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Trouble With Student Loans (Also Includes Default, Discharge & Bankruptcy)

Help With Private Student Loans: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Student Loan Complaint System
This new agency will work with you and your lender for a better payment plan. What they can actually do is not clear. The CFPB takes complaints, gathers data and will talk to the lender on your behalf. Lenders know that unresolved complaints could mean new laws very unfavorable to them; so they have good reason to cooperate at least to some extent. Use them as an advocate.

Help With Federal Loans: The Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Ombudsman
The Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group is where individuals can turn after trying other ways to resolve a federal student aid dispute. Assistance request are generated from phone calls, letters and e-mails, and are classified as either general assistance or research problem assistance.

Do I Have Private or Federal Loans And Who Owns Them?
If you aren’t sure what kind of loans you have, visit the National Student Loan Database System for Students and select “Financial Aid Review” for a list of all federal loans made to you. (Enter in your Social Security # and your PIN issued by the Dept of Education) Click each individual loan to see who the servicer is for that loan (this is the company that collects payments from you). It’s very important to know your servicer. This might be a different company from the original lender.

Loan Discharge After 25 Years On Income Contingent Plan (Google)
Only For Certain Loans.

Income-Based Repayment (IBR) (1-800-433-3243) Even Fed Loans Consolidated by Private Lender May Qualify So Call Your Lender!!!!
Now Your Monthly Payments can be based on a percentage of your discretionary income, and not on the total amount your owe! Option available for federally-guaranteed student loans and direct student loans. And if your monthly IBR payment does not cover the monthly interest that accrues on the loans, the government will pay your unpaid interest on Subsidized Stafford Loans (either Direct Loan or FFEL) for up to three consecutive years from when you first enter IBR repayment. May not apply to private loans that were not previously Federal Loans.

How Do I take Advantage of This Program?
1. Confirm You are not disqualified based on types of loans or other criteria and then re-confirm
    with your lender.
2. Get Proper Forms and Procedures from Federal Student Aid Information Center 800-433-3243.
    These may include a written letter from you requesting IBR, filling out a form 4506T, and
    providing proof of income such as your pay stub,
    or a copy of your unemployment check.
3. Find out From Lender or Fed Student Aid Center Where To Send Forms-Expect 10 Business
    Days To Process.

Help!!! I've Consolidated So Many Times I Don't Know What Types of Loans I Originally Had or If Such Are Excluded From This Program!
1. Call the Federal Student Aid Information Center 1-800-433-3243, key in your SS# and ask to speak to Customer Service
2. Ask "What Loans Are included in my consolidation?" And "Will any of these loans make me IBR ineligible?" (You can also get your lender's name and type of loan through the National Student Loan Database System for Students.)
If All Is OK,
3. ASK Them The Name and # for your Lender or Guarantor (or Google The Name for Their #)
4. Contact Your Lender For more Guidance.

When You Can't Pay: Cancellation, Deferment and Forbearance (Nolo.com)
How to postpone payments--and when you can cancel your loans altogether. 

Student Debt Alert
Student Debt Alert is a national campaign led by and for students. Our two main goals: to educate the public about the growing necessity of student loans to pay for college; and to directly address young people's concerns about the burdens of student debt.

Paying Back Your Student Loan
Describes the deferments and cancellations for teaching in low-income schools or shortage areas and connects you to the Direct Loan Program, where you can consolidate your existing loans.  If your loan is in default, our Guide to Defaulted Student Loans can tell you how to get out of default.

Consolidating Your Defaulted Loans
(Direct Student Loans) 

Guide To Loan Disputes (US Dept. Of Education)

Loan Cancellation & Discharge (US Dept. Of Education)

Discharging Your Student Loans (FAQs)

Discharging Student Loans In Bankruptcy

Hardship Discharge & More

Other Problems

Help! I've Already Paid Off My Student Loan (Nolo.com)
What to do if the Department of Education demands payment on a loan you've paid off. 

