Tuesday, March 05, 2013 12:39 PM Kellie

Beware of Student Loan Debt Management Scams...

I am writing to make you all aware of what is out there.  I was reading a whole bunch of financial aid information which I receive daily through my email and an article sparked my attention.  It was about so-called debt management companies claiming that they can help graduates “manage” their student loan debt.  The sad reality of this is that people really do fall for these sorts of things.  I guess maybe because it is easier, faster, etc.  Why do I need to invest my time and energy into this…they (debt management co.) can handle it and that is why they contacted me, to “help” me.  And what is the old saying, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”  So I am writing again (my last blog was Scholarships and the Bewares) about the newest bewares about debt management companies claiming that they can help you manage your loan debt.

Now, would you ever just give your social security number to a stranger?  Why not?  I am hoping the very first thought that popped into your head was, “NO!”  What if you were ever contacted by a debt management company that wanted your personal information (a big red flag should start waving in front of you right about now), and asked you for your federal PIN (personal identification number)?  How about that one?  Oh goodness…again, I am hoping your first thought was “NO!”  NEVER release your federal PIN number to anyone – your PIN holds valuable information of your personal records – and always keep your PIN in a safe place!  Think about it, this PIN is used to log onto the federal government’s website, and when you are logged in, what sort of data comes across the screen?  Yep, ALL of your personal information, right? 

So another beware is that the debt management companies claim that they can help students manage their student loan debt for a small FEE (the fee is set based on the loan debt).  OH boy…a fee????  Okay, hope you are paying attention so far because what did I mention in the paragraphs above?  I mentioned a red flag, the answer no, any of those ring a bell?  I am sure hoping so because no one should pay a fee for something that can be handled by oneself.

The laugh is on them though, there is no reason to hire a debt management company for your loans, you know why?  It is definitely something that you can handle yourself and I am going to help you get started and get through it!

I know what you are thinking…loans, plans, repayment, what call do I make first…where to begin?  Well, a great website to review - www.studentaid.ed.gov helps you with calculating, managing, picking a repayment plan that best fits you, etc.  Also available on the site are calculators to help figure out the monthly payment calculations based on the plan you chose.

Another helping tool is NSLDS – National Student Loan Data System – http://www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/ is another great place to grab all of YOUR loan information needed regarding your student loan debt.  Remember, when you borrowed your financial aid, you most likely borrowed from the Department of Education (federal government) but the federal government wants nothing to do with the loan business, so what they do is “hand off” your loans to a servicer to maintain.  The Servicer is your maintainer, helper, guide, problem solver, etc.  The servicer that is appointed to your account will be there for the duration of your loan repayment and is there to help with any and all questions you may have now and in the future.  And like I mentioned earlier, this is all done for FREE!  Yep, FREE!

But now for the best part…the Financial Aid Office is hosting a workshop on Monday, March 11th - LOAN REPAYMENT STRATEGIES:  PICK YOUR PLAN (right here at the Law School).  If you have not signed up to attend this particular workshop, you are missing out on some pretty cool information regarding loan repayment, asking the right questions regarding your own situation, when does it all start, how much are the monthly payments, etc…all that good stuff (including pizza and dessert too!)  It is a great way to obtain all the knowledge possible because what if someday you were contacted by one of these scammers, you will be ready to cut them off at the pass and not fall for their gimmicks.  Ha!  

My best advice is to NEVER, NEVER, NEVER accept any entity’s help that charges a fee, asks for personal information, asks for anything that you are not comfortable with, or is there to “help” with your student loan debt management…only go to those you trust….like the YLS Financial Aid Office! 

We are always here to help at any time, during and after YLS!  Come by; ask question after question.  We are here for you!
Office – (203) 432-1688
Email – financialaid.law@yale.edu
Street Address – 127 Wall Street, Rm M13

Come by…anytime!
“Happy Graduates, Happy Alumni”

Kellie signing out…

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