Student Loan Consultant — Here's What You Need to Know

#1 Student loan lawyer

Updated on October 6, 2022

A student loan consultant can analyze your situation and develop a strategy for handling your education debt.

It can be overwhelming when you first sit down to tackle your student loan debt and see how much the balance has grown since you left school. You can spend hours researching repayment options, forgiveness programs, ways to reduce the interest, or whether bankruptcy is an option, only to feel like you’re trying to navigate an endless obstacle course.

This is where a student loan counselor can help. While you can do everything that an advisor would do yourself — review your debt, contact student loan servicers, change repayment plans — getting help from a person whose been in the trenches of battling student loan debt can help you quickly work through your situation or at least confirm whether your strategy makes sense.

Ahead, learn what a student loan consultant is, the benefits and cost of hiring one, and a list of the best consulta

What is a student loan consultant?

A student loan consultant is an advisor focused on helping borrowers deal strategically with their private and federal student loan debt, including choosing the best repayment option, qualifying for loan forgiveness options, and assessing ways to minimize interest.

The consultant can be a certified student loan specialist or a financial advisor for most student loan issues. However, if you’ve defaulted on a loan, are facing a lawsuit, or are thinking of filing bankruptcy to deal with your debt, meeting with a student loan lawyer is a better option.

Learn More: Find a Student Loan Bankruptcy Lawyer

What can a student loan consultant help with?

A student loan consultant can help you:

  • Choose the best student loan repayment programs the Department of Education offers borrowers for FFEL, Direct, and Parent PLUS Loans.

  • Prepare for marrying someone with student loan debt and finding a financial plan you can put in place for the years to come.

  • Buy a home with student loan debt by choosing the right student loan repayment plan that lowers monthly payments to meet debt-to-income ratio requirements for conventional and FHA home loans.

  • Develop a repayment strategy to minimize the interest paid over the life of the loan.

  • Identify eligibility for student loan forgiveness programs for public service, severe disability, school fraud, etc.

  • Evaluate student loan refinancing options for federal and private student loan debt and recommend lenders offering the lowest interest rates and flexible repayment terms.

  • Determine if loan consolidation is the best option to lower your payment and qualify you for debt relief options like the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program or the PSLF Waiver.

What to look for when hiring a student loan consultant?

The quality of student loan advice you get from a consultant or financial professional can vary considerably. As a result, finding qualified student loan counseling services to help with your education debt can take time and effort. When hiring a consultant to help with your situation, look for these three factors.

Specialized certification: A financial advisor or other professional doesn’t need specialized training to help student loan borrowers. However, the student loan system is complex, and the options available to solve issues are many. Ideally, the hired person will have undergone rigorous training through a licensure or certification program like the CSLP®.

Prolonged experience: With student loans being a hot button issue in America, all types of businesses are popping up, claiming they’re capable of helping with your financial situation. To avoid being a scam victim, check to see how long the consultant has been helping student loan borrowers, what type of people they’ve helped, who their average client is, and what type of problems they’ve solved.

Client testimonials: Read the advisor’s online reviews. Pay special attention to the negative feedback or the absence of it. If an advisor’s been doing this long enough, someone, somewhere, will have shared critical feedback — no matter how great the advisor. See how the advisor addressed the critique. In addition, ask if they can share case studies or video testimonials from previous clients.

For example, here’s a video from a woman I helped settle $187 thousand in private student loan debt for $50 thousand over a few years instead of a lump sum payment.

Cost of hiring a student loan consultant

As is true with other financial services, most student loan advisors charge a fee for consultation and advocacy. The amount and type of fees charged vary from consultant to consultant. However, most consultants will charge either an hourly rate or a flat fee.

The hourly rate is what it sounds like: you’re charged a fee per hour spent working on your behalf. This payment model can lead to a higher than expected bill if the consultant doesn’t correctly scope the work needed to be performed.

In a flat-fee model, the consultant charges a set amount of money for the service. The flat fee ensures you know how much you’re going to pay for advice.

6 Best Student Loan Consultants

Although there are many student loan consultants, few have years of experience and sharp skills. Of those advisors that claim they help with student loans, there is only a handful that I can recommend based on my knowledge of their skill and experience.

  • Stanley Tate – I help people across the globe navigate repayment, negotiate settlements, get out of student loan default, and file student loan bankruptcy.

  • Travis Hornsby – He and his team of financial planners are terrific at helping borrowers with large student loan balances navigate an exit strategy.

  • Jay Fleishman – As the host of The Student Loan Show, Jay provides borrowers with free help to better understand their rights. He also has a law practice focused on helping those same people find a way out of their student loan debt.

  • Betsy Mayotte – After compiling over two decades of experience dealing with financial aid and student loans, Betsy founded the nonprofit organization, The Institute of Student Loan Advisors. Her aim in creating TISLA was to ensure that “all student loan borrowers have access to free, neutral and accurate resources and mentoring to ensure they can successfully manage their student loan debt.”

  • Josh Cohen – For the past several years, Josh has led the way in helping to educate student loan borrowers and lawyers in understanding the world of education debt. In his law practice, Josh helps borrowers lower student loan payments, evaluate student loan refinance options, file student loan bankruptcy, and challenge information that harms their credit score.

  • Adam Minsky – Aside from sharing student loan updates as a senior contributor on Forbes, Adam is a lawyer who’s been helping borrowers navigate tricky student loan issues for the past decade.

In addition, if you need help with a federal student loan, contact the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group, which serves as a neutral party from your student loan servicer. They can help resolve discrepancies with loan balances, payments, forbearances and help identify loan repayment options.

UP NEXT:  How to Apply for Student Loan Forgiveness?

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