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Consumer advisory: You don’t have to pay someone to help with your student loan

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You told us about a number of debt relief companies that promise thousands of dollars in savings on borrowers’ student debt – an offer that may seem too good to be true. Borrowers sometimes think that the quickest way to deal with their student loan debt is to pay someone to contact their creditor. When it comes to federal student loans, this probably isn’t the best choice.

Here’s why:

  • Enrollment in alternative repayment programs, like Income-Based Repayment (IBR), is available at no cost to federal student loan borrowers.
  • Debt relief companies do not have the ability to negotiate with your creditors in order to obtain a “special deal” under these federal student loan programs. Payment levels under IBR and other federal income-driven repayment plans are set by federal law.
  • Any claims by debt relief companies to the contrary may be misleading and potentially a violation of law.

If you have questions about repaying student loans, check out our repayment tool Repay Student Debt to find out how you can tackle your debt – even if you’re in default. You can learn about your options, and what you might want to specifically ask for when speaking with the company attempting to collect from you. Another great resource to visit is Ask CFPB for answers on many more of your student loan questions.

Even if you’ve fallen behind, you may have options. There are even federal student loan repayment programs that can help remove the default status from your credit report. Be sure to learn about what’s available through our tools before paying hefty fees for something you can get for free.

Still need help resolving a student loan issue? File a complaint.

Rohit Chopra is the CFPB’s Student Loan Ombudsman. To learn more about the CFPB’s work for students and young Americans, visit www.consumerfinance.gov/students.

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