Give me an hour. I’ll give you peace of mind...and save you thousands of dollars.
Like many people with student loans, you pay what you can when you can. But it always seems as if your lenders send you a bill asking for more than you can afford. Don't they know you have other bills?
Look, I get it. It's not that you don't want to pay. You do. You just can't pay what they're asking for. You need to be able to pay an amount that fits your life, your budget. So that's one of the jobs I do for you. I help lower your student loan payments to an amount you can afford.
While I'm doing that, I'm also checking your eligibility for student loan forgiveness. Because if you can get your loans forgiven, you can put more of your money towards retirement, family, investments, travel, or maybe even starting that business you've been planning in your mind since you were a kid.
When you're ready, you'll contact me to get the student loan help you need.
My job when we meet is simple: Develop a plan for you to pay off your student loans quickly, with as little accumulated interest as possible, while reducing the stress caused by impossibly high payments and the threat of default. A plan that tells you when you can say “goodbye” to student loan debt and move into the next phase of your life.
Read what my clients have to say. And if you're wondering what other services I offer or how much I charge, keep scrolling.
What are some options for lowering my student loan payment?
Your options for lowering your monthly student loan bill comes down to whether your loans are private or federal.
For private student loans, the process is a little complicated. Typically, you have limited options when it comes to lowering your payments on a permanent basis. Sure, you could call your lender and ask for a lower payment. But what they usually do is lower your payment for a short period, typically 6 to 18 months.
You could also attempt to refinance your private loans. Refinancing could lower your payment by extending the repayment period or by lowering your interest rate, or both. You just have to find a lender willing to refinance your loans. (Good luck!)
Thankfully, for federal student loans, lowering your student loan payment is fairly straight-forward. You just need to complete the income driven repayment application.
Here’s a step-by-step guide…
How do I get out of default?
When you default on your federal student loans, a lot of bad things can happen to you. For instance:
- You’re no longer eligible for federal student aid;
- You’re no longer eligible for deferment, forbearance, or income-driven repayment plans;
- Your tax refund can be taken;
- Your paycheck can be garnished;
- Your Social Security income and other federal benefits can be taken; and
- You can be sued.
Will I still receive my tax refund if I'm in default?
I say probably because if you’re in default, your tax refund can be taken.
And that’s true even if you’re making payments on your loans to get them out of default (student loan rehabilitation).
It sucks having your refund taken for a defaulted federal student loan; especially, when you had plans to use that refund to catch up on your rent, buy a car, pay off debt, or simply live off of.
Don’t let your refund be taken.
Let me show you what you need to do to get out of default. First,…
How do my student loans affect my credit score and credit report?
Student loans often have the greatest impact on your credit score.
Simple. Your credit report will usually be filled with several student loans. And each of those loans will have its own, balance, and payment history.
The good news is that your student loans can have a huge positive impact on your score. You just have to manage them right.
But the bad news is that they can also have a terrifyingly negative impact on your score.
So how do you do get your student loans to positively affect your credit score?
First, you start by…
Who services my existing student loans?
You can find out what company is servicing your private student loans by checking your credit report. Look for accounts from Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Sallie Mae, etc. In the details of those accounts, see if it says “student loan”.
For your federal student loans, the process is simpler. Visit the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) and follow these steps to identify your student loan servicer…
How do I complete the income-driven repayment form?
The first thing you have to do is get the form and get a copy of your most recent tax return: Download the IDR form
If you don’t have a recent tax return, get a recent (less than 90 days from the date you sign the form) document showing how much you regularly earn. The document can be a pay stub, letter from your employer, bank statement, etc..
After you’ve downloaded the form, now you have to complete several sections.
Let me walk you through each section…
Do I qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program?
You qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, if you:
- Have federal Direct Loans
- Work full-time for the government or a qualifying nonprofit organization
- Make 120 monthly payments, on time, in full, as scheduled
- Repay your loans under a qualifying repayment plan
Those are the basic eligibliity requirements of the PSLF program.
Now let’s dig a bit deeper and show you what you need to do to get your loan forgiven…
Can you offer me student loan help if I don't live in Missouri?
To be honest, quite a few of my clients live outside of Missouri. Most times those clients have an issue with a federal student loan (choosing the right repayment plan, getting out of default, stopping a wage garnishment, etc.). So if that’s your issue, I likely can offer you student loan help.
But what if you live outside of Missouri and you’re being sued where you live or you’re looking to discharge your student loans in bankruptcy? In that case, I might be able to help you. The issue, however, will be getting special permission to help from the courts in your jurisdiction to help.
That can get expensive.
So you may be better served finding someone locally.
You can always hire me for a consultation. I’ll answer those questions I can answer. And for those that I can’t, I’ll refer you to resources or someone who might get you that answer.
How do we get started?
Before I offer you student loan help, I want to learn your story — who you are and what student loan issues you have. (That information allows me to give you the best legal advice for student loans that I can.)
By the end of our conversation, you’ll know three things:
- How I’m going to help you
- How much you’ll pay for that help
- How soon you’ll get that help
Second, we meet. If you live near St. Louis Missouri, we may meet in my office in Frontenac or at a local coffee shop. And if you can’t meet in person, we can always Skype or meet by phone. It’s your choice.
No matter how or where we meet, you’ll get a solution to your student loan problem.
Next, we’ll get to work resolving your student loan issue. This may include signing you up for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program; calculating a lower student loan payment; getting you out of default; or defending you against ECMC Group or National Collegiate Trust. Whatever the strategy, together we will come up with a plan that works for you.
How we execute your plan is up to you. If you hire me to do everything outlined in the plan, that’s what I’ll do. And I’ll provide you with timely updates every step of the way.
If you choose the partial DIY route, you’ll leave our meeting with all the documents and information you need to proceed. And I’ll continue to be available to answer any questions you may have about the issues you hired me to resolve.
Finally, from time to time, you’ll hear from me. I’ll follow up with you to see if everything is going well and to ask if you need any additional assistance.
I prepare simple, easy-to-understand documents to meet your needs. I also assist with any changes that need to be made and am available to answer questions that may arise about your documents.
There are some student loans problems you can and should handle yourself. Maybe you just need a little help. I provide that help through 45-minute consultations. During the consultation, we’ll talk through the single issue you’re facing and then come up with a plan of action. Here are some examples of when a consultation may be right for you:
So you know, I typically don’t bill on an hourly basis. I prefer to charge a flat fee. That way you know exactly how much something is going to cost you.
But hey, I understand, you may want to pay by the hour. This option is for you.
Most clients start with a strategy session. During this 1 to 1.5 hour session, we’ll review all of your federal and private student loans, your income, your expenses, and your short- and long-term goals.
The end product?
A customized plan that fits you and your needs.
Most lawsuits settle. They don’t go to trial. That’s the general rule.
Since that’s true, consider hiring me to handle all pre-trial work on the student loan lawsuit filed against you.
Pre-trial work includes: