Student debt is a large problem that isn’t going away anytime soon. The average borrower owes over $30,000, struggles to make payments, and is desperate to find a way to decrease their student loan debt. This need has been met with the emergence of loan consolidation and forgiveness companies nationwide. With any company whose goal is to reduce or dissolve debt comes a range of misrepresentations and scams. There are programs described that don’t exist, free government programs claimed as a company’s own idea, and a large pool of inaccurate information regarding student loans. Don’t be discouraged – there are legitimate companies that are truly looking to help eligible borrowers enroll in the most advantageous repayment or forgiveness program possible, if one knows where to look.


The best piece of advice when looking for help in consolidating and paying off your student loans is to do your homework. Don’t go into this blind. Find out exactly what types of loans you have. Look into the different government programs that are available to help reduce or forgive debt. There are multiple options, from public service loan forgiveness to teacher loan forgiveness, to income-based repayment plans and repayment plans based on your loan balance. The fact is, loan services are not properly educating borrowers. If they were, loan forgiveness and consolidation companies wouldn’t be necessary and scam companies wouldn’t be able to so easily take advantage of those looking for help.


Before you hand over your credit card, research the company you are working with. Have they been deemed an accredited business by the BBB? Have past customers reviewed them? Are you paying for something you could do yourself for free or are they offering a service? Student Debt USA’s biggest priority is client satisfaction- just read some of their reviews on the BBB, Google Reviews, and Verified Reviews -to see what I mean. There’s a reason why they have five out of five stars on Google Reviews – because they’re committed to making sure every client is receiving the best possible customer service. They’re also a member of the Association for Student Loan Relief, which is an organization comprised of student loan consolidation companies that have demonstrated honesty and transparency.


I like to think about it like this: Why do we go out to eat at restaurants? Most of us could just as easily stay at home and cook ourselves, but it’s enjoyable to have someone who is passionate and knowledgeable cook you a fantastic meal. Most likely you wouldn’t go to a restaurant that receives terrible reviews and has unskilled cooks. The same goes for student loan consolidation and forgiveness companies. The fact is, you can do it yourself. You can spend hours researching different forgiveness opportunities and enrolling in government programs. You can make monthly payments to each separate lender. But it’s nowhere near as easy and efficient as working with a company that is knowledgeable about the available programs and will make your individual circumstance their priority. An honest and qualified company will have responsive and personalized customer service. If they charge money upfront, it should be extremely clear what you are paying for. They will talk you through the process step by step. All of your loans and paperwork should be processed for you and you should be enrolled in the best program you qualify for, based on your income, family size, and line of work. It’s important to remember that unless you have a federally qualifying reason, student loan debt must be repaid. If a company is promising to completely eliminate your student loans instantly, it is probably too good to be true.

When it comes down to choosing a company to work with, knowledge is power. The bad news is that there are companies that are looking to take advantage of borrowers, and failing to separate truth from fiction can be a costly mistake. But the good news is that there are programs to help grads reduce their student loans and honest companies looking to help. You just have to pick the right one.


Most of us were raised to believe the world was our oyster and we could achieve anything we put our minds to. So we worked hard and got accepted into school. We didn’t blink an eye at the money wewere borrowing because it was an investment into our futures. We were told after school we would land a high paying job to repay our loans. Unfortunately, with tuition rates on the rise, it’s looking like we got ourselves in a little too deep in student loan debt. The probability of being able to pay your student loans back in a reasonable time without negatively effecting your quality of life is not likely these days.

Here are a few things you can do to prevent student loan default.


There are a few great ways to ensure that you make your monthly student loan payments on time, every time. The easiest way is to set yourself up with automatic payments. If you are worried about having enough money in your account each month, set yourself a reminder a few days ahead of time. Or set 5 reminders. Whatever you do, don’t fall behind. It will hurt your credit score, or even worse the government will come after your tax refunds, even your paychecks.


Start earning money while you’re in school and be proactive. Many loans accrue interest even before graduation so a part-time job is a great way to keep your principle down. It’s also a great way to show your ability to multi-task and can even lead to future full-time positions. If you are able to save even $500 a month working part-time, that turns into $6,000 less you need to take out in the future. If you have already graduated and are working a full-time job but are still struggling to pay your loans, there are things you can do. Get a bar job one night a week, teach something you’re good at to others, take a free-lance position. You don’t need to pack your schedule so that you have no room to breathe and enjoy life, but let’s be honest — we got ourselves into this position, we need to hustle to get out.