Student Loan Collections (Nolo.com)
What might happen if you fall behind on your payments. 

Getting Out of Default (Nolo.com)
How to rehabilitate your loans and get back on your feet.  

Getting Out Of Default
(US Dept. Of Education)

Guide To Loan Disputes (US Dept. Of Education)

Avoiding Late Payments  (Consumer-SOS)

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Financial Aid Resources

The Federal Student Aid Information Center (800) 433-3243
Provides financial aid applications and helps you fill them out. This agency can refer you to other public and private agencies for aid and scholarships.  Upon request, they will also give out copies of the formula that determines your expected family contribution.  Your expected contribution is the amount you must come up with to meet the gap in your award.  Make sure to ask for a free copy of their "Student Guide" which describes in detail available student grant and loan programs. 

Note, that not all schools qualify for federal loans and grants. Call this organization to find out which schools qualify for federal aid and which do not.  They will also tell you what colleges can and cannot do in regards to loans, grants and work-study programs.  You can even get the applicable regulation so you can quote it to your advisor or financial aid office.  For example, did you know that you are entitled to a copy of your expected award before the financial aid disburses your money?   Such is extremely important if you need to challenge your award or file an appeal.

Contact their consolidation department to find out how to best consolidate your loans.  They even have a borrower tracking service that can locate who is currently serving your loans and whether such are in default.  

Helps borrowers determine if consolidation is the right move.

Nellie Mae Student Loan Financing Service
(800) 988-4846
                                                           (800) 634-9308 
Call them to order their free book "Be Wise Borrower or booklets such as "An Early Planning Guide For Parents," "Steps to Success: A Comprehensive Guide to Preparing And Paying For College," and "Take The Right Road" (how to manage your student loans).

U.S. Department Of Education
This federal agency offers a lot of information about college planning.  The "Think College Early" program encourages students and parents to plan early, with information for middle and high school students.

The Financial Information Page 
is sponsored by the National Association of Financial Aid Administrators.  It contains information on scholarships and grants, as well as warnings about fraudulent search firms. 

The College Board 
Web site contains a database of scholarship sources called Expan Scholarship Search.  A similar database is available in many libraries and guidance counselors' offices through a software program called Fund Finder, also from the College Board.

The Student Loan Marketing Association home page offers information on scholarships, grants and student loans.

SRN Express is a free web version of the database of the Scholarship Resource Network, a search firm.  It focuses on private-sector aid, like academic scholarships. See also http://204.243.72. 15:/srn

The College & Career Center   
has sections on selecting a college, finding loans, careers, and a look at what campus life is at various schools.  The site also has a loan center where you can learn how to qualify for financial aid and get application forms and booklets. 

The National Association Of Student Financial Aid Administrators
Has extensive information on federal, state and private forms of financial aid. 

Search here to find the best schools and graduate programs for you as well as information about financial aid. You can also apply to over 1200 schools online using the CollegeQuest eApply feature.

Direct Loans (Lots of Links)

Keenan Links On Financial Aid

Guidestar (800) 421-8656
Guidestar gathers and disseminates information on over one million 501(C)(3) organizations.  Their goal is to change the culture of philanthropy by showing the public who they can give to.  Guidestar's extensive database classifies each organization by subject and can find donor organizations willing to assist you.  

Sallie Mae Student Loan Financing Service
(800) 239-4269
Call their College Answer Program Hotline toll-free for information about college costs and financial aid programs.

Foundation Center (800) 424-9836
They can direct you to funds specifically earmarked for higher education.

The Council On Foundations (202)466-6512
Provides contact numbers for local foundations.

Americorps (800) 942-2677
Established under the Clinton Administration, this agency allows students to repay their loans through community service.

College Answer SM (Sponsored By Sallie Mae) (800) 891-4599
This organization offers advice on filling out financial aid applications and information of federal college loan programs.

Toll-Free Directory 1-800-555-1212
Use this free directory service to see if your help agency has a toll-free number.  

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Student Loan Trouble-Illinois