National Foundation for Credit Counseling Review: Student Loan Help

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To help student loan borrowers avoid fraud, NerdWallet backs up information on legitimate resources like this one.

Organization: National Foundation for Credit Advice.

Mission statement: “Since 1951, the National Foundation for Credit Advisory Services (NFCC) has helped millions of people lead financially better lives. As the largest and longest-running nonprofit financial advisory organization in the United States, our mission is to help all Americans take control of their finances. “

The NFCC and its member agencies are all 501 (c) (3) not for profit organizations.

Place: Washington, DC

Opening hours: Seven days a week between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. EST.

Areas of expertise: All student loan types.

It can help with: A full financial review, not just a student loan options review. Counselors will consider borrowers’ goals and objectives and review their income, cost of living, and any debts. You will work with the borrowers to develop a plan of action to achieve the goals and objectives of the borrowers.

It can’t help with: Lending to borrowers or lending.

It is funded by: Grants and some agency consulting fees.

Expected costs: Varies. Some member agencies may charge nominal fees for services. For example, a consultant may recommend a Debt management plan Reduce credit card payments; The cost can range from $ 25 to $ 75 per month, depending on the agency, the amount of debt enrolled, and government regulations.

Most common question topics: “Overwhelming federal loans. Primarily because these loans make up the vast majority of all student loans, ”said Bruce McClary, NFCC senior vice president of communications.

The most commonly recommended auxiliary / repayment solutions: Earnings-based repayment plans, if applicable, especially if borrowers are running lending programs. Other solutions include budget adjustments and, in some situations, debt management plans when the borrower is also struggling with credit card debt.

Procedure for assessment / resolution: The counseling center gathers borrowers’ reasons for seeking counseling, income, debt, and cost of living either prior to the counseling session or during the session. A counselor will discuss possible budget adjustments and other strategies for managing student and other debt. If data is collected prior to the counseling session, the average session length is approximately 45 minutes to an hour. If data is collected during the session, the average length can be anywhere from an hour to 90 minutes.

What information / documents need to be brought to the table: Information about all student loans and other debts, including loan balances, servicer or bank information, current monthly loan and debt payments, and income and itemized cost of living (e.g. rent / mortgage, utilities, insurance, food costs, etc.).

Guidelines for acting on behalf of the borrower: NFCC agencies will not act on behalf of the borrower, request or accept any information such as: B. a Federal Student Aid ID or an FSA ID or a Power of Attorney.

When you need help with student loan

If you are struggling with your student loan debt, speak up first Your servicer or lender to:

  • Discuss the repayment options.

  • Take a temporary break in payments.

  • Temporarily reduce your monthly payments.

If your problem is with your lender or servicer, or you can’t get it Help you needLook for a legitimate student loan aid organization that offers advice. In addition to NFCC, consider these other vetted resources for student loan help. They are established organizations with a verified history:

Many of these organizations offer free advice. In some cases, you may have to pay a fee, such as with a certified not-for-profit credit counseling agency or when hiring an attorney.

None of the above organizations will call, text, or email borrowers with debt resolution offers.

Help offers that you weren’t looking for are likely a scam. While it isn’t illegal for businesses to charge for services like consolidation or enrollment in a payment plan, you can do these steps yourself for free.

Avoid debt relief companies that ask for money up front.

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