through the Federal Government, directly from your school, or a private entity? Wherever you were able to obtain financing, it’s best to negotiate any changes in the terms of your loans directly with them. If you’re not quite sure what or whom you owe, check out the National Student Loan Database at It is a centralized location for any Title IV loans and grants. Even private lenders may be willing to negotiate with you if your credit is in good standing.

Nonpayment WILL hurt your credit. Defaulting on your student loans can crush your credit, making it harder for you—and much more costly—to finance anything in your future. Want a car? A new apartment? A home mortgage? Not without good credit. And it isn’t just nonpayment that hurts; late payments can cost you too. Don’t let a bad decision today hurt your financial future.

If you’re a student or graduate of Charter College, or are just thinking about your education, contact  Financial Aid and we’ll help determine what you may be eligible for and answer your questions about repayment. An education is a lifelong investment, but make sure you have all the facts before you make this important decision