Thursday, May 31, 2012

Here's the Pitch .......

DEFAULT such an ugly word and so much personal financial pain wrapped up in those 7 little letters.  In all of my many years of helping delinquent borrowers learn to manage their student loan debt more efficiently, the one thing that I believe to my very core is that very few borrowers set out to default on their loans. 

Life happens and often throws us some real curve balls. Probably 99% of the delinquent borrowers that I have worked with were in their situation because of an unrelated life crisis that overwhelmed or distracted them. By the time they realized they were behind on their student loan payments, the collection activity had already started – and the headaches that represents! I have always told my students that it is much easier to get results (and help) from customer service representative than from a collector. 

I was listening to Pandora this afternoon and I heard an ad "pitching" a company promising to help out if you had defaulted student loans, including stopping wage garnishment! Since I am always looking for additional sources of help for borrowers in distress, I wanted to check things out. Of course, as with most ads on Pandora, I couldn’t catch the company’s name from the ad’s speed talking announcer. After the third time, I did manage to get the full contact phone number, but I  still could not locate the company on the wide web.

Determined to track this source down, I decided to do a few internet searches for assistance with defaulted student loans or stopping wage garnishment. WOW – was I amazed by the results! I found over 10 companies promising to consolidate your loans. I found dozens of links to web sites promising assistance. It reminded me of the consolidation boom of early 2000 (when I first cut my teeth on the student loan industry). I was particularly surprised by the number of companies offering to help resolve a borrower’s default problems – especially since the ONLY way to consolidate Federal Student Loans and maintain your federal rights and entitlements is to use Direct Loans as your lending source. You can apply directly on-line ( http://loanconsolidation.ed.gov/ ) or you can ask your DOE loan servicer for assistance.

Buyer Beware:
I was unable to ferret out details about these companies, since their websites seemed to start with the application process.  Call me skeptical, but I am leery of any company that is not completely up front about their services, cost or affiliations.


I have urged this many times, but it bears repeating – you must take responsibility and become an educated consumer. Learn to make choices that are in your best interest. So when you are shopping for help on defaulted or very delinquent student loans, make sure you know exactly who you are dealing with. Unless you are using the approved source for Federal Student Loans, you will most likely be giving up some valuable rights and tools. 
 
Rights and Tools You May Need:
For example, when was the last time that the lender on your auto loan, mortgage or credit card said “oh, you’re out of work, we are very sorry. You don’t have to make you payment for the next 6 months”? I am assuming that would be a “NEVER”. If you use a private student consolidation loan, you will probably never have these options either.  However under the Federal Student Loan Program, you can temporarily defer loan payments if you are:
  • Unemployed or
  • Working less than 30 hours per week and looking for full-time employment or
  • Are receiving state or federal assistance or
  • Serving in the military
These are just a few of the deferment rights that borrowers are entitled to under the Federal Student Loan Program.  

OTHER BENEFITS:
When was the last time one of your creditors allowed you to select a new payment plan, because you had run into difficulties? Again, I am assuming that would be another “NEVER”. However, unlike private consolidation loans, the Federal Student Loan Program allows borrowers to change payment plans, then switch back again when things stabilize and change again later if the need arises.

Now, I am not going to kid you, the standard 120 month repayment plan is always the best way to pay your loans off. However, the alternative payment plans offer a lot of options to help temporarily manage loan debt. These plans can be very low, including $0 payments on the IBR (Income Based Repayment Plan). Now obviously, you are not going to clear your student loan debt with a $0 payment, but it can provide relief when you need it and allow you to get back on track when your finances stabilize. That is another benefit of the Federal Student Loan Program – there is never a prepayment penalty!

So to wind things up, I am not saying that the new companies are not offering a valuable product or service; however, I do urge borrowers to do their homework, shop wisely and consider the full picture. If you aren’t sure who to trust, contact your DOE servicer or your school’s financial aid department.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Must Know before You Go to College and how much Student Loan Debt are you willing to be saddled with?


Walking away from student loan debt is not an option. It will follow you for the rest of your life or the next 25 years and wreck havoc on your financial affairs.

Exhaust all scholarship and grant opportunities before you shackle your life with student loans debt. Scholarship Information http://www.finaid.org/

I do not know much about this site but it seems to be a website that will assist in the scholarship and grant process: http://www.studentawards.com/

Taxable interest for student loan debt from the IRS: http://www.irs.gov/individuals/students/article/0,,id=177520,00.html

More information to assist in any question you may have on student aid: https://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/index.jsp


More on ‘Pay As You Go Plan’ a brain child of President Barak Obama. It is still in a pre-legislative stage.

