Top Student Loan Scams

Student Loan Scams

With billions of dollars being loaned to students each year, there is no doubt that there are scammers trying to get your money. Here are some common scams that are happening right now that you should be aware of when looking for student loans.

Advanced Fee Scam​

This scam involves a student loan company that tells you they can get you the "best" interest rate and loan terms, but you have to pay a "small" fee up front for this service. The fee can be anywhere from 1-5% of the loan amount.​

If you come across this offer - RUN! There are no circumstances in which you should have to pay money to get money. Legitimate student loans, even from private lenders, do not require any fees up front. If there are any fees, they are deducted from the disbursement check or they are included in the repayment amount and are amortized over the repayment period.

There are two common fees that will be paid with the loan, but once again, never up front. Federal student loans charge a 1% default fee, but charge no origination fees. Most private loans charge some type of either disbursement fee or origination fee, but these are usually negotiable and vary widely from lender to lender.

Loan Consolidation Scam

After you graduate, it might be a good idea to consolidate your student loans. This is another area that is ripe with scams. The most common student loan consolidation scam is one in which the company charges a consolidation fee, but actually does nothing. The fee is sometimes called processing fees, administrative fees, or consolidation fees.

If you have a federal student loan, there are no fees whatsoever for student loan debt consolidation.

If you have a private student loan, there are only FOUR lenders nationwide that offer consolidation loans. The companies are listed on FinAid.org, which is sponsored by the US Department of Education to help borrowers navigate the student loan process.

Finally, if you are considering consolidation, make sure you read our guide on The Right Way To Consolidate Your Student Loans.

Student Loan Debt Elimination Scam

​The important thing to remember about student loan debt is that it must always be repaid - it cannot be eliminated unless you have a federally qualifying reason (death, permanent disability, school closure, falsification of documents or identity theft). If you come across a company that promises to get your student loan debt eliminated, it is a scam!

If It Feels Like A Scam - Make Sure You Protect Yourself!

It's important to remember that if it feels like a scam, it probably is a scam.

But too many times, you get that feeling of being scammed AFTER you gave them your Social Security number, or FinAid login, or some other information.  Don't fret, just protect yourself.

Simply head over to Credit Karma and get a free credit report and monitor your credit.  If anything strange happens, you'll be the first to know.  Check it out: Credit Karma - and it's truly free!​

Secure Application

However, there are times when it's not a scam, but it just seems like one. For example, I get a lot of readers asking about the FedLoan Servicing Scam. FedLoan isn't a scam, but just a poorly run student loan servicing company. Another one I get asked a lot about is NelNet, especially when it comes to their KwikPay Service. Once again, not a scam, just a poorly run program.

I hope this helps you navigate the world of student loans a little better and avoid getting played. If you want to know more, don't forget to check out my Definitive Guide to Student Loan Debt.

Readers, have you ever been the victim of a student loan scam?

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Comments

    • says

      No I don’t. There is no central hub that tracks this, and the scams usually fall under labels like “Identity Theft” or “Fraud”. However, with student loans dispersing close to $100 billion per year, you know that there has to be more victims that you think.

      • Brianne Nobles says

        Ok I just signed up with “student aid center” and I’m already worried because for one they did charge me a processing fee…but various people from their “company” have called me several times for my login info for fed loan and that had me concerned…they supposedly updated their notes as I have not received any more calls other than from my “counselor” updating me on status. My question: if they did get my loan forebearable approved…shouldn’t I have gotten a confirmation notice of that instead of another statement?

          • Marybeth Langin says

            I just signed up through the student aid center also. I had such student loan debt that I couldn’t do anything because the debt kept adding so much interest that it just kept piling on. I understand that I can pay them to process all my stuff for me, which works because I never stay up on paperwork for that stuff, I have way too much going on at work and in life that I don’t want to deal with it. However, I just want to know what you think about this company or what you have heard? Will they actually consolidate and get my payments lower and forgiven after my 10 years as I am a govt employee?

          • says

            They likely will help you, but you realize that every form you fill out for them will be the same as you would for your own lender? They aren’t doing anything special for you that you couldn’t do yourself. If you can fill out a job application you can fill out the simple form required to switch to IBR. You’re just throwing away money by paying for this.

  1. says

    I have fallen victim to a student loan scam. I had an outstanding loan that I was making payments on. I wanted to go back to school but I was unable to get funding aid while I still had my outstanding loan. I received a letter in the mail claiming I could have my student paid off and added to a credit card. I could then make payments on the card. They even offered me more credit on top of that.

    Well they sent me a Mastercard, added the loan to my balance, but never paid off the original loan. The student loan went into default and it was a big mess to clean up after.

    Moral of the story is stick to only to well known government back type of help when it comes to student loans.

  2. Melissa says

    I received a letter in the mail from a place in Orange, CA that called themselves Student Processing Center. Has anyone heard of them. They promised that they would consolidate my loans, after completing my associates degree in nursing, my bachelor’s degree in nursing, and halfway through my masters degree, I owe $51,000. They said that, based on my income and family size, they could decrease my payments to $30 per month, and after 25 years, whatever is left would be written off by the dept. of education. They said they require a fee of $599 up front. It sounds too good to be true. I asked if they were part of the DOE or a third party. The guy, “Kevin,” with whom I was speaking said they were a third party, but I would receive a contract and all the paperwork in the mail. However, I had to pay $599 over the phone before any of this would take place. I checked for this company on the BBB website and found nothing. Anyone ever heard of them? He said their website is StudentProcessingCenter dot com. I looked at it, but, like my husband said, anyone can build a website.

    • says

      Melissa, it’s not a “scam” in the fraud sense, but it is a scam in the waste of money sense.

      Companies like this simply charge you a fee to get you paperwork you could easily get yourself.

      For the student loan consolidation stuff, check out my recent article on the subject: http://thecollegeinvestor.com/11616/consolidate-your-student-loans/

      For the repayment options, check out my ultimate guide on student loan debt and learn the options you qualify for: http://thecollegeinvestor.com/the-definitive-guide-to-student-loan-debt/

      To change repayment options, you simply call your lender and don’t have to pay anyone!