This is the most important thing to remember. You are not going to be able to pay off your debt overnight. It is a long process. It is frustrating and stressful, but do not let it bring you down. Maintaining a positive and realistic attitude will help you be proactive and tackle the problem head on.

Check your options to see if you qualify for any federal loan forgiveness or repayment programs. Call us and let us take a personal look at your loans and see what we can do to help. Don’t let student loans define you.

Click Here to Get Free Analysis from Student Debt USA


sallie mae lawsuit

NAVIENT, the former Sallie Mae, is in the news again??? This is our nation’s LARGEST private loan servicer, working with over 12 million borrowers and whose motto is “Solutions for your Success.” Taking advantage of us. Again. This is the student loan giant that everyone knows, and everyone owes.

It is extremely concerning to read the latest headlines about Navient.

Overcharging?                Mischarging?

Discriminating against active duty service members?

Investigations found loan violations dating back to 2005! Our country is in serious trouble, with a national loan debt of 1.3 trillion dollars, resulting in slowing economic growth and struggling borrowers. We are talking about one of the largest companies in this country that is digging us deeper into debt with fraudulent loan repayment plans and overcharging the millions of borrowers who are already drowning in debt.

Following a May investigation, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, the US Justice Department, and the Department of Education demanded that Navient face the most serious penalties that have ever been handed out to a contractor of the DOE.

  • Sixty million dollars were to be returned to the 60,000 active duty service members that were overcharged, along with a $55,000  government penalty.
  • For overcharging borrowers late fees on loans, the settlement called for Navient to reimburse 30 million dollars to customers and pay a 3.3 million dollar government fee.

But is that enough?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau doesn’t think so. As of yesterday the CFPB has decided to consinder suing the student loan giant for the company’s shady ethics.  As it turns out, almost every consumer protection in place to protect borrowers from predatory collectors has been removed. The Department of Education can garnish wages, social security, and disability checks if a borrower defaults. More and more it is starting to look like the DOE had betrayed the public and chose to side with lenders. The truth of the matter is that both private lenders like Sallie Mae and government-backed federal lenders are making more money from defaults than loans that are in good standing. Between 2007 and 2012, the Department of Education made $66 billion in profit from loans in default. The former Sallie Mae has shelled out close to $3 million every year since 2007 backing politicians. Building this relationship with the federal government allows for both parties to make a profit from struggling borrowers.

It is absolutely time for someone to step up and shut this down.

Last month Discover was penalized for allegedly cheating student loan borrowers, overcharging, denying tax benefits, and engaging in illegal debt-collection tactics. Student loan forgiveness scam companies have popped up everywhere, making promises they can’t keep and won’t deliver. If we don’t regulate this now, we are in big trouble. The country is currently overrun with debt; student loan debt is the second largest source of American debt after mortgages! At Student Debt USA our goal is to educate the 40 million student loan borrowers about the programs that are available to them and the people they can trust. The Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “Every student should have peace of mind that they can get the benefits they’re entitled to.”

See how we can help.


millenials student loan debt

I didn’t come from a rich family. I didn’t have a college fund waiting for me when I turned 18. Never for one second did that slow me down on my quest to pick the perfect school. The issue of how I was going to afford my dream school, a private school, preferably east coast, brick and ivy, in a city, was a non-issue. I took out loans. And it was easy. I applied, had my parents co-sign, and honestly didn’t think much about it again until 6 months after I graduated. I was making a living bartending by night and spent my days playing volleyball on the beaches of Southern California when Sallie Mae came knocking. Six years later and nowhere near debt-free, I’ve realize just how uninformed I was. Since then I’ve had my share of ups and downs with student debt repayment plans. I’ve paid over $600 a month when I wasn’t even working full-time. I’ve made interest-only payments without realizing it. So many times I’ve paid amounts that after covering the interest barely scratch the surface of the principle. I’ve thrown a large lump sum at the principle when I had the extra funds to do so. The fact is, there is pretty much no way to completely shake loan repayments. It will be with me for the next 15-20 years and if I could do it again, I’d like to think I would have done some things differently.