More on how to manage your student loan debt. https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action

NSLDS National Student Loan Data System. http://www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/


The US Department of Education; what college costs. http://collegecost.ed.gov/

A check list of what is needed to know for your college experience: https://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/publications.jsp

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Several YouTube Videos on The Student Loan Debacle

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udy0GjlLxgk)


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V122ICNS8_0)


(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CloOKxn7mkk)

If you are Unhappy by the Status Quo Make Some calls!

Call your Senator and Congress person Today - Address & Phone Directory: (http://wwwngolavante.blogspot.com/p/congress-senate-phone-address-directory.html).

Please join us @ https://www.facebook.com/StudentLoanDebacleSupportNetworkit is a place where you can sit down, drink a cup of coffee, and chat with people about current affairs or whatever; a supportive network for those in any debt crisis. We all need support at one time or another; sometimes it’s just good to have an ear. Sometimes we just need someone to listen or read what we have to say.

A Shout Out to Michele H. Nelnet (Predatory Recovery System)


If you have any dissatisfaction with how you are treated within the student loan process, call you Congress person or Senator.

Call your Senator and Congressperson Today Address & Phone Directory: (http://wwwngolavante.blogspot.com/p/congress-senate-phone-address-directory.html).

 

 

A shout out to Michele H. Don’t Use Autopay NEVER! Tell them you are recording their phone calls. Use a disposable cell phone; do not give them your primary numbers. Send them a letter through registered mail a cease and desists order to stop calling you at work, b/c you are not allowed personal phone calls.

Nelnet (predatory recovery system, no doubt)

BBB- Nelnet-National Educational Loan Network (Headquarters)

 (402) 458-2370 121 S 13th St # 201, LincolnNE 68508-1911

278 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 86 closed in last 12 months

http://www.bbb.org/nebraska/business-reviews/scholarships-and-financial-aid/nelnet-national-educational-loan-network-in-lincoln-ne-209000034
Nelnet Contact Information
Principal: Mr. Ben Kiser (Director of Corporate Communication)
Mr. Michael S. Dunlap
(CEO) Mr. Jeff Noordhoeck
(President) Ms. Jill Warner

Nelnet reviews: Not so good: http://www.eduinreview.com/Student-Loans/Nelnet

Stupid Human Trick - Ex-Nelnet Employee Sentenced to a Year

http://journalstar.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/ex-nelnet-employee-sentenced-to-a-year/article_d2f6092f-cfc8-51f0-83b8-2b53a151dc8c.html

File a complaint: (CFPB) Consumer Financial Protection Bureau http://www.consumerfinance.gov/& with The (FTC) Federal Trade Commission http://www.ftc.gov

Go here National Student Loan Data Base http://www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/

Go to financial aid review check the balance of your loans, check you loan period end date, and who your loan servicer is.

Go to here and check to see if any of these repayment options are available to you:
http://www.Ed.gov OR http://www.finaid.org/loans/forgiveness.phtml

Here are different repayment plans and if you haven’t consolidated your loans, do – just make sure it is within the ed.gov portal. http://wwwngolavante.blogspot.com/2012/05/navigating-through-your-student-loan.html

Here is number for ed.gov or they may be able to redirect your call to answer any questions you may have 1-800-621-3115 OR http://www2.ed.gov/about/contacts/gen/index.html

Good luck and please get back with me and let me know how it is going. Hey just give me a shout out here: https://www.facebook.com/StudentLoanDebacleSupportNetworkand pass it along w/ blog address for our friends at NKU. http://wwwngolavante.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Student Loan Debacle is not Endemic to the United States of America!

The student loan crisis is everywhere - it is involved in majority of all countries. 

Wear the red square - means you are in the red. I am - are you?

 

The world needs to be educated, informed, 

and engaged that is a true democracy, 

and not the plutocracy that we all live in today! 

 

Please join us @ https://www.facebook.com/StudentLoanDebacleSupportNetworkit is a place where you can sit down, drink a cup of coffee, and chat with people about current affairs or whatever; a supportive network for those in any debt crisis. We all need support at one time or another; sometimes it’s just good to have an ear. Sometimes we just need someone to listen or read what we have to say.

Contact Your States Representative and Demand they Support these two Measures and if they don’t - ask them why NOT? Richard Durbin - S.1102 Fairness for Struggling Students Act of 2011 & Steve Cohen - H.R.2028 - Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Fairness Act of 2011; Please raise your voice on POPVOX & Open Congress – They Need to Hear US!


Call your Senator and Congressperson Today - Address & Phone Directory: (http://wwwngolavante.blogspot.com/p/congress-senate-phone-address-directory.html).

Twitter handles and Facebook addresses will come later today or tomorrow...

