Are you struggling to make your monthly student loan payments? If so, you are not alone. Young Americans are carrying an unprecedented amount of student loan debt and many borrowers are having a hard time keeping up with their loan payments. Unfortunately, scam artists are capitalizing on this situation by running ads offering student borrowers lower monthly payments and even debt forgiveness plans. While there are some legitimate debt relief programs out there, most of them run by the government, be wary of any advertisement offering relief from student loans as many are scams.
How Student Debt Relief Scams Operate?
An article from CentralIllinoisProud.com reports that there are several different types of student debt relief scams currently circulating in the United States. The article notes that some of these scams, such as the “Obama Student Loan Forgiveness Program”, attempt to pose as government sanctioned programs. Many scams advertise lower monthly payments or debt forgiveness in exchange for an upfront fee. Some of these scams even make good on their promise of reduced monthly payments, however, what they are actually doing is passing off free federal government debt relief programs as their own and then charging borrowers for it. According to the Department of Education some of these scams charge monthly maintenance fees as high as $50 for this “service”.
What to do if You are Struggling with Student Loan Debt
CentralIllinoisProud.com suggests that student borrowers who are stuggling to pay their bills take the following actions:
- – Contact your student loan servicer and ask them if there are any helpful debt relief programs available to you,
- – Consolidate your loans in order to make it easier to keep track of your payments (note that this may not be in your best interest if they offer you a higher aggregate interest rate on your consolidated loan),
- – Ask your student loan servicer if you can lower your monthly payments by enrolling in an income-based repayment plan,
- – Enquire if you are eligible for a federal student loan forgiveness program, and
- – Consider refinancing your loans with a private lender.
While all of these options are worth pursuing, unfortunately some borrowers will still be facing monthly payments that they are unable to keep up with. However, there is an alternate option available to some borrowers: bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy generally does not cancel student debt, however, if the borrower is able to show that paying the debt would impose an “undue hardship” a bankruptcy court may allow the student debt to be wiped out during the borrower’s bankruptcy proceedings. Be warned though, proving undue hardship under these circumstances is extremely difficult. If you are interested in pursuing bankruptcy in order to alleviate your student debt contact an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to discuss whether or not a count would likely find that requiring you to pay the debt would impose an undue hardship.
Need Legal Advice?
If you live in Illinois or Indiana and are in need of debt relief, contact the experienced lawyers of the Bentz Holguin Law Firm, LLC today. Our debt relief lawyers would be happy to sit down with you during a free consultation to discuss your financial situation and your legal options.