What to Expect from Student Loan Counseling
If you are struggling to pay back student loan debt, you’re not alone. The most recent estimates places the total amount of outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. at nearly $1.5 trillion. That total is shared by some 44 million borrowers. Clearly, there are many people experiencing similar struggles and looking for ways to live an enjoyable life while paying back their debt.
It’s important to understand that you have options. You are not necessarily stuck with the one-size-fits-all repayment plan dictated by your student loan servicer(s). However, discovering which options are available for your unique situation can be challenging.
That’s where Student Loan Counseling can be incredibly helpful. Our knowledgeable counselors understand all the available options, what’s necessary to qualify for them, what questions to ask the loan servicer and how to complete all the necessary enrollment paperwork.
If you’ve been curious about Student Loan Counseling, here’s an overview of what you can expect. After a short introductory conversation to gather some basic information about your current financial situation and goals, your counselor will suggest one of the following:
Standard Student Loan Counseling—your counselor will:
- Provide step-by-step guidance to retrieve your loan information (We’ll use Go To Meeting to help you download your NSLDS file, if needed).
- Help you understand your loan types, status, balances and interest rates
- Determine if you can postpone your payments through deferment or forbearance for immediate financial relief
- Determine your eligibility for federal repayment plans, including Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
- Recommend the best repayment option
- Calculate the amount of your payment reduction
Premium Student Loan Counseling—in addition to the above, your counselor will:
- Help you identify, complete and submit the correct forms for your preferred repayment plan
- Be your advocate on conference calls with your loan servicers. We know which questions to ask to make sure you get the right answers.
- Follow up with your loan servicers as needed to keep things on track
There is an administrative fee associated with both options, which can be paid in installments. But don’t let that keep you from calling. The amount you may be able to save will far outweigh the Student Loan Counseling fee. And if you choose not to proceed beyond the initial introductory questions, that’s fine, too! You can also use our Student Loan Payoff Calculator to estimate how long it will take you to pay off your student loans using your current repayment plan.