      • LogicSpeaks says

        So I guess same question as above, since this isn’t a “scam” in the fraud sense, then if I didn’t agree to pay them anything (however gave them too much personal information) does it mean they can still screw me out of more money at this point? Should I create a new checking account number? I almost embarrassed to call my self LogicSpeaks……… but hey, probably have to fall for a scam at least once in your life? :p

        • bhansen3 says

          I just gave them entirely way too much information myself and then had a small panic attack after i got off the phone, did any of your accounts get compromised?

      • Andrew Dolan says

        The same thing happened to me. I just talked to the Student Processing Center today and told them my information. They said my monthly bill would be $29.99. Now I am having second thoughts about this. The contract said that you have up to 30 days to cancel the contract. I don’t know what to do, I am feeling nervous about getting screwed over by them. What can I do about this? Has anyone been able to successfully to get out of this??

        • Andrew Dolan says

          Also, I electronically sign the contract, only one of them and not the second one. I called back tonight and told them I want to cancel and I was told that the manager will call me tomorrow with more information about it. So I hope I’m not locked in to much yet.

          • says

            Hi Andrew,

            Basically, you’re paying them to make a phone call and fill out some paperwork for you. Is it worth a few hundred dollars? Not really – you can do it yourself in the same amount of time you spent on the phone with them.

            I would take the money you’re paying them and put it towards your student loans.

        • Andrew Dolan says

          Thank you, Robert. Do you think I will be able to successfully get out of this thing without anything bad happening to me? I’m a little nervous and I’ve hopefully learned my lesson.

      • Mike says

        How can you justify telling someone not to use a legitimate 3rd party company that is providing them a service of handling the process for them. That would be like you telling everyone in the world to not use CPA’s or tax companies because you can file your taxes for free as well.

        • says

          Hi Mike,

          I think you’re misinterpreting the article and comments, because I’ve never said don’t use a legitimate 3rd party company. The article is about protecting yourself from the hundreds of not legitimate companies that are scamming borrowers.

          However, I also think a lot of “legitimate” companies are acting in a grey area because they are not advising or speaking the truth to borrowers. For example, many aren’t telling the borrowers what they are going to do – like what payment plans or what consolidation options they have. The companies simply promise to lower your payment. Well, that doesn’t always help every borrower, and many times, the borrowers end up in more trouble later.

          Also, with Federal student loans, the options are very cut and dry. There are no grey areas. There are specific payment plans and consolidation options available, and the paperwork to fill it out is easy.

          I have a big problem with companies charging $500 or more to fill out a 5 page form that takes 10 minutes, not educate the borrower, all of which the borrower could do themselves.

          As for the CPA question – if you qualify for free eFile, then yes, you shouldn’t use a tax preparer because you just have a basic form to fill out. There are 50 million filers out there that should be doing it themselves and not paying. Tax companies that charge exorbitant fees and promise big refunds are a problem separate from these student loan consolidation companies.

          If students really want help with their student loan debt, and they can’t do it themselves, the order of operations of who to call/contact is very simple:
          1. Their own student loan servicer, which should provide the options
          2. If they have concerns, call the Dept. of Education Student Loan Ombudsman
          3. If they want a 3rd party, make sure it is an NFCC (National Foundation for Credit Counseling) Certified consumer credit counselor, many of which offer free and discounted services. This will be a much cheaper and smarter option than using a for-profit company that may or may not help with your student loan debt

  3. David Diaz says

    My fiance is working with a company called nationwide student loan, they are supposedly going to be able to consolidate her student loan debt by making payments of $133 for 6 months.Once 6 months of payments have been received they will qualify her based on her income $0 for 12 months and will apparently continue that process until the loan company for fill debt. Is this real?

  4. SteveLen80 says

    I wondered the same.. they want $599 up front to process an application with 2-4 months of skipped payments though.. i opted to go through studentloans.gov much of the same info is entered, though the terms of repayment dont seem quite as long, though maybe thats not until you get the info from the new servicer, in my case nelnet and its free to try

  5. Daniel Arturo Bahena says

    Does anybody know anything about the Student Loan Support company? I called them at (866) 233-8481 ext.422 to get information, and it all seemed too good to be true. I couldn’t find anything wrong with it, but I also don’t feel like it’s legitimate. I need to know if anyone has had experience with Student Loan Support in the past. Please offer your experiences. Thank you.

  6. cody says

    I recently started dealing with studentaidcenter.org I found them on Google and contacted them. they are not requiring me to pay anything but they consolidated my loans and because of my income they dropped my payments to $100 a month and after 20 years anything that’s left will be forgiven by the government. I haven’t made any payments yet and also don’t want to give them too much personal information. Is this a scam?

    • Barbara Davidson says

      I spoke to a company National Student Loan Relief Center and they want 625 in 4 payments and they would get my student loans forgiven. They checked with studentloans.gov for my loan totals and what they could do for me. I worked 20 yrs with a public non profit state agency. My loans are not going down due to interest. But when I check with studentloans.gov the same payment plans come up but not the forgiveness that the company promises. I was advised they are a 3rd party not affiliated with the department of education and I am paying for administrative work to complete the process. When I asked is this for sure the loans are forgiven Alexandria said yes I have already been confirmed that all payments would be 0 income based. Is this for real or a scam.

      • says

        They are charging you for something that you can do yourself – your last line says it all: they are going to change your repayment plan to IBR (Income Based Repayment). On this plan, your payments could be $0, and after a period of time (typically 20-30 years), your loan will just be forgiven. However, there are tax consequences from this, but they could be minor.

        You can set that up yourself, just call your student loan servicer.

        Don’t pay them to fill out some paperwork for you.

    • says

      If it’s a company that wants you to pay them for a something, be aware. You should never have to pay to get your student loan payment plan changed, to get student loan forgiveness, or get deferrals, and more.