1. Choose the Right Kind of Loans For YOU!

Ninety-three Percent of loans taken out today are federal loans. Federal loans have fixed interest rates, can be consolidated, forgive a portion of your loans if you work in public service through the obama student loan forgiveness program, better known as public service loan forgiveness and allow borrowers to tie their repayment plan to their income, using the IBR. TheIncome Based Repayment plans were designed to determine how much a borrower can afford to pay each month based on their salary, with a cap set at 15 percent. After 25 years of repayment, any money still owed is forgiven.

IBR is the most widely available repayment plan for federal student loans and an estimated 1.6 million student loan borrowers are eligible for the IBR. Currently, enrollment in IBR programs makes up 10.5 of borrowers in repayment and the number is continuing to grow. From last year alone, enrollment in IBR had increased by 6 percent but with that, the number of people taking out student loans to pay for their education is doubling every year, meaning we need to get in front of this now.

Twenty percent of borrowers repaying their college debt are defaulting on their loans because they simply cannot afford to make the payments and are completely unaware that they may have options. Borrowers who are aware of the programs are often overwhelmed and confused by the different options available, which plan is most advantageous, the terms they carry and all of the paperwork that is required to continuously keep them enrolled in the program.

2. Know what you owe

Like most college loan borrowers, I didn’t put all of the available funds directly into school and books. Some went to the feasts at the corner pizza place. Some went to the nights out at the local bars. Quite a bit went to the all the Sox games I saw at Fenway. Of the four loans I have left to pay off, three of them have higher balances than the amount I originally borrowed. A concept I’m sure I didn’t spend much time worrying about at 18 but am all too familiar with now is how much of an enemy interest can be.

A typical borrower will pay $279,002 in interest on debt repayments in their lifetime. A lot of people, including myself, were completely unaware that many loans accumulate interest while you are still in school and are added to the original balance of the loan. This creates a snowball effect as your principle increases and you end up with more debt then you initially expected. I never paid attention to the difference between the loans I had, whether private or federal or what the interest rates were on each loan.

As it turns out, private loans are extremely difficult to negotiate in terms of repayment timelines and interest rates. As it also happens, private lenders will let you borrow basically as much as you need and with so many students borrowing such large amounts of money for higher education, it can start to feel like you’re playing with monopoly money. Looking back, I could have borrowed less. I should have created a budget before deciding how much I would need. I should have made interest payments while in school. I should have applied for every grant and scholarship available. I like to think that by researching these things before loaning, I would have chose differently.

3. Make a Financial Plan NOW

While I wasn’t worried about how much my degree was costing me at the time, I wasn’t completely blind to the price tag on my education. I always thought I’d have no problem paying off my loans after I graduated and was handed my dream job. But let’s stop for for a second and be real. That doesn’t usually happen right away, especially as many of us millennials graduated during a recession with skyrocketing unemployment rates.

For the ones that did get a job right out of school, it most likely was not the $60,000 job we imagined being handed to us but instead an entry level position paying closer to $30,000. If there is one thing I wish I could tell my 18-22 year old self, it would be to begin thinking about your future now. Set financial goals for yourself. What will you owe after you graduate?

At what age do you realistically see yourself debt-free? At what age do you want to retire? I know these are big questions, some of which I’m still asking myself now, but if you start actively thinking about these things, educating yourself about your loans and making a plan for your future, you will be more likely to meet your goals and create a life you want for yourself.

I know college is expensive. And I know there are some obvious choices I could have made to ease the financial burden thrust upon me after graduation . I could have gone to a community college for the first 2 years and then transfer to a 4 year college from there. I could have lived at home to save money. I didn’t have to go to a private school. But I’m not going to tell you to give up on your dream. I had the exact college experience I had always wanted and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. But I would have spent more time and energy focusing on setting my future self up for financial success. This is an ongoing battle for over 40 million americans, including our chief in command Barack Obama, who has been quoted saying that he didn’t make his last loan repayment until he became the President of the United States. The lesson here is simple.We are all in this together. Do your homework first so you can be sure to make the most informed and educated decisions before borrowing. It can make all the difference.

We are always interested in hearing other ideas and opinions! What did you think?