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Why Do I Keep Getting Calls From Student Loan Assistance Companies?

An exploding industry of debt relief companies, many who used to sell debt settlement services, think selling student loan assistance programs is the new fountain of gold. They will sell the hell out of these programs all day and all night, for an advanced fee and monthly payments.
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Dear Steve,

I recently started comparing my student loan debt to the Picture of Dorian Gray. I was young and naive and wanted what I thought all people valued, an education. So I sold my soul to get what I wanted, blind to the implications that selling your soul can do to your mind and physical body. The only difference is Dorian Gray needed vanity above all else, I needed knowledge.

This comparison I keep to myself, I never talk about my debt, not even to my boyfriend of 5 years. I guess it's what happens when you sell your soul, you're too ashamed to tell anyone you would do anything to get what you wanted. Never considering what it would do to your future.

Now to the facts. I received my masters degree in 2013 realizing I'd never get a job in the field of my choice with a bachelors (which gave my $80,000 in my first round of debt from Sallie Mae). I needed a career to pay this off and the only way I could imagine a career was to get a higher degree. I ended with $124,000 of student loan debt, a waitressing job, and approximately 8 hours a day of applying for jobs.

I got my loans down to $108,000 by living with my parents and finding a career I love but barely helps. I put my entire paycheck toward my loans and work two part-time jobs to live off of. That's when I made my second mistake. My mother, who knew I was struggling asked how my payments were going. She was alarmed that I was paying up to 11 percent interest on one Sallie Mae private loan for $25,000 and said she'd do what she could to help me find a payment option with lower interest rates. That's when last year she took a home equity loan out against her house, (for $100,000 at 1.99 percent interest for two years) we closed out my staggering loans with Sallie Mae and the Department of Education and I now owe her everything. I'm now down to $85,000.

But, I'm getting solicited all the time by Loan Forgiveness Programs. And when they call me I tell them I closed out my loans with Sallie Mae and have a home equity loan paying off my student debt. I have all the paperwork that proves that the $100,000 I took out (in my mother's name against her house) went straight to Sallie Mae. But they just say I can't be helped and hang up. I want, and need, their help. I need someone's help. My payment history proves that I will do anything to erase my debts. I want a future. I know so many young people that got half their debt erased through forgiveness lawyers and I want to have some burden relieved. It's my mistakes that got me here but if there are programs designed to help then I should be qualified.

Can student Loan Forgiveness help me? Do you have any advice for my situation? I can send you all the files you need.



Dear Liz,

Student loans are broken on so many levels. But let me first explain why you are getting these solicitation calls. And the answer is simple. They are trying to make a sale and get money out of you.

An exploding industry of debt relief companies, many who used to sell debt settlement services, think selling student loan assistance programs is the new fountain of gold. They will sell the hell out of these programs all day and all night, for an advanced fee and monthly payments for the next twenty years. It's a scam so many people with student loan debt are falling for and sadly it's one I've warned readers about for years. See Student Loan Assistance Rescue Scams On the Rise - Buyer Beware.

Just yesterday I saw a case where a woman was sold an income contingent repayment solution by one of these companies. The problem is she did not qualify for the promised low payment. So they enrolled her, without her awareness, into a graduated payment program. The kicker is the original sales pitch was that her student loans would be forgiven in ten years with low monthly payments. The reality is her student loans will be paid off in ten years under the program they enrolled her in. And her payment will rise.

And then there is the sales pitch most of these companies put forward that they can reduce your monthly payment. But what they don't seem to tell people is why that can be a horrible idea and an expensive trap. Read this for details.

The reason you are getting calls is because there is a mailing list out there that was most likely originally generated from a credit bureau marketing list. The reason the commissioned salesperson gives up when you explain your status is because they are dialing for dollars and they've got nothing to sell you. Goodbye.

You should expect to see offers for such programs in your mailbox as well. If you get any, I'll buy them from you.

While there are student loan forgiveness programs the most likely one loads of people qualify for is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. That program will eliminate your student loan debt after 120 on-time monthly payments as long as you work in a qualifying field and you have federal student loans.

If you did have federal loans that would have qualified, that ended when your mother lovingly paid them off. You would no longer qualify for any forgiveness program that comes to mind because your federal loans have been satisfied. Private loans do not qualify for forgiveness. Well that is unless you default on your private loans and settle them.

The only forgiveness program that you would most likely qualify for now is the Mother Loves Me Loan Forgiveness Program. But I suspect Mom is looking forward to having you repay the home equity loan.

Before I go I wanted to leave you with three easy action items you can jump on right now to address your situation. Just click here.

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This article by Steve Rhode first appeared on Get Out of Debt and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.