  7. LogicSpeaks says

    Greetings, so overly excited idiot me gave way too much personal information to Student Processing Center, however they asked for 599.99 and I stopped. They even ‘lightly’ pushed for me to borrow that 600$ from someone else. I said no I can’t afford it so I just let him go. I don’t think I’ve ever fallen for a scam before… I know down below you said this company isn’t exactly fraudulent, they’re just charging you money for something we could do ourselves (now I know). Will this company screw me with any fees? or are they legit in terms of not doing anything until you agreed on it? I’ve changed my Student aid PIN on FAFSA.ED.GOV Should I call my bank since I idiotically gave them my routing/account number?

  8. April Williams says

    Please tell me if USLPR government program is a scam. These people have all of my information. I called 1.888.609.6997

    • says

      Once again, they are not a “scam” but you’re paying for a service you don’t need and you could probably do yourself by calling your lender.

      You don’t need to pay to reduce your payments, change your payment plan, or get consolidation. All of those can be done with a simple phone call to your lender and filling out some paperwork.

  9. RAW says

    I recieved info from student processing center and gave them my SS# and, email, and they accessed my Fin Aid pin. When they mentioned I would them $599.0 to get the process started and it would be few months before I would have to pay anything I said I needed time to think about it. Should I be concerned about the info I gave them? Is this a serious scam? Im very concerned now.

    • says

      You shouldn’t be concerned from an identity theft standpoint beyond simply being vigilant like you normally should. However, I wouldn’t pay them as you can simply take care of everything they will do for you by yourself. Don’t spend the money.

  10. John says

    I’ve recently been working with a guy named Andrew Reyes at “Student Loan Exchange”… their website boasts a lot, and they look legitimate. I set up a payment plan that was supposed to be a “pay for 10 years, and the rest is forgiven” kind of deal. He said it would take 30-90 days, but nothing has been done and it’s been over 90 days. In the mean time, per his advice, I have been withholding payments for 3 months. FedLoan Servicing has been contacting me about these missed payments, and I’m worried I’ve been scammed.

    Is Student Loan Exchange a scam? My “loan officer” has my SS# because I was an idiot and I trusted in what I thought was a legitimate company. http://www.studentloanexchange.org.

    Any thoughts or advice?

    John

    • says

      I’d be concerned because they haven’t done anything for you in the 90 days they said, and FedLoan doesn’t know and is asking for payments.

      You should never stop making payments – and you can do all of this yourself by simply calling FedLoan.

      I would check your credit to make sure no damage has been done. See the box above for Credit Karma.

      • John says

        Thank you. The only thing that kept me on the hook is that Andrew was very quick to reply to emails, return phone calls… they have a very professional looking website, calling center, etc. I feel pretty stupid to be honest.

  11. nando says

    I signed up with Student Loan Support. They are on the bbb website with a D- rating. They have a address that was the same on my email as it was on the bbb site. I have to pay a starting fee which im fine with as long as the company is legit. Could anyone tell me if this is a legit company?

    • says

      I’ve never heard of it but I’d be concerned by their BBB rating, as well as having to pay a fee.

      You could have done everything they did for you simply by calling your lender. You are paying them for something you could have done.

  12. John Peacock says

    Does anyone know if nationwide student aid is a scam??? I was set up for my payment plan and have been making payments to fed loan servicing company. My loans were consolidated but the individual loans have not yet come off my credit report. My original amount due was 65,000 and now on my credit report its 135,000 bc the consolidated loans are on there… its been about 4 months is this enough time for the non consolidated loans to come off my credit report or does it take longer than that.

  13. Andrew Dolan says

    Is there any other things I should make sure to do or get from them to seal my termination with them for good?

  14. C OLaughlin says

    I met with a credit advisor (in person) to help clean up some credit stuff on our reports. He suggested using a company to consolidate our loans into a program that some have basically described above. We pay 699.00 and they consolidate my loans to where I only pay 33 bucks a month versus the 300 to 400 Nelnet has me paying and after 25 years the loans are forgiven. I understand I could fill out the paperwork myself and I’m, in essence, paying him to do so for me, but my question is more on the forgiveness part and the monthly payment of 33 dollars. I’m a firm believer in that if it sounds too good to be true, it is. It seems surreal that I would qualify for this. Is this something that my credit could be hurt with? Is this a real program?

  15. Tomas alvarez says

    i recive a letter, i contact them we talk about i give him my information as a soon i told him i work in a bank he hang up on me… now im getting second tough , it student processing center a scam?

  16. carole Taylor says

    I received a card in the mail stating “Student Loan Consolidation & Payment Reduction Program Prepared for Carole Taylor”. It continued saying that due to your loan balances totaling over $21,000 you are now eligible to receive benefits from a new law that has passed regarding federal student loans including TOTAL FORGEVNESS in some circumstances and they work on behalf of the Department if Education. I called and was told that since I have been paying my loan in full for more than 22 payments and I currently am employed full time in the public service area I can receive loan forgiveness. can you tell me if this true? in todays world I am skeptical as I am sure most are. any advice would be helpful.
    Thank you
    Carole

    • says

      Hi Carole,

      I’m sure they want to help, and their mailing campaign sounds appealing. But read the bottom of their website (best disclaimer yet): “Student Loan Education Center offers private, fee based application assistance services to assist consumers in applying for government offered programs. While such programs may be available for free directly by various government agencies, our services are fee-based and focused on application and document preparation. We do not charge fees for access to such programs, only to prepare and counsel relating to such applications programs.”

      Once again, you could do this yourself – they are going to charge you to simply fill out the application…

  17. Erin says

    This is the place that scammed me.http://www.studentloansupport.us/ They literally called me very single day, multiple times for about 5 months from different numbers yet I still gave them my credit card info? Yes I am stupid but I thought it was legit. THANKFULLY they did not get any money out of me because my bank closed my card down because they noticed RIGHT after I gave them my info from my brand new card I had gotten just days before that it was being used in other states and online. Ugh I am so mad but oh so thankful they didn’t get my hard earned money.

