Beware of Illegal Student Debt Relief Schemes

In March 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau requested a federal court to shut down a student debt relief company that charged borrowers millions of dollars in illegal upfront fees and for federal student loan services.  The court order would also require the company, Student Loan Processing.US, to pay refunds to thousands of harmed consumers and civil money penalty.  If the proposed judgement is entered by the court, the company must:

  • Shut down illegal operations: Student Loan Processing.US must shut down all operations within 45 days of the entry of the court’s judgement.
  • Cancel all contracts with consumers and stop charging them.
  • Pay consumer refunds.
  • Stop participating in the debt relief and student loan industries.
  • Ensure student loan borrowers do not miss important repayment benefits.
  • Pay a civil penalty.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

Discussion Questions

  1. How can you protect yourself from companies engaged in deceptive marketing practices, or otherwise violate federal consumer protection laws?
  2. Is it possible for government agencies to permanently shut down companies that defraud consumers?

Attention College Students: Student Loans, Debit and Prepaid Cards

College students often make financial decisions that can have consequences for years.  Getting a student loan or credit cards can influence long-term financial success.  Here are the ways to strengthen your decision-making skills:

  1. Do your research before applying for a student loan. If you have to borrow to pay for some or all of a college education, review the different types of student loans.  Choose one that’s low-cost and has a flexible repayment terms, which will generally be a federal student loan.
  2. Understand the pros, cons and costs of debit and prepaid cards. Debit cards enable you to withdraw money from your checking accounts for purchases or cash.  Prepaid cards are used to access money that has been loaded (added) onto the card, which is not connected to a bank account.
  3. Use credit cards responsibly: While credit cards are a convenient way to establish a credit history, they can make it easier to spend money. Purchases that cannot be paid in full by the due date will incur interest

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Ask students if they have an outstanding student loan. Was the process of financing an education daunting and time consuming?
  • Ask students to visit the College Affordability and Transparency Center website (collegecost.ed.gov) for choosing the financial aid package that best suits their needs.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is it important that you find the most affordable education that fits your budget, future career, and long-term financial goals?
  2. What might be the benefits of understanding the pros, cons, and costs of debit and prepaid cards?
  3. Are school-affiliated cards the best deal for all students? Why or why not?

The New Grad’s Guide to Student Loan Debt

“Finishing college is surely cause to celebrate—but it is also time for some hard realities to hit.” 

This article provides information about what happens after graduation and you have to start paying back student loans.  Specific information includes:

  1. When you will start making payments
  2. How much you will pay and which repayment option to consider
  3. How to make your payments
  4. What happens if you want to change your repayment plan
  5. The importance of making a budget that includes your loan payments.

Note:  There are also links to a “very informative” video and additional articles at the bottom of this article that provide even more information about student loans and what happens if you don’t make payments.  Definitely worth a click.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Help students understand that student loans are one way to finance their education, but loans should not be considered free money that doesn’t have to be repaid.
  • Illustrate what can happen if student loans are not paid back.

Discussion Questions

  1. Many students obtain student loans to help pay for their college education. Are there other options that can be used to pay for college?
  2. Assuming that you decide a student loan is the best way to obtain the money you need to pay for college, what steps can you take to understand the conditions of the loan agreement that you will sign in order to obtain the loan money?
  3. What happens when someone finishes college, but doesn’t make the student loan payments that are required?

What Happens If You Don’t Pay Your Student Loan Bill?

“New data shows that 11.3 percent of student loans were delinquent at the end of 2014–double the rate just 10 years ago.”

Today many students graduate with substantial student loan debt and struggle to make payments–especially when they are just entering the workforce.   While tempting to default on students loans, there are serious long-term consequences.   For example

  1. Your credit score will tank once your payment is 45-90 days late.
  2. You could wind up in default after 270 days, and the lender can ask for the unpaid balance in full and your account could be given to a collection agency.
  3. If you default on federal loan payments, Uncle Sam can take your tax return.
  4. The federal government can take up to 15 percent of your wages if you default on student loans.
  5. If someone consigned your loan, they also suffer the consequences for late payments or a default.

For someone who has fallen behind on student loan payments, the article also provides suggestions that can help get back on track.

For more information, click here

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Stress the importance of making student loan payments on time.
  • Discuss the consequences of missing payments or defaulting on a student loan.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is it important to make student loan payments on time?
  2. What are the consequences of defaulting on a student loan?
  3. Assume you are behind on your student loan payments. What steps can you take to find the money needed to make student loan payments and eventually pay off a student loan?