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Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Posted by attorney Seth Rosenberg

There’s merit in the timeless adage: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. I get it – we all want a quick fix to pay off our student loans, so we can get on with our lives without that haunting debt banshee constantly reminding us that our careers won’t actually pay for themselves until we retire. And at least those of us who recently graduated will have social security to fall back on later in life, right? Ha.

Regardless, this next story completely baffles me. With the national student loan two year default rate jumping from 7% in 2008, to over 8.8% last year, according to the Department of Education, it’s understandable that students would jump at the opportunity to rid this monkey off of their backs. And the number of defaulting student debtors is only projected to escalate.

Here’s the kicker – even as bad as your student loan debt may be – there is no quick fix. Students (currently) cannot discharge it in bankruptcy. You can potentially work for the government, which can forgive a portion of your federal loans. But, in general, you either have to preemptively avoid racking up student debt, or take your sweet time paying that education off.

However, according to a recent article ( scammers are taking advantage of desperate students grasping for straws to pay off their debt. There are scholarship scams. Scams that ask for a fee to fill out the FAFSA for you. Most recently, scams have been popping up that claim upon the Constitution that you can legally discharge all of your student debt for a small fee. What puzzles me is that educated students are falling for these scams.

What’s the take-away? You all went to college, which means you’re likely more educated than the average Joe (although, there are extreme exceptions to this theory). 1. Use common sense. Don’t let your desperation override reason. If it smells bad, it probably is. 2. Do your research. Most of these scams are fairly easy to debunk with a little investigation. 3. Be wary of anything that claims you must “act fast." 4. Refer to the above article. It offers legitimate programs that can aid in student loan debt.

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