  18. Heather says

    I got something in the mail from student processing center, and called them today. They offered the IBR plan that I had looked into on the FedLoan website, but hadn’t done because my loans are now in forbearance and I was concerned about the law changing someday and I’d be stuck with a large amount of interest from doing the IBR. Student processing center made it sound like I would be “grandfathered” into my payment plan (which would have me paying about $7,000 total after 20 years instead of my actual $49,000 debt). What I’m wondering is, if I decide to just do the IBR payment plan on the actual FedLoan website rather than this student processing center deal, will I be “grandfathered” into this as well, and able to have my debt forgiven after 20, 30 years? Or could I suddenly be subject to a law change and be stuck with even more debt due to added interest? I was pretty excited about this opportunity, but I would have to end up borrowing the $599.00; but if its actually not a scam and they could have me “grandfathered” into this whereas with FedLoan IBR I’m not and perhaps subject to possible changes someday, maybe it would be worth the $599.00?

  19. Ak says

    Can you clarify the taxation on the IBR loan forgiveness program? I have 80,000 in loans. The loans are 3 years old. I qualify for a $0 monthly payment under IBR. My understanding is that interest accrues and unpaid interest is capitalized quarterly. Does this mean that in 20 years the loan will be huge, maybe $500,000? Assuming my income remains low (under $20,000) and taxation policy doesn’t change, how much taxes would I owe?

    • says

      Yes, any interest that is capitalized into the loan and is forgiven is taxable. So, let’s say that your current loan is $80,000 and you never pay it for the full 20 years. You didn’t say what your interest rate was, but I’m going to assume 6.8%.

      You loan balance would be $80,000, and you would have capitalized $54,400 in interest, for a total forgiveness of $134,400. You’d owe ordinary income tax on that balance, which at the current rates would be roughly $33,000.

      You could then setup an IRS repayment plan on this lower amount.

  20. Steve says

    Rob,

    I have been scammed. I did sign the service agreement about 1 and a half years ago and have realized after a year that what I thought was happening was that the monthly service fee was being tacked on to my monthly payment to my loan company which i thought was going through them. But what they are doing is charging me $40.00 a month and I pay nelnet.com on my own. So I did ask them what they do. They told me they provide a service that stays with the loan until it is forgiven. It did not make sense. So I am being charged money for them to do nothing. They handle no money for my company, they handle no loan or deal with any moneys that pay off anything. So if I make changes to my loan or make all the payments, what is the $40.00 a month going to. Nothing – they do nothing. They did file paper work and get my loan going for me, which i could have done myself. But they were handsomely paid for that service. $285 twice to join the different programs they offer plus $40.00 a month service fee. But in the end, when I tried to get out they said there was no way of getting out. I hired them and they are attached to the loan until it is paid off or it is forgiven. My question was I do not like your service, you have been paid for every piece of work that you have done plus some, why can I not get out of their service. I am going to a lawyer concerning this. But if i ask a financial consultant to watch over my money and after a year of me paying them I decide to go to someone else – then I should be able to. My service agreement says no where that I am locked in forever, but it says I just need to have in writing that I am terminating their service and not to deduct money from my account. But the person on the phone said other wise. SO I am not sure who to believe here or what to believe.

  21. April says

    I received this information from someone who is telling me how their student loans were forgiven and I should try it. I just don’t know if this is legit? And don’t get how the amount is paid off?? What do you think This is what was sent to me :
    Her name is Jess Myers and basically she gets your info and see what u qualify for for example my loans were 14000 and my approval was 11,188 so now I only owe 3000 and make 10.00 payment for 300mo span first payment not due till March, now there is a 3payment fee of 239. For then consolidating my 5 loans to 1 and looking as if I paid off 14000 in loans so we know what that does to credit right, everyone is a bit different but call her she will give u the whole breakdown.

      • April says

        You are speaking of the $239 for 3mos, yea i see that, but this lady is telling people the loans will be forgiven and gone?? I have not did this however I have friends who have which is how I got the info. They even logged into their account and it shows ZERO!?? But did they truly pay them off or just move them and this go come back and haunt them later??

        • says

          They won’t be gone at all for the plan she is telling you about. It’s a repayment plan that includes forgiveness at the end.

          As for the consolidation, the account will show $0 after the consolidation, but you’ll have a new loan in a new account.

          • April says

            wow thats what I thought, it just didn’t sound right to me at all. Thanks so much for taking the time with me and I really appreciate it

  22. Kimberly Eastman says

    I was just contacted by student processing center and they said that I qualify for government her to help with my student loans. But they do not mail anything and would not when I requested information. He wants me gov pin for my loans or my ss number. I need the help with my loan but I am not going to just hand out my ss number over the phone with out really checking them out. He said that it only costs $500 for processing the paper work and I could make payment over the next 5 months. Please help!

    • says

      Don’t do it. You can call your lender and do everything they say yourself. You are basically paying $500 for them to fill out a form for you. You can fill it out yourself for free! Just call your lender and get it!

      Do you really think that they should call you and not the other way around? Why would you trust someone that calls you out of the blue?

      • Wesley says

        If the lenders can do this for free, and these programs have been around for years, how come my lender hasn’t told me anything about the forgiveness programs? I was able to get my loans completely forgiven because of my disability. Yes I paid a company $599 but they did all the work for me. I have the paperwork and proof that my loans ($41,000). It took almost 3 months, but I was always in contact with the customer service.

        I think as long as you do your homework and research, you’ll be fine. I was hesitant to give them my information, but now they are helping my niece with her defaulted loans. And so far so good.

        • says

          That’s a key issue a lot of people have – it’s not the lender’s job to tell you of all your options proactively. If you call them, they can help, but if you personally don’t know to call and ask you won’t get help. These companies make you pay large amounts of money for things that you could do for free.

          Literally you paid them to be a middleman for you. Every form you filled out for them they just forwarded to your lender, since they are standard government forms. I’m glad it worked out for you, but for the same effort and work you could have done it for free.