Senator Richard Durbin  D-IL is sponsoring a BILL: 5/26/2011--Introduced. S. 1102 Fairness for Struggling Students Act of 2011:

Support this bill through Open Congress;
http://www.opencongress.org/contact_congress_letters/new?bill=112-s1102&position=support

Revises federal bankruptcy law with respect to the exemption from the exception to discharge in bankruptcy for certain educational loans if excepting such debt from discharge would impose an undue hardship on the debtor and debtor's dependents. Limits such exemption to the existing ones for:
(1) an educational benefit overpayment or loan made, insured, or guaranteed by a governmental unit or made under any program funded in whole or in part by a governmental unit; and
(2) an obligation to repay funds received from a governmental unit as an educational benefit, scholarship, or stipend. Repeals the current exemption for:
(1) any loan made under any program funded in whole or in part by a governmental unit or nonprofit institution; and
(2) any other qualified education loan incurred by an individual debtor on behalf of the taxpayer, the taxpayer's spouse, or any dependent, including indebtedness used to refinance a qualified education loan. (Thus makes both kinds of loans nondischargeable in bankruptcy.)


 

Dick Durban Twitter: @SenatorDurbin Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dickdurbin    Website: http://durbin.senate.gov/public/

Durbin, Richard "Dick"(D) Senator, IL
Phone numbers: 618-351-1122 Address: 250 W. Cherry Street, Carbondale, IL 62901
Phone numbers: 312-353-4952 Address: John C. Kluczynski Federal Building, Chicago, IL 60604-1483
Phone numbers: 202-224-2152 Address: U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510-0001


Co-Sponsors:
    Added May 26, 2011
    Phone numbers: 651-221-1016 Address: 60 East Plato Boulevard, Suite 220, St. Paul, MN 55107-1833
    Phone numbers: 202-224-5641 Address: U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510-0001
    Phone numbers: 507-931-5813 Address: 208 S Minnesota Ave, St. Peter, MN 56082
    Phone numbers: 320-251-2721 Address: 916 W St. Germain St., Saint Cloud, MN 56301
    Phone numbers: 218-722-2390 Address: 515 W 1st St, Duluth, MN 55802

    Added October 12, 2011

    Phone numbers: 712-252-1550 Address: Federal Building, Sioux City, IA 51101
    Phone numbers: 563-582-2130 Address: Federal Building, Dubuque, IA 52001
    Phone numbers: 563-322-1338 Address: 1606 Brady Street, Davenport, IA 52803
    Phone numbers: 202-224-3254 Address: U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510-0001
    Phone numbers: 515-284-4574 Address: Federal Building, Des Moines, IA 50309
    Phone numbers: 319-365-4504 Address: 150 1st Avenue, NE - Suite 370, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401


    Added May 26, 2011

    Phone number: 401-453-5294 Address: 170 Westminster Street, Suite 1100, Providence, RI 02903
    Phone number: 202-224-2921 Address: U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510-0001

      Support on POPVOX: “A bill to amend title 11, United States Code, with respect to certain exceptions to discharge in bankruptcy.” https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/s1102

      Representative Steve CohenD-TN is sponsoring a Bill, 5/26/2011--Introduced. H.R.2028 - Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Fairness Act of 2011 - Amends the federal bankruptcy code to remove qualified educational loans as an exception to discharge from bankruptcy.

      Support this bill through Open Congress: http://www.opencongress.org/contact_congress_letters/new?bill=112-h2028&position=support

      Co-Sponsors:

      Support on POPVOX, H.R. 2028: Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Fairness Act of 2011 Summary: “To amend title 11 of the United States Code to modify the dischargeability of debts for certain educational payments and loans.” https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/112/hr2028

      Please join us @ https://www.facebook.com/StudentLoanDebacleSupportNetworkit is a place where you can sit down, drink a cup of coffee, and chat with people about current affairs or whatever; a supportive network for those in any debt crisis. We all need support at one time or another; sometimes it’s just good to have an ear. Sometimes we just need someone to listen or read what we have to say.

      We Need to Reach Out and Tweet & Facebook the Co-Sponsors of H.R. 2028 Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Fairness Act of 2011; Twitter and Facebook Addresses Listed Below:

      Call your Senator and Congressperson Today Address & Phone Directory: (http://wwwngolavante.blogspot.com/p/congress-senate-phone-address-directory.html).


      5/26/2011— H.R. 2028 Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Fairness Act of 2011 - Bill Introduced “…Amends the federal bankruptcy code to remove qualified educational loans as an exception to discharge from bankruptcy.”

      Co-Sponsors- Maybe they are not getting enough heat? Maybe their Twitter and Facebook accounts need some luv and your thoughts on the bill H.R. 2028 Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Fairness Act of 2011.
      You know there is some on this list that do not have a Twitter or a Facebook account, you may want to ask: “why don’t you want to hear what I have to say?” Because, we all know if you don’t live in a Senators or Congress persons district you cannot email them… You may want to tell them it’s time to join the 21st century…