is there a student loan consultant who is not a scammer?
December 11, 2017 7:42 PM   Subscribe

Due to the president’s lovely tax bill, I’m now worried sick about my student loan repayment strategy. I discussed things in detail with a fee only financial planner a few years ago, but he wasn’t very familiar with the ins and outs of huge student loans. I now feel like I need the advice of a real expert, and I’m willing to pay $$$ but I don’t want to get ripped off and/or be told things that I already know because I read the fedloan website
posted by genmonster to Work & Money (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I know one of the attorneys quoted in this article. I could ask if she's willing to be connected with you if you are interested.
posted by sulaine at 8:07 PM on December 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Basically, if you're asking for personalized advice, no. Unless you happen to live in Massachusetts, where the lovely and talented Student Lending Assistance Unit at the attorney general's office can advise you.
posted by praemunire at 8:08 PM on December 11, 2017

Holy smokes. What happened in that NYT article happened to me. I thought it was me!
posted by k8t at 8:12 PM on December 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

I would be really wary of anyone who claims to have hard and fast answers, especially about the implications of the tax bill on student loans, especially right now. The short version is that even very sophisticated financial professionals don't know yet 1) what will actually be in the bill (if/when it gets passed) and 2) how the IRS will interpret the provisions of the bill.
posted by mskyle at 7:22 AM on December 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

This is one of those situations where you can do something now if you have the means to retain the sort of people who influence what the IRS regulations end up being and how they are interpreted. Otherwise, you have to wait for those people to do their work before anyone else can say with certainty what the new rules actually mean.

Bureaucracy, ain't it grand?
posted by wierdo at 10:03 AM on December 12, 2017

Heather Jarvis has been providing great advice on student loans for a long time. I don't know her, and I don't know her policy on taking on individual clients. But her information and resources are excellent and I would trust her as much as you trust any Internet stranger.

/r/studentloans advises against paying anyone for student loan advice in the sense that they can't give you or do anything you can't do yourself. There are lists in that link of companies to avoid. The author, /u/betsy514, is one of the most helpful and resourceful people I've found in regards to student loans.
posted by cnc at 10:37 AM on December 12, 2017

One more point in regards to the New York Times article. I believe FedLoan is actually one of the better loan servicers. In my experience, their people know more and are both more honest and helpful than Navient/Sallie Mae in particular. Not to take anything away from people's bad experiences or to excuse errors or other problems, but if they lose the PSLF contract, it will likely go to Navient/Sallie Mae, and things will get far, far worse.
posted by cnc at 10:41 AM on December 12, 2017

What happened in that NYT article happened to me. I thought it was me!

Complain to the CFPB. Complain to your local state AG. They will not be able to advise you individually, but they need to hear from everyone who is having problems with their student loan servicers.
posted by praemunire at 12:21 PM on December 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

cnc has the right answer with Betsy. She's a friend of mine; we used to work at Sallie Mae together, and when we both left she stayed in the industry and went on to work for ASA.

She now has opened a non-profit, TISLA, the Institute of Student Loan Advisers. Their "about": "The Institute of Student Loan Advisors (TISLA) was created to ensure that all consumers have access to fair, free, student loan advice and dispute resolution. We will never charge consumers for our services and do not require registration or affiliation to utilize our services. While we encourage all student loan borrowers to talk to their loan holders for help, we understand that sometimes, you just want a second opinion or need additional help. That’s why we’re here." I'd start there.
posted by clone boulevard at 2:43 PM on December 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've been doing some additional research and here are some other places that might help.
posted by k8t at 10:00 AM on December 13, 2017

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