  23. Edie says

    So I received a call yesterday, I think it was from something I filled out online off of facebook about seeing if you qualify for student loan forgiveness. I was transferred several times after answering several questions about my loans. Eventually I ended up with someone named Jack Howard from studentadvocates.us, he requested my PIN number for fafsa and my ss#. I was hesitant to give it to him, then he sent me an email with a link to the website and it looked legit. I did give him the info and now I am thinking that I shouldn’t have. He said I qualify for IBR and loan forgiveness as a public servant after 10 years since I am a hs teacher. It seems so confusing, and concerning that they want to charge me almost $500 to sign up for it. I went on and changed my fafsa pin after speaking with him. Should I be alarmed that they have my SS number? Have you heard of this company or any other fraud associated with them. I did check their LLC with the state of California and they are licensed. Just really losing sleep over that temporary lapse of judgement, any insight would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • says

      I wouldn’t be alarmed – they are just a company trying to get you to pay for a service you don’t need. Yes, you might qualify for IBR, but you can change your repayment plan yourself by simply calling your lender and filling out the form. You are basically paying them to file your own paperwork for you. It’s a waste of money. Just monitor your credit to be safe, but don’t lose sleep over it.

      Here’s an article on the plan the guy was telling you about: http://thecollegeinvestor.com/11856/secret-student-loan-forgiveness/

  24. Jordan D. says

    I did the whole $599 from a website called nationalstudentservicing.org. I gave them just about all the information I could. I then found out from fedloan that I was past due and that the forbearance national student servicing was supposed to give me was not real. They are making me pay $39 a month. I have realized this is not a real company but they have all my information. what should I do?

    • says

      That’s a tough spot. If they didn’t follow through on the terms of the agreement, first contact them and stop paying them. Next, get your loan back in good standing with FedLoan and work directly through them to change your payment plan as needed. You don’t need to pay a company to get deferment, forbearance, or a new repayment plan. You just need to call your loan servicing company (Fedloan).

  25. Damien says

    Hi. Thank you for your diligence on this matter. I have a concern. I just now signed an agreement with a company called “direct loans services”.

    They offered to get my student loans out of default by making 3 payments of $133.00, and additional payments of $0 (which would still show as payment) so that i may continue to go to school. Could you please give some advice or insight on this company and my current situation before they take money out of my account next week?

    • says

      Well, you could get your loans out of default yourself by making those same payments to your lender and then switching to IBR repayment plan. It’s sounds like you’re paying them to do that for you, but you could do it for the same amount of paperwork and no fees. So why do it that way? Just call your lender.

  26. says

    What about a company called slecdirect? I gave them all my information and when they said they needed a “processing fee”, that’s when I became wary. I haven’t finished anything with them, but he has all my info. What should I do?

  27. Cherrie says

    Hi! I attended Ashford University 2010-2013. I graduated with a Bachelor in Environmental Studies and a minor in Public Administration. My student loans ended up being double what I thought they would be. I’m still not sure how that happened. I’ve always had a feeling like I was screwed over. Then I started seeing articles online about Ashford University having to pay back millions and student loan forgiveness. I called Student Loan Services at (800) 604-5411. Like an idiot, I gave them way too much personal information (I thought about that afterwards). The lady ended up telling me that since my student loan debt is $52,000 and I have three children and still no job I would qualify for complete student loan forgiveness. It really sounds too good to be true. She tried to access my FAFSA but I couldn’t remember my pin and my account was locked. She said to get the pin and give her a call back. She never said anything about paying them money up front. Is Student Loan Services a legitimate company???

    • says

      They are a legit company but you’re paying them for a service that you don’t need to pay for. Why don’t you just call your lender instead and ask for different repayment options. I bet you’ll end up in the same place for free.

      • Patricia says

        Hi, my roommates and I went to a college that was run by edmc and is being sued by numerous people and the government for fraud and a bunch of other things. Basically the school screwed up a lot of things for us and I at least plan on getting a lawsuit soon, but my roommate called that number and talk to someone about forgiveness of his loans. I know any type of services like these if they are legit, is paying for something you could do yourself, but I’m kinda confused about a few things. I would like to know if they could actually help me with forgiveness since my school was fraudulent and if they actually are a scam before I call them back. There are a lot of companies with the same-ish name but this was specifically that number on nationwidestudentloanhelp.com. I’m just wondering since my situation is a little different.

        • says

          The reason people are suing is because they can’t get forgiveness on the loans. The school would have had to falsify a document for your student loans to get forgiveness. If you can prove or show that, you’d qualify, but otherwise, your best action is a lawsuit – but even that may not be worth it.

          That’s a tough situation.

    • says

      Hi Ginger,

      Student Aid Center is just a company that charges you a service fee to do paperwork that you could file for yourself.

      If you’re a teacher at a Title I school, you can do all the forgiveness paperwork yourself. All you need to do is call your lender and they will send it to you to fill out.

      If you can fill out a job application, you can fill out the paperwork.

  28. Mike says

    Hey Robert,

    Thanks for this article, very helpful! I believe I’ve already been victim to a scam by organization who called themselves Federal Student Loan Relief, LLC. They told me they could cut my payments down significantly based off my yearly income. They charged $499 after signing with them and the charges came up from some Law Firm called Joseph R. Goodman, which was my first red flag. Long story short it’s been months and now I can’t even get in contact with them by phone or email. Anyway this experience has made me skeptical of any help I could get. On Credit Karma they recommend I used SoFi to refinance my student loans they estimate reasonable savings. Is SoFi a legitimate and trustworthy organization to work with? Any help or advice you could provide, would be much appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Mike

  29. Gina says

    I have been in touch with the Student Aid Center in Doral, Florida. The told me I pre-qualified for $0 monthly payments on my student loans. I would have to pay them $199 a month for 5 months and stop repaying my loans. Then I would be re-evaluated every year to see if I continue to qualify. Don you know anything about this company. Is it for real?

    • says

      Ouch, that’s the highest fee I’ve seen yet: almost $1,000! Insane!

      Basically, all this company is doing is placing you into the IBR repayment plan for your student loans. Based on your income, you’ll likely qualify for $0 per year repayment.

      However, did this company tell you:
      – That your repayment amount changes each year based on your income, and it could (and likely will) go up
      – Did they tell you that you aren’t really “pre-qualified” – YOU AUTOMATICALLY QUALIFY FOR BASIC GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS. That’s like telling you you’re prequalified to pay taxes. Ridiculous!
      – Finally, did they tell you any amount you get forgiven is taxable and you’ll owe the IRS?

