Student Loan Relief
Student Loan Relief: BUYER BEWARE
Student Loan Relief is a relatively new sector within the debt relief industry that requires extreme caution. Companies that offer federal student loan relief are generally offering you a concierge type service to fill out forms for government programs that are available to you at no cost and that you can do yourself. Document preparation services can be handy, so long as the cost for benefit is acceptable. Private student loan relief firms will generally utilize a debt negotiation and settlement approach and may be worth exploring. The OCCAM Certified companies below can answer any questions you have and have been thoroughly vetted. Please familiarize yourself with the offerings before engaging any of them. Companies offering student loan relief as a debt relief product are subject to the TSR Amendment which prohibits ANY type of fee prior to completing the service. OCCAM can help you sort it out.
FTC Warnings on Student Debt Relief
Student loan relief, forgiveness, consolidation, rehabilitation and forebearance. You’ve heard these words and likely wondered how they can help you with your overwhelming student loan burdens. They are referring to the William D Ford Direct Loan Consolidation Program. The DOE has initiated several new repayment options for borrowers that are impacted by the growing student loan debts. You can consolidate certain Federal loans into one new loan and qualify for a variety of repayment options under their new repayment plans. Borrowers can submit applications for free at the DOE directly. Student loan relief firms exist to bridge the gap for people that don’t have the time, patience or understanding to apply for these options successfully. You need to be aware, however, that not every student loan relief firm is credible. There are some firms out there that offer a real benefit. For a fee, many of these firms will assist you in applying for these programs.
Many Student Loan Relief Firms were shut down by the FTC and State Attorney Generals in a fraud sweep called OPERATION GAME OF LOANS (READ HERE). It led to many firms being shut down and in some cases leading to criminal charges. When the new programs became available, the politics of the student loan industry became adverse to borrowers getting the help that the plans would afford. This led to a void to be filled by businesses that saw opportunity to capitalize on the shortage. Many of these entrepreneurs flocked to the business to make their million dollar prize and took consumer’s money while providing very little service. In many cases, they made the situation worse for those borrowers. The short-lived industry trade group, the AFSLR (Association for Student Loan Relief), has dissolved and is no longer operating. NO student loan operators are members of the now defunct organization and should not be brandishing this affiliation. Any company that contacts you using that credibility or brandishing that logo is being dishonest (SEE THE MESSAGE FROM AFSLR HERE)
All of the programs being offered by the DOE can be accessed and applied for for free. You can visit the FSA to learn more about enrolling in the various programs available to you by VISITING THE FSA WEBSITE HERE
Although there are a lot of companies out there looking to part you from your money, there are plenty of decent, ethical, knowledgeable companies that can truly help you for a reasonable fee. If you find yourself over your head in student loans or just want to take advantage of the repayment programs available to you and don’t want to spend your time sorting out the details, a student loan relief or document preparation company may be a good solution. Fees for this service can vary, so shop around for a deal you like. OCCAM believes that it is important for you to know who you are dealing with when you receive that mailer or get that phone call. Ask the callers if they are an OCCAM Certified Provider. If they aren’t, you are rolling the dice. We thoroughly vet each applicant and make sure they are operating correctly and legally and are running the appropriate business type. It is important that you choose a reputable provider that will help you and not hurt you.
There are many Student Debt Reliefoperating a variety of models. Some will charge you a modest fee for a document preparation service and some will offer you a more complex offering for higher fees. Despite how they are charging you, there are state and federal laws that dictate how they can operate, how they can charge fees and make a series of mandatory disclosures. They must be honest about their service and not mislead you into believing they are affiliated with the Department of Education.A reputable company will NEVER ask you for your FSAID.