      Look, don’t pay them, do it yourself. IBR is a good plan for some people. Here’s a link explaining how it works in more detail and how you can sign up for it for FREE: Secret Student Loan Forgiveness

  30. Tammy says

    I was called by student loan consolidating center. I never called them. They called me. They wanted my info including my fafsa PIN number. I didn’t give the info. However, I asked that they email me a website to check out the company and reputation. He kept telling me he could lower my payments or possibly have my loans forgiven. But of course, needed my info to get the “job done”. I left the conversation at I would look at the company website once it was the web address was sent to me. Is it common for consolidation companies to call YOU first?

  31. Denise says

    I got a letter in the mail and I called it and they ask for some information and I gave it to them. Then they said to look up my loan they need my fasa pin. I said i didn’t know it. So then he said he can file for a new one so he did and gave it to me but it wouldn’t be active for a couple days and when I get a email then call him back. So I wait a week and mover got email. I called back and he said I didn’t receive it because maybe some of the information he entered wasn’t correct. Basically I just want to know if you know if this website is for real or a scam.

    Thanks

  32. Jannis says

    I have just applied with Student Aid Center as Gina above, and was told that my federal student loans would be forgiven within a 300mth–>25yr period after $199/mo payment for 5mths. As told, I am responsible for $0/mo payment after that 5mth period, based on my monthly income. What sold me was the fact that it was a 300 mth period, which gave me indication that all loans would be forgiven at that time. I have previously filed for IBR with my loan servicer Nelnet, and was offered the same $0/mo payment; however, I took it to be that my loans would be paid off whenever I paid the last penny of it, combined with the never-ending increasing interest rates. Student Aid Center said that the principal balance and the interest rates are all covered under the program and will be forgiven in the 300mth period, unlike with Nelnet.
    Should I be concerned be the deal offered from Student Aid?

  33. Elizabeth M. says

    Has anyone heard of a company called Student Loan Processing? I gave them way too much information and my personal information. They said all I had to pay was $39 a month and I have been paying them for years and it has not been applied to my student loans.What got me was when they wanted to access my information through Nelnet for verification. Then have a D- rating on the BBB. What should I do is this a legal company?

  34. Erich says

    Hello Robert,

    Your forum has been very helpful! My situation seems unique as my wife and I quit our jobs to travel for a year. National Student Servicing showed up at the perfect time to arrange a debt consolidation of under graduate and graduate loans. Now I am realizing my mistake. Is it possible to return to the gov. run loans, like Sallie Mae and refinance my loan. Do I have any options in getting out of this arrangement?

    • says

      No, once you refinance out of your Federal student loan debt, you can’t go back. There is no getting out of your new loan unless you refinance. Why do you want to change your loan terms again (ignoring the fact that you paid this company way too much for nothing)?

  35. Emilyn Davies says

    Hi Robert,

    I think I have fallen victim to a scam as well. I am so ashamed of myself. The company is called student loan control, LLC. Have you ever heard of this company? I can’t find them on BBB.

    I was sent an email from college loan relief and I retrieved the number like a dummy and contacted the company and I was then told I would be called back. A woman named Felicia Spencer then contacted me back in less than an hour and explained that they worked with the department of education and that they assist in loan forgiveness. After doing calculations she said I would pay $268 for 4 months then it would go down to $16.00. So I gave her way way too much info down to my SS number and debit card info, and she sent me a docusign application to sign…when I saw the info she put on the application I noticed that despite me telling her I was married and completed a joint tax return, she put married filing separate. I immediately hung up and blocked her number but she has all my info. I never signed anything though. Should I be concerned??

    Thank you

  36. Kaui says

    Hello Robert,
    I have recently signed up with Student Aid Center and they told me the same thing as theyʻve told your other readers above. I know I qualify for the IBR. My loans are in default and I was trying to find the best way to put them in forgiveness. I had no clue how to do that thatʻs why I signed up for that website. Do you have any knowledge on how to get my Federal loans out of default and to get back my credit score?

    • says

      Yes, it’s really easy. Call your lender and discuss the options. For Federal loans, you have three options to get your loans out of default so that you can qualify for loan forgiveness.

      These include loan repayment, loan rehabilitation, and loan consolidation.

      Loan repayment is repaying your defaulted student loan in full. This may not be an option for you.

      To rehabilitate your Direct Loan or FFEL Program loan, you and your loan servicer must agree on a reasonable and affordable payment plan. Your loan is rehabilitated only after you have voluntarily made the agreed-upon payments on time and the loan has been purchased by a lender. Outstanding collection costs may be added to the principal balance.

      Payments that have already been collected from you (like from Wage Garnishments or Tax Refund Offsets) do not count toward your rehabilitation payments.

      Once your loan is rehabilitated, you may regain eligibility for benefits that were available on your loan before you defaulted. Those benefits may include deferment, forbearance, a choice of repayment plans, loan forgiveness, and eligibility for additional federal student aid.

      Finally, you also have an option for getting out of default through loan consolidation. Loan consolidation allows you to pay off the outstanding combined balance(s) for one or more federal student loans to create a new single loan with a fixed interest rate.

      No matter which you choose, you have to talk to your lender. All Student Aid Center is doing is talking to your lender on your behalf – so you’re literally paying them to be you. Any form you fill out is the same that your lender would have you fill out. You’re just adding time and money to the same process.

  37. Matthew says

    I recently gave my bank account info and SS# over the phone to getstudentloanhelp.info. They were supposed to bill me $230 last Monday (Feb 22nd) and set me up with an account through SLC Processing, but I can’t log in on that site and haven’t been billed yet.

    Is that organization legit? Should I be worried about fraud or identity theft or is it another occasion of a legitimate company charging me for my ignorance of loan repayment?

  38. Jackie says

    Yesterday, I received a notice in the mail regarding Student Consolidation & Payment Reduction Program. The notice included a reference benefit ID which they asked for when I called them. Once given, they were able to confirm my name and address then proceeded to obtain additional info from me. The representative said, he was from STUDENT PROCESSING CENTER. I too provided too much information! He emailed me Agreement contract that I did not sign. I requested that he call me back on Monday so I could review the Agreement contract. I felt sick to my stomach after I hung up the phone thinking..why did I just give him my info. I wish I would have done my research and saw this blog before making that phone call!!!! My bank suggested I call Student Processing Ctr to say “Destroy all my info” and request that they send an email to confirm they destroyed it.

  39. Lindsey says

    Hi! So im not to tech Savy but i did want to lower my loan payments. I googled a program as the pay as you earn and i found studentaidcenter.org and paid my first payment of $249 a month and they would take 5 months of that payment and they would do the forbiddance and get me to pay 96$ a month then on from another servicer. I trying to figure out if this is a scam or not. on the BBB website it has a D- but its not saying that its a full scam. Im more confused on what i did because i did give them my information and personal information. They told me they would let me know and keep me updated.. but they also want me to send 4 last paychecks or first 2 paged of tax forms and they can continue to do the process and let me know what my new provider would be once they paper work is done. Is this a scam? Im new graduate and had no idea what this process involved or what the right company was.. So now I’m wondering if I’m an idiot.

    • Lindsey says

      They also sent me contracts to sign electronically and i didn’t provide my banking info but i did give a credit card over the phone.

    • says

      STOP doing that with them. They are just changing your repayment plan to IBR. To do that, all you need to do is fill out the SAME form and send to your lender, not them. You realize that you are paying them almost $1,250 to simply fill out your paperwork? That’s the highest amount I’ve seen yet, and I’ve been doing this for 5 years.

      To get IBR, simply contact your lender and they will ask you to fill out an form and provide verification, just like this company. The only difference? They don’t charge you crazy amounts of money.

  40. Jessica Nunez says

    I applied for student loan forgiveness and through student aid center and they told me that I would be paying $199 for 5 months to them and then after my last payment I will pay a prequalified consolidated payment of $0 for 240 months under the “pay as you earn” program. They also stated that the $199 will not be going toward my loan and not to contact my lender because the student aid center is now in charge of handling my payment loans for me. Is this a scam? Please help I have 3 days to cancel and I want to make sure I am doing the right thing. My loan is 9500$ and my interest is about $500 right now. If the program is just taking my money I rather just use my money to directly pay off the interest of my loan and start making payments.

    • says

      Please cancel and use the money directly to pay off your student loans.

      Your loan is only $9,500 and they want you to pay them $995, or over 10% of your loan value, to DO SOMETHING YOU CAN DO FOR FREE!!!

      All they are doing is enrolling you in the Pay As You Earn Program. You can do that yourself by calling your lender and simply asking, “Hey, can you enroll me in the Pay As You Earn program”. They will say, “Yes, fill out this form.” That form is the same form that Student Aid Center will have you fill out.

      But guess what, your lender won’t charge you anything. Please email me if you have any other questions. This makes me angry that they would make you pay so much.

  41. Katt Robertson says

    Hi

    Last week I was offered a job at a Student Debt Consolidation company that claims they have processed $200 million of college debt loans.
    This is the company
    Trusted Debt Solutions
    152 NW 16th St
    Boca Raton FL 33432
    trusteddebtsolutions.com

    I got some bad vibes after leaving the interview and did some searching via the internet. This company asks for upfront fees, tells people the can save up 75%, goes on the Dept of Education web site on behalf of the debtor, etc.
    After reading your article and many others it has become apparent they are illegally charging and misleading consumers and definitely a scam company.
    Thought I would pass this information to you.

  42. Lynn says

    Robert, I am at my wits end. I pay on my federal student loans using the IBR program. But my private student loans want nearly triple what I pay the federal loans and I only owe $11000 in private loans. Ive tried everything to work with them to pay a lower payment and they will not budge. It is Navient and in one week they said my loans are going to litigation. My question is this: Is there any company out there who can help me negotiate a lower payment to avoid the litigation? I’ve contacted Student Debt USA who were very nice but wanted me to go on a program of paying $750 a month for 8 months. I can only afford to pay the private loans $65 a month, a far cry from having an available $750. I spend every moment searching for student loan help websites. Fix My Student Loans .com is my next try. But after reading all your blogs and posts and reader reviews I am now too scared to try and student loan help sites. What do you suggest I do at this point?
    Thank you for your help.

    • says

      Private student loans are tough. There isn’t anything you can do – if you can’t pay, they will seek a judgement against you to garnish your wages (which is what it sounds like they are trying to do).

      The only real options for private student loans are:
      1. Refinance to a lower interest rate if your credit score is excellent (750+)
      2. Earn more money by working 2-3 jobs or side hustling and using that extra money to pay it off

  43. LLoyd says

    Ever hear of Student Services LLC? I use to work for Direct Loans, and this sounds a little fishy, They do not seem to offer me anything that my current service can not. talking about reducing the debt, I see no way they can do that. I know of a program the National Health Service Corp, but that is AFTER I get my lic, so I am pretty sure something is off. Be interested to hear your feed back.

    • says

      Never heard of them – but you’re correct. None of these services can offer you anything your lender can’t. You essentially pay them to process paperwork for you (actually you pay them to fax it in, because you typically end up filling it out yourself anyway).

  44. Bruce C. says

    I really need help! There’s a place called National Student Loan Relief Center that contacted me earlier this month about consolidating my student loans. They said there would be a $499 fee (I forgot the name of the fee, if any) to get into the program that they have that would allow me to set up a payment plan to pay off my student loan. That fee they said could be paid in two increments (two payments of $249.50). They also mentioned that they were affiliated with the DOE. They said as soon as they get the second payment (I already paid the first payment and the second payment is coming up soon) then I will be out of default immediately. Once I’m out of default I’ll finally be able to file my taxes and get my tax refund, since the government has been automatically taking my tax refund checks every year, and this year I wanted it. They said once the last payment is made, then it would be a few months up to a year before my monthly payments start to pay off the consolidated student loan.
    I don’t know if this is a scam or not, since you say that there is no charge to get into a student loan relief program. Should I not make the final payment? If it is a scam, can i sue and get my money back? Also, if it’s a scam, how will I get out of default before April 15th so I can file my taxes on time? Any help is greatly appreciated!!!

    • says

      You are simply paying them to rehabilitate your student loan. They are just processing paperwork for you – something that you could do yourself for free by calling your lender.

      They aren’t affiliated with the Department of Education, they are a private company that sends in paperwork to them on your behalf. If they did help you, they aren’t scamming you. What you should consider is whether you could have done the same amount of work for free, and not paid $500.

  45. Megan says

    I was contacted by slcprocessing.com who also said their web address was nationalstudentaidcenter.com
    My loans are already consolidated and the claimedi qualified for income based payments and partial fogiveness due to me working in the field of nursing… They claimed my payments would be lower and after 10 years of on time payments, my debt would be forgiven. The questions they a led me to be weary about them were : ,
    – my license number me my moms maiden name
    There was an option to cancel within 72 hours… I’m just not sure how to verify if this is a legit site or service.

  46. Jesse says

    Hey Robert – Back in October, STUDENT PROCESSING CENTER contacted my brother and he referred them to me knowing I wanted to get everything into one easy payment. I talked to Mike Watson (watson@directspc.com) and he set me up for everything. I paid the $599 with a credit card (which I lost during the holiday season a couple weeks later and cancelled the card) and did not reveal my banking account/routing numbers. Then, I had to send in the the first pages of my taxes from 2013 to “confirm my address for the 2013 tax year.” I hesitated, but did against my better judgement (mainly because I spent that darn $599). Since then, I have had my Borrowers contact me about my loan(s) being completely paid off, while also receiving Federal Loan letters about new payments (recently just received these in the mail while on vacation and have not opened them up yet). Then, today, I received an email from STUDENT ASSIST PLUS wishing to charge me $30 a month for benefits and help on consolidation. When I couldn’t navigate on the webpage, I finally did the “Uh-oh” moment and cancelled that side of a mistake I may have committed. While I have only the $599 lost (not a big deal) to date, I want to know what I should do since everything has gone through and I am about to start new loan payments. Are my loans LEGITIMATELY consolidated? Am I going to get scammed any more, you think? Who can I report these scammers to? Do you think I am “safe” from fraudulent behaviors? Any advice would be great!

    • says

      It sounds like you need to get organized and double check online.

      If you had Federal loan consolidation (which hopefully you did with FedLoan), you can see are your loans on this government site. Double check they are correct: https://www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/

      If you have private loans, pull your credit report at annualcreditreport.com and double check it. It will have all your loans listed. Even if you don’t have private loans, it might not hurt to check.

      As for reporting them, you can’t do much, but spread the word.

  47. Tameka Ware says

    Hey Robert, I got a letter in the mail from Student loan consolidation & payment reduction program and it gave me an Benefit ID number. The letter stating that I am eligible to receive benefits from a new law including Total Forgiveness. When I called this lady told me that I called in time and that they were closing tomorrow and that today was the last day. She also said that the application fee was $699 and it would be divided in 3 monthly payments and they would start taking money out of my account on the 17th of this month and after that I would have to pay $27.50 every month after that. Also if i called the next day the number wouldn’t work. The letter didn’t have a website on it so I couldn’t look it up to see if it was legit. So I’m really trying to see if this is a spam before they take money out of my account on the 17th. Can you please help me!

  48. Belitza Velez says

    Hey, Robert! I just wanted to know if US Student loan is a scam. I started the process of consolidation with them and haven’t hear from them after I paid. I tried to call and there numbers don’t function.
    Thank you for your help!

  49. Tara says

    Hi! First, I have a question: have you ever heard of a student loan assistance corporation called Van Ru Corporation?
    They said they are a rehabilitation company working directly with DOE to straighten out my loans (which are more than $54,000)…
    Are they legit? Or are they just another company like I’ve read about in all the previous posts?
    Secondly, I almost was scammed by the National Student Loan Relief Center (Steve Willard, the representative, really got me questioning his legitimacy when he said S*!t during our conversation.. yeah, nice, huh?!)… thank goodness, I asked for their website information (he gave me nslrc.com) and obviously it wasn’t legit…

    Can you tell me anything about Van Ru?
    Thanks so much for helping me work through this mess!!

    • says

      Never heard of them at all.

      Before you go about paying these companies a lot of money to fill out paperwork for you, I suggest you look at a better alternative, which is my program to help. It teaches you what you need to do yourself, and we walk you through the process – including loan rehabilitation if needed.

      You don’t give us your info, and we give you everything you need (including what to say, what to mail in, etc.).

      Check it out: https://thecollegeinvestor.com/dysl-sales-page

  50. Nick says

    Rob-
    I have a question. Like a lot of the others before me I have a question regarding National Student Services. I was in their rehab program 160$/month; but when I reached out to the DOE to make sure I was in the good they had no recored of me trying to rehab my student loans. I immediately stopped all payments but now I’m worried. Did I do the right thing?

    • says

      Sounds like you did the right thing. You need to follow very specific steps to rehabilitate your loans and you shouldn’t have to pay monthly for it.

      I suggest you look at a better alternative, which is my program to help. It teaches you what you need to do yourself, and we walk you through the process – including loan rehabilitation if needed.

      You don’t give us your info, and we give you everything you need (including what to say, what to mail in, etc.).

      Check it out: https://thecollegeinvestor.com/dysl-sales-page

  51. Bobby Hsia says

    Hi Robert,

    I originally received a mailer from a company called Student Processing Center in Irvine, CA and when I called in to inquire about the mailer the gentleman (Frank) that answered the phone informed me I can lower my payments to $30 with loan forgiveness after 120 months due to my work at a non profit but that I would have to pay their fees of $699 in the form of 3 payments. I gotta say they actually delivered everything he promised and since my original servicing companies would not even budge with my financial hardship I felt I had no other choice. I was close to getting wage garnishment till I spoke with this company, but should I fear any draw backs from dealing with this company? I mean everything seems to be great for the moment but I’m worried about what you wrote so I would just like some clarification. Thank you for your time & help!

    • says

      You shouldn’t worry about it because if they did everything, and you’re now on a different repayment plan, they clearly didn’t scam you.

      What makes me sad about them is that they charged you $699 for it. That’s a ripoff, but not a scam. You could have done the work yourself, or used a DIY program like mine for less than 20% of that cost to learn the steps to take.

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